Style Sex & Relationships

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Dear Mary: I can't get over my married lover but I worry he's wasting my time

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Mary O’Conor

I am a 32-year-old female. I met a guy online 18 months ago. He told me he was separated. I was suspicious when he told me that I could not go to his house.

After three months I broke up with him because I found this unacceptable. I blocked his phone number and social media because I found it disrespectful the way he was responding to my questions. He seemed to laugh and brush me off when I asked serious questions.

But he could not leave me alone. Unable to contact me by phone or social media, about a month later he turned up at my house. I rang him and told him never to come to my place again. He said he wanted to know why I had blocked him and what he had done wrong. I agreed to meet up with him a week later, as I felt I did owe it to him to break it off face to face.

I met him and instantly fell for him again. We ended up sleeping together and afterwards he confessed to me that he was living with his wife but they sleep in separate beds and he has not touched her in eight years. He could not stay over at mine at night time because he is trying to get a divorce from her and if he doesn't go home she will know something is up and may not give him a divorce. I felt relieved that he was finally telling me the truth.

We continued to be together for another nine months but I didn't tell my friends or family that we were back together. After nine months of secret dating I told him I couldn't keep going on like this. He had also confessed to me that he was paying his wife's rent as she wasn't working. He says she has no friends or family and he cannot just leave her. I said fine, you are not available to be in a relationship at the moment therefore let's leave it. We did break up but he kept messaging me and I was lonely so I messaged back. I thought perhaps we could stay as friends. Of course this didn't happen and we were soon sleeping together again. So we were friends with benefits in my eyes.

Six months later an ex of mine texted me to meet up. I thought why not. We met up and ended up having sex. The other guy found out and accused me of cheating on him. I said I didn't cheat because we weren't in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

He was not happy but he didn't want to let me go either. I thought maybe this was what I needed to get rid of this guy. However he came back professing his love to me again, making me promise that I would never do that again.

What am I doing? Am I being a fool? Why can't I move on?

I would like to settle down and have a family and he says he wants these things too.

I'm afraid that he will waste my time and another few years will go by and we still won't have gotten any further. I'm afraid that maybe he will work things out with his wife. I don't know what to do.

Mary replies: You have already devoted well over a year to having a relationship with this man and most of that time your friends and family didn't even know what was going on. This says an awful lot if you think about it. At some level you were ashamed to let them know that you were back in a relationship with a married man.

What would you be saying if your sister or best friend was in a similar position? You would most likely be telling her that she was wasting her time, that he will probably never leave his wife, and that as long as she keeps taking him back and having sex with him then she will find it very difficult to move on with her life and meet somebody who is available.

And that is what I find myself wanting to say to you.

There is an undoubted attraction between the two of you and I'm sure he is very happy to have you in his life, but as long as you keep in touch with him, even just by messaging, you are keeping your hopes alive that he will leave his wife.

I realise that you can feel lonely and it is very easy to slip back into contact, but that makes it much more difficult for you to fully break up with him. I can say with certainty that the longer it is without contact between you then the easier it becomes and the heartache gets less. And then one day you will be over him and even if you were to meet him on the street you would be strong enough to continue to say no.

The longer you keep seeing this man the longer it will be before you meet somebody else. I can fully understand that you want to have a family and even though he says he shares those wishes he has not done anything so far that proves he is in earnest about wanting to leave his marriage and share his life with you, no matter how much he tells you otherwise.

I'm sorry if I seem to be harsh but I think deep down you know already that you are on a road to nowhere if you continue seeing your already married man.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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