Seeking advice regarding a married woman
Posted Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:06 AM
I have been friends with this woman for six years, since college. Back in the college days we would go out on the town together bar hopping quite frequently, we always had fun in each other's company and nothing ever happened between us. After college she moved a few states away, we still talked a few times a year but were not close friends anymore, she got married during this time.
This summer she moved back, got in touch with me, and we've been hanging out a few times a month since. We'll go to the gym and workout together, grab coffee, or go out to a bar together (her husband is always invited when we go for drinks but doesn't come out very often). Also, since I'm single and she's married she's, been showing me pictures of her single friends and offering to set me up on a date with them, they all happen to be out of state by a few hundred miles so nothing materialized on that front. Side note: has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? Literally every female friend I have that is married has at least once said she'll hook me up with a single friend of theirs.
At first our friendship was just like it was in college, but over the last few months she's become more open about what she tells me, both in off the cuff comments and topics of discussion. For example last time we worked out together as we were leaving the gym she was wearing a skirt and told me she forgot to bring panties to change into after the workout and things were drafty. I wasn't sure how to respond to that and just said "how do you forget that?", which was met with laughter. She's also told me about issues with her marriage, how they went through a rough patch and things never really got better, how her husband never initiates intimacy and she doesn't feel wanted, and how she misses being single. I asked her if she truly missed being single or missed that feeling of being wanted. She replied with it was that feeling of being wanted and if her husband provided that things would feel better. I told her to talk to her husband directly about that, to which she agreed and said she'd tried in the past.
In other conversations she'll tell me she doesn't feel pretty, while I don't say "your legs look amazing in that skirt" I do flatly tell her that she's an attractive woman and not to get down on herself. I have low self esteem myself and every once in awhile the conversation will turn to why I've been single for so long or why I'm seeing someone that's heavy set, and she'll give me that same validation that she thinks I'm attractive and wishes her husband would workout like I do.
Last couple times we've gone out for drinks she's been very hands on with me, touching my arms and putting her arms around me, asking me to dance with her. People we meet while out and strike up conversations with will make comments like "I'll let you two get back to your date" or tell me one on one that she's really into me and I should make a move. These comments are met with "we're just friends", but they never used to come up.
Recently as we were leaving a bar at the end of the night my friend was a bit tipsy, looks at me and says "Protect me". I took her home after that but for whatever reason those words hit me hard. I started to reevaluate things and wonder if her and I had fallen into some form of emotional cheating? Nothing has happened physically, and nothing will, but I'd be lying to say if she was single I wouldn't jump at the chance.
Hoping to get some outside opinions on this situation, what options I might have. Do I ignore things, talk to her directly about this, discretely try to distance myself from her, cut off contact all together? Like I said we've been friends for a long time, but things seem to have changed somewhat over the past few months.
P.S. Sorry for the giant wall of text.
Posted Sun Dec 08, 2013 05:07 PM
The line that delineates your friendship from traveling into "emotional cheating" from just a really good friendship is very hard to ascertain. It's not the same for everyone. But if it's makin you feel this way, you're either over that line or pretty close to it.
Props to you both for keeping it platonic. It'd be wise of you to maintain that, otherwise it could get ugly and cost you that friendship entirely.
But it's hard to roll back a friendship that maybe advanced into weird territory, I wish I had a good answer for that. Some may say "be honest, blah blah blah" but really, something's are better left unsaid and unaddressed. I hope you can navigate this, your heart is in the right place...good luck, man.
Posted Sun Dec 08, 2013 05:07 PM
Posted Mon Dec 09, 2013 01:58 PM
My advice would be this: your current situation is unfair to you. You are being emotionally reeled in to something you know that you cannot have, and would not allow yourself to have in the current situation. You need to tell her this. You need to say, "it feels like you're growing closer to me as your marriage falters. I'm happy to be here for you, but it's too difficult for me to be emotional support when I know that you're in a committed marriage, because I care about you too much and it's too easy for me to blur the lines."
You don't need to tell her that you want her, just that she's putting you in a situation that, in a sense, uses you.
Posted Tue Dec 10, 2013 09:31 PM
Yes, I do have a problem, close to that "line". While an affair with her would be fun I'm sure, it is not something I want. Since my original post I haven't initiated contact with her, but she did send me a few texts around 1 am though, chit chat texts, but still texts at 1 am. I didn't see or reply to those until the morning.
If I do try to talk to her about this there are a few ways I see things playing out.
1) Says I'm reading too much into things, it's nothing, and laughs the whole thing off.
2) Says I'm reading too much into things, and the friendship is awkward afterwards.
3) Agrees things are getting close to being out of "friend" territory, but we can't allow things to go any further since she's married.
4) Agrees things are getting close to being out of "friend" territory and wants to take things further. Which would make things difficult as I would not want to have an affair with her, but would be quite tempted.
Difficult position to be in, I'm trying to see a good outcome in any of the approaches to handling this but just seeing a big mess. Almost makes me jealous of those folks without moral hangups, almost.
Posted Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:15 PM
Posted Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:16 PM
Posted Thu Dec 26, 2013 01:42 AM
Have you considered broaching the topic indirectly instead of explicitly? There are other ways of letting her know your ideas on dating married people and keeping the lines between friendship and other options. A story about a friend of yours who was put in a situation, or about someone in your past that proposed something that you didn't want, etc could be way more productive and subtle than just directly approaching the topic.
I've had something similar done to me a few years back. It was the reverse message from what you are trying to get across, but still would have been an awkward and messy conversation since I have a similar attitude to yours. The message was given in the form of a story about someone else having an affair, her own curiousness about it and an indirect question about what would I do in that situation. I was able to answer her hypothetical very clearly and close the topic between us for good without injuring the friendship ( at least for the long term, we are back to being close friends after a short hiatus right after that event ). I'm so grateful that she had the thoughtfulness to approach things like that. I'm not certain our friendship would have survived an honest and open discussion of that issue and I really value her as a friend.
A favorite true story I use in this situation is that when I was in my mid 20s I met the perfect woman and started dating her. The issue was she wasn't finished dating her current boyfriend. She cheated on him with me for a couple of months before finally breaking it off. I never trusted her after that and the relationship was doomed. It's a weird thing to not trust someone because they cheated with you ( not on you ) but there you have it. We lived together for over 2 years, even got engaged, but in the end I couldn't deal with it. I end with saying that how relationships start is usually how they end and I would never be on either end of cheating again because I'm looking for long term stable relationships.
This post has been edited by wingsofdesire: Thu Dec 26, 2013 01:45 AM
Posted Thu Dec 26, 2013 05:58 PM
You have to go with what you think is right. All things pass one way or another.