Is She a Bad Person For Sleeping With Another Woman’s Man?

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The trill of my Facebook messenger woke me from a late afternoon cat-nap.

“Do you have  a minute?” Nina*, a long time online friend asked.”I just found something out and I really need some advice. I’m too close to it.”

I threw my legs over the side of my bed and stretched out a yawn. From the urgency in her message and her penchant for writing cryptic status updates about dates gone wrong, I sensed I needed to be laser sharp for this.

“What happened?” I asked in my reply.

“So there’s this guy,” she began.

That’s always how it starts, isn’t it? It’s never, “Everything is going swimmingly and…”

“I met him on Tinder. We’ve been dating a couple months.”

“Stop,” I said. “Define ‘a couple of months.’ ” People like to round up in these situations. three weeks is  a month, six weeks is two, and so on. I find that most do it to give the relationship more validity. “How many times have you actually met up with him?”

“Four,” she said. “But we’ve texted almost daily the whole time.”

See? Four dates in two months doesn’t sound as impressive, does it? That clarification changes the context of the situation, which is why I ask people to be specific.

“Okay. Keep going.”

“We were making plans for tomorrow and he said something about having to go back to work afterwards. I was disappointed because I thought he would stay over. He said he couldn’t because he needed to get back to the office.”

“So you two were basically just getting together to hook-up?” I asked.Subtext, baby.  I know my people.

“I invited him over for dinner. The plan was that he was going to stay over. I asked him what changed and he said he had a work conflict. I asked what kind of work conflict. He wouldn’t specify. He would only say that he needed to be at a work function later.”

“Did he say what kind of function?” I asked.

“No and that bugged me so I went to his Facebook page. When we first matched on Tinder he had Director of Business Development for XYZ Clothing Brand listed as his job. As of today this information is gone. I sent him a text and asked if he still worked for XYZ Brand. He said no. When I asked where he was working he said he wanted to keep that information private.”

Uh-oh. “That sounds ominous.Did he say why?”

“No. He just said he wants our relationship to stay private.”

Aaaaand there it is.

“So he’s cheating,” I said. “I mean, that’s the only plausible explanation.”

“Yup. I asked him if he was married or in a relationship and he said, ‘Yes. The last one.’ ”

The last one. Nice use of distancing language there, creep-o.

“Okay, so, what’s your question? You know he’s in a relationship and he won’t give you basic information about himself. Sounds pretty cut and dry to me.”

Floating dots. Floating dots. Floating dots. I waited for almost five minutes for a response.

“That’s the thing,” she said. “I didn’t cancel our dinner plans. I wanted to talk to him about this face to face.”

Gurl.

“And have sex with him. Don’t forget that part.”

“Maybe there’s more to it,” she said. “Maybe it’s an open relationship?”

“Possibly, though in my experience most people in ethical open relationships aren’t that clandestine. If his partner has agreed to opening their relationship, then what would he be so concerned about that he had to lie to you?”

Floating dots. “That’s what I want to know.”

If there’s one thing about giving dating advice for a living that irks me it’s the cognitive dissonance. If she were someone who had a No Cheater Policy, we wouldn’t be having this conversation

“The bottom line is that no matter what he tells you, you’re going to keep sleeping with him. So let’s just cut out the middle man and get to the meat of this question: are you a bad person if you continue to see this man knowing he’s got  a girlfriend? My answer is: I don’t know.”

I’ve never believed that women were responsible for keeping men faithful. That’s on the man. We could do everything right and be the ideal partner, but if a guy is predisposed to cheat, he’s going to cheat. I don’t believe that he’ll change “for the right woman.” I’ve been The other Woman, knowingly and willingly, so I don’t feel right telling her she’s wrong or bad. She didn’t make a pledge of monogamy and exclusivity. She’s not breaking any rules or abusing someone’s trust. Is it something she should brag about? Absolutely not. That she/I would engage in such a relationship is a mark on our record. I’m not totally absolving her/myself of any wrongdoing. The difference is that in her case, she’s only hurting herself. She’s not obligated to be honest with anybody else. She’s the one who has to face her conscience. You’ll say, “But what about the girlfriend?” Nope. Her feelings are his responsibility.

“Fuck him or don’t. That’s not the issue,” I types back. “Just don’t be surprised if, as time goes on, you find out he’s not who you think he is. He’s hiding for a reason, and he’s dragging you into whatever web he’s spinning. Ask yourself if getting tangled up in that will be worth it down the road, because this could blow up in your face.”

It’s not even the cheating in this scenario that unsettles me. It’s the insistence that she not know anything too specific about him that gives me chills. That lack of transparency means there’s something more to this already nefarious situation.

She thanked me for my feedback and said she’d follow up with more information. We all know she’s going to keep dating this guy. Many of us push through regardless of warning signs.

There’s a line from the Vertical Horizon song “Everything You Want” that plays in my head when dramas like this present themselves in my life.

You never could get it/Unless you were fed it

The last time I slept with an unavailable man was the last time because of how it damaged me. I was fed it, alright. Trust me, most people who enable someone to be unfaithful usually suffer a comeuppance that you’ll never know about. That’s why I tend to go easy on them. They pay for their decisions. I did , for sure.

And so will Nina.

Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

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11 comments

  1. Aw, her (the gf’s) feelings are his responsibility? I generally agree with 99% of what you write, but this? Is kind of bulllshit, I think., For sure, the gf’s feelings ARE the other partner’s responsibility. We also have a responsibility to other people just based on, you know, shared humanity. Of course the relationshipped person is the far bigger jackass, and he or she is the one who is by far hurting the partner, but when you knowingly sleep with someone who is in a relationship, you are knowingly doing something that most likely is causing another person’s pain, and it’s a shitty thing to do. It doesn’t make anyone a bad person, but it sucks. And I totally know it is really hard to give a shit about someone’s feelings when you don’t know that other person. I know exactly how hard that is. . And of course there’s that whole, “well, if he (or she) weren’t sleeping with me, it would be someone else,” which is totally possible, but so fucking what? If you’re the one who’s doing it, you’re the one whose actions are causing someone pain.

    Anyway, for the facebook friend. I think she’ll do what she wants to do. I truly hope she doesn’t get hurt, and I hope she doesn’t develop an emotional attachment to him because that would super suck for her. And she should really stay away from this guy because he is a piece of shit. He has definitely done this before and most likely she will get hurt. I don’t even mean she should stay away for the good of the gf, because of course, when you’re into someone, thinking about an unknown person is hard, but for herself. This guy is bad news, and he’s not cheating on his gf because she’s sooo amazing. It is something he does.

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  2. He may not have been upfront the last 2 months, but the message seems clear now that he is not going to become Nina’s boyfriend. He’s in a relationship. He’s not going to spend the night – (because he lives with his partner?); he doesn’t even want her to know where he works. In essence he see’s Nina as a sexual outlet without the expense of using an escort service. Is she cool with that? Wanting to make him dinner and spend the night with her afterward suggests not so much.

    Hope she thinks this through. Could be a self-esteem sinkhole among other unhappy consequences.

    “Trust me, most people who enable someone to be unfaithful usually suffer a comeuppance that you’ll never know about. That’s why I tend to go easy on them. They pay for their decisions. I did , for sure.”

    Plus one on this.

    Now older and wiser.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Confession time:
    I was recently embroiled in an affair with a married ex. It snowballed from FB messaging to a full blown physical affair that would have gotten much worse had we not lived so far away from one another. We only saw each other the one time, but it created a lot of pain and sorrow for me.
    I was very much in love and there were lots of aspects to it that I felt were somehow justified. But honestly, they weren’t. I was helping a man cheat on his wife, the mother of his child and a stepmother to his three other children (that she took care of since they were very small, also). I felt for her, and I didn’t feel she deserved it, but because their relationship was at the ‘talking divorce’ stage, I barely justified it.
    Then there came a day of blinding clarity:
    Either he didn’t care about his wife, which meant that he doesn’t respect the institution of marriage (boding very ill for a future with us. As they say “A man who marries his mistress creates a job opening”)
    or
    He didn’t really care about me, and I was a diversion/toy for him and he’d never leave his wife
    or (bonus round!)
    He didn’t really care about *either of us* .

    None of that sat especially well with me. I ended it firmly and completely and burned the bridge but it was HARD. And I’m still having trouble working through all of it.
    Don’t recommend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree she’ll do what she wants. I’m not a “karma” person but I feel there is a comeuppance that comes with this sort of thing, I’ve seen it multiple times.

    I had a friend that stared an affair with a married coworker. She told me how they worked on a project together and it snowballed from there. He’d take her out and even took her to his home. The wife knew something was up and the husband would come home to find her crying. (He told her this and she told me). I asked her “don’t you feel bad for the wife?” She coldly responded “No” then, went on to justify it with “they aren’t having sex,” “the relationship is like a business”. I personally didn’t look at her the same after that. The affair carried on for a year, the couple divorced, and my friend broke it off with the coworker.

    Fast forward a couple years and she has a live in boyfriend. One of our very attractive (and she knows it) mutual friends and the boyfriend end up sleeping in the same bed after a night of drinking. They’d been really close but both deny anything happened but my friend freaks out and cuts this girl off like a razor. I don’t blame her for being mad but I don’t feel to bad for her given how callous she was about cheating with a married man and basically not caring that the wife knew and was hurt.

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  5. “Trust me, most people who enable someone to be unfaithful usually suffer a comeuppance that you’ll never know about. That’s why I tend to go easy on them. They pay for their decisions. I did , for sure.”
    So true, and I believe most of us have been there, at least once. Some more than once. We ignore clear red flags, alarm sirens, and our spidey senses, to our peril. Why we do this is up for grabs: we’re needy, we’re flattered, we think we’ve finally met someone who “gets” us, we’re lied to and catch on too late. Who knows? Just know that cutting it off sooner, rather than later when your nose gets rubbed in it, is much less painful. Dicks got dickish ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Not to be unkind to your friend, but this is a “just how desperate are you?!” scenario. Yes, it’s a shitty thing to do and he’s both shitty and sketchy. The real question here is why she would even entertain the thought of getting involved in this situation!

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  7. What type of woman with any respect for herself would continue this relationship?

    Are you a terrible person for sleeping with someone that you didn’t know had a partner? No. Are you a terrible person to continue that relationship? Yes. Do you lack self respect as well as respect for other people? Yes.

    As a woman who just found out her (now ex-boyfriend) of just over a month was trying to hook up with another woman behind my back I had to make this same decision. What did I do?

    I handed him his phone back ( he had asked me to do something for him and the message from her popped up) told him to collect all of his things because he would not be coming back to my house. Did it hurt? Hell yes. But at least I have some dignity left.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, the Puritan Stormtroopers are out in force in the comments section, wielding their righteous truncheons right and left. However, according to the Washington Post, 72% of married men cheat, as well as 70% of married women. Within these statistics, imagining that you will get with someone who will “never cheat” seems wildly naïve. And this doesn’t even include “emotional cheating” which can be anything from porn (men)/erotica (women) to consistent office flirtations or even regular fantasizing. If you are seeing someone, you have to recognize that one or both of you will cheat.

    It doesn’t mean that you or your loved one are not a good partner, wife, husband, father, mother etc. Those are two separate issues. A person can also be a completely loyal partner but a horrifically bad husband/wife. Can’t have everything.

    I’ve found that non-Western cultures seem to have far more realistic views on fidelity: specifically, they don’t tend to view infidelity as some catastrophic event.

    That said, there is all kind of cheating. A regular viewer of porn/women’s erotica is one type of “cheater” while a guy/gal who strays 2-3 times a year is another kind, while a person who has a “steady lover” that he or she sees weekly (or daily!) is yet another. Cheaters who are very discreet and discerning, and those who (while still married!) bring their girlfriend/boyfriend home to meet their children. With all kinds of people in between.

    The main issue, to me is, “what kind of cheater are you?” and “what kind of cheater is your partner?”

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    1. Are you joking? For one thing, we dont live in a non western society. For another thing, just because it isn’t western doesnt mean it is better. And for another, the issue is how the wife would feel. Plenty of societies have differing views on fidelity and monogamy, but most societies are not ok with relationships that hurt one person. And also? If someone is bringing home the bf to meet the kids, i hope the wife knows. Otherwise that is so cruel.

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  9. As someone–male, by the way–who’s cheated plenty of times, and been cheated upon, NO she is not a bad person for doing being “the other woman.” Period. I’m in an ethical open relationship now (ethical = we tell each other what we’re doing with whom) with a woman whom I was sleeping with while involved with someone else. She felt no guilt about it, and was adamant about it not being on her. It was on me, entirely. I can rationalize my own behavior as much as I want, or own up to it, and the outcome is the same: I was dishonest because of my decisions and behaviors, not because of the woman I was officially with, nor because of the woman I was seeing “on the side.”

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