Shine light of truth on self, and on this relationship
Q: I am in love with a man and have been for a few years now. We have been seeing one another for a long time. The problem is, he has been going with a woman I work with and who lives in the same complex as I do. She thinks we are just friends because that is what he has told her, but it has been romantic for a long time.
He tells me she is controlling and high-maintenance.
The only reason he still goes with her, he says, is for her grandchildren's sake. He always talks negatively about her. He also says they only go to dinner on certain nights and nothing else, but many people tell me otherwise; they see them together all the time.
He sneaks over here when he gets the opportunity, and we do sleep together. Yet when I ask him to take me out in public, he uses excuses, and he never asks me to do anything.
He is very attached to my daughter, and at times I use that, I admit. He is even paying for her first car.
I don't know what to do anymore. Should I tell this other woman? Or should I just leave things alone and just be happy I even have this much of him? He does tell me he "thinks" he loves me; maybe things will work out. Please print this; maybe it will help other women in my situation.
Upstate New York
A: And men.
But the helpfulness part is dubious. It takes so much denial to stay in a situation like the one you describe that I fear any help I try to offer will be rationalized away.
The substance and quantity of the whoppers you're being told by your "boyfriend" represent exactly what you require to justify sticking around, compliantly serving as his other woman.
You know his relationship with your colleague/neighbor is alive and well, such as it is; you know he's bad-mouthing her and plucking his grand-paternal heartstrings only to keep you hooked and hopeful; you know you're staying hooked and hopeful because you'd rather have his company than not have it, and because it comes with perks, like the car for your daughter. (Are you sure, by the way, that he isn't also dangling her on a string, by bad-mouthing you?)
You know you're being scammed and used, and that you're doing what you need to do to save face — calling it love, using him back, believing his lines.
This is where you might expect advice to dump the loser, but not this time.
My only advice to you is to start telling yourself the truth. All of it.
See him for who he is, see yourself for who you are, see your Faustian bargain for exactly what it is and has always been. Even see the real girlfriend for who she is, instead of the distorted version he fed you to keep his poor-dutiful-me fig leaf in place.
Can't/won't face the truth? Then get used to the bed you've made.
If you do drop all the barriers you've erected against that truth, then you'll see the true nature and scope of what you really have.
Then, and only then, will you know exactly what to do.