Dear Annie: I am 52 and have been married for 32 years, most of which have been platonic. We’ve stayed together for the sake of the children, who now live on their own. My husband and I get along fairly well, but I have no feelings for him, and there is no chance of that changing.
For the past eight years, I have been involved with “Darren,” a man I am crazy about. He knew from the beginning that I wouldn’t leave my husband until all my children were out of the house. Now he is putting pressure on me to begin divorce proceedings. But I am uncertain about a future with Darren. He is controlling and has a quick temper and a total disregard for others. I am afraid he will cause friction with my children, and I am not willing to jeopardize my relationship with them.
Darren also runs hot and cold. We get along great when it is just the two of us, but when other people are involved or when life takes a turn, he becomes difficult because he is unable to adjust to even minor adversity. He also is jealous and suspicious of everything I do and say, although I’ve given him no reason.
Darren has participated in counseling at my urging, but he only attended a few sessions. I also had counseling, but it didn’t help. How do I muster the courage to break off with someone I love? – In Turmoil in Lancaster, Pa.
Dear Lancaster: The excitement and escapism of your affair allowed you to overlook the controlling, unpleasant aspects of Darren’s character. Now that you can be available as a committed partner, you are seeing him more clearly. He will not make you happy. You have managed to tie up both your husband and boyfriend in unfulfilling relationships. Have the decency to stop dangling Darren on a hook, and let him go. He won’t like it, but there is no alternative that will work out better.