Dr. Shirley Glass

Infidelity Q&A:
The Affair Partner

Soulmate is a married man

Dear Dr. Glass,

I'm involved with a married man, and have been for the past six years. Within those six years he has truly shown that he cares for me and won't hear of me leaving him. I try to make him understand that I feel very lonely at times, but he ignores that. I know that this whole ordeal is wrong, but I feel as if this man is my soulmate. Could that be possible even though he is married?

Dear Involved With Married Man,

You may feel that this man is your soulmate, but it would be preferable if you were his sole mate. He is sustaining a perfect triangle. He has a home, wife, and family and has a romantic relationship with you on the side. Of course, he does not want to hear of you leaving him. When you are lonely because he is with his family, you are experiencing the pain of being the "affair partner." A single person who is involved with a married man is often put into the position of being a genie on a shelf. You are "on hold" until he is inclined to spend time with you, whereas you do not have any power to bring him to your side when you are lonely.

This is a bad deal unless you are satisfied with whatever crumbs he throws your way. One of the advantages of participating in an affair is that the secrecy and the stolen moments do keep things more romantic and exciting than what is usually possible in a long-term relationship. Ask yourself whether you prefer this one-sided commitment because you do not really want the nitty gritty reality of marriage. The least you can do for yourself is to create some equality and balance by freeing yourself to consider other men who might be available to ease your loneliness on a full-time basis.

Reflectively Yours,

Dr. Shirley Glass
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Other woman won't let go

Dear Dr. Glass,

My husband had a 15 year affair that I did not know about. He confessed 1 1/2 years ago and we are trying to go on together. The other woman won't let go. She calls and hangs up. Every time this happens, everything is right there in my face again. How can I get over her, if she won't let us alone?

Dear Harassed by Other Woman,

This woman apparently cannot accept that the 15 year affair with your husband is finally over. Her intrusion into your life makes it impossible for healing to take place because you do not have the safety of knowing that the affair is totally finished. This is not a problem that should be tackled by you alone. You and your husband must develop a unified plan to deal with these harassing phone calls. I can share with you what other couples have done in similar situations:

  1. The unfaithful spouse should call or write the affair partner and make it perfectly clear that the affair is finished forever, and the calls are unwanted. Sometimes the affair partner is left feeling that that if the marriage doesn't work out, that the affair will be resumed. If your husband tried to let her off too gently, she might not have gotten the proper message.

  2. Change your phone number to an unlisted number.

  3. Get the telephone company to put a tracer on your phone and report the harassing calls to the police.

The most important thing is that you not do anything unilaterally. If your husband's compassion and loyalty to you is unwavering, he will join you in resolving this distressing reminder of his affair.

Reflectively Yours,

Dr. Shirley Glass
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