My boyfriend has someone who is ‘more of a friend than a girlfriend’

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a part-time worker in my 50s. I’m divorced and I have been seeing a man eight years younger than me for two years. We’re going to live together soon.

He used to see a woman who is 12 years older than him for about 16 years. He said she is more of a friend than a girlfriend. He used to financially support her and they lived together until he started seeing me. He said they had a physical relationship for several years.

They don’t see each other now because of her moving back to her parents’ house far away and because of the pandemic. However, they exchange messages on the Line app every day, and he often receives a gift from her. He said the gifts are her way of saying thank you for having supported her, but letters that come with them are more like love letters.

Every time I get angry about them, he says I don’t have to worry because I’m the only person he loves. Still, he said he will never break ties with her, and would have no choice but to leave me if I cannot accept their relationship because we have different values.

Please give me some advice on how I should feel about her.

— S, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Ms. S:

Please forgive me if I am off the mark since I don’t know how you came to be going out with him.

Does he support you financially now? According to your letter, he said he financially supported the woman who is much older than him. I’m wondering if you are in a similar relationship with him. Even if you do not mean to, he may be thinking that way, at least.

He is still in contact with the woman as if she were his girlfriend maybe because he has not told her about you. He is not at all aware that this is hurting you, but rather he is trying to win concessions from you by saying you have different values.

It is natural for people to have different values because we are all different. However, we can only live together when we can accept each other’s values.

Can you build a future together with someone who thinks it is a value to continue an intimate relationship with someone while being with a woman he says he loves?

At issue now is not her, but your feelings toward him. Imagine the look on his face when he is with his next girlfriend and refers to you as “the woman I used to look after.”

— Hazuki Saisho, writer