How to Leave?

Q: I've spent more than a decade with a man who I only recently found out has been lying about everything. Recently all lovemaking disappeared. He claimed the arguing destroyed his interest until I investigated and found hidden use of porn online, private memberships to endless sites littered with implant victims, all half his age, as well as searches for women on singles websites. I have to leave but find it impossible as my heart is vested in holding on. My love is still there despite the great humiliation and suffering I've endured. I have realized he's never cared to marry or build a home together. How do women like me leave men like this? I'm crushed and unable to cope. -- Mary, 55

Dr. Susan: Women like you do eventually leave men like this, though it takes some a lot longer to gather the courage and motivation to do so. I would suggest it is a matter of time, so decide how much more time you are willing to invest in a losing proposition. You will never be able to trust him. All you will get is more and more humiliation, with the added burden of knowing you could have stopped the suffering much sooner. Leaving someone you feel love for is really tough. But is it love? Do you really feel affection, warmth, compassion, and caring for this deceitful fellow? By now, it's probably habit combined with fear of never finding another man. I understand that you feel crushed. HE has crushed you and strung you along for a decade. It's not the porn that's necessarily the issue here, but his seeking out of other real women, and his refusal to commit to building a real life with you. But now that you are aware of his true self, you will have only yourself to blame if you continue to hang on. You need emotional support! Find someone to talk to (friend, therapist, spiritual guide) as you make this hard transition. Good luck.

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