Dear Coach:

I met my boyfriend 4 years ago and he has 2 children. About a year into the relationship, I knew there was something not adding up. Well, I found out the hard way that he is still married to his wife! I tried many times to talk to him about this, and get different answers each time.

He’s been living with me and pays very little since he has kids and college expenses for them; but I have to say, it does bother me sometimes and it leaves me wondering where my future will be heading in this situation. Please help!


Hello Friend:

I’m concerned about your predicament and can appreciate how betrayed and upset you must feel. Having invested your life and heart with your boyfriend after being with him as long as you have, to discover at this stage of your relationship development that he is actually married can be a pretty devastating thing to learn and I’d imagine has turned things upside down with disillusionment.

I am concerned because a healthy relationship is built upon a strong foundation of trust and respect, and these essential characteristics do not appear to currently exist in your relationship. Throughout the entire course of your being together as a couple, your boyfriend has been deceptive and lied to you. Perhaps he was afraid you would leave him if you knew the truth about his marital status, but his motives are really not that important. The fact is that he didn’t respect you enough to give you the opportunity to make your own choice about what you wanted to do. That is selfish and not something one does to someone they care about. The fact that he continues to be evasive about his life and dodges your questions is another “red flag” that is a major concern, as is the fact that you’ve taken him into your home and are financially supporting him. I’m concerned about the possibility that you may be being taken of advantage of by someone who is not considerate of your feelings and seems driven by his own needs. There also appears to be an imbalance at play here where you tend to be giving more and doing more of “the work” in the relationship which will likely lead to burnout and resentment as time goes on due to the lack of reciprocation.

It appears that you are now at a crossroads where you must decide whether to stay in or leave your relationship in the wake of this discovery. What a horrible position to be put in! The important thing is to breathe and make sure you make your decisions from your logical mind. I would encourage you to take out a piece of paper and make a cost/benefits analysis of your situation, detailing all the advantages and disadvantages of staying together versus terminating the relationship. It would also be important for you to examine your personal values and personal requirements for a partner and relationship and use that as a gauge for assessing whether those criteria match what your boyfriend brings to your life. I would also recommend that you seek out the services of a trained therapist or coach to help you clarify your needs and feelings and assist you with your problem-solving before making any decisions since the choice you make will certainly impact your future.

Nobody can tell you what to do as other people are not really privy to the ins and outs of your relationship and you have to live out your own truth. However, please do not discount the fact that respect, honesty, integrity, and love are all important ingredients for the success of a relationship and there is a concern that these have all been violated. If you decide to stay, it will be important to see if your boyfriend takes responsibility for his behavior over the long-term and makes definitive, concrete steps toward honoring you and the relationship (be careful though! If he could treat his wife this way, this could say a lot about his character that could be repeated in an involvement with you). Pace things slowly and avoid committing yourself more deeply to him until he’s proven himself trustworthy.

It would also be important for you to examine the reasons behind your ability to forgive someone for mistreating you because you deserve to be with someone who values you for who you are and can offer you an equal partnership. Make sure your own motives for staying are pure and not based out of fear or guilt, as this will likely come back to bite you later if that’s the case.
So consider all the factors involved here and please be careful and protect yourself! Since you’re supporting him, make sure you’re not being “played” and rectify that as the situation dictates. This whole situation smells bad and the fact that your boyfriend still won’t be straight with you when you question him (which you have every right to!) reeks even more and makes one wonder if there’s more secrets where that came from. Be strong, stand up for yourself, and refuse to tolerate being mistreated! You deserve a great guy! And if it’s him you choose, he’s got a lot of work to do to prove himself worthy by taking responsibility, communicating openly and honestly, and doing whatever it takes to heal this relationship and repair the damage that’s been done. My fingers are crossed for you! Be true to yourself!

(c) Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach

The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
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