Here’s something I hardly ever deal with – a “relationship” with a married man – because I see only pain there, but I know many of you are in, or have been in, or are tempted to get involved in a relationship with a married man, so here’s a letter from Belinda..
(Keep in mind as you read this that I worked a bit with Belinda, so I know that she’s been very, very closed down, very afraid to open her heart, and the best she’s been able to do up to now is here with a totally UNAVAILABLE man – so we had a lot to work on, and, as you can see – a long way still to go…)
“How are you? I feel discouraged because I am doing so many things wrong in my interactions with Brad every time he initiates anything, and I feel like we are moving farther and farther apart because we can’t communicate well enough to get back together.
“I feel exhausted with dating and sick of doing it – a male friend of mine said he’d never met anyone who dated as many men as I do, and to quit working so hard at it – he thinks I’m crazy. I have only met one man in the last 7 months who I feel at all attracted to physically, and he hasn’t followed through by calling to set up a date.
“He told me he was nervous around me, even though he wanted to kiss me. According to a number of men now, I am seen as extremely desirable, but unattainable.
“Meanwhile, I have come to the conclusion that Brad and I are equally relationally challenged, because he keeps trying new things to re-establish communication, that make me feel so mixed up I keep messing up or swat him back down, and then he disappears again for a week or two.
“For example: I am always available to see him the minute he asks (YEA!!!), always pick up when he calls (AT LAST!!!), slapped him in public when he put his hands on my boobs after we met up by accident (oh my GOD – I can’t believe I just did that!!!), said yes when he asked if he could come spend the night at 11pm (maybe this is IT!!!), and let him sleep with me (WITHOUT sex – which was sheer torture/bliss – am I CRAZY!?!
“I haven’t had sex in half a YEAR and might never have it again in my entire LIFE the way I’m going!!! If this doesn’t work to get him back I will be so MAD at myself!!!), argue with any point he tries to make having to do with what went wrong (yes you DID!!!), avoided inviting him to a party he knew I was having and said he wanted to come to (should I/shouldn’t I? – I don’t KNOW!!!), and got belligerent when he said he loved me (well what are you going to DO about it?!!). You get the drift.
“When I try to talk about stuff like, does he want to let our business end? he looks shocked and says, of COURSE not! Neither one of us seems to be able to get more than half a sentence out about our relationship (we never even use that word) before we can’t think of what to say next and clam up. I’m not sure we have even reached middle school.
“It’s not that I don’t know I’m not supposed to do these things – I do it all perfectly with every other man – but the moment Brad appears in my life (always unexpectedly) I feel overwhelmed by mixed feelings, all I want to do is be with him, and I worry I won’t do it all right.
“Luckily, most of the times I have seen him it has been in group settings where I look great, feel confident, and other men are falling all over me. But so far, without fail, every time we get together, we have the best time, we talk just like we used to about everything and it is only when we try to talk about the relationship or he tries to initiate sex again that we get stuck.
“From the little I have seen him, and from his friends, his marriage appears to be in name only, and Brad is “really messed up.”
“I think I know my two big problems: I am always available, and I don’t call him out on disrespectful behavior – I just do and say nothing. I don’t know what to do about recent phone call issues.”
“On Sunday evening he called to see if I could come out for a drink with our crew, I went and he said wanted to talk to me about something. I asked what, but he said he wanted to wait til Monday to talk about it and asked when we could get together. Afternoon. Then he called later Sunday night and came over and spent the night. I left before he woke up, and he called about 9am to say he still wanted to talk to me and would call around 4pm so we could get together.
“But he never did. On Friday night, I received a call from him, but it appeared to be accidental – sounded like he was walking and talking with some girl – I waited, but after 4 minutes, his phone disconnected. I felt so hurt I was crying until I thought, is he to make me jealous? Well I feel insanely jealous! And worried I have lost him forever.
“How should I handle this now? I don’t know if I should welcome his next call, not take one or more of his next calls, or if I should say something about any of this and if so how. I hate the frickin’ phone and I can’t believe I am still alone.
Here’s my answer:
Belinda – so great to hear from you, and so sorry you’re having a rough go of it. Here’s what I noticed in your letter:
1. You are now a goddess, desirable, men falling all over you, and you’re practicing like mad.
2. You’re hung up on Brad and can’t be yourself with him, or speak the truth without ‘acting” out of frustration and old habits.
3. You’ve opened up more to him – which is HUGE.
4. You say no other man has interested you – and I say that’s because of number 2 here.
5. Brad is married. You can either:
A. Be his mistress forever, being there when he calls, sleeping with him when he wants, and stuffing down your anger and frustration so that the communication never gets better. He can’t talk because he knows he has nothing to offer until he’s willing to leave his wife and move in with you. or:
B. Date him along with other men – Circular Dating – as you’re doing, and find a way to get your internal, inner stuff together so you’ll simply compel him to step up. Just keep practicing, experimenting, working on the Diva, Siren thing – soft on the outside, tough on the inside – instead of the reverse, which is where you started. Or…
C. Drop him out of your life totally. (This, of course, is my vote.)
Sometimes the “other woman” gets the man. Sometimes she doesn’t. Most of the time, it’s all about suffering.
It is absolutely crucial that you keep going with the dating until you discover yourself relaxing, leaning back, and actually meeting a man you’re attracted to who calls you back.
*** Keep in mind – as long as you’re hung up on Brad – no good man will pursue you.
You have some choices to make, and I wish you luck – and want to congratulate you on moving as far as you have…Love, Rori
Now – notice – I’m not making Belinda WRONG. I know we instinctively judge her situation – after all, she’s messing with another woman’s man – and yet – because I’m talking only to Belinda – SHE’S the only one I can work with, and the answer is STILL, ALWAYS, to LOVE YOURSELF.
So – I do my best to not judge. Judging works against love.
Whatever Belinda needs to learn on this journey, until she finally meets another man who at least makes her feel strong and stable and cared for and wanted in the fullest sense possible – she’s learning with Brad. He’s the one she’s practicing with. He’s the one she’s discovering her fear of intimacy with. He’s the one she’s processing with.
So – if you’re stuck pining over a man, or even in a relationship with a man who isn’t doing the job for you – please, please, please don’t judge yourself.
Instead, as in my last post – ask yourself: “Why am I here?” and use all your intelligence and energy and connection with your feelings to answer it from the bottom of your heart.
I also think of Brad’s wife – and what her answer to her question “Why am I here?” would be. Certainly she is not getting all her needs met. Certainly she is not feeling wonderful and loved. if I could reach across the ethers and talk to her, I would. But for now – the lesson for all three of them, as far as we can reach – is in Belinda’s hands.
We are all about baby-steps here…so take your baby steps, love yourself every step of the way, and make your way across the landscape of your life. It’s all an adventure – let’s work at finding the best-feeling moments we can…