Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Advice Needed

I have some readers who never comment and just send email and a few who comment infrequently, but mostly email. That is fine with me. I like getting email (and comments - comment whore, remember??)

Anyhoodle, I received this email recently from one of my readers asking for advice. He said that I could share it with my response and perhaps get some different perspectives from my dear readers, too.

His letter:

Dear Evil Twins Wife (in the tune of Dear Abby),

There are two women in my life right now that I feel really strongly about and am fairly certain I am in love with. One is a co-worker. We have a kind of a "special" thing going. I stop by her office and we chat, we flirt, we share stories. She spills her heart out and I listen. We meet in the hall way and exchange cute smiles, a nod and a wink at times. She's single, sweet, and lovely.

The other woman I know via a mutual interest. We exchange emails. She recently had me over for dinner (with other friends), but she's shy and a strong personality. We have feelings, I can tell just by the way she looks at me, the fact that she emails me personal stuff where calls me a special friend. We have coffee from time to time. We sometimes spend hours emailing back and forth. She's single, sweet and lovely.

I am equally fascinated and intrigued with both women.

Now for the hairy part. I'm in a committed relationship and they both know it. But I love hanging out with my co-working buddy and my mutual interest buddy. These women energize me and get my juices running again. My heart skips a beat when I hear from them.

What is going on? Why do I have these feelings? What should I do?

XXXX in the Midwest

And my response:

Dear XXXX in the Midwest,

In my opinion, if you've been in a long term committed relationship for a while, everyone likes to feel attractive and wanted. And having that might be a harmless flirting relationship with a friend, co-worker, email buddy, etc. It's a real ego boost, plus when those "first love" feelings fade, some of us want to feel those "butterflies" again.

That being said, I think that if you want to STAY with your long term commitment, then be very careful of crossing the line with your two lovely friends. FRIENDS. Not booty calls or anything like that. Men and women can maintain a platonic relationship (IMO).

This is just from my point of view. The Evil Twin and I don't have any problems with harmless flirting. We know we're like barnacles to each other - neither of us is going any place. We're stuck on for life. After all, I don't think we'd ever find any one else who would put up with us! LOL.

So, anyone have other advice for my friend XXXX here? Am I way off base? Don't be shy! Leave it in the comments section.


  1. You sound as 'on base' as always to me, Ma'am.

    Feeling all better?

  2. yeah, to me the question is whether he's looking for an out in that committed relationship.

    IF SO!!! VERY IMPORTANT!!! Break up with committed relationship BEFORE moving on either of these friends.

    Any moving forward with the "friends" while still in the committed relationship, well, that's just sleazy.

    Divorce is fine. Cheating is not.

    If he wants to stay in relationship number 1... well, he's kinda stepping into a minefield if he can't control his feelings for the other two.

  3. My only comment would be to be very, very careful. Be 100% sure that nothing you say or do gives the other women the impression that this is more than a friendship. And don't do or say anything that you wouldn't want your significant other to see or hear. It is fine to enjoy the company of others. It is not fine to go too far and that's easy to do.

  4. It sounds as if you are spot on. By the way he worded his question he seems baffled by his attractions to the other women since he is in this loving (?) relationship already.

    Key point here is you can have freinds that you love and it is normal sometimes for your mind to wonder what it would be like if you didn't have your sig oth.

    Just be really careful not to cross the line.

  5. I think your advice is good, but I do have an alternate point of view. This POV comes from my own personal experience.

    I was married. I too had a friendly, flirty "relationship" with another woman. This CAN be OK but in my case it was not. Suddenly she invited me to another level. I should have declined. I did not. I was weak and I was WRONG. I ended up leaving my wife and we lived together 5 years. I now regret my mistake and the heartache I caused (this was 20 yrs ago). My life was changed significantly and others were harmed.

    Just be very careful (As ETW) said to not cross that line AND, beware the temptation.

  6. Dear XXXX,

    In a committed relationship AND in love with 2 other women. WTF are you thinking!? Are you kidding me? How committed is your relationship if you can be in love with 2 other women? Go tell the committed one that you love two other women and they get your juices running. Let us know how that turns out.

    Most women can be in platonic relationships, most men cannot. Men are animals, we are pigs. Everything is about sex. See Tiger Woods, married to a super model no less and still screwed around. Also see former president Clinton, Magic Johnson, and that Jon guy from Jon and Kate Plus 8. We like the attention, sure. But we cannot handle it. We start thinking about sex and female body parts, mainly boobs. Our motto is “Once you have seen one set of boobs, you got to see them all.” Friendship can quickly turn into lust. We rationalize that one kiss is ok, a BJ is not really sex, etc. The next thing you know we are looking for the spare shower curtain and baby oil, if you get my drift.

    Get some male friends for Pete’s sake! Or get some blinders on. You want the best of both worlds…love and good times with co workers, and a committed relationships (translation – I’m sure you have heard the story about free milk and the cow. If not Google Kentucky Headhunters song. “No huggy no kissy until I get a wedding vow.)

    You are playing with fire! Remove the temptation.

  7. I think you're right that those feelings of butterflies and newness wanes after a period of long-term commitment, and agree that a little flirting is okay. I love to flirt, but love my husband more. However, this guy has gone past harmless flirting with one of these women. I have no issue with the work lady (WL) it seems like she is filling the role of "work wife," which happens pretty frequently.

    He says he's possibly in love with one, intrigued by both, and doesn't make any comments about his committed relationship status except that he's in one. My guess from this email is that he's in love with the email lady (EL) who shares his mutual interest.

    To me, he's spending an incredible amount of time and emotional energy with the EL that should be dedicated to his long-term relationship. Whether he realizes it or not, he's having an emotional affair that is taking priority over his committed relationship. A person in a happy 1:1 relationship doesn't do dinner dates, have special friends, meet for coffee, and spend hours talking with another person, without it affecting the other relationship or neglecting the other person.

    One of the best things about a CR or marriage is the ability to be friends when that newness ends. Also, it's very normal and typical that feelings in marriages change over time. Throughout our relationships we often find ourselves looking at others and wondering "what if?" In committed marriages/relationships where both partners still want to be there (You and ET, me and mine) these fluctuations of feeling are taken as signs that one spouse/partner should try harder, make a change, or chalk it up to a crush, and the CR/M stays the priority - they make it work. Granted there are the committed polyamorous relationships that are just as healthy, but that's not the case here. In this situation, it appears that the LT partner isn't privy to the other relationships.

    I think he's gone past a point of friendship with EL, and he needs to make some decisions about which relationship he wants to pursue, because ultimately someone will end up hurt.

    That will be 2 cents, please.

    Lucy Van Pelt

  8. Dude. Don't be an a-hole. If you are in a committed relationship, don't blow it up just for something new and exciting that will become old and boring soon enough. If your committed relationship has gone bad, then get out of it.

    But, don't get out of it just because you think it's boring and routine. If it's those things, then you are probably as much to blame as your significant other.

    Cheaters suck. Period.

  9. My advice is to just make up your mind... Figure out what you want and go for it... Not a little of this and a little of that. You owe it to your long term relationship to figure out what you want and proceede with them or end it and go in another direction,

  10. Would anyone see this differently if the two friends were also married or in committed relationships? More of a level playing field and less likely to move into the "don't go there" territory?

  11. No- I think it would still be wrong. Debra said it best. XXXX is spending time and energy on a woman that is not his SO and it is not right.

  12. It is pretty normal to have attractions to other people, even if committed, but whether or not to act on them is another story.

    I don't know what to say, except that if he wants either situation to move past a flirty friendship, it's going to get messy.

  13. Do the other women live in another ZIP code than where the man and his committed g/f live? If so then the ZIP code rule applies....

    Sorry had to do it.

    A committed relationship means your committed. If you're seriously thinking of anything beyond friendship you need to be responsible and break things cleanly.

  14. Um, I am *loving* your barnacle analogy. Too cute. I think your advice was spot on!

  15. I find it more hurtful if someone cheats emotionally than if he has sex with someone else. I know not everyone thinks like I do, but the sharing of secrets and emotions is much more intimate than booty calls.

    With that said, if XXXX can't bring his girlfriend around these women and maintain the same relationship with the girlfriend around, then what he is doing is wrong. And in my opinion more wrong than picking up a woman for a one night stand.

  16. Well, well...such a topic!

    If XXXX is in a committed relationship and is happy then the friendship he has with these other women is just that..FRIENDS. Personally I don't think he could be all that committed if he is intrested in anything romantical with the other two...although my husband and I have been married for 17 years and we both flirt and there is nothing wrong with long as it doesn't cross the line.
    I guess that is what XXXX needs to ask himself. Does he want to take it to the next level with one of them OR does he want to keep it flirtatious? What he 'sees' in his head may actaully play out a whole lot differently in reality...and he may loose the best 'friend' of all...his partner!

  17. You gave him very good advice, ETW, and he would be crazy to act on his feelings with either one of them.

    Additionally, he is not doing either one of them a favor if they think he MIGHT act on his feelings. If all they want is a physical relationship - he'd be really nuts to have one, and if either of them is hoping to have more than that - he is leading them on unnecessarily.

  18. hmmmm thats cheating... men are all about sex... women are all about emotions and both consider the other to be #1 so...if you get emotions in this.. damage done... just keep it light and flirty if you want to keep long time around...

  19. How would he feel if the shoe were on the other foot?

    Just stop it. Grow up and figure out what you want, then go for it in an honest manner. There is NO WAY that this will end well.

  20. Totally agree with you ETW! But... I think if he is bored or doesn't want to be in the relationship and wants to try something else out then he needs to break it off and go for it! Unless he's married then it's a little more difficult than that!

    Hugs - Tiff

  21. Ooooh, so not good. The situation, that is.

    I would expect that if Biff found out I was 'spending hours emailing back and forth' with some one who is not him (and a male), he'd be pissed off. I sure know that I'd be pissed if I found out he'd done the same with another woman (or, perhaps, even with another male. :>). It's investing emotional energy misbegottenly.

    Make the clean break with the SO, THEN move into this big time investment with a clean conscience. It's better for everyone. Listen to your Auntie Tiff (not the one above) - who has first-hand experience and wishes it wasn't so.

  22. Oh - you can listen to the Tiff above; she's right too!!

  23. Wow, everyone else already gave such good advice. I agree that this just seems all kinds of wrong. If you want to pursue one of these ladies, get out of the so-called committed (how committed are you if you're spending so much time and energy on another woman/women?) relationship first. FIRST! Not during!

  24. Seems like a bit more than flirting to me, and that is not okay in my book!

    My husband and I have been together forever, and flirting is no big deal for either one of us, but it's simple flirting.

  25. As one who watched her BFF move from work wife to ex wife to second wife, I highly recommend caution and self control.

    Much damage can happen to those around you if you follow your "feelings" [read: hormones] rather than the reality. At the very least, have some respect for your SO. If you don't love her any more, sort THAT out first. Then move on if you must.

    Just bear in mind that there will be more than one emotional casualty in this situation. Make sure you're up to dealing with the consequences.

  26. Theres not much to say this late in the game - it's all good advice. If you feel so strongly about these women (and I would feel much better if it were just ONE other woman and not two!) then you are probably not too happy in your committed relationship. Or maybe you're just one of the many people who feels the need to move on once the relationship isn't "new" anymore. You're not very forthcoming about your current relationship.

    It's possible these women are both interested in being more than just friends. It's also possible they're not.

    Either way, cheating isn't right, so make a choice you can live with.

  27. I'm not one to dispense advise of this type but I'll give it a go. It sounds to me that this guy shouldn't be in a relationship in the traditional sense. Maybe he needs to discover more what he is looking for before he makes the commitment for a long term relationship.

    Great blog. I will surely be back for more!

  28. He's just setting himself up for a bad situation. Better not to be in that place to begin with. There is a really fine line and crossing it would be too easy to do.

    PS - I know, I am one of the "lurkers"... not often a comment - but I love your blog!

  29. Careful about confusing 'love' for infatuation. These other ladies are new, there's lots to learn about each other and communication is easy because it's all new.

    One must also examine the current relationship and ask "why do I not get these feelings with current s.o.?" Is it because the focus is on these other, external relationships?

    As long as he's in a 'committed relationship' those other two are the forbidden fruit. He's getting perilously close to taking the bites that will change his life permanently.

    Been there, done that, almost didn't make it back. (It ain't worth the t-shirt)

  30. What stands out the most to me in this letter is in the first paragraph. "I am involved with TWO women". Seems to me you are involved with three. There is no mention of love for you "committment" lady.

    You don't really talk about your current situation, but I'm betting you and "committment" have a kid, or some sort of financial obligations together that keep you from saying "SEE YA".

    To me, the whole thing sounds like a mess. Why don't you try putting some of your "love" into your current relationship. If you can't, or you SO won't, then you should work on getting your own ducks in a row, instead of looking to escape into another woman.

    I don't post much either, but I do follow :)

  31. Eye also seem tew hav a problum with proofreeding whut I post. And I dew no how to use de letter "r" and questyun marks.

    I wunder if dis is why eye don't post on bloogs verry much?

  32. I'm late on this for sure. I rarely get a chance to read these days. I don't see any problem with just talking to friends who aren't the same sex. But, when it moves beyond friendship into being emotionally unfaithful, then it has to stop, pull back, or he needs to pick who he loves and love that person.

    Only problem with that is, if it did move further in a spurt of temptation, then the person he was cheating with would know he's capable of cheating and that makes for a difficult relationship when it comes to trust.

    Enjoying the company of others is great until it gets to the point that a person's worrying about how he or she should juggle the emotional attachment formed with all three. Sometimes, a person has to tell himself or herself "no" when he or she starts to get attached when it's not an appropriate time for them to become attached to that person (like when they're in a committed relationship or they know the other person is in a committed relationship).

    If the attraction is there, it will still be there when both are free. If it isn't, it really never was.

  33. In my experience - one knows, on some level or another, if it just isn't right or if it's worth salvaging. If you were really in love when you made your vows, then I believe there's a chance. If you weren't, then you'll be paying for your mistakes in the long run. How slow and painful that payment is, depends on how and when you act. Please also keep in mind that sex and love can in fact be mutually exclusive. I realize this is not a popular stance, but your relationship is defined by you and your partner - and no one else.

  34. Lots of comments on this already, and I am late to the party ...

    I believe the most important aspects of relationships are honesty and trust - you can't have one without the other.

    I try to gauge my participation in these extracurricular activities by asking myself, "Would I do this if I knew my SO would find out?"

    If the answer is no, then have a bit of self-control and respect for your SO.