I’ve been in a majority-committed relationship for five years. I am a stay-at-home mom, and the man that I am with takes care of me. While he treats me right, I’m not in love with him. Recently, I reconnected with an old flame via Facebook. At first it started out as harmless—he’s married with a family and lives out of state—until he came to visit me one weekend. We ended up going out for drinks at his hotel and sleeping together. I’m so attracted to him and he says he wants to leave his wife, but he doesn’t make the type of money I’d need him to make in order for me to live a comfortable life. I know this sounds foul, but I got to think about my kids and myself. I don’t want to keep cheating, but I can’t sustain on my own. What do I do?
Stuck in the Middle
I’ve got to be honest Stuck, I’m not sure whether to think of you as a gold digging user or as someone who just knows what she prefers (and that’s being generous). Either way, this situation has “foul” written all over it.
I’m not a fan of starting relationships before ending them, but I do understand that things happen. People stay in relationships for a number of reasons, and unfortunately, love is not at the top of the list these days. As sad as it is, your situation is one of many. It doesn’t matter that you’re not happy or in love with your man. The fact remains that you are indeed in a relationship. Going outside of your union to fulfill other needs is not only unfair to your boyfriend, but to you.
As far as your financial situation is concerned, you’re not “stuck.” Unless you do not have a particular skill, a debilitating health condition and/or a mental illness that keeps you from earning income, you always have options. Grown folks are not to be taken care of. If you cannot take care of yourself on your own, you probably shouldn’t be focusing on a relationship with anybody.
My advice is for you to get yourself together, and take your “situation” with your (ahem) sidepiece lightly, and cut it out altogether. People who are married say all types of things to the person who is bringing them satisfaction and “rescuing” them from the redundancy of their relationship. It’s best to leave him where he is because chances are you both are simply using each other to fill a void in your relationships.
As for your current relationship, my suggestion is for you to do both of you a favor and plan your exit. Have an honest conversation with your man about how you feel. Honestly, you owe him that much since it sounds like you’ve been just staying with him because he’s a provider. Granted, you have kids and no income, but being unhappy is a hell of a price to pay. Plus, you’re cheating him out of a partner who actually loves him.
Good luck and I wish you the best.
Shantell E. Jamison is an editor for EBONY.com and JETmag.com. Not confined to chasing headlines, this Chicago-based writer, radio personality and cultural critic is also the author of "Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self."