The help desk: A case of a serial philanderer
Q. I first met my lover 12 years ago. I was 30 and single, he was married. He is the love of my life and also the cause of terrible pain over the years.
Several times I ended our relationship – he wouldn't leave his wife, despite his promises, and he also had at least two other affairs while he was seeing me. But we have an incredible connection, physically and intellectually, and I feel he is the only person who truly understands me. His marriage did eventually end two years ago.
Cautiously, I started seeing him again and now he says he wants us to move in together. Logically, I realise alarm bells should be ringing. But I want so much finally to be part of his life (I've never met his children and some of his friends). I just feel we belong together. No one else I've been with has ever come close. My gut tells me things are different this time, but can someone like this ever really change?
A. Crikey, I have to say this one sounds like a monster. Do I think people like this ever change? No I don't. This man, with his "at least two" affairs (have you asked him how many? Could you trust him to answer honestly?) sounds like a compulsive philanderer.
The thing about serial cheats is that they need someone to cheat on. Since his marriage ended, there is a vacancy for a Wronged One in his life, the job description for which really doesn't bear thinking about. You're a bit of a romantic – I can tell from the way you describe your affair – and I have a terrible feeling that you would find some kind of fulfilment in this role, having done such sterling work as Deputy Wronged One for all these years.
So yes, alarm bells should be ringing. Let's strip away, for a moment, the lividly tinted lens of the star-crossed-lovers thing, the hearts and flowers, the "love of my life" stuff – and what you're asking yourself is whether you should set up home with someone who habitually causes you to suffer, and without whom your life would have been much happier, if a trifle duller. Perhaps what you should more helpfully be asking is what has happened in your life to make you believe that love goes hand in hand with pain.
No one changes all that much, and the complex dynamic between lovers perhaps even less so. So what you'd be signing up for is more of the same, though with a few bonuses: you'd get the legitimacy and ownership you've craved while your affair was secret (though he is taking his time about introducing you to his nearest and dearest, isn't he?). You'd get, perhaps, some sense of payback for having given him the best years of your life. And then there is, of course, your incredible physical and intellectual connection (stop sniggering at the back, please).
There are some people for whom fidelity is not the most important thing. Maybe you are one of them, though with all the suffering you say he's caused you, I suspect not. This kind of philandering is a form of abuse, and someone so oblivious to your pain does not love you as you think he does.
Your problem shared
Have a dilemma? email your predicament, no matter how big or small, to Louisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Life & Style blogs
iPhone 6s Plus photos: leaks show Force Touch display, subtly altered size
Your best friend as a teenager can determine how healthy you are as an adult
iPhone 6s and 6s Plus battery capacity will be weaker than predecessors, Apple leaks suggest
Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
How to discover who your best friends are on WhatsApp - using a tool within the application
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 1 Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
This is a volunteer role with paid expenses : Belong: Seeking volunteers who c...
£12000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An admin assistant is required ...
£16500 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking to recruit an ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...