I’ve fallen for someone I can’t have. We met on our daily train commute to San Francisco. Before long, we were meeting for lunch, holding hands and more. Her husband discovered a picture of us on her cellphone and drove her to my house to talk to my wife and me. My wife had already confronted me after noticing behavioral changes that led her to suspect I was getting close to another woman. I confided some, but not all, of the details of my relationship. The other woman and I have tried to convince our respective spouses that we were only friends. Our spouses have forbidden us to see or communicate. I don’t want our relationship to end. I am always thinking of her and feel as though I love her. Should we salvage what we have together, or try to distance ourselves?
Run to your lover or run back to your wife—it doesn’t matter, not until you stop associating love with lying. Yes, that means if you left your wife, your new relationship would eventually become soiled with lies, like your marriage has. You have to change. Honesty is the foundation for intimacy. You are in pain, and you are creating pain, because of dishonesty. Here’s how: You told your wife lies to shield yourself from being seen as you are. In the process you blinded your heart, making it difficult for you to know yourself. If you don’t know who you are, you can’t be authentic with others, or make clear life decisions.
I admit that I am biased against affairs and cheating, but I know plenty of people who have cheated on a spouse or partner. The difference between their situation, and yours, is that most of these individuals chose to be honest with their partners. Some relationships ended, while others recovered. In every situation, there was personal growth and a blossoming of love because the one who cheated told the truth. You can, too. Let your wife know that your traveling companion became your lover. Apologize for hoarding the facts. Apologize for violating your marriage vows. Ask for forgiveness. With the support of a good psychologist or trusted friend, investigate why you betrayed your wife. Forgive yourself. After you clear the mental cobwebs and emotional dead wood from your life, deciding whether to stay or go is easy.
What hope is there for an unloved lover? I am a nice guy, but I am alone and feel unloved. What wisdom could you offer someone who thinks too much, dreams too much, and does nothing? I did go on a date a month ago, but the girl was a Buddhist nun and not too interested in copulating. Actually, all of the girls I have dated have been crazy. I assume I am the crazy one for dating crazy girls. I don’t know. I have 80 unread self-help books on depression, mindfulness and meditation, but I want your advice.
Love yourself and you won’t be an unloved lover. And, if you’re using “love,” as a euphemism for sex, please don’t. While we’re nixing words, ditch “copulating.” It’s clinical, and not at all sexy. Donate your self-help books, then find a delivery method for personal growth information that works for you, like iTunes classes, a 12-step program or group therapy. Listening to other people’s realities will remind you that everyone struggles, at least until they accept themselves and others.