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He promised to leave her, but hasn’t. What do I do? Add to ...

The question

I’m in my early 50s, divorced and living alone. Two years ago, I started dating a politician. I told him I wouldn’t see him if he were married, that I didn’t want a “discreet relationship.” He said he was living with his long-standing common-law partner, but there was no love there. He described their relationship as strictly “daily routine and friendship.” I believed him and trusted him fully. We were happy and in love, travelled together a lot and went to many political functions together. Six months ago he proposed, saying everything would work out, and I said yes. But I started getting suspicious, because we only planned trips for dates his partner was out of town. And whenever his family got together, for dinner or holidays, she was always there. I felt left out, betrayed, and humiliated. He kept giving me excuses to postpone our being together: a death in the family, election, etc. Finally, I gave him an ultimatum: Move out by December. He e-mailed me that his heart is aching and he wants to have dinner with me for a serious talk. I refused. I knew what he’d say: more lies. My family and I feel he is a man of low character, a dishonest man with no integrity. What should I do?

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The answer

Pursuant to my New Year’s Resolution 143-a (“Be kinder and less curmudgeonly”), I’m going to resist the temptation to use the word “naïveté” or express disbelief that anyone could be so, hmm … let’s say “suffused with refreshingly childlike innocence” that they’d actually be surprised they were lied to – by a politician.

It’d be like kicking a fluffy, friendly little puppy when it’s confused and lost and the snow’s started to fall, and Nuevo Dave-o 2013’s not like that, folks.

Instead, please allow me to make a couple of general points.

The first seems obvious, but I’m never-endingly amazed at how many women fall afoul of it: If you let a man have his cake and eat it too, there’s a good chance you’ll wind up with a pie in the face.

Ladies, I have no hard statistics to back this up (impossible to obtain, because the whole matter is ipso facto enshrouded with lies, like the summit of Kilimanjaro is with clouds), but from what I’ve observed, if you’re “dating” a sweet-talking married – or, whatever, common-law – man, and you’re wondering how it will all play out, take a long look in the mirror and imagine the face you see there with hot tears rolling down its cheeks, because most of the time that’s how it ends.

It’s like we say in poker: “If you don’t know who the sucker is at the table, it’s probably you.”

Though, true, it’s not always the case … and I suppose philandering married men who stay with their wives secretly bless those who don’t – because it keeps the hope alive in their mistresses.

(I hasten to add that not all men are this way, ladies. Canis mendacious obesus – common name “big fat liars” – is merely a subspecies of Homo sapiens, though it’s true there seem to be enough of them that they’re giving the whole breed a bad name.)

And of course these doggy dudes stuff you full of lies, like a piñata. It’s (their) second nature. But don’t listen to their sugary speeches. Ignore their words. Actions speak louder than. When they speak, all you should hear is: Rrruff! Rowf! Arf! Even if they rear up on their hind legs, a bunch of flowers in one forepaw and a diamond ring in another, don’t be fooled.

Remember also: Just because something’s true doesn’t mean it isn’t also a lie. Sure, maybe this guy’s relationship with his common-law partner has become humdrum and routine. So? A mensch ends one relationship before beginning another. Everyone knows that. I’m far from perfect but I knew this even at age 19.

The next point is a little subtler, I think. You hear a lot of people complain bitterly about their exes in the same manner you do about your – uh, whatever this guy is to you (“boyfriend”?), and take no responsibility for whatever happened or went wrong.

But listen: If it’s true that he’s “a man of low character, a dishonest man with no integrity,” then what does that make you? At the very least, a poor judge of character. And almost willfully blinkered and complicit in your own deception. I mean, Nuevo Dave-o 2013’s trying to be a nice guy, but come on: He “proposed” to you while in a long-standing common-law relationship with another woman and all you do is throw your bonnet in the air and say “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!”

And where were your friends and your family, so full of comments now? Why weren’t they red-flagging this from the beginning, when you could have used a little tough love and wise counsel? I got a sense from your question that deep down you know what you need to do.

Bottom line: Dump the chump, and move on. The good news is: You only wasted two years on Mr. Forked Tongue, not decades. I know it’s hard to find someone in your 50s (my mother had to do it, after her divorce), but from what I’ve observed, it gets even harder later.

Henceforward, unless you enjoy pain, suffering and heartache, do yourself a favour and only “date,” and become engaged to, men who are single, and live alone.

What am I supposed to do now?

Are you in a sticky situation? Send your dilemmas to damage@globeandmail.com. Please keep your submissions to 150 words and include a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.

 

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