Dear Counsellor: My married lover lied to me!
Q As a young adult, I was against marriage break-up because of how my mother suffered when she and my father broke up. It was messy. The other woman was a thorn in our flesh. As a result, I hate marriage break-ups, but I am in a relationship with a married man.
When I met him, he was 40 and I was 25. He was very kind, nice, and considerate. He was bright and an excellent communicator. He was a successful businessman and I could not believe my luck that he would be interested in me. I asked him if he was single and he said yes. After I fell in love with him, he said that what he meant by being 'single' was that his wife was mistreating him and he was living in his own room at the matrimonial home. We got more involved and we have a teenage child.
His business is very stressful and he says that I am good for him because when he is with me, he does not feel stressed. He is an excellent provider for the family because we have a nice town house and a SUV.
He says he cannot divorce his wife because of the children, who are all adults. That does not make any sense. We can never go overseas together as a family; it is always one goes before the other. We always stay at hotels and never with family.
He visits very regularly, but we never go to social events together. He claims he is an introvert, which is not true.
Furthermore, lately, I have done some investigation and I discovered that his wife has not mistreated him, but it is the other way around. He has two more children that are not for his wife and these were born after the marriage. Now I really want to leave, but we have a child together and he has been good to me. How do I disentangle myself?
A You had a good policy of hating marriage break-ups. You did not wilfully enter into this relationship with the intention to break up his marriage. In fact, he deceived you into thinking he was single. However, you made some bad decisions and you did not do due diligence on him before you had a child with him.
Since you have discovered that he is not trustworthy, you need to end the relationship. Furthermore, he is committed to someone else. You need to encourage him to go back to his wife. He needs to play a role in your child's life but under strict guidelines. If, in ending the relationship, he wants back the house and car, then so be it. You should try to persuade him that the child you have together needs a house to live in and a vehicle would enhance family life.
You seem to have a self-esteem problem in that you were surprised that he was interested in you. You should not believe that because he has money and a good education that he is better than you. You also need to feel confident that you can find someone else.
Please sit down with your teenager and explain your decision to leave her father and admit the error you made. You might need a counsellor to help you with your child and any other issues.