Relationship expert: Getting out of an affair

Intuitive counsellor to the jet-set fashion and music crowd, Susan King is always ready to offer her inspired insights.

Aug 26, 2008
Susan King
Relationship expert: Getting out of an affair

Q: I am in my mid-30s, and I work as a successful professional in a career dominated by men. Recently, I started an affair with a married colleague who had previously been my mentor at the office. I often felt neglected during the affair, but I tolerated the situation because I truly care about him. Last week, he came to me and said he wanted to end it because he was afraid of being hurt and worried that I would bear the brunt of any backlash if the affair became public knowledge. He said that, while he felt sad to leave me, he didn't want to feel like he was walking on eggshells at the office if we were to have a disagreement. I'm pretty confused! Should I make an attempt to patch things up with him? Or, should I speak my mind about how badly he has treated me and then move on? I'm convinced that I'm cursed in this area of my life. I have been really successful in my career, but I haven't managed to find the right man. I'm afraid that I'll end up alone; I don't want to end a relationship that might have some future potential. (He insists that his marriage is on the rocks.) Do you have any suggestions for me?
- Desperate

Dear Desperate: First, I'm not surprised that you feel the way you do. I know that you have been wanting more from this man than he could give. He's married, and this affair has put too much pressure on him. I'm not saying that he didn't care for you, but for him it was just an affair. For you, it was love. I'm sorry you're hurt and I do feel your pain, but there's nothing to save in this relationship. It is what it is! When you approach a client in your line of work, you always do your homework: You know what the client needs and what you're prepared to offer. I'd encourage you to approach your love life in the same fashion. You're a bright, attractive woman. I know you understand the point I'm making, so learn from this. There's no need for you to feel alone. I see you in a relationship in the next year. I feel that you'll meet this man through work, but he won't be a co-worker. You take your career very seriously, and you value what you do. Show your personal life the same respect. Don't let anyone into your space who is unable to give back, totally. You're going to be fine. It has taken you a long time to find your way, but you're almost there.

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