Should I have this affair?
July 16, 2007 11:19 PM   Subscribe

Should I have this affair?

About five years ago I met this guy, let's call him Jack. We hit it off as friends, had the most amazing conversations, stimulating, fun, intelectually charged. When I went away to another city we realized we were madly in love and had the most passionate phone/e-mail conversations ever. One day he disappears. I later learned he had gotten back together with an old girlfriend and I was devastated, hurt, angry. Never talked to him again. We never had even a single a kiss.

Fast forward six months, I meet the man of my dreams - let's call him Bill. We have amazing sex, the most harmonious mature relationship I ever experienced, we can talk for hours, we are incredibly happy. We have been together for 4 years, living together for 2. Everything is amazing. We are getting married in a couple months.

Two weeks ago I hear Jack has been through a horrible personal tragedy. I send him a very short e-mail note saying I'm sorry and hope he's getting by. A few days later I get an e-mail back saying how happy he is I made contact, that I was a great friend and he thought about getting back in touch over the years but never knew how.

So we start exchanging e-mails. We talk about a lot of stuff, our lives, our common interests. It's really great having him as a friend again. Among other subjects, we sort of settle our grudge, which is great. But this innevitably brings back our whole friendship-turned-platonic-passion thing. After a handful of e-mails we are there again... He catches me off guard when he says he thought about me all these years, he has suffered a lot because he caused us never to happen as lovers. He tells me the most beautiful things about how he feels about me. I'm in love with him again, and we desperately want to see each other (we still live in different cities).

He knows I'm engaged. We talked about it, and he knows it's all up to me. He respects me and my position a lot. However, he says we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair. I believe him - the way all the feelings have come back and swept me, I realize I was never properly over him, even if my love for my fiance is real and true.

One thing is the love I'll feel for all of my life for my husband.
The other is this hot crazy sexual passion for a guy I never had, with whom I have a strong connection.

I want to do it. I have, so far, been completely able to compartimentalize both men: Jack's return did not have any effect on my relationship with Bill. It's almost as if things with Bill are on such a steady, strong course that a sexual affair cannot derailed it.

Why should I not have this affair once and for all, have an amazing time with this dear friend that has returned, resolve the huge mounting sexual tension between us so we can go on being friends?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (115 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hell no.

This, this right here?
he says we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair.
This manipulative yet utterly cheeseball line alone should make you run screaming for the hills. If you are temporarily blind to the fact that he's clearly a no-good player (hey, it happens to us all) consider the fact that you never even kissed this man. All the supposed torrid sexual passion exists only in your mind. For all you know he's a sloppy kisser with a 2" dick. And herpes.
posted by fshgrl at 11:28 PM on July 16, 2007 [37 favorites]


Easy. No. It won't finish anything, it'll just open a whole new can of messed-up-ness. Never trade the really great thing that you know is really great for something you actually know you be not so great but you have daydreams about.
posted by anaelith at 11:29 PM on July 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Should I have this affair?

Er, no. You should take a deep breath, realize you have a wonderful thing going and you're jeopardizing it for sex. That means cutting off communication with this guy and being an adult, OR letting your fiance off the hook so that you can pursue this fling.

It's almost as if things with Bill are on such a steady, strong course that a sexual affair cannot derailed it.

For you, perhaps, but if your fiance finds out (odds are quite good that he will) do you really think he'll feel the same way?

Bottom line: all the justification you contrive doesn't change the fact that you have to choose one or the other, you can't have both without lying to the man you purport to want to spend the rest of your life with -- and that's a terrible, horrible way to kick off a marriage, don't you think?

Let one of 'em go, and make the decision of which one BEFORE you (a) get married and (b) sleep with this other guy.
posted by davejay at 11:30 PM on July 16, 2007


he says we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair. I believe him

That sounds, at face value, utterly manipulative.

Are you sure you're not in love/lust with this perfect model in your mind, and the real-life person isn't taking (maybe even a little bit) advantage of this?

FWIW, many of us go through similar through our lives. Sometimes it just means that we have to look at a memory fondly for what it is, rather than try to express the fulfillment of that possibility in actuality.

No one here can say for sure that you should not do this...however my suggestion is to accept it for what it is and not move forward into shark infested waters (and leave as an exercise to you to determine which of you three is the shark).
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:31 PM on July 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


davejay is right.

I'm not sure whether it's the self-serving justifications, or the way you unironically describe your love for your fiance as "real and true," but you sound very immature.
posted by smorange at 11:44 PM on July 16, 2007


ummm, you have 4 years of an incredible, trusting, mature relationship

vs.

a handful of hot emails?

do your fiancee a favour and dump him. you clearly don't understand what commitment involves yet, and it's only fair to him to let him go before you fuck up his life with your own selfish interests.
posted by wayward vagabond at 11:56 PM on July 16, 2007 [31 favorites]


wow.

No. This guy was a jerk before and is now just trying to manipulate you.

And I agree with others, you are being very selfish to think that you can have this fling and it won't affect your fiance.
posted by PinkButterfly at 12:03 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jesus, of course you shouldn't have the affair. It should probably raise serious questions in your mind about your committment to your pending marriage that you're even considering it.
posted by Justinian at 12:03 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


No.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:06 AM on July 17, 2007


Although I feel like there is a fish hook within the saga you have described, I think you should go ahead and have the affair...but first, tell your fiance about it. Strong bonds and deep love will ensure that everything turns out fantastically, just as it normally does in Mills & Boon the movies real life.
posted by peacay at 12:11 AM on July 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


You know how I feel about my husband? I want to protect him, defend him, honor him, celebrate him, and do whatever I can to make his life better; any day that I can add even a drop more happiness to his life is a good day. I want to SMASH anything that would ever, ever hurt him.

You're not ready for marriage. So go ahead and have the affair, but break it off with your fiance first.
posted by taz at 12:13 AM on July 17, 2007 [104 favorites]


He's wrong. You will not regret never having had an affair with him. Time will pass. If you are being truthful about the way you feel about your fiance, you will be happy with your husband, you will build a life and a history together. If you cease contact with your ex now, your conscience can still be (fairly) clear. You will feel you have done the right thing and that can be compensation for the fact that you may have done some emotional cheating.

If you have an affair with this man and still marry your husband, the regret will be for that act. And that is a much more difficult, lifelong burden to bear. If you think you can have an affair with this ex and live with the guilt after getting married anyway, well, you may be a sociopath, but you are capable of compartmentalizing and probably an ideal adultress.

If, however, you are the kind of selfish asshole who not only would have an affair, but then would later tell your husband about it to "get it off your chest", so that YOU feel better about it and HE is devastated, then do not do this to him.

So, in short, if you really want to get married, really want everything that a true partnership and marriage implies, you should not do this.

If you just HAVE to do it, at least do right by your fiance and either never tell him about it and suffer silently with the guilt, or break it off with him first. Regret over a "might have been" affair is a lot easier to deal with than regret over ruining the life of someone you love.
posted by Lieber Frau at 12:14 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'll not make the call on which guy you should be with, but either way you go you MUST NOT have an affair. Be someone who's worthy of the affection of two men by treating them honourably and honestly.
posted by Lucie at 12:14 AM on July 17, 2007


he says we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair.

Yes, you will. I have a very dear friend that I always wanted to have a fling with. The feeling was mutual, but we've never been single at the same time over nearly twenty years. That's the only reason it never happened. And you know what? We got over it. You will too.
posted by happyturtle at 12:15 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


if you are considering cheating before you even get married, maybe you should reconsider the marriage.

I have recently been on the receiving end of being cheated on and it sucks. Do you really think that 'Bill' deserves this?

Make the right choice that my SO of 5 years didn't have the courage to.
posted by ThFullEffect at 12:16 AM on July 17, 2007


Have the affair if you like but when your fiance asks you WHY don't say because liquorice told you to.

You seem to be lacking conflict about this choice and if telling yourself that it's inevitable is what helps you make that decision easier then so be it.

We're not the moral police but if you end up regretting the decision don't think you didn't have any forewarning about the consequences.
posted by liquorice at 12:16 AM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Frankly, I don't think you have what it takes to have an affair, and to then move on with your life. If you did, you wouldn't even be asking this question here. And you wouldn't be fawning over some "old friend" that went through some "personal tragedy" and now you want to fuck so you can get over that "sexual tension" hump. Puh-leeze. Your tone is one of weakness.

And so you will pay for your mistake. I really doubt you are prepared to continue in a relationship with someone as good to you as your fiancee, once you fuck some other guy. What's the next morning going to be like - all milk and cookies? How about the next day? And the week after that? And I don't mean to single you out. But you'll never get over it. And you probably know this, but the prospect of getting laid is so good that you probably forgot.

So having an affair with emotional justifications - but just to get laid - is fucking dumb, and if you don't mind my saying, something a stupid teenager would do. You'll inevitably need to get this out of your system, though, so I suggest get to fucking and do your fiancee a favor and flush your relationship down the toilet as soon as possible.
posted by phaedon at 12:20 AM on July 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


Do you think you're getting slightly cold feet on the approach to your wedding that you'll never ever get to have sex with anyone else ever again? Because I think that very fact you're contemplating infidelity just before you marry means that you will indeed have sex with other men, it's just a matter of time.

Has anyone you loved ever been unfaithful to you? Do you know how it feels? For me, initially, it felt like my chest had been squashed (that's the breaking heart bit) and then for months and years afterwards I had trust issues, and self esteem problems. Do you think you'd never tell your husband? You'd happily lie to him or keep a secret from him forever? Where's the depth in that relationship? Or worse, you do tell him, so that you'll feel better. Do you want him to feel the way I've just described?

Getting over somebody doesn't happen because you have sex with them. That's just crazy talk. (Unless of course, they've got mutant genital and are oozing pus - that might help.) What was the other reason you thought this was a good idea?

If you care about your fiance, if you truly love him, either you'll cut off all contact with this man, and wait for time to heal over your desire for him (and that will happen, seriously, enough time, and the person fades into a cartoon character that you can't really remember) or you'll end your relationship with your fiance, before you cheat on him, because that hurts much less.

But why the hell would you risk a mature, and wonderful relationship for a jerk? Really? They don't come round everyday, you know.
posted by b33j at 12:22 AM on July 17, 2007


Huh. Usually people only post questions like these to AskMe if they've already made up their minds.

So yeah, go ahead.

But first, suggest to your husband-to-be that, since you're about to be married soon, that he should get all of his lusts out of the way and just get it on with that cute secretary at his office (or, you know, whatever). Since you're planning on doing it, and you think it won't affect your relationship, it's only fair that he gets his rocks off too.

See how you feel when you think about him moaning with pleasure as he embraces some other woman. A woman with larger, firmer breasts, better hair, and a sexier voice. A woman you do not, and never will, know.

Then, if you feel hunky dory about that, go on and have your affair.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:27 AM on July 17, 2007 [9 favorites]


resolve the huge mounting sexual tension between us so we can go on being friends?

In what world does that concept work?

(unless, of course, the sex is an abysmal disappointment)
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:28 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


please break off your engagement and take some time to really consider if you are mature enough for marriage.
posted by sid at 12:30 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


The sad part is you're going to do it anyway, despite the good advice here. I feel bad for your fiance, he doesn't deserve it.
posted by wubbie at 12:34 AM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


You should be asking your fiance this question, not us. For all you or we know, he may be in favor of it. In that case, full speed ahead.

If, however, he's strongly against the idea of your having an affair with another guy on the eve of your wedding - as most men would be - you should either break your engagement, or decide that you're not going to have an affair.

I'm surprised you need this explained to you, because from over here where I'm sitting, it looks pretty obvious. Beginning a lifelong relationship with this level of deception and dishonesty is evil. It's a waste of your fiance's time, energy, and love. If you do it anyway, it makes you a bad person.

It's almost as if things with Bill are on such a steady, strong course that a sexual affair cannot derail it.

Is that so? What does Bill have to say about that?

"Do you, Bill, take this woman, who has been sleeping with someone else for the last two months, to be your lawfully wedded wife?" What do you think he'd say? What's he going to say when Jack shows up drunk at the wedding and makes a scene?

Any train can be derailed. If you don't get smart fast, you are heading for a train wreck.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:45 AM on July 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


No, it's not worth it. I think you know the answer to that already, and it's more than a little sad that you asked the question in the first place. Did you really think someone here would say "Go for it! There's nothing wrong with having this affair"?

One thing is the love I'll feel for all of my life for my husband.


It doesn't matter in the least how you feel about your (future) husband if you have an affair. This is a real catch-22: if you were really in love with your fiancee/husband, then you wouldn't have an affair. Think of it as the difference between "love" and "being in love". If I'm being pedantic, it's because you seem really childish, not to mention prone to Jack's manipulation.

You have to decide. The root of the word "decide" comes from a Greek word meaning "cut away". So who are you going to cut away, Jack or Bill? That Y-intersection is coming up, fast, and you'll have to choose one or the other.
posted by zardoz at 2:28 AM on July 17, 2007


Seeing as you are obviously driven by your desire for the hot-and-steamy, consider this scenario: you have the affair, 'Bill' finds out and dumps you, you feel remorse and attempt to resolve things with 'Bill' but in doing so 'Jack' gets bored/thinks you don't care about him/moves on and now you are out of A, a great relationship and B, the "friend/lover" who has already proven his ability to cut you out of his life for others. Thus no sex.

After finished pondering the involuntarily celibate life, consider how you felt when 'Jack' wound up in the relationship that broke your friendship. Apply this feeling to your fiancee. Repeat as necessary.
posted by roygbv at 2:29 AM on July 17, 2007


Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, god I'm stupid.

Jack's playing you. Speaking as a married man, there are several unresolved relationships from my past, hot stuff, you know, where if something had been different, me and that girl might have hooked up and it would have been a great.

But I'm married now and while I still think of these things with a smile and a twang of "dammit!", I got over it. You can get over this to.

Finally, ask yourself who would you feel if Bill was contemplating what you're contemplating. If it doesn't bother you, maybe you should talk with Bill about an open marriage.

But either way, don't sleep with Jack.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:50 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


For the sake of your finance, discuss this with him.
posted by ifthe21stcentury at 3:27 AM on July 17, 2007


However, he says we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair. I believe him

He is a selfish manipulative jerk and you are a sucker. If he cared about or respected you, he would be walking in the opposite direction and leaving you alone, not trying to manipulate your emotions so that he can get laid. In behaving in this way, he also shows no respect for your fiance - just personally, anyone that disrespects my boyfriend gets a smack in the face, and I don't know why you've not done this already.

I live by the idea that you are supposed to be going forwards in any relationship you have with a person, not backwards. This dude is backwards, very backwards. I would suggest you break all contact with him and move on with your life.

But you're gonna do it anyway, this question was an attempt to find the one person that would justify the decision for you. I feel bad for Bill.
posted by saturnine at 3:57 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why should I not have this affair once and for all, have an amazing time with this dear friend that has returned, resolve the huge mounting sexual tension between us so we can go on being friends?

Are you serious? Because you're asking, "Why should I not deceive my future husband?" You really need to ask why?

Okay, because you're not even married yet, and your marriage will be sitting on top of a big lie.

Because (even though everyone thinks they can keep a secret), secrets like this usually come out in the end*, and when they do, your husband and marriage will be devastated.

When questions like this come up, usually someone confuses honesty with prudery. For the record, I think it's too bad our culture makes such a big deal our of sex. In a perfect world, we'd all separate casual sex from love, and if someone in a marriage wanted to go fuck a friend, his/her spouse would say, "Okay, honey, have fun! Just be back in time for dinner, or call me if you're decide to stay over with your lover."

But we don't -- most of us -- live in that world. So unless you've worked out such a lifestyle with your husband, having an affair is deception. It's LYING. Why should you not lie to get what you want? Because lies hurt people.

Leave your husband and try to have a relationship with this guy; or give up the affair and commit to your husband.

*how do secrets like this come out in the end? A. Over the years, spouses get to know each other really really well. Tiny clues, undetectable by anyone else, give lies away. B. It's hard to keep an affair secret just between two people. Remember the six degrees of separation theory? Someone who knows someone who knows someone... knows your about the affair and also knows your husband. C. People tend to feel guilty after a while and, sometimes when drunk or talking in their sleep or in a fight, sometimes when totally conscious, calm and sober, they confess.
posted by grumblebee at 3:59 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you really think that your relationship is strong enough to absorb the kind of deception you're talking about, it must be strong enough for you to discuss it with your fiance. If you aren't willing to do that (and nothing suggests that you are) then I think that you know that everything else you've written is only rationalization.

One of the parts of being a grown-up is realizing that because of previous commitments (including conscience) you will not get to do everything that you might like to do if you ruled the world and controlled all the consequences.
posted by OmieWise at 4:20 AM on July 17, 2007 [7 favorites]


Well, I mean, noting that first thing you said about your current relationship is "we have incredible sex"...I don't think you're in it to win it anyway.

Break up with your guy now, do whatever you're going to do, and grow up about 75% before you consider getting married to someone else. There's no need to leave a trail of devastation in your wake.
posted by TomMelee at 4:49 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is exactly the scenario I use as an example of "ready for marriage." In the course of your married life, there will be other people with whom you have chemistry. Chemistry doesn't MEAN anything, it's not a mandate, it's not something you *back of hand to forehead* must see through. All it means is that you're not dead, and that a committed relationship doesn't somehow flip a switch and make the world an entirely different place than it was before. That whole thing about relationships being hard? This is one of those times, when you have to make the needs of the relationship you have chosen to be in a higher priority than the primate section of your own needs.

If you are willing to shrug and sigh and move along, even when things aren't all cookies and puppies at home, you are ready.

It's pretty clear this guy has spun your head. That's why some of us, in our definitions of monogamy, include emotional monogamy in the deal. I don't get into clandestine highly-charged conversations with other people because I know that that's such a cheap easy way to ratchet up a bunch of intensity and adrenaline and hormones that'll keep me from using my forebrain.

On the other hand, you keep claiming to be in love with this other man based on emails and tingly feelings in the pants. Your fiance deserves to know this, because he needs to be able to make an educated decision about the enormous life choice he is making. Be a grownup long enough to own your behavior and do that.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:57 AM on July 17, 2007 [21 favorites]


If this guy was really worth anything, HE'D be the one telling you what metafilter is telling you - that this would be an appalling betrayal of your fiance.

Is there any personal honor left in this world? Have you no sense of decency? How could you live with yourself if you did this?

I know a woman who started an affair two months before her wedding. She left the bewildered, betrayed new husband weeks after they got back from the honeymoon. She's happy with her new guy, years later, but I still cannot think well of her.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:08 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been Bill, and it never ceases to amaze me that pricks like Jack get to first base. If he had any respect for you at all, he'd be backing off. The fact that he isn't should have been all you needed to tell you he isn't really your friend.
posted by flabdablet at 5:15 AM on July 17, 2007 [6 favorites]


If you need to ask for reasons not to cheat on your fiance, you're not ready for marriage. Break it off with Bill or you won't make it to three years.
posted by Plutor at 5:23 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


[a few comments removed, take your silly jokes and judgeme responses to email or metatalk]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:25 AM on July 17, 2007


If you do it, which I think you probably will, here's the secret. Don't fucking tell your fiance. Ever. Even when you feel so bad and it's ten years down the road and you regret what you did every stupid second of your life, don't tell him, because then you are just transferring your guilt and pain to him.

You can have a one-off fling with someone, as long as you are willing to live, silently, with the guilt and shame for the rest of your life. Now, consider whether that is worth a night of probably mediocre sex.
posted by mckenney at 5:27 AM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


You should have the affair. It'll be the best sex you have all week.
posted by Captaintripps at 5:31 AM on July 17, 2007


If Jack can completely abandon you after hooking up with his old girlfriend, can refuse to contact you, and can encourage you to jeopardize a relationship that's important to you, how does he respect ANY position of yours? You are his booty call, and if you think he's going to be ready for a completely platonic relationship after this, you're wrong...he'll either want to continue sleeping with you, or he'll abandon you altogether.

Look, not sleeping around is one of the most basic requirements you have to fulfill in a marriage. If you can't do that, do your fiance a favor and let him know now. A broken engagement is easier to deal with than a divorce because your wife was screwing someone else.
posted by christinetheslp at 5:33 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's almost as if things with Bill are on such a steady, strong course that a sexual affair cannot derailed it.

So go tell your husband to be you are going to screw an old flame behind his back and see how easily a sexual affair can derail a relationship.

You don't have affairs when in a serious relationship. There's no buts or whatever.

Would you be happy with your partner had an affair behind your back? If the answer is honestly a 'yes' then you should not be getting married.

Personally, I don't think you have a clue what a serious relationship is really about and you probably shouldn't be in one.
posted by twistedonion at 5:38 AM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


He knows I'm engaged. We talked about it, and he knows it's all up to me. He respects me and my position a lot. However, he says we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair.

bullshit. people get over each other all the time without having farewell sex. he's under a lot of stress and is turning to you because you represent a happier time in his life. it's affirming to him. if you were single, i would say yes, some therapeutic buddy-sex wouldn't be a bad idea, but you're not single. you have no idea what you'll do to your marriage if you follow through on this.

and to say it's entirely up to you...it's not. it takes two, and already he's trying to lay the responsibility all on you. think about it--if he says it's up to you, then he is not involved in this decision. if he has recused himself from making the decision, he is not invested in the outcome. in otherwords: he doesn't care.

don't do it. he's using you. he may not be doing it to be malicious, but he is putting his needs ahead of yours. you need to put your own needs ahead of his, and that means preserving your wonderful relationship with bill.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:39 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but this has "I wish that I hadn't done that" written all over it.

If you really want to go ahead with this affair, then tell your fiance that you're not ready to get married right now. The vast majority of people who enter into marriage do so expecting fidelity and honesty. If your new husband finds out that you betrayed him, it's not very likely that the marriage will emerge unscathed.

There are plenty of other stressors lurking in your future that will challenge your marriage. Many of these - illness, job stress, family woes - are not under your control. This one is. Take control, make life easier on yourself, and don't be deceitful at this early juncture.
posted by Flakypastry at 5:43 AM on July 17, 2007


don't get married - if this is what you are thinking, it is unfair to marry. you seem conflicted, you do not seem serious about making your marriage work.
posted by Flood at 5:47 AM on July 17, 2007


...I was a great friend and he thought about getting back in touch over the years but never knew how.

"I really regret not banging you when I had the chance."

Seriously, do everyone a favor and go sleep with this guy. Make sure your fiance knows about it so he's not saddled with someone that has such poor decision making skills.
posted by electroboy at 5:57 AM on July 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


The easiest way to not have the affair is to see everything he's saying as the product of his horrible personal tragedy. One of the side-effects of such a tragedy is having nothing to lose, and so if he is desperate for companionship or sex, he will literally tell you whatever you need to hear.

If you want to be a good friend to this person during a time of tragedy, please do not take advantage of his clouded judgment by catching it. He clearly needs help and you can't help him if you become embroiled in a personal tragedy of your own.

I don't have the puritanical "Once you are married you'll never have sex with anyone else EVER" perspective. Sex is a way of understanding yourself and learning about others, and I find the pressure put on fidelity to be sadistic and unnatural. If this was a clean one-night stand or some sort of healthy expression of sexuality, I'd say eh, worth considering. But it's not, he's asking you to join him in his nightmare, as if that would dispel it instead of just stretch it to accomodate two. You've got to shut this down.
posted by hermitosis at 6:00 AM on July 17, 2007 [12 favorites]


I think you're being a dumbass for even considering it.
posted by uncballzer at 6:02 AM on July 17, 2007


It seems to me you've decided to do it anyway, regardless of what it means to Bill.

...now think about that for a moment: regardless of what it means to Bill. In other words, your orgasm is worth more to you than he is. Think about that for a while: you don't love him.

Even if you don't sleep with Jack, it doesn't change the fact that you don't love Bill.

Quit looking for excuses.
posted by aramaic at 6:05 AM on July 17, 2007 [6 favorites]


I have been both Jack and Bill, but IANYJ and IANYB.

First, the most ethical and caring course of action is to cut off contact with Jack, and to not find a new Jack. You know that, I know that, everyone knows that. (Whether your doubts indicate that you should also cut off things with Bill is a different question; I would say no, because if every marriage in which someone contemplated cheating ended, there would be very few intact relationships in this world.)

But second, lots and lots and lots of people have these doubts before a wedding, and a not insignificant fraction of people have some sort of last fling. So if you hook up with this guy, you will have lots of company in the world. If you do want a final fling, then there are two really important things: don't ever tell Bill, and find someone more worthy of your affections than Jack. Other commenters have discussed why telling Bill is a bad thing, so I won't repeat that. I'm suggesting ditching Jack and finding a new guy to sleep with (assuming that you are set on going forward with this) because his actions, as you describe them, are so clearly manipulative, sleazy, and immature as to leave a bad taste in my mouth just from reading your description. Sex is good stuff -- share it with someone who is an adult, not someone who uses ridiculous lines like "we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair."

I guess what I am saying is that although cheating is a bad thing generally, if you are going to do it, do it well. Do it in a way that (and with a person who) indicates respect for both yourself and Bill. And own your decision -- you aren't doing this because of some super intense passion for Jack, you are doing this because of how you feel, right now, about Bill and your current relationship with him, and your fears about the future. Jack, or his replacement, is simply the object of convenience in this drama. And for heaven's sake, use a condom -- you don't know how many other women Jack is playing this game with, and bringing home a surprise for Bill would really be the icing on this cake.
posted by Forktine at 6:07 AM on July 17, 2007


NONONONONONONO.

The guy is just horny.

NO.

DO NOT JEOPARDIZE YOUR FUTURE WITH THIS MAN. And do not do this to your fiance.
posted by konolia at 6:15 AM on July 17, 2007


So.. you've been swept off your feet emotionally by an extremely charismatic man, but whose actions clearly denote him as a douchebag. Don't be ashamed of that, we can all be taken in by cheeseball lines and charisma from time to time, but recognize that's what this is.
posted by wackybrit at 6:15 AM on July 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


Don't get married, you aren't emotionally mature enough to handle it.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:19 AM on July 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


What EMRJKC94 said. I'm engaged, and if every guy I've ever known begged to have sex with me, it still wouldn't enter my mind for a second to actually do it. Not because it's wrong, but because I'm not interested. My focus is where it should be, on my fiance.

Also, if Bill is the kind of guy you can talk to for hours, he's probably the kind of guy who is going to lay in a fetal position sobbing for hours after he's found out what you've done. Do you really want to be the cause of that?
posted by desjardins at 6:25 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't get married, you aren't emotionally mature enough to handle it.

I'm really frustrated by these sorts of responses here. The situation the poster is in could happen to anyone, single, married, or otherwise. So many people have talked themselves down from even higher ledges, still making the right choice in the end.

It's perfectly reasonable for the poster to be going through this in the scary months before a wedding. By asking for advice in a public forum, the poster has demonstrated at least the pretense of being willing to consider advice even brutal AskMe advice. Attempting to convince the bride-to-be that she has proven unqualified to participate in the successful, enduring relationship that she ALREADY HAS and should kick the legs out from under it seems glib and snide. For all any of you know, your own husband or wife has been here, sorted themself out, and loved you all the better and more faithfully for it.
posted by hermitosis at 6:33 AM on July 17, 2007 [8 favorites]


The situation the poster is in could happen to anyone, single, married, or otherwise.

Some people have something called self-control.

Anyway, with respect to the question, having an affair has got to be one of the dumbest way to start a marriage.
posted by chunking express at 6:40 AM on July 17, 2007


Don't do it!
posted by zackola at 6:41 AM on July 17, 2007


And yeah, as others have pointed out, maybe you shouldn't be getting married? Having a crush on someone is one thing, but seriously contemplating having an affair is another.
posted by chunking express at 6:41 AM on July 17, 2007


I'm going to join the chorus of NOs here. No, you shouldn't have the affair.

If you do, you will seriously jeopardize your relationship with the man you actually love for the sake of sex with the man you're lusting for. You only really want Jack because you can't have him. Sometimes we all have serious itches that we can't scratch, and it drives us nuts for a little while, but if we leave it alone and ignore it for a little while it'll go away by itself.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:42 AM on July 17, 2007


No.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:56 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just end your engagement and move in Jack. Then four years later when you're bored, you can move on to Peter or Ringo or whothefuckever and you can spend your whole life going from man to man the minute you get bored with one.

Do it for Bill at least, because he deserves to have this bullshit non-relationship over with.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:57 AM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


No magical transformation is going to take place when the OP reads these responses. Either they will or will not have this affair. Even if they decide not to go forward with the affair, their basic line of thought sets off alarm bells as far as their ability to successfully enter into marriage.
posted by daveleck at 6:58 AM on July 17, 2007


I'm really frustrated by these sorts of responses here. The situation the poster is in could happen to anyone, single, married, or otherwise.

What could happen to anyone? They could become attracted to someone other than their spouse? Right, that COULD happen to anyone (and DOES happen to people all the time), and it's nothing to be ashamed of.

But I don't think that's what's irking people here. It's certainly not what's irking me. What gets me is anon's seeming lack of care about her future husband's feelings.

Why should I not have this affair once and for all, have an amazing time with this dear friend that has returned, resolve the huge mounting sexual tension between us so we can go on being friends?

If she really cares about Bill, the answer to this question is obvious.
posted by grumblebee at 7:00 AM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Have the affair; don't have the affair. But dump the fiancee.

Sounds like he deserves better.
posted by dreamsign at 7:04 AM on July 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


By the way, as a married guy, I can tell you that if my wife came home and admitted she'd had sex with someone else, we'd get over it. It would be hard and painful, but we'd eventually be able to move on.

On the other hand, if I found out that she'd had an affair ten years ago, and that all this time she'd been keeping it from me, I'm not sure our marriage would survive.

Giving into an (all too human) urge, feeling guilty, and then confessing is one thing; years of deception is something else entirely.
posted by grumblebee at 7:04 AM on July 17, 2007


I had a GF who found herself in a similar situation involving myself and another guy. I ended up walking in on them in flagrante dilecto. Now we're not even friends.

Bully for you for having more then one guy falling over himself to get at you. Grow up.

Also, Wayward Vagabond; I love you.
posted by Pecinpah at 7:08 AM on July 17, 2007


I think feelings like this are somewhat normal before making a big commitment (see Patsy Cline's song Cried All the Way to the Alter). You really just have to ride them out and see what happens to them as the marriage approaches. But you have to act now by telling this other man that you need to think about it and not talk to him for awhile. That way, without this smooth operator whispering in your ears, things may cool off and rationalize for you.

Also, pick up some copies of books related to such feelings, both pro and con, such as Anna Karenina (did the job of squashing such desires for me), Madame Bovary, Lady Chatterly, and the like...or movies if you don't have time.

I also would suggest seeing a professional counselor of cognitive behavioral therapist so you can sort out how you feel. It's possible neither of these relationships are good for you.

No matter what, you need to think about this long and hard, as it can have long-term consequences for you that it won't have for Jack.
posted by melissam at 7:10 AM on July 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Go ahead and have the affair, BUT only if you tell your fiance about your intentions to do so before you go through with it. And let the chips fall where they may.

At least your fiance will know what he's marrying, and it will be his choice to follow through with wedding on the basis of honesty.
posted by psmealey at 7:10 AM on July 17, 2007


I'm really frustrated by these sorts of responses here. The situation the poster is in could happen to anyone, single, married, or otherwise.

She posted an AskMe about possibly having an affair, without once making reference to the feelings of her fiance. The final paragraph makes it clear that she treats this as a game. That is not a situation that could happen to "anyone".

possible OP troll caveat withstanding
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:10 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


i'll second everyone who says Jack is a manipulative douche and you're an even more of an immature fool for falling for it.

only have this affair if you have no qualms about your future husbands feelings, emotions, thoughts, and you don't give a rats ass that he is going to suffer for it. its girls like you that keep my chemical romance and yellowcard swimming in money. please.stop.it.
posted by Stynxno at 7:23 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Btw, it should be stated that unacted upon, unresolved sexual tension is a fact of life for most adults. It builds character.
posted by psmealey at 7:29 AM on July 17, 2007 [6 favorites]


1. Read Lyn Never's comment a few more times.

2. Repeat to yourself: Chemistry is not a mandate. Chemistry is not a mandate. Chemistry is not a mandate.

3. If you're still confused, go to 1.
posted by myeviltwin at 7:29 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's almost as if things with Bill are on such a steady, strong course that a sexual affair cannot derailed it.

You are living in a fantasy. Real life is not a fairy tale. Have you even seen pictures of this guy? He could have gained 100 pounds and lost his looks. You could meet up in person and he'll be wearing the ugliest shirt you've ever seen with pants that clash. He could have bad breath. And the sex? All the supposed torrid sexual passion exists only in your mind. For all you know he's a sloppy kisser with a 2" dick. And herpes. Yea, that's right.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:30 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


The addictive, exciting drama of an affair, of being pursued so aggressively and passionately and having the weight of such a secret and the power of such a choice in your mind, can be very confusing and can mask the fact that this is a really bad idea.

If this guy was really worth anything, HE'D be the one telling you what metafilter is telling you - that this would be an appalling betrayal of your fiance.


Absolutely. He doesn't sound like a good guy; he's certainly not respectful of your committment, and it's a coward's game to suggest that "it's all up to you." He is responsible for his full 50% of the relationship you currently have - not 0%. He knows he's pushing at you, and that's a disingenuous way for him to seem disinterested and fair while encouraging you to become intoxicated with your power in the situation.

There is no reason for you to have this affair. What you've described with your fiance --

man of my dreams...amazing sex, the most harmonious mature relationship I ever experienced, we can talk for hours, we are incredibly happy.... been together for 4 years...Everything is amazing...getting married in a couple months.

-- is an incredible treasure that life has given you. You want to throw this away? Many people never have what your fiance brings into your life. Can you not find a way to value and appreciate that enough not to deeply hurt and possibly irrevocably damage that "amazing" relationship?

If the answer is no, then perhaps you should look at another possibility: that you're not ready for either of these relationships. Marriage is definitely a frightening thing. I wonder if you're reacting to the depth of the committment by trumping this side flirtation up to the level of all-consuming passion, giving yourself something else to think about, and a way to see yourself still as a free, single woman with unlimited choices. If you are not committed enough to recognize the sacrifice of future opportunities that marriage entails, then perhaps your question should not be "Should I have this affair?" but "Am I really ready to get married?"

All this energy you're putting into this intrusion from outside your relationship with your fiance is a distraction. I recommend taking that energy and putting it to work on your relationship with your fiance, which deserves more of your attention at this important moment in both of your lives.
posted by Miko at 7:34 AM on July 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


Here's seconding what someone else said above -

If you have this affair, never, ever tell your fiance / husband about it.

This exact thing happened to me. My wife (fiance at the time) cheated on my with some guy. I found out about the affair later, after we were married, on the day my dad died. It almost put me in a coma.

Actually, you know what? Please, please leave your fiance. Leave him alone, let him live in peace. You're only thinking about yourself. You're not thinking about what he wants at all. This is why people fucking suck. This is why I'm never getting married again. Exactly because of bullshit like this, and people like you.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:36 AM on July 17, 2007 [7 favorites]


No - hell no. But you want to, so lets face it, you're going to do want you want. You came here hoping a bunch of internet strangers would justify it and tell you it was alright, and to go for it, but obviously that didn't work. So now we all have no clue what we're talking about, "we just don't understand", and you'll do what you want.

Sp please, let Bill off the hook now; he deserves better, and needs to be able to move on, the sooner the better.

Put another way - how would you feel if the situation were reversed?
posted by cgg at 7:43 AM on July 17, 2007


Just to elaborate, since the magic eraser has flown by and is likely to do so again soon: how would you feel if your fiance flipped a coin to decide whether or not he should fuck around on you? Would everything be ok just because that coin came up heads?

This affair isn't going to ruin your potential marriage. You are ruining your potential marriage, and the trust it represents. Right now.

On preview: what Baby_Balrog said.

You know what the answer is: discuss this with your fiance and find out. The reason you aren't doing that is because your relationship cannot handle it. You're lying to yourself, you're lying to AskMe, and you've probably already lied to your fiance a dozen times keeping your little communications secret. End it here. With Bill. The one that counts.
posted by dreamsign at 7:47 AM on July 17, 2007


I'm actually very glad you've asked this question. I've been faced with a similar choice - and it is, ultimately, just that. It's a choice to do something that doesn't sit well with you, or else you wouldn't have asked your question in the first place.

So......all of this is based on e-mails? This whole thing is based on things you've read? Okay, let's back up for a second.

Since you're considering all of this based on what you've read, I'm going to ask you to try something very simple. Take up a pen and a piece of paper and spend a few minutes writing down some choices you've made that you regret. List everything from, "Well, there was the time I'd had too much to drink at my co-worker's wedding and said her wedding dress was "really flattering, all things considered", to "that feathered haircut in highschool", to "I took that awful job in Buffalo in the winter of '94."

Once you've done that, read your list and think about what you omitted. You know, all the things that don't make the list because you're too ashamed and guilty over them to even think about them, much less write them down. I'm talking about the things you can't even have on your mind when you look in the mirror in the morning or else you you wouldn't be able to go to work for fear someone might see those ugly realities splashed across your face. Really think about the particularly gruesome mistakes you've made that open up that hollow pit in your stomach. Spend some time swimming around in that particular cess pit of thought. Now consider this - the emotional fallout you will experience after even thinking about a "harmless fling" on this order of magnitude will be worse than all of those things combined. Even if you don't do the deed, long after this guy has stopped telling you everything you need to hear to consider getting into bed with him and has moved on to the next host he can affix his parasitic tentacles to, you will look back on your own stupidity and callousness for even considering his offer with PROFOUND REGRET. Because, sooner or later, you will look in the face of the man who loves you and understand that your choice affects him. He loves you and has invested in your mutual love to the extent that he wants to spend the rest of his life with you. Even considering betraying his trust will make you feel dirty and worthless. Perhaps you're well acquainted with those feelings already. If not, prepare yourself, because you will certainly become acquainted with them if you don't end this mind-fuck now before it becomes an actual fuck that will irrevocably destroy any faith your fiance has in you, and any fundamental sense of integrity you have in yourself. And you will have made the choice to do it even though you knew from the beginning it didn't feel right.

If you're frightened by the prospect of marriage - and, trust me, I understand that - the remedy does not lie in screwing someone else, or thinking about screwing somebody else. Screwing and pretty words never solved a thing. Most people are searching for the person who they can talk with for hours, laugh with, have great sex with, and who will put up with their bullshit for the next 40 years with minimal irritation and maximum understanding every day IN THE FLESH, not through a screen with little black letters on it. You've found him. If the bewildering luck of that isn't sinking in with you, you need to leave this man now. You need to leave him and go away and put yourself into a state of profound insecurity, soul-searching and reflection. Maybe you will find that you've been an idiot, you love him, you want to work things out, and you're willing to get serious about this relationship and the real responsibilities involved in commitment. Maybe he will take you back. That is, if he hasn't found somebody else or decided you weren't worth the trouble to begin with. You're playing with fire here, friend. I sincerely wish you and your fiance the very best of luck.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 7:56 AM on July 17, 2007 [63 favorites]


Hopefully just writing this question out made you realize how ridiculous your logic is. It's the classic "I have something great, but could I do better?" and you should never find out, especially since it's frighteningly clear that Jack (quite appropriately renamed, I must say) is a jackass.

You said you're satisfied with your fiance, so stay satisfied. Why screw up a good thing? If you really expect to get away with cheating on Bill (pre-marriage or post-marriage, cheating is cheating) and not have him eventually find out, you're delusional. Also, if you come clean and he says "oh, great, that's fine, go ahead and bang some other guy to see how I stack up", he's a doormat.

The only way you'd be able to test the waters with this Jack will be to tell Bill, and have him agree that it's fine, and allow him full cheating-on-you privileges, which I doubt you'd be OK with. And if you are OK with that, there's something screwy about your relationship.

Do you have extremely low self confidence and are falling in love with anyone who shows an interest in you? If so, are you getting married because you really love this guy, or because you're liking the attention?
posted by jeffxl at 8:07 AM on July 17, 2007


>>One day he disappears. I later learned he had gotten back together with an old girlfriend

Whoa, what a complete asshole.

>>he thought about getting back in touch over the years but never knew how.

The fact that he couldn't even be bothered to spend 10 minutes composing an email to you should tell you that his reports of thinking of you are greatly exagerrated.

>>He tells me the most beautiful things about how he feels about me.

Probably copied and pasted from emails to plenty of other women. This guy has "player" written all over him!

>>However, he says we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair.

How the hell does HE know how YOU'RE going to feel in the future? You don't even know that! The very fact that he would say this can be absolutely nothing other than a manipulation - I hope you see the logic in this. Unless he's some kind of authentic fortune-teller, that is. Do you believe in that crap?

Cut off contact with him. He's not your friend, he doesn't give a damn about you. He just wants sex and is selfish enough not to care a bit who he hurts in order to get it.

And Baby_Balrog, I'm really, really sorry to hear about what happened to you, but please, please know that not all, or even most, would ever do such a thing. There are many women commenting in this thread alone who would find the idea unthinkable.
posted by hazyjane at 8:19 AM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Learn to cherish the memory of a good platonic love. Write about what you feel now and felt then, talk to your therapist, to your one true friend who'll keep the secret, I don't know.
Don't have the affair, but DON'T dump your fiance over a crush, either. I'm amazed everyone here is so quick to sugest that, as if it was a simple thing to do and as if no one ever felt that way before taking such a big step as marriage.
posted by AnyGuelmann at 8:40 AM on July 17, 2007


Okay, first of all let's just get the outrageous offense that is "Jack's" mind-rape out of the way: he "says we'll never get over each other" until you have an affair? In other words, according to "Jack," you will never be truly happy until you fuck him. That's what he said. You realize that, right? That's your Mr. Wonderful. Sweet merciful Christ.

Oh, and he also is very respectful of the fact that you're engaged. So he wants you to be the one to decide if it's okay to fuck around. How generous of him.

So, right off the bat, let's put into play the quite obvious observation that Jack is in fact a complete motherfucking asshole. That sort of answers your original question in itself, doesn't it?

That said, let's move on to the actual problem you have, which like most of these types of questions isn't actually said in the question but revealed in the back story: that you are, quite clearly, not ready to marry "Bill."

I have a friend who basically went through exactly the same thing as the first paragraph of your story, i.e. the breakup and seeing another woman issue. The guy also later reached out to her years later after losing a friend and saying he suddenly realized he didn't want to hear from her again in the context of seeing her obituary in the paper. They started talking over the phone and e-mail. They revealed to each other they were still in love with each other. She moved back across the country to be with him. They're looking for a place together now; I'm expecting wedding invitations within the next year. She was scared to death about giving up her job, life, career, and yes- her current boyfriend- to go back and be with the guy she thought she still loved passionately even though they ended it years before because he was stupid and unfaithful. It worked out for them.

Sometimes it doesn't- in fact I was among the few of her friends who said she was crazy to do this- but her response was "I would never live with myself not knowing I tried to see if it would work." I have never been happier to have been wrong. I think I'll buy them the fondue maker. Moving on.

So the issue is, honestly, if your fiance is worth giving up for what you've convinced yourself is something you "have to do" in order to be happy. Your problem is you don't want to do that- you don't want to abandon everything in your life because this chance with another guy is worth it. That would actually be, you know, difficult. You want to- and let's be specific and straightforward here- cheat on your fiance. I'm trying to figure out how you can possibly consider a way this isn't a sign that you don't truly love him as much as you're trying to convince us all that you do. "Affair" and "fling" sounds so much more lighthearted and romantic, doesn't it? Except you want to cheat on the guy who holds the "love you'll feel for all of your life." Yeah, that guy. You want to tell him you're going away for the weekend so you can let another dude fuck you.

Essentially, there are two deep inner realizations here, neither of which you want to admit- that you definitely don't think this affair is really as worth it as you think it will be, and that you clearly aren't ready to be in a permanent relationship with your fiance.

This may sound harsh, but in a way it's hugely advantageous that you've come across this problem before you're actually married or- God forbid, having kids when you clearly aren't happy with what you're life will be like as a married woman. Here you are, not even married yet, wondering if you'll spend the rest of your marriage regretful and depressed because you aren't sure if you made the right decision to fuck another guy. Now admittedly it's just one other guy, but that's still essential to the problem you're facing with being engaged: you clearly want to have sex with other people. With the exception of having a husband who is also polyamorous, the definition of marriage is that you are fucking this one other person.

You need to talk to your fiance about this. And you need to see a marriage counselor. Because if you don't, even if you decide to never talk to "Jack" again and marry "Bill" and not resolve this issue you have, then, quite frankly, you're going to find yourself getting fucked a lot harder than a night with either of them.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:42 AM on July 17, 2007 [8 favorites]


I'm going to go against the grain here and say yes, you should go sleep with Jack. However, you should do it right after you leave your fiancee.

The fact that you can even ask this question proves that you don't give a shit about Bill. Most likely, he basically exists, to you, as some sort of silly ideal -- the man you're supposed to marry, even if he doesn't make you feel all tingly like Jack. Dare I ask if you've been planning your wedding since you were 8 years old, and already knew everyone who would be invited, what you would wear, and how everything would be perfect before you even met Bill?

If you really, truly loved him, you would not, as someone else has already said, be prioritizing you getting an orgasm over being truthful to the man you supposedly want to be with for the rest of your life. At least do one thing right by him: leave him now. Do not trick him into wasting his life with someone who has no real feelings or concern for him, as you clearly do not.
posted by tocts at 8:43 AM on July 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


If this was in any way an acceptable choice, why did you have to post anonymously?
posted by desjardins at 8:44 AM on July 17, 2007 [8 favorites]


Jack is definitely a manipulative player. I've had a particularly attractive male friend tell me while I was married, that he had felt "a connection" with me. I felt flattered when I should have felt disgusted. Thankfully, I told him to back off.

Another vote for no. I have a feeling you will hate yourself if you have an affair with this guy. Think of your fiance's feelings and what is at stake. The fact that you would think of sabotaging a wonderful relationship leads me to think you don't feel so highly of yourself right now. I don't say this to be mean. I say this because I've been there. Examine your self-esteem and self-worth. The reason I was so flattered that the above sleazy guy "felt a connection" with me is that I felt crap about myself and liked the attention.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:48 AM on July 17, 2007


What TryTheTilapia said.
posted by dersins at 8:49 AM on July 17, 2007


Why should I not have this affair once and for all, have an amazing time with this dear friend that has returned, resolve the huge mounting sexual tension between us so we can go on being friends?

There is a shitload of general advice in this thread about why any random person should not cheat on their two-months-away fiancee. Most of it is common sense that you've managed to ignore if you've gotten to the point where you are asking for moral advice on AskMe.

But why should *you* not have this affair? Because you are a regretmonkey. You regret things, apparently for years at a time. These thoughts haunt you. If you fuck your friend, you will regret it. Not because everyone regrets things, but because you are a regretful person. He will get pissed, and leave you. And you will regret that too.

What's worse, spending years regretting something that you could have had, but didn't, or spending years regretting losing something truly good that was yours, but you willingly fucked up for a bunch of emailed lines that a cyberpimp uses on many, many women?

(Psssst, it's the second one.)

Don't do it, regretmonkey.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:51 AM on July 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


More advice to baby_balrog to keep his chin up. I also was played by a former girlfriend in one of the worst, most humiliating, most despicable ways imaginable, but I recovered and found the true love of my life a few years later. Happily married now going on 8 years.

I also have to go with low self-esteem here. The user is asking about having an affair with someone with whom she has had no prior sexual congress, and has carried on in email only. I think it's one thing to feel torn about a former flame, but quite another to risk her current relationship on what's obviously an infatuation with someone who quite possibly exists on paper only (as a collection of assorted pickup lines, and entreaties for sex).

I also have to recommend the couples therapy and/or other counseling. Something is very, very wrong here.
posted by psmealey at 9:04 AM on July 17, 2007


Please don't.
posted by SpacemanRed at 9:05 AM on July 17, 2007


Let's forget about Jack and Bill for a second. Just, ignore that they're there. Who cares what the sex will be like, or what the long-term relationships will be life. Let's just look at you.

You talk as though this affair is in the cards, like it's completely unstoppable. All your rationality, all your emotion, all of your being is just moving towards the affair like a great big run-away train. So you say.

That sure isn't a good thing.

We're creatures with the power of choice. And if it feels to you as if you do not have that choice, that speaks of something very important going wrong. Perhaps Jack has manipulated you to the point where you can't hear your own decision process over his snake-oil psychology. Or perhaps you are so worried about your upcoming marriage that you are subconsciously searching for any way out. I don't know. But it's not right, and it's not normal, for someone to feel as though they cannot help themselves.

On a much smaller scale, I go through the same time every time there's a piece of chocolate cake sitting in front of me. I struggle with my eating, because I have a great way of associating chocolatey foods with comfort and safety. So, when that piece of cake is sitting there, it feels to me like I can't help it. "I can't control this! It's impossible for me to stop myself! I'm going to eat it, and there's nothing I can do about it." But, really, that's just me hiding from the choice. It's me trying very hard to avoid handling some very difficult issues. It's me acting like I'm weak, voiceless, and out of control because, sometimes, it's just so much easier. Easier and, oh yeah, stupid.

You are not a slave to passion, lust, or romance. You are not a slave to anything, in general. Stop thinking that you are. Stop talking yourself into believing that you don't have a choice. Do this for your own good. Maybe you'll need help to do it--professional help, from a therapist, as opposed to the manipulating, slimy "help" you're currently getting from Jack. But if you need help getting the sense of agency back, then get it.

It's a challenge; it's not destiny.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:13 AM on July 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


Honey! How old are you? Why are you still falling for men feeding you bullshit lines?

This is just a variant of "If you really loved me, you'd put out".

Although you should maybe not marry your fiance, either. I know, I know, EVERYTHING IS AMAZING, but you sound like the kind of person who is always infatuated. That's good stuff to work through with a shrink before you try to commit for life.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 9:15 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


"he says we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair. I believe him - the way all the feelings have come back and swept me, I realize I was never properly over him, even if my love for my fiance is real and true."

Others have picked at this line but it still needs saying. When you buy into the above you are a sucker to your feelings and that makes them into a handle for someone else to manipulate.

Consider this, you have the affair and both you and him get over each other afterwards. Wouldn't that imply that the affair wasn't all that great? After all you're content with leaving him behind. On the other hand, if the affair was really the experience of a lifetime than the last thing you're going to think is that you and him are over each other. There's no way to get the goal. If you do it for the sake of managing your feelings and you come out of it with your feelings resolved then the reward wasn't worth the price (betrayal) and risk. The only way it could possibly come out as a positive is if it turns out to be a great experience, so great you're willing to leave your fiance and go start a life with this guy. And if you think that's a realistic possibility, despite what you know of his character and your ignorance of what sex with him is like, then your best move is to cancel the wedding and break your current relationship.

And there are ways to handle your feelings besides shutting them off or indulging them. Try just sitting with the feelings, not the thoughts that bring the feelings, and acknowledging them eventually they will shift.
posted by BigSky at 9:19 AM on July 17, 2007


Look, Jack is a trashy player. You might be a trashy person too. You should really consider if Bill is right for you. I see trashy couples all the time and they seem happy in their own special way. The occasional affair or theft. A lax attitude on personal hygiene. Believing the rules don't apply to them.

If youre secretly a trashy person (you reason like one and dont seem too bright), then you should consider how much happier you would be with Jack. Bill can go off and find someone like himself. Its probably for the best.

I dont believe you can be occasionally trashy. Embrace it.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:21 AM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Comment from a user who would prefer to remain anonymous.

Here's a personal anecdote. Maybe you'll find it helpful:

Very shortly before my now-husband and I were engaged, I had the opportunity to have an affair. The guy in question was a coworker. We had things in common that I did not share with my boyfriend, there was a lot of chemistry between us, and he was really hot. He asked me out despite knowing that I was in a serious relationship, and I, immature and with some pretty big late-bloomer insecurity issues, managed to find that flattering: as if he wanted me so much that he wouldn't let the fact that I had a boyfriend stand in the way. That rationalization actually made sense to me at the time.

I did something I am not proud of: I accepted the date. It was the wrong decision. I had an indescribably rotten feeling in the pit of my stomach the whole time. I remember nothing about the movie we saw, because I was so preoccupied with how wrong the situation felt. In that short time it became very clear to me that if I wanted to have a mature, lasting relationship I simply could not let my own selfishness and insecurity take priority.

The movie ended, I told my coworker I had to go home, and I left. Nothing had happened. We never even kissed, although I'm fairly sure he was expecting a hookup that night. As ashamed as I am that I went as far as I did, I cannot tell you how glad I am that I stopped before anything else happened. The chemistry seemed so intense at the time, yet in hindsight I can see that it was nothing more than a crush, and that if I had let things proceed the guilt would have been unbearable. Even if my husband never found out I am certain it would have affected our relationship.

If I could do it over again, I would not have accepted the date. I love my husband, and now, years later, I am still disgusted with myself that I could have even considered betraying him. Regret stays with you, and it is a truly ugly thing.
posted by jessamyn at 9:23 AM on July 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


This is just a variant of "If you really loved me, you'd put out".

And it's just as odious.
posted by oaf at 9:32 AM on July 17, 2007


My policy is this: Feel free to do ANYTHING if you are willing to accept the Worst Case Scenario of that action. I.e, if the affair is worth what would happen if the guy slept with you, dumped you, and your to-be husband found out about it, left you, you fell into a depression and lost your job, then go right ahead.

I've done things that others would say are morally wrong, but only because I felt it was worth it to put everything on the line. If you feel the same, then go ahead.
posted by markovich at 9:39 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to judge the morality of this, because I don't care...

But you said:
Why should I not have this affair once and for all, have an amazing time with this dear friend that has returned, resolve the huge mounting sexual tension between us so we can go on being friends?

Do you really think that's what will happen? You can't possibly believe that this relationship will end with consummating it sexually, do you?
posted by apetpsychic at 9:49 AM on July 17, 2007


What markovich said.

You're an adult; he's an adult. Go ahead and do what you want.

But be prepared to live with the consequences - I mean, actually think about what those consequences could be, and think seriously (with your brain, not your hormones) about whether or not you can live with them, and yourself.

I think most here would agree that if you go ahead and do this, you really don't want to come back to ask.me a month from now with another anonymous question, which would read "I did a stupid stupid thing! I threw away an awesome relationship for a fling! Please help me get my fiance back!"
posted by rtha at 9:59 AM on July 17, 2007


Wow, I read what the OP asked and I actually got tears in my eyes.. I was so sad with the thought that someone could do that to someone they love... ugh... I feel sick thinking about it.
My advise... what 99% of the thread says, you are NOT ready for marriage. At least, at the very least, have some premarital counciling, please.

And "TryTheTilapia", your answer was amazing. It was a response that really struck me and made me realize just how much I love my husband... thank you.
posted by ForeverDcember at 10:10 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do.Not.Have.The.Affair.

You are not in love with Jack. Get that through your head. You are in love with THE IDEA OF JACK, the concept of him you have in the back of your mind, the guy you want him to be.

Jack is NOT that guy.

He's actually the guy who had absolutely nothing to do with you until you contacted him and then used your sympathy over a horrific tragedy to try to manipulate you into bed with him, even though he knows you are marrying another man.

Jack is a manipulative jerk, as has been said before. Bill is the real thing, and if you are still questioning yourself and not really just looking for validation for having an affair, you will stop corresponding with Jack completely right now, this minute.

You are really going to have to learn how to see through this kind of bs. He won't be the last man to proposition you, and if you want to make your marriage work, you'll learn how to cut this stuff off right at the start.
posted by misha at 10:37 AM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I actually have a former friend that did this (this is the reason why we are former friends, fyi - another consequence you may not have thought of).

So she talks to her fiance and she has the affair. Now she keeps on having external sexual relationships and says she is in an open relationship while her fiance has never slept with anyone else. Partially because she would go crazy if he did. Your perfect outcome, amirite?

I just spoke to a mutual friend. They are still not married and despite the "set" date, it keeps on being pushed back.

Cheers!
posted by spec80 at 10:55 AM on July 17, 2007


Don't have the affair. Have some guts here and shut Jack out of your life, forever, or break things off with Bill. You can't have things both ways.

And if you really care about Bill, you should stop emotionally cheating on him. Forming these in-confidence relationships with members of the opposite gender are disastrous if taken too far ... this is what your significant other is for, not some random fling from years ago.
posted by Happydaz at 11:05 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nope. Don't do it.

Conventional wisdom in this thread says don't do it. In my experience, whenever I've tried going against the conventional wisdom, I've gotten burned.
posted by drezdn at 11:50 AM on July 17, 2007


He respects me and my position a lot. However, he says we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair.

In other words, he's slyly suggesting that you should do it for Bill's sake, so that you can be more fully his when you're married. "See, screwing me will be good for your marriage! It's the noble thing to do!"

Great god, what a sleazy piece of work Jack is. I feel very badly for you that you're old enough to be engaged, but not mature enough to see through a threadbare cut-n-paste line like that. I wish you luck, but I fear you may have missed a few key developmental steps somewhere on the road to growing up. Until you learn to truly act like an adult by accepting responsibility for your own behavior, learning to predict consequences, and distinguishing wishful thinking from reality, you're not really ready to form a union with another adult. I agree with others -- at least postpone your marriage.
posted by ROTFL at 12:01 PM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think you should have this affair. Then break your poor fiancees heart, momentarily, by leaving him. But spare him a lifetime of anguish from being with someone like you. The thought processes described in this post are not those of someone who deserves a wonderful mate and a happy marriage.
posted by scarabic at 12:02 PM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Have you ever considered, anonymous, that this is just another one of Jack's little email ploys and will amount to nothing in the end - JUST LIKE IT DID LAST TIME? If you pack your bag to head on over to his house for your night of infamy, will he be gone? Back together with some other old girlfriend...? What a sorry sad sack you'd be in that moment. Maybe that moment wouldn't come until he'd bedded you a couple times. But it would come.

I can't believe you're considering opening the door to that a second time.
posted by scarabic at 12:37 PM on July 17, 2007


have the affair, but break off the marriage first. if you'd like to indulge in this sort of inane immature behavior, leave your poor fiancé out of it.
posted by nihlton at 12:59 PM on July 17, 2007


just FYI - if you are having these soul sharing moments with a person who is not your partner, many would say you are already having an affair.
posted by nihlton at 1:04 PM on July 17, 2007


I have been through an affair. It was great. Wonderful, great in many ways - bed too!
So, short term gain. Big gain, but I loved her so much, and cannot have her, that every time we communicated after the affair, it was killing me inside. I have never loved like it before, or since. It took 4 years for the flame, or memories of the flame to die.
If you go ahead, which I cannot judge you for, try not to put your whole life into it. It sounds weird what I say, but I am saying it from a damage control perspective. If you can, lust, but do not get involved. He knows you well enough to press all your buttons, so be very very careful. I wish you the best,

BB
posted by bright77blue at 1:07 PM on July 17, 2007


just FYI - if you are having these soul sharing moments with a person who is not your partner, many would say you are already having an affair.

ZOMG I'm having an affair with my sister

Other people's definitions of affair are pretty useless, because there are so many different ones.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:21 PM on July 17, 2007


One thing is the love I'll feel for all of my life for my husband.

Feeling isn't loving. Find your love in your actions, not your feelings. The actions you've outlined in your post don't have anything to do with love.
posted by heatherann at 2:31 PM on July 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


However, he says we'll never get over each other as long as we keep postponing our affair. I believe him - the way all the feelings have come back and swept me, I realize I was never properly over him, even if my love for my fiance is real and true.

Here's an easy trick to take the spice and intrigue right out of someone you want to stop feeling a crush on (which is what your feelings really are):

Imagine them taking a dump.

And not just a normal one either. A big stinky, vein popping, splattering, quivering, two and a half flusher. Try to make it as visceral as possible. Imagine the smells, the sounds, the stank sweat dripping down the back of their knees as their legs grip the throne, the thwap-thwap-thwap as another jet of air whooshes between their butt-cheeks.

Now imagine them wiping off, not showering or washing their hands, and walking into the room to make love to you.

Guaranteed to work. The nice thing about this, is offputting as it may be, it only works with people you have a crush on. Visualizing someone you genuinely love doing this will be off-putting, but you will still love them afterwards. But you'll feel icky about the crushes (and, in any case, your true love would at least have washed their hands).
posted by Deathalicious at 4:24 PM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Because your husband to be will know. Your every move after it happens will betray you. In fact, he probably, on some level, knows right now. Its really a question of whether he is in denial about it or not.

You will devastate the very basis of every good marriage--trust. The odds your marriage will be destroyed in one way or another are high.

Even if the odds were lower, the fact that what you are risking is worth so much makes it a very poor risk overall, from a merely pragmatic standpoint.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:09 PM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, really.

The way to get over someone is to have a special away time with them and lots of hot steamy passionate sex?

... Dunno about you, but every time that happens, I tend to get *extremely* attached, very quickly. Which is why I do it with my husband, and not other people, regardless of how much it itches sometimes.

Having sex will, in general, not diminish your feelings. Cut off contact for a few more years. At least. The flame will die down if you don't fan it.
posted by ysabet at 6:37 PM on July 17, 2007


If you pick at it, it won't get better. On the other hand, if you ignore it--cut off contact, I mean, and don't obsess over it--it will go away.

So, he just had a personal tragedy. Two things spring to mind:
1)He's looking for comfort in his grief, and has latched on to you. Understandable, but completely inappropriate given that you're engaged.
2)He's using your sympathy to get into your pants.

And when I read this:
He catches me off guard when he says he thought about me all these years, he has suffered a lot because he caused us never to happen as lovers.
I think he is lying, or has clouded judgement (because of tragedy) and is amplifying the occasional "I was an idiot back then, wasn't I", or is a bit immature and creepy (maybe it's just me, but it sounds like the kind of thing a stalker would say. Yeah, it's less creepy because you were actually in a relationship with him, but still a little creepy, IMO).

Also: resolve the sexual tension? Really? Okay, imagine that you do have sex with him, and it's amazing. Wouldn't that just be incentive to do it again? Wouldn't it be tempting?

Not to be crude, but if you're just horny (and that causes all of us to have bad judgement sometimes) then go jump your fiance or get yourself a vibrator. Use up some of that sexual energy in a not-cheating way.
posted by Many bubbles at 8:14 PM on July 17, 2007


Consider this: It's really odd how old flings remind you how close you once were to consuming a kiss/affair/lovelife way-back-when once they are either 1) getting married 2) becoming dads or 3) recently dumped. I know I've never been chatted up by previous maybe-beens without one of those things happening in their lives.

This is really one of those "It's not you it's me" things, HE needs to have an affair, clearly not you who are engaged to get married. So he tried to manipulate you, the easy already pre-groomed lay. Sheeesh. Don't even think about it. Its a bad sign that you did.
posted by dabitch at 3:10 PM on July 19, 2007


Being in the situation you have been in you need to have a good hard think about the type of person you are...

Are you selfish? Are you shallow? Are you untrustworthy? You might not think you are any of these things, but the people around you will, and the people who you hurt will.

Decide what type of person you want to be seen as - if you don't care, go ahead and have this affair... you're obviously the type of person who just don't give a shit.
posted by spotty_dog at 7:09 AM on July 20, 2007


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