Amy asks:My situation involves a married man (my high school sweetheart) and an affair. Three years ago we ‘reconnected’ after 40 years. Both of us it seemed, were in unfulfilling marriages and we had a 2 year affair. The contact physically was brief…a 3-4 hour drive for both of us, 2 hours in a sleazy hotel and then return to our homes. Even in high school this boy was never really ‘there’ for me. He made up some lame excuse not to take me to my senior prom…after he’d promised he’d go. He generally treated me poorly even then, not calling for weeks and weeks at a time, etc.My question is this: He decided it was too risky to continue our relationship, so he called it off last year. Then I caved and started e-mailing him and he returned the emails. We were almost ready to get back together (!!!) when he told me that he was seeing another woman (also an out of town woman….someone from his past).

He wants me to go along with this situation, that is…he’s still married, has this other woman AND he wants to see me. We’ve been through all the yo-yo patterns you’ve described. Now he’s telling me that for the sake of my happiness I should have this physical relationship with him, regardless of other things in his life.

We’re down to occasional e-mails at this point, all of them VERY neutral, and barely saying anything. The last time I asked to talk to him over the phone, (I don’t like having our whole relationship over some keystrokes), he told me he’d already said everything and nothing had changed. I feel like we’re back in high school. He won’t choose one or the other of us, or so he tells me. Does this sound like a man in love?

NML says: You are not in high school so I suggest you graduate to reality. It’s been forty years and this guy started out a using, disappointing chump, and is still a…using, disappointing chump.

This isn’t a man in love or in anything. He’s non committal all the way from his cheating to the way he has to have not just one, but two out of of town women to play around with. All of his behaviour is screaming ‘I’m not interested in you, I’m just using you’ and I must say that I fail to see what is so attractive about this guy that has a history of letting you down. This guy is an assclown!

Road trips, sleazy hotels and a lot of emails bouncing back and forth do not a relationship make – in fact, it sounds like a long winded, long distance booty call without too much thrill.

You need to cut off this guy and turn your attentions to why you are pursuing him because he has shown you time and time again that he is a disappointment and that he has nothing to offer. From the moment that he not only had no intentions of being anything more than a booty call and then told you that he was with someone else, it was time to bail. He doesn’t love any of you and he is only interested in fulfilling himself and massaging his own ego. The fact that he has told you that you should be with him for the sake of your own happiness is not only incredibly egotistical but actually shows how he truly sees you – as the woman who will be interested no matter how little he has to offer. He doesn’t think you respect or love yourself enough to tell him to take a run and jump and believes that you would be happy with this.

You have gone from an unfulfilled marriage to an unfulfilled, mediocre, arrangement.

He has stated the terms and that is all he has to offer. It’s not love, it’s not a relationship; it’s a crumb that he is throwing you. If you accept it, it means he can sleep with whoever he wants, never phone you, disappear, sleep with you when it suits, and continue to treat you in this despicable manner.

If you don’t accept it, you’ll be treating yourself with love, rejecting his behaviour, and cutting him off.

The choice is yours.

Your thoughts?

My new book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl. Find out more and download.

Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more. Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter – @baggagereclaim .

Natalie (NML) – who has written posts on Baggage Reclaim by Natalie Lue.


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30 Responses to Advice: Help! I’m the Other Woman to the Other Woman: Does this sound like a man in love?

  1. Brad K. says:

    Amy – what NML said.

    What ever you were thinking – screwing around while married, no matter who with – it surely wasn’t love or a long term relationship. If you wanted a sexual adventure, and the adventure doesn’t titillate anymore, thank him for his time, and see if you can be a good wife – start looking for respect and honesty in your life, in your image of yourself, and in your marriage.

    Honestly, when you ‘share’ a guy, you share his exposure to her – you sleep with her, one step removed – and his exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and communicable diseases from *all* his partners – if he is messing around with you, then you had better believe you *don’t* and *won’t* know about all of *his* partners. And even beyond that, your body adapts to his chemistry and his hormones, you adapt to him – and that distracts your time and distances your body and emotions from your marriage and family.

    You are right there is a problem, but I feel you are worried about the details while ignoring the big question – is it healthy, emotionally and medically, to be screwing around? Do you really want to be sleeping with other women, one step removed?

  2. Kim2 says:

    Why do we waste time with men like this? What is it that makes a woman even want an assclown? I believe it is low self-esteem and low expectations but I don’t know how to correct that. How to get so proud of yourself and respect yourself enough to not waste time on jerks.

    I’ve always believed in the inherent goodness of people but some people just aren’t that nice. It takes me a long time to admit that… I spin around and around wonder why a jerk isn’t nice to me. Like there is a reason he would treat me bad. It really takes a lot of garbage for me to see that he is a jerk and it’s not because I deserve bad treatment.

  3. abril says:

    Bad choices are sometimes made for otherwise good reasons. Maybe one can get so alone and lonely that something like this ”romance” gone wrong sounded like a good solution.
    Brad, you come across as very judgemental and cruel. If I were the person involved I’d find your response very unhelpful and, in fact, hurtful. IMHO

  4. Loving Annie says:

    The guy is a total assclown and NML hit all the key points.

    Next to look at is why do you think it is okay to disrespect another woman’s hopes and dreams and marriage vows (his wife).

    If you don’t care about someone else’s feelings – how can you expect yours to be respected or valued ? Karma works in starnge ways…

    I had an affair a long time ago, and was equally blind to the impact of what I was doing and the message it sent the Unioverse about how little I was perpeared to accept – and what that said about my self-esteem.

    Truly, this isn’t about HIM at all.

    He isn’t worth a second of your time, and I’d NEVER e-mail him again for any reason. He is a disrespectful user who doesn’t love you, himself OR his wife.

    Use NML’s response to you as a way to begin to work on what would let you be willing to be treated this way. Where did the pattern / habit start in your life – and do you want to take the action steps to change it ?

  5. Loving Annie says:

    i can’t spell. sigh.

  6. Blaise says:

    I just don’t see any cruelty in Brad’s answer. It is straight and the TRUTH.

    If Amy can twist her head into thinking this man is in love with her while he is

    a. MARRIED.

    b. Cheating with another woman.

    c. Unreliable, historically and presently

    d. AMY IS MARRIED!!!

    Then Amy needs to get a grip on her reality! Before it rears it’s ugly head in a sexually transmitted disease!

    Cause I will tell you this, that other woman is not the only woman that guy has slept with. This is the type that has all kinds of sleazy dalliances, but would he tell Amy that? She’ll find out, sure enough – at the Doctor’s office!

  7. Astelle says:

    A man in Love? Sounds like a major midlife crisis to me!
    No, Brad’s comment was not cruel at all, start looking for honesty – what a concept, huh?
    I have no tolerance for married people cheating. Amy, if you would take the energy that you are wasting on this “thing” – I hate to call these type of guys men! – and pump it into your marriage, maybe you could turn the marriage around.

    Of course he wants you to go along with this situation, the more the merrier. It is not about Love, it is all about se* and I will not believe that you love this guy. Reconnected after 40 years?? How did that happen??

  8. chris says:

    amy…..i’m sorry u are going thru this….and i’m extremely dispointed in that i didn’t think we were here to judge one another, but to help and support!!!!!!! the bottom line, as i see it, he’s just a jerk! tell him to hit the road and that u deserve better! my experience and what i’ve been told, is that the people who get USED are usually the NICE people!

  9. Sheila says:

    this guy sounds like a first class loser!!!!!

    the nerve of him asking you to partake in that.. he has no respect for you, his other woman, his wife, or women in general…. You should not be even toying with what to do here..

    it’s insulting!!!!!

  10. amy says:

    aggggh phew….

  11. amy says:

    I am not proud of what happened nor my role in all of it. As for pain, caused and suffered, well there’s been enough of that for several lifetimes. But some of the comments have been exceptionally mean and really hurtful. The people commenting so harshly here have NO idea what my past has been like, nor do they understand my marriage. Just saying you’re in a ”marriage” doesn’t make it so, Not if it’s totally onesided and cruel. And as for not trying, that’s absurd. I have given 30+ years of my life ”trying” to turn this around.

    My reason for writing this is just to share with you that I really thought there might be a tiny bit of help here. THANK YOU NML for your wonderful response. So helpful, insightful and right on target. As always. I was horrified by the meanness of some of these responses. The ladies who come to this site seem like dear and loving people. They mostly have gotten lost on the path, just looking for love. I gotta believe we are in this world to help one another NOT to see how we can tear someone down or show how much ”holier” we are than them.

  12. Kim2 says:

    Amy – you are stressing yourself out over a guy that is a jerk. I have done the same thing to myself. For some reason I want to believe that he is a great guy… and I look for answers as to why he treated me the way he did. I spend sleepless night wondering what I have done wrong and how I can turn things around. The truth is that I did not see the real him. I had on rose-colored glasses and fairytale thinking – and it has taken some brutal honesty to get me to realize there is nothing wrong with ME except that I gave the EUM more chances than he deserved. It is easy to see other people are being blind to the facts but not with ourselves. I come to this board many times a day to get a reality check and I think that is what people are trying to show you. They are saying “open your eyes, Amy”.

  13. amy says:

    Thanks Kim2 and abril, I DO appreciate the positive comments. I really do and they mean so much to me. I do have ”open eyes” now…I’m trying to work through all kinds of pain which is the inevitable fallout from such stupid decisions on my part. And trust me, I am not typically a stupid person. You have helped me so much as I go about trying to repair my life and understand the why’s. I do not EVER want to feel so bad about myself again. EVER So bad that I’d believe a crumb from a jerk would make my day, my week….heck, my world light up.

  14. Sheila says:

    Amy.. the rope for change is there for you to go out and grab, but you have to want to grab it, and be ready to grab it..
    You have the ability to take control of the situation, grab the rope and change paths, that will eventually make you happy.
    We all make mistakes, we all want to take things back, and do things we are not proud of.. the trick is to learn from them and turn things around.. Turn things around Amy.. decide what is going on with your own marriage, whether it be stay or go, work you on YOU, and most importantly, drop the dead weight and emotional rollercoaster with this guy.. He brings nothing but pain into your life and seems to only care about himself!!!!

    good luck ;-)

  15. Brad K. says:

    Amy, Sorry to be hurtful, that wasn’t my intention.

    Trust and respect are important to me, and seem to be easily overlooked in relationships and marriages. The information that NML provides in her article is never the full story – everyone here realizes there is always more to be told, that this is just a snippet to raise a particular topic for discussion. I don’t think anyone here believes there was enough said to blame or condemn anyone – I certainly didn’t.

    I can’t make you see what I see. Especially using the written word, there are so many ways to interpret what another has said – look at how ‘information dense’ poetry can be. But I thought I saw a particular aspect of the question you asked, that hadn’t been addressed, and I looked at the problem only, not the people involved.

    Because the question and issue raised was from your point of view, I only though of things that you might choose to take control over. I didn’t say much about how inappropriate his behavior was – that seems quite clear, and NML covered that pretty well.

    And I didn’t assume that you should devote any more energy to your marriage – but I can’t see you finding ‘happiness’ or freedom from pain, being half-way in a marriage and half-way out.

    Blessed be.

  16. amy says:

    THANK YOU Sheila.
    Grabbing that rope!

  17. Kendra says:

    Hi Brad K!!!! Im still around….all has been well. Since the past wk-hes looking for me again-intense, daily txts or calls..saying he misses me, blah blah i havent slipped but it sucks..I mean Im FINALLY happy again and he does this!!!Anyway good to see you’re still on offering ur two cents… Amy trust me Brad means no harm….

  18. amy says:

    Thanks Brad for the clarification. I’m a little sensitive right now…sorry. Your remarks in the past to others on this site have always seemed kind, well-intended and thoughtful. I appreciate your taking the time and effort to write about my particular situation.

  19. Kim2 says:

    Step one has got to be seeing these guys for who they really are – selfish users who care for no one but themselves. The more you give the more they take and treat you like dirt. You wonder what is going on… totally confused because the sex is great and you have fun with him and you’re nice to him. You know you don’t deserve this so you back off and he contacts you. He’s nice at times but just when you start to relax and quit worrying the whole thing happens again. He’s playing you.

  20. lisaq says:

    OMG girl! Run, run like the wind!

  21. Brad K. says:

    @Kendra – Please don’t put up with his constant texts and calls. Letting them continue sends the wrong signal. Blocking him out, or changing your contact numbers and names, will let you take a bit more control over your life, and whom you choose to communicate, identify, and associate with – which is critical to finding a happier place, then living there.

    @Blaise, Yes, I know I mentioned STD’s, but I worry more about the distraction of his attention by additional, hidden intimate relationships, and by the very real interactions that occur between bodies as hormones are exchanged and affect each other – even from shared breaths. Contact of any kind isn’t needed to see people interact at the physical level. Statistically, STD exposure can and does happen. But hormone interaction, emotional and attention interaction happen *every* time.

  22. ltlSharon says:

    Amy, I hope after sorting through all of these comments you come to mine. I am a regular reader but a rare commentor. My words are this: There are many reasons why women feel trapped in a marriage. Financially, socially, religiously, the kids or we don’t feel we have the energy or power to make a huge change. When we have outside sexual liasons, it is about finding attention, love, excitment, to make our days of lonliness bareable. I understand, I was in your place 4 years ago. Find someone unjudgmental and professional to help you. It is easy for people to say “work on your marriage” but it is more about working on yourself to find you confidence back to make a new life for yourself (with or without your husband–and he needs to work too) and not find quick fixes with affairs. I have been divorced for 3 years this November and my lover is still with his wife whom he has saying he will leave. I have ended it for the 20th time and finally feel I have closed the door.

  23. ltlSharon says:

    Brad, sometimes you should just say sorry.

  24. amy says:

    Thank you so much ltlSharon. Your kind words, the fact that you’ve ”been there”, mean so much to me. Fact is, as you know, it takes 2 to make a marriage work. Years of trying to get to the point where my husband would even consider that there was any problem at all. He still would rather end the marriage than go to counseling. He will never consider than he had any part in ”my” problem” or my unhappiness with the relationship. NEVER

    Sharon, I wish you all the best in your quest to find the world a less lonely place. I’m 60 years old, I’ve lost a number of important people in my life, and I know life is very short. BUT these assclowns, while they seem to offer hope and love, are the ultimate in hurt and pain. So at this point alone is how I’ll stay for the time being. I can SO, so relate to the coming back (20th time), to the ”caving in” to a few kind words from him, but each time you close the door you learn a little bit more about how little there is REALLY there.

    You have my heart girl. Hang in there and I’ll try to do the same. I love this site. It has meant more to me than therapy ever did. Take care of you….and again, I’ll try to do the same.

  25. Tracey says:

    Amy- Is his name John because he sounds like my married man. We lasted a year and I told him at that point the fantasy of us getting married was over. Actually I told his wife. She drained the bank account and he went back to her. So I know it wasnt love for me it is love for his money! Dont blame yourself. My ex guy promised he would get divorced, loved me like no one else. We traveled a lot, Paris Amsterdam, NY, Vegas etc…It was awsome. But money isnt worth it to me. We women can make our own. I still believe John loved me to death and it wasnt a waste of time. I learned a lot from him and appreciated everything. I just got fed up continuing sharing what I felt was my true relationship. It wasnt my imagination. I have 1136 emails to prove it. Maybe in another lifetime…. we are all meant to learn and take what we can from our experiences!! Its just life. Take Care!

  26. L says:

    The sad truth is,,,you know two things about him you’d rather not know, and you can never get away from. He can lie,,and he can cheat. No matter what else you think you know about this guy, could you ever relax if you “got” him?
    Of all the things you know,,,you know you can’t trust him.
    I’m so sorry.
    I know this hurts.

  27. amy says:

    Yes L., I do know those things and they hurt. I have to continue to remind myself that I should let people reveal to me who they are instead of building a person in my mind and then being crushed when they don’t ”live up” to my image of them.
    I sincerely hope that you haven’t had similar experiences with EUM, the emotional ‘dance’ we go through is horrible. I doubt my friend is hurting at all….I know I was just a means to fill a need. But then comes the question of why should I care how he’s feeling? Could it be I’m not as over it as I thought, hoped, I was? Oh Horrors, I pray that I am beyond being hurt by this jerk ever again.
    Many blessings to you. Stay strong.

  28. T-Bird says:

    I have been in love with a married man. we broke up 2 months ago. I loved him, he used me. He seemed like a perfect gentleman and I fell for it. It hurts like hell and each day is a struggle for me. I just want you all to know that you are not alone.
    The sad part is I still love him while he is ready to jump on his next adventure. He even asked me for a phone # of one of my friends. Too sad for words, eh?
    T-Bird

    PS. He is a Scottish living in the US right now.

  29. Brad K. says:

    T-Bird, The grief of parting is real, and happens whenever we lose someone from our lives – whether they pass away, leave, or we kick them out. The anger and hurt and denial stages all pass as we adjust to a life with a hole in it.

    I hope life fills in around the empty space so full you seldom notice it anymore.

    Blessed be.

  30. T-Bird says:

    Hi Brad,

    Your letter brought tears to my eyes.
    He is manitpulative and emotional abusive. I would never thought he is who he is. He had me well! I still have him in my heart. I know that we are all broken in someway and I forgive him.
    Brad, I hope you are well and I thank you for your support.
    xoxoxoox

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