Dear Carolyn: I am in love with a man and have been for a few years now. The problem is, he has been going with a woman I work with and who lives in the same complex as I do.
He tells me she is controlling and high-maintenance. The only reason he still goes with her, he says, is for her grandchildren’s sake. He always talks negatively about her. He also says they only go to dinner on certain nights and nothing else, but many people tell me they see them together all the time.
He is very attached to my daughter, and at times I use that, I admit. He is even paying for her first car. I don’t know what to do anymore. Should I tell this other woman? Or should I just leave things alone and just be happy I even have this much of him? Please print this; maybe it will help other women in my situation. – Upstate New York
And men. But the helpfulness part is dubious. It takes so much denial to stay in a situation like the one you describe that I fear any help I try to offer will be rationalized away.
The substance and quantity of the whoppers you’re being told by your “boyfriend” represent exactly what you require to justify sticking around.
You know his relationship with your colleague/neighbor is alive and well, such as it is; you know he’s bad-mouthing her only to keep you hooked and hopeful; you know you’re staying hooked and hopeful because you’d rather have his company than not have it. You know you’re being scammed and used, and that you’re doing what you need to do to save face – calling it love, using him back, believing his lines.
My only advice to you is to start telling yourself the truth. All of it. See him for who he is, see yourself for who you are. If you do drop all the barriers you’ve erected against that truth, then you’ll see the true nature and scope of what you really have. Then, and only then, will you know exactly what to do.