I’m Falling in Love With A Woman Who Has a Long Distance Boyfriend. What Should I Do?

Evan,

A few months back, I met a woman online and we hit it off immediately via email. We met in person and found that there was definitely a lot of chemistry between us. We quickly became romantically involved, and things have been pretty amazing every since. There is one catch however… She has a long-term boyfriend who lives out of town whom she sees every other weekend or so.

I should mention at this point that I knew that she was involved with someone else from the get-go. She told me that she and her boyfriend have some significant relationship issues, which is why she decided to look for something else, but she doesn’t seem ready to take any specific action about it. The truth is that when we met, I was coming out of a 10+ year marriage, have primary custody of my two kids, and also have a very demanding work schedule. I had done my fair share of dating, but wasn’t really looking for a LTR. I was perfectly content keeping it casual and getting together when our schedules synced up. She seemed to be looking for basically the same thing. It seemed like a good match.

The more time we spent with each other, the stronger I felt about her. We’d spend all weekend together, talk on the phone for hours each night, and text each other periodically throughout the day. She’d even text me during the weekends when she was with her boyfriend.

My not-so-deep take on the world: People do what they want.

While the whole thing is complicated and a bit strange for me, I’m also a realist. I knew what I was getting myself into in the first place. I feel pretty strongly that her relationship with her boyfriend is her business. I would never ask her to make a choice between us, but to be honest, I would definitely date her exclusively if she were to end it with him.

Right now, I don’t really have the desire to see anyone else given how great our relationship is, but I wonder whether I should push myself to do so? We’ve talked about it in general terms, and she recognizes that the current situation is not fair, but she also expressed that she would feel somewhat jealous if I were to date other people. I certainly didn’t rule it out, but I told her I wasn’t seeing anyone else currently.

On the one hand, I’m incredibly happy when I’m with this woman, and from all indications, the feeling is mutual. Some days I feel like I should just look past the obvious complications and enjoy the amazing times we have together. The path of least resistance is to just keep things as they are, and avoid all of those lackluster first dates and issues that come with looking for someone new. Other days, though I wonder whether I’m making a mistake by focusing on her exclusively. I’m grateful for any advice you can give me.

Thanks,

Bill

Dear Bill,

My not-so-deep take on the world: People do what they want.

While we can come up with difficult machinations to explain human behavior – “He has a bad relationship with his mother… She has abandonment issues… He’s waiting to become more financially stable…” it usually comes back to the same principle.

People do what they want.

When a woman asks me, “Why would a guy act like he likes me if he doesn’t want to take me out again?”, or “Why do men act like they’re interested if they’re really not?“, my answer will be the same: Because he wants to. Because he likes you enough to flirt with you or sleep with you, but not enough to commit to you.

We can use this formula for pretty much any dilemma

Why doesn’t the fat guy start working out and cut his portions in half? Because he would rather suffer thru obesity than make the sacrifices necessary to lose weight.

Why doesn’t the woman leave the boyfriend who has dated her for 7 years without proposing? Because she’d rather stay in a dead-end relationship than break up to look for her future husband.

Basically, if someone is acting a certain way, it’s because, somewhere, deep down, they’d prefer to act that way than choose an alternative path.

Which brings us to you, Bill. You’re self-aware and you don’t want to put any blame on your girlfriend (Mistress? Lover? Mistake?) for having a boyfriend. All you want to know is what you should do now.

So I’m going to give you the best/worst advice that any advice columnist can possibly give you:

Do what you want.

Just know that “people do what they want” also means that your cheating girlfriend is doing exactly what SHE wants.

You already are, anyway.

See, you’re aware of the risks of falling in love with a woman who has a boyfriend. You know that your time with her may be enjoyable, but could amount to nothing in the future. And, if that’s a risk you’re willing to take – because you’d rather have 50% of her than nothing at all – then go on, keep seeing her.

Just know that “people do what they want” also means that your cheating girlfriend is doing exactly what SHE wants.

She’s having her cake and eating it, too. She gets to have the security of the long-term, long-distance boyfriend, and the attention and affection of her shorter-term fling, and she doesn’t have to give up anything in the process. So what’s her incentive to do anything different?

That’s right. There is none.

That’s why these affairs rarely end well. Not to mention the obvious red flags of dating someone who is, well, a cheater. Not a great track record for someone you want to be your full-time girlfriend, is it?

You know (and she knows) that if she wanted to be your full-time girlfriend, she could.

Yet, for whatever reasons, she chooses not to. She chooses to stay with her guy, despite their problems, and despite the fact that it breaks your heart to share her. She’s selfish, but no more than anyone else.

So your choices, Bill, are to stay, and get exactly what you’re getting now, or go, and look for a relationship that is building towards something else.

All I know is this: you’re probably going to do what you want. And so is she.

Good luck.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    hunter

    Cilla, your last comment made me laugh…

  2. 32
    Julie

    To Cilla
    Excellent Advice; excellent.
    But also shows me why I like staying out of the Dating Frey
    WAYYYYY Too Much Work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. 33
    Julie

    Ocytocin has to do with a woman wanting to feel creative, isn’t it?
    Or is that the lack of Ocytocin when a woman is over 50?

  4. 34
    Julie

    Casual/Encounters
    Ha!!!” Any other man… WITHOUT A SOUL”!!!!!!!!!!
    Touchee!! casualencounters.com!!! GREAT COMEBACK to hunter!!
    My “Really!?” above was directed to hunter.

  5. 35
    Julie

    hunter
    that’s nice they finally get to choose
    don’t know if that’s entirely true though
    but it Does make sense
    unless the woman has gotten so accustomed to responding socially in that way that by that time She no longer knows how to respond any other way!

  6. 36
    Steve

    If people aren’t bored with it already, can someone tell me in 2-3 lines what the oxytocin theory is? LOL, I thought oxytocin was an over the counter pain relief cream :)

  7. 37
    margit

    I love you guys, very nice blog, interesting to read it, keep up the good work! Thanks!

  8. 38
    david

    I think this is much easier than diagnosed.

    Tell Her.

    There… done. if you can’t be honest with each other there’s no point anyway.

  9. 40
    Cilla

    Steve, against my better judgment, I’ll fill you in. Oxytocin is a hormone that is released in women’s bodies under certain circumstances, including labor and orgasm. The theory is that, because it promotes a feeling of bonding in woman during and after sex (I believe by crossing the blood brain barrier and acting as a neurotransmitter), a woman can see a man as a serious mate, even after a casual sexual encounter. Therefore, many women are advised not to engage in casual sex out of fear of developing a one-sided bond with their partners and to wait to see if said bond develops on other levels first. The controversy in the theory comes from the fact that not all women release oxytocin during sex or they release it at varying levels, which makes it difficult to apply one theory to every intimate encounter.

  10. 41
    Jennifer

    @Steve #36
    Oxtocin is a chemical releaed during orgasm. (incidentally, you can have the same effect by eating (really, unhealthily) large amounts of chocolate. This is a line in The Devil’s Advocate, but it’s actually true). It’s known as the ‘cuddle hormone’ because of the ‘bonding’ effects it has- ie, you feel more bonded to the person you are with when this chemical is flooding your system, similar to that ‘runner’s high’ you may feel after physical exertion because of an adrenaline/dopamine rush.

    While it’s real, i don’t believe it affects womens choices as much as some think because:
    1. it doesn’t last forever. women can feel bonded when they hold a baby too, whether the baby is theirs or not, but when the baby goes home they make it through okay. I will agree that the more you feel it the more it makes a difference, so a 6 month relationship is different than a one-night-stand, but I don’t think the chemical is the only bonding element at play there.

    2. it doesn’t just happen through intercourse; it can happen through however orgasm is acheived. so technically the same bond can be achieved through a good make-out session

    So while it has an effect that I don’t feel can be completely discounted, it’s not the be all end all. Much like Cilla said :-)

  11. 42
    Selena

    When I first heard of oxytocin it was in the context as a hormone released during breastfeeding. The assumption was it affected a mother’s bonding to her new baby. Non-breastfeeding mothers also bond to their babies though, so how much of a part would oxytocin really play?

    I’ve always thought it a bit of a stretch oxytocin would bond a woman to a man after sex, or for an appreciable length of time. Might explain a woman’s desire to cuddle after sex though. That “afterglow” we feel and enjoy.

  12. 43
    Terry

    Love your answer, Evan.

    The woman this guy’s in love with will keep having her cake and eating it until he wakes up and walks away.

    At that point, she’ll realize how much or how little she wants to keep him in her life — and she’ll act accordingly.

    Terry´s last blog post…She Turns Him On, and He Can’t Take It

  13. 45
    Evan Marc Katz

    It’s not like Santa Claus, Casual.

    Oxytocin exists and it’s the predominant explanation for why women get attached after intercourse. Which is why any woman who wants to sleep around (like a prototypical man) is not just fighting societal expectations, but biological ones as well.

  14. 46
    hunter

    There is truth to EMK’s definition of oxytocin, up until the age of 50. Women no longer fight biological expectations after menopause.

  15. 47
    mic

    Oxytocin is being described too narrowly. It does not require any physical process, though it usually involves proximity. Essentially, it is “chemistry.” If a woman is physically attracted in person to an unfamiliar man whose appearance is, objectively, unimpressive, the likely reason is oxytocin. In such cases, physiological compatibility, detected via pheremones, probably underlies oxytocin release.

  16. 48
    David Gideon

    The problem here is a scarcity-mindset. This woman is not the only woman whose company you can enjoy and create a relationship with.

    There is an abundance of great women all around you so concentrate on them and avoid these love-triangles.

    David Gideon

    David Gideon´s last blog post…Neil Strauss Dating Course Lesson 8

  17. 49
    hunter

    Scarcity-mindset, yes, we do….most men we don’t see the abundance around us…

  18. 50
    vino

    “Falling in Love With A Woman Who Has a Long Distance Boyfriend. What Should I Do?”

    – Ask yourself why you’d go for someone who’s not available. Then see a therapist.

  19. 51
    The Girl Every Man Falls For

    Dear Bill, Having been that woman that you are dating, I can tell you that you need to ask her what her intentions are, not in a pushy way but just as a person who knows what he (you) wants.
    To put it simply, her long-distance partner is giving her something that you are not/can’t while you are giving her something that doesn’t/can’t have with her other man. Most probably, he gives her security, and possibly the promise of a future family (first family that it). He probably has great qualities but she will never know if they actually have a chance at anything more unless they decide to get into physical proximity of each other and live the day to day things that are so important in establishing a connection. In other words, go ahead and ask her about her intentions, because she needs to chose, and if you stay, they she probably never will.
    She might also have an issue with fact that you already have kids. Maybe she’s thinking of starting a family some day and wants it to be a “first” for both partners…or at least she want to feel like it is that special.
    Does all this make her a Cheater? I say no. Is she cheating, yes, but I wouldn’t let it define her as a person. Her emotional needs aren’t being met and she doesn’t have the courage to make a final decision. That light hasn’t gone off in her head yet and if you stay, it probably never will. She probably has a pattern with this type of relationship (long-distance, emotionally unavailable, busy schedules etc…) By leaving her you might switch the light on…but sadly may not be beneficiary.
    Trust me, most women (and men) hedge their bets in some way or another, and it’s not done in a malicious or superficial way the majority of the time. Most women, especially those with issues of abandonment as a child will entertain long distance relationships and will fear commitment because they will be afraid to be left behind. What it will take to deal with that is a rock solid character and commitment because she may try to push you away as soon as you get to close…until one day she realizes that you’re there to stay, and then she gives in and lets herself love you. She may or may not be this type of woman, but you should find out it you are really interested in her.
    Before you start dating other women and making things more complicated. Do yourself a favor and tell her exactly what you’re thinking. Then give her some time to tell you what she wants from her life and relationships. At that point you can decide whether or not you see yourself in that life or relationship, and whether you want to stay.
    I hope this helps,
    The Girl Every Man Falls For
     

  20. 52
    Thinking

    Why don’t affairs ever end well? What if you meet the one whilst you’re dating someone else? I see so many people that would rather be with someone than no-one. I think this is really sad. This often means that people are in unfulfilled relationships and then out of the blue they meet someone who actually is right for them. The scary thing is taking a risk…though is it really so bad to end up with nothing? No, why because there is a big world out there and in the end neither of those was the one for you. Take a risk – you will find love. Good luck

  21. 53
    Syam

    Well this happened to me once, bring back all the meimroes that you and him had. Once I did that, he started to be all oh yeah i remember! those were the good old times and keep going with all those meimroes. He will notice that he misses you a lot. When you guys get back together, get each other a promise ring in which both of you guys promise on whatever you guys promise for each other. For example i promised my boyfriend that I will never cheat on him and that we would stick together between little fights and our Ups and Downs and then I placed the ring on his finger. This would be a good idea to build up on trust. Good Luck.

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