Time to call bluff of so-called soul mate

The Georgia Straight - - Savage Love - By Dan Sav­age

bI’M A 30-SOME­THING straight woman mar­ried for 16 years. Eigh­teen months ago, I met a man and there was an im­me­di­ate at­trac­tion. For the first 15 months of our re­la­tion­ship, I was his pri­mary sex­ual and in­ti­mate part­ner, as both sex and in­ti­macy were lack­ing in his mar­riage. (My hus­band knew of the re­la­tion­ship from the start and is ac­cept­ing, for the most part.) Af­ter my lover’s wife found out about me, she sud­denly be­came very re­spon­sive to my lover’s sex­ual and emo­tional needs. My lover has told his wife that he will not let me go. He has also told me that he is not will­ing to let his wife go. She isn’t happy about be­ing in a triad re­la­tion­ship, but she al­lows him to con­tinue see­ing me with lim­i­ta­tions. I am no longer his pri­mary sex part­ner, and I have been rel­e­gated to the back seat. He claims to love us both, yet his wife and I both strug­gle, know­ing the other ex­ists. Re­cently while out shop­ping, my lover asked me to help him pick out a Christ­mas gift for his wife. I got up­set be­cause I am in love with him and I have made him my pri­or­ity (over my hus­band), but I am not his pri­or­ity. I love this man, and we feel we are soul mates. My lover has said that if we fall apart, he will have to find a new sec­ondary part­ner be­cause his wife can never give him the soul­ful ful­fill­ment he needs. Should I con­tinue in this re­la­tion­ship?

- Soul Mate Avoids Choice Know­ingly

You com­plain about be­ing rel­e­gated to the back seat, SMACK, but it’s your hus­band whose ex­is­tence only comes up in par­en­thet­i­cal asides. You also de­scribe this re­la­tion­ship as a triad when there are four peo­ple in­volved (you, your lover, your lover’s wife, and your hus­band), which tech­ni­cally makes this a quad. And from the sound of things, only one mem­ber of this messy quad seems happy—your lover, the guy who re­fuses to make you a “pri­or­ity” over his wife.

And while you’ve con­vinced your­self that your lover feels as strongly for you as you do for him—“we feel we are soul mates”—it kin­da­sorta sounds to me like you may be pro­ject­ing, SMACK. Be­cause in ad­di­tion to ask­ing you to pick out Christ­mas gifts for his wife, your lover and al­leged soul mate re­gards you as ex­pend­able and re­place­able. And he’s told you as much: he in­tends to “find a new sec­ondary part­ner” if you two part be­cause his wife doesn’t “give him the soul­ful ful­fill­ment he needs”. That’s not how peo­ple talk about their soul mates, and it’s cer­tainly not some­thing a guy says to some­one he re­gards as his soul mate. Soul mates are typ­i­cally told they’re spe­cial and ir­re­place­able, but your guy sees you as one of many po­ten­tial sec­onds out there, and there­fore ut­terly re­place­able.

Here’s what you ought to do: you aren’t in­ter­ested in be­ing your lover’s sec­ondary part­ner (nor are you much in­ter­ested in be­ing your hus­band’s wife), so you’ll have to call your lover’s bluff. And the only card you have to play—and it’s a weak hand (all hands with just one card are)—is to dump your lover un­less he leaves his wife for you. Suc­cess rests on the out­side chance your lover was bluff­ing when he said he’d re­place you, but I sup­pose it’s pos­si­ble he re­gards you as the ir­re­place­able one and only said those hurt­ful things to make you think he wouldn’t choose you when you are the one he would’ve cho­sen all along. If it turns out that this was the case, SMACK, you’ll wind up with your soul mate… who hap­pens to be kin­da­sorta cruel and ma­nip­u­la­tive.

Call­ing your lover’s bluff—end­ing a re­la­tion­ship that, in its cur­rent form, brings you no joy—is your only hope of hav­ing this guy to your­self. But the like­lier out­come is that you’ll be left alone (with, um, your hus­band).

b

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