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Love Letters

Love Letters: Do I Tell His Wife?


As I mentioned yesterday: We're short on letters, which could mean that the form isn't working. Send lots of letters to meregoldstein@gmail.com. And -- I want to run some updates soon. Former letter writers: Send me an update from your original email address (or tell me what the address was) and let us know how you're doing.


Q:

Hi Meredith,
     
My girlfriend and I are both divorced, in our early 50s, and met on an online dating site. We have great chemistry and an amazing connection. We have been together for two years now but it's been a fairly rocky road at times. After the first six months I noticed she was pulling away. I would ask why, and she would say that she was stressed but never elaborate. She eventually told me that she was distancing herself because of how much she was hurt during her divorce. Basically, after six months we had only a weekend relationship because during the week she said she needed her space. I understood and gave it to her, but there were times during the week where I would feel I did not know her at all, then on weekends she was a completely different person, very loving and supportive.

Making a long story short, at about the year mark, I discovered she was seeing a married man at her work and that explained what happened. She vowed to end it and said I was the love of her life. Those turned out to be only words, not actions. I found out yet again that she was still seeing him. She once again vowed to break it off, and though I was skeptical, she insisted it was over. It wasn't -- as I recently caught her in a yet another lie, saying she was at a place that's been closed since Dec. 2013. She doesn't know I know this. I plan on bringing this up this weekend.

I stayed despite the lies and deception because she seemed very sorry and ashamed and vowed to change. Also, I have very much fallen for her. She also said she felt bullied by him and that if she did not acquiesce to his advances, he could get her fired. This place of employment is the only place in New England where she can do this work. He is very influential and apparently brings in a lot of money to the business foundation. I believed this, but with this last lie, I feel like she has real feelings for him, otherwise she wouldn't continue the lies and deception. I feel completely snookered. We were talking about moving in together. I don't understand how someone could do this to someone they purport to love. I feel like her weekend muse and a hedge in case he does not leave his wife.

Here's my long winded question: She is four years his mistress. They have previously talked about walking off into the sunset together (over a year ago) so who knows what their current plans are? Do I notify his wife? No one wants to be blindsided with such bad news, but doesn't she deserve to know the type of person she is married to? Eventually he will probably leave her so it's only a matter of time. Isn't it right and just for all to know the truth?

– hurt and disillusioned

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A: There's no right answer to the "should I tell" question. If you contact the wife, you're wading deeper into a mess that shouldn't be your problem. If you decide not to tell, it feels like you're supporting someone else's lie.

For right now, focus on what you have to do to extricate yourself from this relationship. Spend all of your energy on the breakup and then decide whether you want to reach out to the wife. Your priorities might change after you set up a life without your girlfriend.

It's a little too soon to be anything but selfish. And you should be preparing yourself, because when you bring up your girlfriend's most recent lie, I'm sure she'll have a well-crafted story that explains her mistake. You have to stay strong and remember that if you can't trust her, it has to be over -- for good.

Readers? Should he tell? Should he focus on his own breakup? Is she going to talk herself out of this lie?

– Meredith