12 years ago, I met a woman at work. She had a boyfriend, who also worked at our facility. I got along with both of them well. She ran into a housing issue, and since he still lived at home, I offered to rent her a room at my house. I discovered after a few months that she was “the one.” BUT, I respected the boundary of her being with another man. That didn’t stop us from having sex one night, due largely to the fact that we were using drugs. She moved out and later moved in with him. He is not a user, by the way. Anyway, she relapsed, and I basically saved her life. She asked him if she could have sex with me, and he readily agreed. So we began a physical relationship, with his approval and knowledge. And of course, I fell madly in love with her. I’m at the end of my rope, and I am going to talk to him this weekend. She gave him an ultimatum last week: marry me or I’m leaving you. He agreed, but only after 3 days of thinking about it, and then, reluctantly so. She is the woman I have waited for my entire life, but she is addicted to a co-dependent relationship. She has told me that I satisfy her emotionally, but she still loves him with all her heart, even though he is distant and (I think) a closeted homosexual. I’ve told her that I am better for her in many more ways than him, but that she needs to realize that for herself. Should I continue to fight? Or should I bail?
A: Bail. Neither one of you is in this realtionship for healthy reasons. You’ve been a life preserver for her as well as a way for her to avoid completely commiting to a man who loves her. She has been a physical and emotional outlet for you as well as a way for you to avoid finding a relationship that is reciprocal and mutual.
I don’t know why you both are so pessimistic about finding someone who can be in a healthy relationship with you. That’s for you to work on with a therapist. But I do know that a relationship based on this kind of co-dependency is bound to fail.
I encourage you to get into some therapy to work on why you have been willing to accept such a poor substitute for love for a dozen years. Someone as loyal and as sensitive as you are deserves better.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Dec 2011
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Love Triangle Isn’t Working. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 8, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/12/12/love-triangle-isnt-working/