Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

Archive for infidelity

Quora Question: How do I move on after four years of waiting?

I was in a longterm relationship, but she left me over four years ago for another man. They are now married and have a child. I can’t get up from under the bedcovers, and don’t want to delete her number from my phone.

My Answer:

Dear Anonymous,

Four years! I think this lack of acceptance and unwillingness to move on is emotionally holding you back.

In the past, I used to dwell on missed opportunities and failed relationships, but a culmination of growing older and the death of two important people in my life has made me more pragmatic.

Whether you wish to believe this or not, the truth is that each and every one of us share this in common: we’re born alone and we’ll die alone. There’s ultimately only a limited time we have to fulfil our goals in life. However morbid this sounds, without question, I know in X time in the future, my fate will be realised, and I will be in some box underground.

The journey between birth and death is all about taking risks that only you can choose. Those people you welcome to join you along that path may cause heartache, disappointment and sadness, but there is also the opportunity for friendship, passion, commitment and happiness.

I’m afraid there’s no way of predicting which direction your relationship takes, that’s the uncertainty of life. Failures we learn from: I’m never going out with someone that has a,b,c instead the next one will have x,y,z. Overtime, you’ll recognise within a short period of meeting someone whether they’re right or not, a skill that comes with age old wisdom (making mistakes + learning from them).

The problem with ruminating over your ex is that it has led to depression, your ‘hiding under the bed covers’ tells me this. Your behaviour is understandable. You are alone in your comfort zone. It all stems from our childhood, being put to bed at night by our parents, given special attention and kisses, and our duvet cover tucked in tight around us. We feel safe. You can see nobody else, and on a subconscious level you think nobody that might want to harm you, can see you either. In reality, all you’re doing is burying your head in the sand.

Sometimes you need a proverbial kick up the backside. That’s what my close friends do, never sugar coat a situation to make me feel better, they offer advice that will benefit me in the longterm even if it hurts. When women have problems we talk about them. Men complain that women “always want to talk about things” – yeah, because it’s a healthy way to work through emotions! Half of my close friends are male, they probably feel more comfortable talking to me than another man. That’s what I’m going to do to you. Your ex girlfriend has moved on with her life, she’s married with a child, in years to come she may also have grandchildren, while you grow into a lonely old man, not letting anyone that has the potential to make you happy be part of your life. Don’t you think that would be a real shame? I don’t even know you, but I feel it would be.

Keeping her contact details. I’m sure many of us can relate to this. For me, it was about sentimentality. One day, I saw the dress I wore when I switched my dad’s life support off, it was in mint condition, but everytime I looked at it in my cupboard it made me sad. So, I put it in a bag with the rest of the clothes I’d never wear again and gave them to charity. My dad was gone, keeping hold of something I was never going to use again was pointless, instead I was giving it away to a new owner.

The same analogy applies to phone numbers. My phone has no trace of any past ex’s contact information, I delete anyone I know I won’t ever see again. I genuinely wish them health & happiness, but those doors of getting back together are firmly closed. In any new relationship I start, I don’t want to bring s*** to their doorstep. I think it’s important to always look forwards than to remain stuck in the past.

Despite leaving you, the memories will always be in your head & the love you felt for her will still remain in your heart. Your ex maybe gone but she’ll not be forgotten. I’m not cynical but a realist, I don’t believe there’s only one “soulmate” rather that there are a number of “companions” out there in the world that share the same aspirations as I do.

The “one that got away” is a myth that allows us to hang around feeling down on ourselves, instead of going forth into the world and meeting new people. Do yourself a favour, kick those covers off, place one foot in front of the other, and start living again… (think of those young innocent people who lost their lives in that horrendous Orlando gay club massacre. They had no idea that would be their end. You’re still alive with the world at your fingertips, don’t waste a second more wallowing in self-pity!).

“Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again” – Alex Tan

Thanks for the A2A.

Best wishes,

Abi

Comments: 

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Quora Question: Am I ready for marriage if I didn’t succumb to temptation?

Him: I’ve been in a year and a half relationship with my girlfriend. I’m 46. A few weeks ago I met a random girl, she invited me back to hers. We passionately kissed and played with each other, but didn’t get an erection. I think that must mean my mind was telling me I love my girlfriend? Is this true?

My answer:

Good grief Anonymous, you’re 46! When I saw the A2A, I expected this dilemma to be one of a young man in his teens/20’s. By the time you’re 30 and beyond, most people have had enough relationship/life experience to have been there/done that, to have not gotten themselves in this situation.

Ok, you asked for it:

If you were at the stage of marrying your girlfriend this is what would happen:

Hot girl flirts with you, obviously you’re flattered, but you respond, ‘thanks, but I’ve got a girlfriend.’ Finished.

By accepting her invitation, you are now crossing the boundaries of your monogamous relationship. There is clear intent on your part, no one is pointing a gun to your head.

– Scenario 1: you get to her door, but freak out, and call it off.

– Scenario 2: you enter her place, but get uncomfortable before you begin to ‘play’ with her. You leave.

Those two scenarios could at the very least salvage your relationship. You were tempted, but didn’t follow through.

How people define infidelity is subjective. Some men and women would say kissing is cheating, others would be less strict, and say only applies for intercourse.

What really struck me about your A2A?

You missed integral words out. Where is ‘guilt’, ‘shame’, ‘girlfriend’s feelings’ mentioned in your comment? I pay particular attention to the way someone writes. If they can’t authentically express their emotions, then to me that speaks volumes.

Perhaps, I’m being unfair, because you may simply not be that great at articulating your emotions.

However what you did include was the word ‘passionately’. I’m presuming, you were attracted to this woman, having ‘played’ with each other (let’s not be shy, this involved the genitals?) What you failed to mention was whether your erectile dysfunction was a consequence of performance anxiety (she was hot), or you suddenly came to your senses and realised you loved your girlfriend, and couldn’t follow through?

Moving forwards:

Your actions have eroded trust and security. Your girlfriend asks, “so did you have a good evening?” You: “not really, I was working late, then had a few drinks with friends.”

You need to work on intimacy in your relationship first, that’s lacking, before you even consider being in a position to consider marriage. Not for you, but most importantly for your girlfriend’s sake.

If failing to get an erection for another woman is how you define being ready for marriage, then you sure set the bench mark low. Quite frankly, she deserves better.

Quora Question: How do you know for certain you won’t cheat on anyone?

The unpredictability of life means that there’s not a lot of things I can guarantee that I can be 100% certain of, but fidelity is definitely one of them. This realistion came many years before I got cheated on. 

My first day of work there was this guy, and he wouldn’t even acknowledge me. This continued for weeks. Over time, he warmed to me, and one day he invited me to spend the evening with his long-term partner and two small children for Bonfire night.

We were having dinner together after the show, and as we sat, I observed them. They seemed like a happy, loving family. I thanked my colleague the next day, for allowing me to spend time with his beautiful family. I recall secretly wishing I had that life.

Over a year later, my colleague asked me to stay behind after work. I noted over the course of the past few days his behaviour was peculiar. He was withdrawn. As everyone left, he locked the door. I started to get concerned, I stood up from my chair, “is everything alright?,” I asked. “Abi, sit back down, I have some bad news.” Perplexed, “tell me what’s going on,” I said.

Him: “I was in the kitchen at home a week ago and saw my partners laptop open, there was an email between her best friend and her, explicitly detailing her affair with the neighbour. I confronted her, and she admitted it. She said she is unhappy and doesn’t want to live in London anymore, she’s taking the kids abroad to her native homeland. We’re not legally married. I’m not sure I can stop her. I’ve lost everything. What’s the point of living? I just want to kill myself.”

Wow, I wasn’t in a million years expecting that. She seemed so lovely. I was in shock. There was silence for a brief period. Then my lips moved. “You must live for your children. I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but you haven’t lost everything, they’re still your children. No one can take them away from you. Pull yourself together, don’t get into a bitter fight with her, keep your cool. She holds all the cards, so be smart. Also, you need to put the children’s emotional well being first. I’m always here if you need me, we’ll get through this together.”

Months passed, I watched him turn from the once strong willed person to a shadow of his former self. He started drinking heavily. Worked really hard so that he could travel abroad to see his kids for a long weekend every month. The loneliness of rattling around in an empty house destroyed him. Eventually, he retired early, so that he could move abroad to be with his children.

We’re still really close. Years later when I found out a guy I was dating cheated on me, he was the first person I called. He’s my adopted dad.

He hasn’t moved on to another relationship. I sense sadness still in his heart. Why wouldn’t I cheat? Because, it has the potential to devastate lives forever. Not everyone recovers. I wouldn’t wish to have that on my conscience, that I’m certain of…

Best,

Abi

Thanks for the A2A, Yasmeen.