Her Married Lover Won't Divorce
Q: I've been having an affair with a married man for three years. He and I met at a market, started talking, and one thing led to another. He shared what he was going through with his wife. They lead separate lives, and he has reassured me that I'm not a "home wrecker," and this is his choice. We have dinners out, he calls me all the time, and I've accompanied him on several business trips out of town. What's not perfect is that he's married. It's a balancing act of him being her husband part-time and being my boyfriend part-time. He keeps saying he can't get divorced because of all kinds of financial complications, and isn't it enough that he loves me and spends as much time as he does with me? I don't know what to say to him to persuade him to get divorced. - Linda, 40
Dr. Susan: You're kidding, right? After zillions of women have tried and failed to get their lovers to leave their wives, you think you can find the magic words that will change things? There are always "all kinds of financial complications" in a marriage. Your lover wants to avoid the messy bits of leaving his wife, while hanging out with you. Did he bring you a note from his wife that they have an open marriage? Then at least you'd know he was telling the truth. And only then could you decide how long to stay in this neither-here-nor-there arrangement. His real life, with all those messy complications, is going to stay tied up with his wife for keeps. You can try leaving him, not just threatening to do so, but I wouldn't bet on that working. He's doing what so many married men do, and you're accepting it by default, as too many clueless women do. Wise up.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.