'We’ve been together a year but I still feel like his mistress'



Dear Coleen

I’m struggling with what to do about my partner of nearly a year. He’s ­separated from his wife, although they’re not divorced yet and they have a child together.

Even though we’ve been dating for some time he hasn’t told anyone about us, other than his best friend.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, I was totally humiliated when we were having lunch in a café one day, and some friends of his came over to our table. He completely lied about who I was, telling them I was a colleague and then he didn’t even include me in their conversation.

We live separately, so we haven’t seen each other for a couple of weeks due to the virus, and I can’t help thinking how convenient this is for him, as it means he doesn’t have to tell anyone about us for a long time.

I don’t want to make a big deal of it at the moment as there doesn’t seem any point. However, once this ­lockdown is over, I want him to tell his ex and his family about me and make me a part of his life.

His excuse is always his daughter and keeping good relations with his ex, but we’ve been together for a year, which I think is long enough. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Coleen says

I don’t know if he’s had any threats from the mother of his child – maybe she’s told him she doesn’t want a ­girlfriend having a relationship with their daughter.

He might be terrified that telling her about you will mean she starts to throw her toys out of the pram.

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Having said that, you have been together a year, so the relationship is obviously serious and going well. Now is the time to have the conversation – when does he feel it’ll be right to tell people?

Explain you don’t want to feel like his mistress or a dirty secret – you want to have a proper relationship that’s out in the open.

His ex has to accept that life goes on and being in a relationship with someone won’t stop him being a good dad. Maybe she just needs some reassurance from him about that.

I can understand him being careful with his daughter and making sure your relationship is serious before introducing you to her, but I don’t see why he’s keeping you a secret from his friends. Unless that is, he’s not being honest with you about the situation with his ex.

If it’s simply because he can’t face a confrontation with her, then he needs to get over that and fast. He can’t live the rest of his life hiding from his ex.

This time apart might give him the opportunity to really think about what he wants, and it’ll give you time, too, to decide what you want.





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