My ‘Girlfriend’ of 20 Years Has Been Married to Another Man and Duped Me Out of Millions of Yen. How Do I Let Her Go?

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m an unmarried man in my 50s. I have been in love with the same woman for 20 years. At first, we met about once a month to have a meal or go out together. We started to have a physical relationship about once a month 10 years after we first met.

Around that time, giving her ¥100,000 each month became a requirement for me to see her. I liked her and enjoyed seeing her. I believed I would be her boyfriend one day, so I gave her the money even if it was expensive.

However, about 3 years ago, she suddenly refused to be intimate with me, and we only ate out together after that.

One day I saw a wedding ring on her left hand and asked her about it. She said that while seeing me, she had gotten married to another man and had two children. I did not notice at all that she had been pregnant. I have not seen her nor contacted her for almost a year now.

I had given her at least ¥8 million by the time I found out the truth. Even though I ended up being deceived, I still love her, and don’t care about getting my money back. I know she has a family and there is no room for me in her life. How do I let go of her?

— Y, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Mr. Y:

While it is said that love lasts only three years, you have been in love with the same woman for 20 years.

She must be attractive and charming. You met someone you became crazy about and had wonderful times with her, having dinner and doing other things together.

While you ended up being tricked out of ¥8 million, the best you can do is move on, knowing you had an experience that many people would rarely ever have.

Let bygones be bygones. Even if you want to get back together, not only is that impossible, but it could also cause a lot of trouble. Think about it this way: You broke up with her because you have reached middle age, and now is the time for you to get a fresh start in your romantic life.

Moving forward, I recommend that you go out with other women more casually. You could ask a woman close to you out or try dating apps you find reliable.

While you’re having fun going out on dates, you might find someone who loves and cares for you. If you meet that someone, I am sure that your ex-girlfriend will become a memory of the past.

— Masahiro Yamada, university professor