Shortcuts: “I’ve Fallen in Love With a Married Man”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I have fallen in love with a married man and have become the “other woman.” He is a very kind and good-hearted man who doesn’t seem to have any issues with his wife, but I can feel that they are not on good terms. I was 28 and single when I met him (he’s eleven years older) and he slowly courted me until I fell in love. When I think of our situation being wrong, I want to leave him, but that thought hurts too much. Now, three years into our relationship, I just discovered that he had sex with his wife last week! He has always told me he has no physical relationship with her. He feels very sorry for his mistake and keeps asking for forgiveness. We were going to start our family when he got his marriage annulled. What should I do? — The Other Woman

Yeah, you just keep on waiting for him to have his marriage annulled and start a family with you. That sounds like a great way to spend your time. Unless you actually want a family with someone, in which case I’d suggest you MOA now before you waste your remaining fertile years with a man who has zero intention of ever truly being with you.

I’m a 72-year-young lady in a relationship with a 63-year-old man. We have been seeing one another a year. My problem is that his ex-girlfriend doesn’t know about me and still thinks of him as a boyfriend. He says he can’t help what she thinks, and he even stills goes out of town to visit her and her family and stays a couple days. He does see me way more than he sees them, and I know he isn’t cheating on me, but he lets her believe they are more then friends. What should I do? — More Than Friends

He IS cheating on you. And he’s cheating on her with you. He lets her believe they are more than friends because they are. Just like he lets you believe you two are more than friends. Honey, he’s two-timing the both of you! I say MOA and find a guy who doesn’t already have a girlfriend because your boyfriend, apparently, has two.

My older sister is getting married and I’m one of her bridesmaids. I’ve known this since the beginning of 2015, and I happily started dating my current boyfriend last September. He isn’t fond of the idea of my walking down the aisle with my sister’s fiancé’s brother. He claims I’ll be “breaking his heart” when he sees me walk out. My boyfriend is my date to the wedding; I just happen to be a bridesmaid. I don’t know how to get him to understand. — Bridesmaid Breaking His Heart

Your boyfriend is being remarkably immature and idiotic about this. Honestly, I wouldn’t even justify his behavior with any more response on your part. And I would consider this a HUGE red flag about his character and the kind of long-term partner he might be. If he is this irrationally jealous about something as silly as you spending a few seconds walking beside someone else at your sister’s wedding, just imagine the kind of jealousy issues you’re going to have to face with him over and over! Yikes.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Avatar photo SavannahAnna says:

    Annulled?! Really? “We were going to start our family when he got his marriage annulled.” This guy sounds shadier and shadier, including his “mistake” of having sex with his own wife, for which he “apologizes”! The LW needs to wake up and look around. They are 3 years into a cheating relationship — what exactly are grounds for an annulment of his marriage supposed to be? I’m guessing this is a lie crafted to make the divorce (that likely will not happen, at least not to be with the LW) seem like a little molehill, very easy to climb. Just around the corner, don’t you know? BS.

  2. LW #3
    I had a birthday party in college and invited friends and my then boyfriend. We randomly ran into someone from my hometown and the group of girls (4 of us) grabbed him and danced and it was PG-13. My boyfriend told me “I thought about walking out and never talking to you again. Everyone was staring at me like ‘who is this guy and why is your girlfriend on him?'”
    Wished he had walked out then. It was a huge red flag on things to come up in our relationship in the future.

  3. Wendy is spot on, as usual. LWs, stop selling yourselves short! Trust me, there are men out there who aren’t liars, cheaters and/or restraining orders waiting to happen. (Seriously, LW3, this dude is a lunatic.) And if not, better to be alone then deal with the shit these “men” are shoveling your way. You all can do better than this!

  4. LW1 and LW2 there isn’t much to say, there heads are just in sand. LW3 this is great that he is showing you who he truly is right now, and you get to see that he is immature, jealous, and manipulative, and hopefully you use what you learned here to get out of this, or you are going to be stuck in this crappy relationship for a while where you are going to lose a lot of friends.

  5. PumpkinSpice says:

    LW 3 your boyfriend is a very jealous person. If he is doing this now, he will be accusing you of cheating every chance he gets. If you even look at some random. You will be on the Steve Wilkos Show taking a lie detector test and crying he doesn’t trust you and you are faithful to him. MOA because this is a huge red flag. And him using guilt with this is despicable. “oh you are gonna break my heart” too bad. He is immature and needs to grow up.

  6. PumpkinSpice says:

    LW 1 stop being a home wrecker and find someone who is not MARRIED! I hate women who think it’s OK to be with a married man, you are the lowest of the low. You’re upset he had sex with his wife, think how upset his wife will be knowing the two of you broke up her family!

    1. Avatar photo Stonegypsy says:

      I’m going to go ahead and say the “Lowest of the low” is actually the guy who is breaking his vows and actively lying to two women.

      1. Avatar photo Raccoon eyes says:

        Agreed. Also, I’d say there is a high possibility that LW1 isnt the only other lady in his life.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:


      3. Yes, it is the man that made a vow to honor his wife and not cheat. Why are women the home wreckers? I have know a number of men who have convinced caring, nice women how unhappy they are with their wives. Because most women are nurturers, they are convinced they can help and then they get hurt too. The women are not totally blameless but it is not equally divided – not even close.

    2. Avatar photo juliecatharine says:

      I’m so sick of women blaming women for the moral failures men. It’s BULLSHIT.

      1. Avatar photo juliecatharine says:

        *of men…

      2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        It’s a moral failure of the man but also a moral failure of this LW. It is easy to blame just the man or just the woman but they are both involved in this and both made immoral decisions to go ahead.

      3. I think the issue here is calling her the homewrecker and saying she’s the lowest of the low. Sure they’re both to blame. But, the husband made and broke the vow to his wife. It’s on him to be faithful. If it wasn’t the LW it would be someone else.

      4. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        That’s true. At the same time it is okay to call the LW on her behavior. Not that the guy isn’t also implicated and doing something even worse. If he wrote in he would get what he deserved but she wrote in and she should also get called out for what she is doing.

      5. PumpkinSpice says:

        It’s the moral failing of the LW as well. She knowingly entered into a relationship with a married man, and now she wants to bitch about it. To bad. She is just as much of a homewrecker as her boyfriend.

      6. Seriously? Seriously! says:

        I have to strenuously disagree. He is FAR more of a homewrecker as the Husband — he built the “home” to wreck; it’s his home that is being wrecked and he is the only one that had the power to wreck the home. This LW couldn’t have wrecked the Wife’s home had it not been for the invitation to join in the wrecking by the Husband. I’m not saying she is morally blameless here, but the onus is on him, as is the larger share of moral fault.

    3. RedRoverRedRover says:

      I agree with the others on this thread who say the cheater is worse, but I also hate people who think it’s ok to be with someone who’s married. Married = off-limits. Don’t even consider them. Why would you??? As soon as you hear they’re married, you should be thinking “that’s that, then”, even if you were attracted to them.
      Also, am I the only one who’s super grossed-out if a married guy hits on me? To me he’s just showing his true slimebag colours, right out of the gate. Why would I want to be with that?

      1. Nope, not the only one RedRover! Especially in the time I was single, there was more than one occasion where I knew that if I wanted to, I could kiss or sleep with the guy I was talking to, even though he was married or in a relationship. There was just this feeling, this unspecified line that these guys crossed from ‘flirtation’ to ‘pursuing’ or so. Luckily they were not friends but merely acquaintances, but it grossed me out and totally changed my opinion on those guys. The situation was like enjoying a cookie and then being told: “Nice eh? The secret ingredient is dog hairs!”. Ugh.

  7. OMG, if I hear about one more “kind, good-hearted” man who’s lying to his wife AND his sidepiece….

    LW1. Kind, good-hearted men DO NOT SCREW OTHER WOMEN WHILE THEY’RE MARRIED. Kind, good-hearted men end a relationship before starting another one. Kind, good-hearted men are honest in their dealings with people, most especially the person they promised to love and honor in front of clergy and all their family and friends. And they don’t use laughably obvious lines like “My wife and I aren’t having sex.” Seriously, that’s the oldest line in the book.

    Oh, and you might want to read up on annulment, because I don’t think you understand how it works. There are very specific, limited situations where an annulment is granted, and they generally happen very soon after a marriage – i.e., the person was drunk or high when they agreed to marry, or fraud or coercion was involved. “I’m not on good terms with my wife and the chick I’m boning is pressuring me to ditch her” is not going to get him an annulment.

  8. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    These are all boundary issues.

    LW1 Don’t date married men then you don’t have to wait for an annulment (have you looked into annulment, they don’t happen years after marriage) that will never happen while he continues to have sex with his wife, which has been occurring all through your three year relationship. If you don’t date married men you don’t have to wait for them to become available to start your family.

    LW2 Don’t date a man who obviously has another girlfriend. His actions and his words don’t match. Go with the actions. He is going out of town to visit her and her family. If he had broken up with her she would know it and if he had broken up with her he wouldn’t be going to visit. His actions say that she is his girlfriend and his words mean he is a liar. As soon as you realize the guy has another girlfriend and is lying to you and likely her, you dump him because you don’t date liars and cheats.

    LW3 Don’t date guys who are jealous and manipulative. How could your walking down the aisle with some guy in the wedding party possibly hurt your boyfriend? If he was a nice guy it couldn’t. It’s better to have no date to the wedding that your current date. Luckily, you can dump him before the wedding. Run fast and run far from guys with massively waving jealousy red flags, controlling abuse tends to be not far behind. Watch for him not liking your friends and family. Watch for the control moves.

    1. Yup, yup, yup. LW3’s bf definitely reads as entry-level emotional abuse. He isn’t telling you to not be in the wedding, but he is strongly hinting in that direction. It is controlling and isolating, which is classic abuser. Get out now!

    2. LisforLeslie says:

      Religious annulments can happen years after marriage, but it has to be for very specific reasons. For example, not wanting children/not producing any children or being gay are both conditions that will allow a couple to be granted an annulment. It’s limited but it can happen.

      And in some cases (like one of the Kennedy’s) you just have to pay the church a lot of $$ and they’ll give you an annulment yet declare that your children aren’t “bastards’ in the eyes of the church.

      1. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Children of annulments are never considered “bastards” by the church, because the marriage was valid in the eyes of God at the time of the conception. It’s not really logical, since the annulment means the marriage never happened, but them’s the rules.

      2. But does a religious annulment affect your legally married status? You still have to get a legal divorce or annulment for the state to think you’re not married, regardless of what the church says…right?

      3. RedRoverRedRover says:

        I would assume so. Since you need two marriages (a legal and religious), it makes sense that you need two dissolutions of the marriage too. Maybe the processes dovetail like they do for marriage, where the priest is allowed to perform a legal and religious marriage? I doubt it though, since the legal rules are different depending where you live, and the religious rules are different depending on your religion.

      4. Yeah a quick google search leads me to believe that you still need a legal dissolution of marriage. And they don’t generally give legal annulments several years out, so I think LW’s bf is either lying or very confused.

      5. RedRoverRedRover says:

        For sure. Annulments aren’t easy to get. If it came out that he was a bigamist or something he could get one, but then he’d still be married to the first wife. 🙂 Just the second marriage would be annulled.

      6. I believe they’re ok giving an annulment at any time for the right price.

      7. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Even legal annulments? I can see religions doing that, but not the govt. And I would think the legal one is the one at issue for this LW.

      8. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        A religious annulment isn’t the same as a legal annulment that would allow you to marry another person. I think he’s talking about a legal annulment that would allow him to remarry.

  9. LOL to getting a probably far longer than 3 year old marriage annulled. I’m also going to guess he has sex far more often with her than you know LW1. Really why are you waiting around for this guy? If in 3 years he hasn’t left his wife for you, he isn’t going to!

    And yeah LW3 that is odd. Breaking his heart by being in a wedding? So basically you can never say yes to being in another wedding again as long as you date him. That is scary. Run away.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Yes, scary!! LW3, dump him.

  10. Avatar photo Stonegypsy says:

    LW1 You are being lied to. Don’t get involved with married men, it is never ever going to work out the way you want it to.

    LW2 You are being lied to. This guy could make it clear to his “ex” that they are broken up. He’s not doing that because they are not broken up.

    LW3 ohhh you need to run fast and far from this. This isn’t a red flag, it’s a freaking “DANGER: DO NOT ENTER” sign. This kind of jealous behavior only escalates until you are constantly walking around on eggshells, and believe me, that gets exhausting fast. Run.

  11. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

    LW1 He is NEVER going to leave his wife for you, literally NEVER. People who make that choice, don’t leave their side slam piece waiting around for years, it is typically a lot quicker because they are actually in love with someone new, not just using them for convenient sex and emotional solace.

    LW2- Your boyfriend has two girlfriends, one of which is you. If you aren’t cool with that, MOA.

    LW3- Your boyfriend sounds like a jealous, possessive jackass. Who you walk out with in a wedding as a bridesmaid has 0 bearing on anything else in your life. If he is that insecure about something so fcking stupid, it is really just a sign of bigger things to come. I agree, don’t even give him the courtesy of a response because his objections are so asinine they don’t even deserve to be acknowledged.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      His objections are so asinine that she should respond by breaking up. She should acknowledge it not by going along with it but by putting an end to the relationship.

    2. Agreed, I just can’t even with his stupid immaturity. And I basically never use that phrase. I just can’t possibly imagine being jealous because of that. It’s not like they have to spend the whole wedding attached at the hip.

      1. Seriously? Seriously! says:

        Agree. And, not that this justification is necessary, but they are both same sex siblings of the respective member of the Bride and Groom. I can see a date of a sister bridesmaid having a teeny tiny blip of annoyance of having to explain who you are to everyone at the wedding who may have assumed that the random-groom’s-college-roommate- who-no-one-knows-type groomsman walking down the aisle with her is the bridesmaid’s SO, but here, the escort is known in his own right. And that teeny blip of annoyance isn’t unfair. But this is ridiculous.

        (PS I brought a short-term BF date to my brother’s wedding and of course introduced him to people. Two years later, when I introduced my different guy fiance at my sister’s wedding, everyone was like, we met at your brother’s wedding! I had to be like…”no no aunt esther, different guy…” That was fun.)

  12. LW3’s bf is waving a giant red flag. Honestly, my advice is to skip straight to MOA. Pretty much the exact definition of bridesmaid is: walk the aisle with some dude they’ve never met and probably don’t like in a dress they probably hate and will definitely never wear again. It’s definitely not something worth getting jealous over. (For the record I definitely made my bridesmaids walk down the aisle with my husband’s dorky friends who they had barely met 24 hours prior. Sorry girls!)
    And in addition to that, he is using some serious emotional blackmail/manipulation tactics on the LW, too. What dude uses “break my heart” unironically? And what does he expect you to do? Make a fuss, drop out of the wedding, just to spare his completely irrational feelings? No. Hell to the no.

    1. Yep, I was escorted by my cousin’s husband’s best friend, who I’d met less than 24 hours before. I spent maybe 2 minutes on his arm total – one minute at the ceremony and one at the reception. The best man was even a good looking guy. I couldn’t even tell you his name. My husband didn’t bat an eye.

      1. At my bff’s wedding, we were escorted into the wedding by the groomsman escort and had to actually dance for about 20 seconds with each other (not slow dance). Gasp! I hope my husband has recovered, but it’s only been 3 years so there may be some lingering resentment 😉

      2. Oh gosh that just reminded me of when I had to walk down the aisle and dance with a guy who was dating my friend at a wedding. We’d all been in the same friends group since we were 14 (22 at that time), he was like a brother. She glowered at me from the second I stepped out with him and when it came time for the first dance I barely got 30 uncomfortable seconds into it before she cut in and I got shafted to the sidelines because the other spare groomsman was dancing with his wife. She also steamrollered me at the bouquet toss, there’s a lovely photo of me falling over a table thanks to her.

    2. LisforLeslie says:

      Yeah – heartbreak over walking arm and arm with someone down an aisle. What will happen if the wedding party takes a limo separately from the other guests to the reception? Or has to stand for some wedding photos away from the reception. So freaking stupid, immature an weird.

      1. When my husband and I were dating, we went to his brother’s wedding and the wedding party (including the only other relatives I knew– his sister and cousin) did go separately in a limo and I went on the bus with my husband’s family who I hadn’t met before like 2 days prior. And it was like a 30 min bus ride.
        I will tell you I felt awkward because I didn’t know any of those people and I’m terrible at small talk. But I did not feel heartbroken. And I certainly didn’t pull any emotional blackmail over it. It was just a bus ride.

      2. the point of that story (can’t edit) was that I think there are reasons to feel kind of odd when your SO is in a wedding and you will be on your own during wedding party duties, and it’s reasonable to be like “hey to help me mitigate this, can you please introduce me to a couple people at the rehearsal dinner so I have someone to chit chat with while you go off and do whatever bridesmaidy things.” But the boyfriend is not expressing reasonable concerns and looking for reasonable solutions.

      3. LisforLeslie says:

        Sure, I don’t know many people who want to go to a party and be completely by themselves for extended periods. Been there – it’s awkward and uncomfortable. But as you said not heartbreaking. Not insurmountable. This guy sounds like an insecure douche. Why do people believe that groomsmen and bridesmaids are romantically partnered up for a wedding? Do people really not understand why people have bridesmaids and groomsmen? I just don’t get it.

      4. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Yeah, I’ve cancelled on weddings where it was obvious I’d be spending the whole dinner by myself with people I didn’t know (because my SO was at the head table). But I didn’t bitch and complain about it and make my SO feel guilty and say I’d be heartbroken.

  13. Monkeysmommy says:

    LW1- the only fucking person your “boyfriend” owes an apology to is his WIFE, for screwing a younger woman on the side. You are just as guilty and disgusting as he is; you KNOW he is married and appeared to know from the start. It isn’t like you found out later. He isn’t going to leave his wife, and sure as fuck not for you. You are just the side piece. MOA.

  14. artsygirl says:

    LW1 – as stated above, if you BF was going to leave his wife he would have already done it. Either accept that this is the way the rest of your life is going to be (i.e. waiting around for a guy who doesn’t actually love you enough to be with you and happily lies to you by promising it will soon be different until the day he dumps you) or you can dump him, loose his number, and make a VERY solemn promise to yourself to never end up with an unavailable partner again.

    LW2 – Your BF is a sailor and you and his ‘ex’ are girls in different ports. Of course she still thinks she is his GF, he has not told her about you and visits her for several days.

    LW3 – I have been in multiple wedding parties where my husband has just been a guest (and vice versa) and there is absolutely nothing ‘heartbreaking’ about it. Sometimes it sucks because you might not get to spend as much time with your partner and might even be sat at different tables, but it is for a few hours of one night. Your BF is manipulating you and testing to see if you are willing to toss over your family in favor of him. What is the end result he wants? Does he want you to demand that he is put in the bridal party? Does he want you to quit being a bridesmaid for your sister? Does he think you could walk by yourself? Seriously there is absolutely no explaining this except in the lens of him being an emotionally abusive prick hoping to make you feel guilty (which seemed to have worked). Dump him now!

    1. Seriously? Seriously! says:

      Agree on LW3! It can suck to be the date/partner of someone in a wedding party, but it doesn’t suck because of anything having to do with the activities of your date/spouse directly — it sucks because of its impact to YOUR experience — you get stuck alone, or awkwardly talking to people you don’t know, or without a dance partner sometimes, etc., or perhaps, if you are being a little petty, because they are having a great time while you’re having an awkward time — none of which is “heartbreaking” in any sort of sense. He sucks.

  15. to all 3 letter writers- ughhhh! How stupid can you be???? LW 1- she’s his wife- of course he’s having sex with her. LW 2 You are old enough to know better- of course he’s having sex with her and LW 3 – dump his sorry ass.

  16. I’ll be a voice of empathy in that I’ve fallen for some of these similar situations for shorter periods of times. Being gullible and seeing what I wanted to see. In hindsight, it made no sense. And I think it’s totally possible these guys have been drinking their own koolaid and are deluding themselves along with the letter writers. And it doesn’t matter. MOA and don’t look back except for a laugh!! =D

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