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In Love With A Married Man

Question:

I’ve gotten myself into a situation that I never dreamed of. I’m a Univ. student. I started a while ago and when I started I met this guy. We hit it off right away. He’s older than I am and married, however, he has an open relationship with his wife. We became lovers only after I had assurances from his wife that it was okay. And for awhile, it was great. We were only sex partners and friends. Then, I went home for Christmas. I didn’t have a very good time and I’d call him and he’d listen. At this time, his wife started a relationship with another man. He was thrilled about this and thought it was great. However, her secondary relationship ended. She became unhappy, moody, angry, and bitter. They began fighting. He told her that she could go anywhere she wanted to in the world to figure out what she really wanted from her life and he would be there for her when she got back. Things didn’t go well. I came back from visiting my family, he and I spent a weekend together and when he got home, his wife claimed she wanted a separation. She moved out of the house. And, I was the one who got to be the sounding board for him. Not that I mind, because I don’t. However, he keeps saying that he wishes she were more like me [happier,un-moody, and stronger]. She came back, but all they do is fight. She’ll disappear for days without calling him to tell him where she went. In one of their fights she told him that she only married him because she thought he’d change. I truly love and care about him and I know he truly loves and cares about me too. We’re each other best friends. We read each other’s work, we spend the weekends together shopping and walking around the city, we call each other to let the other one know where we are and what we’re doing and we communicate well. The mean, jealous part of me wants his relationship with his wife to end because I want him. I figure that we have a better relationship than he and his wife. But, I know if his relationship with his wife ended, he’d be depressed and unhappy and I don’t want that either. Even if his relationship with his wife ended, I’d have no guarantee that we’d have a romantic relationship (although, what we have now sure feels like that). I don’t know what to do? He’s my dearest friend who knows everything about me. I don’t want to loose him as a friend but then, I don’t want to get hurt. Help.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
  • ‘Anne’ bases her responses on her personal experiences and not on professional training or study. She does not represent herself to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor or professional helper of any sort. Her responses are offered from the perspective of a friend or mentor only.
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Answer:

While sex itself may be something that adults can share across multiple partners (at least some people seem to be able to pull this off without serious repercussions), you can’t mix sex with love and expect to share partners. An intimate loving relationship is most always a jealous thing, and not something that can easily be shared with third parties. You did a stupid thing by getting into a relationship with a married man, no matter that his sexual relationship with his wife was ‘open’. You might have been able to be a sex partner with this guy and not be bothered by the wife, but there is no way you’re were ever going to feel good about the wife being there once you had feelings for the guy. You probably could have anticipated this if you had been thinking clearly. But don’t be too hard on yourself. Nobody thinks clearly in these situations. In general, people don’t think clearly. The result of your lack of forethought is that you have set yourself up to get hurt. Your choices now revolve mostly around how you want to get hurt. Essentially: do you want to experience the pain of being in a relationship with a guy who won’t commit to you, or do you want the pain of being apart from a man you love, (with the not inconsiderable consolation prize of knowing you respect yourself enough to not let yourself be taken advantage of for too long). Your choice, and one to ponder. If you want my advice, however, I’d say you’re far better off in the long run dumping this guy and seeking a new boyfriend who is unencumbered and willing to commit.

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