What’s The Best Way to Keep the Interest of a Married Man Who Plans to Divorce?

What’s The Best Way to Keep the Interest of a Married Man Who Plans to Divorce

I have reconnected with a college friend (never dated) since a reunion 5 years ago. He is smart, funny, and successful. We have spent time with mutual friends over the years, since he comes to town for work every three months. He is very attentive to me, and my friends think he is still harboring a college crush. On our last get-together, he confided to me that he is not happy in his marriage – they have slept in separate bedrooms for three years and no longer have sex. Our other friends have mentioned many times that he is very unhappy in his marriage. He has twin children who will be leaving for college in about two years, and he said that he believes he will initiate a divorce if things don’t change.

What I haven’t told you is that I have had deep feelings for this guy for over three years, but I have kept my distance because he is married. Now that I have this information, I can’t stop thinking of him.

How can I keep him interested without crossing a line? I don’t want to be the “other woman”, and I will not make out with him or have sex with him (unless he is separated and has filed for divorce). I would have to be confident that his marriage is really beyond saving, because I don’t want to interfere. I am also not altering my dating life, since I know that there is no guarantee that things will work out for us – waiting around for 2 years seems foolish, and a little crazy.

What is your best advice for what can I do now to have the best chance with him later? I really like him, and I think we could be very happy together, when the time is right.


Dear Tami,

Let me start by ripping off the Band-Aid: you’re making a big mistake.

One of the core tenets of my coaching is that no man is “real” until he’s your boyfriend.

What that means is that, until you’re actually a committed couple — one that talks every day, sees each other 3-4 times a week, leaves weekends open for each other, makes plans in advance, talks about a future, and still gets along famously, you really don’t have anything except:

Hope. Fantasy. Projection. Potential.

No man is “real” until he’s your boyfriend.

Your college friend is all of these personified.

Let me count the ways that he’s not real — and certainly no one you should build your life around.

    1. He’s married.

    2. He lives in another town, maybe another state.

    3. You’ve never gone on a date with him in all the years you’ve known him.

    4. He will not be available to go on a date for at least two years — and that is presuming that he does, in fact, separate from his wife, and immediately wants to start dating you — instead of taking a break from women or going on his local Tinder to see who’s out there.

    5. Even if he does have these equal feelings for you, you will then be dating a separated (not divorced) man who lives somewhere else, thereby setting you up for a long-distance relationship. Not just an LDR, mind you, but one with a man who will be in no rush to get married, and would probably ask you to move to be with him (since he’s successful and likely rooted at his job.)

    6. It’s not until THEN — a good 3+ years from now — that you’ll finally face the same long odds that every couple with an initial crush faces — will we actually be COMPATIBLE for 40 years? (Statistically speaking, the answer is no. Most crushes don’t result in marriage).

Keeping this barely flickering dream alive would be the WORST thing you could possibly do.

So, Tami, how does that sound? Not too good from this dating coach’s standpoint.

Which is why I apologize for not answering your original question about how to keep him interested in you for the next three years. Personally, I think keeping this barely flickering dream alive would be the WORST thing you could possibly do, and I wouldn’t want to enable such a choice. Sorry.

Try finding a local, unmarried man and you can actually be MARRIED in three years instead of first starting to date.

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  1. 1

    Why in the world would anyone want to do this?   I say, move on, try to forget him and meet someone else.   First of all, how can she be so sure that he will actually get a divorce–and he won’t reconcile with his wife?

    I can really speak from experience, having once had feelings for a married friend as well.   I understand that these feelings don’t always come along at the most opportune time!   He seemed to have a troubled marriage so, like Tami, I wondered if he would become available later.

    Fortunately, my conscience got the better of me and I never acted on those feelings.   I just tried to find someone else.   Then, I eventually met a single man who I fell in love with–and was able to get into a relationship with, with a clean and clear conscience.

    As it turns out, the married man is still married to his wife.   They were able to work through their difficulties and now their marriage is much better than it was before.   I can honestly say that I’m happy for them that they were able to work things out.   Married people took a vow to be there for each other, for better or worse.   I wouldn’t count on that vow being broken so easily.

    However, even if this man does eventually get a divorce, chances are, it will take him some time to recover from that and be truly available for a relationship (legally, physically and emotionally).   From what I’ve seen, no matter how bad the marriage was, divorce is still an excruciating experience.   Would she really be willing and able to put her own life on hold for even longer, waiting for him to emotionally resolve this and be truly available to her?

    Furthermore, how can she be so sure that this man is necessarily the right one for her?   In my case, I’ve come to realize that the guy I’m with really is  the better romantic match for me than the married guy.   In hindsight, I’m actually glad the married one was unavailable, so that I found someone else who’s better for me.   I get a feeling the same might be the case for Tami.

  2. 2


    He is unavailable period.   For your own emotional well being quit nursing this fantasy.   You say you haven’t changed your dating life.   Well, you may be physically going out on dates, but if you are mentally stuck on this married friend, you really aren’t emotionally available to any of your dates.   You are letting this married guy take up residence in your heart and your head that needs to be available for you to truly connect with someone.   Maybe you are fearful of commitment and this pseudo “relationship” is a convenient way of protecting yourself from truly being involved with someone.

    Do not see this man when he comes into town.   Put some distance between the two of you.   If you are having problems releasing him mentally get counseling.   Move on to something that is real.

    1. 2.1

      That’s a good point and something I thought as well.   She won’t find love as long as she’s just going through the motions with other dates–but is still mentally and emotionally fixated on the married one.

      I’m not sure if she’s fearful of commitment though.   You know how some women say that all the good men are either taken, or gay?   I’m wondering if Tami believes, deep down, that there are no good single men out there–so she has to hang her hopes on this married one.   I hope she doesn’t think that, but I do know some women do.

      Thankfully I have found that saying isn’t true!   My guy really is a better romantic fit for me than any of the “taken” or gay men I know.

      1. 2.1.1


        In my 20s I wasted time being fixated on 3 different guys who were unattainable, which is functionally the same as being unavailable.   All three were uninterested in a relationship with me, but liked the flirting and the attention I paid to them.   I was in hot pursuit!   I slept with one of them.   What a huge emotional-mental hot mess I got myself into with that one!   On the rare occasions I talk about my entanglement with Mr. Hot Mess (usually when a situation like Tami’s is being discussed) I preface the story with,”I’m so embarrassed to admit this!”

        So from personal experience, I know that when you are fantasizing in your mind how perfect it will be when IT finally happens with dream-dude, you are not in an open receptive state where you can’t accept or even see positive healthy attention from another man.   After the devastating experience with Mr. Hot Mess–I was so ashamed of the person I had become around him–I took a break from dating and did a lot of inner work

        One of the things I realized was that these “pining away” pseudo-relationships allowed me to not face my fears about being with and committing to a healthy man who wasn’t perfect.   A real relationship is often scarier than a fake one.   I got myself caught up in this internal dynamic with the other two men after a serious relationship had ended.   Having to process a broken heart against the back drop of self questioning about whether I made the right decision, or could things have worked out if I had done something different is HARD.   By pining away/chasing after an unattainable man, I was saying to myself, “See I’m okay.   I out there!   I’m dating!” while I really was doing no such thing.   What I should have been doing was working through my grief over my lost loves.

        Now Mr. Hot Mess, he was a handsome charming guy I crossed paths with, and I failed to heed warning signs and ignored my own intuition.   Luckily for me, we had a mutual friend (we all met at the same time) who recognized what a user Mr. Hot Mess was, and he distanced himself from him quickly once he saw the truth. (MHM likely is a sociopath) That prompted me to see MHM for what he was and my friend encouraged me to figure out why I allowed myself to get in so deep.

        About a year after MHM, I entered into a relationship with a man I had been friends with for 2 years.   It was the healthiest, deepest, most satisfying relationship I had ever had.   It didn’t work out long term, but we are still friends and he is a great guy.   What it did, though, is give me a benchmark FEELING to aim for in a relationship in the future.

        1. Christine

          I know what you mean, having also been there, done that.   It’s nothing embarrassing to admit–I’ve known a lot of otherwise intelligent people who have done the same thing!   I hope Tami lets this one go and doesn’t repeat our mistakes.

          A real relationship, with an available man, can be a bit scary in some ways.   It’s scary to go “all in”, to open yourself up to someone and be vulnerable to them.

          But on the other hand, it’s also the most wonderful feeling to give all of yourself to someone, and for him to give all of himself to you too.   So I hope Tami finds the real thing, instead of continually fantasizing about a fake one.

        2. Emily, the original

          Christine and GoWiththeFlow,

          A real relationship, with an available man, can be a bit scary in some ways.

          Is it not possible she just digs the married guy? And that she legitimately tries to go on dates with available guys and give them a chance, but she hasn’t yet met one who she likes equally or more than the married one? Men you really like don’t grown on trees. Granted, the married one is a dead end, but there is logic and there is emotion … You get where I’m going with this.

        3. GoWiththeFlow


          I don’t have a lot of direct information from Tami about how much mental space she’s allocating to this married friend.   But the fact she wrote to Evan wanting to know how to string out the attraction until he was available for a relationship with her suggests that she has entered “what if” fantasy land.   If her thoughts on her friend were, “Oh what a great guy.   I hope I can find someone like him for myself sometime soon.”   I doubt she would be writing to Evan about it.   Tami is clearly wishing for and anticipating a time when her married friend will be free.

          “And that she legitimately tries to go on dates with available guys and give them a chance, but she hasn’t yet met one who she likes equally or more than the married one? “

          How is Tami comparing her dates to a married man she has never been in an actual relationship with a healthy thing?   At least if she is comparing her dates to each other or to an ex-boyfriend she is using a measuring stick that is based in a real experience.


        4. Emily, the original


          How is Tami comparing her dates to a married man she has never been in an actual relationship with a healthy thing?

          She may in fact know the married man better than she knows the dates. She’s probably comparing the same things between the married guy and her dates: physical attraction, interest level, amount of excitement to see the person, etc. She’s spent enough time around the married guy to determine those things.   Remove the married element, and it’s probably the same level of fantasy thinking she’d have if she had emailed/talked to/texted a guy she met over the internet and was about to meet up with him for the first time.


        5. GoWiththeFlow


          “She’s probably comparing the same things between the married guy and her dates: physical attraction, interest level, amount of excitement to see the person, etc.”

          He’s married!   Why would she be this emotionally invested in the guy?   It’s dysfunctional.   Especially INTEREST LEVEL??? He should not  be “interested” in her, period.

          “She may in fact know the married man better than she knows the dates.”

          She sees him every three months when he comes into town and there are mutual friends around.   She has never gone on a date with him, spent most days with him, had sex with him, gotten into a disagreement with him, or been around him when they both haven’t been on their best behavior.   What she does know:   He lives out of the area, he’s married on not planning on leaving his spouse any time soon.

          “Remove the married element, and it’s probably the same level of fantasy thinking she’d have if she had emailed/talked to/texted a guy she met over the internet and was about to meet up with him for the first time.”

          Oh that pesky little he’s married detail. . .

    2. 2.2

      Emily, it’s possible she may really just dig this married guy…but even if she does, I don’t see this leading to anything good and still think she should move on from him. I can speak from experience that this situation is emotional torture.   With any married man, another woman is never first and she’s always behind his wife.

      Not to mention, it didn’t feel so great not to be able to go on dates, or spend time with him when I wanted to (again, because he was with his wife).   Tami also said herself that she doesn’t want to be the “other woman”.   It’s basically getting a few crumbs off the relationship table, rather than the whole bread. It doesn’t do great things for the self-esteem to always be “less than”, since you’re not the wife.

      Yes, I know it’s not easy to turn emotions on and off, to find someone else you like as much, or better.   I personally found it a struggle, and it was not easy to find love with an available man.   But let me tell you that it was more than worth the wait for someone who is able to give me ALL the benefits of a relationship.   I can honestly say that if I had to do it all over again, I would.



  3. 3

    He is MARRIED. What on earth are you thinking? Let him go and move on.

  4. 4

    Hi Christine and GoWithTheFlow,

    In your personal opinions how can each of you tell when a recently single person is serious about dating and when that person is just rebounding?

    I always looked at it like a person who, for the past 10-20 years, went to a pastry shop everyday but only was allowed to eat chocolate chip cookies.

    Now after years of eating only one flavor-only one sweet; following their break-up with the cookie they are free to sample and enjoy every dessert they can get their hands on until they eventually decide to commit to only eating one dessert for the next 20+ years.

    Every man or women that I have witnessed being the victim of a rebound relationship had partners who all said the same thing-they were ready for something serious (even if they had only been single for a few weeks).

    I personally believe that they do mean this. They do genuinely intend to get back into a long-term relationship because they miss the stability of having a consistent and stable partner by their sides. Or their ex was so bad that, they latch onto the first person who shows them genuine kindness. They truly desire to be with that new good person, they just don’t realize that they are not emotionally healed from their past relationship.

    Maybe it’s just subconscious fear of committing to the wrong person again, maybe they saw their last marriage as a prison instead of a happy union; they view commitment as a path to being trapped again. Or maybe they just want to flirt with, kiss, and have as much sex with, as many attractive people as they can get their arms and lips around.

    I have seen a lot of good men become unintentional… Players is not a fitting embodiment of these men. I would say they were more like man-whores (^_^); but because they were lying to themselves and they believed the lie. They never purposely set out to use or hurt those women. I have also seen women use rebounding as an ego boast. Being with a partner who for years either did not compliment them or who degraded them verbally made them feel unattractive, now they have dozens of men complimenting them.

    …    …    …

    Anyway, how would you know the difference between a recently divorced or single person who said and honestly though they were ready for something serious but really were not, and a person who says and thinks they are ready and they truly are?

    Also is it similar for women when they are fresh out of long-term relationship or is it different? All the women I have seen do the rebound thing, ended up hurting the new guy because they went back to their ex’s, not because they wanted to sleep with different guys, like the men I knew who were rebounding.

    Finally, in your opinion, what causes a married person to remain in an unhappy marriage for so long? Kids and money I can kind of understand, but what about people who stay in those type of relationships outside of those reasons? I guess I just can’t imagine living with a person for 3+ years and not having any close emotional bonding or sex; yet continuing to purposely stay with that person who daily makes you miserable; yet not cheat once.

    1. 4.1

      Well Adrian, those are good questions.   In my own opinion, some of the best dating advice came from the late Randy Pausch, who said to ignore what they say and just look at what they do (or something like that).   Always look at what they do, to see if their actions match their words.

      I’ve also had recently single men swear to me, on stacks of Bibles, that they were ready for something serious with me.   I don’t believe that any of these men were deliberately trying to hurt me or lie to me, and they really seemed to believe it.

      But after observing their actions (and how inconsistent they were with that statement), I could see that they were not as ready as they thought they were.   One red flag I’ve learned to look for is, how they talk about the ex in question.   The obvious red flag is if he gets misty-eyed and tells you how much he misses her–but most men would know not to do that. 🙂 However, I also learned it was a red flag if he still seemed angry with her, or otherwise had strong emotional reactions about her.

      I knew my guy was genuinely over his exes when he discussed them in a very calm, neutral way, without any strong feeling one way or the other.   The opposite of love really isn’t hate, but indifference.   He basically just talked about them to relay what he learned from those experiences, and what he hopes to bring to our relationship.   He was so detached from it all that it almost felt like he was talking about someone else he was observing from a distance.

      I’d also look for consistency in how this person treats you.   The guys who weren’t ready tended to really pour it on thick, then withdraw…then pour it on thick again.   In hindsight, they weren’t able to be completely “all in” since they weren’t healed yet.   But then, they’d feel guilty for withdrawing from me, so they’d pour it on thick again.

      On the other hand, my guy now was always consistently attentive to me, and gradually increased the amount of contact, etc.   He started off a bit slow, which showed me he wasn’t in a rush to immediately jump into another relationship to distract himself from the old one.   Then, he started picking up the tempo slowly as he got to know me.   For all it’s worth those were my own experiences.

      As for unhappy marriages, I can say that a bad relationship can really wear you down and take its toll on you.   My own bad relationship literally wore down my mental and physical energy (I even dropped to 98 pounds, from all the stress.   My bones started aching and I felt like I was 100 years old).   I stayed longer than I should have, because I didn’t have the strength to leave.   I wonder if that’s the case for unhappy marriages too.


    2. 4.2


      I think you are correct when you say that people just out of a relationship say/think/feel they are ready to move on, but many times they really aren’t.   I know I’ve done the exact same thing, myself (see above comment).   I have participated in the dating world when I am truly not open to another man.

      If you are the one contemplating involvement with a person, recently removed from a relationship, you have to be cautious and assume there is some baggage in play.   For myself, when I meet a divorced man, I try to find out if he’s dated other women or had other relationships post-divorce.   To me that, along with increasing months and years of time gone by, is a good indicator that they have worked enough stuff out that they are emotionally free to move on.   Of course you can still get burned, but that is life.

      I like your cookie-dessert analogy.   I find that especially for men, there are two concurrent and opposing drives in play.   Yay I’m free to f*ck other women, where does the buffet line form!   vs. I really miss being a someone special to someone who is special to me.   I think that is why time gone by is important when guesstimating whether a man is relationship ready.   He has had time to experience both things;   Sexual variety and conquest and being the exclusive focus of a woman’s attention.   Both are ego affirming experiences, which frankly, are an important thing for a man to have. Especially if he was criticized and felt unloved in his marriage.

      As for gender differences in how people approach dating after an LTR ends, I have seen some women go the sexual buffet route, but many just check out of dating, especially if they have young kids at home.   Non custodial parents have a time and availability advantage when getting back into the singles scene. In general men are quicker to start dating after a marriage/LTR breakup than women are.   But some women may still have unresolved ex issues that make it difficult for them to connect with a man.

      Being a reboundee is a common experience.   Just look at the titles of EMK’s blog posts! I have been a reboundee myself, and I can’t promise it won’t happen again, despite precautions, because it it the triumph of hope over skepticism, with a dash of not believing there will be another person out there for you.   As a potential reboundee, it’s buyer beware aka do your due diligence before you invest emotionally in a recently uncoupled person.

      As for people staying in bad marriages, all I can say is that they have to be getting something out of it mentally to continue to stay.   It could be that they are in denial or are so afraid of the unknown that they just hunker down in place.   I have mixed feelings on the practice of staying together for the sake of the kids.   Kids brought up in high conflict 2 parent homes do worse than kids raised in peaceful stable single parent households.

      My soon to be ex-DIL is from such a home and the ramifications of growing up with that marriage-family model directly contributed to the breakup of her marriage to my son.   In turn, their tumultuous split is affecting their kids, my grandkids:   the effects can be multi-generational.   So I’m not sure where the better to stay-better to leave line should be drawn.   But I would say if there is active contempt and hatred going on, people are better off parting.

    3. 4.3

      I was a reboundee and it was one of the worst experiences in my life.   You’re right- these people are dying for a human connection and get into the dating pool long before they’re ready.   I was one of those people right after my divorce.   What a cluster fvck I was.   And the scars from past relationship hurts run deep and take a lot of discipline to overcome, i.e., don’t hold the new person accountable for the sins of someone else.

      I do think there are several signs to look out for and there are excellent articles here by Evan and on Baggage Reclaim that list them.   For me, I will pay special attention to mixed messages and to mention of the ex and future faking.   Those were the warning signs I chose to ignore and will never forget that lesson.   I also think it’s important to understand what a secure person would do and tolerate in a relationship.   The chapter on Secure people in Attached provides very good guidance.   I love that book.

      1. 4.3.1

        I just had two and a half dates with a guy who’s rich much older wife cheated on him and threw him from her Beverly Hills house and he is absolutely in denial about reality. He lives with his mom now, with whom he lived before marriage and I just really entertained myself talking to him. In the middle of the third “date” while he was laying in my pool, drinking my alcohol, he suggested we have sex. I laughed so hard, he couldn’t understand why.   He would not stop bitching about his ex-wife, how she left him with nothing and how she cheated on him. I told him to leave, he was surprised. He was sure he is hot and I’d just jump him.   He was pathetic. I dig his mom, she will have to live with him until the end of the days.

        1. Adrian

          Hello CaliforniaGirl,

          you said, ”  I just really entertained myself talking to him.”

          If I may ask, how old are you?

          Do you believe that their are any good single men out there?

          If your answer is yes and you found such a guy, but he wasn’t rich, nor poor, would you date him?

          Do you date for fun, for sex, or for marriage?

          When dating a new guy do you feel a woman should try to give him something-nonsexual-in return while courting her?

          If yes, what do you try to give him in return for courting you?

          …    …    …

          I’m just trying to get a get a picture of your character; I don’t want to just assume something bad about you based solely on your comments (which are usually negative and avaricious).

        2. CaliforniaGirl

          Hey Adrian,

          nice to meet you 🙂

          I am 39, no children due to me having cancer 10 years ago, I was married for 11 years to a guy who I met in college and we went through a lot together, 2 new countries, multiple cities. We had nothing in the beginning, so I wasn’t material back then 🙂

          Btw, the guy in my previous comment did not court me, he wrote me on FB, we have some mutual friends and wanted to meet. He didn’t know any places around, so I suggested one. He paid for my one drink. He was late as he was late next Sunday where he wanted to see my neighborhood. It was hot and we became thirsty but he forgot his wallet in his car, so I bought the drinks, after that we went to my pool and I went home and brought beers and wine. He kissed me at the end. He texted me and wanted to come to my pool again next weekend. He was late and empty handed. So, I decided to entertain myself by asking questions and laughing at him and after that I told him to leave.

          I do believe that they are good guys but living in Los Angeles there are mostly two types – broke ass guys who try latch to someone or wealthier guys who want 22 year old model looking girl. Most guys I meet are broke, living with many roommates or in the dump apartments or in bad neighborhoods. Not many even court, really, I read here men are taking women to dinners? Hello, what dinners, I don’t remember many men asking me to dinner and believe me I am a very good looking woman and can be nice and receptive. Most guys buy me a happy hour drink and are trying to invite themselves to my apartment because they live with roommates. Or if I meet them online are 10 years older than their profile states and look old and bad.



        3. CaliforniaGirl

          In the last year that I am dating after my last relationship, not a one guy courted me the way Evan or anyone else describes here. I went maybe on 25 first dates, one guy became a friend and still hopes to be my boyfriend but I don’t feel it for him, few guys were chosen for sex only and we had fun for some time. One guy disappeared after two months of dating, and he was the only one to actually court me, but after I told him that once a week deal is not working for me, he never contacted me again. Probably half wanted a second date but I didn’t, 2 guys I wanted a second date with never contacted me again. That’s about it. I don’t loose hope though and going on a new first date tonight. 🙂

        4. Adrian

          Hi CaliforniaGirl,

          Thank you for replying to my questions and allowing me to be so intrusive.

          What method do you use to screen guys? Because if you keep ending up with bad dates, maybe something is wrong with the only thing you can control… YOU.

          Of course you admitted that you are not giving these guys second dates so that is good, maybe you should try Evan’s 222 rule. The few men who make it past the email stage can still be stopped at the phone stage. In real life, you will just have to screen the guys you meet out in public harder on the phone before giving them a date.

          You said that you are very good looking which means that quantity of men will not be a problem for you, so you have time to focus on quality men.

          Also take a minute to consider how you present yourself to men, what type of personality do you project? Remember the old saying, “Good looks will always get you to the door of someone’s life, but personality is what always determines if you will be invited inside that someone’s life.”

          …    …    …

          Good luck on you date! (^_^)

      2. 4.3.2

        What book please ?

        1. Scotth

          The title of the book is ATTACHED by Levine and Heller

    4. 4.4

      Christine and GoWithTheFlow,

      I wonder if maybe some people in bad relationships don’t know that they are in a bad relationship?

      I have heard of people who when they are dumped or divorced being shocked and swear they didn’t see it coming; while the rest of us watching from the outside wonder what took their partner so long to leave them.

      …    …    …

      In both of your opinions, what causes some people who swear that they will never date a married man or woman… years later enter into an affair with a married person?

      I once read a relationship book that said that their is no profile of a cheater. Many man and women who cheat are good people who never planned to cheat.

      I wonder if Tami is the archetype for that type of situation. A good person who because of spending a lot of time with a charming, fun, attractive person, develops romantic feelings for that person-this is in NO way me trying to justify cheating and I acknowledge that there are serial cheaters out their.

      Hollywood would have us all believe that all cheating women are homewreckers or sluts. While all male cheaters are guys who value sex more than his wife or the sanctity of marriage. Yet most stories I hear from women that are in love with married men, usually start off with he lied to me in the beginning. Not I wanted him the second I saw his wedding ring-again, I acknowledge that their acceptations to this; some people willing start relationship with married people.

      Unfortunately all the cheaters I’ve known were just horny young opportunist (my male and female friends did a lot of sleeping around in college even though they all had girlfriends and boyfriends). I don’t know anyone personally over 35 that intentionally cheats on his or her partner.

      …      ….    …

      GoWithTheFlow based off of your last comment, what is your opinion of people who are fresh back on the dating scene?

      I have always seen people (mainly women) who are newly single after years of being in a relationship and they go online to date. What always bothered me was the fact that many of   these women ended up back in long-term relationships with the first person who they had mutual attraction with.

      I don’t know, maybe it’s my male brain, but I always felt like if you haven’t dated in 10+ years, you should date around and experience different types of partners before you decide to settle down with one person again. Especially if when you got married or met you long-term boyfriend you were under 25 years old.

      But on the other hand I kind of feel that it is somewhat foolish to break-up with a perfectly good partner just because you lack the experience to know what is all out there partner wise.

      So what is your opinion on committing to the first mutually attractive person you met after coming out of a long-term relationship?

      1. 4.4.1


        “I wonder if maybe some people in bad relationships don’t know that they are in a bad relationship?”

        I have seen this where one spouse is unhappy, asks the other one to go to counseling, is always buying books on how to improve the relationship, etc, then finally has a straw-breaking-the-camel’s-back moment and initiates a breakup.   The other partner is so dumbfounded, the only thing I can figure is that they were content with a low level of connectedness and were in denial about their partner’s pleas for help until it’s too late.

        I have also seen where one spouse mistreats the other; verbal abuse, infidelity, controlling behavior, and the mistreated one thinks they are married to a prize specimen.   Maybe they had poor marriage model growing up or are in extreme denial. Either the abused spouse has an epiphany one day or, more commonly,   the abuser tires of the meek doormat they’re married to and they walk out.

        “. . .  what causes some people who swear that they will never date a married man or woman… years later enter into an affair with a married person?”

        I don’t know if there is one explanation for this.   I have never been involved with a married man.   It would violate my personal moral and ethical beliefs and really, why would I invite such drama into my life?   I get enough drama without the married-boyfriend BS   😉   I would like to think that I will always hold the line on this, but I’m sure there are many women who thought the same thing and yet. . .   Maybe the woman is in a particularly vulnerable place.   Maybe she has commitment fear issues and this allows her to have a relationship without doing the day in and day out work of a relationship.   Maybe she is being purely selfish b*tch.   Maybe the guy is a sociopath level manipulator.   Maybe they have a twisted history together:   I know one woman who started sleeping with her ex-husband, who was married to the woman he had left her for.   Okay maybe that one was just pure revenge.

        “Yet most stories I hear from women that are in love with married men, usually start off with he lied to me in the beginning.”

        And like Caroline did, a woman should run away from a liar seeking to set up an affair with her as fast as her legs can move.   Their mistake was giving the guy a chance by forgiving his lies.

        “I have always seen people (mainly women) who are newly single after years of being in a relationship. . . many of   these women ended up back in long-term relationships with the first person who they had mutual attraction with.”

        I have noticed this too.   I think it’s because overall women are relationship oriented and intentionally seek them out where a newly single man usually just wants to go out and have a good time.

        “So what is your opinion on committing to the first mutually attractive person you met after coming out of a long-term relationship?”

        In some cases I think it can work and in others, they maybe jumping in too soon out of a need for security.   Overall, I think that after a long term marriage breaks up (you mentioned after the 10 year mark), especially if there are kids involved, both ex-partners would be well served to take a year off to settle into life as single people/single parents before trying to date.


        1. Caroline

          GWTF-I personally think the folks who appear to be/proclaim to not see “it coming” are in denial. I believe they do it really to survive after the breakup. Looking internally myself, I can see many of my marriage’s beginning years had many red flags. I just ignored them wanting to believe it would work out. Acting before it worsens is key in relationships. I can look at it now and see it; whereas when I first divorced I had way more things to conquer just to keep my little family intact. Mortgage, college for my oldest $, two jobs, retirement funds, how my ex’s alcoholism could affect my sons, was I codependent?, and on and on.   I was physically, mentally and emotionally in overload.   You can’t bite off too much at once. 7 years out and I’m finally at a better place but it spun me into a “perfect storm” for me to succumb to an autoimmune disease I am genetically predisposed to. I’m so fortunate for good friends and family.

        2. Caroline

          This is also why I’ve found it is not wise to date anyone who still blames their ex for everything. You’re not ready for a healthy relationship until you can see how you personally added/caused the demise of the relationship. Of course I prefer just claiming I “added” to the overall problem-lol.

        3. CaliforniaGirl

          My ex-husband started to date few months after we split and she was his first woman after 11 years we were together. He married that woman last month. I really wonder if they have sex (he had a very low sex drive and that was the main reason we divorced) but I will probably never know 🙂 I am on the other hand had few serious and few not so serious relationships since and don’t think I want to marry again. Children are not going to happen already and without them I don’s see a reason to get married or even live with someone. Boyfriend and a dog will suffice.


      2. 4.4.2

        Adrian, it’s possible that some people don’t have enough self-awareness to know they’re in a bad relationship!   I have seen that situation too.   For instance, I have two friends who dated each other, way back in high school.   He thought the relationship was great and was shocked when she dumped him.   She tells an entirely different story.   It’s hard to believe these two experienced the same relationship!

        Beats me, in terms of why people enter relationships with married people.   As I said before, I once had feelings for one…but didn’t act on them and found a single man.   Even if someone has feelings for a married person, they don’t necessarily have to act on them.   Or even if the married person lied about their status, I think the honorable thing to do is to cut that married person off, as Caroline did.



        1. Caroline

          Christine, my ex cheated on me more than I’d like to admit. While some partners are seeking refuge in a warm body to escape their dysfunctional marriage, some also do it to “end” the relationship. It handily distances them from their partner and makes it where it’s almost impossible to reconcile fir most. Kinda like nailing the coffin shut. Working on the relationship or ending it takes much more courage.

        2. Christine

          Wow, I’m sorry you went through that Caroline.   That must have been painful. To me, that’s a pretty cowardly way to “end” a relationship–by basically putting the onus of ending it all on you.

          I will say this.   I do like that my guy and his ex at least ended their relationship in a respectful way, with an honest heart-to-heart conversation.   In fact, their breakup sounds far better than their relationship!

        3. GoWiththeFlow


          I too have seen where some spouses will use an affair as a wedge to get themselves out of the marriage, since affairs tend to blow everything to hell.   Then once the split is finalized, they don’t need the wedge anymore, so they dump the affair partner.

        4. Christine

          Who does that, psychos? So they hurt two people at once? I can’t imagine having such callous disregard for others

        5. GoWiththeFlow


          “Who does that, psychos?”

          Pretty much!   It’s always important to remember that there are actual, clinically diagnosable narcissists and sociopaths living among the sane, and they can wreck a lot of havoc.

        6. Caroline

          @gwtf and Christine-my therapist said its actually quite common. And I don’t think his was an “affair of the heart”. It was about sex, to feel anything while in the depths of alcoholism. Pretty sad, he made himself pretty much numb so he didn’t have to face his problems. Awful how any addiction can destroy you.

        7. Christine

          I thought it must be a very disordered individual who would do a thing like that–someone completely lacking in conscience and empathy.   Someone would have to be astoundingly selfish to be willing to hurt people like that, just to avoid the difficulty of breaking up with someone in an honest way.


        8. Adrian

          Hi Caroline, Christine, and GoWithTheFlow,

          I had a friend who did the letting his wife see him cheat to end it situation. We were all 18, they married straight out of high school.

          Long story but he didn’t want to be with her, but she got pregnant (on purpose in my opinion because dozens of other girls in school were trying to date him) so she used god and guilt to get him to marry her (it is suppose to be a sin to have a child out of wedlock), but 5 years into it he wanted out.

          She refused to let him go. They always fought, he was miserable, they tried counseling (apparently divorcing is also a sin, so unhappy couples are told to stay together or disappoint god), they tried romantic vacations.

          But in the end he was so unhappy around her that he avoided going home. He cried (actually tears) to her to please just sign the divorce papers and let him go, she refused.

          So he started cheating, openly to get her to leave him, she wouldn’t, so his cheating got bolder and bolder.

          …    …    …

          Caroline, I’m not trying to take away from your painful past, I am just showing the other side of this from a third party observer.

        9. Christine

          Wow Caroline, this man sounds like he didn’t need a wife, but a therapist.   Take it from someone who spent way too much time trying to play amateur therapist to troubled men (but realized I should really leave therapy to professionals trained in it).   Sorry you went through that!  I’m glad you’ve moved on.

        10. GoWiththeFlow


          Wow!   Marrying someone you don’t want to because a baby is on the way is a two wrongs don’t make a right scenario.   I have a girlfriend who truly accidentally got pregnant when she was 26 and living with her boyfriend of 6 years.   She very deliberately said she would not get married while pregnant because she didn’t think she should make such a decision while going through all the emotions of pregnancy and beginning motherhood.   They married when the baby was a year old and they’re going on 30 years of marriage now.   Her father left the seminary and her mom left convent training to get married (and then have a bunch of kids) and they completely supported her decision.   Their view was that nobody was fooling God, and they didn’t want her to make bad marriage to try and “make up” for an out of wedlock conception.   I hope your friend is in a better place.

        11. Caroline

          @Adrian-no offense taken. I was sharing something personal. Not inferring it’s  universally that way for all.


      3. 4.4.3

        “I don’t know anyone over 35 who  intentionally  cheated”.   I’m not sure if it matters much if someone goes out in search of someone to cheat with or if one innocently gets to know someone well enough to have feelings for them. The result is the same. At some point you crossed the line thinking only of yourself.   I doubt many people who drive drunk   intend to kill someone else as a result. It’s the general disregard for the other person. Personal accountability. Hence, the adage “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.   This of course doesn’t mean relationships can’t be healed after infidelity nor lives aren’t worth living after a fatal auto wreck where one is at fault.

        1. Caroline

          In other words, soneone over 35 should have enough self restraint to break up with soneine before they pursue another.

  5. 5

    Spot on, Evan.

    His behavior speaks volumes about his character. It’s pretty revolting to bitch about one’s current partner–especially to a possible crush–while also staying with that person. These men who piss and moan and whinge about their wives, eliciting sympathy from other women and revealing intimate details about their marriages…ugh. So disrespectful. Why would you even want to be with someone who may someday be whining about you to other women?

    1. 5.1

      People who whine about their relationship to others without doing something proactive to fix or end it is not someone I would want to be with.

    2. 5.2

      ANY married man complaining to another woman about his marriage and using the “we are sleeping in separate bedrooms” line should be a huge red flag. I discovered my soon to be ex husbands’s affair 36 years into my “happy” marriage.   He has her believeing we were separated, not sleeping together, and who knows what else. Liar! Cheater! These types don’t change.   I let her have his sorry ass.   He was pretending to love and care for me, and now that i am away from him and in counciling, I have learned that I am escaping an emotionally abusive “relationship” with a psychopath! I had no idea! Really! I realize now he is a serial cheater, pathological liar, and con man. I was completely bamboozle, manipulated and gaslighted.   The other woman is a widow with a rich father, and now that I filed for divorce she is his new mark. He is of course cheating on her.   My ex was never planning to leave me, he liked having his cake and eating it to, as apparently he was accustomed to for decades! When I saw his Mask drop and was so horified and disgusted by the depths of his betrayal, I was finished.   It was the hardest thing I have ever been through.   Ladies, stay away from married and “separated” men.   If they can leap into another serious relationship after a long term marriage they are likely pathological and cannot bond or love.   There are many many of these types out there, up to 7% and of course they are the most charming handsome, too good to be true “Prince Charming” types. Don’t be fooled.   They are preditors.   Wolves in Sheeps Clothing.   Be very very Wary.   Slow and steady in relationships wins the race. Trust your gut,   pay attention to the red flags, they are always there.

    3. 5.3
      Just Saying

      could’t say better myself, Rachel. I suspect the crush was putting this out in order to bait the OP into some kind of sexual fling. Men with real marital problems keep these to themselves due to ego and an unwillingness to air dirty laundry to anyone but their closest most trusted confidants whom they trust not to blab.

  6. 6

    I dated a guy for about 3 weeks whom I met online.   He was handsome, great smile, intelligent, a quick wit, easy to talk to…I was a bit smitten just after a few weeks. He took me to fun places, great music, cozy surroundings. Well, we were getting ready to go on our first out of town trip.   I was packing the night before we were to leave and he dropped a bomb on me. He was married, loveless, sexless marriage, stating together for the kids. He told me how his wife put him down in front of their coupled friends. He pleadingly tried to explain. He was so upset when I broke it off that night before our trip. Well, I occasionally thought about him in an over romanticized way from time to time. I had a bad case of the “what ifs”!    It’s easy to over romanticize a situation when your dating life sucks-ha. A year or so later, a girlfriend of mine told me he was involved with another woman while keeping it from his wife. Evan is right-move on.

    1. 6.1


      Wow!   You dodged a bullet.   Luckily I haven’t been in the situation where I found out the guy I’ve been seeing was married, but it has happened to a few friends and it can really mess with the head, that’s for sure!   More than once I have been attracted to a married man, because I’m human after all.   But I never made any moves and quickly rebuffed any advances that came my way.   That’s a super set-in-stone boundary for me.

  7. 7

    People do leave their spouses for their lovers and form lasting partnerships – sometimes it is just fate, it’s true love that hits them. My ex-husband’s first wife left him for his best friend, they’re now happily married with 2 kids, going on 10 years. My parents had an affair for several years before they left their spouses and got together – and stayed together for 40 years now, a lifetime. Not everything in life is that simple or black and white. That said, it does seem that the letter writer is living in her own fantasy. There’s no reason for her to believe that her guy has any feelings for her or really wants to leave his wife (let alone for her). There’s nothing there.

    1. 7.1


      The situation where a married person leaves their spouse and then marries the affair partner is very rare.   Interesting that lightning struck twice in your family.

    2. 7.2

      @ Stacy2, That isn’t fate. That’s karma. Can you imagine the lack of trust between two known cheaters. LOL. And the good news is they’re off the market so they can’t hurt or deceive anyone else expecting loyalty. Win. Win.

  8. 8

    This is all bad but I know Dear writer that you likely will not follow any of our advice but I will give mine after saying this.   I was involved with a married man almost 15 years ago in my 20s.   I did not know he was married at first but I continued the relationship after I knew.   I was so in love I was young and stupid and would listen to no one.   He first sucked me in as a friend, giving me the sob story about how horrible his marriage was etc then before I knew it what I did not realize was an emotional affair turned physical and this lasted for six years.   He was always going to leave and he did eventually when she caught him.   That’s the only reason why.   I was dumped in a few months fir someone else and he blamed me for ending his marriage.   He also was seeing multiple women at the same time as me.   We had a fantasy just like you do not a relationship.   When we were together it was amazing In our own world but it was not real.   I never thought about his wife or his kids.   I don’t know why.   When I saw them at the hearing it was horrible.   There was no FB then so now I suggest social media stalk this man and see what he’s up to you need to break the fantasy I bet he’s living his life like nothing is up! Don’t waste your time on this man.

  9. 9

    My advice would be cut all contact with him AND with the friends who keep telling you that he’s got a crush on you etc. People who support married men’s crushes are not good friends, honestly.

    Considering “keeping him”:

    1) cutting all contact will do wonders, because he’ll keep all the good memories, and time will make your image even more attractive to him (and lack of contact will make sure that your image won’t be tarnished).

    2) if you stay in contact, he’ll see that you’re hanging on, that you’re waiting, that you’re available, and that will subconsciously make him value you – less. That’s how it works.

    Also, it isn’t gonna work. Yeah, yeah, you could be THOSE star-crossed lovers who finally get together in the end of the third act… but you’re not, because he talked to you about his wife behind his wife’s back. Yes, that can be because he’s just a flawed human being; but it’s also because he’s an asshole. Would you want to be lovers with a star-crossed asshole?

    I think I’ll stop here.

    Finally, okay: if he calls you two years later, divorced and ready to pursue something with you, great. If you’re happy in a long-term relationship by then – his loss. But for now, forget he even exists.

  10. 10

    I believe there is one basic truth in all if this.   You got to be happy with who you are and your single life in order to successfully get into a long term relationship.   Nobody completes you. You’re good enough on your own. A successful relationship is made from two complete people. Not two people living “half” lives. The married guy needs to get happy in his own relationship or   move on. The OP needs to learn she deserves the very best from others and herself

    1. 10.1

      In other words, the OP needs to ask herself why she is willing to settle for less in life. She should realize she deserves somebody ready for a relationship who has also worked through their sh*t and come out on the other end ready to be “all in” for a relationship.

  11. 11
    Heather K

    There are too many bad Hollywood movies with similar plots that may have influenced the letter writer to believe her situation is healthy and likely to yield a positive outcome.   But those movies are just as realistic as movies about characters who are part man and part spider, for example.

    I also know from personal experience that the times in my life when I entertained unrealistic fantasies about non-relationships, potential partners, or even careers were times when I really didn’t want to do the work necessary to make it happen and put the effort into making choices based on a realistic plan.   I liked the idea that everything would magically appear on my doorstep one day.

  12. 12

    This this is a site full of understanding women full of forgiveness-so what is everyone’s opinion on justifying stupid behavior because of drunkenness?

    I read yesterday about a married women who swears up and down that she loves her husband but got drunk and kissed another guy; she is guilt ridden and is contemplating confessing.

    Personally I don’t think she should tell her husband since she is remorseful and says she’ll never allow herself to be back in that kind of situation. But if she did, is that something that is forgivable? Would he be wrong to forgive her or wrong not to forgive her?

    The wife of the guy Tami likes is not written about, so we don’t know anything about her, and I think Tami probably knows very little about her; so she could be a good person and he could be a bad husband or visa versa. But I can see the same thing possibly happening to the letter writer and this guy if they both get drunk, since their is mutual attraction.

    I’m just curious if other commenters would forgive a drunken kiss or not? I mean, the woman could have gone further but she stopped herself, so that should count for something right?

    …    …    …

    Another story I read about that reminds me of this is about flirting. I even remember there was some disagreement on this site about if it was okay for people in relationships to flirt or not-would that be cheating if they didn’t intent to carry the flirting over to something sexual.

    So my question to the people who believe that flirting with other people when you are in a serious relationship is okay; could this be something that Tami can use? They can just flirt until he is divorces or she is sure he won’t leave his wife.

    1. 12.1

      I’m not sure if Tami flirting with him would be the same as, say, flirting with a cocktail waitress.   To me, flirting is interaction that’s fun and playful, but ultimately meaningless.   I don’t think Tami could keep any interactions like that meaningless.   She says herself that she’s had “deep feelings” for him, for over three years.   Her feelings go beyond just flirting.

      Then again, Evan is the one who describes himself as the flirt so maybe he’s better equipped to answer this!

      As for the drunkenness, it would depend on the context.   I could see myself being hurt, but forgiving some isolated incident of a drunken kiss.

      Again, though, I’m not sure that’s the same as Tami ever having a drunken kiss with this man, because I don’t think it would just stay an isolated thing.   She has more than just attraction for him, in her own words.   It would have more meaning that a drunken kiss with a cute stranger.   I’ll be interested to see what others think.


      1. 12.1.1


        What would be the conditions for you to forgive the meaningless drunken kiss?

        What would be the conditions for you not to?

        …    …    …

        When I say meaningless, I am referring to the fact that this person is a stranger who there is no intention of seeing again. I am NOT saying that your partner did not find them attractive.

      2. 12.1.2
        Emily, the original


        Again, though, I’m not sure that’s the same as Tami ever having a drunken kiss with this man, because I don’t think it would just stay an isolated thing.  

        It could. He could pull way back after the kiss and realize he doesn’t want anything more.

        She has more than just attraction for him, in her own words.   It would have more meaning that a drunken kiss with a cute stranger.

        For her it would. She’s got a thing for him. We’re still not sure how he feels.

      3. 12.1.3

        Hi Emily,

        How did the interviews go?

        …    …    …

        Based off of your comments to GoWithTheFlow and Christine I am curious:

        If you met a married guy who you found attractive, would you be okay with innocent flirting?

        If you found an attractive married guy who “honestly” hasn’t had sex with his wife in 3 years and they sleep in separate rooms would you go out with him? Since living in different rooms with no sex is the same as being separated, they are just roommates.

        You said it is rare finding a guy who is attractive and it is rare finding a guy who you really click with, and this married guy has all that plus he is mutually attracted to you; what are you willing and not willing to accept?

        …    …    …

        Also same question I asked Christine and GoWithTheFlow: would you forgive a boyfriend/husband who kissed someone because they were drunk?

        Would you feel guilt or no remorse for kissing a married guy who hasn’t sleep with his wife in 3 years while you were drunk?

        1. Emily, the original

          Hi Adrian,

          The interviews went ok. Thanks for asking. Second one was much better, though I haven’t heard anything, so that’s probably a bad sign. Back to the drawing board …

          If you met a married guy who you found attractive, would you be okay with innocent flirting?

          Innocent flirting or teasing is fine. If he starts to throw out invitations to do things or heavy sexual innuendo, I hope I wouldn’t be dumb enough to take him seriously.

          If you found an attractive married guy who “honestly” hasn’t had sex with his wife in 3 years and they sleep in separate rooms would you go out with him?

          No. A similar situation actually happened to me a couple of years ago. I told the guy to call me when he was no longer living at home. And, surprisingly, he did. About 3 months later. I have to be honest: I wasn’t super interested, so I didn’t really care if he called. So of course he did call. Because that’s how the world works.

          And this married guy has all that plus he is mutually attracted to you; what are you willing and not willing to accept?

          Is it Johnny Depp?       🙂         I don’t know. The whole thing is a dead end. He’s got to get out of what he’s in, recover from the end of his marriage. Could be years before anything happens.

            Would you forgive a boyfriend/husband who kissed someone because they were drunk?

          Is it a kiss or a full-on make-out/groping/grinding session? Either way, I’d be very hurt.

          Would you feel guilt or no remorse for kissing a married guy who hasn’t sleep with his wife in 3 years while you were drunk?

          If I have to be drunk to do it … that’s a bad sign.



        2. GoWiththeFlow



          Johnny Depp will be single again real soon! 😉

        3. Emily, the original


          Johnny Depp will be single again real soon!

          Good! And Sean Penn’s available. It’s raining men!

        4. Adrian

          Hi Emily,

          I will admit that I am somewhat surprised by your answer-not in a bad way. While most commenters seem very conservative about sex and relationships on this blog, you always seemed more of the adventurous rebel.

          I realize that I am too conservative about many things so I always value your view on things because you don’t make the mistake that some of us do by equating normal desires with moral decadence.


        5. Emily, the original


          I realize that I am too conservative about many things so I always value your view on things because you don’t make the mistake that some of us do by equating normal desires with moral decadence.

          ? I’m not sure what you are referring to. If my answers seem conservative, it’s because they are stemming from a very hard lesson learned. A few years ago, I went after someone who was married. I took one look at him and that was it. When I was around him, I could hardly stand up. It took me months to actually know what he looked like; all I saw was a white blur.   But I got very, very burned. I was a fool. I took someone seriously who I never should have.

          As you can see, from almost all the other commenters on this post … getting involved with someone who is married is a colossal waste of time.

    2. 12.2


      Re:   The drunken kiss situation.   I would rather hear it from the boyfriend/hubby than from a 3rd party or from social media.   Yes I would forgive, but clearly I would expect him to think about what led to situation and what he can change so it doesn’t happen again.   For instance, not getting drunk when I’m not around (or at all!) or when he’s in the company of other women.

      As for Tami using flirting as a tactical way to interact with her married friend, I think they are way past the harmless flirting stage.   I can go out and lightly flirt with my friend’s husband, but he’s not taking up space in my head.   Out of sight out of mind, and completely no-way-I’m-ever-going-there unavailable.   This married guy is in ami’s head even when he’s not physically there.

      1. 12.2.1

        Hi GoWithTheFlow,

        How do you fight the doubt and insecurity to trust that person again?

        I have seen people sincerely regret mistakes of various level dealing with cheating yet their partners still treat them like an evil snake and dumped them; I would always think “how self-righteous and cruel.” But honestly if I were ever in those situations, I can’t say that I would forgive them either. So how are you able to forgive and trust GoWithTheFlow?

        What type or degrees of betrays/mistakes would you forgive? What types would you not forgive?

        …    …    …

        If you ever got really drunk and kissed a hot guy who you had a crush on while you have a serious boyfriend at home, would you tell or keep it to yourself?

        If your boyfriend’s friend that you barely knew was cheating on his wife and you only met her a few times briefly, would you tell her or stay out of it?

        If it was the reverse and it was your good friend who was cheating on her husband and she wouldn’t let you talk her out of it so you just stopped trying, yet your boyfriend found out and threaten to tell, what would you do?

        Both of those situations happened to a few co-workers of mine.

        1. GoWiththeFlow


          I think that if you marry someone, you commit to the long haul and you’re going to have hard times and your partner will disappoint you and you will disappoint them.   You are investing in them and the relationship and they are investing in you.   I think it’s very easy, especially before entering a marriage to say “I would NEVER put up with that!   I’d be out the door!”   But when you have kids and he’s a good father, you have a mortgage and he’s a hard worker, and when he’s always patient with you’re nutty sister, that really changes the relationship math.   Especially if it’s a drunken kiss, he discloses it, and is clearly remorseful over it.

          If he’s a boyfriend of 4 months I’m likely to dump him for a drunken make-out.   And I would definitely dump him for anything more than that.   At 4 months I’ve invested little, and he doesn’t have a well of trust to draw on.   Not to mention his behavior says he’s clearly not investing in me.

          Now a husband of 17 years with 3 kids together?   Onetime sex with another woman, I’m willing to try and work it out if he’s remorseful and honest about what happened.   A two year affair with a now pregnant girlfriend?   The relationship’s a goner already.   Repeatedly hooking up with anonymous men while he’s supposedly on business trips and he intentionally kept his bisexuality from me from the start?   I’d say that relationship’s a goner too.   But those are extreme cases so it’s easy to say “It’s over!”

          It’s the situations between a drunken kiss and grope session and repeated sex with anonymous strangers that I just couldn’t say what would happen with any certainty.   Also factor in the quality of the relationship and any other problems going on.   If he’s an alcoholic who’s been unemployed for 2 years and he starts hitting it with the SAHM next door (which happened IRL to my aunt) then I’m very likely out the door.

          “If you ever got really drunk and kissed a hot guy who you had a crush on while you have a serious boyfriend at home, would you tell or keep it to yourself?”

          I would fess up.   The guilt and paranoia of trying to keep that secret would be just as bad as facing the music.

          “If your boyfriend’s friend that you barely knew was cheating on his wife and you only met her a few times briefly, would you tell her or stay out of it?”

          Stay out of it.   I’m not really friends with either of them.   I only know them through my boyfriend.   I would support him in whatever way he decided to deal with it because the guy is his friend.

          “If it was the reverse and it was your good friend who was cheating on her husband and she wouldn’t let you talk her out of it so you just stopped trying, yet your boyfriend found out and threaten to tell, what would you do?”

          If my boyfriend is determined to tell my friend’s husband, I won’t be able to stop him. I’ll deal with the fall out, because what choice do I have?   If I had a friend who was behaving this way (cheating on her spouse) it’s likely I’ve already started putting distance between us.   My friendship and my relationship with my boyfriend may both end over it depending upon how it all goes down.


        2. GoWiththeFlow


          OOPS!   i missed one.

          “How do you fight the doubt and insecurity to trust that person again?”

          First I think if it’s been a good relationship up until then, each partner has built up a deep well of trust in the other.   I also think the offending partner has to be willing to be totally honest about the situation and you have to talk about what is going to be done so it doesn’t happen again.   For instance limiting himself to one or two drinks when out, and quickly walking away if he ever found himself alone (say in the back hallway of a bar) with a woman.

          I think restoring full trust will take time and conscious effort.   The greater the degree of betrayal, the harder the road is going to be.


        3. Adrian


          I guess what really confused me about the situations with the girlfriends being upset about their partner’s cheating friends is that the women (2 separate cases) threaten to leave their faithful boyfriends over it! (o_O)

          I don’t understand people like that!

          One guy just stood there while his girlfriend destroyed both his friendship and a marriage (The friend who was having an affair shared that with him in confidence, yet he went and told her).

        4. KK

          Hi Adrian,

          I just wanted to respond to the comment you made, saying:   “One guy just stood there while his girlfriend destroyed both his friendship and a marriage (The friend who was having an affair shared that with him in confidence, yet he went and told her).”

          I disagree that anyone is responsible for “destroying” someone else’s marriage by letting the cheated upon spouse know what’s going on. That responsibility lands solely on the cheater.

        5. Adrian

          Hi KK!!!

          Feels like we haven’t talked in forever, glad to hear from you! (^_^)

          …    …    …

          The cheaters wife may have or may not have found out, we don’t know. What we do know is that because his friend told that secret to his girlfriend, the marriage was destroyed after that.

          Now I am not getting into the philosophical about if the marriage was already destroyed the moment the guy decided to cheat. I am just talking about the physical act of someone informing her that it happened.

          I personally know of many married women but surprisingly very few married men who cheated on their spouses (my old job was like a oasis for those kind of people). To my knowledge, none were ever caught.

          So we don’t know if this guy would have been caught or not without that woman interfering.

        6. KK

          Hi Adrian, good to hear from you too!😊

          Ok, analogy time! But bare with me because it’s not the best. LOL

          Let’s say your best friend is on a month long trip to Europe. So, in your mind he’s off having a great time and you don’t expect to see or hear from him until he’s back. Let’s say his first week there, him and I meet and he tells me about his best friend, Adrian. And then something horrible happens and he’s murdered. So, after finding out I think to myself, gosh, I don’t know what to do but maybe I can somehow locate his best friend and let him know what happened because he deserves to know. So by calling you am I at fault for causing your pain or is it the murderer’s fault?

        7. Caroline

          Adrian-the girlfriend telling the wife   she had been cheated on kinda doesn’t ring true. Was she a really good friend of the wife? Can you imagine doing it yourself if you were just an occasional friend/acquaintance? I couldn’t personally sum up the courage unless they were a good friend (you even stand to lose the friendship when you tell her), or it was somehow hurting her/putting her in harms way like and std and unprotected sex. Maybe the whole story isn’t out there.

          Btw, it was pretty eye opening how many folks told me after the fact/me finding out who were privy to my ex’s indiscretions.

        8. Adrian

          Hi KK,

          Could you use a better analogy, story, or tactic?

          I know what you are trying to do with this one and I love mental sparing that leads to personal growth. But it is hard for me to connect informing a close friend or relative that someone they care for has been murdered, to telling a person you barely know that their partner is doesn’t love you because they are cheating.

          …    …    …

          To answer your question, overall the murder is at fault. However, in a ridiculously human (so emotionally selfish and angry) way you are at fault for ruining my day by being the bearer of bad news.

          Why do you think we have the phrase about killing the messenger?

        9. KK

          Ok Adrian, I have gave you fair warning by admitting it wasn’t the best analogy but I can’t come up with anything better at the moment. 😊

          But, back to your story… The girlfriend is not at fault. I don’t know all the sordid details, but when the friend confided about his cheating he placed a burden on his best friend, who then confided in his own girlfriend. Now, like Caroline said, I can’t imagine going out of my way to tell a stranger that her husband is cheating on her. However, maybe her boyfriend expected her to continue to socialize with this other couple and she didn’t want to with this new information about the husband and for whatever reason she took it upon herself to spill the beans. No matter what the reason was, she is not at fault.

          If some random parent called to let me know my teenager had been skipping school, they aren’t at fault for my decision to ground my kid. My kid is at fault.

          I think when we take the blame away from the bad actors we truly need to rethink some things. We are each responsible for our own actions and the resulting consequences. Not anyone else.

          Adrian, if you had a wife and cheated on her, would you be upset with the person who ratted you out or would you take responsibility for being the one who ruined your own marriage?

        10. GoWiththeFlow


          “. . .  the girlfriends being upset about their partner’s cheating friends is that the women (2 separate cases) threaten to leave their faithful boyfriends over it!”

          That’s beyond stupid.   If a friend of my boyfriend’s starts cheating on his wife, it’s not a reflection of my BF’s character.   Now if his best friend is a meth dealer. . .

        11. Adrian

          KK, Caroline, and GoWithTheFlow,

          Now you all know how surprised all of us at the office were when we heard her talking about it, we also thought she was joking.

          This is a woman who always seemed so professional, rational, and friendly; she is the head of HR.


        12. SofT

          My now ex wife cheated on me with a co-worker. I saw they were getting too close prior to this, but any attempt at intervention from me was regarded as controlling. Afterwards she said she only did it to get him out of her system. I think this is the way it happens quite frequently, it’s just a justification of a 100% selfish act.

          I don’t think “getting someone out of their system” by having sex is likely to work, and it didn’t in this case either. If it had and she’d actually told me about it, I would have forgiven her providing she was willing to break off all contact. Pretty much due to the fact we’d been married for almost 10 years, and had children. There had also never been any need for mistrust prior to this. We go through life learning all the way, we are bound to make mistakes.

  13. 13

    @gwtf-“if a friend of boyfriend’s starts cheating on his wife, it’s not a reflection of my BF’s character”- all I could think was did the boyfriend show an attitude of its no big deal? People cheat all the time? Did the boyfriend somehow “plant a seed” in his girlfriend’s mind that he had a personal view of cheating she didn’t like and feel threatened by? Otherwise, like you said it would seem you’d distance yourself from the cheating husband or even get in his face and “read him the riot act”.

  14. 14

    Thank you Evan for your very direct point.


  15. 15

    I have heard this story so many times its not funny. Its always the same. He is unhappy in his marriage. They have not slept in the same bed for three years. Pleez!   so if he is unhappy, why doesnt he LEAVE????? Many of them claim to be unhappy and five years later for example, they are still with their wife.   I cant leave yet, I have to wait until the children leave college. Yeah right!    My dear Tami, I dont know you but trust me Evan and everybody else on here is right. I have only read a few responses but I can guess what most women who post on here are going to say. They are going to be honest with you and tell you to move on with your life. dont wait for him at all. Maybe many women on here could be talking from previous experience with married men or some maybe have friends who have been involved with married men. Trust me Tami, we are giving you good advice. dont waste your time. You will thank us for this advice.    As to the separated status, dont date separated men, they take too long to divorce. I myself was involved with a married man for sometime who later separated from his wife. He took such a long time to file for the divorce citing many reasons (while one was legitimate), I became so tired of the excuses and the explanations, i just left.   That was actually my first relationship. After im left him, I decided no more married men and no separated men either. I am not running down any man asking them every minute when they are going to file for divorce or whats happening with the divorce. On another womens site I used to go on, the coach and the women always said, separated = married. If you have never been married or   you are divorced, fine by me. Not holding it against any man.who has never been married. Separated men. No. I am staying far from them. If you are separated, get your divorce first. Cant deal with the waiting.

  16. 16
    Sad in the snow

    A few months ago my married friend of 8 years disclosed to me that his marriage was over and they were negotiating a separation agreement. “You probably wonder why I’m telling you this.” Yes, I sure did. He wanted me to know because I’ve been actively dating online for the past 9 months and he was afraid I’d meet someone before he was free to date me himself. He asked me to stop dating or at the very least not to fall in love.

    I’ve really enjoyed the friendship he and I have shared for the past 8 years. What I’ve felt for him isn’t just attraction, it’s true affection and it’s always been mutual.

    So what did I do? In my stupid head I started to fantasize about something that wasn’t happening. How things could or would be once he was free. And I’ve made myself miserable in the process because of course he’s not free, at least not from the marriage. I did find out a few nights ago that he’d ended an affair he’d been having around the same time he made his disclosure to me. I guess that’s progress 🙁

    When I see him now, every couple of weeks in the company of mutual friends, he’s a little more attentive than usual, but that’s all that’s changed. And I know my fantasy and disappointment that it’s not real is making me appear needy and desperate.

    So I’m going to do what Evan told the OP to do. Stay. Away. From. Him. And I clearly need to do some work on myself.

  17. 17

    My advice? Run. Particularly if you are under 40. Too much baggage.

  18. 18

    I also hope that Tami realizes that the heart to heart they had about his unhappiness in his marriage has set the dynamic for her to turn into his emotional booty call. She’s going to “be there for him” through this really difficult time, and likely get more attached via being his therapist. He’s going to appreciate the sounding board, but, that’s about it. There are simply too many complications and hurdles in place for this situation to actually turn into a functioning relationship.

  19. 19

    @Tami – and all who replied:
    We women also have our versions of a “Hero Complex”. I had to do a lot of deep personal exploration to discover what was motivating me to stay involved with a brilliant (but troubled) man – a former movie producer – who kept going back to drugs.

    With the help of a brilliant therapist, I reluctantly discovered that I had an internal identity that I wanted to be the woman who was able to inspire him to get his life in order. If he could kick the drugs & be brilliantly successful again, I would be his Muse, his Angel. (Shortly after my realization I was able to end the relationship.)

    And I had many other relationships where I hung on, hoping the man would choose me over the woman he was complaining about. I had to do MY inner work to face the truth about my deep inner beliefs about what love meant to me … and I found out I wasn’t actually looking for love. I was looking for validation & attempting to heal wounds from my past.

    I must say I have much more love in my life today as a result. Listen to Even, everyone. He has your best interest in mind!

  20. 20

    Let’s say he does separate and start divorce proceedings. That is NOT a situation you want to be in. Being by his side as he goes through a divorce, you will be the ‘other woman’. I did that and the divorce took five years! It was emotionally draining for everyone, you are looked down upon by even being part of it, the man is dragged through more turmoil then they ever thought about, his emotions will be all over the place between should they be doing this or try to get back and he will hate and love his ex the whole time. They need someone to lean on, but that doesn’t mean they really love you, they need an ally to get through. Plus then, after a divorce, a man really needs time to get himself together, go through a couple rebounds, and be on his own for a while, until he can really be seriously ready for another relationship. It sounds great, yeah he’s getting divorced, but it is a nightmare to go through with no guarantee you will come out like you think, and quite the opposite in many cases. I now won’t date someone until their divorce has been finalized and he has been on his own for, hopefully, over a year. Only then can your relationship begin in a way that everyone can get on board with, especially his family and kids. His family and kids are not fond of the woman who goes through the divorce with him, but they are ok with one he meets after he has been divorced for a while. You DO NOT want to go through a divorce with any man. I will never do that again.

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