THE LOVE THING
By Eric Orji
10 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE DATING A MARRIED MAN
There are no positive reasons for dating a married man. Even the good reasons don't stand the test of time and turn out to be bad ideas in good ideas' clothing. If you find yourself on the brink of temptation, look at these ten truths before you leap:
1. He won't commit to a future with you. A man who is in a very unhappy or unsatisfying marriage can feel swept away by how wonderful you make him feel. He may even blurt out, "I've never felt this way before and I can see spending the rest of my life with you." This may sound like a commitment to a future with you. It's not. Don't confuse his loving the way you make him feel with his loving you and making a commitment to you.
2. Cheating on his wife tells you how he deals with any situation he doesn't like. You are evidence of his avoiding dealing with unpleasant situations head on. This means that he's likely to resort to some devious behaviour with you if the two of you encounter relationship problems.
3. Hiding is exhausting. Having to keep your relationship a secret can attack your self-esteem and cause you to miss out on one of the wonderful aspects of a relationship. Walking together freely and radiantly through the world can fill you with the glow of being with someone who is proud to be with you.
4. He's got his cake and is eating it, too. He has a legitimate married relationship that helps his public persona and he has an illegitimate one with you to make up for what he is missing in his marriage. As appreciative as he sounds, many women who are involved with married men come to resent his having the best of both worlds, when she has the least.
5. Can you love someone who is so disrespectful of his wife? The existence of your relationship with a married man tells you how little he respects his wife by lying to her instead of being a man and telling her he wants out.
6. Lose his respect and it's over. Even though he's the one who pursued you. Even though he's the one that made it difficult to say "No." And even though he tells you how wonderful you are. At some level, he's going to have trouble respecting you for settling for such a flawed relationship. He may not want to be in a relationship that would have him as a partner."
7. You're not a home wrecker, just an accomplice. Like it or not, you are a willing participant in a man violating his vows and betraying the trust of his wife, not to mention grossly disappointing his children and making it difficult for them to see him as a role model.
8. You're kidding yourself. Despite his reassuring you how much you mean to him, his not ending his relationship with his wife in an above-board and respectful way, and not beginning a legitimate relationship with you, are actions that speak louder than words.
9. Beware the guilt boomerang. Many men (and women) have difficulty accepting full responsibility for their deceitful actions. Human nature finds it easier to blame than to accept shame. If he is caught by his wife or conscience, don't be surprised if he tries to blame you and get you to take the fall.
10. Time is too precious to waste. Ever notice how quickly the years go as you get older? Because it's convenient and comfortable, a relationship with a married man can go on for a long time, and before you know it, eat up the precious time you might have had in a healthy relationship with a chance of flourishing. When people who have been involved with married men finally move on, they often regret having wasted the time in a dead-end affair.
Should I try to help him overcome his problems?
I'm 26, single, stable and happy with life and my career at this stage. I've been dating this guy who's 34, single, smart and cute. We've dated before, but it wasn't serious and it didn't work out. I think it's better the second time around, except that the more I know him the more I'm troubled about a lot of things about him. He's a loner to the point of being antisocial; I love being with friends. He's estranged from his family; my Mom and Dad are my best friends. He's played around and slept with many women, smokes and drinks a lot and has done drugs in the past (he started it in Europe ). I'm pretty straight to the point of being boring to people like him. I love talking to the guy and being with him, but I've held back a lot because I don't think I can put up with his vices and angst. And I haven't been seeing him lately. Am I doing the right thing? Or should I give it more time to see if he can be the better man that he's striving for?
Lovething**You sound like a young woman who truly knows herself and her needs and won't settle for less than she deserves. That is obviously admirable. If you could bottle and sell your self-confident determination, you'd make a fortune!
However, I'd like you to bear in mind that some people first have to struggle, experiment and fail (sometimes a lot) before virtuously embarking on that straight and narrow path. It sounds like your friend is trying to be a better person, one better suited to accompanying you on that path. And that's admirable, too. Learning from mistakes is, after all, the American way. Now, on to my concerns: Cigarette smoking may be vile, but my real concern is, how much does he drink? A bottle or a stretch of bottles of beer...? That he's a loner and you're Ms. Social Butterfly is fine, if you can compromise on your different tendencies; if he hates being around people, well, that's another story. Finally, exactly why is he estranged from his parents, and has that estrangement led him to be wary of forming attachments, or more eager to be part of a family unit?
So, should you cut your losses and move on? I'd first have a "clearing the air" conversation. Determine whether your long-term goals and values mostly mesh with his, and whether the lifestyle changes he's making are an earnest attempt to clean up his act, or just an act put on to impress you till he feels secure that you're hooked. Remember, nobody is perfect, and everybody deserves a fair trial before judgment is passed.
Marry me, or else?
I've been dating my boyfriend for three years, we're both nearing 30, and he keeps saying he's not ready to get married. I'm at my wit's end. Do you think I should try an ultimatum: Give me the ring or I'll give you the leave you?
Lovething**Before I answer your question, I'll pose one. Do you remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? The townspeople, tired of running to help a child who was only testing his power, refused to come to the rescue when they were really needed. Only give him the marry-me-or-I'moutta- here threat if you're willing to actually walk out the door. If he says, "Sorry, sweetheart, I love you but I'm still not ready to get married," and you calm, he won't take your next ultimatum seriously. (You know, the one you REALLY mean.) Three years is certainly long enough to remain in romantic limbo. If you're willing to go for broke, give your boyfriend a deadline of, say, three months. If he doesn't produce the ring by the agreed-upon date, you haven't "lost." You've simply gained the knowledge that it's time to move on with your life.
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