patience road signRight now, there are thousands of ‘ladies in waiting’ in relationships; women who are willing, waiting, and hoping that the guy they’re with, will leave their girlfriend or wife. ‘Is he going to leave her for me?’;’When is he going to leave her?’ and ‘Why hasn’t he left her yet?’ are just some of the questions that come flooding in via email, especially since I wrote a post ages ago about how to cope with being the other woman (also see the original), with many hoping their relationship is the exception.

It’s tough; you want to know that the pain and effort of effectively playing second fiddle, hanging on the sidelines, and having to operate on marginalised terms in your relationship with a married or attached man, is worth it. I should know…I spent about 18 months being the other woman to a guy with a girlfriend several years ago. I asked those questions frequently and many more.

For the many women who find themselves involved with an attached man (read: the cheater), even though they start out feeling that they can handle things and can be ‘patient’ or may not even want anything more, as time progresses, feelings progress, and so does the desire for the ultimate validation in this situation – to have a man leave another woman to be with you. In fact, I’d argue that part of the ‘feelings’ that arise in this situation, do so because playing second best screws with your self-esteem – BIG time – and so sometimes, you want them, not really because you want them but because you want to be validated in and feel the ‘love’ that comes from getting a man through exceptional circumstances.

I remember seeing myself as a smart, independent career girl who was just out of relationship (broken off engagement) and yet, it took a few short months before I was pressing the repeat button on the never-ending discussing and questioning of exactly when he was going to leave her and getting confirmation that it was indeed me he loved. Of course he’d say he loved me, but he didn’t do the necessaries to make that ‘real’ in my eyes.

And let’s not forget that some of the women who find themselves with the cheater, didn’t actually know that there was a third party until they had been involved for a period of time. Somehow (it normally has to be dragged out of them after ‘evidence’ comes to light) they make the discovery and then often, no matter how mad they are, they feel like they’ve come so far down the road, they want to get a ‘return on their emotional investment’ – the struggle in this scenario is reconciling the reality of the fact that he’s involved with someone else with the image of the man they thought they knew.

But there is a problem with 1) wondering if he’s going to leave ‘her’ for you and 2) having to ask.

I appreciate that life throws some curve balls and you don’t know when you might meet the person who you genuinely feel like there could be something pretty big with, and that sometimes when it happens, that person is involved with someone else.

However (and it is a big however), people who genuinely love, care, trust, and respect you and want to be with you in a committed way, are not going to engage in an ongoing deception.

If you have to wonder or ask if someone is going to leave someone else for you, it says the following:

Whatever you both have going on between the two of you, he has not given you enough (or even any) security and assurance that you and him are going to have a bonafide relationship.

When you’re wondering if they’re going to leave, it suggests that it’s an affair that is unlikely to transcend being an affair.

Difficult to hear but unfortunately true. If you’re wondering and asking in the first few weeks to even a few (brief) months it’s one thing, but when the wondering and discussing continues for many months or even years, it suggests that you’ve been ‘typecast’ like actresses can be – he only sees you in the ‘Other Woman’ role, not the lead role… The problem is that the type of guy that will cheat on an ongoing basis and not give you the heads up that he’s not planning on making things legit with you anytime soon, isn’t honest with you because he likes you there as an option and doesn’t want to endanger it.

When you ask the first time, you can call it clarification and validation that you’re both on the same pagecall it a ‘defining the relationship’ conversation.

However, hopefully, if he’s a half decent sort, he’ll already have beat you to the punch to let you know that this is a temporary situation and that he’s handling his business. He might ask you to give him some time, but he won’t leave you hanging and swaying in the breeze. He’ll also make sure that you know what is going on and not have you playing stupid guessing games about what is happening. He might even say that he’ll go off, sort things out, and come back when he’s free to be with you. Don’t think I’m making this up – I’ve seen it happen a number of times.

When you ask repeatedly it’s because his actions do not match his words.

Basically he said he was going to leave in X timeframe but now it’s Y timeframe and he’s now claiming it’s going to be Z timeframe. The longer you stay, the more the timeframe keeps shifting. Or…he hasn’t really directly pinned himself to committing to actually leaving however he’s still there. This creates a mixed signal that gets misinterpreted – You’ll think he’s continuing to risk his current relationship because he doesn’t want it and he finds you irresistible when in fact he can’t resist the lure of having the best of both worlds especially when he recognises there is no genuine impetus to leave because you’ll still be there anyway.

When you have to ask repeatedly or wonder repeatedly if someone is going to leave their wife or girlfriend for you, it’s because you don’t know or you don’t trust that he is doing as he says he will.

Whilst in some instances, you can put this down to natural ‘nerves’ about this situation – let’s be real; you’re waiting on him to tell someone it’s over so that he can be with you so of course you can feel nervous. However, more often than not though, it’s not about nerves (that would suggest something is imminent); it’s about the fact that aside from the ambiguity of the whole situation, you’re getting wise to the fact that he’s not being honest with you and isn’t following through and committing to an outcome.

When you have to ask repeatedly or wonder repeatedly if someone is going to leave their wife or girlfriend for you, it’s because whatever has been said up to that point hasn’t answered the question.

This is no different to when people have repeated discussions including repeated DTR’s (defining the relationship talks) – if you have to keep asking, something is going very awry in the discussion and in the follow through. He might be saying ‘Yes’ but dodging being direct about when, or he may be saying ‘No’ but telling you that he’s crazy about you and can’t be without you.

This is a really compromising situation to be in the first place but you’ll feel all the more compromised when you’re put in the position of having to wonder if you’re ‘good enough’ for them to leave to be with you and the longer it continues, is the more you’re looking for that ‘magic moment’, fate, the alignment of the stars, a message in a fortune cookie, or whatever it is to make things happen and get him to leave her.

But be careful what you wish for because you may find yourself holding a poison chalice….

Back in part two


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10 Responses to Is He Going To Leave His Wife/Girlfriend For Me? Part One

  1. RES says:

    Look at his behavior and judge for yourself whether or not this person is worth the effort. If he is quite willing to violate a trust with his wife/girlfriend, what would prevent him from doing the same to me later on? Any person who could violate boundaries, break a trust, and ultimately disrespect his relationship with his wife/girlfriend doesn’t seem to me like prize anyway. We can’t control whether or not we’re attracted to someone, but we CERTAINLY can control how we behave. Clearly, Natalie is right when she reminds us that to be deluded by own need to be the “exception,” is to invite heartache.

  2. Trinity says:

    Hi NML,

    this is an interesting read, thankfully this is something that has never happend to me. It’s one boundary I’ve always been very clear on. Gosh, felt good to write that, it’s a reminder that I actually do have some boudarys and not be so hard onyself :) I have been cheated on though and that was awful enough. Reading this gave me insight into what some of my poor friends have been through or a going through. Hopefully I can offer a bit more understanding to my friends.

    You wrote this answer as part of a question the other day:
    dangerous to be a fixer/healer/helper with someone who is an addict – there issues take precedence and if you want them in spite of their problems which existed long before you were there, when they deal with their problems, they associate you with the negative part of their life, the negative cycle.
    I wondered if this would also fit for partners who aren’t addicts but have problems, emotional ones? I ask because I was a fixer/helper in the last relationship and definetly had the distinct feeling towards the end that somehow he had started associating his problem with me. In fact I’m sure enough to say I ended up being blamed. Yet I know the issues were there b 4 me and are still there after me. It was very upsetting to take the time and love to help only to somehow end up in his eyes, as the monster.
    Take care :)

  3. Sad but wiser says:

    I was in a relationship with a MM for 4 years… and for all that time I got the runaround, even though I was extremely specific about not wanting to be in an affair and only seeing him in the goal of having a bona-fide relationship one day. He ‘didn’t know what was going to happen’, he was ‘scared’, but he wanted to be with me more than anything else, I was his ‘soulmate’, his true love, he couldn’t bear to not have me in his life, bla bla bla… he was constantly asking me for attention and support while he went home to his wife every night. I won’t go on about his words ad nauseam, suffice it to say his ACTIONS did not match at all. A deadline turned into an extension turned into more extensions and ‘oh I’m so scared I need to stare this down some more’… I got rid of the cheating loser 3 weeks ago. For good. I really wish I’d done it sooner. Now I have to work through all the the scars and mistrust he left behind. Your books really helped me see the light, NML. Wish me luck and a healthy recovery.

  4. Aurora says:

    I chose blindly to trust him and waited…and waited… and waited… He had a silver tongue and I was in denial and addicted to hope.

    While he finally DID leave her, he didn’t end up with me. I don’t believe now that he ever intended to be with me – I think I was just an ego stroke.
    If he had thought I was as special as he pretended, he WOULD have left her in the first month or so after he and I had met.

    If I had not been lying to myself and willing to be a fallback woman, I would have known his hot air was never going to be backed up with any kind of concistent action that mattered – and moved on without looking back out of genuine indifference since he wasn’t offering what I wanted or needed in the present. Little things like caring, sharing, respect, love and committment.

    Now that I have had much time to reflect, I am clear that if he HAD broken up with her for me, he still had no desire to work on his issues, let alone awareness of them.
    The game playing he did with her, the ongoing lies and half-truths, the evasions, the fighting and drama he felt was love – the same would have played out with me and ugh, it would have been a nightmare.

    I was lucky in a way that I didn’t get what I wished for, although I cried for months and months and months about it then.

    What I’ve learned the hard way then and since – is that if I meet a man IN ANY WAY involved with another woman, no matter how unhappy he says he is or how dissatisfied or on the verge of a break-up or divorce — my answer will be WHEN YOU CAN BE 100% COMMITTED TO ME ON A DAILY BASIS, THEN I AM AVAILABLE.
    Until then, I’m in the kitchen busy making sure each pretzel has the right amount of salt on it. Don’t call, don’t write, don’t waste my time.

    And I won’t waste my time hoping and cooperating in the delusion that will just cause me grief and disaapointment.

    Als, now even if a man DID – I wouldn’t trust a man who left his partner for me. I’d know if he did it to her, he could do it to me.

    .-= Aurora´s last blog ..Academy Awards 2010 =-.

  5. juli says:

    I always hear this point of view.. that the man won’t leave. My mom, after 33yrs of marriage to my dad, left him for another man. That man was married also and had been married for over 30yrs. They both left their spouses and now have been happily married for almost 5 yrs. I guess the difference is, as soon as my mom agreed that she wanted the relationship with him, legitimately, he immediately told his wife and left her, and my mom did the same. I guess that is one of those “exceptions to the rule”.

    • Grace says:

      Yep, it does happen that a man leaves (eg Brad Pitt!). But I feel that it happens quickly, they certainly don’t drag the deceit out for months or years.

  6. Zuleka says:

    No man of good character (and that’s what we’re looking for isn’t it….) will faff about whinging about his situation, how hard it is to leave etc while reeling another woman in. He will deal with his current situation and come to you with clean hands. Anything else is BS. Don’t wait. Even if he leaves, you’re getting a dud.

    • lindsay bluth says:

      Agreed Zuleka. IMHO, no man of good character would pursue a woman whilst still in a relationship in the first place. A man who does this is relationship poison, and I would never even consider joining him for a cup of coffee, much less consider him as a potential mate.

  7. Edith says:

    Thankyou for a really clear article. I am seeing a man I’ve known for years, he’s trying to end a LDR in which he isn’t happy, and gave me a timeframe of 2 months. It’s 6 weeks into it and I feel like cr*p.
    He has been telling me all about their discussions and how he plans to get away from her, but still hasn’t done it and although I want to trust him, he knows this is killing me yet continues to stick to his plan, and timeframe.
    I feel as though his current relationship, however unhappy, is taking precedence despite his obvious commitment to me in other ways, ie spending most of his free time with me and calling for hours every night,
    I think a man who can’t put my feelings first and get on with ending this thing, just isn’t available enough to make me happy – yet. He’s putting me through hell waiting for his ‘moment’.
    I have told him to stay away the next 3 weeks till he has sorted it all out, because I can’t bear the pain.
    Time will tell if he follows through on this…I’ll try and let you know. In all other respects he is a great bloke, but that’s not the point.

    • judy says:

      My dear,

      Relationships are not to be so painful. I would end this. I read your post and that is what I feel.

      There are millions of good blokes all over the world and many of them are not married.

      Being involved with a married or otherwise man reflects self punishment. This must stop.

      Buy the NC ebook now and keep it near. Do not contact this man and when he calls you, tell him kindly its over and best of luck. Be firm and move on with your precious life.

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Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.