by Cyn Collins
I’m a single woman in my early 30s. I’m in a service-oriented business, where we work closely with our clients’ representatives. At an event reception, I ended up getting into a long, interesting personal conversation with one of our clients’ reps, a man in his 30s. (I don’t work directly with him; one of my colleagues manages his account.) We talked about everything from movies to motorcycles, which we both ride. He is married, but he dropped a hint that his marriage is shaky.
A few days later, I received an e-mail from him, proposing that we go out to dinner and that I show him my Harley afterwards. I like him a lot and might be interested in dating him at some point, but I don’t want to become entangled with a married man. How do I manage this situation?
This “shaky marriage” hint sounds like a blatant ploy to straddle your engine. Do you want to become his next shaky marriage?
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For some married people, an affair catapults them out of a bad marriage, while for others, the affair provides a solace away from a marriage they won’t end for years because they have the best of both worlds—a wife who’s always there, and available you waiting around the corner, at his beck and call after a fight, or while the spouse is away. You can have many long, interesting, and even personal conversations with men…it doesn’t mean you need to date them, especially if they’re married.
Spare yourself the pain and the anxiousness and the waiting and the letdown and the jealousy, and did I mention the endless waiting? You’d have to be practically masochistic to want to go down this road. You’ll risk blowing a lot of your freedom, self-esteem, hours and maybe years you won’t get back, your sleep, your self-respect…the list goes on. As much as you like him, I’d keep him at a safe distance: let him know you have qualms about getting together for dinner alone. You can say you’re okay with developing a friendship over coffee or lunch, but you’d rather not get your hands greasy. If you hold out, and he really wants you, he will more likely end the marriage than if you give your lovin’ away for free. You know what they say about cows and milk? Sometimes “they” know what they’re talking about.
Published 2/19/09. Photo by Grant Matthews (Creative Commons).