I am not proud of it. I had an affair with a married man. It’s gone on for two years and now he is leaving his wife and wants to marry me. I don’t want him or a marriage. I like my independence. I tried to tell him many times but I don’t think he heard me. Have I completely messed up his life and my life too?
First thing to remember in all of this is that it takes two.
Yes you made the decision to have an affair with a married man but he also made the decision to cheat on his wife. After that things get a little more challenging.
Did you ever give him the impression you would want something permanent, maybe at the very beginning? If you did make some commitment at some point to a future together without being entirely honest then the situation becomes more complicated.
First of all you need to get organized to be entirely honest with him as soon as possible. You say you don’t want him or a marriage. Does that mean you want to stop seeing him altogether?
Before you have your meeting think very carefully about why you feel this way. You also want to make sure this is not a fear of commitment colouring your feelings. Being in an affair allows for a certain amount of freedom. A real relationship or marriage requires commitment. A solid explanation is needed. There are two people in this relationship and no matter how you feel about him right now, he deserves an honest explanation.
Any type of relationship, whether it is only casual or serious, involves some emotional commitment. Untangling that needs to be done with care. There is probably a fair amount of guilt between the two of you. That is another emotion that needs to be addressed.
You can’t change the past or your actions. You can, however, apologize to him if you were not entirely honest about your motives during the affair. Although you did tell him, were you clear about the message? Sometimes we only fool ourselves with attempts at honesty.
The longer you fail to take any type of action, the more difficult it will be.
You already know what he wants and intends to do. He does not know your true feelings. That is a communication gap that needs to be fixed. Think very carefully about how you want this to unfold. Will you tell him and immediately stop seeing him? Will you tell him and still be willing to see each other regularly? Do you feel confident you have the ability to stand up to any pressure he might put on you to change your mind?
All those questions need to be answered and the decisions should be fairly clear in your own mind before you have the conversation.
Life is all about learning from our mistakes or wrong steps. When you are ready, be honest and open with him about how you feel and what you expect from the future.
If he does leave his wife he may need a friend. Can you see your relationship turning into a friendship? Remember, there are many ways the future could unfold between the two of you.
If you are in need of a place to seek some advice on a way forward during separation and divorce please write to firstname.lastname@example.org – Reaching out is the first step.
ABOUT LINDA SIMPSON
“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl
Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.
As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.
She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.
She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’
In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.
She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.
She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.