[Two Pronged] Cheated on my boyfriend, and now my boss won't marry me
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr. Baer,
John was my boyfriend when I had an affair with my boss, Eric. I was having unprotected sex with both of them. I told Eric I was pregnant; he said he’d support my baby.
My relatives confronted Eric. He guaranteed the baby’s support but not marriage, he was not ready, all the while apologizing “sorry po.” I was crying.
I approached our Chief to convince Eric to marry me. Chief scolded Eric in public but still he didn’t marry me. I thought it would only be a matter of time.
I never thought details about my relationship with John would surface, but they did.
I told Chief about this and Chief kept pressuring Eric to marry me "para lumagay na sa tahimik." Eric applied and got appointed to another agency. Chief tried to stop him from leaving our agency by offering a higher salary grade and more bonuses but he still left. Chief made Eric continue supporting my baby in exchange of not filing a case against him.
Eric talks mainly about my daughter's vaccines and food. He seldom mentions his new work; he says he is still adjusting. He was a high ranking officer in our agency but he transferred to another as an entry level employee. He had a higher position, salary grade and benefits but he still left and I know it was because Chief was pressuring him to marry me.
Chief has my best interest. Chief is afraid this "issue" (unwed mother/immorality) can be used to remove me from government. Chief and my relatives tell people Eric married me. Chief believes since they are spreading that Eric married me, then he will be pressured into marrying me. So far, I am just quiet and coasting along.
Am I doing the right thing?
To summarize, you cheated on your boyfriend, had unprotected sex with two men, became pregnant, and co-opted the head of your department into an attempt to strong arm one of them into marriage, thus far unsuccessfully.
You now ask if being quiet and coasting along is the right tactic.
Let’s look at the relative behavior of the participants in this drama. John appears to have only a minor role, unaware of the pregnancy and presumably the possibility that he is a father. Eric, on the other hand, was willing from the outset to take full responsibility for the baby, but no more, and he has been steadfast ever since.
Chief’s role in all this is a complete mystery to me. Why he decided to get involved at all eludes me and his willingness to allow the whole business to be played out in public in the office is frankly bizarre. Why should he want to coerce a high ranking official in his department into marrying you? Is it possible that he is a past – or a future – notch on your unprotected bedpost? And as for the charade of pretending to be married...
It is very difficult to find anything positive to say about your behavior as this drama has played out. You start out two-timing your boyfriend, are irresponsible and having unprotected sex and then attempt to force someone to marry you through a war of attrition. Finally, you have the gall to describe your current tactics as “quiet and coasting along."
So, what is the right thing? It is taking responsibility for the results of unprotected sex, accepting with grace Eric’s willingness to provide for the baby without trying to ensnare him in marriage, asking Chief to cease his matchmaking and instead removing your personal life from your workplace – and only after all this can you be quiet and coast along.
All the best,
I have been trying to understand why you would agree to all Chief’s machinations: accepting Chief’s tactics as the ones that would work to coerce Eric to marry you, hoping that what would work for you would also work for Eric. I hope you have now finally realized that no, Eric seems to consider marriage as too important to be coerced into it by threats about his reputation, his job, nor seduced into it by a higher salary, etc.
Then I realized that, perhaps like most women, your mate choice has to do with who would provide a better life for yourself and your offspring. Hence, the boss rather than the boyfriend.
There is nothing wrong with that reason per se, however, as long as you realize what a shotgun marriage brings (especially when based on an obvious lie) but also effects that could negatively impact your daughter.
Chief might believe predictable received knowledge that there are protective effects of marriage for physical and emotional well-being, BUT better controlled studies show that these effects are conditional upon the quality of the marriage; problematic marriages take an emotional toll, whereas high-quality marriages provide benefits, especially for women Proulx CM, Helms HM, Buehler C. “Marital quality and personal well-being: a meta-analysis” Journal of Marriage and Family. 2007;69:576–593.
In my clinical experience, people’s differences, even in core values, aren’t usually the problem: it’s how you deal with them that matters!
If you hope for a long term commitment from your putative partner, honesty and trust are essential. Details about your long term relationship will come out even more as the years go by, and with it Eric’s wondering whether the child he supports and loves might not actually be his, etc will hopefully not affect his relationship with his daughter, but it will certainly affect his relationship with you.
Please think about it, Pia: my hope is that you will realize in time that marrying Eric was your primary aim, even to the point of endlessly lying, and that Chief’s manipulations to achieve this were in fact counterproductive. My greater hope is that you decide to choose your own path, realizing the best way to raise a child is with honesty and integrity.
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.