My lover says he can't be faithful
20:39 GMT, 27 May 2012
One reader is concerned her lover still can't promise fidelity
Fifteen years ago, I fell madly in love with a charismatic artist. He said at the time that he could never swear to be faithful, but I was so smitten I didn’t listen.
A year later I discovered that he’d been seeing another woman, so I left him. Nobody else in the intervening years has come close to filling that void and two months ago we reconnected and ended up in bed.
He says he wants me to move in with him, but also that he still can’t promise fidelity, as he doesn’t believe in it. I feel — at the age of 49 — that maybe I should live with the hurt in order to be with the man I love but my friends say I’m mad. What should I do
I suppose an honest adulterer is better than the lying variety, but neither make easy bed-mates. I think such people are best suited to partners who will behave with equal recklessness, so no one person shoulders all the pain. It’s clear you don’t want leeway to sleep with other people, so there will always be an imbalance.
Every time he’s away from home for a long time, you will fret about who he’s seeing, while he will not have to live with that anxiety. However, it is also true that there are people who would rather experience an overwhelming passion — whatever the painful consequences — than choose a steadier and less ardent path. A surprising number of women value living with a fascinating man over living with a faithful one.
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It’s interesting to note you feel far more able now — at the age of 49 — to tolerate the artist’s wandering eye than when you were in your 30s. Evidence seems to suggest that people’s romantic priorities change as they age. A recent survey for Saga Zone showed that only 36 per cent of respondents aged 55 and over felt that sexual infidelity was totally immoral, compared with 42 per cent in a younger age group.
Older people seem to feel more pragmatic about straying. They know that ‘nobody’s perfect’. The real questions here concern respect and resilience. Will your self-esteem drop through the floor if your lover has other girlfriends If so, you will be living the life of a whipped dog, cringing in humiliation and despair. Surely no amount of passion is worth that suffering
If, on the other hand, you can find sufficient self-worth in your day-to-day achievements, your friends and your relationship, then his trysts with other women may, with an effort of will, prove tolerable — but only if you do truly ‘share’ great love with your man.
This painter is clearly the man of your dreams, but do you know for sure that you are the woman of his Yes, he has asked you to move in with him, but that might just be because then he’d have sex on tap and a free rein to hook up with anyone else who takes his fancy.
The bottom line is that this relationship — in its proffered form — can only work if your boyfriend feels that you are as alluring and worth prizing as you believe him to be. You need to know that he has sufficient powers of commitment to remain in a long-term relationship because he values your spiritual, intellectual and emotional connection over your sexual one.
If this is not the case, you could easily be replaced by someone else he suddenly believes to be more compelling company. What could be more humiliating than to behave like a doormat and then find yourself discarded