‘I’ve been feeling restless and unhappy since my last birthday.
‘I’m in my late forties and have been with my husband for more than ten years. I met him while I was with my ex and there was also an overlap with the previous partner, so I’ve been in relationships for a long time.
‘I love my partner, and he’s been a solid stepfather to my daughter, but he has simple needs and I desire more.
‘I reignited old hobbies and took on a part-time job, and found that one of my married colleagues is as restless as I am. We share interests and text frequently. He’s suggested a day trip together.
‘Should I throw caution to the wind?‘
You seem to be aware that his invite is not about sightseeing.
‘You know there’s nothing innocent about skipping off on a day trip together,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin. ‘It’s clear you are both looking for something else, something exciting that will prove you are special and worthwhile.’
You have some awareness of your pattern of jumping from one partner to another, leaving when the rhythm of the relationship becomes predictable and boring.
‘You feel buffeted from one partner to the next, like a pinball between thumper bumpers, and you are now wondering whether this has worked for you,’ says James McConnachie.
So don’t make the same mistake again. Don’t use a new relationship as a pretext for ending the previous one.
‘If you want to leave your partner, do it — and not because you’ve met someone shiny and new but because you genuinely feel it’s over,’ says Rupert Smith. ‘If you want to travel and have an exciting life, go for it, but don’t make it dependent on an affair.’
None of us requires another to know that we are valuable and you have discovered yourself that no one can help someone else truly feel good about themselves.
‘Instead, think about what it would be like to experience independence — as part of your life with the man you love or on your own — and you might get a clearer picture of what matters to you,’ says Smith.
Because you know it won’t be just a day trip and it probably won’t be just a fling. If it does develop into a new relationship, it will leave behind deception and anger.
‘All of which will catch up with you eventually,’ says Rudkin. ‘If you’re not happy in your relationship, give your husband the respect he deserves by telling him.’
Ending this pattern is the only way we will find contentment.
‘Happiness comes from living a life that’s meaningful to you,’ says McConnachie, ‘not from taking the next offer that comes along.’
Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor
James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)
Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist
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