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“I’m Always the Other Woman”

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 wendy@dearwendy.com.


Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar Callifax April 27, 2011, 8:07 am

WTF? You are the kind of women who give faithful girls bad names. I’m not saying the guys here aren’t at fault, but clearly you are targeting taken men. Get your own (single) guy and lay off the ones who have someone waiting at home.

As the former victim of infidelity, this letter made me so mad.

avatar Callifax April 27, 2011, 8:10 am

Sorry for the rash remark. It was a little harsh. I just was so instantly disgusted.

avatar honeybeenicki April 27, 2011, 8:35 am

My initial response was very much the same, but with far more profanity so I just opted to not say anything.

avatar Hana April 27, 2011, 12:57 pm

I agree with you completely. I know it is harsh, but I think this is a LW who needs harsh. In fact, I am surprised that Wendy did not give a harsher response, as this is someone who could truly use that kick in the butt. I’m 100% disgusted by her actions. I know it takes two to tango, but lets face it. If she had any self respect or control it wouldn’t happen. And based off her pattern of only having relationships with committed men I think she may be subconsciously trying to sabotage herself in relationships or trying to prove something about herself (i.e I am hot enough/sexy enough to steal a man. When last one didn’t leave his girl for me I’ll show him by doing it again…)

That being said, I think cheating is one of the worst things person can do, whether they are in a relationship or dating someone in a relationship. It makes you look desperate and sleazy, and makes the innocent hurt beyond belief. She needs to just stop. It really that simple. If she doesn’t, or even if she does, she probably has some bad karma coming her way for all this past behavior.

caitie_didnt caitie_didn't April 27, 2011, 8:46 pm

Wow, this thread seems to have gotten pretty heated!

LW: STOP. JUST STOP. It really is that easy- the next time a married/engaged dude approaches you….friggen LEAVE! Don’t put yourself in that position!

Get in the corner, put your balls on, and show yourself (and the women you’re helping betray) a little bit of respect by not giving in to temptation.

avatar Kat March 4, 2014, 2:13 pm

I feel just like the writer of this letter – I am always the other woman. The worst thing is that even after being in a real relationship and getting my heart broken by being cheated on, I can’t stop. If anything, it’s worse, because I have seen how (very) easily men cheat and I have lost hope that faithful relationships can be possible. I have never cheated on anyone myself. What is wrong with me?

avatar Beckaleigh April 27, 2011, 8:09 am

It doesn’t matter what Wendy said in her response. This woman will sleep with this man while she’s on the business trip with him. She’ll sleep with him until the guy ends the affair and she’ll find a new and taken man next.

avatar Rachelgrace53 April 27, 2011, 2:31 pm

Don’t you think that’s sort of harsh considering she is writing in to get advice on how to change?

avatar Beckaleigh April 27, 2011, 3:29 pm

But is that her purpose in writing? It looked to me that she wanted to get out of THIS situation. There was no indication that she wanted to change or that she felt sorry for what she’s done.

avatar fallonthecity April 27, 2011, 5:42 pm

“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’m pretty sure she’s asking for feedback on getting out of this situation AND asking what could be the reason she keeps doing this, implying that she does want to change.

avatar HM April 27, 2011, 7:13 pm

I have to disagree that the quote from the letter is her saying she wants to change. Instead I see it as her wanting people to feel bad for her because she keeps “letting this happen” as if she is the unwitting victim as opposed to the willful participant.

I have a friend who is like this. In her case it seems to be a desire to be the victor and have a man finally leave his significant other for her, and a way to keep herself at a distance from men who would actually treat her well and respect her because she has poor self-esteem and doesn’t actually feel deserving of a quality guy.

LW, despite my disgust at your behavior, I feel bad for you because you obviously don’t feel deserving of a legitimate relationship. You need to do some work on yourself and possibly see a counselor, because your other quote also concerns me: “I ended things as soon as I found out he had children … I guess I found my personal limit?”.
This flippant remark indicates that you either don’t like yourself much or that you actually enjoy the possibility of causing others pain.

Life is short and my belief is that we should love and take care of eachother. And that we shouldn’t intentionally destroy relationships that people build because we are too self-centered to control ourselves.
I truly hope you find what you are looking for and that you take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself if this is the level of respect you want from the men (and co-workers) in your life.

avatar fallonthecity April 28, 2011, 12:33 pm

Well, maybe you’re right, but I hope we can just agree to disagree. Without knowing the LW personally, I don’t think we’ll know her true motives or feelings… as it is, each of us are just projecting our personal experiences onto this letter.

avatar HM April 28, 2011, 7:00 pm

I love to agree to disagree!!! :)

If everyone thought the same as I do, I would never grow as a person beyond this moment. fallonthecity, I appreciate your opinions. :)

avatar fallonthecity April 28, 2011, 7:05 pm

Same to you! I enjoy civil discussion. :)

avatar anonymous April 27, 2011, 8:33 am

i think you two are being unfair. yes, it is wrong to sleep with men who are in relationships. but obviously, as she wrote to wendy about this, she is trying to change something. secondly, it is the men’s responsibility to be faithful to their partner (and vice versa). it is not right to blame the LW for their actions.
who are you to judge that she can’t change something about herself? sometimes all you need is to hear those words from someone else to be able to follow the advice. again, i can only say that it is the men’s fault for cheating on their long-term partners, not the LW. it may not be the nicest thing to do, but its not like she knows/is friends with the women.

avatar NolaGirl April 27, 2011, 8:47 am

I actually slightly agree with you, but I recognize that my opinion on this is unpopular (i’ve had this discussion with other women before). Yes the LW is in the wrong in willingly sleeping with married/taken men. But then again, it takes two to erm…you know. The LW clearly knows that what she’s doing is wrong, even if it doesn’t bother her – she recognizes she probably shouldn’t be doing this. So I think that’s a good positive step. Honestly I think the LW probably has some deeper issues when it comes to men and relationships and may need counseling to find out what is at the root of it.

In the end you can’t make a man carry on an affair if he isn’t willing to do so. FYI, I don’t know if a lot of you have the same experiences I do, but a wedding ring on a man seems to be a serious aphrodisiac for women. My husband gets hit on so often, sometimes when I’m even with him. Does he go after these women? Of course not! But somehow I think that married men are a turn on for some women (and esp. college aged girls, god knows why). I mean sure, my hubby is a cutie pie, but he’s also in his 40s!

avatar GingerLaine April 27, 2011, 8:58 am

LOL! I just said something about how the married/committed folk seem to be magnets! I’m glad I’m not the only one who seems to have had this experience!

avatar honeybeenicki April 27, 2011, 9:37 am

My husband and I both have that problem, but he is so oblivious (always has been) that I have to tell him when women hit on him. He was a drummer in a fairly popular local band and I found it amusing to watch girls swoon over him at the gigs and he was completely oblivious to the advances. When he and I started dating I had to be very very upfront and clear. It does seem married men (and women even – I have had a lot more advances since having a ring on my finger) are magnets!

avatar TheGirl April 27, 2011, 11:13 am

I think it has to do with confidence – people in a relationship aren’t looking, so they aren’t always thinking about the possibilities with every person they meet. It’s easier to relax and be yourself, which most people find sexy.

avatar SpyGlassez April 27, 2011, 9:50 pm

They’ve also proven that they are someone “worth having” – because they have the ring/are in a relationship – and so therefore their value is increased, and others recognize that subconsciously.

avatar kali April 27, 2011, 1:45 pm

“The LW clearly knows that what she’s doing is wrong, even if it doesn’t bother her – she recognizes she probably shouldn’t be doing this.”

If LW really wants to stop, step one would be not putting herself in the position to succumb to her co-worker’s overtures. Have dinner in your room, don’t have a few drinks with him, head off to the hotel gym and work off some of that pent-up energy there, go for a jog, anything to keep you away from married Casanova.

As everyone here has said, it tales two, but just because he offers, doesn’t mean you have to take him up on his offer! It gets easier to turn down those cute boys. It really does. Think about the people you might be hurting BEFORE you tumble into bed, not after. That will help firm your resolve.

And good luck! Because heaven forbid you end up with one of those guys. If they’ll cheat WITH you, they’ll cheat ON you.

avatar fallonthecity April 27, 2011, 8:49 am

I agree with you. The LW wrote an honest letter to Wendy asking for advice (and Wendy gave very good and very NICE advice), but she is going to be ripped a new one in the comments. Sad.

avatar Beckaleigh April 27, 2011, 1:20 pm

The LW asked for advice on how to stop seeing this current man and for suggestions on what the underlying problem was. She didn’t say she was sick to her stomach over her behavior or that she vowed to stop seeing married/taken men. If she had, my response would have been different.

And I’m not blaming only her, but like others have said it takes 2 to tango. Not just the married man.

avatar fallonthecity April 27, 2011, 8:16 pm

What does being sick to her stomach over it have to do with it, though? I’m not trying to be argumentative, but I really don’t understand where the animosity is coming from. I got the impression from her letter that she wanted to change the behavior… so I don’t understand why everybody needs her to be sick about it, or why it’s productive to make sure blame is assigned.

avatar Kat April 27, 2011, 1:44 pm

The men are obviously more culpable, but this is also a pattern for the LW. Moreover, let’s face it, she’s HURTING people. It’s not like this is a victimless act. It’s totally foreseeable that the LW will be contributing to the pain and suffering of these mens’ SOs. The men she gets involved with are MORE culpable, but she’s still culpable. Taking personal responsibility for your actions is part of being a Grown Up and a Decent Human Being. The LW isn’t obligated to be either of those things, but I’m guessing on some level she wants to or else she wouldn’t have bothered writing to Wendy in the first place.

avatar GingerLaine April 27, 2011, 8:55 am

Here’s the thing, LW. A lot of women draw the attention of married/engaged men. My girlfriends & I have noticed that it seems like since we got married, we’ve found ourselves the objects of a lot of attention from single and married men. But we all recognize that we have vows to keep. Not only to keep, but to truly honor, so when we find ourselves in those situations that could be trouble, we learn to cool the jets immediately because we don’t want temptation to get the best of us.

You’ve got to learn to do that, LW. Although the onus is on him to be faithful, you know that these relationships are not good for you, not good for the man, and not good for the unsuspecting wife/fiancee. So stop. Take control & accept responsibility for yourself. You know when some mutual flirting is getting a little too hot & heavy. You know when you’re kissing him that you shouldn’t be doing it. So when it happens, take a deep breath, and remove yourself from the situation. If you feel too much pressure to say, “you’re married, this is cheating,” tell him you forgot that you had to call your mom to check in on her. Take a fake phone call. Tell him you’re on your period or feeling sick. Whatever it takes to GET OUT OF THERE.

I genuinely believe that once you’ve broken the cycle, it will be so much easier to simply nip these things in the bud before they cross into extra-flirty territory. Oh, and if you find that you’re missing the companionship or the intimacy, get a friend with benefits or something. If you’re getting your jollies somewhere else, it’ll be a lot easier not to succumb to the wiles of these taken men. Taking some time off from relationships altogether to get your bearings back is probably also not a bad idea.

You can do it, LW. Just say that you’re going to make a change, and do it. Because if you don’t, maybe it won’t be today, maybe not tomorrow either, but one day, you WILL get caught and it may be totally devastating.

avatar NolaGirl April 27, 2011, 8:59 am

I love this answer.

avatar MissDre April 27, 2011, 9:12 am

Me too!

avatar GingerLaine April 27, 2011, 9:21 am

Awww! Thanks, ladies! I just think it’s great that the LW recognized a problem, and wants to correct it. She knows it’s not a good thing. Let’s help her make a change and do better for herself. :)

avatar LennyBee April 27, 2011, 11:31 am

Great, non-judgmental advice! It’s hard to change bad habits, but it’ll be better in the end.

avatar mf April 27, 2011, 11:38 am

Well said! I particularly like that you said “take control and accept responsibility for yourself.”

avatar Rachelgrace53 April 27, 2011, 2:36 pm

This is easily the best comment. People are definitely in judgment mode with this article, but that’s not helpful. If I was in this situation, I think your comment is exactly what I would need to hear.

avatar Bellz April 27, 2011, 5:17 pm

Excellent advice! Practical, nonjudgmental. If I could add one thing, I’d remind the LW that these guys (guys who cheat) will never end the affair on their own. If they’re okay starting an affair, they’re in no rush to end it. It’s solely up to you to end things. So be strong and stay out of his way when you see him!

avatar Kate April 27, 2011, 9:03 am

How about just date a guy who is not in a relationship? Is it THAT difficult?

And the underlying reason sounds like you have no self esteem. You are ensuring that every “relationship” you have will never go anywhere other than a hotel room.

avatar AnitaBath April 27, 2011, 4:37 pm

All of these comments are probably doing boatloads for her self esteem, huh?

“Hey! You obviously don’t have a very high opinion of yourself if you’re being such a whore. I know you’re asking for advice to better your situation, but I’m going to completely ignore that aspect and just tell you what a HORRIBLE HUMAN BEING YOU ARE. How’s your self esteem feel now?”

This reply isn’t entirely directed at the above comment, it just makes me sad that so many comments on this letter follow that pattern. Since Wendy let the girl off easy and just gave her the civil advice she was looking for, does the entire DW community feel like they have to do their part to belittle her and break her down?

avatar fallonthecity April 27, 2011, 8:25 pm

Thank you. I feel the same way about some of these comments. :(

avatar NolaGirl April 28, 2011, 7:57 am

me too!

avatar princesspetticoat April 27, 2011, 4:51 pm

I agree that the underlying reason is likely low self esteem. Maybe she succumbs to unhealthy relationships because that’s all that she feels she’s worth.

avatar Amana April 27, 2011, 9:07 am

Yes, the men in the situation are wrong but that doesn’t make her actions any less horrifying. She is still in the wrong for willingly sleeping with attached men which is what the other posters are pointing out and because the letter was written by her and not the men she is bearing the brunt of the harsh comments.

avatar NolaGirl April 27, 2011, 9:20 am

But I think that if she were proud of her actions or didn’t want to change, she wouldn’t write into DearWendy at all. She’d just continue on in the same pattern. After all, who would write into an advice column to gloat?

avatar honeybeenicki April 27, 2011, 9:34 am

While I agree, it is good she wrote in and is trying to change, that doesn’t make her actions any less wrong. I agree that the men who are in committed relationships are certainly the ones responsible for maintaining faithfulness in their relationship and are therefore more at fault, I don’t think that absolves the “other woman” who knows the man is in a relationship.

avatar NolaGirl April 27, 2011, 9:42 am

Of course it doesn’t, but it doesn’t mean that she needs to be “slut shamed” either. I think there are deeper issues than she digs married men. It could come from her past. Whatever it is, she clearly wants help in fixing this. If it were just as easy as “stopping” then clearly she would. I think it’s probably a psychological thing. How many of us can say that we carry no scars or damage from the past, and that the past does not affect our future behavior? I know I can’t say that.

avatar honeybeenicki April 27, 2011, 10:09 am

I mentioned in my comment below that I thought maybe there was something deeper going on (maybe self esteem or abandonment issues). I do think it is great that she is trying to be honest with herself and change things. I tried pretty hard not to “slut shame” her, but I think maybe some of the really tough comments are likely people who have been hurt by situations like this. But I definitely agree there is likely a psychological problem involved in this, which is why I encouraged LW to see professional counseling to help her deal with it and learn some coping tools.

avatar NolaGirl April 27, 2011, 10:17 am

I didn’t particularly mean you in slut shaming, I meant some of the other comments. I mean really, some of the responses are pretty harsh. Yes, she’s clearly doing something that’s wrong – but if she didn’t want to change things she wouldn’t have written in in the first place. Of course I don’t condone her behavior, but I also don’t think calling her out and castigating her while she’s seeking help is going to help her change her ways. If anything it might make her feel more isolated and drive her away from seeking help in the future.

avatar Black Iris May 9, 2011, 5:56 pm

I think she wrote into the advice column because she never gets the guy. She’s not worried about the damage she’s causing, she’s worried that if she keeps doing this, she’ll end up single. This attitude may be part of her problem.

avatar ltc309 April 27, 2011, 9:46 am

I would understand if she didn’t know these men were taken until way into their “relationship” but she knew from the get go.
Idk call me “old fashion” but I would not be able to have a relationship with a man that was taken.
1) What future would I be fostering for myself knowing the man I am in love with is a dirty cheater that has not respect for commitment.
2) Him being a liar bastard is HIS cross to bear & I could NOT contribute to that.

I have no sympathy for the LW. One time is forgivable, but repeatedly? No, no, NO.

avatar ltc309 April 27, 2011, 9:46 am


avatar LTC039 April 27, 2011, 1:21 pm

lol really? people disagree with my grammar correction… that’s hilarious.

avatar justpeachy April 27, 2011, 3:18 pm

I think it’s because unless it changes the meaning of what you meant, we knew what you were talking about. It’s not like you’re being graded on your comment and it’s just one more comment to scroll through when the comments on these posts add up really fast on a lunch hour.

avatar LTC039 April 27, 2011, 3:48 pm

Sorry. I tried to “modify” my comment but the link wasn’t working. I’m super anal about grammar, that’s why. I didn’t think about that.

Dear Wendy Wendy April 27, 2011, 1:27 pm

You were right the first time. ;)

avatar LTC039 April 27, 2011, 1:55 pm

Oh. haha…I could’ve sworn it was the other way around. :)

avatar LTC039 April 28, 2011, 11:15 am

Some people on here are ridiculous. Thumbs down happy, much?

avatar Maracuya April 27, 2011, 1:29 pm

Only because you were right the first time :)

avatar Kate April 27, 2011, 9:49 am

I agree! Once, I can see. But multiple times? Sorry, but her letter makes her sound like an idiot.

I wouldn’t want to work with her, either. It sounds like it could get uncomfortable for co-workers.

avatar ltc309 April 27, 2011, 9:52 am

Definitely! Especially since one of the guys was ENGAGED!
I think that’s worse than being married. How can you be in love with someone that is already cheating on someone he’s just starting to “build a life” with.
That’s just sad…

avatar Black Iris May 9, 2011, 4:58 pm

Maybe it’s because I’m married, but I do think it’s worse to cheat when you’re married. Marriage is a bigger promise and level of commitment. It’s bad to break an engagement, but the reason you’re engaged is so you can still change your mind.

avatar MissDre April 27, 2011, 9:10 am

I agree with anonymous. Let’s give this woman a chance! She wrote in asking for help to change something she doesn’t like in herself. We should all be encouraging her to step up and better herself! We as women need to support each other, not trash talk one another when someone is reaching out for help.

No, I don’t agree with the things she’s done, but out of all of us, who hasn’t done something they regret morally? Girl, listen to Wendy and put in the work it takes to be better. You’ll love yourself for it.

Wendy, thanks for being positive and not putting this LW down. I know from experience, sometimes people do not-so-nice things because they are hurting inside and they are lost, NOT because they are a bad person.

avatar jena April 27, 2011, 9:54 am

How do you change something that you dont like yourself doing? YOU STOP DOING IT. end of story.

avatar silver_dragon_girl April 27, 2011, 10:15 am

This website wouldn’t exist if everyone could do that. It’s not always that simple.

avatar eelizg23 April 27, 2011, 11:43 am

Except that’s pretty much exactly the advice Wendy gave her.

avatar silver_dragon_girl April 27, 2011, 12:28 pm


But I stand by my statement. It’s almost never as simple as just deciding to “say no” to something.

avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 27, 2011, 12:50 pm

I think one of the important things that Wendy also points out is that there is a certain “value” for the LW, who may not want to allow herself to be emotionally invested in available men for whatever reason (fear of intimacy….there are more but I can’t think of any off the top of my head, in going after men who are already attached elsewhere. That’s an important qualifier to advice that is basically, “stop it.”

avatar jena April 28, 2011, 10:41 am

Sleeping with people who are already attached is as easy as saying “NO THANK YOU.”

avatar Bethany April 27, 2011, 9:25 am

I think that when you’re mature enough to see a pattern in your behavior, you’re mature enough to change it. All LW needs to do is say no. It’s as simple as that. When the opprotunity presents itself on this trip, all she has to do is say, “No, I’m going to go back to my room. ALONE” and it’s done. She can choose to not answer his calls, and to not fall into flirty emails with him.
And when she meets another guy who ends up being married/engaged/whatever, she can choose to say no to them too.

She really needs to do some soul searching to figure out why she’s attracted to these men, and really fix the problem inside. But until she’s really worked it out mentally, she really needs to actively choose not to do the things she’s doing.

avatar Kate April 27, 2011, 9:33 am

Agreed! Just say NO. Very simple.

I also noticed she is making the point of telling us she won’t make the first move, but is willing to succumb to a guy. Well, LW if you are not making the first move, then just walk away!

avatar ltc309 April 27, 2011, 9:50 am

Exactly!! As if there aren’t enough single men in this world.
It’s like women who go after a**holes & then complain that their men treat them like shit.
Get over it & change your behavior!

avatar kerrycontrary April 27, 2011, 9:28 am

tsk tsk tsk…LW, I think Wendy is right that you are afraid to be in an actual relationship that might go somewhere rather then a relationship with a man you know will never leave his significant other (whether it be a wife, fiance, or girlfriend). You are the only one who can know the answer to why you are doing this. Commitment phobe? Low self-esteem? Who knows. The point is that you are actively contributing to hurting another woman. I honestly think you need therapy to get over this problem because no one should enjoy hurting other people over and over again. Or maybe you just need to be in a relationship and have a man cheat on you to know how it feels. Perhaps this is where the pattern started???

To quote Nene Leakes…Close your legs to married men!

avatar ArtsyGirl April 27, 2011, 9:36 am

I have had to rewrite this response multiple times because there is just so so much wrong with this letter. LW – please seek some professional help. You obviously have a really low sense of worth if you are willing to be with men who are not willing to be with you, because according to your letter none of these men have told you they are willing to leave their SOs for you. For the love of God, one got MARRIED instead of committing to you.

Also you cannot label what is going on with you and your co-worker a relationship because that would require you to spend time together outside of the bedroom. You are these men’s sex toy, their booty call, their little something on the side – you are not their girlfriend (they already have one).

If the emotional pain (both for you and for the girlfriends and wives) are not enough to convince you then at least think of your career. You are sleeping with a co-worker and many companies require all relationships to be disclosed to your boss and some companies outright ban interoffice romances. Even if there is no punitive actions against relationships, you probably will still be labeled the office harlot for sleeping with a guy in a committed relationship. The way people view you will be damaged and that could be reflected throughout your career progress.

Please LW, stop this destructive pattern. Look for someone who will love you, not someone who is willing to sleep with you when he can spare some time away from his SO.

avatar spaceboy761 April 27, 2011, 10:10 am

I condone any usage of the word ‘harlot’.

avatar spaceboy761 April 27, 2011, 10:24 am

It would almost be worth me getting a sex change just so that I could be a roller derby chick named Harlot O’Scara. Rock.

avatar TheOtherMe April 27, 2011, 10:48 am

I LOOOOVE roller-derby names !! Can I please use yours ?

avatar spaceboy761 April 27, 2011, 11:00 am

No, I already called the surgeon and I’m getting the surgery on Friday. It’s mine. I don’t know how to skate, but I’m assuming that it’s not that hard.

avatar TheOtherMe April 27, 2011, 11:04 am

Well, seeing how far you are willing to go in order to be able to use the name, you truly deserve it. I’ll back off.

avatar honeybeenicki April 27, 2011, 12:01 pm

That is true dedication right there.

avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 27, 2011, 12:53 pm


avatar spaceboy761 April 27, 2011, 1:15 pm

Skating in the big hoop skirt would probably be infeasible, but you could at least rock the hair and makeup pretty hard. Seriously, I should license this out to Gotham Girls or something.

avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 27, 2011, 1:38 pm

Dude, skating in a mini-hoop skirt would totally be feasible.

avatar justpeachy April 27, 2011, 3:22 pm

It might even help break some of the falls. Like a built-in roller derby bumper.

avatar Rachelgrace53 April 27, 2011, 2:55 pm

I finally watched Whip It yesterday and ever since I’ve been trying to think of a killer roller derby name for myself!

avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 27, 2011, 3:25 pm

I’ve always wanted one too. The best one I’ve come up with is for my sister: “The Dewey-Decimator”. She’s a librarian.

avatar moonflowers April 27, 2011, 5:30 pm

LOL! :)

avatar TheOtherMe April 27, 2011, 6:04 pm

I had actually listed “Whip it” as one of my “pop guilty pleasures” in my TF reveal :)

avatar cdobbs April 27, 2011, 9:36 am

“when you sleep with men who are committed to someone else, you are actively contributing to someone else’s eventual pain”
I agree with Wendy on this 100%. God, how would you feel if you were totally in love with someone and found out he had been cheating on you! Karma is a bitch, thats all I gotta say to this LW.

avatar ltc309 April 27, 2011, 9:38 am

It’s very simple:


avatar ltc309 April 27, 2011, 9:42 am

This is my favorite part:

“I feel as though with the admittedly MAJOR exception of them clearly cheating on their significant other, they have all been otherwise great guys”

Really, LW…REALLY?!

avatar Kate April 27, 2011, 9:44 am

Yes…Can you say “grasping at straws”?

avatar SpaceySteph April 27, 2011, 11:17 am

Aside from the fact that he kills puppies and eats them raw, he’s really an animal lover.
Whatever. He is torturing a woman he claims to love. He is not a nice guy with a character flaw, he’s a jackass who is good at deceiving people.

avatar spaceboy761 April 27, 2011, 12:49 pm

Well done, sis!

avatar LTC039 April 27, 2011, 1:18 pm

Love the analogy, all though it made me cringe a little lol

avatar SpaceySteph April 27, 2011, 1:42 pm

Sorry. The thought of a cheating SO makes me cringe. So does killing puppies. So I figured it was applicable. Maybe the eating them was going a bit far.

avatar LTC039 April 27, 2011, 1:56 pm

Oh absolutely! Same here. No worries, I just love puppies haha :)

avatar nameless April 27, 2011, 1:58 pm

poor puppies…

avatar oldie April 27, 2011, 12:50 pm

Her point is that he always treats her well. Of course he does. He is like the non-custodial parent who tells little Johnny ‘of course your can spend all your college savings on a Harley and ride whenever you like and you certainly don’t need to wear a helmet’. Mom will say no and be the bad guy.

LW will never get into an argument about spending the holiday visiting her out of state parents, taking her to the opera, not going out boozing until 2:00 A.M. with the guys, picking up his things, moving for her career. There is just the hotel room, sex, and while the affair lasts, an ally at work. Why would he ever be anything but totally nice to her when they get together. She has no expectations. She is the perfect mistress, with no expectations of anything but the present and totally self supporting and happy with this limited ‘relationship’. It is easy for a guy to be a great guy when he is not asked to compromise on anything and no real-life decisions or responsibilities are involved. She is a pleasant escape from the responsibilities of his real life. He may be a total rat bastard in his real life, but in their hotel room, he can effortlessly be the perfect companion. It is an easier relationship for him than single dating was, with expectations as low as they could possibly be.

I don’t think LW really wants to change all that much. She even says she’s found her limit with married guys with children.

If I interpret her letter correctly, the co-worker she is currently in a relationship with is not engaged or married, but in a long-distance dating relationship with someone else. If that is the case, I can’t view her current actions too harshly. Dating is not a ‘taken’ state like engaged or married. Dating is exploratory. It is up to the guy to tell his long-distance girlfriend that he has found someone else.

avatar LTC039 April 27, 2011, 1:17 pm

Dating is still a commitment. My boyfriend & I are not engaged but I would take it just as bad if he were cheating on me.
& I so agree with your middle paragraph. From a naive sense, I can understand why she make think “he’s a great guy.” She just needs to pull her head out of the clouds & grow up!
Be a REAL woman!

avatar Maracuya April 27, 2011, 1:23 pm

I agreed with you up until the last paragraph. Dating is not marriage, yes, but damn if it makes it alright to step out on somebody. I’m sure they’re exclusive, and who knows how long they’ve been dating. Is it okay if they’ve been exclusive for six months? Five years? No, it’s not.

avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 27, 2011, 1:40 pm

I was thinking the same thing. I’m in a committed, 2+ year LDR and we are definitely beyond the exploratory phase where dating other people is OK.

avatar LTC039 April 27, 2011, 2:05 pm

Yeah. That kind of hit me. I’ve been in an exclusive relationship for 2.5 years & if he was seeing another woman as well, it would be just as bad. A commitment is a commitment, no matter what. If the couple is mutually understanding that they are exclusive, it doesn’t matter how they made that commitment, it’s cheating!!
If the LW’s co-worker is in an LDR, there’s a good chance his gf doesn’t know he’s cheating…

avatar SpaceySteph April 27, 2011, 1:56 pm

Completely agree.
I was in a 2 year LDR and we were talking marriage once he finished school in a different state. Though we hadn’t “put a ring on it” we were still very much exclusive and cheating would have been a violation of a promise he made to me. It might not be the same as a marriage certificate or vows in a church but it WAS a promise and violating that would also be a betrayal.

Also some couples stay together for years… their whole lives even… and never get married. And there’s gay couples who cannot legally marry. Its ridiculous to assume that everything up to the point of marriage is exploratory and therefore you don’t need to honor your word. If you agree to be exclusive, you are cheating when you step out. Thats it.

avatar Sarah April 27, 2011, 2:03 pm

The level of terrible with cheating goes up with marriage and committed relationships (like living together or just as good as, LDR) for me. I guess its because if you have a regular boyfriend that cheats on you, it really makes you feels awful about your relationship (been there), but if your husband or life partner cheats on you, he’s not just f*cking up your relationship, he’s f*cking up your life.

Its like there’s stealing from somebody, which is wrong, and then stealing from somebody who’s poor. Causes way more damage.

avatar HM April 27, 2011, 7:25 pm

Why do you have so many thumbs down!? I get that she is supposedly asking for help (although I think it might actually be asking for excuses). I don’t think patting her head and telling her it will be ok is the way to go. She is adult enough to go on weeks-long business trips so she is old enough to accept responsibility for her choices and make positive changes.

avatar honeybeenicki April 27, 2011, 9:40 am

I definitely agree with Wendy that it seems like she’s trying to avoid a true relationship (though LW did say she has had real relationships that weren’t with taken men). I would advise seeking some kind of counseling because it seems like there is some kind of deeper issue here with self-esteem or abandonment or whatever. When I was younger, I was big on the “don’t let people get to close and don’t get too serious because then you can’t get hurt” idea. But that also means you will truly never have a meaningful relationship. You have to risk the pain, messiness, and heartbreak. Please, LW, seek professional counseling and try to get to the bottom of it. And in the meantime, just say NO. And stay out of situations that tend to lead to this behavior whenever possible.

avatar Flake April 27, 2011, 9:47 am

I agree with people saying that in this case, the men are responsible for their relationships. If they choose to cheat, that decision has nothing to do with the LW. She just happens to be there at that particular moment. That being said, by now, she should be able to recognize the signs and avoid the situations that in the past have led her to make choices that she regrets. I mean if an attached guy is hitting on you and you find him attractive, and you tend to make bad decisions when you drink, then you probably should not drink in the company of that particular guy.
I believe that, generally, you attract people you want. You choose people you have relationships with. In my opinion, the LW is one choice conscious choice away from stopping this pattern of behavior.

avatar silver_dragon_girl April 27, 2011, 10:12 am

Yes. Don’t put yourself in situations where you know you are likely to do something you’ll regret.

avatar SweetChild April 27, 2011, 11:53 am

Agreed. I’ve done the whole ‘he just told me he has a girlfriend but I don’t care right now because I have had a lot to drink and this seems like fun’. I would never have made the same decisions when sober, but good sense goes out the window when you drink.

avatar Joanna April 27, 2011, 3:05 pm

been there, done that.

avatar jena April 27, 2011, 9:52 am

Trash. Break it off with him and show some respect to the women you are screwing over. Yes, they make the decision to step out on their relationships, but you can make the decision to have some self respect and some compassion for their girlfriends, fiances, wives, and kids. Grow up.

avatar Rachelgrace53 April 27, 2011, 3:05 pm

I think maybe you wouldn’t be getting thumbed down like crazy if you hadn’t felt the need to call her “Trash.” Why would you need to include that, while talking about that respect she’s supposed to be showing other women?

avatar jena April 28, 2011, 10:44 am

Because, how audacious is it to write to an advice column talking about how sad you are that YOU are sleeping with someone else’s boyfriend, fiance, HUSBAND? How about thinking of the people she’s hurting, rather than HERSELF.

Maybe “trash” wasn’t what I was looking for. SELFISH would be better.

avatar Black Iris May 9, 2011, 5:06 pm

Sleeping with someone else’s lover huts them much worse than calling them a name. You can’t complain about being insulted when you’re willing to hurt people.

avatar fallonthecity May 9, 2011, 9:31 pm

…Is it a contest? As long as whatever we say/do to someone who is “The Other Woman” isn’t as bad as sleeping with someone who’s married, it’s fair game? Makes no sense.

avatar fallonthecity April 27, 2011, 8:51 pm


Sounds like you need to do some growing up yourself.

avatar jena April 28, 2011, 10:44 am

Right, I’m the one whining about how sad I am that I can only sleep with attached men. That’s MY immaturity showing, sure.

avatar Hana April 28, 2011, 11:34 am

I will get a lot of heat for this, but I agree with you Jena. She needs to grow up. What she is doing is trashy and I dont know why because she wrote in to DW everyone thinks its ok. And I’m sorry, but alcohol shouldn’t change your moral code that much, especially not multiple times with multiple men. That is an excuse to get away with what you know is wrong.

avatar Kate April 28, 2011, 11:43 am


avatar fallonthecity April 28, 2011, 12:27 pm

Well, yeah. A mature person would be able to disagree with a person’s actions, without calling them derogatory names.

avatar Sarah April 28, 2011, 12:34 pm

Its name-calling like this that divides women and makes some feel justified in hurting each other, ie: cheating with their boyfriends, husbands. I think if there were more respect for each other than you are willing to give, there would be much less girl on girl crime in this world.

avatar Elle April 28, 2011, 12:13 pm

I agree with jena too. However, I don’t think jena needs to be so rude. Other people got their point across without being mean to the LW.

Does anybody realize that the LW actually reads our comments? Think about it – who writes to Wendy? We do! People who know about this website and check it everyday. There’s no reason to be rude to each other. At least, I don’t see one.

I didn’t thumb jena either way, but I might stop reading her comments…

avatar TheGirl April 28, 2011, 12:17 pm

Agreed! No one here thinks its o.k. for her to sleep with married/taken men. We just recognize that name calling is not going to help. If she really wants to change, she should be able to ask for advice without feeling persecuted.

avatar fallonthecity April 28, 2011, 12:28 pm

Exactly. I think everyone agrees that the LW is in the wrong — but WE are also in the wrong for being mean to her.

avatar silver_dragon_girl April 27, 2011, 10:10 am

Oh, girl. The fact that you wrote in for help with this gives me a lot of hope for you. My ex cheated on me and it about killed me, but I never really blamed the “other woman” (now, granted, I wouldn’t want to go have coffee with her or anything either) as much as I did him. Obviously it’s wrong and obviously you know that. And while you might have some underlying “issues” that are contributing to the fact that you’ve done this three times now, I think it’s more likely that it’s just a run of bad luck.

It’s really easy, when you’re dating around casually, to assume a sort of “I can do whatever I want” attitude about it. I know I have in the past. It’s easy to forget the big picture when you’re happy with someone…after all, you’re not cheating on anybody.

Only you are cheating yourself. Because every time that guy goes home and sleeps with his wife? Cheating on you. Every time that guy goes to his fiancee and tells her he loves her and can’t wait to marry her? Cheating on you. Every time the current guy flies out to visit his long-distance girlfriend, hugs and kisses her, has torrid, “I haven’t seen you in 2 months” sex with her? HE IS CHEATING ON YOU.

Going into a relationship knowing that he’s with someone else is wrong, by all accounts, but you already know that. So the next time you’re tempted, ask yourself why you would settle for half of a relationship? Why is he allowed to sleep with, live with, make love to other people when you’re not? You are worth so much more than that.

avatar plasticepoxy April 27, 2011, 11:09 am

I really loved this answer. LOVED it. Compassionate, but bluntly truthful at the same time.

avatar SweetChild April 27, 2011, 11:48 am

I agree too! So many comments pouring so much scorn on the LW but it’s the GUY who is cheating! He’s the only one in two relationships. She wants to change which is great!

avatar mf April 27, 2011, 12:09 pm

I would give you a hundred thumbs-up if I could!

avatar haggith April 27, 2011, 2:06 pm

beautiful response! i wish i could give you 100 likes

avatar Kare April 27, 2011, 10:12 am

I would definitely try to get out of a month long business trip with someone you are having an affair with. It sounds like the LW can’t resist the temptation (neither can the guy), and if someone from her job finds out she could be fired depending on company policy.

avatar honeybeenicki April 27, 2011, 10:24 am

I was trying to think of a way she could get out of going on the trip or making it easier. Even just staying in a different hotel might be a little bit better.

avatar Maracuya April 27, 2011, 10:55 am

I think it would depend on how large her company is. Also, try explaining why they’re in a different hotel on an expense report (which would mean carpooling?) is kind of difficult. Just say, “No, sorry. I met someone,” when he puts the moves on her.

avatar honeybeenicki April 27, 2011, 12:03 pm

I prefer the just say no approach too, but she doesn’t seem like that has been all that easy for her in the past. Requesting a room far far away in the same hotel maybe? So she won’t have to explain to them why she needs to move.

avatar Maracuya April 27, 2011, 10:14 am

Wendy, sometimes you amaze me with how nice you are.

avatar ReginaRey April 27, 2011, 10:15 am

Instead of talking about how this pattern is morally wrong, which I’m certain you already know, let’s talk about how this is going to affect your life.

Every time you begin a “relationship” with a married or taken man, you are going to do yourself irreperable harm over and over and over again. Every time he leaves you to go back to his wife, his fiance, his girlfriend, it’s only going to be another crushing blow to your self-worth. This blow makes you believe that you AREN’T worthy of a real relationship, and you seek the next taken man all over again. It’s a very self-fulfilling situation you’ve landed yourself in.

Get thee to a therapist. Now. You really need to talk this out with someone who is qualified to help you figure out WHY this pattern started, and why you feel you aren’t worthy of a normal, HEALTHY relationship with a single man.

And honestly, I don’t think trying to date a single man is where you need to start. I think you need to start by being completely single for quite some time. I get the feeling that you don’t like yourself very much. If you want to actually do some real changing, you’re going to have to spend some uncomfortable time with yourself. I think you need to learn to be responsible for your own happiness and your own worth…people who leave that in the hands of others never, ever end up fulfilled. I think you’ve been leaning on taken men to fill this void, and it’s time you did the hard work to fill it yourself.

avatar silver_dragon_girl April 27, 2011, 10:21 am

Totally agree. Take some time off from dating. Don’t even get a FWB, get a vibrator. Get a hobby or two. Get a dog. Make some new girlfriends. “Do you” for a while.

avatar TheGirl April 27, 2011, 10:21 am

Yes! This! This girl clearly needs to be single for a while if she wants to break this pattern.

avatar phoenix287 April 27, 2011, 11:11 am

“I think you need to learn to be responsible for your own happiness and your own worth…people who leave that in the hands of others never, ever end up fulfilled.”

I vote for this as comment of the week!

avatar MissDre April 27, 2011, 11:29 am


avatar camille905 April 27, 2011, 10:32 am

Great answer Wendy!If just saying no was as easy as all these commenters seem to think, then I would have a sweet savings account (because I would just be saying no to shopping and eating out), I would never do anything I didn’t want to (because I would be able to just say no to people), and I would probably be much thinner (because I would be saying no to delicious and fattening food).
Changing habits is HARD! Especially when there are emotional and psychological issues that fuel them. LW needs support- hopefully she will be able to get it from someone who will get down off their high horse to assist her, instead of judging her from afar.

avatar Bethany April 27, 2011, 10:44 am

Just because changing a habit is hard doesn’t mean it can’t be done. She’s getting lazy and making excuses as to why what she’s doing is ok, and it’s not.

avatar Kate April 27, 2011, 11:01 am

I see your point, but I don’t think sleeping with married/engaged men is the same as eating out/junk food.

avatar camille905 April 27, 2011, 11:14 am

She’s also asking for help and being shot down…..not exactly a great motivator.

avatar Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich April 27, 2011, 1:09 pm

Yes! I don’t think it’s unreasonable to venture that she’s selling herself short in these “relationships” because on some level she doesn’t feel she deserves better. It only takes two points to define a line, and she has three, at which time you can not only define a trend but perform a statistical analysis. (/dork) To be able to perpetuate a pattern for herself like this, which must be very un-fulfilling at the end of the day, suggests that the pattern has more to do with her self-worth than with her morals. As much as I don’t AT ALL condone what she is doing/has done, if the heart of the issue is self-esteem, and not laziness, berating her and telling her what a terrible human being she is would only seem to FEED that lack of self-love necessary to change the behavior.

avatar SweetChild April 27, 2011, 11:43 am

Totally agree. So much harshness here! Wendy was very patient and reasonable. The LW wanted help, not judgement!