04 September 2009

It's Friday, we should break up - But let's not because instead I need some advice

One of my friends is having a dilemma. I'm here to ask your advice on her behalf. I completely understand that this will make some of you think less of my friend, but nothing is ever black and white. If you know me, and you've already heard about this, I apologize. Feel free to weigh in with the advice you've already given.

She dated a guy years ago, for a really long time. They, being young and stupid, broke up 37 times. The last time, this guy met a new girl a week after they broke up, and married her about a year later (His reason: "She never fights with me.").

Cut to two or three months ago. My friend and her ex-boyfriend got together to have a couple of beers and catch up. This generally happened every couple of years or so, over the course of the last seven years (since their breakup). It's always a dangerous game to play because this particular guy is...well, let's just say that when my friend pictured her "dream" guy in her head when she was younger, this guy was pretty much it. Except his eyes are brown instead of green, but she was willing to compromise on that.

They still get along pretty well. Aside from one errant "You always vote Republican" statement from him that caused her to say, "Well, no, actually. I don't." But all in all they get along.

While they were together, they fought about really stupid stuff. She was 19 when they met, he was 22. She felt really self-conscious around him because he was good at everything. So she wasn't very willing to look a fool in front of him. There was one ski trip...well, let's just leave that alone.

So two or three months ago, they got together and had some beers and caught each other up on their lives. Unfortunately, the chemistry between them was still strong. Like crackling in the room strong. Knowing he was married, though, obviously my friend didn't want to act on it. And the guy is generally a good one, so he didn't act on it either. But there was a bit of a lingering hug when they parted ways.

My friend suggested that maybe it would be better for her ex-boyfriend if they just didn't see each other any more. He agreed. He didn't want to do anything to hurt his wife. They walked away and she never expected to see him again.

That was fine with her. It had taken her a long time to get over him in the first place, but she had done it years ago. Having him in her life in some capacity was nice, but not necessary.

They texted about random stuff every once in a while, but that was it.

Cut to last week.

My friend received a text from her ex-boyfriend. It was suggestive in nature. After some back and forth, she determined that (SHOCKER) he's maybe not so happy in his marriage, at least where the sex is concerned. As in (again SHOCKER), they don't really have it. He doesn't know what to do and he thinks about her a lot and blah blah blah. He asked for her opinion and she gave it.

She told him that she didn't really think he should be married. And that in her opinion, he married the wrong girl and he did it for the wrong reasons and now he was sort of stuck. He said he'd thought about that a lot and about her a lot.

Basically, he thinks he wants to have sex with her. He says he doesn't want to get divorced, but that something has to change because he can't live like this. She told him that things weren't likely to change. If his wife hadn't developed a sex drive by now, she probably wasn't going to, so he needed to consider that. And this wouldn't fix anything in his marriage. She also told him that if he went through with this, it was likely he would want to do it again. She reminded him that she had walked away from him once and she could easily do it again. So if, for some reason, they went through with the whole thing, she could walk away and not see him or talk to him again. But she didn't really think that he would be able to do the same.

She's discussed this situation with some of her friends, and received a variety of different advice. All of which is valuable. But she's still a little torn. After all, she's not the one who took vows. She's not the one who's married. Hell, she doesn't even believe in marriage. And she already knows the sex is good and that this guy won't bug the crap out of her all the time. Obviously, she knows this isn't the best decision, but...she can't seem to stop thinking about it.

One of her other friends suggested that maybe this guy is "the guy." My friend isn't really a believer in the concept of "the guy" (Even though, in many ways he is "that guy." A subtle distinction, but an important one). But some part of her feels like maybe there's a reason that they haven't been able to lose each other over all these years. Even though that's a sappy thought and not one she's prone to have. If she does go through with the sex thing, that's all it could ever be, and it could easily be more trouble than it's worth (not to mention she's doesn't really want to be a home wrecker, though I would argue that the home is already a bit wrecked). If she doesn't and he actually gets divorced, it could be something else (but oh dear, please don't tell her mother, as she's not a fan). If she doesn't go through with the sex and he never gets divorced (which she suspects will be the case), nothing has really happened except an awkward conversation and a lingering hug.

She knows the answer should be WALK AWAY. But it's somehow just not that simple. She's a good person, but no one is perfect. So I ask you, dear readers, what do you think?


Jay Ferris said...

I think that sometimes the right choice isn't always the easy one. I don't expect that your friend will ever fully close the door to this guy, and really, who can blame her given the strong feelings that remain? What's important is whether or not he will ever actually walk through that door, and if so, what kind of man will he walk through it as? Married and confused, or available and decided?

Dan said...

I agree, if they do have sex and he's still married he's a cheater and a douchebag. If they do have sex and he's divorced then they're just two consenting adults who are perfectly capable of making whatever mistakes they like.
But if he is 'that guy', will he still be 'that guy' if they have sex and he's married?

Ally said...

I think many things, but i only KNOW 1 thing for certain: when a married man tells a woman that he and his wife are not having much or any sex, he's lying. Their sex life is fine, it's simply the excuse 100% of married men looking to cheat give. If your friend found out he and his wife were doin'-it 5-12 times a week, would that change her decision? If so, then assume they are. Because they are.

GingerMandy said...

effing shit. i am in the same position as your friend with my best friend. except we've never dated. he's completely unhappy in his marriage (they had sex like 4 times last year) and he kept saying he was tempted to cheat because he couldn't handle never feeling loved or appreciated in that way from her. he didn't want to get divorced over it (although there are thousands of other issues between them) but he needed to do something to keep his sanity and feel happy. we've been great friends for a long time, and soooooo we've been hooking up for the past 2 months. oops. and the thing is, we both recently expressed to each other how we feel, and he's been telling me he's been in love with me for awhile, and that once he dissolves his marriage he wants us to be together, especially after everything that's happened between us lately, it just feels right. it's hard for me to think of being with him because of what he's doing to his wife, but i guess in the grand scheme of things when you know something just feels right, then it is. i know i sound all "but he LOVES me," but we're both aware of the situation and not getting ahead of ourselves.

my advice probably sucks, but i can't say "stay away, far away" because i know exactly how she is feeling. if it were just some sleazy, skanky cheap hookup, it would feel that way. but if there's something more there, you'll feel that, too. i tried for awhile to deny any feelings i had for my friend, but things just sort of happened. we never really talked about it at first because we both knew it was wrong, but we both knew it was there and just sort of went with it. i guess all i can really say is that it's normal to be sitting there slapping your palm to your head because you know you're doing something REALLY stupid, but when it boils down to it, you can't help how you really truly feel. if she can look past the thinly veiled fact that it's morally wrong and go with what her gut is telling her to do, then i'm sure she'll make the right decision.

wow, sorry for writing a book, but as i was writing this i was thinking "omg omg omg i'm going through this omg omg omg i feel for this girl." i really do feel for her, i know it's the hardest situation i've been in, and i know that what we're doing is "wrong," but we both know where we stand and how we feel. good luck to her.

GingerMandy said...

and if a man says him and his wife are rarely having sex, it doesn't mean he's lying. of course some guys are, but not all. my friend and his wife have had sex a few times a year every year they've been together. i've known about it for years, even before either of us had "feelings" for each other. some people just don't have the desire to do it.

txsjewels said...

speaking as someone who has dated her share of married men, they ALL say they don't have sex with their wives. Don't believe him. this is a guy trying to talk her into cheating with him. what's he gonna say: we have sex all the time, but i still want it with you. kinda takes the romance out of it...yes, it's his cheat, but consider the karma she'll be putting out there for her future relationships (experience talking here). if she thinks this is someone she could have a life with, let him take care of the pile of shit he put on his own plate then reunite. she will have a hard time keeping her heart out of the equation if she's getting her bell rung by a nostalgic mr. right. remember, holidays are coming up. he'll be at home with the fam more often then not...(i know of what i speak)... i'm a commitment-phobe myself and easy, no-stalker sex is attractive, but you're a chick: you can get that anywhere. don't let this overgrown baby back into the crib. you've already converted the nursery into a work out room. take your own advice, sweetie: move on.

FilmFemme said...

I have to agree with txsjewels. If this were some random hot guy that she had just met, Ok, maybe, even if he's married. But it's someone that she, at least at one time, had profound feelings for and they will come back. If it keeps happening then what? How will she not wonder why she's not good enough for him to leave his wife? How much of her temptation is because she is, however subconsciously, wishing/hoping right now that sleeping with her will convince him to do just that? The only way this has a chance of being a good thing is if he leaves his wife first, and I don't mean for a night, planning on a tearful reunion in the morning. Definitively.

I also think Jay make an important point -- if he goes through with that even someone she wants to be with? A cheater and a coward?

Getting a divorce is one thing that must be devastating enough. But getting a divorce because your wife found out you were sleeping with your ex-girlfriend? How could that be anything but HELL.

Stewart said...

I'm a bit surprised that there is even a question as far as what to do here. Why on earth would anyone even consider sleeping with a married person? Yeah I undestand past feelings and whatever. Bullshit. She's looking for a reason to sleep with him. But seriously? " I don't want to leave my wife but I want to sleep with you." Is that the best this girl can do?

Here's my take from her perspective. She met up with an old boyfriend. There was chemistry there. He knew it, she knew it. (No surprise since they probably wouldn't have hooked up in the first place if there wasn't chemistry.) He saw a chance of getting some ass and proposed it to her. She's torn by the idea because she wants to sleep with him. Her friends give her some crappy advice saying he might be "the guy." Since she's obviously still emotionally involved with him, that idea sounds fantastic to her and will probably use that as her excuse to sleep with him. He will string her along for months or possibly years, saying that he will leave his wife, but not yet because her birthday is coming up. Or it's her best friends parents anniversary and he has to go. Or her sisters best friends cousins wifes birthday is coming up, he'll leave her after that, he promises. Or maybe he'll eventually leave his wife, and they'll be happy for a while. Then he'll go and have some drinks with an ex...

justjp said...

If he is not willing to get a divorce or in the process of one, leave it alone. It will only cause issues down the road. Believe me, I am all about getting laid, but sometimes, you have to leave the crazy alone.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Of course she should walk away but when emotions are involved that isn't always easy to do. If she goes into this realizing that most times the guy DOES go back to his wife and she WILL be hurt then she is making her own choice. I kinda hate guys like this for playing with her emotions like this just to get some sex. He knows what he is doing but is just thinking with his dick. We all know this won't end well because after the fever passes he will happily go back to his life. But I would never tell someone else how to live their lives. Love is a funny thing.

Anonymous said...

Yep.........he's lying. Just look at the statistics on it. How many men actually leave their wives for the other woman? Why are woman so quick to believe men in these situations?

Mary said...

I have to join the "of course it's tempting, but..." camp on this one. As someone who is notorious for going back and hooking up with ex-boyfriends (although not while either of us was in a relationship), I agree that it is impossible to keep the emotion out of it indefinitely. If it was going to be a one time thing (he's moving to Fiji tomorrow to live with the wolf-people), she might be able to walk away. But if it's good and they keep it up, she'll become that girl who's waiting for her married bf to divorce his wife, which he may never do. And even if she eventually manages to walk away from that, it will be a lot harder to get over him than it was the first time.

I know it's not as simple as "why is there any question?" or "obviously she should WALK AWAY," but even as you dive deeper in, if she's truly honest with herself, she knows this can only end badly for her...much worse than it could end for him, who has his "fallback" girl even if she ends up in pieces (plus, let's be honest, men just do not have the same emotional issues women do in these kinds of situations).

If he wants to have his cake and eat it too, she should tell him to go find another cake.

Graygrrrl said...

Note to your friend: She hasn't walked away from anything, so what makes her think she can start now? "THE guy" isn't married to someone else. "THE guy" doesn't think about cheating. "THE guy" doesn't send inappropriate texts to ex's. If he were "THE guy" they would still be together.
If she hasn't acted on this yet, I'm assuming it's because she has a concious and knows it's wrong. She's just looking for someone to tell her it's right. It isn't. She needs to quit it!
I agree w/Jay: Sometimes (if not all the time) the right thing is the hard thing.

Graygrrrl said...

PS- Seriously?!?

Anonymous said...

I have been there. Don't do it. Simple. He needs to fix his life before brining in another emotional factor. You cannot hide away into someone else's bed when yours is cold. Or, he is just wanting to use her for the thrill.

Ed Adams said...

Ole' boy is just looking for an easy piece of ass. A blast from the past, if you will. He knows she still has feelings for him, and is using that to his advantage. That's totally what I would do!.........(if I was a lying, cheating, piece of cockmeat). Seriously, he's never leaving his wife. And if he did, he would surely do the same to your friend in the future. Move on honey. There's plenty of turds in the toilet!

mysterg said...

Depends on how badly your friend wants to have sex.

This guy wants to have his cake and eat it. If she does it, it's going to lead to a whole world of hurt for all three of them. Time for her to move on I say.

PorkStar said...

From a dude's point of view, Id say, it would be better if she walked away. Guys are very volatile too, so even if she thinks he is THE GUY, he may not think the same of her, which in turn may end up hurting her even more. With dudes, the charm is not the same as the first time once there is a second time and if there is, it doesnt last long.

Again, she should walk away. I particularly had my home wrecked and its a very unnecesary karma for both.

Anonymous said...

Sorry MandyGinger but you do not know if he is lying to you or not. How do you know that he is only having sex with his wife a couple times a year unless you have witnessed it first hand? You are hearing about this from the liar himself. He is cheating on his wife if you remember! The fact that you are saying "i know i sound all "but he LOVES me," but we're both aware of the situation and not getting ahead of ourselves." How are you not getting ahead of yourself? You are sleeping with a married man.

NatalieCottrell said...

I do love putting in my two cents, so here it goes...

I would advise your friend to step back, as challenging as I know that is, and try to be as objective as possible. Look at this guy: he's married, confiding in his ex (what should be) private information about the marriage, and considering an extra-marital affair because he doesn't feel he's getting enough nookie (which, um, is like every guy). Is this seriously a guy she feels the need to lose sleep over?

My guess is she never really got over him (even if she feels she did and they actually went a few months without contact), and she still isn't. Call a spade a spade, don't be "the other bitch," and hold out for someone who really wants YOU and is willing to step up in all the ways that being a man calls for.


(By the way, I don't want to sound harsh or unfeeling. I KNOW what it's like to go through dilemmas like this, but having been on both ends of the deal, it never works out for the girl in her shoes. Walk it off and try to actually let him go. From what I've heard, he's not "the guy" material. He's like every other loser we drink to on a regular basis.)

Antelope said...

Just to add to what seems to be the prevailing wisdom here, I think that a) she (and others who have expressed being in the same situation) are "torn" because she wants to but knows she shouldn't. I realize that's simplistic, but it pretty much gives you the answer. You know it's wrong. You can talk yourself into thinking it's ok, but those are just justifications for what you WANT.

Also (b), if he "needs to do something" to fix his own happiness, but doesn't want a divorce, where is the suggestion for counseling, or at least talking to his wife? Where is Dan Savage to tell him to talk to the wife about an open marriage or a threesome? Cheating might make him happy and your friend happy, but it WILL hurt his wife, which is what he claims he doesn't want to do.

Joanna said...

Antelope said "Cheating might make him happy and your friend happy, but it WILL hurt his wife, which is what he claims he doesn't want to do."
This is the heart of it for me, because the most important thing to me in my marriage is trust, and it breaks my heart to think of people contemplating cheating for so long. Should I? Shouldn't I? Wow. I can almost kind of understand irrational heat-of-the-moment ungodly passion cheating, but if you have time to think about it, you have time to realize it's a bad idea. If Married Guy wants to be with Friend and not His Wife, he should own it and leave His Wife, not string people along this way. :(

PurlingPirate said...

Slowly back away until you are at least 15 feet from predator then turn and run. What is she looking for? I'm assuming just sex since he says he won't leave his wife. That's all she is going to get from him. Sex. Can she seriously not get sex from anyone else?

Antje Spethmann said...

so..... having read all these comments I'll tell you that I think there are some very untrue assumptions in here.

1. I told her to tell her friend that the ex could be "that guy." That guy you can't lose. That guy who becomes the standard by which all others are judged. That guy who you would have been with, had you been at all mature, resourceful and smart.

2. I then immediately advised that he'd no longer be worth it if anything else happened before the divorce.

QUOTE FROM ABOVE: How will she not wonder why she's not good enough for him to leave his wife? How much of her temptation is because she is, however subconsciously, wishing/hoping right now that sleeping with her will convince him to do just that? The only way this has a chance of being a good thing is if he leaves his wife first END QUOTE.

3. I advised long-term thinking... no contact of any sort for a few years... and then, if he happens to be divorced when they meet again, he's available. If she sleeps with him while he's married or communicates with him as he chooses to divorce, the relationship is tainted and ruined - forever.

4. THERE ARE PLENTY OF MEN WITH LOW SEX DRIVE. Girlfriends do not lie to each other about how little they are getting from their husbands - there's no point. And the ones who confess to me that they only sleep with their husbands a couple times a year and are proud of it - they prove the point.

One final thing, Shine. Tell her to remember that if he is miserable and still won't leave his wife, he believes in marriage for its own sake. And that is a good indicator of other basically narrow-minded ways of thinking that would indicate he's actually not "That guy."

LiLu said...

I think that if she'd ever have to hold a girlfriend after she found out her husband had cheated on her, she wouldn't be having much difficulty with this decision.

standingonthebrink said...

I've been there; and I was the one that got hurt. If he really is *that guy* then she should wait until she can gave a legitimate and exclusive relationship with him - she should suggest that if he isn't happy he should get a divorce rather than having an affair which will leave no-one happy. Honestly, if she becomes teh Other Woman, she will never have as much of him as she would like, she won't ever mean enough to him - better to cut him out of her life altogether than go through that, believe me. That kind of chemistry dies as soon as a situation like that blows up in your face, at which point she'll realise he's a cock, the magic is gone. I really feel for her, I really do, and I know I'd be as confused and tempted and do my best to justify having an affair too - I don't nkow what I would *actually* do if this situation arose for me again, but there is only one right way.

Anonymous said...

1. There is a reason they broke up in the first place. People dont change that much.

2. How would it make you feel if your husband/boyfriend cheated on you? Why contribute to making someone else feel that way?

3. If he cheats on his wife with you he will eventually cheat on you with someone else.

Anonymous said...

a) I agree with anonymous above.

b) Plenty of people have marital problems but work through them. If you sleep with him you are actively making those problems worse.

Let them deal with their own issues first, you shouldn't get involved with him until he has made a firm decision one way or the other.