Ask Ellie: Counselors can facilitate constructive discussions about infidelity

Dear Ellie: I am a woman who has been in a committed relationship with another woman for 10 years. We are both 39. I already had a small child when we met. My partner and I are the only parents my daughter has known.

My partner is the bigger breadwinner than the on-site manager of an important company. I’ve always worked from home part time throughout our relationship.

A month ago, my partner factually announced that she had met another woman at work who she has strong feelings for.

I was shocked! Through her work she always had external contacts / friendships, both with women and men. Before the pandemic restrictions, she would tell me about her new friends and would sometimes invite a person or couple home for me to meet.

She hadn’t said anything about this woman who got between us until this confession. She is single, almost ten years younger than us, and previously had serious relationships with men. This is her first intimate relationship with another woman. My partner won’t be more specific.

I am deeply hurt and very concerned about the future and how it will all affect my daughter, even though my partner says we “will still be family”. How would that work? My mind is racing. I was told that we “slipped apart”, that I stopped asking her about the business she ran a few years ago (huh, she just doesn’t say much about it), and that she is into all of that no longer feels appreciated she does.

I also do a lot: property management, household bills, shopping, cooking, raising my daughter, and maintaining my own paid job. I now wish I had been more independent and taken classes to move forward in my field. But I did the balancing act between work, motherhood and housewife for the benefit of all.

Do I just accept that our relationship is over? Is there an obligation for you to continue helping my daughter financially since we are not married? What about the cost to you and me moving and maybe having to pay a higher rent?

But really, I just want us to stay together. I accept that she needs more appreciation and interest in her work. I am ready to upgrade my status to be more interesting to them. I will rise above all of this to give her the intimacy she needs, which we both have neglected at times.

What else should I do to get back the partner I still love?

Another woman

You have had a hard, unexpected emotional blow to the heart and mind. Now, instead of rushing to respond to all of your concerns, get some of the new information done. A ten year partnership deserves time for the two of you to discuss this, but you may not be able to do it effectively without professional guidance. Know your goals: you want to stay together and are ready to make changes in your work life and intimate life with your partner. Tell her.

They accept their emotional needs for more attention and appreciation. Tell her you’re on board with it because you love her and admire her achievements. Ask her to consider couple counseling because you have invested together over the years and have shared roles as parents. (If at some point you do separate, counseling together is important to help your daughter adjust.) Also, consider seeking counseling to increase your independence, self-image, and equality in this or any future relationship strengthen. Timely follow up on legal issues related to your daughter’s needs and asset allocation.

Reader comment Regarding the divorce, its reasons / effects on children:

My ex-husband was on a business trip to a major American city that I had heard about a lot. After a few days, I asked him to spend a much needed “romantic weekend” there. “He asked me if I should leave ‘the children’, but I have already made sure that they stay with my parents.

“I was so excited to fly alone and meet him in a hotel! His greeting wasn’t so warm. When I took off my coat, I saw a sexy nightgown hanging in the closet. Looks like it was worn by someone. “Our weekend fell flat because he gave no logical explanation … the nightgown was” there when [he] has arrived; “” It must have been forgotten by the previous guest “etc.” Our romantic life has never improved. We eventually divorced. It took a few years to satisfy everyone, but the children were doing very well. It was’nt easy. “

Ellie: Touch reality.

Send relationship questions to Follow @ellieadvice.

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