BEL MOONEY: Lover’s web of deceit is making me bitter

 Dear Bel,

I am a gay man in my 30s. Up until now, a meaningful, romantic relationship has escaped me. Not because I don’t want it, but because the right person just hasn’t come along.

Although I have a successful career and a strong circle of family and close friends, I’m not very confident, so I struggle to meet people romantically.

Over the past few years, I’ve had a very casual relationship with a bisexual man, seeing each other once or twice a year with no connection in between.

Earlier this year we met again and things have changed. He makes me feel so special I can’t resist.

On a recent weekend away, we held hands and acted as more than just friends with benefits.

He’s having a relationship with someone else, a female, who is in a long-term relationship with another man.

He would clearly like more with this girl, who also works for him. I am the bit on the side. He sees me in secret when he can’t see her.

While she doesn’t know he is bisexual, she must suspect. One of his previous male lovers told her but she dismissed the ‘lie’.

Why doesn’t she leave her long-term partner for her boss? He treats her very well. Her family facilitate the affair, which I suspect has something to do with his money and generosity.

It frustrates me to see him taken advantage of and it makes me bitter that I just want to spend time with him for who he is, not his money.

I have laid my cards on the table and told him my feelings. He was sweet; says he has feelings too — but ultimately doesn’t want the added complication right now.

What do I do? This is the first man who has made me feel like this, but I’m getting really hurt and frustrated by the situation.


This week, Bel advises a gay reader whose boyfriend is dating another woman - who doesn't know he is bisexual

This week, Bel advises a gay reader whose boyfriend is dating another woman - who doesn't know he is bisexual 

Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive’ is a quotation full of wisdom.

It comes from an epic poem by Sir Walter Scott called Marmion: A Tale Of Flodden Field, which tells how one of Henry VIII’s courtiers, Lord Marmion, pursues his lust for a rich woman, Clara.

He and his mistress, a delinquent nun (yes, really!), devise a scheme to frame Clara’s fiancé. Things become chaotic and, although Marmion defeats Clara’s intended in a duel, he loses because she retires to a convent rather than endure his attentions.

So be careful everybody!

When you lie, you construct a domino structure of complications which eventually run out of control.

Isn’t something like this happening in the life of the man you love? He is telling lies to his mistress who, in turn, is lying to her long-term partner, whom she will not leave. What a turn-up it would be if he were telling porkies too, and having his own bit on the side.

You, meanwhile, have nobody else, but are forced to watch enviously, knowing she is the chosen one. It must be horrible for you and I feel sorry that you are being used in this way by this attractive, rich and successful man.

Because we simply cannot put a gloss on it: you are being used. Naturally reticent but (I think) given some confidence by the newer intensity of your feelings, you have told your man exactly how you feel.

How did he respond? In effect he said sweetly, ‘Yeah, right, sure — love you too and all that — but not right now, thanks.’ He’s prepared to string you along because you give him sexual pleasure and he likes your company.

But I suspect you will always be the also-ran — and in the end will be hurt by the man who wants everything and usually gets it.

Of course you are ‘hurt and frustrated’ because this relationship is going nowhere. Had you instead remained ‘friends with benefits’ meeting twice a year for sex it wouldn’t have mattered what he did with the rest of his time.

But now you are entangled in a web of lies spun by two people, a man and a woman, who are both set on their own gratification.

Please don’t let those spiders eat you up. You have such a lot going for you and should step back right now and try to find somebody new who will treat you fairly.


 How could her dad spend her savings?

Dear Bel

Since our daughter was young, my husband and I have set aside in a bank account some of our earnings, some of hers from her part-time job in a shop and her childhood allowance money.

She’s now 18 and preparing to go to university, so we gave her access to the account.

My husband was very hesitant, and I quickly discovered why. He’s spent almost all the money on Match Attax football cards.

To say I’m livid is an under-statement. He says they are his inheritance to her as they ‘will be incredibly valuable by the time I die’ — but the fact he went behind our backs is so crushing.

My daughter has left the house in anger to stay with her boyfriend’s family and I don’t know what to do.


Thought of the day

Just do a little thing: just love.

Just do a little thing: don't judge.

Just do a little thing: don't be sad.

Just do a little thing: forgive.

From a hymn by Irina Denisova, a prominent choral conductor and composer in Belarus and now a nun at the St Elizabeth Monastery in Minsc 



Disappointment is one of the worst feelings in the world, especially when it’s a person you thought you knew and loved who is letting you down.

Such disillusionment leaves a bitter taste, which doesn’t ever quite go away.

‘How could you do that?’ means ‘How could you be so weak-willed and selfish and how come I never realised that was within you?’ We’re miserable that our judgement has been called into question.

Nothing could make these cards worth the loss of your daughter’s respect for her father. He has been very stupid as well as dishonest, but that doesn’t make him uniquely bad or mad — although I bet he’s been made very sad by realising how dim he has been. Didn’t he think he’d be found out?

He must do whatever it takes to put this right, including selling his precious cards as soon as possible. The value of objects we collect and cherish is never fixed, so it’s deluded to assume growth.

The only thing worth valuing here is the love and respect of his wife and daughter. In time you will both forgive him — because you must. He’s the flawed human being you share your lives with. But he’d better prove he’s worth it.


I despair over my new love

Dear Bel

My question is very complex and I can only say it is driving me to despair.

During lockdown, I became friendly with a woman and we would walk and talk every day, and we would even message each other in between times.

The only stumbling block is I’m a married man — with my wife for 30 years — a loveless marriage, which has been the case for years.

We don’t sleep together and so are more friends than husband and wife. I want to leave her and move in with this woman. What should I do?


This is one of the shortest emails I’ve ever received, and there are so many questions I would like answered.

I take this chance to suggest to readers that although the lengthy letters give me a hard task of editing, I do need some detail when you write.

You, Peter, don’t even tell me whether you have a family. Or when you met the other woman and if she is married. Or whether your wife has any inkling that all this walking and talking has been going on. Do you see?

Each letter that comes to this column is a unique story, but yours is as full of holes as one of my moth-munched sweaters. But it’s easy to imagine you are in love. I believe we ‘fall in love’ many times in a lifetime; by ‘love’ I mean a sensation of intensity. It could be that this lady is your new life partner.

Or she could be a wonderful person whose allure has been intensified by the heightened atmosphere of lockdown.

Either way, I’m old-fashioned enough to believe that a marriage of 30 years’ standing should not just be junked because of a new passion.

You call the marriage ‘loveless’, but by that you mean sexless, because you still call your wife your friend. And old friends need consideration, too.

If the marriage has run its course, then that conversation must be had with your wife. It can’t be shirked.

But ‘despair’ can be made much worse by lasting guilt. Treat your wife with the love you felt when you met her and then you will be given the moral strength to cope.


 And finally...So pleased family found each other

A few months ago I mentioned ‘ancestry’ websites and DNA and confessed I really don’t want to find new relatives. Now, A writes: ‘You must receive so many sad letters, so here is one that is amazing, unbelievable and, most of all, happy.’

She continues: ‘I was an illegitimate child, born in 1946. My mother died when I was 12 but I had my grandfather, my uncle and my much older brother in the house, so never lacked male presence.

‘When Mum died, I lived with my uncle and aunt, who were like parents to me. On the whole I’ve had a pretty happy life.’

A’s cousin is keen on DNA-based genealogical research, so the two women took tests and A discovered a first cousin, M, she had no knowledge of.

Contact Bel 

Bel answers readers' questions on emotional and relationship problems each week.

Write to Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or email

A pseudonym will be used if you wish.

Bel reads all letters but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

‘Since a first cousin can only be related through parents or grandparents, we reached the obvious conclusion — that the relationship must be through my father,’ she adds.

The only thing A ever knew about her father was that he was in the Royal Air Force. She made contact with M — and discovered his father was in the RAF for 25 years, and had been stationed for a while in the county where A lives.

‘Having got his name and a bit of history, I then checked second and third cousins on the DNA list — and found that through these more distant cousins I shared DNA with M’s grandfather,’ she writes.

‘I feel like I’m in the middle of an episode of Long Lost Family! I have the occasional moment of sadness that I never knew my father (he died in 1996), but most of the time I am walking round with a smile on my face. I am also very thankful that both M and I decided to put our DNA results on Ancestry.’

In wartime and post-war, A’s story wasn’t uncommon. Now, she’s so happy to see photographs of her father and discover more about her new family members.

Reading her story made me happy, too. A reminder always to be open to pleasant surprises.

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