Agony Aunt Annie gives advice to a reader trapped in a relationship with a manipulative partner:

Dear Annie
I have been in a relationship for more than a year now. This guy walked out of a 15 year marriage when we met.
Apparently, according to him, the wife was cheating, and got pregnant outside of their marriage but he doesnâ??t have the guts to divorce the wife, because of the settlement he will have to pay. He has huge debts as it is.
We moved in together so we can share the rent and other expenses, so he can at least breathe.
Instead of that it is getting worse: I am now the only one paying bills. I found myself making this an issue as itâ??s a burden on my shoulders now.
He loves me and says he wants to marry me, but from what I see there is no way in hell thatâ??s going to happen, as the wife calls now and again asking for money.

He then has to go and borrow it. He says itâ??s for the kids (three kids: two boys and a girl), even though he maintains them every month.
Lately we fight over little things and I canâ??t even allow him to touch me
I always make an excuse that he is making this whole relationship about sex or something. I am not sure if I am angry with the situation or I donâ??t love him anymore. That has put more strain on our relationship.
Every time I suggest that we go our separate ways or take a break to sort ourselves out, he says he has no other life, and without me he would kill himself. Now I feel I am only with him because I pity him, as I donâ??t want him to kill himself on my account.
I need to know what to do from here, how to get out – where do I go from here?

Dear Mnqanqeni
Thank you for your letter. You say that you have been in a relationship for just over a year now. While that length of time is certainly not a summer holiday romance, neither is it a we-finish-each-others-sentences time either.  
It certainly is enough time to give you a good idea of whether you think he may be a keeper, or if you should toss him back into the sea. From your letter it sounds like you have decided that he is a tosser and not a keeper, excuse the pun, but hey, if the shoe fits…
I can see why he would want to stay in the relationship
You are supporting him and so he is reducing his debt, but living for free. Everyone reading this wants to move in with you â?? that is a sorted deal!  
What are you getting out of the relationship?
Certainly not your moneyâ??s worth! You donâ??t seem to be reaping any benefits at all. If you were married to him, I could understand that you may want to honour your commitment, and try to work it out.
Although he tells you that he wants to marry you, you can see that that wonâ??t be happening in the near future. It seems what he really wants is to ease his financial burden.
If he stays married to his ex-wife he is able to do this. If he stays with you on the promise of marrying you he is able to do this.  
I see that he has two women, not free to move on and possibly marry other men, but not reaping the benefits of being his wife either!
A man managing to ensnare two women for his financial gain, and not committing to either of them, sounds like he may be skilled at manipulation.  
You say that he says that he has no life without you, and would kill himself if you kick him out? Definitely sounds like the thing a very manipulative man would say!  
Does he not consider his children worth living for, if he will even borrow money to support them, over and above his maintenance payment?
I cannot imagine that he would be very happy to lose his free meal ticket.
Are you responsible for another manâ??s life?  
He can only make you responsible if you accept that role! How many lives would you accept responsibility for? If a family member asked for your car, or they would kill themselves, would you hand over the keys?  
It is very scary to be threatened in that way, but you can still say no. No person is able to carry the load of another personâ??s life on their shoulders. We all have the free will to make choices that we have to bear the consequences of. You cannot and should not take responsibility for the choices someone else makes.  
Can you break his manipulative hold over you by telling him that you free him to make whatever choices he thinks are right for him? Can you tell him that you do not take responsibility for any negative consequences his choices bring?
You can only be controlled and manipulated if you allow yourself to be!
You are Beautiful!
Love and Blessings

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter