When I found out she was still married, it crushed me

We're giving away two tickets to Thursday night's Love Letters event at Harpoon. You can enter to win them here. You can also just get your own tickets here. The night comes with books and beer. The weather is supposed to be great (it's by the water).

Also: Send letters.

I fell in love with my dental hygienist, whom I thought was separated. We had a loving and caring friendship that grew into a romance. It lasted more than a year – until recently.

When I found out she was still married, it crushed me, but she told me she was leaving her husband. But it didn't happen. Eventually, I decided to try to move on from her. Every time I stopped talking to her to try to move past our relationship, she sent me a text saying she loved me and still wanted a future together.

In January, I was celebrating New Year's with someone else, and she sent me a note saying she was going to fight for me and never give up. I explained to her that she needed to get a divorce for herself, and then maybe we could establish something again. But I couldn't stop thinking about her and the promise that she would leave her husband.

Eventually, we got into a major fight because I found out she was planning a family vacation with her husband. Hurtful words were spoken. She said that I was being pushy, a bully, and verbally abusive (because I called her a name), and she feels that she did nothing wrong to me.

I've tried to explain that her not being honest to her husband/family and using me for an emotional and physical affair is just wrong. I still care for her, but now I just want to move forward with my life and forget about her. It's hard because we used to text and talk every day. I know it's best not to contact her. My closest friends who know the whole situation tell me to forget about her, but it is so hard. How do I move forward without feeling hurt or used?

– Used


"How do I move forward without feeling hurt or used?"

You're supposed to feel hurt and used. It's part of the process of getting over it. You might also experience anger, sadness, confusion, hunger, lack of hunger, the desire to watch a lot of old television, and exhaustion. Unfortunately, breakups have a ton of side effects.

The good news is that you know what to do – or what not to do. You said in your letter that you shouldn't contact her, and that's true. Clearly, she's bringing out the worst in you. There's no need for another conversation that might lead to more bad feelings and name-calling.

You also understand that the goal is to think about her less, even if you can't forget her. If you want to minimize her place in your life, ask those thoughtful friends to help keep you busy. So much of breakup recovery is about staying occupied.

You can leave this relationship feeling good about the lessons learned, all of which will help you when you meet someone new. You know that if someone isn't quite single, your best bet is to walk away until they are. You also understand that when someone says "I'm never giving up," it might sound romantic and wonderful, but that isn't always the case. Sometimes it makes sense to give up. Like when someone is married.

Really, you are not leaving this relationship with less – because you know so much more.

– Meredith