Stay with a Cheat?
Q: I've been with someone for 16 years and found out a few months ago that he's been with many women throughout these years, including now. We haven't had sex for a long time, and I really didn't care because he always made me feel like he didn't want it. Neither did I, so I was comfortable the way things were. Now I feel like a fool knowing that he's nothing but a cheat and liar. We aren't married so I have no rights to any assets. What does a woman do in a situation like this when he has a lot of money and assets, and you were together when he got it all? I feel lost and helpless about where to go and what to do. Where do I turn to get something from the time I've put into this? I've been faithful and feel like a fool. He still keeps me around but I'm wasting my life now. I really do love him and we have fun together as well. -- Ann, 55
Dr. Susan: Are you having enough "fun" to stay with him on these new terms, knowing the truth? That's what you have to decide. I would recommend seeing a lawyer to determine if you have any rights at all. (Sorry to harp on this, but that is one of the critical reasons people take out marriage licenses, and why gay couples want those same rights - to be protected in case of breaking up.) Morally, your partner certainly does owe you plenty, but legally, I can't begin to guess. So you have to figure out if, knowing you may get nothing, you still want to walk out. Or if, knowing nothing will change from the way it is now, you want to hang around and continue to enjoy his company. IF you can enjoy it any longer, now that you feel such a fool. After speaking to a lawyer, you could also consider trying to get your mate to put some of those assets in your name in a deal to get you to stay. If he wouldn't do that, I'd be hard pressed to think of any reason to remain with the selfish lying lout.
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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.