Letter to Susanna – In an Affair With a Cheater

Susanna,

I had been involved in a relationship with a man I loved. He lied and cheated and we broke up. But kept in touch. We dated again recently and have now broken up again as he was also dating his ex.  I didn’t know about her.

He is staying with her. I realize he loved her and not me. He claimed that their relationship was not good and he was trying to leave her. He claimed to love me.

But now, he says he has hit rock bottom and is thanking me for exposing him as his girlfriend (as I guess I was the other woman) has realized how she was not appreciating him and that was why he came to me to try and leave her.

My logical brain is trying to tell me that it is for the best. But I feel so discarded, used and betrayed. I had not known he was still involved in a relationship. But when I realized it was her forgiveness he wanted and not mine I had to step away.

I just want to be happy again. I have spent seven years on and off with him. Anyway. I must seem crazy.

Answer:

What a difficult position you are in.  You love this man but you know he’s not good for you and you don’t know whether to believe him or trust him and you just want to move on with your life.

But how?

This is a difficult question, but I think it makes sense to look at yourself to see why you’re in love with someone who is obviously bad for you.  What is he providing to you that you need?  Do you need affirmation, knowing that someone else loves you?  Even if he’s bad for you?

I think it’s easy to fall into a trap where a relationship provides a salve or balm for our feelings of not being worthy, attractive, or good enough to attract someone better.  Sometimes we feel like that’s all we deserve.  We tend to attract the people we think we deserve.

I think I stayed in a bad marriage way beyond what I should’ve because of fear.  Part of it was being alone.  Part of it was fearing I couldn’t find another man.  Part of it was thinking it was me.  In the end, I decided it was just not a good relationship and it never would be, and that I’d rather be alone than continue in that manner.  Don’t feel bad.  I was in there for 20 years and I’d rather waste 20 years than 40.  It wasn’t really a waste because I learned a lot about myself.

When I was alone it became clear to me what I thought I was getting from my husband.  I thought I was getting affirmation, support, reassurance that I was desirable.  When I was alone, I had to face my insecurities and  the feeling that I wasn’t enough without him.  I had to learn to love myself without him, and give myself what I needed.  I learned I can give myself ALL of that, and it was easier to do so in his absence than in his presence.

I guess this is a long way of saying that I think for us to create a healthy relationship, both parties have to be on sound emotional footing going in.  Otherwise, we’re looking for others to fill something in us that can’t be filled by someone else.  When we fall in love, it feels like they do, but it’s an illusion.  Eventually we just feel empty or incomplete again, just like we did when we were alone.

I hope you trust your instinct and make yourself your first priority and give yourself what you need.  Once you do, you’ll attract all kinds of great men – not just the kind that want to mis-use you.  You must first value yourself before someone else will.  And if a man is a great supplement to your already great life, it’s like icing on the cake.  You can say No to any man who doesn’t treat you with the respect and fidelity you deserve, because you don’t need him.

Here are some questions for you to think about:

  • What is it about being in a relationship with this man is important to you?
  • What does he give you that you cannot give yourself? …. and why can you not give it to yourself?
  • What do you really need to be happy?  How can you get that for yourself without him or even another man?
  • Who or what do you need to be in order to feel good about yourself when alone?

Good luck.  I hope you can create your own love for yourself and your happiness on your terms.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s