I’m in love with a gay, married man who loves me back. Am I wasting my time? When I try to leave him, he always begs me to stay. He is also dying, so the thought of leaving me makes feel guilty. But, I want to move on.
To love someone is to support them in a way that is healthy. It is not healthy to be in a romantic relationship with someone who is married. At this point, the two of you cannot be together in a way that is without emotional baggage or consequences. If you really care about this man, I would suggest encouraging him to increase the other supports in his life.
• How can he start to create a supportive relationship with his current spouse?
• How can he increase supports from family members?
If his current relationship is unhealthy, you being there is only helping him stay in it (sometimes affairs allow us to tolerate that which is intolerable, like an unsatisfying relationship, as long as we are in the affair, we don’t have to face the pain that is necessary for us to move on). If his current relationship is unhealthy or unsatisfying, he has to be the one to deal with it. Spending time with you is only allowing him to avoid his problems, and helping someone avoid their problems is not being supportive.
When he is begging you to stay with him, he is asking you for something.
• Is there a way for him to get that something from himself?
• What is he needing that you bring to the table? Validation? A safe place? Emotional support?
• Where else can he get these things so you are no longer a crutch?
By encouraging him to work on his own health, it gives the two of you room to reestablish a more healthy relationship with one another (this may only be possible after some time apart).
Even if he is dyeing, he is not dead yet, and he has the opportunity to find meaning and closure with some of the people in his past. With you helping him avoid this process, he may never have the motivation to find meaning and closure with others.
If you do decide to give him some space, how are you going to take care of yourself? I’m sure you get a lot out of this relationship as well? How can you get these needs met elsewhere or from yourself.
I highly recommend increasing your own support system to help you through this difficult time.
Tina Cowan, Masters Intern