Dear Ellie: At 22, newly graduated from university, my best friend and I travelled to “see the world” on a tight budget that summer, starting in the south of France.
We’d both worked as part-time models in a fashion store to pay our tuition, so it’s not bragging to say we were noticed when we reached the beach.
Young men ogled us openly, but two more sophisticated men invited us to join them for drinks on the patio of a nearby luxury hotel. They were both very good-looking but I was attracted to the one who kept looking deeply into my eyes. I figured he was late-20s.
We were driven back to our low-budget hotel, quickly changed into the only summer dresses we brought, then were picked up in an expensive car. Everyone in the dingy lobby gaped.
After the two weeks we’d planned to stay on the beach, my now-regular escort begged me to stay. He promised he’d take care of me in a more “suitable environment,” and provide whatever I needed.
My friend wasn’t given the same offer from her escort. She then visited a cousin in Scotland, and returned home within a few weeks.
I remained in France, living a glamorous life among the very wealthy with my new “boyfriend” who I learned was 32 and a celebrated athlete.
I felt that I loved him, but asked no questions because it was all like a dream. I eventually learned that he was married, had children and a family home in another country, but spent time in France whenever needing a break from the pressure of competing in his sport.
Six years later — having told my family/friends that I work in the fashion industry, so had to periodically travel overseas (he’d send me the airfare when he “needed and missed” me) — I started to re-think my life.
I’d become a married man’s mistress, had sailed on massive yachts, acquired expensive jewellery (his gifts “of appreciation”).
I now want to find lasting love with a man who accepts me for who I am, not as a showpiece. I want the real thing now, including children.
But how do I achieve it, without fully disclosing my past? Could a man who finds out, accept me as a partner? What if someone discovers and spills my secret? (My long-time friend swears she’s never told anyone).
Or do I disclose my past if I meet someone with whom I can envision a loving future?
I’m 30 now, wanting a true partner and a happy family life.
Love Against the Odds
First, rebuild your self-confidence.
Gossipers enjoy shaming/blaming others, and yours is a story that breeds jealousy plus judgement.
Strengthen your resolve with reality: You’re not the first attractive young woman to be dazzled by a dashing, rich man who provides access to fabulous places and lifestyles.
You’re also not the first to NOT be told by him that he was married with children when he started the affair with you.
There are good men with the confidence to love someone without judging their behaviour when young/single/trusting, in previously unknown situations.
So, take time to assess any man you care for, before revealing all. Learn his values/ principles and personal faith.
Then tell him what you believe and value most, today, and reveal some of your past to test his reaction. If possible, ask him to take time to think it through and also, answer his questions.
Dear Ellie: When is it time to stop having sexual relations?
I’m concerned for my mother who keeps making references to her second husband who, using Viagra, keeps wanting to have sex with her at least twice weekly.
Mom has severe arthritis. I worry that his pressure on her to fulfill his sexual needs (reassurance that he can still perform?) is exhausting her, maybe increasing her arthritic pain.
I also hear fatigue in her voice when she alludes to this situation.
I know that she’s too embarrassed to ask her doctor about this, so should I ask for her?
Generally, doctors only respond to questions from their patients’ relatives, when the patients themselves cannot answer or understand the health matter.
Tell your mother that, if her husband’s sexual needs/wants are tiring her and/or causing her physical pain, anywhere, she needs to make an appointment to see her doctor in person.
Ellie’s tip of the day
As a single young woman who unknowingly fell for a married man, be open and honest with someone who accepts who you are today.
Send relationship questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.