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My boyfriend's wife has cancer. I love him, but want what is best for everyone.

Tagged as: Big Questions, Breaking up, Cheating, Dating, Family, Forbidden love, Marriage problems, Sex<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (4 November 2009) 15 Answers - (Newest, 23 May 2012)
A female Australia age 41-50, *kanksha writes:

I am a 37 year old single mum to a four year old. I began an affair with a man 25 years my senior, (someone i have known for 15 years) around six months ago. prior to this I had been alone since the first trimester of pregnancy.

Having a child, a girl, really shook me up and made me evaluate my life and priorities, it made me think about the kind of relationship i would want in the future, (i am an incest survivor, and have had a string of abusive men in one way or another in the past...)

i decided not to be involved with someone who would become all obsessive or try to play dad...i didnt want someone full time or to move in..

when my old freind began flirting with me, i thought, "well ive been on my own all these years, hes a nice man,... i miss being touched, i miss sex' i have no time to date...it was just easy to go along with it...and i have no regrets,... yet. I am glad for the experience, hes been the best lover ive had, a 'sugar daddy' he takes care of whatever financial need i have , drives me places, listens to me..hes noit like any of the others, hes very caring and my daughter loves him too...we get on very well

im not expecting a future with him, thats not my intention, the future is now...ive enjoyed myself and gotten my mojo back...but the wife part...shes alot older than him, theyve been married 40 years ...apon menopause she told him she has no sex drive..i can get that 40 years the passion would be long gone...he comes from a culture that is inexcusable to abandon family and he continues to stand by her even though she drives him nuts, (believe me ive met her and she does!LOL) and i appreciate that...i want him to stay with her...it keeps him at a distance from me...i never thought i'd ever end up having an affair with a married man, but this situation suits me entirely..i get what i need without the hassle...heres where the problem exists....

his wife has just been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer...i did some background checks and its not bulls#*t...i decided that it was best if we dont see each other as much, 'cause if she dies, i dont want him racked with guilt that on her deathbed he was sleeping with me,...and the quality of time she has remaining on this earth should really matter, i dont want her in a frame of mind distraught that at a time she needed her husband the most, he was off screwing around...

he started talking about selling his house and marrying me when she dies the other day..i thought, hold up, is this a coping mechanism..? he told me she was very sick the other day and is scared she will die...so hes backed off a little, maybe a little too much, i dont know how to support him emotionally, i also feel sad for the whole situtation, sad for his wife he still loves, sad for her cancer,sad for his emptiness, sad for myself that i let myself fall in love....his enthusiasm for me has waned, and i dont know if its just because of the dramas on the homefront, or he feels i am rejecting him,... i feel rejected a little...i dont want to have a deep and meaningful about how all of this changes the dynamics of our realtionship, especially when hes got enough on his plate, do i step back further, or do i reassure him im here to support him through this?

they say once a cheater always a cheater, a future with him he could do the sameto me,...ive thought alot about that, i think he does love me and geniunley cares, no doubt, but what of a future, his kids are my age..i'll be the homewrecker...etc...in terms of how he treats me, hes the best, its hard to walk away...i just feel im in suspended animation....like a dullness has swamped me, i have no clarity...it does impress me he will stand by her, and look after her...and she may very well come good...is it morally aceptable to continue sleeping togther, i mean the guy does have (and will continue to have )sexual needs, which are not being met. ...or do you think its run its course and i should move on? right now i dont want to lose him from my life, hes someone i value.

i was always quick to judge in the past that an afffair with a married man was just something you did not do, but now acept life is complex, sexuality fluid, i dont feel its wrong for a two people who are sexually compatable to enjoy each others company, and to feel sustained and nourished by that, its the wife being hurt that i have reservations about...but nobody can claim ownership over another person. ...i want to be taken to dinner once more, or an evening alone once more.once a fornight..maybe? he has to have a life away from cancer..(we spent alot of time together) .am i being selfish, and asking too much? should i just look elsewhere? im thinking he could easily use the cancer as an exit strategy down the track if ever he wanted to have an affair on me, and maybe hes using it as an excuse to slacken off? maybe in his eyes the excitement between us is lost, hes looking for more...he does like his porn....and(im not his first and most likely not his last..) any ideas? im confused....

View related questions: affair, flirt, incest, married man, move on, porn, sex drive

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A reader, anonymous, writes (23 May 2012):

Reading your post, because I too find myself in a similiar situation, and am wondering how it all turned out for you?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 November 2009):

the answer to your question is yes you are being selfish.

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A female reader, Carrot2000 United States +, writes (8 November 2009):

Carrot2000 agony auntOkay, I'm not going to attack you for being a bad parent just because you're having an affair with a married man. I don't think it necessarily has anything to do with your parenting skills, but does call your judgment into question concerning how you feel about yourself and what you are willing to tolerate. That said, please do not get caught up in the fantasy of this affair. You have been abused and mistreated, so of course it feels good to have a man treat you kindly. The problem is that all of the romance is not reflective of real life. You get the dinners, the trips, the financial support, but you've never had to wash his dirty underwear or put up with him farting in bed at night, and he's never had to deal with you when you are cranky from PMS or tired because your baby was sick all night. In other words, you've only seen each other at your best, not your worst,so it's easy to assume that life with him would be peaches and cream.

What's life at its worst? Watching your wife die a painful death from cancer. I seriously doubt that he's thinking about sex right now or could even get aroused at this point; it's probably the last thing on his mind. If anything, he is wracked with guilt knowing how unfairly he has treated his wife and doing the right thing by being by her side. He does not "get a life away from cancer" because she does not get a life away from cancer; sweetie, this is REAL LIFE. What you experience with this man is not. Please leave him and his dying wife in peace. He has not reached out to you for emotional support because he does not view you as a friend. You are his mistress, the person he has fun with, not a partner.

You justify your actions by saying his wife won't have sex with him, but no one has ever died from a lack of sex. I'm sure he has used this very excuse with all of the women he has cheated with over the years. I'm the same age you are, and if you haven't already started, you will enter perimenopause in a few years which means you may experience the same loss of sex drive his wife went through. Do you honestly think he will stay with you when you get to this point? It's a good thing you have decided to end this because it's really for your own good because the security this man offers is illusory.

I don't think you need to be celibate, nor do you need to expose your daughter to random men. Plenty of single moms date SINGLE men without making them a permanent part of their lives until they've found someone they want to be serious about. My mom was single for the first 7 years of her life and even though she had boyfriends, I was never aware of it because they never spent the night (trust me, I slept with my mom until I was 7). I think you have to learn better judgment about men--and this is not an insult because I had to learn, too--and learn to trust that you are not desperate and can make good decisions. You don't have to choose men who are unavailable to you in order to protect yourself and your daughter. Once you learn to really love yourself, REALLY love and value yourself, the parade of clowns (the abusive men, the would-be child molesters, the married men), will stop showing up in your life.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2009):

Please note that i responded to you yesterday but my post was blocked. There are many anon aunts. Our opinions are solely ours and we cannot get credit for other aunts posts. Its a pity my post was blocked, it would have given you food for thought.

What i want to add is this – i know you have had a difficult life, therefore you do not believe in monogamy and sanctity of marriage and you believe that men/women f*cking around is acceptable. Are you also going to teach your kid the same values ? What is going to happen when she becomes a wife one day? Will you tell her to be ready to accept that her husband will be f*cking around and she just have to accept it? Or are you going to tell her to bypass all the happy ever after nonsense and settle as a mistress. Do you show her how easy it is to get material things and how easy it is not to work for a living but live in the lap of luxury just providing the goods. The way you write (the cynicism and the negativeness regarding wives/committed female partners) and i know your lifes experiences made you like this, seems like you would make a perfect madam or even a girl of the night. It is sad because since you have experienced pain during your life you could have turned over a nw leaf and made your life count.

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A female reader, akanksha Australia +, writes (6 November 2009):

akanksha is verified as being by the original poster of the question

it seems to me 'anonymous female' seems to share the same trait: nastiness, maybe you are the same person? or your man had an affair? ...nobody was to know the wife had cancer, herself included, up until a couple of weeks ago..and that could easily explain her loss of libido leading up to it.

im not morally justifying my behaviour or his. it was a protective mechanism on my part, the molestation of girl children in our societies is pandemic. I chose this route for myself because i trust him around her, and that our time togther has only been occassional, (incidentally at these times we didnt always sleep together,) any exposure she has had to him when hes called around reduces the risk even further. To say i dont care for her is the furthest from the truth...its because of her i dont want a stepdaddy especailly when they are 9out of 10 times the perpetrator, according to police.

This was a person with no intent on invading my home and calling the shots, he has never abused me, is loving towards me and my daughter..i feel privilaged that she has seen for herself a positive male as her very first impression of men in her short life..its not her job to understand the dynamics, ..and he wont be the last to enter my life, who knows? I cannot provide her some ' insurance policy' in a conventional marraige, cuase life has no garantees ..i dont trust men enough to ever allow that to happen... She needs to see from me that (unlike my mother who stood by a monster,) that life is short, never let anyone abuse you...be selective, very selective...

So what now? i keep my legs shut? and remain single for another 4 years, or expose her to randoms (that may be available) that will most likely be a waste of time, and possible perps amongst them?

And does the man forget about sex himself and take cold showers...and everyones happy? if its not me, it'll be somebody else...life just doesnt work on some myopic moral code like walt disney..

if you can find a husband thats faithful to you for forty years, well good luck to you, you are in the minority...im sure the backlash will be,.. the reason they're unfaithful is because of skanks like me,...or whatever...

i have made up my mind, though for myself, that this thing (sleeping with him) has to end and that was essentially what i was thinking of doing, i was kind of alluding to...where to from here?...hes been a really good friend to me, very kind, do i offer him emotional support at a time he hasnt anyone to talk to about his role as a carer, his fears etc, or just shut the door in his face and pretend he never existed?

I am sorry for his wife, i really am but thats life, hes given her a good life and i know he still loves her, even though due to age and ilness she lost her sex drive a couple of years ago...most people are lucky to make it to that age,and who knows, she may very well get better?... and lucky that they have a man who didnt walk out when the going gets tough.

So the man is a scumbag? What I have had with him, loves got nothing to do with it. Hes someone who simply gave me confidence in myself once more and filled a void..thankyou to the posts who have not reduced themselves to attacking me personally..it shows you have looked at the big picture..

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A reader, anonymous, writes (6 November 2009):

Clearly, you are the must thoughtful mistress on earth! How nice of you to stop screwing this poor woman's husband while she's on her deathbed. The fact that you "don't want her in a frame of mind distraught that at a time she needed her husband the most, he was off screwing around" shows how sensitive you are.

You aren't that important, that's why he has backed off. As the mistress, your job is to screw him, not support him emotionally. He has children and family for that. Know your place.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 November 2009):

just realised the title of this post is worng. should read:

"My married lovers wife has cancer and is on her deathbed......."

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 November 2009):

well the 'lady' enjoys someone elses husband being her sugar daddy. she is used to lying on her back to earn her easy living.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (5 November 2009):

I am sure without even putting your question here you know damn well you are in the wrong. This poor woman who will probably die, hopefully before she realizes the both of you sickos are up to, I can't believe the luck that some people have, this poor woman My heart aches for her.. it seems that you have no conscience whatsoever. He is a married man, he is a sick man although you deserve each other let his wife die first before you decide to go into her bed and screw her husband..

I hope you don't get cancer someday, because you know what he will shopping for...

have a good life...and be happy with Karma..

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 November 2009):

"CHRISTIAN MORALITY", Let me advise you that all cultures teach goodness and sanctity of marriage. It is only people who play on the ‘don’t judge me” concept while they screw a dying womans husband. You say that after you had your daughter you re- evaluated your life, how, by starting your affair with a married man whose wife is on her deathbed. It must be so comforting to know that you have been his emotional pillar of strength , having sex with him while his wife lays dying. (you get the horrible picture, don't you)

I feel sorry for your daughter. Seems like one day you will come to realise that the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. Instead of giving your daughter a decent life, you have chosen this path of sordidness. Such a good role model for your kid! You claim to be an incest survivor and claim to have been with abusive men in your past. What does this have to do with your affair. What kind of sympathy do you want. Do you want me to say Shame, you poor corrupt thing. Yes, you are entitled now , because of your awful life, to this married man. Doesn’t work like this darling. Yes, you will get messages of love and support telling you that you are good, you are not doing anything wrong, continue in your present manner.

Hey, i have one for you. Why not become his wifes carer while you are having sex with the dying womans husband maybe you can close them legs for a few minutes and lend her a helping hand. Maybe it an be like the movies, before his wifes body turns cold, you can be saying your marriage vows and living blissfully happy totally unashamed of your wrongdoing. You are a taker and a leech. You know it but you just want a reaction from the aunts. Your follow up post makes me squirm. Have you been charging this man money for sex? You are now living in the lap of luxury with him providing all the goodies for you.

I am very very concerned about that minor in your care. I take it her father is not around. Where does she get her values from since you are devoid of any? Do you have people in your close unit that can be a good role model to her. She is 4 years old only and she has to put up with this in her life. I am not concerned about the adultery in any way. He has proven what he really is and no amount of you painting him as a saint will convince me otherwise.

My concern is your child. I am a stranger and the hairs on my arms stand up as i read your post. As her mother what have you done to ensure that she is not exposed to your mistress lifestyle. What have you done to protect her from the way you lead your life. You seem to have had a few men in your life, abusive you say, so how are YOU PROTECTING HER from the concept that it is ok to be used and abused. How are you bringing her up ? to condone affair and have a fleet of strangers passing through her life. For goodness sake woman, think about your kid. This married man is just another person passing by in your colourful life, what message are you sending to your daughter.

There is a greater issue her that you are unable to identify and it stems from your childhood and past relationships.

You say he is a 'sugar daddy' he takes care of whatever financial need i have , drives me places’. Are you so materialistic that you have sold yourself to this man. Where is your pride. Surely you cannot blame the incest on this. Seems there is a deeper evil you are used to. This man is 25 years older than you. Are you so used to being with an older man that this 62 year old man will suffice. What has become of your morals through the years. Your have deep seethed issues and that father figure concept is going to ruin your daughter’s life. Think back to your past, has this made you what you are today.

I say again that i fear how you are bringing up your daughter. The old saying the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree may be your biggest nightmare going forward. Please, i implore you re think your behaviour. I take it your daughter doesn’t have any other close family to be a good role model. So if you are the only thing she has, surely as a mother, you owe her a decent life. Not a life where you are used to being a mistress. Not a life to show her that if you are good to a man sexually he will provide material things for you, not a life to show your daughter all you have to do is open them legs to lead a well taken cared of life.

It is women like you that cheapen the “other woman” situation. Some women really really do love their married man. You have shown that you are not shy to use him. Sexually, not shy to use his financially and not shy to use him emotionally. To you materialism is what makes you, and what will continue to drive you .

please investigate your childhood. Your deep rooted fatherly figure issues is not manifesting itself in your life later on. If you are a good mother, you will seek professional assistance dealing with your issues. Then at least your kid will have a fighting chance going forward

My words have nothing to do with , what did you call it, CHRISTIAN MORALITY, it is to do with your childhood issues that have manifested itself so late in your life. Please look into it and you will get the answers why you are leading the kind of life you are.

This married man is a mere consequence of your issues. He is not special. He is what you are used to , so it makes no difference whether it is him or another much older man. Look deeper and see a sick situation. If you care one ounce for your daughter you know that you need to REALLY start changing your life. Your daughter did not ask to be borne, but she is here ,and she needs the best mother she can get. Right now you are not! And that is not fair to YOUR DAUGHTER!

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A female reader, akanksha Australia +, writes (5 November 2009):

akanksha is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thankyou anonymous female poster#4, you seem to understand the situation well, without offering any 'christiain morality' , i appreciate it. i ve been reading lots of questions and answers on this site similar to my dilemma..which seem to slant towards ,..' I am wasting my time with this man, he will go onto someone else and continue to hurt his wife regardless' .so he seeks sex elsewhere because of his wifes age and illness, i dont see anything wrong with that, he still loves her and stands by her, not me, most men would have walked out ages ago...his wife should have some compassion for him in her incapacity to satisfy his sexual needs. Just because she has no libido it isnt fair to expect or enforce that on someone who has.. And irrespective of any moral police, this guy is a good person, kind, a humanitarian, attributes that attracted me to him in the first place, Im no threat to the marraige, i dont want him for myself.. in the event he loses his wife, i dont want to be seen as a vulture,...so in order to have a clear concience i think its best to back off, so he can take care of her...basically I was unsure about whether i should be there for him as a friend or support or close the door on him during a major upheaval thats going on in his life?, whatever happens i feel we will remain friends, ...its been a healing journey, at a time the both of us had been feeling a void for a long time.

.thankyou to all the posts actually for taking the time to write, even if you think im morally bankrupt...i am evaluating your responses and using them in my decision making process...sometimes truth is hard to hear but im glad for your honesty, thankyou...if anyone can give me advice about the appropraitness of supporting him as a carer that was my main thing...do i just ask him what he needs from me...(m backing off the sex...just doesnt seem right, now) lets see how long he sticks around...

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 November 2009):

Unfortunately I can think of nothing that would aid you in your current situation., I just wished to assure you, that you are not a bad, corrupted or pitiful person, as some others have alluded to. Maybe you are to be pitied for your history but not for your character.

As you said he comes from a different culture and there are many regions on earth where affairs are perfectly acceptable if not the norm, should marriage have grown cold. This does prevent divorces and does in no way influence the couples relationship as “partners in life” should they choose to not let it. His wife herself released him from every constraint when she told him she wouldn't engage in sex with him since she lost her “drive” and chances are she also gave him permission since it would be awfully selfish to deny him any sexual fulfillment...forever.

Although I too normally live by the rule that I won't do unto others, that which I don't want to be done onto me (and being cheated on does fall under that), one needs to understand that there are different thinking models in the world and not immediately knock someone down with the christian morality hammer.

Again, sorry I have no advice for you, however I felt you shouldn't come here seeking help, only to be (partly) met with great hostility and blessings of doom.

All the best

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 November 2009):

What goes around comes around. It is NEVER o.k to interfere with someone else's marriage. I pity women like you who try to justify cheating! Get your own life and leave this couple alone!

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A female reader, Jayney Y Australia +, writes (5 November 2009):

Jayney Y agony auntI think being faced with losing his wife has given him a reality jolt. Without discounting your personal history of abuse, that's not an excuse for doing something to another person that you wouldn't like having done to you. Nor is it OK "for two people who are sexually compatible" to keep each other company if it has to be done behind a spouses back.

Regardless of what he has said about marrying you etc, I wouldn't take him too seriously, for your own self preservation. Most likely he is experiencing deep shock at the possibility of losing his wife, and anything is likely to come out of his mouth. On top of that, having an affair entails various behaviours....lying, sneaking about like a thief, manipulation, selfishness, hypocrisy, disrespect, dishonesty, immaturity.......

Think about the way this man has treated his wife, because that tells you much more about him than any of the things he's ever said to you.

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A female reader, hijacked_dignity United States +, writes (4 November 2009):

hijacked_dignity agony auntOh my god. That is quite the situation you have landed yourself into. You say that there is nothing wrong with two people sexually connecting on the side, but don't you realize who it hurts? It hurts the people that aren't even involved. Try telling his dying wife how you don't think it's selfish that he's seeing you on the side. Are you kidding me? Also, what a great role model for your daughter. What if your daughter grows up, gets married, and her husband is screwing around with some woman on the side? Would you explain to her that it's perfectly natural for her husband to cheat?

I don't know if you have ever been on the receiving end of the hurt of affairs, but it shakes people to the core. I think you are kidding yourself if you think that this guy will stay loyal to you after his dead wife sets him free. I mean what kind of logic is that? What's best for everyone? You mean what's best for you? If I were you, I'd save a bit of pride and stop taking a dying woman's husband's attention from her. Though she really doesn't deserve his attention anyway.

You know? Now that I think about it. Keep going the way you are. Hopefully this guy will leave his dying wife in peace, marry you, and then give you a taste of karma. Then you can try to rationalize how 'unselfish' affairs are while you're the dying wife, and he's your straying husband. :) This guy is always going to be looking for the next best thing (seeing as he is so selfish to start an affair anyway). And hey. So are you. Good luck.

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