‘I’m cheating on my husband with a man who is abusive towards me’

Dear Coleen

I’m a woman in my mid-40s and, from the outside, it looks as if I have it all. I’m told I’m very attractive, I’m fit, I have a well-paid career, two lovely kids and a husband who adores me.

So what’s the problem? I’ve been seeing this other man for about 18 months.

We don’t see each other every week, but we meet to have sex and, as I’m away quite a lot with work, it’s not that difficult to cover my tracks.

This man is nothing like my husband – he’s rough round the edges and he’s also emotionally abusive.

He doesn’t respect me at all, but I find myself being drawn back to him time and time again.

He’s always putting me down and once he left me waiting in a pub for him all night. He never showed up.

He can be charming and the sex is good, but I know he doesn’t love me. How could he when he treats me so badly?

How can I get myself out of this? I’m not stupid and I know I’m playing with fire, but I can’t seem to end it.

Have you any advice?

Coleen says

It might have something to do with your background and family relationships, and that’s why you keep being drawn back to this abusive man.

You could be repeating patterns from the past.

I think psychotherapy would be really beneficial to help you unravel why you’re so determined to sabotage what you have.

In terms of the immediate future, you need to get rid of this guy – even if you weren’t married, you shouldn’t be with him.

But the fact is, you are married and this relationship has the potential to blow your life out of the water, losing everything that’s fabulous – and for what? A person who has no respect for you.

Dig deep and find the strength to say you love yourself enough not to risk everything for a man like this.

And put some time and effort back into your marriage.

When you’re having doubts, imagine not having your great life any more.

Imagine your husband leaving and a custody battle over the kids. Imagine splitting your life in two.

It might help to try to detach yourself from the emotions involved and imagine this was happening to your best friend and how you’d subsequently advise her.

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