Dating a Married Woman

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Male
I'm completely confused...I've been best friends for the last 1-1/2 years with a married woman who's in a bad marriage. She knows how much I'm in love with her and want to be with her...I do feel similiar feelings from her, although shes not shared them verbally with me. She's insisted in the past that she's afraid if we had sex it would ruin the friendship. She also said that I couldn't be the reason that her marrriage broke up over, or we would never be together. She's also said that she doesn't want me to be her rebound.

This was all prior to her finding out three months ago that her husband of three years (lived together on & off for 5 years) cheated on her shortly after she'd been in a nearly fatal auto accident about two years ago. Although her marriage has been falling apart since almost the day I met her, I believe that she'd been faithful to him. That all changed about two months ago when she started having an affair with her prior boyfriend that she'd lived with for 8 months before her marriage. She left him when her husband who had left her for the second time, came back and asked her to marry him. So she did.

I'm the only one who knows about this affair..she has told me that its just a rebound and something she has to do...but it seems like she's in love...Whats the real story?

As for our friendship, she is always the one calling me on the phone..I never do. We get along great with the only disagreements we've had being about me feeling differently (I'm in love with her) for her than her toward me (she says were friends)...We've had some bad disagreements about this, with me being sure that she'd never call me again. She always does.

She sends me such completely mixed signals than just wanting me as a friend. For the first six months of our friendship, we worked together and spent virtually every daily lunch break, smoke breaks, her sitting in my office for more times than not hours, and then always finding an excuse to have me over on even the weekend nights,(albeit with her husband there also...who incidently accuses her daily of sleeping with me...telling her to break her friendship off with me, which she steadfastly refuses to do) and also every other friday on our days off.

Although we no longer work together, we still see each other several times a week for lunch and she calls me daily and at times at night. It seems more to me like I'm the Long range plan...If so, how can I speed things up, or am I just being used to fill the emotional side of her life that her husband doesn't?

I'm not sure what do I back off completely...ignoring her calls and her invites to do stuff. Do I tell her I give up, that shes made it clear that she only wants me as a friend and I want more, so we can't be friends in the way we have been, I need to move on and find someone who wants me in the way I want them...or do I continue with the friendship as it always has been, ignoring the affair and hoping its the rebound she wants, see if she leaves her husband as she said she's going to and when her situations are worked out, see if she comes to me?

As an aside...She is 30 w/an 11 yo daughter...I'm 42 w/a 15 yo son and an 11 yo daughter that live with me. My kids love her. I'm also much more financially able to take care of her than either her husband, or even more so than the guy she's having the affair with...(she told me once that was one of the reasons she went back to the guy she married because she knew the old boyfriend did'nt have a future...I recently asked her if he could take care of her...she said he's getting better, but not in the way I could...what is she telling me with that statement?

I NEED HELP!!! I don't want to walk out of her life if there is the chance that she does want me in it, but the timing is not yet right.

Thanks for your help...I'm so in love with her...TELL ME WHAT I NEED TO DO!!! Advice
There's a lot of different things going on here, so let's try to sort them out.

First, she obviously values your friendship extremely highly, and if anything she doesn't want to harm it with sex while she's married. That she could cheat with her old boyfriend means in a way that she values you more, because now her relationship with her old boyfriend is "tainted". When she thinks of him, she'll think of him as the one she cheated on her husband with. She'll consider him the 'rebound' guy, that is good for cheap sex. When she thinks of you, it will be the person who was always *there* for her, who she could trust and rely on.

The core of this situation is that she's married. Many people are married, aren't perfectly happy and stay married. In fact many people are married and are miserable and stay married, because it's easier than dealing with divorce. It has nothing to do with finances, and I'd really stay away from having that intrude in your discussions. People who have rich husbands can be miserable, and people with poor husbands can be incredibly happy. It is FAR more important that your life (and the lives of your children) are happy and full of love than anything having to do with money. As the song says, "Money can't buy me love."

So regardless of whether her husband cheated, or she cheated, she has to make a decision. Either the marriage is of value to her and she stays, or the harm it does to her and her child is too much and she goes. But only SHE can make that decision. If anyone else pressures her in any way, she'll always regret/resent that. She has to be the person who decides her fate, and make that critical decision. You, as a great friend, have to be ready to support her in what she decides, to listen and to help.

It may be simply that she had hoped the marriage would be perfect. None are, despite the fairy tales that are told. So she either has to work at it to make it work, or decide not to work on it and choose another life. Again only she can make that decision. If she decides to leave, you can support her through the transition and be there when she gets free of everything and is ready to start the new relationship. But many women and men in this situation decide to stay, because really it's not that bad, they just focus on the bad parts. There is a fair amount of good in any marriage which is why they stay together. Often it's just not as "attention getting" to talk about the good parts.

If she does decide to stay in it after a few months, I would suggest staying her friend, but opening yourself up to other romantic situations. Sure, she could eventually have enough and break up. But for you to put your entire life on hold, waiting for her, hoping someday she will decide she really doesn't love this other guy, could lead to great unhappiness for you. There are MANY single, fun women out there in the world. Consider that one of those women might be right now wishing she had a man in her life, and going home along every evening sad because she hasn't met him yet. If you hadn't been following the ups and downs of this married woman, you might already have the woman of your dreams by your side, one who looks at you and knows instantly that you are perfect for her.

Good luck!

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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