DEAR DEIDRE: I LET down my lover by choosing to stay with my long-term partner. Now he says he has cancer and it’s due to the stress I have caused him.
He is 53, I’m 50 and we were together for just over a year.
We met at the gym and soon started confiding in each other about our failing relationships.
We would go for a drink after our workout and found solace in each other. The sex was intense and I really felt a strong connection to him.
We spent months sneaking around, planning our lives together.
But then my partner of 20 years, who is 54, really started making an effort with me. Previously I had felt completely neglected and overlooked by him.
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He even took me away for a wonderful weekend and I began to remember all the good things about him, like his love of nature and his kindness.
I knew on that weekend I would stay and make the most of the relationship.
My decision did not go down well with my lover, but initially he said he respected it.
That was until he started to harass me with text messages. He begged me to give him a second chance, and although I turned him down each time, the messages kept coming.
I eventually blocked him and cut off contact. I hadn’t heard from him for months until I got a phone call from an unknown number.
It was him. He told me he’d been diagnosed with cancer and it was all my fault. He said the stress I’d caused him had impacted his health.
I know I’m not to blame, but I feel awful and can’t stop thinking of it.
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DEIDRE SAYS: You aren’t to blame for this. It’s not surprising it upset you.
This man is hurting after your break-up and no doubt his long-term relationship is floundering. That, along with his health issues, will leave him feeling that his life is spiralling out of control.
He is lashing out at you because he wants to make you feel guilty.
It would be best not to entertain him. He clearly wants some kind of reaction and it’s better to take a step back. My support pack Feeling Guilty will help.
While you understandably feel bad, as you once cared for him deeply, the reality is there is nothing you can do to help him.
Instead, focus on your marriage and moving forward.
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