Dear Ask DesCamp,
I already know how you are going to answer this question but I can’t help but send it anyway. Please don’t be too hard on me!
I’m single, divorced with one child in high school. I am in my late 30s so I’m not dead yet! My dating life has been pretty spotty because most of the good ones are taken. I guess that’s why I’m writing you today because I think I am in love with one of the good ones, but he is taken.
“Henry” and I met several months ago innocently enough. We are both lawyers in the same building but different firms. We met at a bar function (in a bar) and I’m not sure how to describe it except to say I felt like I had known him my whole life the moment we shook hands (his partner who I know from my gym introduced us).
No, we were not drunk. Robin, we sat there and talked for hours and watched everyone around us come and go, nobody else mattered. I will admit we shared a few kisses that night in a parking garage but nothing more.
Since then we have been meeting for lunch and drinks and we talk all the time. We have considered taking things further but OBVIOUSLY I know this is a bad idea not to mention just WRONG, and so does he! But he won’t leave his wife for many reasons I can’t describe because it would take forever.
I am aching to consummate our mutual affection and wondering if I should just go for it but protect my heart and just have fun without getting too attached. You know the saying “it is what it is” and maybe if I went in with that attitude I wouldn’t get too hurt.
Here’s the kicker: we both are attending an out of town CLE in two weeks. Can you put my letter at the top of your list? LOL OK, go ahead and yell at me now.
Dear Aching (but wants to be quaking):
You must know if you are a regular AskDesCamp reader that I don’t like it when people say they know how I am going to answer a question, so shut up and let me do my thing. Why do people say that?
And I certainly won’t be too hard on you, for two reasons:
1. I never do that! and
2. You need someone to be hard on you, but it ain’t me, sister. 😉
I remember being single in my 30s and lamenting the lack of suitable suitors, so I can certainly commiserate with your conundrum. However, take heart because with the skyrocketing divorce rate, a lot of those good guys may soon not be so taken, including Henry, who clearly is not a happily married man.
Your typical run-of-the-mill advice giver would give you a lecture on morality, scold you for already having an emotional affair and admonish you not to take this any further and to break off all ties with Henry.
Being the contrarian I am, that’s not exactly what I’ll do here today.
Morality is easy. You know if you sleep with this man you will be doing the wrong thing – you said so yourself and in ALL CAPS so I get the feeling you understand the moral implications of playing Bury the Bone in the Neighbor’s Yard with this man.
Morality is also easy when it comes to writing an advice blog because I could knock out this post in 30 minutes if I took the approach of giving you a lesson between right and wrong that you don’t need and that frankly I’m unqualified to give.
Instead, let’s be selfish and focus on you and how this could impact your life.
I believe you have had an experience most people never will: an instant and deeply-felt connection with another human being. When we emailed last week you described the feeling as being pulled into him the moment you met him and looked into his eyes, and you could see he had the same reaction to you.
I get it.
You also told me in the past few months this connection has grown stronger and more intense and that you have both “fallen in love” with each other. Somehow, if I am to believe you, both of you have maintained some degree of control and not fallen into and onto each other’s genitals. Good luck with that when you are both out of town together.
In our email conversation you told me you have never had an affair with a married man before and you don’t want to start now, especially since that’s what broke up your parents’ marriage.
Newsflash, honey. You ARE having an affair with a married man.
Come on, you know this. You share time with him and he lies to his wife about it, you have deep and personal conversations about all sorts of things including the state of his pathetic union and you tell each other “I love you” several times a day.
Like I said, I’m not going to give you a lecture on the moral implications of adultery because it’s too goddamn obvious. Instead, I will give you a warning: you have waded very deep into dangerous waters, but your toes are still touching. My advice to you is to get out of the water.
Why? Several reasons. Let’s list them in order of reverse importance, just to be interesting.
4. Professionally speaking, this could hurt you. I won’t say where you live but it isn’t exactly a major metropolis and you both work in the same profession, not to mention building.
I’d watch that lingering in bars with married men thing, because if you don’t think people have noticed and are talking about you and Henry already, you are being purposefully naive. You don’t want to get a reputation as a home-wrecker in your town and your profession because it could have a severe and negative impact on your ability to earn a living.
3. Speaking of that, obviously his wife could find out about your relationship with Henry. Ask yourself if you are really ready for his entire world to crumble and fall apart if she divorces him, because that will be a very ugly scene and you will forever be front and center of the controversy.
Despite that he is the one who took the marriage vows, he may come to resent you for turning his world upside down and reducing his wealth by 75% (his wife doesn’t work so he will pay alimony through the urethra).
2. There are also kids involved, as your married friend has three. Again, I’m not here to moralize, but rather to focus on how this affair could affect you personally. I’m extending my own selfish nature to you for the day. You’re welcome!
In the event these two divorce because Wifey discovers you are having an affair, emotional or physical or both, it is highly unlikely you will ever win those kids over, my friend. Best-case scenario it will take a very, very long time and many years of anger and you being made to feel like a piece of second-hand trash.
Blended families are hard enough and second marriages have very high divorce rates, but when you add in the pain of infidelity and the likelihood Wife #1 will be calling you a husband-stealing bitch at every opportunity you are really setting yourself up for failure.
1. Which brings me to my final point: this man could be the love of your life, but unless he extricates himself from his marriage honorably and dates you after he spends some time figuring out his new life and mourning the divorce (trust me, even very unhappily married people need a mourning period), your chances of making this work long-term are very, very small.
I’m in a major rush today because it’s MY BIRTHDAY and I am golfing with Mr. Patience and Understanding to celebrate my slide into menopause and general irrelevance. I’ve already written over 1350 words just to say this:
Disengage from this man immediately. Date men who are available both emotionally and legally. Having an affair with a married man (or woman) can be exciting, exhilarating and because of the taboo factor the relationship can be artificially elevated due to circumstances. It’s pretty hot to sneak around, right?
Wrong. That “hot” factor eventually gives way to you feeling lonely, rejected and ignored. Picture yourself sitting alone on Christmas morning, while your One True Love is celebrating with his family. Expect many broken promises and dates.
You already think you are in love, so don’t fool yourself into believing you can consummate your relationship and keep an even head about it. It is what it is? No, it isn’t. Love, if it is truly what you are feeling, will not be ignored or trifled with.
Adding the joy of great sex (assuming it will be great – you never know) will only strengthen your feelings for Henry, so don’t fool yourself into thinking you can have a laissez-faire affair.
I feel for you and I hope you will heed my advice. As for the out of town CLE, if you truly want to avoid sleeping with Henry, I’d stay home. Distance from wife + alcohol at evening functions + months of longing = fucking on a hotel bed. Take yourself out of the equation.
Please keep in touch (with me, not him you silly girl!) and let me know what is happening. Even if you decide to go through with the sex, I would like to keep in contact with you so I can render advice when your life turns into a shit sundae with a corn cherry on top.