'I have no sympathy for my sad, lonely friend who has children with her married lover'

Coleen Nolan helps a reader who is getting increasingly frustrated with a mate who won’t see sense over her part-time partner

Feeling left on the side bringing up his kids while lover plays happy families with his wife
Feeling left on the side bringing up his kids while lover plays happy families with his wife

Dear Coleen,

I have a good friend who has two young children from a long-term affair with a married man.

This guy is older than her with grown-up children and has never had any intention of leaving his marriage to be with my friend. His wife has no idea about the affair, even though it’s been going on for years.

My friend told me they’d had a huge row recently because she gave him an ultimatum – either leave his wife or their relationship is over. ­Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t want anything to change, so she’s distraught.

But I’m having trouble finding any sympathy for my friend. I’ve advised her many times over the years to walk away and give herself the chance of a proper relationship with someone else, but she won’t see sense.

I also can’t help judging her for the terrible decisions she’s made and feel she’s brought all this mess on herself. Her kids are lovely and their dad supports them financially, and sees them as much as he can.

But I just can’t get over why my friend would want to be with a man who’s this dishonest and arrogant, and who’ll never give her the life she craves.

Coleen says…

I understand your frustration but, look at it this way, you’re lucky you’ve never found yourself in this situation.

It’s easy to judge from where you’re standing. You might think you know what you’d do if you were in your friend’s shoes – walk away pronto or not get involved at all – but you don’t have feelings for this guy. She’s being led by her heart, not her head, and she has two kids with him.

You don’t agree with what she’s done and that’s fine, and I’m sure she knows it, but it shouldn’t stop you from being friends and being there when she needs a shoulder to cry on.

Maybe you need a clear the air conversation where you tell her that you honestly don’t know how to advise her any more. But don’t make her feel bad about herself because it sounds like she’s in a painful situation, even if it is of her own making.

I doubt anything you say will convince her to move on from this man.

She needs to reach that decision on her own and, the bottom line is, she may never get to that point.


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