Swedish Woman

This summer, I met a woman in Sweden who is married with young children. We have been in constant contact, and have met up in secret. She and I had the best sex of our lives. She and her husband have agreed to separate after they sell their home next spring and she says she wants me to be in Sweden as soon as possible. She phones me every day asking for advice on how to end her marriage, and about how to control her unruly children. We also talk about sex a lot. However, she is still not 100% sure if she will ever leave her husband. I’ve helped her develop childcare strategies, yet she still won’t commit to a long-term relationship if I make the move. I worry that she just wants me for sex. My life here is on hold – I have lost interest in my job, my extended family and have held back from dating. I have three adult children and own my own house so I could move quickly. Should l give up my life here and move to Sweden? Should l insist on a firmer commitment from her before I take this step?


It’s certainly a good time to take stock. New Year is all about fresh starts but I’m a little concerned about where this adventure is taking you. While there are no guarantees in any relationship your lover presently seems to be holding all the cards. Not that many would have resisted the initial encounter you outline in your longer letter. A divorced man at a Swedish summer party meets a fantasy Scandi who hasn’t had sex with her husband for years and is desperate for a man. It almost sounds too good to be true and certainly worthy of a film script! In the Swedish Noir version you’d end up alone, the passionate affair no substitute for the ties of family, unless her husband proved to be a serial killer or some other kind of miscreant.

But back to you, who wouldn’t want such a romance in later life, though the return to parenting might be an unwelcome new responsibility with your own all grown up and gone? Yet you’re the one rushing ahead while she remains sitting comfortably on the fence. It makes me slightly wary of any further radical move on your part. A degree of commitment more tangible than sex with benefits would be a good place to start when you’re planning to sell up and move country. Then again I’m not sure throwing away everything you’ve worked and strived for simply because you’re overcome by ardor is such a good idea in any case. I do tend to lack a romantic instinct when the soul mate topic is raised. Instead I fast forward to arguments about domestic duties, parenting, finance and commitment and a return to passionless nights, if you were at the receiving end of my mailbox you might be similarly disenchanted with what we do in the name of passion and it’s loosely related companion love.

Let me be blunt. To sell up, leave your family behind and arrive jobless in a country where you don’t speak the language because of a needy woman with whom you have great sex isn’t the most promising of starts to a new chapter in your life. There seem so many elements you haven’t considered in your equations. Your own children may be adult but don’t underestimate the importance of easy access to them and the support structure such extended family offers. Neither do you mention the role you’d play in her kid’s lives. If your dreams come true and she replaces her husband with you, will you still be having great sex when you’re getting up for the school run? Abandoning so much that’s important in your life for a woman who’s offering so little, aside from the possible conclusion to her unhappy marriage seems an act of reckless abandon. The advisory role you’ve been cast in also worries me. Opining on her marriage and her “unruly children” is really not appropriate and suggests that you’re both exploiting each other’s weakness. You’re cast as the mature advisor, she the needy child and neither carry good tidings for a solid future union.

Why do you want this relationship to be more than the sexually satisfying affair it currently is? I’d ask myself that question and spend some time considering the answer. There are many ways to enhance your sense of self-worth without propelling yourself toward a ready made family, who on the slim chance it works out, look set to be quite a commitment. What’s on the table for you right now is slim pickings; I’d be tempted to stay in touch but stay put until she can commit enough time to your relationship to rustle up more of a smorgasbord.