No Good Deed…

After my wife of 20 years committed suicide I took counseling for a year and was able to get over it, though I feel sometimes a person never gets over a thing like that.

I dated a few women until one day I met the woman of my dreams. She has been divorced two years and separated for seven. She has two boys.

At first she was bitter about her ex and it showed. I explained to her they should get along for the boys’ sake and encouraged her to get over their petty differences.

Prior to six months ago I never had any suspicions of her. She always told me what was going on with their texts, and she always told the truth.

Three months ago I overheard her talking to a friend. She told her that her ex was her new best friend. I was devastated and thought to myself, what have I done. I should never have encouraged her to get along for the sake of the boys.

A few months ago she got upset and took off. She told me and a friend where she was going, a town close to where her ex works. Her friend told her it was a bad idea. From an anonymous email I learned her ex paid for her room. I also received anonymous phone calls saying she was sleeping with him.

When I confronted her, she out and out lied about who paid for the room until I showed her the email. She strongly denies sleeping with him and for some reason I believe her. But I do know something happened she’s not telling me about. I don’t know what.

I don’t want to push this further right now because one of our kids is getting married in a month and I don’t want to take a chance of ruining their special day. I am madly in love with this woman and don’t want to lose her.

Any advice on how to save our relationship?

~ Bob

Bob, you overrode her feelings. That’s wrong for a number of reasons. How can we have a genuine life of our own, on our deathbed how can we say it was my life, if we override our feelings for the sake of others.

We could argue, logically, she would be better off for the sake of the boys to get back together with her husband. And if we argued that way, all we would be doing is drawing your logic to its conclusion. So you need to be out of the picture.

Take it one step further. What are you teaching the kids? Your life is not your life.

It’s the same excuse as the wedding. “I should not break up with this woman who is having sex with her ex because of a wedding.” That is not how a real life works. That’s a sham life. It is a life of appearances only.

You thought she should get along with her ex because that is the “nice” thing to do and you’re a nice guy. But where does this attitude stop? Someone needs a kidney, so I will give them a kidney. Someone else needs a kidney, so I will give them my other kidney. Where does this stop?

Having empathy for others is wonderful, but what about self-empathy? She had bad enough feelings about her ex to divorce. What gave you the right to pooh-pooh her feelings?

Chances are her new relationship with the ex will be temporary. In six months it will be back to its old self, but by then you will be long out of the picture.

You need to rethink your ideas about niceness, because right now it appears you are trying to prove two things. Karma is real, and baseball manager Leo Durocher was right when he said, “Nice guys finish last.”

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of August 3, 2015

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