What happened AFTER my married man's marriage, was over- and I remained to console him.
by Conflicted In Love
The short version of my story is that I’ve been dating a married man for over five years. He had been married to the same woman, with two college aged children for a little over 25 years. At the inception of our relationship, we were both looking for mutual comfort. For reasons neither of us disclosed to the other, our primary partners were not fully meeting various needs.
My own primary relationship was dissolved around two years into the affair though for reasons entirely unrelated to my relationship with HIM. Around four years into the relationship (or about a year and a half ago), his wife discovered our affair, and the extremely rare event occurred- divorce, with a mistress (me) the surviving affiliation.
It is important to my personal self-respect to note that at no time during our affair did I EVER push, or even suggest that he dissolve his marital affiliation. I was content to be satisfied with what I had of his affection- and was never in doubt as to the reality or viability of that affection. Personally, I don’t maintain that affection or love is a finite emotion, and that sharing it with another somehow dilutes or minimizes the affection one feels for someone else.
This belief doesn’t minimize or discount the need for integrity and sensitivity when engaging with another but, does allow that a man can love his wife and his girlfriend or mistress, simultaneously. (by the way- the same goes for us, too, women can love their husbands and/or boyfriends simultaneously, too!)
When the affair was outed, I backed down. While my heart was broken, and I went into perhaps one of the darkest periods of my life, I was prepared to ‘step-aside’ to allow them to work it out. I did- there was an entire month where I had absolutely no communication with my lover and friend. (PS- thank GOD for girlfriends at that time!). At the end of the month, he was in touch with me, and while he was prepared to ‘forego’ me and try to make it work with his wife, he refused to deny that he had, and still did, love me. That was the ultimate deal-breaker, and the decision was made to divorce.
This story picks up over 18months after that decision- and is why my story is a little bit different, my married man did leave his wife and is still dating me. Their are problems, and this story is about the issues of dating a man who is still traumatized from a marriage fraught with conflict. It’s a bit confusing as while I loved and cared for me, for my own personal reasons, didn’t really choose or would have chosen to be his hand-holder and shoulder to lean on during his marital separation. I’m just not that nice!
My story is not over, and it’s still being written. Honestly, I didn’t bother to look into the issue of ‘women in love with men who happen to be married’ until the proverbial sh*t hit the fan and was (mostly) content to take it day-by-day. At the time of conflict, I was in too dark and distraught a place to even contemplate such an activity.
Current status- the Agreement to Settle the Divorce has been signed but, the actual Divorce Petition has not been signed or sanctioned by the court. HE is still very attached to me, and I, to him. However, the divorce has been and continues to be brutal one- War of the Roses style, and I’ve been the unlucky recipient of the brunt of his anger directed towards HER. He is consumed with guilt over the demise of their marriage and recognizes (now) that with or without my presence it was likely in his best interest- but, is still afraid of her wrath, and thus demonstrates his backbone in excess to me- refusing to budge on the simplest of requests.
I’m trying to write about the real-life complications, trials, and tribulations- and, of course, some joy of the transition from cherished girlfriend of a married man, to his ‘public’ girlfriend- following divorce. Some of the real problems are complicated- as our relationship began in the dark, we have no true ‘shared friends’ with which to socialize or entertain. We have our own friends, and the friends he’d collected during his 25 years of marriage have clearly frowned on his ‘immature’ decision to walk away from his marriage. He has not had much of a voice in this and it is a tough place for me as I consider it a matter of cowardice to maintain silence. He would rebut that he is acting with integrity and maturity by maintaining silence. Again- there are countless areas where I have opinions but, little influence, and this is challenging.
I hope this helps anyone out there grappling with this issue- and PLEASE- while I know many of us do, I don’t encourage anyone to nag their man to ‘leave their spouse’. He will ultimately resent you for doing so, if it’s at your request, and not of his own volition. Mine would’ve never left of his own accord- and I’d have never encouraged him- it was always understood that I’d have the freedom and blessing to search for a more suitable partner- one that wasn’t beholden to another, until his divorce was hastened at her insistence and his agreement. It was their marriage, not mine- and that (sadly) was something I TRULY had no say or role in, just an opinion. For now, we take it day by day- and while I may leave eventually, the few times I’ve tried I was ultimately lonely and missed his company. I’m not a lonely woman by nature and am fortunate to have a huge network of wonderful, caring and supportive friends, girlfriends and family. Yet- like so many- it’s the MAN, who creates the most internal conflict in myself.
Thanks for reading- and good luck and good sense to any unfortunate enough to land in a role no one chooses as a matter of preference.
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