Is it wrong to love someone who doesn't love you back? Toby Green helps a reader who has trouble cutting ties with a past lover.

(Q) Is it wrong to unconditionally love someone you will never be able to be with? In 1984, I had a sporadic affair with a woman over three weeks and there were three days when we lived together as a couple. We shared amazing emotional and personal compatibility - so much so that we spoke of marriage. The sad thing was she was already married and didn't tell me before I'd fallen in love with her. When I did eventually find out, I left through emotional shock rather than moral indignity. Throughout the past 27 years she has never told me she doesn't want to see me again. I've never been able to fully commit to anyone else despite knowing some wonderful women as my true heart belongs to her. Is my private devotion and love for her wrong?

(A) Yes. Your "private devotion and love for her" is wrong. You fell in love with a thief. She dishonestly stole your heart. She committed a lie of omission about her marital status. She cheated on her husband. By not making it clear to you that what she knows you want is never going to happen, she has stolen 27 years of your life. If you were "living together" in her home, she stole its sanctity from her husband.

I also think she stole your innocence about love and trust. The fact that you "left immediately through emotional shock" indicates this betrayal was a powerful experience.

It's quite possible that it was her deception that has kept you paralysed all these years. If you were to fall in love with another woman, there is no guarantee that she wouldn't deceive you too. But staying faithful to a fantasy keeps you unavailable, safe and out of harm's way.

It would be more constructive for you to look back at that episode as an unchangeable part of your history and integrate it into an experience that gave you one hell of a ride, but that you survived. Now you need to devote the rest of your life to making up for lost time.