What To Do If You’re The “Other” Woman

Dear Neil:  I am an avid reader of your column.  I would like for you to address the flip side of infidelity—and discuss the “other” woman.  She is not always an evil harlot looking for fun.  I can speak from experience, since I have been on both sides.  I was married and cheated on, and presently I am involved in a loving and wonderful relationship with a married man.  This present relationship is more painful than when I was married.

I am madly in love with a married man.  We have been friends and lovers for three years.  My time with this man is so awesome and so very special.  I know that what we are doing is wrong—and that someday, someone will get hurt.  But how can I give up my best friend and the best thing that has ever happened in my life?  Every moment and phone call is precious.  We normally see each other at least three times a week and he calls four plus times a day.  He swears the loves me, tells me I am the best thing that has every happened to him, there is nothing between them, etc.  You may be asking: “Why doesn’t he leave his wife then?”  When I broach this topic, he answers that he can’t afford the settlement, and that she will destroy him.

So please do not always criticize the “other” woman.  We are not necessarily sluts or anything of the sort.  We are women who have emotions, families, jobs.  There is a difference in doing this for thrills or doing this because one is in love.  There are very strong emotional reasons that keep me tied to him.  I also truly believe that he loves me.

Could you offer advice as to what I should do and what you think about this?  I have considered contacting his wife because I am willing to go to battle for him.  Should I give it up, continue to hope that he will eventually leave her, or fight for him?

In Love With a Married Man in Denver

Dear In Love With a Married Man:  There are some unanswered questions in the choice that you’re considering.  Does the man you’re in love with have a history of infidelity or deceit, or is the first time he’s been in this situation?  Could he be deceiving you about his marriage and his feelings about his wife?  If he were to leave her and choose you, what makes you so sure he wouldn’t do the same thing to you once you’re his primary lady?   If he isn’t acting trustworthy to his wife now, what makes you so sure this behavior would change?

I do not buy that the reason he is staying with his wife is because he can’t afford to leave her—that does not sound like an honest answer to me.  It is also expensive (to his own self worth) to stay with her and live a double life as he is doing.  He indeed may be afraid of her, but what would you guess her reaction will be when she finds out he is emotionally and sexually involved with another woman?  You’ve heard the expression “Hell hath no fury…”

The problem with being in this position is that you’re always in second place, and he’s never actually yours.  My advice to you is to offer this man a choice:  Divorce his wife so he can have you—or lose you and keep his wife.  I do not recommend you continue the relationship the way things are, because you’re the one likely to be hurt the most.  The best indication of how he feels is about how he behaves.  Force him to align his behavior with his words—or get out of this for your own sanity.

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