i’m the other woman

QUESTION FROM A GREEK TRAGEDY READER: I am desperate for your advice, but have been hesitant to solicit it for fear of your fans, or worse, your despising me. You see, I am having an affair with a friend’s boyfriend.

He and I had an instant connection from the moment we met about three years ago, but we always kept our distance from each other because we knew not doing so could spell trouble and we were right. About four months ago we agreed to meet up for dinner. I went home with him that night and we’ve had an on-going affair ever since.

He and his girlfriend have been having some problems for a while. They rarely have sex (this has been told to me by both parties). They are basically best friends with no sexual connection.

I can’t help it, I have feelings for him (and him for me, or so he says) and we have an amazing connection. I feel like he is the one. Cliché, I know. I thought I could be this go-with-the-flow cool chick and not put any pressure on him. That in time, he’d see how amazing I am and realize that we are also like best friends, but so much more. But four months have gone by and I’m starting to wonder why he’s still juggling us both. I’ve put some pressure on him to make a decision, telling him I will walk away and let him work on things with her if that’s what he feels he needs to do, but he still hasn’t given me an answer either way.

It’s going to hurt like hell, but I have to be realistic and realize that I need to walk away. I need advice on how to be strong enough to cut him out of my life and not go back to him. And do I need to walk away from my friendship with the woman as well? It’s so hard to hear her talk about him, and I’m constantly making comparisons between her and myself.

Any advice you can give would be appreciated. And please know I do feel awful about this situation and will never allow anything like this to ever happen again.

Lost and confused

ANSWER: You say, “I feel like he is the one. Cliché, I know.”

I say, you’re right. He is “the one.” The one who lacks character, the one who doesn’t have the courage to live life cleanly. He’s the one who is capable of lying. He’s the one who has the capacity to live a separate life, while living a lie. He’s the one sticking his dick into both of you. And you’re the one who’s allowing it.

What would your childhood self think of you now? Would she feel good about this? Would she tell you to wait? And wait for what, exactly? You already have your answer: this is a man capable of this behavior. Do you want to spend any of your time in a relationship with a man whose moral compass allows him to live this way? You aren’t living up to who you want to be. So, what do you do? Just that, you do. You don’t talk about doing, think about doing, you just do.

Change is a so so hard, but it’s also exactly what you have to do in order to experience true joy. You won’t, I can promise you, experience joy and giddiness waiting around for him to make some decision. And good for you for making one, a decision. Now do.



  1. I never condone infidelity, especially when friends are involved; however, that being said, I don’t think you’re a bad person. You are in a bad situation, one that you’re not going to come out of looking very good. If he’s sincere that he has strong feelings for you, then why hasn’t he left her or at least been honest with her?

    The way he treats her mirrors the way he’s going to treat you. Is that how you want to be treated? Again, why hasn’t he left her to be with you? Why isn’t he fully committed to you?

    Eventually she’s going to realize he’s seeing someone and she’s going to come crying to you. Are you ready to lie to her face? If so, then what kind of friend are you, really? If you tell her, what’s his reaction going to be? Are you prepared for him to be pissed at you because you ruined “everything?”

    They’re not married, so I’m not as outraged as I normally would be, but the bottom line is this: someone’s got to start being honest.

  2. i think that a lot of us, at one point or another, will wind up being the other woman (only once if we’re smart). i was. didn’t ever think i would be. it’s horrible. here’s the thing:

    you say you will walk away and let him work on things with her if that’s what he feels he needs to do? that’s not what he wants. he wants to have you both on his terms. he will never leave her and he will string you along until you are broken and crawl away crying one day. because this will break you. make no mistake about that. he is not your best friend. a best friend wouldn’t play you for a fool like he is doing.

    you have to walk away NOW.

    so, how to be strong enough to walk away? picture yourself broken, lonely, sad, angry and ALONE. no romantic weekends. holidays by yourself while he’s with her family. no breakfast in bed. no overnight stays. never. ever. you’re just going to be bitter and sad and lonely. it’s going to break you.

    and of COURSE you have to walk away from your friendships with both of them. do you know what she’s going to do to you if she finds out??

    get the eff away from the situation, quickly, before your entire life falls apart because of some cock. there’s plenty of dick to be had in this world. get one that you can call your own and who won’t string you along like a dog.

  3. I can’t wait to hear what Stephanie has to say on this one. Seriously, hitting ‘refresh’. Personally, I’m in no position to judge. I am married and cheat on my husband via an internet dating site for people looking for discretion.

  4. Look, I’ve been the other woman, so I don’t want to beat you up too much, but it’s never a good thing.

    Here’s how it went down with me and my guy. We were friends, as you two were. He expressed interest in me. I told him I felt the same way. He said what do we do now. I said you get a divorce and we live happily every after. He did and we’ve been together for eight years.

    Bottom line is he left his wife before we even slept together, because when it’s real, it’s real.

    Ditch this asshole. He sounds like a total scumbag. I’m sure there is a great sense of power know he fucking his girlfriend’s BFF. He’s having his cake and eating too.

    If you were the one, you’d be the one, but you’re not. You’re the two.

    Ditch him and regain a your friendship. There is nothing more important than loyalty to your friends, and you’ve lost site of that that.

    Forgive yourself and move on.

    One last time. Run like hell from this scumbag. He does not deserve either of you.

    1. Wisdom is knowledge exercised…you sound like a wise woman. I only disagree with the friendship… “regain your friendshi”….IMHO, she hasn’t any loyalty to be a friend …at least not to this woman…maybe in the future with someone else. In order for her to be a true friend she would have to come clean…her “friend” may forgive her but I doubt it…and if she does (as I would ) forgiven and forgotten. Just because I forgive you in no means means I have to allow you that place in my life..or any place in my life for that matter.

  5. I am going to come down a bit hard on you, not because we all don’t make mistakes, but from your intro, and the get-go, you seemed to see this one coming like a freight train but didn’t avoid it… So you and he had a connection, which you managed to keep at bay for 3 years, and then 4 months ago, you agreed to have dinner w/ him, just the 2 of you? Did your friend do something to piss you off, so you decided to dip a toe in the water, having an idea as to where the current might take you? You made a mistake, and then kept making it over and over again… Cut off contact with both of them… You deserve better than him, and she deserves a better friend than you.

  6. Ok tough love: Here’s the deal. If you really are in love with this man, try to think realistically, what a relationship with him solely is going to look like. There is no trust in your relationship now (how can there be?), so on what foundation are you going to build a relationship of trust with him? No relationship can last without that trust. Once you get past the honeymoon phase, you’re going to wonder about every late night, every phone call, every email….because you know he did it with you and got away with it (so far). So there is nothing that will prevent him from doing it again. And you’re going to hate the jealous, insecure person you will become. As much as he says he loves you…imagine what he says to your friend when he is with her.

    The only way out of this mess is to walk away now. Have the self-respect and the respect for your friend to walk away. If he is serious, he will leave her and come to you. (And then you have to deal with the situation of telling her you’re together, which STILL will suck.) If he’s not serious, he’ll either stay with your friend or two-time her again with someone else.

    Whatever relationship you manage to have with him will be a hot mess. As much as you think it might suck, it’s far better to skip the drama entirely and find someone who loves you more than anything else in this life (for however much he says he loves you, he clearly loves himself more), so much they would sacrifice to be with you. Then you’ll have someone to trust AND love.

  7. tell her. she might not believe you. most people want to believe what they want to believe and not pay attention to the signs in front of them. of course her boyfriend might make up a convincing lie to cover his infidelity. most people do that. but tell her what happened. if you don’t, she might hate you for not telling her and your friendship might suffer. if you tell her, she might hate you for a while, but she might still be your friend. If you don’t care at all about the friendship, which is sounds like, I’d still tell her. Because wouldn’t YOU want to know? Tell her now because she could end up marrying the creep!

    1. I really have to disagree with this advice. Years ago, my best friend and my live-in boyfriend had a fling. I found out. Despite ending the relationship with both of them, I was the one who had to live with it. It took me a good 2-3 years to get over it. Being hurt by two people that love you is not easy to stop thinking about.

      And no, I was never friends with her again. Best friends from Kindergarten until college and I was more angry with her than him. He was a scumbag, but her lack of loyalty stung a lot worse.

      1. ITA, but I must say I don’t see how you can say “being hurt by two people that love you” it sounds more like being hurt by two people you love. Good, she was never your friend again because she wasn’t your friend to began with.

  8. I normally only lurk but I have to comment on this one because I have lived it from both sides. Three years ago I found out that my (ex) boyfriend of 4 years had been having an affair with a woman that we were best couple friends with. At the same time my center of support through this was a dear friend who was playing the other woman to a married man who her and her (ex)husband were couple friends with. I think I have a pretty balanced view.

    So…CUT OFF THE FRIENDSHIP. First and foremost. I STILL hate the woman that my ex cheated with, not because she was the other woman and not even because it destroyed a relationship with someone that I lived with and thought I would marry, I blame him for that. I hate her still because she acted as my friend. She accepted my love and support and dinner invitations. I hate her for that. I think she was weak and cowardly and actually sick in the head for participating in the situation.

    You are no longer her friend, you never will be again, do yourself and her a favor and disappear from her life. That act alone, will set some things into motion. She might already sense the affair, she might have to start asking herself some questions. Maybe, maybe not, who cares, either way. Just think of what all of her other real friends and family are going to think of you. They will want you dead. Get away from the girl.

    As for the guy part of it, yeah I agree with eveyrone else he seems like a jerk. Just end it. You two will probably never be happy.The pain he will cause her with you will never let him fully love you. It is just the reality. I would suggest gracefully and tastefully removing yourself from thier lives. That is your only way out.

    Good luck and I wish you a speedy recovery because it is gonna suck either way!

  9. oh my.

    he is not married to the girlfriend. if he was in love with you, wanted to be with you — in a serious way– he would have dumped her in a hot second and not looked back. that’s how the majority of men operate.

    this is harsh but true: he just isn’t that into you (or her either for that matter). men do whatever it takes to get the woman they want. they will crawl over broken glass. they actually WANT to crawl over broken glass.

    the only self respecting thing to do at this point is dump him, nurse your wounds for a few days and commit to finding a guy that would slay dragons for you.

    don’t accept some dudes crumbs.

  10. OK, another former other woman here and not judging you at all. This guy is clearly getting something out of both of these relationships. If he was truly in love with you and disinterested in your friend (and OK, let’s be honest here, she’s not your friend, or rather, you are not her friend – if you really cared about her you would not be doing what you are doing, so let’s not pretend that you are all that concerned about her in this equation and no one says you need to be – it’s your life to live as you choose and you have clearly chosen), he’d have left her to be with you full-time. So, why do you think that is? He doesn’t WANT to. He’s happy with the status quo. That’s why he’s not giving you an answer – he wants things to stay as they are. So if change is going to happen, you must be the one to make it happen.

    Tell him you want more – you want to be his one and only – and if he can’t make a decision NOW, your are done. If he balks, walk away and don’t look back, ever. And if he leaves her for you, be prepared for the fallout. You will no doubt lose the respect of certain people in your circle and you may lose some friends entirely. Add to that (this is a big one) that the passion you feel early in a relationship (especially one like this that is illicit and therefore overloaded with drama) could fade, and you may find that, after he leaves her for you, the feelings you feel may dissipate.

    The best advice, as a been there done that woman, is find someone to love who is not in another relationship – open yourself up to it. Instead of hoping this relationship will happen, make another one happen. You will find that a new relationship not borne of drama and heartache will be much happier – I swear.

  11. I have been on your side of things–so, I will be pretty to the point on this one.
    I think you already know, in the back of your mind, that you should leave.
    Don’t even consider any further sexual encounters until he has broken up with his girlfriend. Examining their relationship and comparing yourself to the girlfriend, is destructive. Take sometime to connect with yourself and examine what made this arrangement acceptable to you. There is not justification in what either one of you has done to your friend. Remember: A healthy relationship doesn’t start this way. It’s highly unlikely this will be a Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie scenerio.

  12. I was the one who wrote the email. Thank you Stephanie for posting my question and thank you everyone who has replied. I have read your responses 3 times each already. Please know I am taking everything you say to heart. This really is a huge help to me.

    It seems as though the consensus is that I should leave him. I completely agree with you, as you can see from my original email. It’s just easier said than done. I do love him. And it’s hard and it’s going to hurt like hell, but I’m going to do it. Areacode, your words are really going to help me stay away once I break it off, so thank you. And Jade, you are right, I am never going to be able to trust him should we wind up in a relationship together.

    Alexandra, I’ll do my best to answer your question. The truth is, my friend did nothing to me to cause me to do something so horrible to her. He and I have always had a friendship and have met up a couple times before. This time, there was too much wine involved and one thing lead to another… I have no excuse or explanation beyond that.

    No, I am not prepared for her to come crying to me should they break up. No, I am not prepared to lie to her face. You all make very valid points, which is why I know what I have to do: and that is walk away. So thank you for reinforcing that decision.

    And thank you all for not raking me over the coals. I can’t tell you how much your tough love has helped.

    1. I think it speaks volumes that you posted this.

      I wish you the best of luck with this situation.

    2. I cannot disagree more with the previous posts. I know the situation you’re in – and it’s TOUGH. I was in a relationship with a girl about 5 years ago – we met while she was already in a relationship. We started hanging out before they broke up, but we ended up being in a relationship for about 2 years. Never doubted her once. And she never cheated on me. But you know what? We’re all human…while I was in a relationship with her, and while I cared about her SO MUCH – nothing was wrong, but there was another girl who I couldn’t help but feel attraction for. I didn’t do anything about it, but now that my other relationship had fizzled, I wish I had.

      You could be missing out on a lifetime with this guy who “could” be the one. If he was a serial ‘cheater’, you guys would have probably hooked up a lot earlier – but I’m guessing he had the same reluctance as you.

  13. I’m not going to come down hard on either one of you. I think that sticky situations like this are part of what happens in human nature and the best thing to do is look at the underlying cause.

    From his point of view, he is probably afraid of hurting her and so doesn’t want to leave. Or maybe he cares about qualities the two of you both have and doesn’t want to give either one up. Or maybe both, who knows. I’m not demonizing him. He probably feels very torn.

    An ex that cheated on me later confessed (when enough time passed that we were both separate and healed) that he had been worried my intense side would be too much. So he clung to both of us, getting the boring but welcome solace from her and the passion from me.

    Now that much time has passed (almost 20 years) we can laugh about it. We’re not together romantically and don’t want to be, but the wound has totally healed.

    The best book I ever read on this subject was called “when good people have affairs” – it details why and how to identify what kind of an affair is it — is it one just to satisfy a connection or is it really love, etc. — read it. You’ll see yourselves in there. It will help you figure things out.

    Are you in counseling? That’s good to figure out things like: do you secretly feel unworthy? Do you seek out people who can’t really give you what you need? Do you have an inner thread that enjoys the challenge of being able to “land” someone who’s out of reach? Was your dad available? Did you feel like you had to compete for his (or either parent’s) attention? This sets up subconscious thoughts for ourselves where we go through life thinking we don’t really get the things we need — other people do, yep, but not us. Also we can spin fantasies around situations without looking at the hard reality.

    Sometimes laying down an ultimatum will work. That book mentions some examples. Sometimes it doesn’t. What is good though, is the ultimatum to yourself: I realize I’m not getting what I need from this and won’t, and so I will cut my losses here.

    Then you hole up and cry and watch funny movies and read books and go out with girlfriends. Mourn this loss because you’ve grown attached to him and the dream of being completely his one day.

    Maybe he will miss you so much that he WILL leave her. Maybe he won’t. But either way you will start the process of healing.

    It seems like a healthier idea to cut off the friendship with her too. That’s particularly sticky. I know there’s a part of you that wants to be a good person and wants to be friends but the clashing inside from these two shores is too stressful.

    I wouldn’t recommend telling her (like someone else mentioned) but drift away and make yourself scarce. Or if you must offer an explanation, I dunno, say that you are dealing with inner demons that are so large that you need to withdraw and are sorry. I’m not sure. I wish I had a script to offer. Whatever feels right.

    Think about what you’ll say & do and if you still feel this way for a whole week, then that’s the right decision.

    I wish you the best of luck. Sending you support and hugs. You are not alone. xoxoxox

  14. Were you not ever disgusted by the fact that your vag juices and your friend’s vag juices were both on his cock? Don’t you feel like his sloppy seconds? You need to disengage completely. Walk away without saying anything to either of them. Just phase them both out, no drama, no “talk.” Just cut them both off, no questions answered or asked. No more sharing… of anything.

  15. Obviously, deep down you know that what you’re doing is wrong. And you want to end it. Why else would have to Stephanie Klein for advice? Its like her “advice is what we want when we already know the answer” post.

    I was the other woman, once, for an ill-advised one night stand with a friend. It was ugly and is my deepest regret. He wasn’t married, but he had a live-in girlfriend of 11 years. I was also cheated on by my “we’re in couples therapy, trying to work things out, and living together boyfriend.” Both situations were just ugly. Having been on both sides of the coin, I’ll just say that when you’re in the thick of attraction to someone off-limits, the ego and hormones really kick into overdrive, and make it feel much more glamorous and exciting than it really is. Listen to your deeper truth, the part of you that is spiritual and does onto others as you would have them do to you. She’s not getting off on being a “bad girl.”

    Also, I think its a little classless how you brought up the fact that there are problems in the relationship that you are barging in on. Most relationships have problems, and we are at our best when we honestly seek to work through them. You seem to be getting off on thinking that you know what’s going on between these two, but you’re really just getting secondhand accounts from both of them.

    I say cut it off with both of them, fully and completely (no facebook, texts, etc). And focus on getting your head straight. Even if they are having not having sex, its none of your business. Your highest calling is not sexually servicing a taken man who claims he isn’t getting enough. You deserve better, but until you act like it, you won’t get it.

    1. I brought up the lack of sex in the relationship, not because I get off on knowing what is going on between the two of them, but rather to give some background information and some insight into why he might be cheating on her.

      1. Why he might be cheating on her is because he has a willing participant who will have sex with him with no strings attached. He has no problem slinking around in the shadows and using someone to get his rocks off and then sliding back into bed with his gf. Until you gain some self-esteem, he will continue to use you. When you grow a pair he’ll go off and find someone else to ‘love’ secretly until his gf wises up. Why do you feel that you don’t deserve a relationship that puts you center front? This guy is a liar and has no integrity. What is it that you find so appealing about that?

  16. She ‘might hate her’? I don’t think there is any doubt. I can’t imagine any way that this friendship is salvageable. She is having an affair with her friend’s boyfriend. What about that is forgiveable? Even if the boyfriend breaks up with both of them, the friend would rightly never trust her around any of her future relationships. The bottom line is that they are both cheaters (cheating on the same person) and cheaters rarely change. Even if the boyfriend ends up dumping his current girlfriend for her, he will likely cheat again in the future. As they say, what goes around comes around.

  17. If I were a chick, I’d totally tell your friend. I’d say, “I did something awful, and I’m not telling you this to absolve my guilt. I’m not telling you to get this off my chest. I’m telling you this because it’s about time I do the right thing. I’m telling you what I’d want to know if I were in your position. I will have nothing to do with him. In fact, I will refuse all contact with him. But I thought I owed it to you to know the truth, so you don’t waste years of your life on someone who doesn’t deserve you (or me).”

  18. You know what I hate about these kinds of questions? The asker already has their answer. And no matter how good the advice SK and her readers impart, there won’t be any follow-through.

    It seems to me that no one who is looking for philosophical advice will ever listen to anything other than that which validates their current behavior.

    1. I’m certainly not looking to validate my current behavior. If I were looking to do that, I wouldn’t be writing to Stephanie Klein of all people. The person who was cheated on by her ex-husband. I highly doubt she is going to tell me to continue on with this relationship.

      And if you recall from my original email, I wasn’t looking for justification to stay, but rather, advice on how to leave, strength to stay away once I do, and whether or not to end my friendship with the woman.

      I can tell you that I do intend to follow through. Maybe not as soon as you’d like, but relatively soon. Not necessarily today or tomorrow, but I’m thinking within the next week to 10 days. I’d actually like to read the book that asplenia suggested before I do anything. Just to have some actual professional advice/opinions. But I do plan to end it.

      1. I’m just going to come out and say it – you are full of it.
        You wanna end it? Just end it. Now. Right now, like, after you finish reading this comment. Take a deep breath, draw yourself up to your full size, and do the right thing without a mouthful of excuses, a book you need to read, blah blah fishpaste, and eeeendlesssss blooooody drama.

  19. I might regret saying this…but no one is married here so while what you and he are doing is “cheating” it’s not the same as being married and cheating. Marriage (and engagement) are the period in which both parties are stating that they can not see other people under any circumstances. Dating is a separate period reserved for finding your true love.

    You say you have an instant connection. Do you really think he’s the one? If so, do you think you’re the one for him? If you’ve answered
    “yes” to bothe of these then you (and he) have every right to pursue one and other.

    It’s not fair or nice of him to keep his real girlfriend on a string, but you are not, *i repeat* YOU ARE NOT there to spill the beans to her, or confess your sins. This isn’t going to make anyone feel better and she should be able to walk away from this relationship with her dignity intact. He should be the only one telling her it’s over.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say to you that he would have left her already if he *loved* you. This isn’t a movie. This is life and life is complicated.

    So here’s my advice in a checklist form:

    1) Evaluate if he’s the one you want to move forward with as a lover and a friend.

    2) Do not tell her about your affair. Again no one will win friom your honesty. Their issues haven’t manifested out of the affair – the affair manifested out their issues.

    3) Be willing to walk away, but do confess what you feel to him and give him a little bit of time to address this with her. More time if they live together, less time if it could be a clean break.

    4) If they do break-up – don’t flaunt the relationship in anyone’s face. Be discreet and let it unfold over several months.

    5) Wash, Rinse and Repeat if you need more advice (Just email Stephanie again.)

    Good luck!


    1. umm,I take massive offence at that condescending and ridiculous comment. I’m not married to my partner,and I probably never will be, as neither of us want that, however we’ve been together for 12 years, and if he ever slept with my friend (or anyone for that matter),damn straight it’s cheating – not “cheating”. This is the 21st century, you don’t have to be married for a relationship to vaild.

      1. Preach.

        “Marriage (and engagement) are the period in which both parties are stating that they can not see other people under any circumstances. … Dating is a separate period reserved for finding your true love.”

        That’s just … it’s just..that’s just ridiculous.

        Commitment is commitment. Sez, I completely agree with you.

      2. Sez – Call me when you’re planning on where to invest your retirement savings, buy your 2nd home vs. sending your kids to a private school vs. getting your PHD. The negotiations and the serious talks are completely different when you get the rings exchanged. I did the “live in” long term for YEARS. It all changed when I got married. Sorry it is totally different when you are married. (As a side note….that is why marriage should be legal for everyone!)

        Don’t make her feel guilty for going after someone she truly loves.

    2. WTH???? You may as well live in a dream…not only a dream a fantasty…what person regardless of their character has no bounderies? Obviously, it’s fair gain to go after your friends man. How do get to marriage or engagement? It certainly isn’t this way.
      As you don’t agree with those that say he would have left his gf I don’t agree that it has anything to do with love….when you love you..you don’t hurt you…friendship is like this Love your neighbor as you love yourself (and that’s suppose to be a standard principle) nobody who loves themselves would do that to themselves.
      IDK,if you’re trying to convince yourself that whatever you’re in is ok or if you are a totally a idealist…which either is still way over board in this case….you can’t f your friends man and love him and remotely think you’re a friend or that if he’s still with her and holding you at bay that he loves you….it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know….when a man loves a woman…he will walk on water if he has to.

  20. I have been wanting to have an affair, mostly because I’m in love with the guy I should have married, but didn’t marry. I made a mistake and now have a child, and I don’t want to cheat my child out of having his parents together in one house. I want to have the affair because I don’t want wake up one day with my life behind me full of regrets.

    1. Dawn – don’t do it. Been there, done that, it was a disaster. The lying and cheating involved in having an affair drove me into a really deep depression. I thought I would be with the man I had the affair with after my marriage broke up but he wasn’t interested. He was just into the unavailable married woman and then when I wasn’t, he wasn’t interested any more. If you aren’t happy in your marriage, work on it or get out but an affair isn’t worth it. I am saying this only to spare you the incredible pain that I went through and how much hurt I caused myself and many other people that I cared about.

  21. I would tell your friend the truth… that’s the only way you can actually be a friend, even if you never speak again.

  22. What do you think? Why do you think he’s cheating on her? Why do you think you’re this type of friend?

  23. Alright hunny. Here’s the deal, A. I understand undeniable attraction, we’ve all been there when we have the spark from across the room, or the person we know we could have “something” with if you gave them the green light. the thing is…sometimes it’s the “off limits” barrier that even gives you the vibe to begin with, like having a pint of icecream in your fridge and by simply knowing it’s there and that you shouldn’t eat it, though it is delicious, you end up demolishing the entire thing. B. If this girl is your REAL FRIEND, you should spare her and tell her the truth, also, if she were your “real friend” you probably wouldn’t have crossed this line if you cared that deeply for her- ultimately, if you care(d) for her tell her the truth, CLEARLY this isn’t going to be a happy marriage, or lasting relationship…so don’t delay the process, let HER go and find someone who will love and adore her….someone who would never see past her. Someone who will respect and like her friends, but won’t covet them. C. Realize that when B. happens, you still may not end up with the guy…. you built your “relationship” without a foundation. Also, why would you be okay with wanting a man who only wants SOME of you….?

    I’m not judging the situation, because trust- I can see how someone could get themselves in this sort of conundrum, but ultimately YOU deserve someone who will want ONLY YOU and so does your friend.

  24. You don’t want to be on the wrong bus when the right bus pulls up, as Stephanie puts it. That’s right on. You’re on the wrong bus which is keeping you from moving onto the RIGHT relationship.

  25. I don’t believe their relationship had issues which caused him to stray. People can be happy with their partners and still cheat—for the thrill, the variety, for having cake and eating it too.

    This may not be your finest hour, but you seem to want to put it behind you. Do it today. Just call him and say “I can’t do this anymore. We can’t be in touch anymore.”. Even tell him if he contacts you, you’ll tell her everything. That’ll keep him away for sure.

    Then get busy. Real busy. Join a class, learn something new. Volunteer in your community. Think about other things, other people, other problems. Read that book (that you want to read before you end it—! Come on: end it first, read later.). You will meet new people and have a chance for better friendships than these ones you’ve blown so badly.

    No matter how thrilling and dangerous any attraction may be, when you end up in a real relationship, the stardust wears off. Soon you’re sniping at each other over who left the milk out and who bought the cheap scratchy toilet paper (in between bouts of professing undying love, of course.) So you might as well pick -and BE- someone trustworthy.

    1. alexandra,

      “Read that book (that you want to read before you end it—! Come on: end it first, read later.).”

      Thank you. You are totally right. These revalations are exactly why I wrote in. I would like to explain my thinking. Asplenia said, “Sometimes laying down an ultimatum will work. That book mentions some examples. Sometimes it doesn’t.” Since I’m being honest here, I was actually wanting to read the book first to give the whole ultimatum a try. Yes, we all know they rarely, if ever, work. But I read that and wanted to give it one last ditch effort. Thanks for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to just go ahead and end it. I realize how ridiculous I sounded now that you’ve pointed it out.

  26. Oh goodness. Being the “other woman” is never good, especially if you’re doing that to your friend. But no judgment, that’s not what you came here for.

    Let him go.

    If it’s “meant to be” (if you believe in that) then it will work out later, when time is right, when he’s not already with someone and you’re not betraying your friend.

    And if not, you’ll be letting go of an unhealthy situation and freeing yourself to find someone who deserves you.

  27. And once you’re away from him – for god’s sake – don’t go rushing out looking for someone else to fill the void. Take this time, this golden opportunity, to truly evaluate all of your insides…everything that led you here in the first place.

    Take this time to quiet yourself from within. Become calm. Find balance. Breathe deeply. Be still. Heal…all the way. Find love and acceptance for yourself – through and through. Find and nurture joy and gratitude within you. Then, and only then, will you be ready to entertain a relationship with someone healthy. Otherwise – you’ll end up with the same rat-bastard you did this time – just in different running shoes.

  28. I was accidentally the other woman. I was legally separated, no longer living with my soon to be ex, and the divorce papers were on their way through the courts, just waiting to be stamped by a judge. He said he was the same, so we “dated.” And I fell hard for him. But then I found out he was exggerating just a bit. As in, still living with his wife. Just thinking about divorce, but not in active discussions about it.

    Once I found out… well, I’d like to say I ended it that very instant. But I kept believing him, that it was going to happen, but right now, financially he couldn’t do it. Then it was about his kids, and then it was something else.

    Finally, over wine and tears with a good friend, she said, “Think about it. If you two get married, think about how me met you. That’s how he’ll meet your replacement, too.”

    And that snapped me out of it. I told him I couldn’t see him anymore. I was weak and still talked to him a few times on the phone, but I didn’t see him in person any more. It sucked and hurt and I thought I’d never get past it.

    But I did. And now it’s been over 10 years, I’m remarried – to someone who was SINGLE when we met – and he’s the love of my life and father of my children.

    I swear it does get better. I swear swear swear. Give it 6 weeks and you will feel differently. Not completely over it but you will feel far less obsessed with him. I promise.

  29. Great advice Stephanie. You’re right — even if you believe he’s “the one,” why would you want a life with someone so duplicitous?

    This is an interesting point too: “What would your childhood self think of you now?”
    A while ago I watched a re-run of Laguna Beach, which I used to like when I was a teenager myself (judge away), and the thing that struck me was that the girls, catty as they were, had real standards about how they should be treated and what was acceptable and what wasn’t. I think most of our teenaged selves wouldn’t put up with 1/4 of the things we do now…

  30. Girl, as someone who has been in your friend’s place just walk away. I don’t know your friend (I don’t think) but if she’s anything like me your betrayal will hurt worse than his. I don’t think it’s right/fair for you to walk away from the friendship. If anything own up to your actions and give her the choice of walking away. She may, however, need your friendship when she learns about the betrayal. If things are as bad as you say and she chooses to end it with him there may still be hope for your friendship in the future.

    My friend who had an emotional affair with my ex never knew that he was an addict who slept with prostitutes and cheated on his first wife. We were working through our relationship crap and he was in recovery. But my friend’s naivete and ex’s shoddy moral compass lead them to a sexless, abusive, unhealthy relationship.

    You don’t truly know this guy. You can’t when you’re “the other woman” You have no idea what they’re going through and what has caused him to cheat with you. Do yourself a favor and bounce. Erase his number. Hide emails and pictures (you’ll want to look back on them years from now just to measure how much you’ve grown) and never speak to him again. Call your friends and sob till your uterus gets sucked it to your stomach. Talk shit about him like he slept with your grandmother. Embrace every single ugly emotion that finds its way into your heart. Listen to music and scream it at the top of your lungs while watching tears stream down your face in a dramatic soap opera montage.

    Then, look at yourself. Really look at yourself and answer the question, “do you like the company you keep in the empty moments when all else falls away?” When the answer to that is “Yes,” then you’re finally on your way to becoming a greater version of yourself.

  31. I don’t think painting him as a one dimensional character that simply enjoys having his cake and eating it too is doing her any favors. Who knows why he’s cheating? Who knows why he stays? When you’re in a relationship, even when it’s a bad one… it’s hard to leave.

    Worrying about his motivation doesn’t do you any good. Loving someone that isn’t available is painful. Doesn’t matter if they don’t have sex, he’s in a relationship with HER. That has to hurt. The reality is that you know you could never fully trust him if you were to be in a relationship with him. No one wants to be with someone that steps out (emotionally or sexually) once things stop being easy. You work on it, make it better, and be happy… or you get out. The in-between isn’t good for anyone.

    I think there are many reasons why people cheat, but the fact that he has let this go on for months shows you that he’s okay with it. Unless this is how you want to live your life, there’s no other alternative than to end it.

    I commented above about my ex cheating on me with my best friend. I don’t think you should tell her anything, but you need to separate from both of them. If she chooses to marry a guy that she has these problems with, fine. Pinning your pain on her so that you can feel better or alleviate your guilt shouldn’t be an option.

  32. One more thing, and I only suggest it because it was work I had to do after I finally broke free from my relationship: you may want to consider what it is in you that let you think that you weren’t good enough to have a “whole” relationship and were willing to settle for being second fiddle for so long. It may surprise you. I know it surprised me when I realized that I felt unworthy of being loved by a really great guy.

    Best of luck to you!

  33. Well, there is a song for you. I hope you like country:


    Look, you do have to break it off with this guy. Sooner rather than later. If he were strong, he would have told your friend, and at least gone for counseling on that relationaship and stopped seeing you. Either that or he would have broken it off with her and maybe waited a respectable period of time before taking up with you, publicly.

    Remember when you break it off, don’t let him blackmail you for any reason. Be prepared for your friend to find out about all this from him. Yes, it is possible! Find other interests, as other posters have said.

    Also, to reinforce what others said, don’t have a fling with yet another guy just to think you are curing yourself. Personally, I have never been the one having an affair with a woman who was already in a relationship, but I sure have dated women who were coming out of a bad relationship and have felt the brunt of the anger, frustration, and other rebound issues. It ain’t pretty. So take time, relax, exercise, meditate, find religion, whatever you need to do, and remember that the next guy isn’t (necessarily) like this one.

  34. On the one hand, I agree with the majority of advice here: If he does this to her, what stops him from doing it to you?

    The problem I have with this is: I’m the product of just such a relationship. My parents were both married and not to each other, when they met. One thing led to another and eventually their marriages dissolved. They haven’t broken up since and I don’t see them doing so any time soon, especially not because either is cheating. They love each other. If they hadn’t walked away from their marriages, then I wouldn’t be here. Maybe it wasn’t the nicest thing to do, and I’ve suffered my own share of slack because of it, but it was what was right for them.

    Do I think you should wait? No. But, I do think you should know that just because he cheats, doesn’t always make him a jackass. Sometimes, they are just idiots. Unfortunately, that’s almost certainly a very small minority.

  35. Walk away from both of them and do not look back. So long as you are in this mess, you are unavailable to a man who could give you everything you deserve, not whatever is leftover from his “real” relationship. He doesn’t love you…if he did, he would want what is best for you, and this is clearly not it. I’m sure he likes you perfectly well, I’m sure you have a “connection,” but he is using you to fill the holes in his relationship. He is telling you something very important about his problem-solving skills…when there’s trouble in the relationshiop, he’ll look outside…does that sound like a great partner to you? “Connections” are really not so rare…they feel that way when you’re in the throes, but there are plenty of throes to be in. And let me get this straight…he gets to go home to his “best friend” and who do you get to go home to??? No one. Doesn’t that infuriate you?!?! I have been in a similar situation (but not friends w/ the woman). I finally let myself get really freaking mad at him and myself. And luckily a friend got through to me when she screamed “this is not normal or healthy, and a healthy woman does not see a taken man as a potential partner ever…get help!!!” I got help. I quit him cold turkey. It was hard as hell and lonely for a while. But since then my life has blossomed in every way, and I am madly in love and engaged to a man I have no reservations about whatsoever. Wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t get out of that mess. Happily ever after does not have this magnitude of black cloud over it.

    Oh yeah, the guy and his wife have a baby now. She sends me their annual Christmas card.

  36. You have a lot of comments to your situation, but I just have to chip in. I was the other woman for a year and a half. I was friends with him since college, and through him, she became my friend.

    Eventually they did break up, but not because of me. I thought, great! We can be together now. But, I barely heard from him for about two months, and his explanation was he was trying to get his head back together and get over the breakup.

    What actually happened was this: They broke up because she caught him cheating with another woman. So he was juggling the girlfriend, me and someone else. Nice, huh? While i was being all patient with him, hoping for the day when we could finally be together, he was banging a third girl.

    Bottom line: Your guy is doing this to his girlfriend, and he’d do the same to you. Once a cheater, always a cheater. Run away fast and save yourself the heartace because guys like this don’t change.

  37. Friend? You aren’t her friend or you won’t be sleeping with her boyfriend. I’m saying that you in no way convey any expression of friendship. How could you look in her face and talk to her (especially about her relationship) knowing what you are doing… call yourself a friend?
    Cheating is one thing but cheating with your friends man is another…You should be real first and foremost, by ending that friendship, With friends like you who needs enemies? That’s the kind of thing that can get you hurt.
    If my husband or (before I was married)boyfriend cheated it was between he and I in terms of how I dealt with the situation…but if you (my friend) skinning and grinning in my face and betraying me like that…baby girl, it would be me and you. Forget him, I would have more of an issue with you and it would not be pretty.
    I would dump him anyway but you my “friend” …smh, I would f u up!

  38. I’m very late coming into this conversation, however, I needed this advice as much as you Lost and Confused. I was actually online looking for similar stories of my situation and found this.
    My story is the same in that I had (have) an ongoing affair with a friend’s ex. I’m ashamed to say I have you beat in the “waiting” time period. It’s been 7 years and I’ve watched him not only get divorced from her (not b/c of me, in fact, I became his shoulder to cry on during the seperation) but also start dating a new woman. Before anyone screams FOOL.. hang on because this is where the “Other Woman” doesn’t make sense to anyone who hasn’t been in her shoes! The cheating man has an amazing way of making you believe that “one of these days” it will all work out. He has millions of extenuating circumstances that need to be handled carefully to “protect the kids” or the ex or the neighbors or…(I say all that with sarcasm)it’s always something and because it’s delivered with such emotion and you love him and want to be sure that he’s sure, one day you wake up (alone) and realize 7 years have gone by. As you go about your life, knowing that dating other people and doing things with friends is necessary for survival you also hold on to a “hope” that just won’t quit. So when he calls your heart jumps and your brain says “maybe now is the time” and running back into the heart break and lies becomes a way of life. On any given day I will tell you I hate him and that he’s an A..hole, the next day I will tell you I love him and that there is a reason we are still in each others lives. Bottom line, he uses me, tells me sweet lies of how important I am and how his ex will ruin his life if we go public so it just can’t happen now.
    I hope someday I find the strength to block his calls/texts because it’s horribly unhealthy and ugly no matter where you stand to look at it.
    I hope you were able to make the decision that worked best for you. My calculations say that it’s been 9 months since you two got together for the first time and my advice would be if you haven’t walked away yet do it before you realize 7 years have gone by and you’re a shell of the woman you once were!

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