I'm involved in a long term relationship with a bad boy. Can I keep doing it?
June 19, 2007 3:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm involved in a long term reationship with a bad boy. Can I keep doing it?

I've been sexually involved for many years with the same man.
The sex is passionate albeit fairly infrequent and we are definitely emotionally involved on some level but we are completely incompatible. I'm a happy loner and, well ... he's not. He also has mental health issues that are just too too much for me. We're both in our late 40's and frankly, I'm over the whole marriage (been there) or even living together thing. I'm telling you this part because it illustrates that I don't feel I'm wasting my time and energy on someone who's not Mr. Right. I don't feel I need a Mr. Right.

The only problem I have with this relationship is that he's cheating on some one. I feel terrible for the other woman but it's not like I want him to leave her for me. The only thing worse than not hearing from him in long periods of time would be hearing from him every day.

Oh, and I have to say I feel a little selfish and immature.

So, what do I do?
posted by Lorna to Human Relations (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Don't do things that make you feel bad.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:35 PM on June 19, 2007 [12 favorites]

I noticed that you didn't say you were wracked with guilt. And I doubt you are the first woman he's cheated with, so when all those mefites come on here and tell you you're a home-wrecker, take it with a grain of salt.

I think what's bothering you most is that the situation is so convenient that you feel bad. You feel like you should work at it harder, make a relationship, maybe even that you should want marriage because you have conventional views, etc. But the truth is I really don't see anything wrong with the relationship except for the other woman (you might as well say he's married and be done with it, it's obvious).

And that's where the difficulty will come from. If she finds out, she will be devastated. And he needs to be very very very very careful she won't find out. Do you trust that, with his "mental issues" he can be that careful? If so, keep on doing what you are doing. If not, be prepared to be dragged through the mud, called all sorts of names, and thrown in the middle of a huge marital discord, because realistically that's what's going to happen some day.

There's no judgment in my answer--I think you should do what makes you happiest, with your eyes wide open.
posted by misha at 3:47 PM on June 19, 2007

you haven't listed a single redeeming quality about this man. i don't understand why you're with him.

invest in a good vibrator.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:48 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Sounds like you are quite happy with the current arrangement and the usual "if he cheats on her, he'll cheat on you later" doesn't apply. The question seems to be whether it is morally acceptable to aid someone in cheating by being the "other woman". Clearly the primary offense is his - in my book at least cheating on your partner is simply wrong. You are in the situation of aiding and betting in the "crime". Personally, I would have a moral problem with participating in that. Even if I knew for sure he would just cheat with someone else - I would feel uncomfortable in the relationship. I'm guessing that you're a little uncomfortable too - that's the "selfish and immature" part.

So, if you agree he was wrong for getting involved with you and cheating on his partner, you have to figure out for yourself whether you can, with clear conscience, help him do that. And if your conscience isn't quite clear, you have to choose if you want to either continue the relationship and put up with the guilt or dump him, lose the sex but win self-esteem knowing that you are living in sync with your own values.
posted by metahawk at 3:49 PM on June 19, 2007

OK - there was lots of judgment in my answer - but that is how I would think about the issue for myself. Regardless of what I would do, this is your life, your call. All the rest of us can do is maybe give you some differently ways of thinking about it.
posted by metahawk at 3:54 PM on June 19, 2007

You don't sound particularly happy. You say that the two of you are "completely incompatible," and that his mental health issues are "too much" for you. You also say you feel terrible about the other woman, and cop to feeling selfish and immature in general.

The only good thing you have to say is that the sex -- infrequent though it is -- is hot. Well, that's great, but it's not like hot sex is the rarest substance on earth, and in my experience it most certainly doesn't meaningfully make up for feeling bad or unsatisfied about other areas of one's life.

Even if you're not searching for Mr. Right (and good for you for realizing that's not actually a quest you're interested in), it sounds to me like you could still do better, whether on your own or in another relationship. Moreover, you could do better without being an active participant in someone else's infidelity.
posted by scody at 4:19 PM on June 19, 2007

I don't know about you but I like my passionate sex frequent ...or wait, is it frequently? At any rate, why not find a man who is in a similar situation to you...single, over the marriage thing and looking for some infrequent fun. Perhaps an out-of-towner? How about a busy professional? A single dad who has the kiddies some weekends and is unavailable during that time? The emphasis should be on "single." I know everyone involved in this situation is an adult but the cheating factor makes me uncomfortable.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 4:19 PM on June 19, 2007

Oh...and what scody said.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 4:21 PM on June 19, 2007

You might not need a Mr. Right, but nobody needs a Mr. Wrong.
posted by The World Famous at 4:40 PM on June 19, 2007 [4 favorites]

Almost sounds like you are waiting for some kind of commitment with this person. You've been having this affair for many years you state, so I would assume that if it was just sexual it probably wouldn't have lasted this long. If this is true, accept that he sucks as a person, and that you should move on to a healthier casual sex partner. If this isn't true and you don't have any feelings for him, then you should also move on as you don't want to invest any more time in something that might blow up in your face when his girlfriend finds out. A one time thing is something to forgive yourself for, but you do hold some responsibility if this becomes a really dramatic situation.
I say find another fun casual sex partner that doesn't suck and doesn't have any hangups and you might even surprise yourself and find a relationship that you didn't even know you wanted (which doesn't have to mean marriage or co-habitation).
posted by greta simone at 4:44 PM on June 19, 2007

OK, you are in your late 40s, interested in nothing more than a casual sexual relationship, and you are not picky, given that you seem relatively content with a guy you find obnoxious in moderate-to-large quantities and not even particularly attractive.

Look, there are plenty of men in your age group who would love to have a casual sexual relationship with a laid-back, non-commitment demanding lady who is not obsessed with Mr. Right. I mean, what you're looking for in a relationship basically makes you a catch for a large percentage of eligible bachelors. As someone else said, you may not need Mr. Right, but why settle for Mr. Wrong? Find Mr. Hey-You're-Not-Too-Bad-Looking-For-Prince-Charming's-Limo-Driver-And-You-Sure-Do-Make-A-Mean-Vodka-Martini and bang him. And that way you won't be contributing to a pretty ethically suspect situation.
posted by schroedinger at 5:13 PM on June 19, 2007

Well, you haven't felt bad enough to stop yet, so do you really feel that bad about the other woman? If you want mefites to tell you that you should feel bad, there are plenty of them, but if you don't you don't.

I've been in a similar situation with a girl since high school. She's cheated on boyfriends with me, yes. Do I care? Eh...sort of. Even though we're not exactly right for each other in terms of a committed relationship, we're close and we like fucking. I like it more than I care about her boyfriends.

Perhaps, as others have said, you could find someone else with your loner attitude who is sans wife/girlfriend. But maybe there's something about this guy you don't want to let go of, and I think that's alright too.

Do whatever makes you feel best, you already know what it is.
posted by Roman Graves at 5:28 PM on June 19, 2007

What do you do? Well, shoot me an email (you don't have one in your profile) and I'll send you an URL that you may find helpful.

Then, okay, you decide whether the guilt outweighs the fun and/or whether this relationship is stopping you in some way from growing, moving on, doing stuff that you always wanted to do. Since it's starting to bother you, it may well be. It's easy to get stuck in situations that aren't really all that bad but aren't really all that good either, and then being stuck can prevent you from doing healthier stuff. OTOH, it's not easy to meet guys in your 40s and no, there aren't a whole bunch of men out there just slavering for us and sometimes, something is better than nothing.

The thing is, however, even though you're not the primary guilty party here (he is) you're the one who she will fixate on should she find out about you, you're the one who will bear the brunt of societal and friends' disapproval and, unfortunately, you're building up a nice mass of bad karma. This is unfair but it does seem to work out that way.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:44 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, I guess I'm the MeFite that's going to make you feel bad. Grow the fuck up. You're hurting someone else by cheating with him. Be an adult and get out. Yes, it's going to hurt like hell. Doing the right thing sometimes does.
posted by mattholomew at 6:48 PM on June 19, 2007 [3 favorites]

You know what, your description of this relationship maeks it sound like you're in a rut and too apathetic/scared to get out.

I say dump this guy and find someone who has more positive energy. You don't need to marry your new beau, but he also shouldn't make you sound as depressed as you do.
posted by reenum at 7:24 PM on June 19, 2007

P.S. Cheating or advocating cheating is absolutely wrong. By having sex with this man, you are hurting his wife. The day she finds out (and she will) will be a bad day for all three of you.
posted by reenum at 7:25 PM on June 19, 2007

The only problem you have is that he's cheating, you say.

Well, there are lots of fun things we can do that hurt , or have the potential to hurt, someone else. You are doing one of them. The question whether you should feel guilty or not is, to my mind, an ethics dilemma: how far does our responsibility to others extend? I can't answer that, but I can say that in my own experience a relationship that doesn't involve cheating is probably more profound and more authentic than one that does. Of course, authentic = responsibilities. I get the sense that, in your eyes, his cheating absolves you of responsibility towards him: you want a no strings, hassle-free relationship. So it's really about being 'selfish and immature' - do you continue to indulge that side of you? My own feeling is that it's like being on a holiday, good while it lasts but not what real life is made of.

Having said which, sex creates its own reality, and despite schroedinger's politically-correct averral ("there are plenty of men in your age group who would love to have a casual sexual relationship with a laid-back, non-commitment"), finding a good alternative sexual partner at your age may be a challenge.

So, what would I do? Check out a few other guys, if you have the time and the energy.
posted by londongeezer at 10:19 PM on June 19, 2007

You should be searching for an honest relationship that fits your needs, i.e. you don't want to sacrafice your personal time. Participating in a lie with an unstable guy isn't the solution.

Get a man of your own that meets your requirements. You'll be happier, and some lucky guy will be happier.

p.s. Growth and emotional development is challenging. I acknowledge that we aren't always ready and eager for a challenge, but just as we can't stay 18 forever, nor should we, we can't stay wherever we are forever... change is inevitable. Better to embrace it, exert the control you can, and move toward a good thing rather than away from a bad thing. Platitudinal enough for you?
posted by ewkpates at 3:10 AM on June 20, 2007

There are a lot of marriages arrangements that include various amounts of tolerance/acceptance/encouragement for 'cheating'. Since we don't know what the arrangements in this marriage are, comments like 'its always wrong' are out of place. Personally, if it doesn't include an emotional attachment or significant STD risk, I don't want to know about it. If my partner were cheating, I'd hope he'd find someone like Lorna.

Lorna, I don't know what you should do. But I've known enough happy couples whose marriages are not entirely monogamous to suggest that if the *only* thing making you think about ending this is an abstract (rather than founded on specific knowledge) concern for his partner's feelings, then its not necessarily better for anyone involved for you to end it.
posted by carmen at 6:32 AM on June 20, 2007

So, what do I do?

1) find some self-respect
2) find a therapist
3) find a replacement for whatever form of smack you're ingesting
posted by matty at 9:46 PM on June 23, 2007

« Older Room for Rent   |   Rich Dad, Poor Dad: buying out a family home Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.