She cheated on her husband and on me - how do I get her back?

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Male
Ive been in love with my married best friend for the last two years. She didnt have a very good marriage at the time and still doesnt. He shows her no attention or affection, with little to no sex or conversation. They've been together for 8 years. She was the first person I met at my job in a new city. In a matter of two days we found ourselves spending every available minute with each other..breaks, lunches, days off...all as great friends. We could and would talk about anything and everything for hours at at a time.

Everyone at work assumed we were lovers and eventually the word got back to her husband...and although she denied it to him, he became very jealous and still is. Truth is that she was very flirty to me, but faithful to least physically. Emotionally we became attached to the point that she would call me 3-4 times a day after she had lost her job, and would talk for hours. She knew from early on that I was in love with her, as we talked about it openly. I felt the same from her although she never said the words. She once told me when I had broken up with a girl I was dating..."and you wonder why I never tell you how I feel about you...why would I want to be confused like she say one thing to me and tell her another, what am I supposed to believe?

After I'd broken up with that girl, she always made it a point to invite me to her house for "family" get togethers, bbq's, garage sales, card games, & holidays...with me typically being the only one there that was not family. I'd also often go out with her husband and her to clubs, and at times spend the night at their although he did not trust me.

After she lost her job, On a couple occasions while her and I were at my house alone, things started to head toward more than friends, we fooled around a little and she told me how shed thought about us being together on more than a few the end though I decided to not pursue it and risk losing her friendship. I started to help her financially get by, as her husband would not. We grew even closer over the next 10 months. Then this past summer she found out her husband had cheated on her a year ago and withdrew from him totally, and started contemplating divorce. As I look back now on it, she seemed to be sending out open signals to me, but I found myself unable to "make a move" on her physically, again because I wasn't completely sure thats what she wanted and didn't want to offend her.

She then had a brief fling with an old boyfriend and after that ended, once again seemed to be senduing out the signals and including me in everything in her life..

In early August her husband found a copy of a my life insurance policy which had her listed as a benificiary, and she confessed my true feelings for her, and he forbade me to come to their house or for her to see me...she told him that I was still her best friend regardless and she would do as she pleased, and continued to see me as much as ever...albeit not where she lived. I did not talk or see him until a Christmas pagent for her daughter which she invited me to at her church...

In late October she told me she no longer loved him and was going to leave and move in with her dad. I was going out of town for 10 days in the begining of November, and told her that she was welcome to stay at my house while I was gone...she decided she wanted too, told him where she'd be staying, and he said I already knew that you would!...she said not that it was any of his business, but she would just be staying there till i got back and then would move in with her dad. When I returned, she decided to go back to her house for her daughters sake being it was the holidays and she'd stay in the guest room. She then invited me to her mom & step fathers Thanksgiving Dinner (her husband wasnt invited). I was also invited to her moms for Christmas, and this time he was was very uncomfotable....he gave her a ring and I think I got an attitude that showed. Meanwhile her mom was talking to me and told me she wished my friend would leave her husband. She made it clear that she'd love to see the two of us together, and knew that I was in love with her daughter. (her mom and whole family like me alot)

It was right after that, that I started to feel distancing on my friends part. I had watched her daughter during the week after christmas as mine and hers are the same age and play well together. She seemed to barely give me the time of day. (She did know that I had a date on New Years)

After that week was over, I called and asked her if something was wrong, it seemed like she was distancing herself from me. She at first said no, and then told me yes, she wanted to talk to me about it. I didnt wait for her to call, and instead wrote a couple of emails that were not very polite toward her...pointing the fingers toward her for the change in the relationship. After recieving them, she never did call me. I then wrote an email taking all the blame for the distancing by saying I shouldnt be trying to make more of the relationship than that of friends...and that must be the reason why she is doing this, and to call me when she is ready to talk.

I heard nothing from her for three weeks, this from someone I'd had multiple daily contact with for the last two years, and all this without giving me a reason why. So I called her at her work, almost immediately upon her answering I felt like I was getting the rush. She told me "hey look, I have to go...I'll call you". I felt like it was abrush-off. I then wrote her another email saying that I was sorry, I guess she wasnt ready to talk to me. Late that day she sent me one saying she didnt care about my feelings or how I was coping getting over her, and then told me as for her feelings and the reasons why she hasnt called, that I know nothing, and I'd been jumping to all the wrong conclusions since the holidays, and seeing how I never listen to what she says, why bother telling me anything, and to think what I want. She had a lot going on in her life and was sorry she didnt always have time for me. She then said as for my call that day, she was just leaving work for an emergency and almost out the door when they called her back to the phone. She thought the call had to do with what she was leaving to take care of...and thanks for letting me call her on her own...and that I always assume the wrong thing!

I then wrote back saying I'm sorry, that I thought the problem was with me when it apparently had nothing to do with... She then wrote back saying there you go assuming stop while I was ahead. I wrote back.."is everything alright? you need any help?"

She then wrote back saying she was fine...if she needed anything, she'd make sure to call me...then said to leave her be until she is ready to contact me...and I wont respond to phone calls or email, so don't waste your time....and stop assuming everything!.

After another three weeks with no contact we ran into each other late one Sunday night in a grocery store and the electricity between us was incredible. I did not even see her...she approached me. I was stunned! We talked for about ten minutes without our eyes ever leaving the others...Her sparkling eyes, smile, and body language told me how happy she was to see me...she also made it a point to pull the necklace I'd given her out of her sweater and start playing with it with her finger...I was happy to see she was still wearing it. I was on cloud nine!

Although she didnt call that week, and I didnt contact her, she did forward me an was the first thing she'd sent me since telling me to leave her be until she was ready to contact me. The next day was Friday -Valentines Day and I had some tulips delivered to her...the card saying "Thought you might like these, it was good to see your smile again...Happy Valentines...

Four days later I had not heard from her, so I forwarded an email about america to her. The next day, (this past Friday) she forwarded one to me....

What am I to make of this? Do I take this to mean that she does miss me and that she is ready to start back with me? Who makes the next move? Should I pursue her or play hard to get and let her come after me? Should I try to restore the friendship or try for more? Although I've dated alot of women, none compare to her in my eyes...I love her very much.

Did she distance herself so that when we got back together it would a different kind of longer friends, but more? What do you think her intention with me are?

As for her comments about the reason why she is doing this and that I know nothing, could it have been one of these reasons:

Althouigh I had told her on many occasions of my love for her, did she just get tired of waiting for me to take it the next level and was she upset that I never would make a move on her? Was she mad that I talked with her mom about my feelings for her and that she was having problems in her marriage? (she had previously told me that no one in her family knew they were having problems except her father and myself) Could she have been feeling guilty about her brief affair and her emotional attachment to me and decided to try to make her marriage work? Is she pregnant and now feels she has to make the marriage work, and with me in her life I'm too much of a distraction? Did she get pregnant and have an abortion and needed time to clear her thoughts? Did her husband find out about the affair and demand her to end all ties with me also?

I need help!...I love this girl with all my heart and truly feel she is the one to "complete" me...please give me advice to win her heart...what do I need to do to draw her to me... Advice
There were probably 80 thousand signs along the way that this was not going to work, but I realize it's hard to see those sorts of things while you're in the thick of things. Let's sit back and look at what happened, though, to see why none of it was destined to end up with a loving, happy, faithful, trusting relationship.

OK, first. A marriage is about the ultimate level of commitment. You have taken a vow before each other, your world, your God (if you believe in such things) and so on to stay with each other through thick and thin, to work on all issues together, to respect each other, to trust and be trustworthy.

So she was in a marriage. Yes, she says she got no affection/sex/etc and it probably is all true. But it's probably also true that neither did he. They had stopped communicating, didn't bother to work on the relationship any more. When she was unhappy, instead of actually trying to make it better, or doing something about it, she chose to complain to friends, get their sympathy, and spend her time & energy elsewhere because it was easier.

Again, yes, she was probably unhappy. But in life you either choose to work on the current situation, or you acknowledge it isn't working and choose to work on another one. Instead she chose to cheat on her husband pretty much from the point that she started flirting/pouring out her heart to you instead of spending time/energy working on her relationship with him.

OK. Now she's calling you 3-4 times a day. So she is in full fledged cheating mode now. Sure, she didn't have sex with you. But if anything, emotional betrayal is far worse. There's no way her relationship with her husband could ever have succeeded while she was carrying on like this. That is completely unfair to her husband, who still thinks she's his "wife".

So then yes, he cheated too. It sounds like that came after he thought you guys had an affair but really it doesn't matter. She was already cheating on him, so the fact that he did too in essence means they both were really bad communicators, both ready to toss out one loyalty for something that made them feel personally good. She then sleeps with yet another guy. So she's not even being faithful to you.

She finally decides she wants a new life. So she moves back home and does the holiday things. But what she probably discovered while living with Mum and Dad is that it really sucks being an adult and having to live with your parents. It sucks having been married and thinking about announcing to the world that you failed at it. And it sucks having sworn to someone that you would stay by them no matter what and then realize that when it came down to it, as soon as "thick" turned into "thin" you'd run off and looked after yourself. So she ponders all of this.

So while she thinks about all of this, you start pushing her. Before, you were a fun distraction, someone to remind her that she's young and pretty and fun to be with while she deals with the 'boredom and chores' of her real life. But now you're trying to BE her real life. She already has a real life - one that involves a family she built, including a husband and daughter. And when it comes down to it, if she'd really been THAT unhappy all this time she would have left. But she never chose to leave. She just chose to flirt/fool around on the side for a bit of excitment. And when it got too messy and threatened to REALLY harm her real life, real life came first for her.

So she runs into you in the store. Sure, she's attracted to you. She loves to flirt with you. We've already seen that part of her life involves needing validation from other guys that she's worthy. But she isn't calling or talking to you and she asks you to stay away. That's not the sign of someone who is actively planning a future that involves breaking up her entire old life and starting a new one with you. And while attraction is fun, it doesn't make a relationship last. Honesty, communication and trust are what hold people together, not sparkles in the eyes.

I usually try to be really optomistic, but this entire situation just was pretty non-relationship-positive. You began it by actively promoting the breakup of a marriage. She slept with someone else too. She actively betrayed her husband through all of this, betrayed you, all of this while she had a child in her life as well. I really have to say that if this woman did end up in your life somehow, I don't see her "miraculously changing". The same traits that she has had for the past 8 years of her life are part of her, and will be part of her going forward as well. You can say "but I am different!" Yes, but she is not. She is one woman, she is the way she is, and the way she is involves being able to lie to someone she promised to be a partner to, to actively talk to others about issues instead of resolving them, and to do what makes her feel good instead of what makes the relationship work.

If you really want this to work, offer to her to go into therapy with her. She really needs to learn how to communicate about issues WITH the person she has issues with. She ran from her husband when he had issues, she ran from you when she had issues with you. She takes the easy way out, which destroys relationships. So far it appears two of hers have failed - the one with the husband and the one with you. Unless she gets a handle on how to deal WITH things instead of escaping from them, I really don't see this working at all.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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