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July 01, 2013 -
Be forewarned: Outing someone always has backlash

A year ago, I had a brief affair. I was single, but he had a girlfriend. I ended it, feeling too guilty.   

   He’s now marrying his girlfriend. He’s admitted to me that he cheated on her with other women and still hits on me while planning their wedding.

   They’re both posting engagement photos online and talking about their love.

    I get so frustrated and want to tell her she's marrying a cheater but also don't want her to know about us.

   She doesn't know about any of his affairs. A big part of me feels he doesn't deserve a wedding and she shouldn't marry a cheater. Should I tell her?

Former Mistress

Your motivation’s more about you than her, which taints it.

   If you send an anonymous note saying he’s a player, he may guess it comes from you, and drag you into it… e.g. saying you came onto him, didn’t care that he was attached, etc.

   If you cared mostly about her being exposed to STD’s, and marrying a cheater, rather than about getting back at him, then you wouldn’t mind such fallout. Otherwise, you’re just deflecting your own guilt. 

I’ve been married for 21 years with two children, but never 100% happy in my marriage.

   I always felt this marriage wasn’t stimulating enough, but appreciated his nice, easy-going personality. I twice tried to leave, but he was so devastated that I stayed.

    My husband lost his job two years ago; he’d been put on probation for six months prior to being fired. He never confided this; so losing his job was a huge surprise, plus stress.

    I cannot tolerate lies and deceptions. I discovered what happened by looking through his papers.

   Despite my opposing it, he sued his employer but didn’t receive anything more. We lost more money.

   He’s constantly attempted to find work, but not hired.

    I suggested going back to school for some tune-up, but he thinks it’s unnecessary.
       I’m snooping and constantly finding things he hasn’t shared – e.g. that a contractor might sue us.

   I’d like to leave this marriage.

   We don't communicate much and our intimate life is zero. I don't want counseling.

   I know, though this’d be horrible for our children, it’ll put us down more financially, and currently he has no income. I don't know what to do.


You’re in panic mode, fleeing a sinking ship without a life raft.

   Instead, turn your attention to how all of you, including the children, can stay above water. Only then, can you focus on the marital relationship.

   Get informed. See a lawyer about the lawsuits and obligations, and an accountant about income and expenses. If you’re the only earner, and proceed to separate, you’ll be on line for all debts, successful suits, monthly bills, children’s’ needs, PLUS spousal support of your husband.  

   It’ll be a lot easier on everyone involved if you share the reality check from legal and accounting advice with your husband, and convince him to upgrade his skills and/or take any job he can get. Or, have those professionals lay it out for him.

   Your husband’s also in panic mode…. knowing you’ve wanted to leave before, that he’s failed/feared being open with you, and that the marriage is falling apart. He’s pulling the covers over his head through distance and silence.

   You may ultimately leave him. And yes, it’ll be hard on the children. But if you work out a practical plan to handle what’s immediately needed, you all stand a better chance of surviving the changes well.


FEEDBACK Regarding the older woman who wants more than being the “girlfriend” (May 29):
   Reader – “The man’s clear he doesn't want to marry or live together, their contact’s limited to twice weekly, and he's allowing his daughter to run his life. The woman shouldn’t accept a marginal role in his life.

   “She's wasting her precious time and should be encouraged to go after what she wants -- more companionship and more relationship commitment. 
  “Her needs are as legitimate as his. If she wants a more committed relationship, she should probably be looking elsewhere. 

   “It's unlikely he’ll change the way he operates with his daughter or his position regarding commitment. It's not okay for one person to make the rules that define a relationship.”

  Ellie – She asked my thoughts: 1) He must tell his daughter that this woman’s in his life, period. 2) Still, he may never marry.

Tip of the Day:

Only tell on a cheater if you can handle the fallout, which may include your complicity.

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