Thank you for the great work you are doing. I have been in a relationship for almost two years now with a woman I had no idea was married and with a four-year-old child. I adore her, and my feelings for her didn’t change after this disclosure. We are of the same age group and she loves me dearly, drawing from how she treats me. Sometimes we have arguments and fights but we always manage to resolve them. She’s everything I ever wanted and she says the same of me. We also have similar dreams and ambitions. She has been having a rough time in her marriage and I have supported her through it all. She says she got married because she was pregnant, young and confused. She does not love her husband at all. He disrespects her and mistreats her. She wants out of her marriage and is ready to get married to me. She has informed her parents and they support her. We have been saving a little as we plan on settling down together. But the money is not enough to take care of our needs since I am jobless. Recently, her husband threw her out and she put up with a friend. I would have taken her in but feared what would happen if her husband found out. She eventually returned to him after he threatened her. We have not seen each other for a while now out of fear that we might be caught. Therefore, we only talk on phone. I am confused about all this. Please help.
You are facing several issues that need addressing. First and foremost is that you are in love with, and having an affair with someone else’s wife.
It is evident that she is in a difficult relationship, one characterised by abuse. Meeting you gave her an opportunity to have someone she can talk to and help her deal with her pain.
Unfortunately, just like she ended up in a marriage because she was pregnant, I am convinced that she got into this relationship with you because you provided her the affirmation, appreciation and comforting she badly needed.
I want to remind you that this was, and possibly still is, a wounded woman whose life and dignity have been dented by her husband.
Also, you only know her side of the story, only what she has told you. This means that your relationship could be founded on half-truths.
In addition, it is evident that there is a lot of pain festering in her; there is also the fear she has to live with of being found out.
If her husband is an abusive man, I would not suggest that she runs back to further abuse, but the conflict she is experiencing needs to be resolved.
I also need to point out that having an affair with her is only complicating her situation.
Her emotional tie to you may make her not be keen to resolve matters with her husband even if adequate help is given.
The truth is that giving her a shoulder to cry on distances her even more from her husband because she has another option. In a nutshell, you have placed yourself in the middle of a storm.
The family unit is like a living thing — it will face many stages of growth and development. The influencing factors of change are not always positive.
Noting that you have been in this relationship for two years, and that this woman is still married, her child is not getting a stable environment in which to grow in.
If the abuse you referred to earlier also affected the child, then both the mother and child are going through pain that needs to be addressed.
Stepping away from this relationship could just be the fresh breath this marriage needs.
Your current confusion can only end if you give her the opportunity to repair her life.
I suggest that you leave this relationship for three reasons. The first has to do with your values.
There is a need for you to deal with your outlook on what makes a relationship.
If you can cheat with someone else’s wife, what makes you think that the same won’t be done to you? It is said that we reap what we sow.
The fact is that your current relationship is built on a faulty foundation.
The second reason has to do with the fact that I am convinced you are with this woman today because you took advantage of her vulnerability.
It is easy to blame her husband for her misery, but you may not have the full picture. I really don’t think you were forced into being intimate with her.
Both of you agreed to be in a relationship that was wrong from the start.
The third reason is the fact that this marriage did not get the chance to focus on getting help and healing.
When I listen to what you have to say, it boils down to a desire for selfish gain rather than providing support that leads to healing her marriage.
1. Be faithful before you demand faithfulness: being the first to model faithfulness helps set the benchmark for faithfulness in your relationship.
Instead of being quick to point a finger at your flirting spouse, take the opportunity to do a reality check on yourself.
Is there anything you are doing that could undermine your marriage? For those in the wrong, be the first to change and seek forgiveness before blaming.
2. Be driven by value: A relationship built on firm values stands a better chance of surviving and growing.
As much as intense passion and feelings about a person are great, feelings are like waves. Lasting relationships need to be founded on something bigger than feelings and need values such as respect, honour, trust and patience.
3. Be authentic: Creating an honest environment where a couple is both vulnerable and open with each other is necessary.
Cheats in relationships spend more money and energy to keep their affairs afloat and an environment that creates fear and intimidation kills intimacy, freedom and a sense of belonging.
4. Be accommodating: A know-it-all person does not seek to learn from their partner. What most couples should accept is the fact that we do not own all the knowledge.
Allowing each other into our worlds is one way of nurturing belonging and acceptance.
5. Be accountable. Should a husband be accountable to his wife? What makes it difficult for a man to remain accountable to his family?
Acknowledging mistakes and seeking forgiveness helps to strengthen a marriage and enhance intimacy.