I am a 34-year-old woman with three kids. I have been involved with an older man—49—for five years. He got sick at the beginning of this year and I have been there for him. He has family but they do not do anything for him. He has been staying with his sister since he has been sick and she and I do not get along. In the past, he has helped with my kids and everything. But since he has been sick, he has become a very evil man. I tell myself that he is sick and that is all there is to it. I do not like being around him. When I do not come when he calls me, he thinks that I am out cheating on him. I tell him that I have three kids to take care of. I have missed days from work in order to care for him. I do love him but it is getting to be too much for me to handle.
Now that the kids are out of school, I am catching hell. I have to find activities for them to do, as well as take care of him, and I want to scream. Two weeks ago, my girlfriend and I went to the beach for the weekend. I met this guy; he was so nice and understanding of my plight. We talked for hours and had lunch together, just talking. But I feel like I would not mind taking it to the next level—sexually.
Should I feel bad because the man that I love is sick, evil and verbally abusive toward me? The man that I met is making me feel special and great. I do not know what to do. I do know that I am tired of being mistreated and abused by the man that I love. I need your advice to steer me in the right direction. Thank you.
Ms. What to Do
Dear Ms. What to Do,
Wow, this is a tough one—even for me—but I will try to assist you. It is hard when those we love become ill. I had to take most of the day to think about how I should respond. The easy answer would be for me to say not to allow a man to mentally abuse you and to break it off immediately and do you; including doing the other man if you want to. However, after much contemplation, I am not going to say that.
This man has been there for you for five years. According to you, he has been good to you and your children, and you love him—dearly. Cheating is never cool. It is an easy fix, an escape from reality, but it is never a good move. That is for many reasons. First, you would not want someone to do it to you. Second, the person you are cheating with has questionable morals as well as yourself. Thirdly, at the end of the day, it normally amounts to nothing. Sure, you just met the other man a couple of weeks ago…on a romantic ass beach excursion at that. You had what I call a “vacationship” without the sex. Now the two of you are vibing, contemplating making plans, and the honeymoon stage of a budding relationship is in full effect. The problem is that you are already in a relationship.
Back to your current lover. Have you truly confronted him about your feelings? Or are you letting it all build up inside of you like a knot? He deserves a chance to rectify his actions. Why? Because you have known him long enough—five years—to realize that this is not normal behavior for him. When people get sick, they deal with it in different ways, and throughout different stages. Between denial and acceptance reside anger and depression. If this man is used to being independent and now has to depend on others for his basic care, he may be angry. If he feels trapped inside his own body that has betrayed him, and his girlfriend fifteen years his junior seems to be preoccupied—even if it is with her own children—he may be depressed.
Physical illness often begets mental issues. Hell, my kids and my man run for the hills when my period hits every month. My attitude is unbelievable. See if any of the medication that he is taking causes mood swings. Trust me, drugs can cause everything from hallucinations to bitchassness. If you were the one sick, if you had to have a mastectomy, and found yourself feeling like less than yourself, what type of basic human kindness would you expect people to exhibit toward you? Now I am not saying to accept the situation as is—I am saying to try to change it. That other man might look like a green pasture at the moment but remember, the other side of grass is dirt. Do not base your decision on one man because of what is happening for another. Two weeks of light banter cannot compare to five years of a serious relationship.
I am wondering why, after five years, the two of you are not living together or married, but that is another issue altogether. Go over there and talk to him—candidly. Express your love for him but tell him that he is systematically destroying your relationship. If he still continues to act the same way and makes no sincere effort to change; if he does not understand where you are coming from; if he flips the script and makes you out to be the villain, then you may need to end it. Keep in mind that your kids are attached but that is still no reason to stay. Just be prepared to take them through an adjustment period, because there will definitely be one.