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Two weeks ago, the man I've been in love with--and having a relationship with--admitted he is married.

 

This was not an entirely surprising admission. When I first started seeing "Robert" two years ago, he told me he was divorced but that he "took care of" his ex-wife. She was a decade older than him, a recovering alcoholic, and they married after she began the process of emigrating to the US from Mexico. As he explained it, this made their long relationship seem one that was bound by his feelings of obligation to her for helping him become a US citizen and, in exchange, he promised she would never have to worry about being taken care of. When we met, he told me he was living apart from her, and, although I felt deeply suspicious, I ignored glaring red flags.

 

In our first four months together, we had a ripping great time together. We took weekend trips, and he would pack his bag on Fridays and come to stay with me for the week. It felt like things were serious, and he often brought up marriage. As time wore on, however, he began to spend less time with me. Instead of coming on Friday to stay for the week, he would come on Sunday night. Eventually, every other week turned into once a month, which turned into never. Our weekend trips became half a day on Saturday and having to come back by a certain time because he needed to take "her" somewhere. I would probe. Why can't she drive herself? Why can't she take a bus? "I told you, babe, I take care of her," he would say.

 

A few Friday nights ago, I pushed and pushed until he finally admitted to being married. Of course, I already knew, deep down inside. I had used public record search to try and locate a divorce record for him, and there was none. He told me he didn't think of it as a real marriage--they never exchanged rings, and he said he slept alone. He did not consider divorce, because he didn't want her to have half of everything, including his house, his 401K. But there's what you think you know, and then there is what you know. This weekend, I am alone while he is with her in El Paso. "You are always in my mind," he told me. As if that is some comfort. I don't believe it is a marriage in name only. Why would anyone believe a liar?

 

Of course, I did not ask to be in a relationship with a married man. There were so many opportunities for him to tell me and he didn't. Yet, I can't seem to get angry. I want to be. I feel betrayed and lied to. But my overwhelming feeling is one of guilt and shame--that I was suspicious but went along with it all, because I was too afraid of being alone. I listened to his stories of prior cheating and congratulated myself for staying silent and non-judging. He was an accomplished cheater, having sex with a neighbor who subsequently told his wife. Bringing home an intellectually disabled woman he worked with and keeping her under his roof so he could have sex with her while his wife slept in another room. Deep inside, I knew with a thousand percent certainty that if he cheated on his wife with others, including me, he would cheat on me. He would joke about it. And then last August--of 2019, 10 months into the relationship, I observed him texting an ex while we were on a date. He was texting her the same words he often used with me: "Just thinking about you."

 

I should have ended it then. But I didn't. Three years ago I moved to Texas from Virginia, knowing no one, for a work promotion. I really don't have many connections here, and I haven't relished the idea of being alone again.

 

I have spent so much time trying to understand why he chose me, and why he continues to engage with me when it feels like there is such a lack of interest. Our "relationship" has dwindled down to a few hours at Chili's once a week or a few hours on a drive through the countryside. I don't know what he wants, why he bothers, and, more importantly, why I don't seem able to let go.

 

I know that I deserve more, and better. That I deserve to be the priority in someone's life and not an afterthought. Yet I am hanging on, and I don't understand myself.

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How did you meet? Unavailable people seek out other unavailable people. Reflect on that.

 

The weekend trips (out of town of course), the fun, the going out...why? He could not take you home, it could not get dull, even if he used your place as his love nest. As long as you do not want a future and this stays casual, you may not get hurt.

 

At some level you must have realized you never went to his place, you were a secret, etc. It's up to you to decide if you want to grow old alone or find a single man. He is not going to leave his wife, no matter how "emotionally separated" they are, etc.

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The only way to let go is get to the root of why you chose to be with him even tho there were glaring red flags. You fear being alone? I get a sense of insecurity, that you feel you can’t do better that this. Many have been in your position, getting lost, caught up in a sadness when reality hits. Guilt, fear, anger, all these emotions hitting you at once...and you hang on because he is all you have. That’s a tough place to be. Just have a heart felt talk with him, say goodbye and release yourself from this. The adjustment might be hard but if you keep pushing forward by working out, eat healthy, accomplish small goals, reach out to friends and family to get a new perspective on life. You can do this! Find something to inspire yourself, find your self worth.

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You are "alone", whether you want to admit it or not. You are the affair of a married man and I would imagine that's not what you want for yourself.

 

So...why do you choose to continue to be his affair? Don't you want more for yourself?

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I don't know what he wants, why he bothers, and, more importantly, why I don't seem able to let go.

 

I know that I deserve more, and better. That I deserve to be the priority in someone's life and not an afterthought. Yet I am hanging on, and I don't understand myself.

 

I think it's probably difficult for you to rationalize your own complicity in this. You knew better, yet played the fool the whole time.

 

A lot of women become trapped in this same tar pit. Look up "sunk cost." It's an economics term, but it applies here as well.

 

Actually, google "sunk cost relationship."

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Try not to put the blame all on you. He openly admits to being a cheater and seems like he knows how to manipulate people's emotions to get what he wants. From your examples, he's also going after people who he can have a larger sway over - an alcoholic who is new to the country, an intellectually disabled person. He finds you weakness and vulnerability and uses it. You were already feeling alone, not having any connections in the area. He saw it and used it, drawing you in by giving just enough to make you feel like you weren't alone. He enjoys the "game" and seeing what he can get from people. As long as you allow it, he'll keep taking advantage of it.

 

You are also not the first person to continue pursuing something when you know you shouldn't. People allow the moments of happiness, though brief, to overshadow the periods of doubt and frustration. They are willing to overlook things in the hope that things can change, that one day he will look at you and decide to change his ways. Unfortunately, that's not how it usually turns out. You end up hurting more. Letting go is not an easy process. It's an up and down struggle that can change on a daily basis. Even if your brain is telling you all the right things and you logically know you shouldn't be with him, the heart can say otherwise. Your emotions can get the better of you, letting fear and uncertainty of the future overwhelm you. It's painful and different for everyone who goes through it.

 

You already see him for who he is. You know that he is going to keep being the same person, is not willing to change. Keep reminding yourself of that. Tell him you're done and that you can't be second place to anyone. You can't be with someone who would cheat like that and brag about it. Then cut it off completely. In this case, avoid any contact at all. If you leave the door open even a bit, he'll get inside and find a way to manipulate you again. As long as you are around him at all, you will be lonely because he's not capable of fulfilling the need you have. So get away from him and focus on you. There are other ways to avoid being alone. Spend time with co-workers. Find a club or activity you like. Take a class. Do what you enjoy. You will be much happier then if you continue holding out hope for someone who clearly isn't worthy of your love.

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He sounds like a horrible, disgusting person! He is not a good human being at all! He's a cheater and a liar! And he took advantage of an intellectually disabled woman! Awful!! He took advantage of everyone else too because he lied and cheated on all the women he was with. Oc course he's married to his wife for real, and/or he also has other women. Otherwise why would your relationship be reduced to only a brief meeting once a week? He's seeing someone else and has no time for you. Who he is seeing is irrelevant. The point is he's a garbage human being and you deserve MUCH better than that! Being alone is better than being with this scumbag!

 

Besides, you don't really have to be alone. You could use dating sites to meet guys. You could join social groups like Meetup.com, do classes, hobby groups, walking groups, anything. In the very least you could make more friends.

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why I don't seem able to let go.

 

Yet I am hanging on, and I don't understand myself.

Because you know the brutal truth - you really don't want to end it. You're getting something out of it. Excitement. Ego boost. Could be anything. If you really wanted to leave this mess, you would. Look within.

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You felt he was better than nothing, better than being home alone on a Saturday night. Well, you are definitely better off by yourself than being in a sick relationship with a married man. He played you, so it's time to pull up your big girl panties and move on from him.

 

Block and delete him from your phone and any social media. Do not contact him. Quit blaming yourself, you need to work on your self esteem and to feel better about you so that you can move on to a truly single man.

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He's a disgusting excuse for a man.

 

Use your energy on getting therapy and the help you need to get away from this POS, then focus your energy on finding not only friends, but a different man who has some kind of morals and decency.

 

Just because you're thirsty, doesn't mean you should keep drinking poison. There are other options out there, be strong enough to go and find those other options and get away from this garbage human being.

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You should be asking why you choose him. Anytime, someone tells you of a connection with an ex, without children, you should move on. The fact that he said he had to care for her, should have sent you running. He also told you of his history with cheating.

 

This guy is a lying, cheating dirtbag, but you knew that. I think that you chose this guy, due to your own emotional unavailability- he was safe because he was not available. Get to the root of your issues through therapy.

 

Did you go to his home? If not, didn't you find it strange? What do your friends say? Did you meet his?

Edited by Hollyj
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He was an accomplished cheater, having sex with a neighbor who subsequently told his wife. Bringing home an intellectually disabled woman he worked with and keeping her under his roof so he could have sex with her while his wife slept in another room. Deep inside, I knew with a thousand percent certainty that if he cheated on his wife with others, including me, he would cheat on me.

 

What in the fresh hell did I just read?

 

OP, this guy is not just an "accomplished cheater" - he's downright predatorial and sick.

 

I don't mean to be harsh, but why on earth did you not run screaming in the other direction when he revealed that?

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You might find it helpful to remind yourself that you're not moving forward for anyone else's sake. This isn't about satisfying some imaginary judge and jury or to appease some glaring, finger-wagging public. Nobody else is invested in your future, so nobody else will benefit from your resilience and your ability to form a great relationship with someone who is actually honest and available and who loves you. That's all for YOU.

 

This isn't about punishing yourself, so looking backward is a waste of energy and only makes things harder than they 'must' be. It's about targeting your eventual reward and moving forward TOWARD that.

 

Head high, and avoid drilling yourself into a deeper hole to climb out of. You will thank yourself later.

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Sorry but this sounds like what your friends are telling you. The fact is you don't "deserve" anything, no one does.

 

The first step is losing the fantasy mentality. The second is losing the victim mentality. That means rationalizing this situation and why you let yourself get in that position.

 

Next is getting rid of the hopeless romantic mentality of "can't let go". Of course you can.

 

When you take control of and responsibility for your life you won't go from one tragic relationship to the next, thinking you " can't let go" and "you deserve better".

.

I know that I deserve more, and better. That I deserve to be the priority in someone's life and not an afterthought. Yet I am hanging on, and I don't understand myself.

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A person who thinks they deserve the best will accept nothing less. You think you deserve toxicity, so that's why you find yourself in this predicament.

 

You've moved, so what a great time to start anew. At the very least, read books on how to improve your self-worth so that you don't repeat the same pattern with any future partners. Block his number. You can't have closure without doing that. He doesn't even deserve an explanation. Be alone for a while and learn who you are solo, learning to be happy with your own company, hobbies, girlfriends. When you've achieved that, your success in a relationship will be more likely.

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... getting rid of the hopeless romantic mentality of "can't let go". Of course you can.

 

Yes. If you truly want to help yourself, change the word "can't" to "won't" for accuracy.

 

This prompts you to recognize that you are not helpless, and you are in control you your own choices. From there, you CAN make a better decision.

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Yes. If you truly want to help yourself, change the word "can't" to "won't" for accuracy.

 

This prompts you to recognize that you are not helpless, and you are in control you your own choices. From there, you CAN make a better decision.

 

This 100%^^^

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You bought into the same bs that every single side chic buys into - "I'm special, I'm soooo speeeciaaal, that he will leave his wife, have a personality transplant and we'll ride off into the sunset together." That kind of imaginary power is about as potent as any drug. Too bad that it's pure delusion.

 

Nothing got you into this except your own ego and delusions of grandeur. Don't play the victim here or pretend that this is all because you'd be so lonely without him. Making friends, actual real friends, when you move to a new place isn't rocket science. You simply chose not to do it even though you can any time you want to. Same thing goes for getting rid of this creep - you can any time you want to. You just don't want to because you'd have to admit to yourself that you aren't that special and your ego won't allow it.

 

Regardless, whether you like it or not, reality is biting you in the arse - as he is drifting away you have to face facts - you meant nothing and are nothing to him. Just a piece of meat without morals or values or self respect. If this sounds harsh and not the kind of a person you want to be, then get yourself together, get your head screwed on straight and be a better human being going forward. Most importantly, don't play a victim - you aren't helpless, you are an active and willing participant in this mess.

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So when are.you planning to start loving.yourself by shutting all doors on this guy.

Be brave and make the right choices in your life.

Dont be afraid to be single for a while

it takes time and effort to get the right partner

Dont settle for such losers.

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I know that I deserve more, and better. That I deserve to be the priority in someone's life and not an afterthought

 

This is what you need to keep telling yourself. You do deserve better, everyone does. We should all be treated with respect and dignity. It isn't a fantasy or delusion. It is simple kindness. It's the golden rule. It's the only way we are going to survive and make this world a better place for all, with love, caring, and understanding. You do deserve someone who will treat you better, someone who will actually care about you and not use you. If you can see that is what you want, and realize that he can't provide it, it will make it easier for you to cut the cord with him. You can leave him. You can do anything you set yourself to doing. You are better then him, and better then trapping yourself with someone who doesn't respect you. All you need to do is see it and take action. You're the only one who can set yourself free. Have faith in yourself.

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You said so.. you are hanging on because you don't want to be alone... plus I am sure you are now emotionally invested :/

 

BUT you hopefully realize that you deserve better than this! ( self respect).

 

I have spent so much time trying to understand why he chose me, and why he continues to engage with me

- He continues, because you let him.

 

This is all your choice.

 

Be strong.. walk away - this I think you realize!

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Thank you to all who took the time to respond. I've read and re-read these.

 

I do take all of the responsibility for being in this situation. I suppose there are a lot of reasons why, but those don't change the fact that I chose to stay in a relationship with a man I suspected was married. I'm not looking for exoneration, but the opinions of others help. I know that a lot of people have walked a similar path.

 

All of the red flags were there from the beginning. When I first met him--we met through an online dating website--he told me he was divorced, living apart from her, and that she lived in the house they owned. It seemed reasonable, but no: I was never invited to where he lived, and he did not want to talk by phone. I told him these were red flags for me, and I can't say I ever believed the explanations for them. I have only met one of his friends.

 

Was I lonely when I met him? Terribly. I moved here for a work promotion, and I didn't do much except work--that was expected from my upper management. I hadn't dated in a long time, and had not had a relationship with a man in many years. My self-esteem issues were something I tried to work on prior to trying to meet people, but I did not realize just how deep-seated my insecurities were until I was with this man. We started dating in October 2018, and in January of 2019, I started seeing a therapist to try to unearth and address some of the issues I was starting to experience. The therapist would listen to me talk about my frustrations and insecurities with "Robert" and he would ask: What are you going to do about this? I would start to focus more on myself--finding time for non-work activities, exercise, eating healthy--and the more I moved towards myself, the better I felt. Then my therapist quit his practice and moved away, so I went without that particular support for a while.

 

In the meantime, a few other things happened: I was fired from the job that meant so much to me, and my mother in Virginia was diagnosed with colon cancer. I absolutely did not want to be alone. I just put a lot of my anxieties about the relationship on the back burner. My therapist had told me that most people would drown under the weight of all of these things--job loss, being broke, my guilt about being far away while my mother was fighting cancer. Indeed, I did feel like I was drowning and I suppose I hung on for dear life to this one anchor, even though it, too, was dragging me down.

 

It has been impossible to ignore how things have changed with this relationship--how it "seemed" like a relationship progressing and then slowly I began feeling discarded. I would try to talk about this with him and always the same result: He would accuse me of "creating drama" and assure me that nothing was different. I blamed myself, and assumed that the more demands I made on his time, the less he was willing to give it. This conversation about time with him--one we had countless times--led to him admitting, finally, to being married.

 

I did start seeing a new therapist in May, with my goals to end the relationship with "Robert" and start to understand and work on my self-esteem. I've looked at secondary gains from the relationship--not being alone, mainly--and the many losses. Guilt, shame, and the knowledge that by choice I'm with someone whose life is a lie. Loss of integrity. No, I don't want that for myself. I don't have a feeling of entitlement, but I would like to be with someone who doesn't lie. I know that there are complicated reasons why I didn't run in the other direction in the beginning.

 

In the meantime, I am here and not in communication with him.

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