Monday 19 August 2019

Dear Mary: My life is a mess - my husband has gone and I can't stay with my lover

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Mary O’Conor

I am 42, recently separated and I have young children.

I was married for 12 years but it was a bad marriage with no love or affection. My husband is a nice person deep down but he likes to do his own thing and as our kids were born very close together, it was busy.

He was holding down a full-time job and also coaching a lot so was out of the house three or four evenings a week and every weekend. I am also keen on sport so for that reason I put up and shut up even though I was under pressure.

Our sex life was never good. I was never 100pc attracted to him but I liked him as a person. But he is a cold person and you would never know what he was thinking.

As the years went by things got worse and in 2012 I had a fling with an ex that only lasted a short time.

Two years ago I met a married guy. Nothing happened for months as we were both living some distance apart and then we met again and a physical and emotional affair started.

A year later I asked my husband to leave the family home because I could not continue living under the same roof as we were not even speaking at this stage.

I did not ask my husband to leave for my affair partner as I know 100pc he will never leave his wife and kids for me, but, unknown to him, I do think he helped me make the decision.

He actually does not know I have left my husband - he thinks all is fine. I cannot tell him because he might want more from me and I would feel under pressure, or he may run a mile, and I'm not able to face either of those scenarios right now.

I had a difficult childhood - my father died tragically when I was a baby. My mother is a strong woman but it was a very hard time for us.

I am very insecure and needy and I crave the attention this man gives me even though it's all on his terms. He is over 10 years older than me and is the type of guy I should have married. He is a great father to his kids, appears to have great respect for women and his wife and seems an all-round great family guy, albeit he is cheating on his wife.

I am shocked, disgusted, disappointed and hurting inside for doing all of this.

I know it's best for now to separate but long-term I don't know.

I am a total mess and feel that only for my boys this life is not worth living.

Mary replies:  I've tried to keep the salient points while editing your long email and I agree it is quite a mess. You were unhappy in your marriage but instead of trying to sort it you had a few affairs, and are still involved with one of the men.

You then separated which is entirely your choice but despite having what you call an emotional and physical relationship with this man you have not even told him of this huge change in your life.

I also think that your judgment is a bit flawed if you can think that a man who is cheating on his wife and children is an all-round great guy.

As you were without a father from such a young age, I wonder what formative male figure you had in your life. Perhaps none, which is why you feel so needy and crave male attention. This is all something that should be talked through with a psychotherapist to try to gain some understanding of yourself.

It may well be that your husband was not able to fulfil your needs, or perhaps you were not able to allow him to, but you need to get your own thought process sorted out and I don't think that continuing this affair is the way to go because he cannot give you what you need and will never be there for you full-time.

If through therapy you discover what you really want then you will be able to move forward.

Always remember if you are feeling really down the Samaritans are there 24 hours a day on 116 123.

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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