q-100I have what I feel is a major problem and no one I can talk to.

I met my girlfriend approximately 5 months ago, we met on an online game, lived a fair distance apart, but when I was made redundant, I took a new job near where she lived and moved into my own flat nearby.

We have always talked a lot, see each other almost every day.

From the start I was made aware of her complicated situation, she is separated but not yet divorced, still living together, for financial reasons and also for their 4 year old son. They get along like best friends, but she was never in love with him, they have been separated 2 years.

I was introduced to the “ex” early, who claimed he had no issues with our relationship, but didn’t want it rubbed in his face, which was fair enough. They assured me that they were separated, that their marriage was just a piece of paper and divorce was in process.

I have fallen in love with her, and her with me, we have talked about it being “True love” and how we want the same things from a life together. I have maybe not completely understood her situation, but always been accepting and never applied any pressure to change it.

However a couple of weeks ago, he asked her to give their marriage another go, and she is giving it serious consideration.

She has told me she wouldn’t be doing it for the ex at all, as she has no feelings for him, doesn’t want to be with him, she would be miserable, but it is what is best for their son. Yet she knows that her life would be much better for me, and it would be her chance for true happiness, she just would feel so selfish choosing me.

Bit of background, she is 25, him 45, I am 27, they have been married 6 years, and things went wrong right from the start. Most of the issues she has in life seem to revolve around him, his past and how he is.

I know conventional wisdom, is I should walk away as its the “right thing to do”, but I don`t want to do that, I don’t think I am in the wrong thinking what he has done is out of order, i want to be with her, and i know she will be happier that way too.

I have tried not to complain about it to her, as i know she is upset about it, and feeling a lot of stress.

What should i do? how do i tell her how i feel?



I certainly agree that this is a major problem, as you say.

In my opinion, your girlfriend is confusing what other people think is best for their child, and what is actually best for the child. I work with couples all the time. Some who have no love for one another think they are doing the right thing by “staying together for the children.” My response is this:

“You, as parents, are responsible for teaching your children what emotionally grown-up, accountable, loving people do and say,  and what a loving relationship looks like from the inside. If you are able to do that, even though you do not love each other, and can do so without complaint or burdening the children with adult feelings, you may be able to co-exist. If you cannot, you are unwise to stay together.”

It is unwise, too, to posture and pretend. I seldom do this in my answers, but I think you and your girlfriend really need to talk with a professional–and that could be me through Skype–and get your minds straight about what is really going on here, and what is in each person’s best interest, including the child.  There is very crooked thinking here, in my understanding of the situation, which I admit is minimal.

If you want to talk or if we can all talk together on Skype, great. I cannot really help you further with this without talking with you. This is too big a decision for all concerned to follow expectations blindly.

I wish you well.
Dr. Shaler

If you want to talk, you can schedule an appointment by visiting www.OptimizeCenter.com/join 


192    Dating, Spouse/Partner    
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