Ask Lisa: She says she loves me but is married and dating others as well

I am over 60 and a healthy male now living an almost retired life. My relationships were always based on respect and a clear understanding of expectations…Three years back I met a woman in a public place where we frequented regularly. We started dating. It was indeed wonderful to have her, she is very decent, very beautiful, married, with children. For almost a year, we were together, then another man came in.

She was clearly very interested in him and they would talk incessantly, even before me, in very intimate conversations. When I confronted her, she told me, she loved me and that this other man, was just a friend. This was a new territory to me. I plainly offered her to part ways, so she could pursue her other venture free of guilt, but she did not agree. The situation did not last long and we broke up.

She approached me after 3-4 months and we again started meeting. Again, same problem and we broke up after a month or two. This roller coaster ride went on these last 2 years, we must have broke up 5-6 times during this period. Now we are back together again and again she says, she loves me. It is difficult to believe her but at the same time I like her very much. At the same time, the other contact is still there, which she denies.

Lisa’s thoughts…

It sounds like that this relationship felt really good to you in the beginning but been fraught with a lack of emotional safety as she engages with different men over time.  Considering she was (and I assume is still) “married, with children” when you met, how could she have really been yours anyway?   Relationship overlapping doesn’t appear to be particularly difficult for her.  But, I understand that this woman had a big impact on you and despite this, still does.

You seem to desire a healthy, committed relationship.  What is your definition of a loving relationship?  What is hers?  She reports to love you but then gets into close relationships with other men rather easily.  And what about her husband and family?

Your instincts are speaking to you and they are there for a reason.  They are telling you this is a “long battle” and you are ready to end it.  I imagine you must have been hurt by her repeatedly as she comes in and out (while reporting to love you).  That sounds incredibly confusing.  Yet you are still concerned about hurting her!

You deserve to have a committed, loving partner who is there for you…where there is security in the connection.  I wonder what it is about you or your experiences before her that has kept you engaging with her as long as you have.  As painful as this may be, understand that this woman has never really been yours.

My suggestion is you start to consider your feelings, your needs and what you want for the rest of your life out of a partnership.  Make your choices from that place.

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