I’m Not Sure If I Can Trust My Boyfriend Who Did Not Tell Me He Was Married

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a self-employed woman in my 60s. I have received a marriage proposal from an older man with whom I have been in a serious relationship for almost five years.

Last year he told me that he had been married to a woman, an old friend of his whom he had known for 30 years. I did not know of her existence and felt betrayed because I trusted him.

The woman he married had terminal cancer and had passed away by the time I was told the truth.

He had married her knowing that she was going to die. He had performed the funeral service and laid her ashes to rest as her husband.

I suspected that he married her for her possessions. But he said that he married her because he did not want her to die without someone to look after her grave. “We were never anything more than friends. Since she is no longer on the family register, I hope you will continue your relationship with me,” he said.

It seems that the woman who married him and became his wife loved him and was not told about my existence as his girlfriend.

My desire to trust him is mixed with the thought that I was deceived, and I am having a hard time.

— H, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Ms. H:

You are conflicted between feeling betrayed and wanting to trust your boyfriend. I suggest you calmly look at the facts of what has happened.

It is puzzling that his reason for marrying the woman who was an “old friend” was so that she would not be left without someone to look after her grave.

As a friend, he could have arranged the funeral, burial, etc. He could even have used the services provided by the local government.

I suspect that he married her for more than friendship, or that there was some other motive behind the marriage.

In any case, he married her while concealing the existence of his girlfriend. This is very unfaithful to the woman who became his wife.

He also did not tell you about his marriage. In other words, he betrayed you and her at the same time. Am I looking at this too harshly?

Perhaps he does not take marriage seriously, and to him it is nothing more than a paperwork procedure.

Knowing that he is such a person, can you set your feelings aside and accept his proposal?

You do not need to rush into marriage. I think you need to take a hard look at the distrust you feel for him before you decide.

— Tomomi Fujiwara, writer