Dumping the Mistress


You know that woman who

Is organized and tidy

Has a budget and sticks to it

Has a place for everything

Gets up early to make lunches

Pays her bills on time

Gets the car serviced regularly

Yeah…well…I’m the OTHER woman

You know that woman who

Has pursued a career, not just a job

Has recognition and respect

Salary-sacrifices her super

Has investment properties

Earns long-service leave

Yeah…well…I’m the OTHER woman

You know that woman who

Has harnessed her creativity

Gets published

Gets paid for her art

Keeps her agent in Louis Vuitton luggage

Gets begged to appear at festivals

Meets her deadlines

Yeah…well…I’m the OTHER woman

You know that woman-your wife-who

Needs you but doesn’t want you

Likes you but doesn’t respect you

Loves you but doesn’t desire you

Sleeps with you but doesn’t fuck you

Is with you, but not into you

Yeah…well…I’m the other-woman.

 You will recall, gentle reader, that my last post contained my thoughts regarding married men and the dating scene, a minefield of a subject at the best of times. And to allude somewhat grandiosely to Dickens, we are now in the worst of times. Yes. As many of you would have predicted, it all ended in a hail of bullets. Not literally. Well…not literally YET, but the night is young…

Without going into too much unneccessary and humiliating detail (much as that is often my bailiwick in this blog), his wife found out. My only advice here is to ensure that your interlocutor deletes all on-line conversations, particularly those that open with suggestions that could make Christine Keeler blush….

And so as I am left gathering dust while he attempts to rescue what is left of his already wonky marriage, and sew  his testicles back on, the extra time I find myself with has given me pause to once again contemplate the whole business.

The end of an affair-particularly a soap-opera cliff-hanger ending such as mine-is somewhat like a bankruptcy. The estate pays out in a particular hierarchy, in which the wife usually gets top priority. The mistress, on the other hand, is right at the bottom of the list after unsecured creditors and golf-club membership. Now for some of the more righteous amongst us, this may seem like natural justice. But I think it is more a testament to the role the mistress played in the first place.

Speaking for myself, my role in Larry’s life was really that of 3D porn. A fantasy lover. And because I was part of a bubble, once the bubble burst, I was no-one. I went in one click from the imaginary centre of his universe-“I think about you all the time”, “I’ve looked at your photo a hundred times today”-to “I can’t contact you anymore. Sorry”.

Did I expect anything more? In some ways, yes. Because I, too, had my fantasy. Not the expected one. Not the “he will leave her and come and be with me’ one. But some idea that maybe he did actually love me. DON’T LAUGH.

Any relationship has its elements of fantasy and hope and dreams. But I think we mistresses are bit more realistic, because we have to be. We are well aware of our place and our role, and are pathetically grateful for any snatched moments with the object of our affections. My main mistake was in thinking that he felt for me what I felt for him. Mind you, many women would say the same of ANY relationship.

In my own defence, I will say that my fantasy was fed by his, because HE needed to think he felt for me more than he did. Being married, and having no thoughts of leaving, he had to justify his actions to himself by exaggerating his feelings for me. Not consciously. But I think we all have moments of overestimating ourselves morally. And I don’t just think those men in illicit relationships are the only ones guilty of this. It is an observation of mine that many men, even quite macho ones, are uncomfortable with their own carnality. I am no anthropologist, but logic would tell me that this is a socialized response. And possibly a topic for a thesis. But all I know is that I regularly observe men convincing, not just the women they are pursuing, but THEMSELVES, that they want more than just a fuck. That their attraction to you is more than just physical. So when the bubble bursts, the wife finds out, the shit hits the fan and the afternoon visits stop abruptly, we are left a little confused, and, dare I admit it dear reader, bitter. Not bitter that it has ended, not bitter that he stayed in his marriage, but bitter that we spent all that time and emotional energy on loving someone who we instead should have just been charging by the hour.

Having said all that, I am still in love. Maybe with the man, maybe with the idea.

Either way, I miss him.


80 thoughts on “Dumping the Mistress

    1. This is an old post but I needed it and I am glad I found it but curious…did it really end or did he ever come back around?

      1. Hi Cirstin,
        Are you asking about MY particular married man, or one of the many who have been discussed in the comments? There are a lot of sad stories on here! I’m interested that you said “you needed” this post. I assume you have a sad story too xxx

  1. Oh, have so been there done that! I my case I ended it when someone else — someone single —came into my life. This left the married man free to continue in his fantasy about me. He went back to a previous mistress whom he had abandoned for me, eventually left his wife after the kids grew up, and married previous mistress. I think they were well suited and happy, but when we encountered each other a few years later, he managed to give me the message that I had been of supreme importance to him. Which was nice, and enabled me to remember him fondly. (I never saw him again.) There were some lovely highs, and the passion was splendiferous. All the same, I also recall the wretched feeling when your lover gets up out of your bed to go home to his wife instead of lingering, let alone staying with you all night. And I recall the loneliness of not being able to contact the person you love any old time (it was before mobile phones and email), or go to places where you might be seen with him.

    (As for me, I had a 27-year marriage to the single gent, who also became the father of my children. Both he and the lover have been dead a long time now, and I am an old lady, 19 years into a happy marriage with yet another man.)

    But I came here from Australian Poets’ Exchange in response to a request for feedback on your poems. Yes, I like this one, but I think the title is a bit much — says too much, telling your readers at the outset what to think instead of allowing them the voyage of discovery. I’d be inclined to title it, ‘You Know That Woman?’

    (I’ll come back and look at some more posts later.)

    1. Hi Snaky…thank you so much for your open, honest and personal feedback. You sound like a fascinating woman, and I would love to read some of your poetry. I agree with you about the title. Excellent suggestion…I won’t use yours exactly…it just feels too much like plagiarism…but I will change the title. Much gratitude to you. I will also check out your blog. Shalom.

  2. I believe the pain of breakup when I passes makes one realize the non-monetary gain in terms of a broader perspective and intellectual stimulation ( in addition to all the delicious memories) relationships with such men usually give….which is clearly different from what sugar daddies give their lollies. But after few such men it becomes impossible to settle for more matched awailable men, pushing us into eternal aloneness.

  3. I particularly love the last few lines of your poem – it so accurately sums up how I feel about my long-term partner of 14 years. I care about him, ‘love’ him, but have no desire for him. Nor do I have any wish to hurt him. I do not want to separate from him. We do not have children, so some might observe that it would be ‘easy’ for me to move on. But that really underestimates the strength of bond between two people who have shared each others lives. He is woven through the fabric of my adult life in a way that no one else every will be. I am having an affair with a married man who is at the other end of this conundrum. He has two children. I do not expect him ever to walk away from his family. I am finding out new things about myself in this unusual situation. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t consider halting the affair (usually after the perspective a weekend with no contact brings), and I believe I will do this before too long. It is not really for me. But not because I judge myself harshly by others’ standards. It is more because whilst I longed to feel desire for a man and to express myself sexually, still the knowledge that I am not ‘loved’ and cannot allow myself to truly love the person means I cannot make an emotional connection strong enough to make the physical side what I would like it to be – all encompassing and blissful. In fact, after just a few encounters, even the purely lustful side of the situation is beginning to wane. It seems I’m simply not wired the right way to be a mistress(?). Before long this sex will become a chore! Hahaha! Life is such an amazing adventure isn’t it? Sending my love out to all mistresses – it is such a tricky situation to be in. We must be kind to ourselves. We are not society’s pariahs. That is all judgemental nonsense. We are all human beings and life is complicated.

    1. Joanne, thank you so much for your honest and open share. I get so tired of hearing people (including myself) being judged in simplistic terms. “Wife=good, mistress=bad” and so forth. Life is full of complications and nuances. There are many different stories, and not all of them end with a simple moral.
      I wish you love and peace on your journey. And btw, i still miss mine terribly xxxxxx

  4. What if after a wonderful relationship not just based on sex but a deep emotional connection, his wife finds out and yes he stays with her for their children, live in separate bedrooms and he doesn’t leave you alone? He still not sure about his decision, I am trying to move on but believe me it’s not happening because we are both deeply in love with each other and it gets harder and harder to cut the ties, we have tried to cut the ties but one of us always comes back. I could understand if he loves his wife and he wants to fix their relationship but this isn’t the case. But then I don’t have children…a heart shattering experience for all parties involved. Trying to find the inner strength to move on.

    1. Sadly, I am in the same situation. I have no one to talk to, no one who can possibly understand. He just dumped me yesterday-I feel as though I might die. He says he loves me, loves us, but can’t leave his kids-3 of them. Plus, we come from different cultures, different socio-economic classes. He feels like he can’t give me anything. I have everything, but all I really need is his love and his warmth-the “things” that I have i don’t need, nor want. I’m really struggling….

      1. Kristina, I wrap my cyber-arms around you. There is no way round it, it’s a shitful situation. When he says he can’t give you anything, he is probably right. I know right now you don’t want to hear that (or can’t), and you feel like you might die. You won’t die. You’ll possibly WANT to over the next few days/weeks,but life won’t let you go. You have shown your capacity to love deeply. The universe won’t ignore that and when it’s right, you will be presented with a man who is able to accept that fully and is able to give you more than just “his warmth”. He will be able to give you his time and his attention. Shalom to you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      2. Thank you for your kind words. I don’t know how I will continue, it’s unbearable to think about. Your response really means a lot. Thank you.

    2. I too was or am in this same situation …I been with the married man on and off for 9 years ..he got caught and still wanted to do the same thing ..I too have been trying to move on but as soon as I try he comes back ..I have to be strong and break this cycle …cause he still has not left after 9 years on and off ..he likes to have phenomenal sex with me to keep me there …I’m in love with him and I thought he loved me….but he decided to stay ..but also tells me he doesn’t love his wife…shutting this door for good..

      1. Thank you for the comment. So sorry you are in this situation. I am guessing that the truth of the situation is that he loves both you, in his own way, but can’t leave the safety. Or certainly WON’T leave when he doesn’t have to. And as you’ve (understandably), kept the door open for nine years…he knows there is not real reason to leave off having his cake and eating it too.
        Best of luck with your decision to be strong. I feel for you.

  5. Just experienced exactly this. His parting words were “I believed I loved you for a while but my love for my family was stronger”. Says it all. Funny though, that the one night we spent together, he couldn’t sustain arousal long enough to do what he had planned!
    I did genuinely love him – and still do. Bitter? Somewhat.

  6. So many promises he made. Asked me to marry him, told me he loved me every single day. I loved, and still love him with my whole body, mind and spirit. For 7 years we shared the most amazing, passionate relationship. We looked each other in the eyes and said we couldn’t believe we had found true soul mates in each other. 2 days before we were going to go apartment hunting for him, his wife and daughter caught him. He called and dumped me. 3 weeks later he began calling again, saying he couldn’t live without me, and that if we waited a little longer he could leave, and things were back to normal. 3 weeks later she checked his phone and angrily made him end it again. Another 3 weeks passed and he began emailing me again. He went to see his counselor who told him that it was ridiculous to stay with his wife, when he thought only of me during sex with her, and that he clearly loved me. This time he was sure he wanted to be with me. 2 days later he chickened out and dumped me again, before going on a 3 week tropical getaway with his wife. That is a month ago now. He broke my heart. For 7 years I gave him everything I had to give, I taught him about love, sex, sensuality, beauty, spirituality… we grew together. Now everything he learned from me he gives to her, and I am left with nothing but hurt. I should hate him, but for me love doesn’t turn off like a switch. I wish there was a way out of this pain.

    1. Bues I really think it is the case that when they can have their cake and eat it too, why would they throw the cake away? Clearly he does love his wife, but in a different way that in which he loves you. Or at least he loves being with her, or being married. The only mistress I know who ended up a wife (and has been happily married to said man for many years) is the one who, very early on, said “It’s her or me” and stuck to her guns, refusing to see him or speak to him until he decided one way or the other.
      Mine is still, as far as I know, safely tucked up in his co-dependent trauma bond.

    2. Bluescat, I am so sorry you are in such a dark place. Please know that you are not alone. I have been in the same situation for 5 1/2 years. He is married with three kids, we love each other madly, but he can’t/won’t leave. He dumped me 2 days before Christmas 2013!!! 3 weeks later we got back together. What I am trying to change is my perspective, since you can’t change someone else. I have started seeing a therapist once a week and am taking a closer look at me. It is a slow process to figure yourself out, what makes you tick, what you really need in a relationship, but so far this exploration has been beneficial. I have also reached out to some friends-tricky because you never know how they will respond to this. One friend in particular has been an enormous source of support and commiseration. So, with therapy and friends I finally feel less anxiety and craziness about my situation. I don’t know what the future holds for me and my guy, but at least I have gained some insight into this. I don’t know if any of this has helped you. What I wish for you is that if the opportunity presents itself, and it will, you know it will, I hope you think long and hard before you go back to him. Your life and the quality of your life should be of the utmost importance to you-and he is chipping away the that quality. Please know that I am here for you. Sending you a big tight hug!

  7. Middleagedlove: I am so grateful to read your poem and your interpretation of what your relationship was with your married man. Fantasy is the key word for me. Mine was infatuated with who he thought I was, and what I brought out in him. When his guilt got the best of him, he would grow distant until he needed another “fix”. He would come back and then retreat time and time again. This time it is really over and I am hurting.

    We thought we were in Love – – at this moment I think maybe we were – with some time/distance I may see it differently and for what it was. An affair with a married man. I was not delusional thinking that he would leave his wife and some day we would be together – I thought there was a friendship and a genuine caring along with an excellent physical element. I met his kids, spent time at his house. I believed I was more important and a part of his life than he did. The roller coaster, give-and-take was too much. I realize that I am sacrificing myself for him. I think I may even be addicted to him and the back and forth – the extreme highs – the painful lows. While I am hurting now, I know that he was an important lesson. One that I need to learn from and move on.

    I appreciate the input and non judgmental tone women who are in similar situations are expressing here. It is helpful toward understanding and healing from an inappropriate relationship.

    1. Thank you for your wonderful, open comment. If the purpose of a relationship is spiritual growth, then I think you have certainly got this from yours. I know I did from mine…and spiritual growth is often quite painful. Affairs with emotionally unavailable people are always addictive, by their very nature. As you so rightly say, the highs and the lows are the stuff that keeps us there, and the stuff that makes us elevate fondness for another human being into that fantasy state of “being in love”. The three men who I have felt I was in love with, were all completely emotionally, and physically, unavailable. That says a lot about me…still working through that.

      1. Dear Middleagelove:

        You are so wise and so knowledgable of these “relationships”. I appreciate your insight and clarity and it helps me process the pain and start to heal. The odds are proven to be stacked against the Mistress, yet we types fall again and again for the unavailable. Perhaps to relive and make right this time our failed attempts at s relationship with our fathers.. Who really knows. That it is a recurring theme is concerning and as fellow sufferers we should find ways to understand our futile attempts at finding love where it is a dead end… I miss him so much and the feeling (fantasy) that somehow I belonged and was a real part of his life. I keep coming back to your original comment about being his fantasy. I guess in retrospect I was living s fantasy too… One where I mattered to him. I did. Only when it was convenient to him… Painful indeed …

  8. Hi
    Oh my goodness your post is awesome!
    I know I am not alone now.
    Right now it’s been just over one year since I met my mm and it’s really good. Amazing. Actually.
    So…. This makes me want to end it so that I have good memories instead of waiting for the dreaded text or email saying bluntly from him that it’s over.
    My head and my heart are both torn.
    It’s hard.
    It’s my own doing.
    I need to move on though.
    So comforting to know I’m not the only one! Big hugs to all of you on here who shared 🙂

    1. Hi Nicola, thank you so much for your beautiful message. I love connecting with people going through similar things. It’s such a nice, warm feeling of not being totally alone, or totally insane.
      I think if things are going well, then let them go. If you are both finding nourishment from the relationship, then that’s wonderful. All things end. Even wonderful, decades long relationships end at some stage, when one of them dies. We don’t want to live life with the end in mind!! Blessings and love to you

  9. You are delusional to believe you are important enough to ruin lives. If a man is married, shouldn’t that be enough warning! Now you wallo in pity & expect your justification to be accepted? You deserve all the devastation you’ve caused & then some.

  10. Dear Middle aged love
    I too am in this situation and have reached a point where I have to say it’s me or her. We had a wonderful relationship for 3 years (which she encouraged as long as he told their friends and family that I was just a family friend). This may sound strange but she is very abusive to him verbally, demeans him in public, and has Prozac – fuelled rages at him which he tries to avoid. For a long time I felt that he was a gentle and sensitive guy who needed comfort and refuge from her after 35 years of a painful and lonely marriage – as he murmured every day that he knew we would be together in the end.
    Do I sound delusional? It was only when I had asked him for 3 years to tell her the truth and he refused, saying that he didn’t want to hurt her or his adult children, that I told her that her husband was not being honest with her. She asked him if he was having an affair and pretended that she had not known – followed by tears and hysterics on her part and banning him from ever seeing me again. He continued to see me until recently when I told him that I refused to carry on being his secret mistress and either he told her the truth or I would end it. He has told me for 3 years that now is not the right time but it is clear that there will never be a right time.
    I have spent 3 years listening to his claims of great love and adoration and I loved him with my whole heart. I think you are completely right when you say that you think they feel the same way you do – but they don’t. I feel the most amazing anger at him for lying both to her and to me, and aghast at my own naive and stupid trust in him. I thought I was too smart to fall into this kind of trap and I think that no contact is probably my only solution now. We have been so completely bonded for 3 years that the pain of shutting him out is almost unbearable. It feels like cutting off my own leg. But as you say – if I had known that really all he wanted was sex and comfort, I would have charged him by the hour. I think the worst thing for me is that I trusted him as my best friend as well as my lover – but what I feel now us that he was neither. It is hard not to feel that he was just a cunning opportunist who – when the chips were down – covered his own ass and ran for safety, leaving me stunned at how fast his supposed love and friendship disappeared.

    As you can see I am still struggling with this. He says he is in pain but I don’t think I believe that either. In the end you believe nothing they say any more and the trust is gone. I feel he us wasting his life in a miserable marriage and I am wasting my life hoping that anything good can come of this now. How do you heal and get back on track again?

    1. Hi Arc,
      thank you for sharing your story so honestly with us. I feel for you. When we read the story all in one hit, with hindsight, we can sit in judgment “how could she have believed him” etc etc.
      But we know that, when the story is revealed to us, chapter by chapter, and we are a part of it, we do not see the journey we are on. And we do believe what our paramour tells us.
      I strongly believe that something good comes of these situations, and that something is more self-insight (not a terribly jolly outcome, I admit!). I think we can take the lesson and apply it, not just to the next unavailable man who comes along, but to all our relationships. We learn to take people AT FACE VALUE. Which, to some extent, means NOT believing what they say, but believing what IS. He is married? He will stay that way. He is not available to you as much as he could be? You are not that important to him. He has dumped you like a falling Hang Seng stock? He doesn’t love you.
      Interestingly, I have recently met a man who is married. A very charming, delightful man. So I need to keep this lesson uppermost. I have decided I will see him again, if the opportunity arises, but I will not, EVER, buy into any declarations of love, or attempts to keep me dangling on his string. I will not make myself exclusively available to him, and I will go into anything with the clear understanding that we are two adults, spending some nice times together, and that is THAT. Should I feel myself falling for him, I will get out of there with all due haste. The pain of doing that is nothing to the pain of participating in their self-absorbed fantasy world.
      Also, Arc, keep hold of the wonderful fact that you found yourself able to love so fully. That is no small thing. Know that you can summon up those emotional reserves and that one day, you may be able to give that energy to someone who is fully available to you.
      I keep in front of me that pithy aphorism “We teach other people how to treat us.” Or as I often put it, “if a man is having his cake and eating it too, why would he give up the cake?”
      My heart goes out to you: I know what you mean about losing your best friend as well as your lover. So it was with the man I wrote this post about. But no REAL friend would have treated me like that.
      Blessings to you, and I hope you find comfort and self-esteem returning to you in the weeks to come.
      Put him in a special box and leave him there as a memory.

  11. Thank you for this article middle-aged love. Stumbled upon it while trying to get my head round my situation which did begin with a married co worker. He did in fact leave his wife for me four months after we met, he moved in with me, and I had never been so happy. We were looking for a place to rent together, however, nothing seemed good enough. Now I realise he was stalling, and after 10 months and still being kept a secret from his wife and family, he did a disappearing act. I guess at first I thought he had gone back but he kept denying this. I told him I needed to back off and he didn’t want me too. I was a fool and was being kept sucked in. He told me he was suffering from depression and felt like a failure. Then slowly we saw each other more. Work business trips where we always stayed together (our work also knew we were a couple), occasional days out, him messaging me constantly every day. At times I questioned certain things, where he was (he told me living at his parents, even sending me pictures as proof) he was a good liar! When I sometimes backed away slightly he upped the contact. He told me all the time how I was the love of his life and when I saw him I felt this. The chemistry between us was amazing, but more than this we were affectionate, laughed a lot and talked constantly. He then started to see me more, dinners after work (even on his birthday), a few nights with me here and there, a weeks holiday and then another holiday booked for two months time in a luxury resort. All of these instigated by him as I didn’t want to push him, still believing he was depressed. By now this was another 9 months (2 years together in total). And then the truth came out! His wife found out and yes you guessed it he had been back with her since the previous summer! She had no idea he had even been with me the first time round! Then to add insult to injury he tells me that the only reason he did this was in case I told his wife! That everything he had ever said to me he had never meant! What a spineless coward. This is a man who pursued me from the start and was definitely having his cake. Too weak to leave his family but too weak to also let me go. I just feel as though I have wasted 2 years of my life for nothing and do not understand what this has meant to him to keep me hooked in with no intention of him ever leaving her. Why do they do this?

    1. Hi Lorraine,
      thank you so much for sharing your story. Wow! You have really been put through the wringer over the last two years. I’m so sorry. Why do they do this indeed. I think for many men (and some women), the thrill of juggling is what they really get off on. Look at these guys who have two MARRIAGES on the go at once. An old friend of mine had this situation. Got a phone call from a woman who said “who’s this?”. She responded “It’s Mrs Jones”. The other woman then said “That’s interesting, because I”M Mrs Jones as well!”. It can’t just be that they love/fancy/want, two women. The situation itself adds spice, and possibly gives them a sense of omnipotence. When your man denied that he ever meant what he said, I don’t think that was the truth. They usually DO mean it…just at the time, and in context. Denying the veracity of their outpourings of love is a common ploy to distance themselves when they have been caught out. The more I hear these stories, the more I come to the simple conclusion that a man who is in a relationship when you meet him, is a no-go zone for anything other than “sexy times”. Even if he has just left a relationship, he needs a good year or more to be really, emotionally free. I wish you the love you seek, and deserve.
      Many blessings

      1. Hi, thanks for coming back to me, really appreciated. I totally agree that it’s best to walk away from a man in a relationship and tell them to contact you once they have been emotionally entangled for a decent amount of time. A lesson well learned. I guess it’s down to the individual though as a friend was in a similar scenario (although without a child as with my man) and her boyfriend left his wife, told her about my friend and is now divorced. Unlike the man I met who had backbone to commit to just one of us and chose both. I guess I just cannot understand why someone would just lead you on for such a long time. And he kept telling me he would be devastated if I met someone else! Of course he would as he selfishly was with his wife but me meeting someone would put a squash to him having me there to continue to stroke his ego!

  12. Hi Lorraine – I read your story today and felt a lot of empathy for you. What I like about this website is that it seems to attract intelligent women who can share without the usual judgmental chorus of “you marriage-wrecker, leave married men alone, think about how his wife feels” etc etc that you get on a lot of other websites. Why is it that so many of us perfectly nice, honest, decent women get into these situations (often believing it really is a great love, that he really is genuine, that when he says he loves us, he means it)?
    I wrote to this website in January after 3 years of being involved with a married man (and being friends with his seriously depressed wife AND staying in their house with both of them very regularly AND with her apparently happy that he spent time with me because she loathes him and tells ME that she only stays because she is completely financially dependent on him and likes the house and the lifestyle he provides). When I wrote in January that I had reached the point of saying “It’s me or her” I thought that really was it – I felt I had had enough of this “great love” that goes nowhere, that never grows, that never progresses. The words you use – “a spineless coward” – are EXACTLY the words I have used about him on so many occasions. He says he loves me and he knew he did not love her before he married her, and he would feel “relieved if she died”, but he says he doesn’t want to hurt her by telling her the truth. He continues to call me to wake me up – two or three times during the day – and always at night when he is going to sleep (they sleep in separate rooms). And I ask myself – Why am I so weak that I let him do this? Why do I not shut him out of my life? Because I miss his humour, his warmth, his gentleness? Because we have so much in common? Because he tells me that I am his emotional support and his lifeline? Am I delusional?
    It is much harder to let these men go than people might think. You can tell yourself endlessly that you deserve better than this, that he is just having his cake and eating it too, that he is lying to his wife, and probably to you and to himself as well, that if he REALLY loved you he would stand up and be honest about it, that he is a spineless coward and who needs one of those? You can know ALL of this – and you can be the smartest most successful woman in the world – but your resolve may weaken when he calls and tells you that he misses you and he is longing to see you and he makes you laugh and so on. Every time that I try to shut him out of my life, the pain of doing that seems worse than the chronic low-level pain of staying with someone who you can never really have an open, honest relationship with, or move forwards and build a life with.
    I think what we all want in this situation is for the man to stand up and say to his wife: “This is who I love, this is who I need in my life, and where do we go from here?” But they can’t. Mine is currently promising that AFTER he has an operation in May, he will tell her the truth this summer because he “can’t cope with family upsets” while he is recovering from surgery. I suspect this is very unlikely to happen and is just another stalling tactic. We shall see. In the meantime, he is arriving this weekend to stay with me for a few days and I am wondering how many more days, months, years I am prepared to go on doing this.
    I think these men fear letting go of safety, of stability, of what their wives/children/colleagues/neighbours will say, of what financial disaster they may end up having to deal with. They also fear living their own truth when they have often lived in a marriage that is a lie for years. I have always believed that love is letting go of fear – and perhaps this is why you end up feeling that their fears always win out over your love. So do we want to waste our lives being loved by frightened men? I talked to my 28 yr old son about my situation and said “I never know whether to think of this man as a frightened rabbit or a complete sh*t”. He said “Well mum – neither frightened rabbits or complete sh*ts ever achieve anything worthwhile in this world”. He is wiser than me!
    I wish you well Lorraine and hope you are dealing with this better than I appear to be doing.

    1. ARC how lovely to hear from you again, although I’m sorry to hear that things have not improved for you. I find it interesting that I have only, in the last few months, really GOT the idea that a man who is not emotionally available, is…well…not emotionally available. And they are usually not very PHYSICALLY available, either. Although I have eschewed married men lately, I have met many a man who is in a relationship (a non-live-in one) but wants ‘something more’, without having to break up the primary relationship. I am an advocate for polyamory, but polyamory requires everyone to be in-the-know and happy with the situation: not being lied to or fobbed-off. I now see the red-lights of unavailability, chuck a U-turn (to use an Australian expression) and head off in the opposite direction. They aren’t and will probably never be, emotionally available to me, and they are wanting something that I am no longer prepared to provide! Shalom to you xx

    2. Hi Arc. Thank you so much for your reply and for sharing your story. I totally understand how you can come to find yourself in such a situation and how manipulative these men can be, reeling us in with their words and kindness, keeping us just where they want us, but knowing that they will never be able to give us what they promise. I know it must be hard to break away. If my married man had told me 9 months ago that he had gone back to his wife, there is no way I would have stuck around, and he knew this of course, which is why he never chose to be honest. I am still trying to understand exactly what this was all about, though am not sure I will ever get these answers. I sent an e-mail to his wife with messages he has sent me and have now been sent a solicitors e-mail advising that if I contact her any further she will press me for being harassing. This honestly makes me feel like crying. So now, I am some crazy, which maybe he has made me out to be. I didn’t threaten her I just wanted to show her his lies. I was being fooled as much as she was. The one good thing is that through his actions I am despising him. He can’t hold his hands up and even admit what he has done and now I am the blamed party, even though I thought they were no longer together. She is actually very welcome to him as not only is he a coward but he is a liar, deceptive and m a manipulating. Not the sort of man I would like in my future. I hope that you find the strength in you to make the right choices.

      1. Wow, thank you all, this has been of great help to me. After my divorce from an emotionally abusive man I was very scared of men, but needed the affirmation & company – and missed sex & cuddling – and got involved with a married friend. This went on for ten years. After about 5 years I started to … wake up, and he started to amp up the attention & promises. He was at my house a lot (he worked odd shifts, as did I, so he was often free when the wife was at work), he helped out in the garden, did jobs around the house. We went out for meals, we talked _so much_, laughed, made love. We said we were each other’s best friends. Three summers ago he told her.

        She hit the ceiling. He’d told me they never had sex (at this point they were both in their early 40’s), that she didn’t like him, argued all the time over nothing. So I assumed she would not be too surprised. But she not only told everyone they knew (and her large family then banned him from all family events) she told their kids (aged 9 & 12). He basically had a nervous breakdown from the situation and spent 6 months in his dressing gown.

        After about 6 months he recouped, we got back together & he went back to school for retraining. A year ago it was all “next year is out year baby”. It felt so positive, he seemed so happy. He said they’d talked & he was going to move out in September. Then over the last summer he got distant. Denied it. I now realize they decided between them that he was not going to leave but that he did not have the balls to tell me. He does love me, in his way (he professes undying love all the time), but he’s a coward & also he idolizes her profession (she’s a teacher) & I don’t think any woman can ever match her in that regard (unless he meets another educator).

        So we’ve spent the last 10 months or so with me being confused at him saying he loves me deeply, while at the same time he makes no time for me, has stopped bringing me little gifts of flowers & chocolates. He seems sad all the time, compared to his excitement last year about our anticipated change in status.

        He calls every other day to tell me about his day – but he hasn’t asked to visit in about a month (we used to see each other at least 3 times a week – he says he has no time as his shifts now mirror hers, but IMO he doesn’t try to find time either).

        So I’m now feeling that even if he found his balls tomorrow, I want someone who knows them self, knows how to live in a Healthy way.

        I guess the relationship has shown me I’m good at love, but I also feel nervous of men in a different way now. I worry he was playing me and that my intuition is crap. I really want to meet someone single but worry I’m too wary now. I told him that I look forward to indifference with regard to us!

        I’m not calling him, edging away, but the habit of it is hard. I miss us physically, but I guess he doesn’t as he doesn’t even try (though at this point he would not get in the front door).

        This stuff is hard! Tracey, my takeaway is you saying that your learned to take people at face value. If he’s married, he’s not emotionally available. If he’s not making time, it’s because he doesn’t want to. I thought love could conquer all – I thought wrong.

      2. Hi,
        I am new to this and am trying to find a way through the devastation I feel.
        I have been in love with and in a relationship with a married man for 5 years. We went to school together and got back in touch through Facebook. I was unhappily married in a emotionally abusive relationship and the soft spot we had at school for one another was still there 30 years on.
        We started a long distance affair which became full on when I moved back to my home town. I have seen him every day for two years apart from the rare day he hasn’t been able to get out.
        This week he went from promising to leave and following through to ending it with me over night. We weren’t caught but he had been seeing a counsellor who told him to man up and deal with his miserable home life: and the harsh reality is that I think he realised he had too much to lose in terms of reputation and financial independence. He couldn’t move in with me without admitting an affair and he doesn’t have the means to support himself and the wife and two adult children he has.
        So instead he said that I was to intense and my temper was an issue, said he couldn’t deal with home if he was still seeing me and ended it. He had been more attentive and getting closer to me in recent weeks and yet said that his feelings had changed.
        I am in bits, I believed in him and trusted the situation. Yes I have been annoyed and frustrated and had a few meltdowns about the time it has taken for him to act, but I am a person who believed him.
        His wife has had a couple of affairs and I think he really does want to move on but they have stayed together and now he is not in a position to act.
        Reading all of these stories makes me feel less weak and I appreciate that the decisions we all make and the men we believe in are all ending in the same way- badly for us.
        I have hated being the mistress, believed that our history was strong and thought I was supporting him whilst things ran their course.
        I am now trying to get back on my feet. 100% advice from supportive friends is don’t get in touch with him, grieve and move on. My heart is breaking whilst in my head it makes sense.
        I know the right answers, how can I believe in and trust a man who has spent some much time embroiled in lies, cake and eat it, best of both worlds, when the going got tough he got going………………but for me it was real and I still love him.

        Thanks for reading and to everyone who doesn’t judge on here but understands.

        I don’t want anyone else………

      3. Dear Foxy, thank you for sharing your pain with us. You are absolutely going the right way about moving forward. I think that sometimes we need to embrace the pain we feel and be joyful that we FEEL at all. Some people live in a mediocre, grey, comfort zone their whole lives. Let’s be grateful that we don’t.
        Of course you don’t want anyone else at the moment, and nor should you. You loved, you lost, you need to grieve. As with any grief, it moves through stages, and will go with that flow.
        But one day, in the not too distant…you will want someone else. And you will have even more to give them, due to your experience in this.

  13. Wow I am so glad I found this. I apologize if there are errors because I am writing this from my phone. And I am all over the place right now not knowing what to do. I have been with a mm for 16 months now and I feel I have to end it. We met online and within a few weeks he told me everything..he felt pressured into getting married, all they do is fight, his wife had a two year affair with someone he knew and she got pregnant and the whole time she was carrying he didn’t know if the baby was his (turned out it was). He said, to him, his marriage was over and he was a nice guy in a bad situation. He is here in my state doing rotations for medical school and his wife is in another state. He would go back to his state occasionally to spend time with his daughter (of course that meant with his wife as well). The first year he didn’t really go much but recently it has become more. We have/had a full blown relationship, I was never hidden, I would hang out with his medical school friends and it was obvious we were a couple. One of his friends is even fb friends with his wife. He told me he was leaving her as soon as he was done with his rotations which will be Jan 2017. But he currently depended on her financially and his student loans for med school were in both of their names and leaving her now would cause him to have to reapply and push his graduation out which would inevitably lead to a longer time before he could start his residency. He told me he is going to try his best to get a residency in my state so we could be together. I had every reason to belive him and his situation. I mean if he and his wife were not communicating for 5 days at a time (because he was at my place) how could his marriage be okay. Unfortunately I snooped on his phone a lot behind his back and they didn’t communicate much. At the beginning of our relationship I told him we could only be friends but two months in that changed. So I will fast forward, together 16 months now and we are so perfect for each other. We like the same things, we don’t argue – it has just been awesome. A few months ago he started acting different. Withdrawn, we weren’t spending as much time together and he always claimed he was studying for exams. I started to ask about our relationship and he said now he didn’t know what he should do seeing they have an almost two year old and he wants to do right by their child….ok well fighting all the time isnt healthy for a child. Finally a week ago in a heated discussion I told him he had to make a decision because we have been together 16 months. He said he thought he should work on his marriage and I hung up on him. I know he made this decision out of anger and he is so stressed right now because he is about to take one of the biggest tests in medical school. Of course a few days later I went over to his place and he said he didn’t want to lose me and wanted to continue seeing me but couldn’t be in a committed relationship right now because he cannot give me all the things I am expecting from him right now. So basically he wants to be FWB! If he is serious about working on his marriage he wouldn’t try to persuade me to be FWB, right? Regardless this all happened a week or two ago and nothing changed in our relationship, I still saw him twice a week and he called every night etc. He calls me two days ago at 10 pm and tells me he is going home for five weeks and he leaves early the next day. He said he feels bad but woke up that am and decided he wanted to go see his daughter and is taking a month off of his rotations so he can study for this test. Of course I was hurt but he continues to say he will keep in touch and wants me to keep in touch and wants to keep seeing me when he gets back. And I just don’t knew what to think. I love this man so much and truly felt we had a future together. But the whole time I have known him he has never gone to visit home for 5 weeks straight. 31/2 has been the most. He has never lived with his wife for very long. He left for medical school 6 months after they got married and has been away 3 1/2 years. And will be away at minimum 2 1/2 more. Do I need to step out of the river of denial or should I give him space to realize on his own his marriage won’t work. Sorry this is all over the place and long

    1. Step out and cut contact, if he wants you he will 100% come and get you. Mine never left his wife because of the child and also if he said in anger that he wants to work in his marriage it sounds like the truth. Any excuses you make for him like the big exam coming up or the stress he is under is irrelevant to his feelings for you. Let him go which I know is hard, but see it as temporary to get yourself through and don’t chase him, the more you chase the less interested he is. And of course he wants to stay in touch, he now has the best of both worlds, his baby, wife and you. Unfortunately I am speaking from experience. The love for a child cannot and will not compete with anything.

      1. Thank you for replying. It’s great to hear from other women that have gotten through this because right now it seems so hard. I think you are right regarding the love for a child. The thing is that we talked about that in length in the beginning of our relationship and he swore he was okay living in a different state than his child. But he could have been saying what I wanted to hear, or maybe at the time he actually thought that. I will get strong while he is away and cut all contact. As you said if he wants me he will find me. It’s inevitable that we will run into each other because we live so close. When that happens I hope I can hold my head high and say it’s great to see you and walk away without completely breaking down.

  14. Hi SoConfused. Thank you so much for this heartfelt, raw comment. It takes courage to share this sort of emotional turmoil. Again and again, I am reminded of one of the biggest lessons I have learnt over the last few years: that we need to learn to take what we are presented with at face value. Women, particularly, are very good at weaving stories..just look at all the Greek legends that have women weaving at the heart of them! And we generally weave stories that put the object of our love in the best possible light. Of course, by doing this, we are also protecting ourselves from judgment, especially our own judgement of ourselves. We need to protect ourselves from the truth. If you look at your situation, what you are presented with is a man who has not put his relationship with you first, and who has not committed to you in any real way. End of story. Yes, you can sit around and wait for him, and this may or may not, bear fruit. But even if it does, in sitting around you are handing over more emotional power to him, and should you end up in a fully committed relationship, you will probably never regain that power. He will always treat you as emotionally expendable. I do not set myself up as any sort of relationship counsellor. But I do believe you know in your heart that you do, indeed, need to “step out of the river of denial” as you so beautifully put it. Walk away. REALLY walk away. Grieve. Get angry. Recover. Be the wonderful woman you clearly are. Live your life. And see who turns up. Blessings and love to you.
    Tracey xxxxx

    1. Thank you so much for your reply. I agree I have to walk away and grieve and get angry and recover. That is the only way. I am miserable to think he will be out of my life but I am miserable with him in it right now. These five weeks he is gone I am not going to contact him and allow myself to get strong. We live in such close proximity to each other and even shop at the same publix so I have to prepare myself mentally for the possibility that we may run into each other.
      Thank you again.

  15. Hi, this really hit home for me. I do think you’re right, he NEEDED to believe it was more to justify his actions and I needed to believe it was really going somewhere. It lasted almost exactly 4 years. And we talked many times that he had to make a decision. This was going to be that year. A week ago he had a stroke. Of course his wife is up there round the clock so I am unable to really talk to him. He should have a full recovery although from what I read, to him there could still be issues within himself. So now I know what we had is over and maybe the forced no contact is best but I feel like I have been left without a goodbye. Before he had the stroke and things were uncertain he did say he had no regrets about us. We both found someone to truly open up to and express our thoughts & dreams without judgement. It’s just so lonely now not having him to talk to, text with. I always believed if it was meant to be we would end up together somehow. I still think that but then wonder if that will cause me to be stuck hanging on to someone that will never be mine. Right now I know I am unable to think of moving on because I would compare every man to him. And other than he is married, I think any relationship could end abruptly and without closure but it’s so hard right now. How do you let go when logic & circumstances insist that you do but your heart doesn’t want to let go? I have all these videos he sent me telling me how we were going to be together and he loves me and the thought of hitting delete is so painful. And of course I wonder if he didn’t have the stroke could it have worked out or am I just fooling myself even more?? I suppose I’m just rambling but thank you for listening

    1. Hi Cindy, thank you so much for your comment. It still astonishes me how many comments I get on this post, and how often they are very similar stories. I think the big test of trusting our hearts, is to let him go. And then if he returns, divorced and emotionally (relatively) unencumbered, then our heart was right. If we hit delete and that ends it, then it was never as reciprocated as we wanted to believe. I guess we are left with a choice of two, unpleasant, options. a) Let him go and grieve a great love or b) Let it drag on through a miasma of insecurity and second-guessing. We are powerful women who have much to give the world. Do we really want to spend our energy on a situation like this? On being the cake that he is having while he is eating it too? Perhaps we should embrace the fact that we know how deeply we can love, treasure that, and trust that one day we will meet a worthy recipient of that love. Shalom to you, Cindy, and may you find the love you deserve xxxx

  16. Im in the same boat, my married man lover of 5 yrs , has suddenly stopped contact, with no word why, he isn’t answering, and messages, I have sent him, he could be dead for all I know, and its breaking my heart, I would understand more if he had said why, but to be left hanging, is so callous, just shows what he thought of me.

    1. Hi Norma, and thank you for your comment. I think you have an issue here that goes beyond the difficulties of being a mistress: you’ve got “The Vanishing Act”. And even single men do this one. I wrote a post about this called “An Open Letter to the Men Who Stopped Calling”, back in September last year. I think if you have a read of that, it will echo exactly how you are feeling. I even talk about thinking he was dead! It is no reflection of how he feels about you. It is a reflection of emotional cowardice. We need men who not only adore us, but are also emotionally brave; and they are few and far between, sadly. Many blessings to you.

  17. Well he came back with no real reason why, it took 2 weeks for him to contact me again, but here comes the cliff hanger, I allowed him back, anyway I know now why he came back, ….. got his phone out , and said dont be mad at me, and low and behold, he had put me and him , on a sexsite as a couple, looking for a young girl, to join us, and with some pics of me he had taken, explicit, I have to say (stupid me) but no face pictures of course, of him, I was beside myself with anger, so after 5 yrs iv discovered what the real man is like, a complete arse….., I ended it there and then, tried to block him on everything, but he had got there before me, wont be telling the wife as she’s welcome to him, and doesn’t know what a creep shes married to, or perhaps she does.

    1. Wow! That really is incredible, Norma. The arrogance and self-absorption is mind-blowing. Well-done on just cutting him off, and not being lured back in. And I’m chuffed that you felt able to share this with us!
      I’m sorry this happened to you, and I hope you are travelling well.

  18. Glad you think I did the right thing, and as you said , just out for himself, I still haven’t got over what he done , and dont think I ever will, and just hope he doesn’t contact me anymore, after he thinks its all quietend dowm, because if he does I shall be speaking to his wife, …. I just don’t understand what he did, I would never do anything like that, he definitely didnt love me as he always said , just used me thats all I can say and thank you

  19. Hi T – can you believe I am back here again and STILL struggling with my situation? I despair of myself. Why is it so ridiculously hard to end things with these men? Since I last wrote, he begged me to move near him (I live 200 miles away) and when I found a beautiful converted barn near his house, he went into absolute panic and said that his wife would divorce him and take half of his farm if she knew I was living nearby. I was utterly furious with him and embarrassed to have to back out with the estate agents. I said to him – amazing how you beg me to live near you and how much you love me and then when it could happen you run in terror and all you care about is your assets?! After I abandoned this plan and decided to stay where I was, he became extremely nice again (of course). At this time I told him that I was sick of his dishonesty, and that either he tell her the truth or that I would.
    He said No no no – I am just about to go into hospital for a hip operation and I need her to look after me, I can’t afford to have any family upsets while I am recovering. I promise I will sort this out this summer when I have recovered. And so I felt it was heartless to push him while he was recovering from an operation, and I waited. I the summer, he saw a divorce lawyer who told him he was in a very weak position financially as his wife already owns half the farm and could go for more. He then spent the summer buried in harvest, telling me he would sort things out in September,.
    Two weeks ago he came to stay with me for three days and we had a happy time walking by the sea and cooking and snuggling. He was sweet and lovely. During this time I told him that I really had had enough if this situation and that I wanted him to tell the truth, and I was going to end the relationship if he didn’t, because I was not going to keep putting my life on hold after waiting for 4 years.
    Two days after he got home, he suddenly changed and has spent two weeks talking to me as if I was a stranger and being incredibly cold and hurtful and avoiding any real communication. He has suddenly started talking to me with same irritation and coldness that he uses to his wife (remember I lived with them for 3 years so I saw it). I barely recognise my normally sweet guy. He says he is seeing another divorce lawyer on Oct 3rd to discuss how to protect his assets if she becomes vindictive. He says he is a coward and is frightened and terrified of change. He says he is going to hand over his farm to his son so that she can’t take it. This was in fact her plan years ago so that she could enjoy her retirement with him (funny as they don’t speak and they live in separate parts of the house – a very happy future).
    I really feel that when the chips are down, yet again all that matters to him is clinging on to property and money and keeping up a front of respectability to his kids. I feel utterly furious that I have somehow found myself in upside down world – for 4 years he insisted I was kind and wonderful and paraded me around his friends and family as his new best friend while (in his view) she was narcissistic, cold and selfish. Now I am the bad one, he suddenly sees me as the shameful secret (which is not the kind of person I see myself as at all!!) I have been so angry re entry that I feel like sending her all his emails promising eternal love and future life with him. This is of course classic furious mistress behaviour and I am sure if I did, they would close ranks and I would be cast as some kind of bunny boiler nutter. I want her to know what a coward she is married to, how he has lied to her for 35 years. His view is that you should lie so you don’t hurt people. My view is that telling the truth causes a lot less pain than lying for 35 years. What do you think?
    I am sure that anyone reading this would regard me as a complete idiot. I still cannot believe that as a professional woman with a Cambridge degree, I could be so f***ING stupid and naive.
    As you said further up this page – what we want us for these men to be emotionally brace. He says – I love you more than anything, I can’t live without you. I say – Well then why the hell can’t you stand up and say This is who I am, this us how I feel and this is who I love?” And his answer is either “Because I am too scared” or silence.
    How can you do anything other than feel you given your love, your time and your body to someone who was too cowardly to love you back properly?
    Sorry about the rant T. Your site is so therapeutic x

  20. Hi ARC. Thank you once again for sharing so openly about your situation. I’m delighted that you find my site therapeutic…and I have no doubt that others find YOUR comments therapeutic also.
    I think you know the truth yourself. As you say, you are a highly intelligent, well-educated woman. You are no fool. But knowing something cognitively and feeling it viscerally, are two different things…and this is where we fall down!
    You know that he simply wants to keep having his gateau and eat it too…which thus far he has done quite successfully. You know, too, that should you out him to his wife, he will not come to you. He will attempt to patch up his marriage, or just fade into the sunset, licking his wounds. You are his mistress. He probably cannot countenance you as playing any other role. Telling you that he doesn’t love his wife anymore etc etc is all part of the standard script. And I’m sure he believes these things, as he is saying them. Just as he loves you, when he is with you.
    You know that your have two choices: 1) accept the situation and carry on. Is the bit of joy you get from being with him worth the painful framework it comes in? only you can answer that. or 2) Rip off the bandage. Just get out of there. No more texts. No more phone calls. No more contact. Men are very good at that. I think we chicks need to learn a thing or two.
    Of course, you could also invoke a scorched-earth policy: tell his wife, and then dump him.
    I vote for the last option. Call it your last act of love (tough love)!
    I would love you to keep us updated, if you feel comfortable.
    May the god of your understanding go with you.

    1. Snap – I gave him 12 years and finally confronted his wife. Now she’s sick and depressed and he can’t leave until she’s well. So he’s told her he’s stopped seeing me – wants me to wait in the wings until she’s fit enough to take the truth (ha!) So the lies continue and she gets false hope. Or I do !!! He dumped me this morning after I moaned about him continuing to lie. Told him he’s lied to her and their son all his married life and lied to me for 12. Told him the truth would set him free. He told me to shut up. His wife is sick and I don’t think of anyone but myself. Will he be back ?? Maybe. Will I take him back – and carry the blame for outing him and ruining his cosy double life? No way ! Sorry about the wife and the grown up son but he’ll live in his own hell through his own actions this morning – his future will be having to check in every time he breathes. Me ? I’m in pain – but I’m free.

  21. Hi T – thank you for your endlessly patient and gracious responses to my endlessly dogged idiocy in persisting with this. I always love your comments. We must think alike because I have been considering the scorched earth policy for several days. I already outed him to his wife last year which only resulted in her being given hysterical and making him promise to have no contact with me, which he has completely ignored and carried on seeing me with the encouragement of his very lovely lady therapist (yeah I know what this says about him). So that option is already done. I have printed out his emails with long declarations of his love and promises of a happy future with me and am debating sending a copy each to his adult kids, his friends and her – so that they ALL know what he has really been doing behind his virtuous exterior. And planning to get on a plane for a lovely holiday immediately afterwards, so I avoid the phone calls and dramas. I know if I do this that I am saying – there is no going back and it really will end everything forever. I am poised on the brink of doing this. It sounds like vengeful behaviour and I can hardly believe that I am thinking of behaving like this. It is the result of so much anger about his lies, his weakness, his hypocrisy and finding myself cast as some shameful secret – and his cowardice in letting me be blamed and scapegoated when HE initiated this, he chased me and begged me for love and understanding after 35 years of loneliness. So….to be continued….

  22. P.S. update on his visit to a very good female divorce lawyer on 03 October resulted in her telling him that the first thing he needs to do is tell the TRUTH to his wife and family. He said to me “She told me exactly what you have told me and it almost sounded like you and she were speaking from the same script.” I said – isn’t it interesting that your therapist, your lawyer and me ALL tell you the same thing – listen to your feelings and tell the truth? And since then he is STILL sitting at home unable to make a decision, frozen in guilt and fear and more procrastination. (Eyeroll). And I sit there quoting Roosevelt at him saying “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”. And of course nothing happens!
    Apologies Tracey – you must think this is a complete soap opera by now….

      1. Dear Miserable – Thanks for your message. First of all – you have all my sympathy and my heart goes out to you. I know how painful this is. I have been in this situation for nearly six years now (I am ashamed to say) and in spite of me periodically determining to end things – somehow the endings never work because we miss each other and I start thinking about all the things I like about him – and we just get back together and it drifts on. I am not proud of this.
        As you can probably see from my posts above, I have also gone through a lot of anger about this – yes he is lying to his wife and his kids, yes he is (probably) lying to me about the reality of our having a future together, yes I deserve better than this and yes I want more than this. I have known all this for a long time. Where am I now? I am not angry any more and I am not in pain – I am probably more philosophical.

        I guess you can choose how you look at this kind of relationship – is the glass half empty or half full? The way I look at it now is: he really is my soulmate and he ticks all my boxes – he is funny and sensitive and intelligent and sexy and handsome and gentle. He is kind to my family. We share the same politics and the same intellectual interests. He makes me laugh a lot. He phones me every morning to wake me up, he calls several times a day and we Skype for an hour every night. We go away on short holidays every two months and he comes to stay with me every two months, and we have dinner quite often in between. We are happy in bed. He supports me in my work and takes a huge interest in my life. We give each other a lot of emotional support. I have a very demanding work life and I also like having a lot of freedom and independence and space to myself, and time to do things with my friends. SO: in many ways it DOES work. BUT only as long as I don’t push him to change the status quo because that triggers all his fears about his wife taking him to the cleaners financially. On the plus side, he is still (very slowly) sorting out his finances and his divorce lawyer is waiting for him to come back to her with figures. On the minus side, I know that I fell in love with a man whose fear of telling the truth to his family is (so far) greater than his love for me – and I don’t respect him for being such a coward.

        So who knows what will happen? Sometimes I feel it no longer matters so much to me. I like him, I like talking to him, I care about him, but my work takes up a very large part of my life at the moment. I think I have come to a point where I feel that if we are meant to be together, we will be – but if we aren’t, then we won’t be. On the plus side, I can live my life exactly as I want to (except that it’s not with him). But you are aware of the years passing and you are not building a life together. And when you have been in each other’s lives for so long, it’s a sort of comfortable habit and hard to break away from. I still feel he is The One and although there are other men I meet periodically who are interested in me, the chemistry is not there for me and I don’t pursue it.

        I don’t know what advice or comfort I can give you – but I can only say that we make choices, either to walk away or stay with it. I have tried walking away and it felt so viscerally painful and wrong that I couldn’t. I absolutely hate the fact that he still lives in a house with her (although they sleep in separate rooms and lead separate lives) but he cannot leave his farm because it’s his livelihood. I deal with it by immersing myself in work, politics, culture, friends and family. It works if you don’t make him the centre of your life, and you give up the idea that you want a conventional living-together relationship. This is not really what I want in the long term but I can see the benefits of it too (for the time being). So this is where I am at right now – just getting on with my life, and to be honest, I am far more worried about what will happen to the UK (where I live) after Brexit than I am about what kind of future I will have with him. But I wish you all the best and courage with the decisions you make and feel free to reply again if it helps to talk.

  23. Found this site…can’t help but seek advice/empathy/an anonymous ‘ear’…. …I too have been dumped – – but I am the man of the extramarital relationship. And, while we’ve always lovingly joked about it that I’m the girl (who has the all the feelings/sensitivity), I seriously am devastated…crushed…hurt…..and left wondering what to do because I love her deeply.

    We both are married, I with a family…she to a doctor, and don’t do ourselves any favors by being coworkers-who-fell-in-love. My marriage is/was failing…in fact, it was my brief extra-marital encounters of 8 years ago that caught her attention during a car-trip share session. Hers? By all accounts, it seems happy…but its has unusual nuances with his ego, their age, weird interpersonal interactions with one another which are topped by his seeming lack of sexual interest in her (and more-specifically, being interested in pleasing her). I am not/would complain because, aside from being gorgeous with a high sex-drive, gently and generous, it opened the door to conversations and eventually to treating other orally without the full-deal….but then eventually to full, glorious intercourse for about 9 months.

    We had the BEST times together…I mean, the connection is so deep…our lives with a ton of beautiful similarities and even an earlier previous-job introduction where i could’ve had the chance to approach her ‘legitimately’ for a future. Yes, we had a few small ‘bumps’…these down-times were admittedly mainly because I felt it right away: I was ready to leave home and be with her….but this was not a mutual feeling, in fact, we didn’t talk about it as an option…but she heard me. She was not clamoring to dump him, their VERY good life and mountain of money/toys/etc….most of the down times we had to do with the stress of them going away on trips and such (again, a good life I really can’t/couldn’t compete with) and I would be just get anxious and upset because I know that abstinence I was practicing was not mutual, even though he just didn’t appreciate her. She was so generous is reassuring me…reiterating her love for me, that I had her heart even though she was there. ….I still just wanted more. We both were keenly aware that it’d be a risk even if she did decide to leave…that cheating couples had low percentage chances of succeeding….but I know/knew we’d be different. My God, I felt a respect for her that I embarrassingly did not feel for my wife, the mother of my kids.

    Fast forward ahead to now; lots little things have led to her saying “I want this affair to end”. While a quite a bit blindsided, I kinda always knew she wasn’t leaving him…but I am just crushed that she’s ending it (so abruptly). I don’t know what to do…have no one to confide in….have a terribly broken heart…..and I still believe about her, about Us. There is some concern about it being messy at work, but I am so in-love that I’d die inside to fake it and keep it undetectable…but I love her so. ….this will make healing hard, but she has repeated how sorry she is…that she’s rooting for and believes in me. I mean, she’s awesome despite this sucking….

    I see some people have typed EVERYthing out…I could, but am just looking to find someplace where i won’t be judged, shamed or anything else…

    ….just heard.


    1. LL, thank you SO MUCH for sharing with us. You are certainly right about not being judged or shamed on here…boy..would THAT being the pot accusing the kettle…!!!
      I’m always appreciative of people’s shares with me on this site. And this particular post has been incredibly popular as a forum. This is clearly a universal experience. Having a man’s version of the same story is wonderful, not least because your story is no different to a woman’s. And I think that gives us some reassurance that, after-all, we are just human beings, stumbling along, trying to do our best.
      I hope you find some peace in all of this turmoil soon, and that your relationship with her, although leaving you heart-broken, has also been a chance for spiritual/emotional growth.
      Which I think, in the end, is what we hope for from any relationship.

    2. …while it has been just week that she’s broke things off (3 days of completely isolation with no response through our normal means of communication), suffice it to say: this has been the worst week of my life.

      ..Hope….despair….”I’m gonna be ok”…..tears of bittersweet memories….hatred for her current spouse…love and respect for her as a beautiful, independent woman…

      Just running the entire gamut of emotions…oh, and trying to be a spouse to someone I feel other-side-of-the-universe-different about…and a dad.

      ….one thing you said Tracey which struck me (because she & I would agree about) was that, if a movie were made about our romance, it’d be named: “Stumbling Through This Life.”

      SIGH. …thanks for the attention/ear/shoulder.

      1. I really feel for you, having gone through a similar thing and it took me 4 years to recover and I am still not there, because he didn’t want to let me go and stayed with his wife for the sake of their child. It was awful. I recently finally cut contact and it’s not easy at all. In a way she did you a favour but cutting it in such a final way, you will recover quicker this way. It must be horrendous for her as well, she is in pain too but she is being strong, I have a lot of respect for that as well. Wishing you all the best and a big hug in this difficult time.

  24. Hi all .i too have been with a married man for almost two years after being single for seven years before meeting him . It was love at first sight !at the begining I didn t know he was but when I discovered it was too late I was hooked . Sex was amazing and I never felt so intimate like this even with my ex husband . I truly loved him but he didn t I guess . The fat ash again made me think that by miracle we could be together although he never sais he loved me or hthat he was going to leave his wife and a young child . Cannot describe the very high when I was with him and that very lows when he wasn t contacting me and of course the cries ,the longing . A month ago he became suddenly distant and I felt he was decided to walk away . I asked him what was going on and that he could tell me anything but he didn’t say much . I wrote him a nice good bye note and he said he s going to see and talk to me and fixed a date . Guess what he cancelled one hour before pretending his son was sick and he had to go home . I m devastated . Feel hurt and insulted . Why can’t he deliver a proper goodbye it doesn’t take much a good bye note for the sake of our good time . I don’t want to believe it was hust 3D porn as i loved him

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. You were always more than just 3D porn. If that was all he wanted he would have had a series of brief, casual flings. You were, and are, important to him, but not as important as his safe, serene, respectable life. These men love us: they just don’t love us ENOUGH to disrupt their lives.
      Mourn, cry, write bad poetry, and then leave him alone. Know that you can love deeply, and that is a gift. Someone emotionally available will soon be appreciative of that gift.
      Many Blessings

  25. Thank you for ur kind reply . I’m leaving him alone and as you say I know now that I believe in love and I mcapable of love but I miss him , he will stay v dear to me . For all the other ladies courage May God help us all

  26. hi middleagedlove
    im in the same situation, my mm broke up with me without any reason !!! today we should celebrate our second anniversary …. but we never celebrate anything because he didnt have time. he stopped talking to me because i asked him to meet each other after 2 months. he always had an excuse but this time i got upset and just said i canceled my medical appointment because i wanted to be with him. did i say something wrong ????
    i wasnt the first time he ignored me but i think this time is serious. i was very happy person before i met him, always smiling
    , im not saying i didnt have any problem before him but i just figure it out. i never forget the moment he said he loves me, i was so happy because i loved him too. after 5 months everything changed he started to push me away but i was stubborn i didnt give up because i loved him, without any expectation.sometimes i think maybe i was too much available, dont know….
    he tried to make me jealous by flirting with other girls in front of me. it was painful. but now the reason for break up is not clear to me and he didnt answer me why???? at least he owe me an explanation.
    i knew this relationship is not going anywhere but its broken me inside.
    i need your advice please help me.

    1. Hi Rosa,
      thank you for sharing your situation with us. Time and again it’s the same story. Generally, a married man (or woman, for that matter) who is having an affair, often has no thought of leaving their marriage. If they really did, they would leave the marriage first and THEN take a lover. They are looking for excitement, in addition to their primary relationship. When they end an affair, or move away from it, it usually just means that they are getting bored and/or they are finding the situation too stressful. They often also move away when their lover becomes too “serious”. Men will often declare their love in these situations…and they think they mean it. They’re not lying…they’re just being impulsive. But the minute things get too difficult, they are out of there. So it’s not real love.
      Sadly, your MM doesn’t “owe” you an explanation. It would be nice if he gave you one, but that is a different matter. Closure is a rare creature in the romantic arena, even when your lover ISN’T married.
      Rosa, you are not broken. You are sad, and hurt. Believe me, you will mend. You will be stronger. And next time you will find a lover who is truly emotionally available to you.
      I wish you many blessings

      1. Dear middleagedelove
        thank you so much for your kind reply, im trying, really and truly to get over him. its too hard and painful. its more than a month i try to find an answer for my question, why he did this to me?
        i was worried maybe he got upset with me!!!! but why ????
        the way i was talking with him was rude?
        i just know i didnt deserve that….

  27. I am so heart broken he dumped me after his wife found out. He is 25 years my senior, married with 2 teenage kids. We had a relationship for 6 months.When his child accidentally saw an email I sent him, he instantly cutt me off his life. After a while, after my persistance we got back together, but again his child saw an even more revealing message and told his mom.
    Now he completely cutt me off, and demands i stop emailing him. Says his life is a living hell now, his wife very angry etc.
    But again made a fake email so that we can send each other, messages but ONLY as friends. He is not interested in anything else he says.
    I really love him, cant live without him. How did I get in to a situation like that? I;m really heart broken. I hope that after some time, when this event will fade away, will be back together,
    Im much younger than him. Do you really think we ll be back together in the future? When he gets like 60 I will be 35, now im in my 20’s….maybe then he will want me?
    I am so desperate I trully know. But so in love with him.

    Thank you.

    1. Dear Mila, thank you so much for your comment. It’s a sad and difficult situation you find yourself in.
      And I’m afraid I cannot offer any words of immediate comfort. Your man is fond of you, I’ve no doubt, but he does not love you…certainly not in the way you love him. His anger towards you shows that he is essentially abusive and self-centred…possibly even narcissistic. You are only in your 20s and you will love again, much more deeply. I know you don’t feel this now, but you will. Don’t be friends with him. He is simply keeping you “on the back-burner” so that you might be available for sex in the future, should he want that. Making yourself available and tolerating his abuse will not make him eventually see that he needs to be with you. It will only make him contemptuous of you, in the long-run.
      It hurts like hell, I know, dear girl, but cut him out of your life completely. Ignore his emails. Block his number. Curl up in a ball and cry and feel the pain, knowing that it WILL pass, and you will come out of this stronger, and better able to love openly and freely when the right man appears.
      I wish you love and light.

  28. hi Tracy
    yesterday I tried to post a comment – a rather long one – in this thread about the dumped mistress, but I’m not confident it got into your blog’s pipeline. shall I try again?

    1. Hi Anna,
      I haven’t had a long response from you come up on this feed…not sure why it wouldn’t have. As you can see, there are LOTS of long comments on this thread! Please try again; I would be most interested to read what you have to say.

      1. I’ve tried again but I don’t think
        it’s been submitted. So strange, given I was able to send a short message to you earlier and presumably this one also. I’ll keep trying.

  29. I wrote in about a year ago. He had just had a stroke and I wasn’t sure where we stood. Fast forward our relationship wasn’t really doing much of anything. A few kisses but that was about it. Still though he would say things to make me believe he still saw a future for us. Someone tipped the wife off so she went looking thru text messages (luckily nothing racy lately) but it was apparent due to quantity that there was something going on. I know they were arguing a lot over it, all he would say was that she knew about the race track and to expect a call. She did call, I thought she KNEW so I confirmed 2 incidences which he had not actually told her anything. I know when I was on the other side (yes I should’ve known better) I wanted honesty. Obviously he chose to stay with her. I still don’t understand that because over the 5 years he always made it sound like getting caught would just give us the chance to be together sooner. The bad thing is I feel like everything ever said to me was a lie too. It’s been a month since this came out and he is still asking me to lie if confronted by her again. I have no interest being in that mess anymore. We still work together but it’s very strained. I’m sure partly so he can be honest about not speaking to me if she asks. He almost seems broken. They are supposed to be “working” on their marriage but I think she’s not trying to move on and he is still telling her lies. I told him today that he can be very charming when he wants to be so he needs needs to turn on the charm. He said he’s not doing anything. I also said at least now you know what’s important to you. He said nothing. I’m going to assume it’s because he thinks he’s going to lose her and not that he’s just trying to appease her which part of my heart still hopes. I’m going on vacation next week and I think there’s a good chance he will have gone to another job when I get back. I know that would be best for all but I hate that idea. Even though I’m pretty sure he was lying to me, will I always have a piece of me hanging onto hope? Why is the pain of knowing all those times he let me believe I was the one then not even hesitate to stay with her so much worse than if he’d just dumped me? How do I let go completely? I know in my head I was a fool

    1. Dear Cindy, you weren’t a fool…he was a prick. Sometimes we need to tell ourselves these blunt, unromantic truths. These affairs give men an arena in which they can convince themselves of certain things, which aren’t really true. I don’t think they all deliberately lie to us (although many of them do). They really lie to themselves. Or at least tell themselves half a truth. They know they feel something, but they’re not sure what it is. So they grab the label that sits most easily and then work to that template.
      Go be with your grief. Don’t beat yourself up. Be proud that you can love that deeply, and know that you will again, with a more “worthy” man.
      Many blessings to you.

  30. Quite an eye opener reading all of these posts. Seeing first hand the pain that can be caused when breaking up with the mistress. It’s not an easy situation especially when you’ve grown close to them, in my case my mistress probably knows me better than my wife does. As I can be open with her in a way that just doesn’t feel natural with my wife. My mistress brings me joy, excitement, passion, energy. And she is very understanding of my situation. Things start of as just being sex, but after you have sex a few times with the same person feelings grow and it becomes more than that. However it’s not enough for me to leave my wife and kids, so I know that it needs to end.

    I think most men won’t leave their wives and families for their mistresses, unless they are 100% serious about you. They might say they will but would never actually go through with it.

    1. Thank you MM for your honesty. It’s great to hear from one of the men, who are in this situation. I do have a question for you: if your wife decided that she would like an open relationship with your, or some form of polyamory…would you maintain your relationship with your mistress…or would the dynamic change? Would she become your polyamorous partner along with your wife, or would she be “dumped”?
      I”m not sure if you’re able to answer this, but I would be genuinely fascinated to hear about this. In other words, how much of the “mistress” relationship is fed by the framework????
      Best wishes

      1. Hi Tracey, if by some miracle my wife agreed to some form of polymory, I would definitely want to maintain my relationship with my mistress. But the thing is, while she is content with being the mistress at the moment, she wants to be my main lady at some point. Says she is prepared to wait as long as it takes. But ultimately wants me all to herself. I don’t want her to wait in vain for me though and waste years of her life in hope. I ended it before but sex with her always has me going back.

        In a way it’s something I don’t understand, why would a woman want to be with someone who they know lies to their wife and kids??

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