Lisa in Brighton writes:
A friend who I knew online through a support group for families with children with special needs passed away suddenly due to complications from cancer almost three years ago. Through her best friend an opportunity came about for me to become a live-in nanny for her children about a year ago. My daughter and I live here now and I have had an ongoing relationship with my friend who passed away’s husband.
Nobody knows because we felt it is best right now with his oldest daughter still grieving the loss of her mother. We have put things on hold a couple of times between us and recently are back on with things. I need to know if you see this becoming a permanent thing in the future? I have made it clear to him that I will not be with him unless he truly has feelings for me although I respect the fact that he will always miss and love his wifte and never get over losing her.
You have a fairly complicated, but not entirely unusual, situation with this relationship.
What started out as comfort and a rebound has evolved into something more, but the two of you have different ideas on how this relationship should evolve. Even though your boyfriend does have feelings for you, he would prefer that your relationship remain a secret. There will always be reasons to keep things quiet, and so far – it has worked. You fill a void in his life and world that his wife left behind. He cares about you because of who you are, but he has yet to truly heal from losing his wife. In many ways, he has grown comfortable with things as they are, and feels that this is the way they should be.
His daughter will always grieve her mother’s passing. While this is very real and valid, it is also an excuse for your man to continue holding on to his own grief, and continue to keep your relationship in the closet. Both of them do their best to go on with life, but neither of them fully grasp the concept that life goes on.
This relationship is going to continue to be shrouded with restrictions and secrecy. You will eventually have to decide if this is enough for you. He does care about you, he does enjoy this relationship, but he doesn’t ever see himself moving forward with anyone to the degree of marriage.
Only you can decide what this relationship is worth, and what you are willing to live with.
If you stick with it, it will easily be another two years before it becomes known that the two of you are romantically involved. In many ways, all of you already present and interact as a family. If that is enough for you, and your love for him runs that deep, be happy for what you have. If you want a more traditional relationship that can be out in the open, then you need to find another job, and another man.
I hope this helps.