I fell in love with a married woman in the 90s. She was someone I'd known since we were kids, and I ended up getting hurt. I reconnected and fell in love with her again 10 years later when she found me online. It ended badly and thought I had learned my lesson.
Well, three years ago, I met a woman who was honest with me about everything (including the fact that she had a husband), and we had a three-year affair. In the end, she said she didn't want to hurt her husband by leaving him, even though he is verbally abusive among other things.
She and I are now best friends (the physical relationship is over), and yes, her husband knows everything, but he doesn't care as long as she never leaves him. He knows everything about us and that we talk still every day. I fell into this trap once again and it hurts. Why do I continue to do this? I invested my whole heart in this relationship. I know it sounds selfish that all I'm thinking about is me. I just don't want this to happen again. And it's hard just to be friends after what we had (or I thought we had). What can I do to move on and not fall into this again with a married woman?
– Hurting again
The best way to avoid falling in love with a married woman is to consider all married women off-limits. Really.
Don't assume that a woman in an unhappy marriage will get a divorce. Don't become the confidant who listens to stories about the turmoil at home.
There are zillions of single women looking for partners; it's not that hard to find them. If unattached women never seem attractive to you, that's something to talk about in therapy. Remember that when someone is 100 percent available, there's more potential for real intimacy. Maybe that's scary.
As for your concern about being selfish, please let that go. This is an excellent time to put yourself first. You must figure out a way to move on, and if that means cutting this woman out of your life, please do it. It's almost impossible to get over someone who calls you every day. You should tell her you need time and space (maybe forever) – because you do.
Readers? Should the LW continue the friendship?