I am thirty seven years old and I have been in a live in relationship with the same woman for ten years, and now find myself falling in love with a close friend of mine.It is tearing me up. What can I do?I have always pictured myself with a loving wife with whom I could share life and a family. Unfortunately I have never gotten to the point in this relationship that I felt completely secure in my own feelings to go the next step and marry her and start this family I so dearly want.I will not marry anyone and bring a child into this world if there is any chance of divorce.We both agree we should never have moved in together ten years ago but short of going into volumes of why we did and how we got to this point, here we are.Our relationship is easiest described by me as not bad enough to do anything about it, and not good enough to do anything about it either. Don’t get me wrong we love each other but in a way have little in common.I have always wanted to share life with someone.Someone with similar interests, wants and needs.I guess it is typical that sex became our first problem. I have always felt that love and the closeness of sex went hand in hand. My girl friend though she likes to be close and seems to like sex when we have it, has stated that she has little interest in it. To me it is the best way for me to express my love.You see I am a verry emotional person and sometimes words are not enough. We are at the point that we go for months at a time without sex, where she is ok with just being close I have gotten to the point that I have given up on my feelings and can’t push the point.Sex is only part of the problem but sets the stage for all of our other problems. Time marches on and we agree to disagree.My friend and I, on the other hand, have worked together for a number of years and share a lot of the same goals, likes and dislikes. We have shared a lot of things as friends since we first met. We have always been close but about a year ago something clicked inside me. My attraction for her grew but I couldn’t act on my feelings because I didn’t want to ruin a great friendship, and I do love my girlfriend. A couple of months ago thanks to a new computer and a chat line we began to talk, a little more intimately each time. I was thinking of leaving our company and she had just met a guy. I couldn’t hold my feelings in any more and confessed them to her.Happily I found that she felt exactly the same way.Since then we have fallen deeply in love with one another, and I want to be with her.My real problem now is what do I do. My girlfriend doesn’t deserve to be crushed and I want to let her down easy as possible and feel that should take some time.How can I be fair to everyone? Now that the woman I really love is in a new relationship with a guy that also professes his love and can offer a immediate no strings attached relationship to her.You see she was alone for a long time when this guy came along and really needs someone now.She is afraid of getting caught up in my breakup that could turn messy and take a long time, and doesn’t want to be the reason for the my split.She wants me to make my decission and do what I have always known I would have to do. I want her to be happy, we both know that if I had been free we could have been great.I want her,I need her. Do I fight for her? If I won life could be great.My heart aches. I want to do the right thing.I just want to be happy and share life. Where do I go from here? Time marches on.
You are certainly in a bind.When I read your letter it sounds like you knew all along that your live in girl of 10 years was never right for you from the start. You don’t share the same values or interests and your sex drives are very different as well. So, as I read your letter, I kept wondering why you love your girlfriend. Other than believing your declaration, I couldn’t understand what you loved about her.What also struck me was how willing you are to settle for so little. You have lived a half-life for the past decade. You are a passionate and sensitive man who has settled for an anemic existence.On the other hand, when you speak of your new love, you seem to come to life. However, when you talk about her, again you sound like she is a dream that never could come true. ‘If I won life could be great.’ Is the tentative tone in the ‘if’ sentence reflecting your doubt about your ability to win her from the man she is dating? Or does it reflect your doubt about your own ability to go for what you want in life?I think that this conflict you are in over these two women is telling us about a deeper conflict within your soul. There is some core part of you that seems to be telling you that you aren’t allowed to go for it.I think you need to examine where you learned to settle for a relationship that doesn’t make your heart sing. Did you have a parent that settled for less than he or she deserved or desired? Examine yourself and your history and I am sure you will find that someone gave you the message that you can’t have what you want in life.If I am correct, that person has taken residence in your head and governs your life choices to this day. Psychoanalysts call that voice the ‘toxic introject.’ It is the voice of a parent or parents that live on in most of our heads, chiding us, controlling us, putting us down, limiting our moves.In order to become whole individuals we all must come to identify the introjects in our heads and learn to separate us from them. Otherwise, the core of our beings will drown under the weight and commands of the voices.So, I think you need to find out who is telling you that you can’t have what you want in life. Name the voice and begin talking to this parental figure in your head. You might say to the voice,’Mom or dad, just because you couldn’t allow yourself to be happy doesn’t mean that I should follow in your footsteps.’Once you are clearer on who you are and what you want, versus what the voices tell you is right for you, you should feel freer to make a decision for yourself. Bottom line, we are all entitled to be happy and joyful in love and work.Identifying the true nature of your inner struggle, should help resolve your conflict. If you still feel stuck, please contact me again in my Private Consulting section and we can discuss the matter privately.