Ask Dr. NerdLove: Torn Between Two Lovers

Once again, we’ve got a letter that’s a bit longer than usual for an Ask Dr. NerdLove, yet not QUITE long enough for a Post Mortem. Even so, as the writer says, it’s a bit of a twisty tale, so we’ll be taking it on in Post-Mortem fashion. Because sometimes you need to encounter the Chair Leg of Truth.

Here we… go!

Dear Doc,

I’m telling you right from the get go, mine is a long and complicated story. 

It starts about a year ago, when I met this amazing girl (let’s call her M), who goes to college with me. We had a few friends in common and met several times at parties and classes, and soon started hanging out together. 

She was (still is, actually) in a serious relationship so I didn’t make any moves even if I found her cute and we had an undoubtable chemistry.

English Major Peeve: “we had undeniable chemistry”. Not “an undoubtable.” Sorry. Carry on.

Plus, she is a really gorgeous girl and kinda out of my league, also considering the fact that I’m a 22 years old student who lives with roommates, doesn’t have a car and is always pretty broke and her boyfriend is a 30 years old lawyer (she’s 22 too). I mean, let’s be realistic.

First of all: lots of people live with roommates, especially at your age. You’re in college. It’s part of the whole adventure of being a college student: learning how to live with people you’re not related to or sleeping with. Second of all, not having a car or much money isn’t always a disqualifier. To quote Kevin Bacon:

Being a fucking waiter with no money, not a lot of drugs, just a mattress on the floor, and still being able to pull chicks. That’s when you separate the men from the boys.

Worry less about your material possessions and more about becoming an interesting, charming and funny person.

So, after a couple of months, I decide that I don’t have a shot, she’s with someone else and I have to put my crush to rest, even if it’s hard. I wasn’t doing too bad with girls at the time: I had a couple of casual, not serious relationship and I was okay with not having a girlfriend. 

The problem is… after some time I realize I’m falling for M. I mean really, really falling for her: she seems absolutely perfect for me, we share interests, have the same sense of humor, almost the same opinions about everything. She seems THE ONE and I have to admit to myself that it’s not just a crush that can go away, it’s fucking love, and I’ve got to do something about it. 

Hoo boy.

I stop seeing other girls and decide that I must go for it. So I take her out one afternoon after class and I’m about to tell her how I feel when…

Wait for it….

She anticipates me. 

Wait for it….

She tells me that she’s attracted to me and that she’s starting to feel something for me.

Wait for iiiiiiit…

But also that she wants it to work with his boyfriend.

This right here should be a BIG RED FLASHING SIGN about how things are going to go… which is to say, badly. For you.

She’s committed to staying with him, despite the fact that she admits feeling something for me. In her mind, she can control it and she’s allowed to feel something for someone else, while being in a relationship that has more value to her (god, I hope I explained myself clearly enough, English is not my first language). 

A few things.

First: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: monogamy only means that you’re not sleeping with other people; it doesn’t mean that you don’t want to. It’s completely normal to have an attraction or crush to someone other than your partner – that’s just part of having gonads. It’s how you act that makes the difference between being monogamous, ethically non-monogamous or a cheating piece of shit1.

Second: She’s laying the groundwork for what’s going to happen. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

When I found out how she felt about me, that’s pretty much all I heard. At this point, I could not see what was going to be in our way and why. I explain to her how I feel, without the “Love” part: I don’t want to freak her out, so I just tell her that I feel something too and I want us to be together. 

Not something I would’ve recommended, honestly, but hey, at least you said something. Now at least you got your answer. But it’s this next part that’s the problem.

Obviously, I want her to end it with her boyfriend and seeing how it works between us. She says she can’t. So, from my prospective and since I really think I’m in love with her, I can’t stay friends or anything else: basically, I tell her can’t see her anymore unless we’re gonna be together, and she answers that she understands. 

This is the best thing you could have done here.


Oh shit.

… a couple of days later, something happens. We miss each other too much, we go out and we kiss. 

And that’s what’s being going on ever since, for the last year. I’m in love with her, she seems to be really into me (she wouldn’t admit it’s love),

Yeaaaaah, about that…

we secretly date even if she’s still with the boyfriend, we frequently kiss, we had sex TWO TIMES IN ONE YEAR 

I’m not sure whether this is something you’re bragging about with the caps or it’s a matter of frustration.

(it makes her feel more guilty than just making out, and I kinda see her point).

And yet.

She hides from everyone what’s going on except for two really close friends of ours and generally seems pretty relaxed about the situation, even if she does recognize the fact that it’s bad.

No shit it’s bad.

Look, amigo, I’m not going to mince words here. By all available evidence, your girl is a cheating piece of shit. She’s (presumably) lying to her boyfriend – with whom she says she wants to make it work; a relationship that, in her words, she values more than yours – and fooling around with you. She may feel guilty about it, but not enough to either a) end it with her boyfriend or b) end it with you. These are not signs of a quality relationship for either of you.

Now I’ll be fair: we don’t know the details of her relationship with her boyfriend; for all we know, she may have permission to step out on occasion and have a little fun. Hell, it could well be that he’s into cuckolding and she’s running back to tell him all the dirty details about every single thing the two of you did because this excites him and leads to amazing bouncing-off-the-walls porn-star sex.

But I doubt it.

I adore her, I really do. I think I’m supposed to be with this girl and I love every single minute we spend together, but… when we say goodbye and she goes to her real, actual boyfriend I die a little inside. 

And the fact is… that I don’t wanna leave her, I don’t want to give up this, even if, at times, it makes me miserable. I always try to look around for girls and one time, during this year, I even thought I could date another girl and find someone as good as she is for me… but I came to the realization that nobody is gonna be enough, and that I want anybody else. When somebody thinks he’s found his soulmate, he doesn’t just give up. 

How can I convince her to finally end it with the boyfriend she’s been cheating on for more than a year, and be with me for real?

whats wrong

OK, WW, it’s time for some straight talk and unpleasant truths.

First of all: How do you convince her to end it with her boyfriend? Well… you don’t. The fact of the matter is, she has no reason to. As far as she’s concerned, she’s getting the best of both worlds: her crush on you and her relationship with her boyfriend. Why, exactly, should she be giving any of it up? After all, she knows damn good and well that you’re not going anywhere any time soon.

Let’s be realistic here, WW: you’ve been sneaking around behind his back for a year. This has been more than enough time for her to make up her mind between him or you. And she’s chosen… both of you. If you want her for yourself, you have to make a stand: she can’t have both you and her boyfriend. It’s one or the other. And if she chooses him (and she most likely will) then you have to follow through with it. Full nuclear option. No contact at all. Erase her emails, delete her number from your phone and all of her texts. Defriend her on Facebook, unfollow on Twitter, unlink on LinkedIn, all of it. Otherwise… why should she decide? If you just make a fuss about it and then come on back, all that’s going to happen is that she’s going to continue on dating her boyfriend and having fun with her piece on the side.

Because she’s a cheating piece of shit.

I hate to keep saying it, but it’s true.

There could be any number of reasons why she hasn’t done the honorable thing and either kicked one of you to the curb, or to come clean to her boyfriend and asked for permission to open the relationship before things went too far. She’s young and she may think she can have it both ways without consequence. She may be staying with her boyfriend because she likes the opportunities that dating a 30 year old lawyer can bring. She may well be polyamorous but is too inexperienced or confident to be open about it. Or she may just like the naughty thrill that comes with sneaking around with you.

Regardless of her reasons, the fact of the matter is, she’s lying to somebody. Either she’s lying to him or she’s lying to you. Neither of these indicates that this is someone you should be thinking of as long-term relationship potential.

You on the other hand are so lovestruck that you can’t see that this is an unhealthy situation for you.  I’m sorry to tell you that you have a nasty case of Oneitis. She may be as wonderful as you say, but the fact of the matter is, this relationship is not. Now, you’re both young. She might grow out of this and mature into someone who can be honest – either about what she wants, or to the people she’s supposedly committed to or the one she says she has feelings for.

It sucks, I realize. I sympathize, I really do, and I understand how you feel as though she is The One with capital letters and cartoon cherubs shooting cutsey arrows at you. But this is because you’re young and caught up in the intoxicating drama of it all and the little hints that maybe, just maybe things will go your way if you hold out long enough. Instead, all you’re doing is putting yourself in the direct path of an oncoming train.

Do yourself a favor.

Get out of the way.

Break it off with her.

Good luck.


  1. hat tip to Dan Savage []

  • Where was this article three years ago!? Would have saved me a shit-ton of grief.

    Ah well, lesson learned.

  • djteslarose

    I'm with Dr. Nerdlove. She's a lying piece of shit. And what makes you (I couldn't find the writer's name) sure she isn't sleeping with a third guy, etc? Look, multiple partners, no big deal. LYING!!! Very big deal. As a woman, this girl pisses me off because she is taking a perfectly nice guy and FUCKING HIS HEAD UP ABOUT WOMEN!! Seriously, this poor guy is probably going to have some serious trust issues as he matures and goes off into other relationships. I get that they are both young and god knows we all do stupid shit when we are 22 but really, we all should know by the time we are 6 that lying (big lies, not polite white lies) just leads to trouble. And that goes for girls who lie as well as guys who lie. Come on people, the worse betrayal is always in the lie that follows the deed, rather than the deed itself. (But dude, seriously, get the fuck away from this girl, she is poison. I know you think she is the goddess of your dreams, but really, she's a viper).

  • Jess

    Run! Run far and fast. If fidelity is important to you this girl has already proven through her actions that she's willing to lie to someone she is "committed" to to do something that makes her feel good. That is a recipe for disaster, because when the rush wears off, she'll turn around and do it to you, dude. A one time mistake that someone owns up to and makes amends for is bad enough, but a year long secret relationship? That is the mark of a person who will always put "what feels good now" above anything they have promised you.

  • Jay

    As much as I agree with the Dr. and the commenters, I have to ask why all the blame and venom is being aimed at the girl. The letter writer is just as much a party to the deception and cheating, no?

    • Paul Rivers


      First, it's aimed at the girl because it's the guy writing in asking for advice. It's also aimed at the girl in a "she's *not* going to change" sort of way.

      But mostly it's aimed at the girl because he's not the one who made, and is breaking, the promise of fidelity. He didn't make a commitment to not sleep with her – to her boyfriend. That's her responsibility.

      To make up an example, it's like if you promised your friend Tom that when he loaned you his car, you wouldn't drive across the entire country with it. Then your friend Ben convinced you to drive coast to coast with it anyways (despite you telling him that you promised Tom you wouldn't). Ben is a little bit of a jerk, but *you* are the one who made the promise and is largely responsible for upholding it, not Ben.

      I'm not saying it's necessarily a good idea…but the person who actually made the commitment is the one largely responsible for upholding it.

      • mmarple

        except he's more than willing to participate in what he acknowledges is wrong – it take two to tango. he is at fault as well.

        • A.

          Agreed. While there's no doubt in my mind that two-timing is a heinous offense, the letter writer also acknowledges that he openly pursued this girl while disregarding the fact that she was already in a serious relationship before the two of them met . And yet, he wanted to be with her so badly that he didn't abandon the chase until he had confirmation of her feelings, which he then used to propel them both into a relationship that, for obvious reasons, can never see the light of day.

          So, yes. She may be a "cheating piece of shit", but the OP is, in a pretty significant way, responsible for that cheating–and the fact that he himself isn't too jazzed about the fact that he's now a side piece. Just sayin'.

          • Paul Rivers

            First, I strongly believe that this idea that they're both "equally" at fault is rediculous. First, she made the commitment so she's primarily responsible for it. Second, I've seen it used to often as an excuse, she goes "I cheated with this other guy, but it was this other's fault as much as it was mine!". I mean it's classic – who does the guy getting cheated on take it out on? The other guy. Which is totally absurd. It might be one thing he's upset at both of them, but when he takes it out on just the other guy – rediculous.

            The question of whether he is "also" at fault is one that I, personally, just like to avoid because there's a more practical reason to avoid them – because they usually go like they go for the above poster – nowhere good. A girl who's willing to mess around with you on an ongoing basis behind her boyfriends back always seems to have 2 things happen:

            1. In the rare cases where they do date, she always ends up running around behind the new guys back to. It's kind of part of who she is.

            2. But usually it never goes anywhere anyways.

            I will say though, that it seems to be pretty unsuccessful to take this to the other extreme as well, where you believe that you should never ever find someone attractive who's in a relationship, and if you do you cannot be friends with them.

            Most (not all, but a lot) of the attractive girls I've known, when they broke up with their boyfriend, started dating one of their guy friends within a relatively short period of time. If you weren't already friends with her – you didn't have a shot.

            Now yeah, just waiting around, having one-itis for a girl in a relationship is pretty crappy (it's crappy for you to, because the odds for you are pretty bad). But totally putting her off limits isn't very successful either.

            I had a female friend who I would flirt with at work. She was engadged – and we both took it as fun flirtying that was never going to go anywhere. She wouldn't have messed around with me, and I wouldn't have messed around with her.

            What happened is – her fiance cheated on her, and they broke up.

            Now unfortunately, I didn't realize that after this happened I was supposed to *pursue* her, so we never ended up actually dating, but I now realize that had I pursed her (after they broke up) I definitely could have dated her (and I rather regret that I didn't). But had I avoided her because I found her attractive, I don't doubt that I wouldn't have even had that opening.

            A fun loving ex of mine broke up with her boyfriend, and was involved with another guy within a week, officially dating within a month (and I know here well enough to know that this new guy didn't cause it – her ex broke up with her, and she doesn't mess around with other people while she's dating one guy).

            Another thing that I've discovered is that sometimes women – have just "settled" for the guy they're with. Sometimes if you've developed feelings for them, it's worth saying something. If they're happy in their relationship they won't break up with the other person, if they've just been holding in there they will. (This is totally different, in my opinion though someone will probably disagree, than carrying on some sort of affair with them). And if they say they like you buuuuut they aren't going to break up with the other person, then it's time to move on.

          • Anthony

            I don't disagree with any of the points you make, Paul. But the problem is, none of those are really relevant to whether or not the writer is also to blame. Whether or not he is equally to blame could be up for debate (and no one actually made that claim), but he is absolutely still to blame. I've been on both sides of this situation; the one being cheated with, and the one being cheated on. In the first case, where I was being cheated with, I was absolutely to blame. The girl did far more wrong than I, and part of that is definitely because she was the one who made the initial commitment to the other guy. But it doesn't clear the slate for me. Fast forward a bit, and then the same situation happened to me (with the same girl – while this plays to the fact that once a cheater, always a cheater, I strongly disagree with that statement, but this isn't the time). That guy was definitely to blame because, as far as I know, he instigated the situation and continued to progress it as much as he could. Pretty much the same thing I did.

            Whether or not some people put all of the blame on the person outside of the relationship is their problem. All of the blame does not belong on one person, because both parties are doing something wrong. In the example with car you described above, if Ben knew Tom's car wasn't supposed to go across country and egged you on anyway, then he definitely gets his part of the blame. That doesn't mean that Tom should be mad at Ben, but it also shouldn't clear the slate for Ben.

            And all of this is definitely not to say that you shouldn't be friends with people you're attracted to. If you feel something for someone, then you can either go for it or keep it to yourself. You just have to commit to one decision and live with the consequences. If you can't be platonic friends with someone, then don't. However, it should be said that the ability to be platonic friends with someone you find attractive isn't something hard to come by. It's a lot easier when you put it out there and know for sure a chance doesn't exist. Then it's a lot easier to move on. Honesty – with yourself and the person your crushing on – is usually the only thing required.

          • Paul Rivers

            "I don’t disagree with any of the points you make, Paul. But the problem is, none of those are really relevant to whether or not the writer is also to blame."

            Anthony, I agree with the rest of your post, if anything you wrote out some of what I was saying better than I did.

            I was specifically avoiding commenting on whether I thought the author was "to blame". For several reasons:

            1. It's not useful, in my opinion, to shame someone who's writing in for advice, another author wrote a piece that basically reflects my sentiments here –

            2. I've seen to often where "the other person is also responsible" is used as a tool to slowly try to push blame away from the person in the relationship who's cheating, and onto the 3rd person. While I realize this isn't what most of the other people felt that they meant when they wrote it, it's the most common usage I've seen in real life. Some girl sitting there going "Well, it was *his* responsibility that I cheated to!" or the classic guy going "I'm going to kick his ass for fooling around with you!" while ignoring the fact that *she* was the one cheating on him.

            3. In my experience, the majority (though certainly not all) of relationships where one person is cheating long term involve the other person in the relationship cheating as well, and I don't like to be involved in shaming someone who's just a natural part of their screwed up and "I would never want to be in it but that's how it is" relationship.

          • Anthony

            1. I'm not sure that anyone here really shamed the writer. Making him aware that he's also making a mistake and also to blame isn't exactly shaming. It doesn't seem like anyone is trying to belittle him, just mention that he, in fact, also made mistakes. It's a very fine line between shaming and making someone aware of something. I don't think that line was crossed here.

            2. I know absolutely what you're talking about blame shifting from the one in the relationship to the third, and that's not a correct path to take. But because you've seen it happen in real life doesn't mean you should apply it here. That's very clearly not the case, because I think everyone said that both of them are to blame. Removing blame from the third who was aware of the situation is an overcompensation to avoid all the blame being placed on him/her. We can't control how other people react, but we need to hold the same standards for everyone.

            3. That is anecdotal evidence, and it's also not okay to say, "Well, it was already terrible, so I'm not really hurting anything." I think a very valid comparison is to liken this to dealing with a drug abuser. Both are emotionally and mentally unstable situations. Just because they've already put themselves in a terrible situation doesn't mean you should help them make it worse, and it definitely doesn't absolve you of blame for helping them.

            As individuals, I think we have a necessary duty to those around us to be responsible, otherwise society will, and does, fall apart. Whenever one is involved in a situation, he or she now has at least partial responsibility for it. The writer should walk away from this situation, but he should not just pretend like it never happened. He needs to learn from the mistakes that he made, and he needs to assess whether or not he thinks what he did was morally right. If he's fine with being the third in an unfaithful relationship, then none of this matters. Most people seem to agree, though, that the third is not without blame. That is NOT to say that he should carry this around with him as guilt, but he should be aware that this isn't a situation he wants to be in, and one he would like to actively avoid in the future. If he feels guilty, he needs to come to terms with what he's done, and just not make this mistake again. And if he doesn't feel guilty, well, he's in a different mindset than me, and I can't relate, so I can't comment.

        • Nikki

          yep. when you're you're aware that your "partner" is a cheater you're just as guilty.

          funny this article came up I was reading a few days ago on a comm how a girl was sleeping with a guy who had a girlfriend and was cheating on her. She knew it was wrong but didn't care because the sex was really good. She kept trying to justify his actions too and it was pretty hilarious.

        • Jess

          Oh, he's at fault as well. In fact, guys, as a girl, if I find out you ever were a "third party" that lessens you in my eyes. It makes me think you are the type of person to screw over someone you don't know because you want what you want. That is not exactly stellar moral character.

          However, the only thing he can do at this point to make his own amends for his part in this mess is to break it off with her and swear never to get involved as a third party again, because it is a HORRIBLE thing to do to someone and selfish as HELL.

          So, we're encouraging him to man up and do the right thing, not only because the girl will only lead to trouble, but also because the situation is ALREADY trouble and he should do his part to get out of it and learn from his own mistakes.

      • James (Thortok2000)

        Sorry Paul, if the guy's in the know, he's just as bad as the girl. Helping someone to commit murder even if you don't do the deed yourself is still a crime. Heck, even standing back and watching a murder happen and then not saying anything about it is a crime.

        Now, if the guy doesn't know the girl is cheating, then that's all on the girl, but if the guy knows the girl is cheating and doesn't care, then the guy is disrespecting the boyfriend as much as she is. He's aiding and abetting.

        • Skelly

          I agree with your general standpoint, but your analogy is BEYOND atrocious.

          MURDER!? Not even in the REMOTELY same ballpark of seriousness.

          Just a reminder that you can also get the life sentence (in certainparts of America) for murdering someone; that hasn't been done (in certain parts of America) for adulterers since when, exactly? Even the Massachusetts Separatists and Puritans only got a whipping, and believe me when I say that they took adultery (in particular) more seriously as a religious/political faction than anyone else, in their time.

          Analogies are NOT the ideal time to go hyperbolic.

          Better analogy: in Germany and witness a car accident, you HAVE to stay, and German law will fine you a pretty hefty fee for driving away. I believe you are also considered partially at fault if witnesses attest that you forced someone to veer away from you and an accident ensues.

          Main point, though: What makes it obvious that they knew what they were doing was wrong is that they were hiding it, all this time, seemingly at HER behest. If you know it's wrong and you do it anyway, that's totally on you.

          Personally, I think she probably had experience at this sort of thing. Most people wouldn't have exactly two specific pre-selected confidantes for this sort of thing who were just as cool with it as she was, because who knows how the people around you might react you shared that sort of information with them, for the first time? Not to mention, she sort of set this up with her first passive-aggressive confession of "feelings" for him.

        • Paul Rivers

          James, comparing cheating to murder is not equivalent at all, but more importantly the middle of your post actually agrees with what I wrote.

          Helping someone commit murder is considered a lesser crime than murder. Watching a murder happen and not saying anything may or may not be a crime depending on where you live, but it's never considered nearly as serious of a crime as actually commiting murder.

          I simply disagree that the 3rd guy is "disrespecting" the boyfriend as much as the girlfriend is. Even assuming that the boyfriend isn't cheating, and there isn't some sort of "arrangement", it's the girlfriend who made the choice to commitment to her boyfriend. While I personally don't get involved in these kind of situations at all (though it has recently become apparent to me that my hesitation to ask a girl out who even appears to be dating someone is a significant drawback, as to many times they aren't even dating that guy), I just personally don't agree that the 3rd guy is doing is on the same level as what the girl who's breaking the commitment that she made is doing.

          • James (Thortok2000)

            This is where we differ philosophically and why I only agree with you 80% of the time, Paul.

            To me, there are no levels of blame. It's binary: Either you are to blame, or you aren't. There are, however, levels of responsibility. I totally agree that the one in the relationship has more responsibility, because of a promise made.

            But, it takes two to tango. He is just as much to blame as she is, for the cheating. He could say no just as easily as she could, and since he doesn't say no, he is partly to blame for the cheating occurring.

            Ignorance is an ethical conundrum as far as whether someone's to blame if they're ignorant or not. Since that's not the case here, though, I won't get into it.

            Also, the only reason I used murder as an analogy is because it's the first thing that came to mind where "non-participating knowledge" of the act is as bad as the act itself.

          • Paul Rivers

            Fair enough…

          • James, re binary blame, I think you need to take a philosophy class, where you will find that greater minds than you have thought about these things for centuries, and have yet to agree.

          • James (Thortok2000)

            @Igor, hence the agree to disagree tone of my comment.

      • Jay

        I wasn't shifting the blame all onto the letter writer. Yes, the girl is still the one breaking her fidelity promise. However, she is not cheating into a vacuum with an imaginary friend. The letter writer is the one abetting and enabling the cheating. I was concerned that all the harsh words for the girl implied that the letter writer was some kind of injured innocent party, which he is not.

        • Paul Rivers

          That's interesting…I was considering how you could take the harsh words for the woman. There's 2, very different interpretations:

          1. At face value, without context, it could seem like there's harsh words for the girl but not for the guy.

          2. But how I read it was that –

          a. When you're head over heels for someone, but they're a bad idea, you kind of have to use harsh language to try to disabuse yourself of how wonderful they are. You're trying to say "I already know we have this mad chemistry and this great vibe – but also, she's also a two face lier – and she's always going to be a two faced lier. Even if she *did* break up with her boyfriend and date me (which is next to impossible, but still) – she would then still be the kind of person she is and almost certainly run around behind my back, just like she did with her last boyfriend".

          b. Harsh words are harsher for the guy because…he's reading it, while she will never see it and know that it's about her.

          I can understand where you're coming from though…

  • gizmo

    if she cheated with you, she'll cheat on you. that's a fact. get away from her immediately. and no coming back even if she breaks up with her boyfriend! it won't work, leaving her will hurt much less than dragging this on

  • Mike

    Ugh, awful. LW, I hope that committing this to writing was fairly sobering. Some of us have been there. I know that heady rush of being close with someone you want but isn't available. I feel sorry for you because I know your impulse here will be to dismiss the Doc. "he doesn't get it," you'll think to yourself, "this is real," or some other maudlin sentiment. Mine was engaged to a Canadian. She could have gotten away with far more than we did, since he was in Calgary and we were in Illinois. It's frustrating to compete with and lose to a guy who's not even there. That's the thing: whatever her reasons, M has already chosen and she didn't choose you. It's understandable she'd give in to chemistry, but for your own sake you need to accept that she's hurting you and walk away. Doc gives you the option of letting her choose you, but I advise against it. What you need is to be away from her. If she wasn't willing to end the solid relationship for the exciting one, she won't be if you ask her to choose, either. Trust me when I say it will hurt less to do it yourself than to end it with an awful fight. Do yourself, and her, the favor of ending it now.

  • James (Thortok2000)

    Facepalm is right.

    It's so frustrating when a girl is a little bit into you but already taken by someone else and won't leave them. Even more frustrating if you don't think they're right for her, like for instance if they don't meet her sexual needs and desires, or to take it to an extreme, if he's actually abusive to her. When it comes to crushing on girls that already have boyfriends, I've run the gamut and seen it all.

    But it doesn't change the fact that they're not going to leave their boyfriends. You might be able to tempt them, sometimes, to do something with you (hence the twice a year thing). But that's about it.

    It's heart wrenching but you really are better off without. However, it's also a decision you have to make for yourself. My mind kept wandering back to the "what if we had actually had a chance together" and it screwed up my next /actual/ relationship since I was too hung up on the 'ex that never was.'

    It was so incredibly frustrating that I had thought I had found a soulmate but I just never 'got a chance' with her. It took me awhile to realize a truth, though. If she had actually been a soulmate, and had really wanted me in return, I wouldn't have to beg her for a chance. She'd be begging me for one just as much.

    It sounds like nothing M has done has been to seek you out, WW, it's been predominantly you seeking her out. If you left, would she chase you? Would she leave her boyfriend for you? You already know the answer's no, so move on.

    It sucks, but move on. Let go, move on. This is one of those painful life lessons about how love actually works in real life.

  • Been there, done that. Got the t-shirt AND the hat. Dude, just gtfo as fast a possible. I've (a lot of us have) been on the other side of situations like this. Learn from our experiences and Doc's advice. I've been in love with someone in a situation like this and looked back on it a year or two later and thought, 'man, what a freakshow, I was an idiot.' You learn from experience but don't pass up the opportunity to learn from OTHER'S experience and save yourself some heartache. The trouble I anticipate is, without this coming to a head, in an ugly, explosive, heart-breaking fight (that will end with the two of you not speaking *anyway*) you're always going to doubt yourself and think, 'what if I had stuck it out a little longer, what if we just needed more time,' but no. This is the wrong thinking. You don't deal in 'what ifs' when it comes to relationships and the people you hurt, projecting somewhere down the line that she'll get it together. There's 7 billion people in this world, more than half of them are women. You'll find one as good if not better than her. Scarcity is a lie we tell ourselves to justify feelings of heartache we endure for someone who isn't treating us right. There's something better out there for you.

  • I have to say that I feel so much empathy with the Writer, having been through something VERY similar. I'll explain: some times ago I met this girl in my Company (she's also called M, such irony!), and to cut things short I started developing feelings for her (background info: we're both 30 and we work in a huge company with thousands of employees on each site, and she's from a totally different business area, so we weren't really co-workers, just colleagues).

    Unfortunately I soon realized that she was already in a stable relationship, so I decided to hold back and keep my crush for myself, hoping that I would live through it.

    Clearly my clever plan did not work AT ALL, and with the passing days, weeks and months I found myself more and more attracted to her good nature, her intelligence and her charm. We really shared a lot. To make things worse, Lady Luck decided to gave my the finger and we were tasked by our bosses to work side by side on the same project. Which meant I got to spend a lot of time alone with her..

    Do you think that it could not get EVEN worse? WRONG. As we were spending a lot of time together, including some business trips around the Planet, we started getting along pretty well. She showed appreciation for me as a human being & professional, and I made clear to her that the feeling was mutual. And wen I say "clear" it means that we openly spoke about it, no fooling around.

    Unfortunately this situation was causing me to slowly lose my balance, due to the need of continuously hide my feelings for her while keeping the pace. Of course it did not last for long.

    As the quality of my life was spiralling down, out of desperation I finally found the required strenght to overcome my shyness and to confess my feelings to her. Exactly like the Writer, I was turned down, since she did not want to trash her relationship with her boyfriend. In return I told her I was not interested in a platonic friendship or some other pathetic "back-up plan", and that's it. Unfortunately, due to the strange circumstances, the Nuclear option was not viable at all, as it would have compromised a year's long project for both of us.

    But here is where my experience differs from the Writer's: after being "kindly dumped", there was no turning back. It was incredibly painful at first, and even now the memories fill me with sadness (probably the nuclear solution could have helped me healing the pain sooner, who knows…). Hell, just the thought of it feels like a knife in my chest, but the key point is to understand that YOU HAVE TO MOVE ON. There is no benefit in being locked in a mockery of a relationship with a girl who cannot return any feeling or, even worse, PLAYS with yours.

    Loving a girl is great, it is one of the best feelings in the world, but the Writer has to understand that there is no point in staying forever around her hoping that "sooner or later" she'll come his way.

  • "I’m not sure whether this is something you’re bragging about with the caps or it’s a matter of frustration."

    Funniest part of the whole damn thing.

    Once again, Harris: You nailed it.

  • I think I’m supposed to be with this girl

    No. No no no no. There is no "supposed to" in partner selection. There is no plan designed by God or fate or whatever that has a soulmate picked out for you. There's just people bumbling around and trying to make arrangements with the other people they run into. If the arrangement isn't working (for example, if it involves cheating on another partner!), you have to bumble away and find someone else.

  • Sam

    So I am commenting from the perspective of I have been that girl…or kinda still am. I have a great bf, who I see a great future with. However I stumbled upon someone else that for the first time ever has made my head turn while I am currently in a relationship. It was tough. When I'm with my bf I don't think about the other guy, but when I am around the other guy I get this thrill that you dont get from a stable relationship. The other guy sounds like this kid in that he thinks the moon and stars revolve around me. Its intoxicating having someone think about you like that. I have never cheated (though have had lots of opportunity), and in fact recently had to put a very strict end to flirting and possibly even communicating with the other guy. It was tough, and I am sad because I do have feelings for the other guy. But in the end here are the facts: I love my bf, if I didn't i would have been gone already, this other guy may think I'm fabulous but that kind of doe eyed vision doesn't give you anything to build off of (if you can't see them as a real person with flaws someday you'll be sorely dissapointed), and really it's not a good situation for either of us. I get an ego fluff that brings me dangerously close to blowing up my relationship, and he gets lead on. BTW all parties in my story are several years older than 22.

    This kid's case is a little different in that she gave in and thinks this is a fun little game. Maybe she has even convinced herself that she isn't doing anything wrong. But I can almost gaurentee she thinks he's sad for going along with it. More importantly she has shown that she doesnt have his best interests at heart. She isn't willing to be with him, but not willing to set him free either. He needs to recognize her for what she is, selfish, and to some degree heartless. This is what happens to all the nice guys, girls like that who are too weak to do what's right and fair suck them dry.

    • PizzaSHARK!

      You're describing lust and maybe a mild infatuation with someone placing you on a pedestal and worshiping you. Not really anything you'd want to base any kind of lengthy engagement on 😛

    • Having just been there myself, I would like to give you a different point of view about the "other guy", Sam.

      "The other guy sounds like this kid in that he thinks the moon and stars revolve around me. […] this other guy may think I’m fabulous but that kind of doe eyed vision doesn’t give you anything to build off of (if you can’t see them as a real person with flaws someday you’ll be sorely dissapointed)"

      I do not know any of the parties, so I'm just assuming that all of them are mature enough to be able to deal with their own feelings (very hard assumption nowadays!). The "other guy"'s behaviour is fully understandable (from a male's point of view), if you consider that he may not have a simple crush on you: whenever a guy discovers himself "in love" with a girl, his "emotional" side usually makes him temporarily blind to his significant other's flaws, at least during the early stages of the relationship. Buth this does not mean that he's completely blind to them, or that he'll be like this FOREVER. He's simply ignoring them, having put his "rational" side on standby, most of the times unconsciously.

      Under "standard" conditions (i.e. the two start dating) and given enough time, the relationship WILL mature and the two parties will accept te existence of the other's flaws and personality traits. But this is usually a lenghty process, and it is something that usually makes or breaks a relationship. Since "standard conditions" do not apply to your situation, Sam, this process has not even started. So you just saw him putting you on a pedestal…

      I see that you have already made your choice, and of course I respect that. I do not want to look like I'm trying to push you in his arms!

      I not trying to justify his behaviour either (maybe he's a jerkass or he's not mature enough to be able to understand that you're a real person and not just an idea!), I'm just saying that I can understand him, and you should try not judge him by this behaviour alone.

      • Sam


        You are right, in a different situation things would move past that phase, and I wasn't trying to judge anyone for their infatuation. In my situation the other guy is a wonderful person in his own right, and things might have been different if the timing had been different. My point was that, that kind of adoration is intoxicating and easy to abuse, which is what the writer's girl is doing. It takes a strong woman (person) who really cares about both parties and people in general to push one away, whichever one she choses. I agree with doc about her being a lying piece of sh*t who is too selfish/immature to do whats right.

        • Good, I'm happy that we agree! Maybe there IS still hope for me in this World 😛

          I'm also (partially) relieved to know that in my case my "M" did not play with my emotions, even though I offered her a clear shot at it (see my first comment above). In your view this should mean that she really cares.

          • Sam

            Well without knowing the whole situation and how close you were, she either cares about you, or people in general (as in she has a heart and is compassionate) enough to back-off for all involved. It is possible to have feelings for more than one person at a time, and sometimes that means letting them go find happiness somewhere else when it can't be with you.

      • Paul Rivers

        Cloud – awesome response. I was going to write basically the same thing.

        When you go on vacation with your friends, do you start off excited going

        "Omg, this is going to be awesome!"

        Or do you approach it as

        "a real vacation with flaws"? I bet you do the first one. (Unless you go with your parents on a museum sight seeing trip, but you know how much you end up enjoying *those* kind of trips…).

        If you started a new business, do you start off with a positive attitude like –

        "We're going to be successful and awesome!"

        Or do you start off with

        "Well, this probably won't work anyways…"

        When you first have sex, do you go with an attitude like –

        "Well, this probably isn't going to be that great"

        Or do you start off with enthusiasm –

        "This is going to be awesome!"

        Now yeah, someone can see you as *TO* idealized, in a way that you don't want to be and will never be.

        I can be super enthusiastic about a vacation – without being unable to handle the challenges. Yes, it's going to rain part of the vacation and I don't want it to. Yes, I actually need to buy the plane ticket, it's not going to magically jump into my lap on it's own.

        I can be super enthusiastic about getting a new car, even though I know there will be flaws in it (my last one had better cupholders, the seat was more comfortable, etc).

        If your relationship *doesn't* start with "lust and mild infactuation", it seems like you're doing it wrong, and isn't something I would want to base any sort of long term relationship on either. What's the alternative – it starts with a chemistry-lacking sex life and no strong draw to the other person?

        There's a saying – "Women marry men thinking they'll change – and they don't. Men marry women thinking they'll never change – and they do."

        A little "unrealistic" enthusiasm is what keeps you together as you change, and keeps you interested in each other.

        Don't get me wrong, I understand when those expectations are *to* high – or to unrealistic.

        But frankly (and I speak from experience on this one), someone who loves you "for your flaws" can be just as emotionally suffocating when you decide that you want to improve and not have those flaws any more, as someone who expects to much from you.

        There's definitely something to be said for not just jumping ship in a relationship for the next "new and shiny" thing. Eventually that newness wears off, no matter who you're dating.

        I'm not as much disagreeing with Sam's post – "if you can’t see them as a real person with flaws someday you’ll be sorely dissapointed" is a situation where I can't see the context of the real situation, there's a whole bunch of factors that just aren't described, like her relationship with her current boyfriend, how much this guy is "unrealistic" vs "infatuated" (I can be infatuated with someone without being unrealistic), etc etc.

        I find the sentiment expressed in PizzaShark's post more annoying (Sam may or may not have meant this) –

        "You’re describing lust and maybe a mild infatuation with someone placing you on a pedestal and worshiping you. Not really anything you’d want to base any kind of lengthy engagement on "

        Lust and mild infatuation is the beginning of a normal relationship – and exactly what you want to base a lengthy engadgement on (though probably not the *only* thing you want to base it on). Equating "lust and mild infatuation" is…not the same as "putting you on a pedestal and worshipping you", and even the second one is a matter of "how much".

        Imagine the opposite – imagine you loved and dated someone who didn't think much of you. Imagine you were tied to someone who believed that you were ok, but just kind of an idiot, and you couldn't really handle your own life. After a while – wouldn't that start to wear on you? Wouldn't that start to wear you down?

        Now imagine the other situation – being in a relationship where the other person thought of you being a little bit better than you are. Wouldn't that, over time, encourage you to be a better person?

        As I guy (or maybe just as me), I cannot exactly comment on where that line become to wide, where their view of you is *to* big from who you currently are. But over time, people change. Dating – as opposed to just screwing someone for a while then move on to the next one – involves someone who's going to change you at least a little bit, and you want to change in a positive direction.

        What Sam actually wrote was "if you can’t *see them* as a real person with flaws someday you’ll be sorely dissapointed". But I say – from personal experience – that the worst and most suffocating relationships come not from idealization (I cannot entirely comment on that one), but from someone who specifically loves you *because* of your flaws. You're always under pressure to maintain your flaws, and you can never improve. (I'm not sure Sam meant this though – there is a difference between "seeing" someone's flaws, and loving them *because* of their flaws.)

        • Sam


          Are you really comparing a relationship to a new car, or vacation, or new business? And no for clarification I did not mean loving someone for their flaws. I meant literally being able to see them. Choosing to ignore them because its a shiny new relationship is one thing, refusing to admit they exist at all (as in my case) is something entirely different. I know for me I can see those flaws from day one, but in that first stage they are 'cute' or 'make his character' or are 'endearing' but you still know they are flaws.

          • Paul Rivers

            Sam, wanted to be clear that I posted before I read your followup comment. Yeah, I'm sure not saying that you should break up with someone you're dating, love, etc, just because someone else is infatuated with you.

            Analogies are made just to illustrate a concept, all of those comparisons relate to the start of longer than "what's in it more me at this moment" endeavors.

            Perhaps my comment was misplaced in response to your comment. There is a sizeable difference between saying you wouldn't date someone who's infatuated with you – and what you appear to actually be saying – which is that you aren't going to break up with someone to date someone else who's infatuated with you. That's totally different, and really, I should have made sure my comment applied to your story more closely before posting.

  • WW

    thank you so much for responding, Doc!

    and for all the comments too (i'm the writer, by the way).

    just writing the whole think was kind of liberatory, the answer I got could really help me make a change in my love life right now. we'll see.

    ps. not bragging about the "having sex two times in one year" thing, I actually feel frustrated about it.

    • Leigh

      Way to go! I'm glad you feel a little better.

      We can tell you what SHOULD happen 'til we're blue in the face but in the end it's your choice to make and none of us will feel the pain and/or joy that will result. (BTW, I absolutely agree that you should distance yourself, by a great deal of space, but you're not looking for my oppinion.)

  • Jonathan

    I am in a very similar situation as this guy is. I am soo glad I read this before the train hits me.

  • tyris

    "Indubitable" would have worked, too.