Dear Lovehacker, my wife and partner of 15 years has left me for a guy she met online in the MSN days. But she wants me to stay living in the house to fulfill her needs. She has been talking to him on and off for the entirety of our relationship and has secretly flown out to see him when I've been away.
I want to stay for my kids and give them the closest thing to a normal life as possible. And I still love her, but I guess she doesn't feel the same. Should I leave? Thanks, H.
The fact that MSN was the primary delivery method of this kind of betrayal feels like a long con with a side serving of "fuck you". Holy shit.
This isn't the first time Lovehacker has talked about cheating. We examined it last week from a somewhat unique perspective. We've even covered how it can effect social groups before. But this is completely different.
This wasn't a slip up or momentary lapse in judgement. This was careful and calculated behaviour that lasted for 15 years. You built a life together and created two humans.
And she doesn't seem to have any fucks to give.
Not only did she dump you, she had the lady balls to ask for some live-in side D because the guy she left you for lives interstate. That is a level of selfishness and entitlement so abhorrent that an adequate word to describe it doesn't exist yet.
I get that emotions must be running high right now. You can't just turn off your feelings for someone, even if they hurt you so acutely. But that's exactly why you need to dig deep and utilise one simple, but powerful word - no.
Let's get real. You're not going to win her back by agreeing to those terms. And Christ, do you really want to? She has already proven how little empathy she holds for you. Letting her treat you like her own personal stud horse will only make it easier for her to justify her behaviour. If you don't respect yourself right now she sure as hell won't. Show her that her actions have consequences.
I also wonder if her new man knows about this attempted arrangement? Would he be cool with it now that they've allegedly gone legit? If she had no qualms lying to her husband for 15 years, I seriously doubt she would be above lying to him. I can imagine it now - "Don't worry, baby. He's just staying here until we work out what to do about the kids."
Speaking of which, I absolutely sympathise about wanting to keep things as normal as possible for your children.
But honestly, what's normal about their parents living together even though mummy is cyber banging some random who she has to fly out to see? If they don't know already, they're going to pick up on the tension and toxicity between you two eventually. That could be more damaging in the end. Staying together for the kids isn't always the best choice.
I'm sure there's an element of fear there too though. You may be worried that leaving would result in seeing them less. That's a supremely unfair position to be in, but you may need to accept that as a possibility. Regardless of the outcome of this situation, your job is to be the best dad you can be to them.
If you do choose to stay, even if it's just to work this shitstorm out, just focus on the kids. Don't make it about her at all. Make it very clear that if she wants things to be over, she ain't getting any from you. She'll have to make do with eggplant emojis.
You may eventually decide that its best to leave. I don't know what your financial situation is like, but that can be a significant hurdle in regards to both divorce, custody and moving out. Be sure to research and plan. I'm by no means an expert on this, but you do have options if you want to look into it. You may find these links helpful as a jumping off point:
Lovehacker is a weekly relationship and sex column where our resident Agony Aunt answers your questions. Need help? Drop a comment below or email [email protected].
This story has been updated since its original publication.