I am the 'Other Woman'. Can it last?

by A. H.
(Asia)

The Question

Hello.

I'm a fairly young woman dating a man in his mid-40s. He is a Western man, successful in his career with a family and house of his own. I am Asian, in my home country with practically no career to speak of. He has a daughter almost my age.

The two of us met through some unconventional means but since the first couple meetings, we have hit it off quite well. He comes to Asia several times a year on business so we've met quite a number of times and even traveled together a bit. We talk on-line (through text) on a regular basis and e-mails are exchanged often.

He is aware that he is going through some rough times, but I help him to try and forget about the more worrying aspects of life and enjoy his time with me. We enjoy each other's companionship so much so that we are considering moving together to a different country and perhaps moving in together and see what happens.

I am not using him for his financial resources (although I let him buy dinner more often than not). I'm also pretty sure that he is not using me for simple sexual relief (I'm too far away and thus expensive for that), and that he truly does care about me. I have changed his life, or at least shaken it up, and am making him feel emotions he has not felt in a couple decades. He also makes me happy - there's something slow, caring, and sensual about a man who is definitely mature enough to know how to put a woman's needs before his own from time to time.

I am aware of the big ugly frown that society will send our way if this relationship deepens and eventually opens up, so we both hesitate doing anything legal. I'm aware that we will both probably be shunned, me more so than him with my culture's Confucian background. But we have talked about our futures, and wondered how we could make them coincide.

So my question is, is his feeling something temporary and likely to disappear in a few years? Or is he going through something much more permanent than a 'fling' mode of mind, so I can rely on being together a while longer?

Noel's response

It sounds very much to me as though he is going through a midlife transition that will end, and that the chances of your relationship becoming permanent are very slim. He is not likely to move to a different country and leave his family, friends and culture behind.

The only time to take a relationship such as yours seriously would be if he was already divorced, and you visited him in his country to experience his culture and meet his friends and family.

You are a pleasant diversion for each other, and when he is with you in Asia, it is not 'real life' for him. It is more like the 'honeymoon' stage newlyweds go through before the reality of everyday living together sets in.

Also, if he is willing to cheat on his wife with you, chances are that if you decide to get together permanently, he will some day do the same thing to you.

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