‘Whenever I call on my partner there’s this neighbour hanging around’

Dear Coleen

I’ve been in a relationship for 15 years with my partner, but didn’t see her for 16 weeks due to the coronavirus.

I called her every night, but while I wasn’t there, a local guy was hanging around, always offering to do little jobs for her.

When I finally did get to see her, she said she didn’t want us to carry on as we were and maybe we could just see each other occasionally. So we broke up and when I went to collect my things, this guy walked across her garden and got over the wall.

A few weeks later, she asked to meet and we went for a walk and held hands. She invited me to stay a fortnight later. But when I arrived, I saw him hopping over the garden wall again!

That night we made love and spent the next day at the beach. Then I didn’t hear from her for a couple of weeks, when she again asked me to stay. I declined because I felt used.

We’ve since met a couple of times, and gone out for a meal and kissed and cuddled. She got a new summerhouse and I installed the power for her, while he was in his allotment over the wall, offering to cut her grass.

That night as I was about to leave, she kissed me and led me to her bedroom. We made love and I stayed over. I headed home the next morning and was looking forward to our next meeting a couple of days later.

But, again, this guy was there, offering to do jobs for her. She says there’s nothing going on, but I’ve had as much as I can take.

What do you think?

Coleen says

Well, he’s clearly doing a job for her, but the jury’s out on exactly what that job is! Look, there’s a pattern here of this guy always being around, ­coinciding with your time apart and then her breaking up with you when lockdown was eased.

It’s possible she wants the best of both worlds – seeing you ­occasionally for sex and dinner with odd jobs chucked in, then she’s free to see this other guy when she fancies it.

Your instincts are screaming at you that she’s lying and you said yourself you felt used, so don’t let her use you.

She cannot expect you to just switch from a 15-year exclusive relationship to seeing you only when she feels like it, with no strings attached.

You are being used. Tell her you don’t believe what she’s saying about her relationship with this guy but, even if there is nothing going on between them, you don’t want a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship.

This is bad for your self-esteem and you don’t need to put up with it.

There are plenty of women out there looking for a man willing to commit, so walk away and give yourself the chance to find one. Good luck.

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