Dear Thelma: Weary in my current relationship, I'm now drawn to someone new


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Dear Thelma,

I am currently in my mid-40s and in a stable relationship with my girlfriend of more than six years.

My life is considered very good whereby I am blessed with a good corporate job, nice house and cars.

At my age, I am also considered attractive and I am very well-groomed and educated. I also have many women admirers as I have a good stable income and savings. I also come from a well-to-do family with good educational background.

My live-in girlfriend is a professional with a high-paying job.

We both live a very comfortable life. We are not super rich but comparatively, we are considered on the high end of society. We own a holiday villa and a few luxury vehicles.

But in this relationship, I feel very burnt out because I feel I do not have personal time as there are always so many household chores to do. Day in and day out, I have to manage with my super-busy schedule as well as manage my girlfriend's expectations of our daily life. To keep it simple, I have no personal time for myself.

I actually got so burnt out that we nearly broke off a few years back. She always expects me to come home on time (even though she never stresses it) and just follow her daily routine which is actually killing me. My life now is just about work and managing our daily routines.

She says she wants to retire as early as possible and that I need to be the main breadwinner in the future.

To sum it up, I am tired of this life and I don't feel very happy about it.

Yes, I agree that men need to be the breadwinner of the family and shoulder all the responsibilities. But this is actually killing me slowly... What if I also need support? What if I lose my high-paying job? Who will be there for me?

Indeed she never denies that she will always be there to support me if anything happens but, from her actions, I don't it can happen. She has never supported me in any of my plans in life. Whatever I do needs to suit her convenience, especially the timing.

Recently, I met a married businesswomen who is of the same social status. She doesn't know about my personal life which I kept a secret from her.

We became very close and even started a relationship. She says she plans to leave her husband once her kids finish university (maybe 10 years from now) and marry me.

She tells me she will be there to support me in any way, even in any business venture I go into. She even says she will plan for our future so that I do not need to struggle daily in my work. It sound so nice but we are in a very early stage of our relationship and only time will tell.

I love this lady so much and our love is growing stronger with each passing day. But I do not know what the future holds for us because I don't think we had a good start as she is married with kids and I've kept my current relationship a secret. I told her I am not married, which is technically true.

We have been together for just about a month.

I feel so stupid to be in this situation. Please help me.

What should I do now?

So Tired

Thank you for writing such a clear description of what is going on. To summarise, you are currently living according to your girlfriend's schedule. You are also tasked with earning so that your girlfriend can retire early. Your heart isn't in either of these strategies.

Furthermore, you believe that your girlfriend is not a partner. You think that if you are ever in need, she will not support you.

My first thought is that you need to speak up. However, I think you haven't because you believe that men have to be breadwinners who shoulder all the responsibilities.

Respectfully, this sexist stereotype is disrespectful, dehumanising, and damaging. Men aren't born to be ATM machines that dispense cash and have whole families hanging on them.

You're a human being. You have a right to life and happiness. Also, if you want it, a partner.

As a start, I think it's helpful if you consider how relationships work.

In a romantic match, mutual attraction and love drives the couple to commit. As the love comes first, the relationship is worked out on partnership lines where both parties agree on a shared vision of what a happy life looks like. It depends on personal preferences and shared interests.

There is no right or wrong; whatever makes you happy is good. However, successful relationships are based on two things. First, the couple must agree on how they want to live. Second, each person has to step up and put in their share of the work.

I am very concerned that you feel you are responsible for another adult – one who is a highly paid professional, to boot! Your girlfriend is an independent woman of means, not a helpless child or elderly dependent.

In loving partnerships, one person cannot carry all the responsibility. Life is too complicated. We all need loving support.

As you are not happy, you owe it to yourself and your girlfriend to speak up. You can choose to have a difficult conversation and look for change over a fixed term, say two months. Alternatively, if you think there is no future in it, you can end your relationship.

What you should not do is cheat. Going behind your girlfriend's back and starting up a relationship with someone else degrades you, your girlfriend, and the other woman.

No good comes out of telling lies and deceiving the people we love. It is never pleasant to explain a relationship isn't working, but it is part of being a responsible adult. So be authentic. Be clear about what you want and how you want to live.

As for the other woman, please stop and think. She intends to cheat on her husband for a decade and then ditch him. It is breathtakingly cruel. Nothing good can come of having a relationship with a person like that. My advice is to exit; don't walk, run!

Your girlfriend deserves a conversation, whether you want to stay or not. However, I think you may be a bit frightened of talking to her. If so, book a quick session or two with a mental health professional and talk it through. It will help you figure out what you want, and help you model or practise how to start the conversation.

Good luck, and know I'll be thinking of you.

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