For whatever reason, I seem to draw the attention of men who are either married or in serious relationships. The problem is that it doesn’t bother me that much. I have been the other woman to a married man (VERY short term — I ended things as soon as I found out he had children … I guess I found my personal limit?), an engaged man (this was longer, and I was very much in love with him — needless to say he broke my heart) right up until he got married, and currently a guy who is in a long distance relationship.
I feel as though with the admittedly MAJOR exception of them clearly cheating on their significant other, they have all been otherwise great guys. The current situation I’m in is with this really fun guy who works for a different branch of my company in a far away state. We travel a lot together for work and one night after some drinking he kissed me and we ended up sleeping together. Now, I would never come on to him or make the first move, but I was very willing to succumb to his — he’s hot, and we’d be having a great time together. After the first time, we basically continued our affair for the duration of our trip — it was a three-week long business trip. We still talk fairly frequently now that we’re both back to our real lives, but we have another month-long trip together coming up shortly.
I guess my question is two-fold: How do I talk myself out of continuing this sort-of relationship with the current guy, and what could possibly be the underlying reason that I keep letting this happen? I promise that I have been in other normal, healthy relationships in my life. This is just something I need to figure out. — No Will Power
Here’s a little tidbit you might not know about me: I really don’t like cooking. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate it, but I’m definitely not a big fan. It’s time-consuming, and the hours I spend chopping vegetables and perfecting recipes — not to mention cleaning up afterward (cooking is messy!) — is time I’d rather spend gazing at my navel or doing a host of other fascinating things. And since I didn’t marry a cook, Drew and I end up ordering out a lot, an action that is surprisingly affordable here in NYC. And while it may not break out wallet to order out on an occasional basis, doing so every day does add up, and take-out food isn’t nearly as healthy as home-cooked food. So, I have a conundrum, don’t I? I can continue feeding myself fairly unhealthy food on a daily basis and throwing my money out the window, or I can suck it up and do what doesn’t come to me so naturally and actually cook a damn meal every once in a while.
What does all this have to do with you being the other woman? Well, relationships are a lot of work. And they’re time-consuming. And you have to make compromises and stuff. And they can be messy. And you don’t always get it right the first time, and unfortunately, when that happens, it’s not as easy as throwing out some burned meatloaf and heating up a frozen pizza for dinner instead. In relationships, not getting it right can make for a lot of heartache, and heartache sucks.
So, I can understand the temptation to stick with men who are unavailable for a real relationship. They seem easy, like a fast, no-hassle microwave meal or some greasy-but-delicious take-out. But when that’s all your surviving on, you lack the necessary nutrients to really thrive. And not only that, when you sleep with men who are committed to someone else, you are actively contributing to someone else’s eventual pain. That can’t feel good.
You’re better than that, aren’t you? Your body and soul deserve better, don’t they? So, brush off your cooking utensils, go searching for a few good recipes, buy some fresh, seasonal ingredients, and put away your take-out menus where you won’t be easily tempted. You may make some mistakes on your way to creating the perfect dish, but you’ll be better for it. And when you do finally make that perfect meal? All the mess and hassle that came before will be worth it. I promise.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.