Conventional Wisdom is a different kind of advice column. Your questions will be answered by people from all walks of life rather than by advice experts. This week, a woman in a happy marriage tries to help out a woman stuck in an affair. If you have a question you'd like answered on Conventional Wisdom, you can submit it here.
I am involved with a married man and I don't know how to stop. He's been married for a couple of years, and his wife often goes out of town. I feel like I'm in a relationship with him: he calls or texts before he goes to sleep, cooks me dinner when he can, and we talk about almost anything with each other. I don't expect him to leave his wife for me, and it doesn't seem like he's going to. He just says he wishes we would have met before he got married. I know deep down that this is so wrong, but I feel like I can't do anything about it. I feel too happy when I'm around him. Help!
The Other Woman
To see the advice,
Dear The Other Woman,
I have some bad news and some good news. First, the bad news: you are not happy. You are in a relationship that is damaging to both you and this man's wife. The only person remotely benefiting from the situation is this unfaithful person you are involved with.
Now the good news: real happiness does exist. You can find someone — who's not married — to talk, laugh, cry, and have sex with. And it will be so much better. But first you need to do some work on yourself. Look at your life and decide what type of person you want to be. Do you want the adjectives selfish, dishonest, and disrespectful to describe who you are? Or would you rather have the words loving, faithful, and complete describe your behavior and your relationship? Next you need to boost your confidence. Think about what has made you do something that is undoubtedly so hurtful to yourself and this other woman. Is it because you are afraid of being alone? Is it because you think this is the best thing you can get? If so, let me tell you that a little patience can go a long way. Focus on the things you really enjoy in life (do you like running? painting? traveling?), the things that make you excited, and you will only become more desirable.
The search for love is a hard and frustrating one, but you are just going down a dark and depressing path with nothing but hurt waiting at the end of it. End things with this unavailable man, figure out why you love yourself, and then you will find someone who loves you for all those qualities too.