He Doesn’t Really Deserve Me, But How Can I Forget the Man I Had an Affair With?

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Reader’s Question

I am a 29-year-old female. Nearly three years ago I was happily engaged to a man I’ve loved for 10 years now. We’ve now been married two years, and we are expecting our first baby. This man still treats me like a princess.

However, while I was still engaged to my husband, I started an affair with a colleague (my boss at that time) who is 19 years older, is also married, and who has an elder son three years younger than I am. I really don’t know how I got that involved with him because I really loved my fiancĂ©. But my colleague was charming, funny, powerful, strong, sexy, smart and quite persistent.

After nearly a year of denial (first to myself, then to him only), I gave up and we lived out a strong and passionate love story! I never before had such striking emotional and sexual experiences! I thought I loved him, and he appeared as though he loved me too. However, I was becoming more demanding and more jealous. Once I even thought I would escape with him, only if he wanted to, and it seemed (at least to me) that he might just do that. But the fact is that I got married and moved to another country with my husband. Still, this other man and I were chatting all the time, having online sex and even watching sexy movies together online.

We regularly (but not too often) met and had some beautiful 3-4 day escapes. However, I started to ask for more, it was becoming an obsession (even sexually) for me and, I guess, also for him, at least partly. We also started playing Second Life (the virtual-world game), and he was assuring me I was the only one (at least in real life) he was with apart from his wife. But then I discovered he was playing the online game with other women too and had virtual sex with them. When he realized he was discovered, he told me it was only a game. Then he confessed that he had some hallucinations and took pills, had gone to a psychologist and that nobody knew about this but me. He also sent me a loveable email telling me I was the one.

In a way, everything changed and I just couldn’t believe him anymore. Besides, he never gave me as much as I really wanted, and he never offered for us to escape together. Maybe it’s all been an illusion on my part or maybe he is just a middle-aged man with a mental disorder.

My problem is how to forget him. I wonder if he ever really loved me and whether our relationship was love or obsession. He doesn’t deserve me. But how should I forget him?

Psychologist’s Reply

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(Please read our important explanation below.)

You married a man with whom you have a child and whom you claim still treats you “like a princess.” While you were engaged to this man, you began an affair with another man and continued it during your marriage. The man you had the affair with is also married, was engaging in virtual cheating and had no compunctions about having sex with you while concealing his other activities — while purporting to you that you were “the only one.” You also had no compunctions about either his or your behavior and openly relished in the drama of it all. Several times, you expressed the hope that this man would help you “escape.” But you describe no circumstances from which any rational person might feel a reasonable need to escape.

My best suggestion: one sure way of getting your attention off this man is to start focusing on what is going on inside you. You have a husband and a child, yet somehow your life appears to have been more dominated by what appears to be unbridled fantasy and a significant thirst for excitement. During some phases of life it’s appropriate to ask questions of ourselves like: “Why can’t I have everything I want?” and “Why do there have to be limits and boundaries?” But at some point, these questions need to be answered, especially when we’re embarking on major life commitments. It would probably be best to secure a counselor or therapist who has lots of experience dealing with personality and character issues.

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