Wife or Lover?

20 Mar

Letterbalm Two HeartsDear LetterBalm: My lover and I have been together for the past five years. We met after I had been divorced for several years. When we met, my lover and his wife had been married for 25 years but had stopped sleeping together long ago. The situation suited me well because I wasn’t looking for anything serious. My man has never lied to me. His wife knows about us, but he’s always discreet. Their family and friends know nothing because he doesn’t flaunt our relationship to hurt her. But I’ve come to resent the time he spends with his wife, like holidays and outings with their children and grandchildren. I know these feelings are foolish because things won’t change. But I’ve grown to love him. I know for sure that the sex is the best he’s ever had, and we never stop talking together because we have lots more in common than he has with his wife. How can I frame an ultimatum to make him choose between us?

–The Other Woman

Ms. L.B. wants you to know there is no ultimatum, except, maybe, holding a gun to his head that will make your boyfriend leave his marriage. There are all kinds of considerations here. You entered into the relationship freely. In fact, your lover’s marriage didn’t bother you at first. Then, you became emotionally attached and jealous of your boyfriend’s wife and family, doomed to keep quiet lest you drive him away. You say his wife knows of you – maybe she feels she has the high ground and can wait out your relationship. You have some deep thinking to do. Will you continue with the status quo? What do you want from life? Are you strong enough to leave this relationship and strike out on your own? And, remember, if your boyfriend choses you over his wife, he may end up resenting you for ending that long relationship and causing a rupture in his family. You say that no one has lied to you, but you’ve been lying to yourself and you need to confront your feelings with the help of expert counseling. Only after you’re sure what you want – or willing to endure whatever your man will say – can you have a private talk with him:

Roland, I’ve been out of sorts for awhile now. I’ve been doing some serious thinking, and I’ve come to the conclusion that you will never leave Effie. At first, I was fine with our relationship, because I didn’t want any complications. But over the years, I’ve fallen in love with you. I now have to face the fact that I must break up with you. I have no status in this three-way relationship. And, if you choose me over your wife, you’ll come to resent me for the breakup of your marriage, no matter how much intimacy it is lacking. Please, don’t make any declarations or promises you know you won’t be able to keep. My heart is breaking, but I have to end this. I wish you well always, you know that, and I’ll carry you in my heart. If you love me at all, please don’t contact me.


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