He Wants Two Women
Q: My lover of almost 8 years wanted to break up with me weeks before our long-planned holiday. He said he needed freedom and space, and added that he liked this other woman who makes him laugh. I begged him to treat us as a couple until at least the end of our trip, and during the trip, we were very lovey and romantic. But he kept in touch with her throughout the trip. He insisted "nothing will happen between them" and it's just a short "fling." Upon our return, he finally admitted he has fallen for her. I refused to leave him as I am still very much in love with him. I need him. He is my companion, my lover, my best friend, my pillar to everything. I know I'm only 30, but I cannot imagine life without him. I told him I'm willing to share his attention with the other woman. Am I crazy?! He said he still loves me and I will always be his "wife" and the other woman is just his lover. Of course I'm jealous. I still hope he will one day love me completely. -- Sophia
Dr. Susan: You're probably not "crazy," Sophia, but you are gambling when the odds are astronomically against you. After eight years of a (non-married) relationship, what you see is what you get. And it's what you're going to get, from here on out, if you tolerate it. Your boyfriend is NOT going to love you more completely later on than he does now, at least if he is permitted to have two women in his life with no major repercussions. His tendency was to break up, rather than string you along, but you think so little of yourself that you'd rather have half his attention than none of it. Of course you can't imagine life without him. You've spent your entire adult life with him. In your mind, the whole concept of love and friendship are wrapped up in his image. But that doesn't mean you can't move on. The other woman is "just his lover"?! How unbearable for you. I wouldn't sit still for it! This is not someone you can count on to be there for you when you really need him. Like when you want kids, or get older, or suffer health setbacks. He wants someone to laugh with, and apparently he believes you're not the one. Do give him one chance, though: if he breaks up with her immediately and works with you to make YOUR relationship a fulfilling one for both of you (perhaps with counseling), then he would be worth the gamble. Otherwise, get some emotional support yourself and find your way back to a stable life.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
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.