Family & Relationships I'm dating a man behind his wife's back. Am I just a fling or should I hold out for him?

22:25  05 april  2021
22:25  05 april  2021 Source:   msn.com

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  • Ask yourself whether feeling special is enough to sustain your secret relationship.
  • Once you understand your own goals and needs, get clear about your affair partner's motivations.
  • His answers will help you see if your needs align, or whether it's best to call it off.
  • Have a question for Julia? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously. You can read more Doing It Right here.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

I've been out of work for the past year, living with my parents and dealing with stress and depression due to being bullied on the job.

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During this time, a man, let's call him John, installed a new heating system in my parents house. He began flirting with me and I felt amazing, especially since I gained weight and my body confidence was dwindling.

I couldn't believe that someone fancied me when I was in the worst shape and state of my life.

At first, I didn't know John was married. But then I noticed his wedding ring and became really confused. I wondered if I'd been wrong and he wasn't flirting with me, but being very polite and kind.

John added me on Facebook and we started to talk privately on there. His profile picture was of him and his wife on their wedding day. They've been together for 12 years but they'd only gotten married in February 2019. He didn't even make it to a full year of marriage before he started cheating on her.

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I opened up to him about my body dysmorphia issues and how many loved ones in my life dealt with substance abuse. He told me he was struggling with the same issues, and wanted to take me on a road trip with him for his work.

He came to pick me up & we went left, the whole while talking about our issues that we both shared. We didn't do anything with each other that night, not even kiss. He told me he was married, that he loved his wife, and that he was really sorry we couldn't do anything together.

But he continued to flirt with me and soon we found ourselves in an affair. John told me he loves his wife but feels as though they've grown apart. They barley have a nice time together, they barley have sex unless he initiates it, and he feels as though he works for her and their family but gets nothing in return.

I asked why his doesn't talk to her about it, and he said, "I have, but it never changes." He said he only stays with her for his kid. He often says, "I can't leave."

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Sometimes I wonder, "Is he in a normal marriage where things get a bit s--- sometimes and rough patches happen? Is this affair with me his way of getting something out of his system? Or is he in a marriage he wants to leave, deep down?

Should I hold out to see if he ends his marriage?

- Manchester

Dear Manchester,

I can understand why you'd cling to this relationship after feeling unappreciated and undeserving of affection for so long. Everyone deserves to feel seen, and I'm glad to found your way back to that in recent months.

But it's now time to ask yourself whether the source of your newfound happiness is a sustainable one.

To do that, be honest with yourself about your goals. What do you want for your life? If an honest partner who can offer unconditional love is part of that equation, you may need to rethink your current arrangement.

Based on what you've told me here, it's clear John isn't honest with his wife. And if he isn't honest with her about the affair, how can you know he'll be honest with you?

Trust is an important foundation for a healthy relationship. If you're at all concerned about your capacity to trust John due to his past and current actions, it could be time for you both to reevaluate the purpose of the affair.

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To do that, first take time to yourself to reflect on the relationship. How does it make you feel? Are those feelings worth the sacrifices you've made to be with him, like being a secret?

Journaling could help you name difficult emotions here, and pinpoint why you choose to stay with John despite being the "other woman" in the equation. Perhaps he made you feel understood, special, or sexy.

Once you understand yourself better and what you need moving forward, it's time to understand John's motivations.

You've talked to him about his marriage problems, but asking him pointed questions about what motivated the affair itself could help you set the record straight.

According to Ashley Madison consultant and therapist Tammy Nelson, cheaters tend to fall into two categories: People who want their primary relationship to end but don't know how to end it, and those who are unhappy with themselves and don't know where to turn.

To get a better sense of where John falls, try asking him questions like, "What were you looking for in an affair with me?" and "What have you learned about yourself from our affair?" Nelson previously told me.

John's answers will help him contextualize his decision and allow you to see where your relationship goals align and where they diverge.

Why Travis Barker Likes Dating Moms Like Kourtney Kardashian: 'It Just Comes Naturally'

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You may not like what he has to say, but his responses will provide clarity so you can answer the question that's been plaguing you.

As you navigate this complicated relationship, don't forget to take time to pour into yourself. Regaining self-confidence, through therapy, journaling, spoken affirmations, and discovering new hobbies, will help you fall in love with yourself.

That's when the affection of a lover becomes an added bonus, not a necessity.

As Insider's resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all your questions about dating, love, and doing it - no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.

Have a question? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously.

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