I Am In Love With a Man Who Wants Me To Stay With Him While He Dates Another Woman.

Dear Evan,

I guarantee my question has never been asked before.

I threw myself into my career for 25 years and didn’t date until I was 48 when I met a wonderful man that I fell deeply in love with. We had a wonderful 2½ year committed relationship and then he cheated on me. I found out because the woman kept calling the house at all hours of the day and night. When I found out, I was crushed and walked out the door.

He begged me to stay and told me he wanted to see both of us. I waited so long to meet him I couldn’t give him up. I had made a lot of mistakes in the relationship having never dated before. I love him so much. We have been in this love triangle for 7 months now.

He keeps her a secret from family and friends, and has sex with both of us. I continue to entertain, and am having his family for the holidays. He does spend more time with her now than with me. She has taken over most domestic duties for him that I used to do but does not live with him, nor do I. He claims he wants me to focus on my small business that is causing me financial problems.

My support group says that he views me as a friend now and has moved on with her. I would start to believe my friends, except that if he really loved her, why has he kept her a secret for so long? I have tried to leave him 5 times, including writing him a letter telling him I can’t do this, and he has begged me not to give up on us yet.

We were having relationship issues, and he was vulnerable. The woman is extremely manipulative – she totally stroked his ego among other things. Still, I know he is to blame for his choices.

Is there hope for us to be back to just the two of us again? I hate what he did to us, but love how he treated me for those 2 1/2 years.

Thank you,


You need a few gallons of self-esteem.

Dear Terri,

I don’t know how much I have to say that isn’t plainly obvious to everyone but you.

So I’ll say it succinctly and without judgment.

No. There is no hope for the two of you.

You need to leave the relationship.

You need to let go of him.

You need to get therapy.

You need a serious reality check.

You need a few gallons of self-esteem.

I acknowledge that it’s much easier to say this than it is for it is for you to live it, but the first step is in taking stock of your own decision-making. And, to an objective observer, you’ve put yourself in one unusual position.

What’s particularly unusual about it is how deeply in denial you are about what’s going on. Now, denial is not unusual among women – if it were, He’s Just Not That Into You wouldn’t have made a blip on the radar. But given that most people indulge themselves in some sort of wishful thinking, your refusal to look at the facts of this situation is staggering.

Here they are, restated to you from another point of view. It may be hard to hear, but, well, I don’t know how else to do it:

Your boyfriend was cheating on you. He may have been cheating on you for 2 ½ years, but you didn’t find out until one of the women spoke up and ratted him out. Paging Tiger Woods.

Naturally, he begged you to stay. He wouldn’t want to lose anyone as blindly devoted as you. You bought this, as if this was a sign of his love for you. Nope. It was just a sign of his selfishness, and your cluelessness about his real intentions: to have his cake and eat it, too.

He may have been cheating on you for 2 ½ years, but you didn’t find out until one of the women spoke up and ratted him out. Paging Tiger Woods.

Your “love triangle” as you call it is really about as close to bigamy as it gets. Except your boyfriend is smarter than the average Mormon. He didn’t have to marry either of you! He gets to set the terms of both relationships and see you both when he wants. She has “taken over domestic duties?” You entertain him for the holidays? You both sleep with him? This guy must be charismatic enough to be a cult leader.

Somehow, Terri, you’ve remained willfully blind to the fact that any man who would cheat on you behind your back, ask you to accept it to your face, and keep you as his booty call for 7 months after finding a new girlfriend… is probably not the best choice of partners for you.

And that’s to put it mildly.

He’s kept her a secret because everyone he knows will think he’s a scumbag for doing what he’s doing. Everyone, apparently, except you.

At this point, my dear, your predicament is no longer your boyfriend’s fault, nor is it the “manipulative” other woman’s fault. It’s entirely, 100%, no-questions-asked YOUR fault.

This insanity will only end when you have the courage to walk away.

Otherwise, your amazing boyfriend will continue to be the property of someone else – namely, his girlfriend.

Please take care of yourself and ditch this loser today.


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  1. 31

    It seems like dating a guy like this is a rite of passage for every woman new to dating, as so many of us can attest. Meeting and throwing over your first manipulative a-hole is the beginning of your education in the world of romantic relationships!

    But I say to lay all the bad stuff at his feet: He’s the one who is doomed to a life of deception and chaotic emotions. (Why would anyone choose THAT and what self-esteem issues cause THAT kind of useless behavior?)

    But he didn’t write in. Our letter-writer is in much better shape than he is, and now that she’s lost her naivete she is ready to go on to bigger and better things. My suggestion is that you get into how satisfying it is to dump someone like this. More good news: You usually get to reject guys like this repeatedly because they keep coming back, trying something new.

    Yes, it can be fun to dump a rotten person, and the calmer you are when you do it the better the fun. No tears, no self-recrimination, no compromising–just a closed door.

    So very, very satisfying.

  2. 32

    No, need to comment on this one. You say it so well!!

  3. 33

    What Evan said x2

    And no, you didn’t meet “a wonderful man,” you met someone who means you harm.

  4. 34
    Xander Kisses

    My suggestion is that you get into how satisfying it is to dump someone like this.

  5. 35
    Dot LeSage

    Terri! You poor thing. This guy really has you in knots. On my site we do a date or dump poll and this guy is DEFINITELY a dump. Tell him it’s only you or not you at all. If he really loves you he’ll stop seeing this other woman. If he won’t leave her then you HAVE to leave him.
    Good luck Terri!

  6. 36

    I just keep shaking my head at the “she’s taken over most domestic duties” line.
    Like its some honorary rite of passage or privilege that she no longer gets to wash his dirty underwear???? WTF????
    We can only feel sorry for her to a certain extent if that is her mentality.

  7. 37
    Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach

    I applaud your honesty Evan! You put it out there in black and white. You didn’t sugar coat anything – you made it blatantly clear so there can be no misunderstanding. That was brave and well done from one dating coach to another. I hope Terri can take in this advice and move forward in her life with some newly found self-esteem.

  8. 39

    “While no discipline seems pleasant for the moment, in time it yields the peacable fruit of righteousness”. Sometimes the right thing to do is the thing we don’t want to do and we listen to our emotions. The pain of leaving this situation is much greater than the pain of staying in it is and will be. Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

  9. 40

    When a guy begged me to stay I was flattered too until I realized what was really going on. He didn’t want me to stay so that he could love me. He wanted me to stay so that I would continue to love him.

    Wow, this is deep. I never had this situation happen to me, but this should be, like, tattooed in every woman’s brain – it’s so profound and true.

  10. 41
    My two cents from Philly

    Terri, run before he asks you to have a threesome with her (perhaps he already has)?  He sounds like a very entitled type who thinks he can pull that off with the two of you since you are both cool with the triangle.  You deserve someone who is into you and only you.  You will live a life of pain with this degenerate.

  11. 42

    Melissa #2 said it best, Evan.  Love reading all your articles/letters.  She needs “a few gallons of self-esteem”!  Classic.

  12. 43

    I agree with Melissa @ 36 (and got a chuckle)…..WTF…about the whole situation!

  13. 44

    This may not be what women want to hear, but physically attractive men are going to be high-risk for promiscuity, regardless of how open they are about it, simply by virtue of their options.
    So, alot of women who *think* they are in an exclusive relationship with a man, are actually sharing him with their GFs – and this happens alot more than you might think. 
    And from my personal observations, there is no shortage of women who would accept(and thus enable) such behavior willingly rather than trade down – to a lesser guy with less options.

  14. 45

    I’ve been with a jerk for 3 years. It was totally my fault, and I’ve ended it only a while ago. I finally plucked up the courage…
    It was a difficult journey, and harsh though trough words may not always be enough. Site called baggagereclaim.com & the author’s book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl helped me a great deal on my way. Women like Terry (and me) are often afraid to deal with their own feelings. I recalled my actual first love I could never quite “digest”… Go on, face what you feel however painful or awkward it can be and good luck!


    Evan’s former Focus padawan ;)

    P.S. Evan, I hear you better now lol! I’ve read this story a second time without being in denial and was able to acknowledge every word here.
    P.P.S. There’s still such a coaching opportunity because of us, poor Fallback souls… 

  15. 46

    im olso in same situation am e small house actualy his maried w 8kids

  16. 47

    I agree totally with Evan. Per Evan’s advice in a newsletter, if your friend were in this spot, what would you tell her to do??? Know that you are awesome and wonderful and fantastic! You deserve the best in life, a man who adores you and treats you with a ton of respect! Tell yourself you are awesome, wonderful and fantastic OUT LOUD (100 times if needed). Do it with attitude and confidence. Then, call him (the man you are bidding farewell to) and say it is over. Say goodbye. Hang up. Walk away from the phone if it rings. Call or go out with a girlfriend ASAP. Appreciate yourself and your life :-) I know from personal experience (details spared and it took me TWO YEARS to leave) you owe it to you. Your self-respect is worth so so much more. You can do it Terri! You are fabulous!!!

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