Hanging on to a fractured relationship after his cheating

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

I need serious help. I am so broken. I cry every day even when I'm having a good day.

My spouse met this girl at his school. From the start I saw her intentions and told him to stay far from her. She was going through a break-up and he reached out to comfort her. A friendship developed. I wasn't okay with it because she would call any time of day or night and her intentions got clearer.

Time went by and he assured me they were just friends. I trusted him; I didn't accept it, but I tolerated things. I lost my sex drive which started to pose issues, and her shoulder was the one he cried on. She would give him any amount of money he wanted, along with sex (which I didn't know at the time). I knew something would happen, just not the extent. I decided something was there that I needed to know, and so I accessed his phone and found they were dating.

Everything sexual that was lacking with us he told her, and she provided it. Worse, she got pregnant. He and I have been together three years and he proposed to me, but due to financial issues we had it on hold. She was doing everything to make him leave me for her. They were going to terminate the pregnancy and keep it from me, but then his family found out so they decided that she should not terminate it. His mother dislikes me and told him he must leave me for her. We have a daughter together.

He says he regrets it and isn't leaving me because this is where he wants to be. I know he loves me as he never fails to show it, and I love him just the same. We have goals set for a long life in holy matrimony. The issue is that since everything with this girl, we argue and fight a lot. I think about harming him, the girl, his mother and the unborn child. We don't have happy days and it's killing us both.

He gave me an infection that damaged my womb and I may not get pregnant again, when expanding our family is one of our goals. It hurts me knowing she did this and is bearing his child and I may never get that opportunity again. We talk about it as much as possible and I suggested talking to our pastor, but he refuses as he does not want news to get out about the child as he says he did not want it and felt forced to keep it.

He tries to be supportive and she is trying to take advantage to use the child to get to him, but he isn't letting go and neither am I. We discussed what we want, and what we want is a life until death do us part. I am dying though; I am not sure how to deal with it. Help me, please.

I can almost see some readers shaking their heads in reaction to the ordeal you are experiencing. Why would a woman put another woman through so much mental and emotional pain? Why would a man allow himself to be pulled or walk into a situation like this? What does a woman expect her man to do when she shows little or no interest or desire to have sex with him? These are some of the questions that no doubt will occupy the thoughts of many people.

So here it is that your partner, being the good friend he is, was reaching out to a female friend who was apparently devastated by her break-up. She needed a shoulder to cry on and your gentleman volunteered.

What he wasn't aware of is that the grieving lady was in a very vulnerable place emotionally and would easily substitute emotional support for intimacy. Assuming she had no ulterior motive, her fragile emotional state would push her into the arms of another man who was caring and supportive.

Some men know this and take advantage of women who find themselves in similar situations. Others innocently reach out and find themselves unable to resist the temptation of taking the comforting words to the next level.

A word of advice to men who seek to provide emotional support to grieving women: establish boundaries. The grieving woman should not be calling you 24/7, especially at nights when you should be sharing that time with your significant other. You should not be the substitute or replacement for her ex-partner, and if you give her all the attention she demands, she will become emotionally attached to you. Going to her home alone is not smart either, as the chances of a sexual encounter are very high, and that may be what she wants to comfort and soothe her emotional pain.

Unfortunately, you had a decline in your sexual interest during this time, which could be related to your preoccupation with what was going on with your gentleman and this woman.

Look at this scenario: here you have a man who was denied sex by his partner. He finds himself in the presence of a woman who is prepared to offer him sex in return for love and affection. It seems that both were in a sense fulfilling each other's needs. So the right timing, as it were, was in their favour.

It is just a pity he never heeded your advice, or he would not be in this predicament now. His excessive generosity of spirit has now resulted in a child he never planned for. Surely he wasn't careful, neither was he smart.

So now it's damage control time. You must be commended for standing by him during this untenable situation. You have indicated that the other woman had a card up her sleeve and was intent on taking your man, and so having a child for him would have sealed the deal. Well, if that was her intention she seems to have succeeded, at least as far as bearing his child. In this way he must be in her life, even if only in a co-parenting role.

From what you indicated, he seems to regret his behaviour and wants to continue the relationship with you despite his mother's disapproval. This could mean that he recognises his mistake and wants to make amends.

This is the time to have a serious talk with him as to the future of your relationship. If there is talk about a long-term commitment he certainly must be disciplined and exercise self-control. He must remember that he is the father of two children and so should behave more responsibly.

As much as you are hurting, I implore you not to harbour the thought of hurting anyone. That would only bring more grief to you, and psychological harm to your child if you are out of her life.

If he is reluctant to talk with the pastor, talking to a counsellor would be recommended for both of you. You will need professional help to cope with this dilemma.

Do take care of yourself and your child.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com or powellw@seekingshalom.org. Check out his work on www.seekingshalom.org and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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