Sex & Love

FFJD: How To Handle Being In A Cheating Situation

It’s not easy to be pragmatic when somebodies cheating. Read More

By / March 21, 2011
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ell hath no fury like a woman scorned. But what if you’re unwillingly the “other woman” in a cheating situation? I know, you think “how could she not know?” I’ll tell you, sometimes men are sneakier than we give them credit for. I was once unknowingly out with a guy who had a girlfriend. I only found out because one of her friends told me. I was embarrassed and disgusted. There’s a double standard here – for some reason, the woman is almost always in the wrong. I’m not sure why, but the dude often gets off scott-free. That aside, a friend was put in a similarly (far worse) situation of recent:

When I met Paul, he was eating alone at a bar on a Monday night. I had bounced into the bar with a group of friends for one last drink before calling it a night.

Whether it was because he was alone or liked what he saw, he started talking with me. We did the typical DC rundown, he was not my type – religious affiliation would clearly be an issue, political party was in conflict, a below average dresser and he was short.

But being newly single, I was game to flirt.

After our brief encounter, we exchanged cards and thought I would never see him again. The very next day, I had just ended a very casual first date and Paul text me, asking what I was up to. I wasn’t ready to go home and so we met for a drink.

It was an unusually warm winter day and combined with the red wine, his strong self confidence and coy smile, it all clicked – I was feeling a strong sexual attraction to him. It was mutual, we left the bar, and I brought him home with me.

There was something about him that had all my senses on alert – his smell, taste and his touch were a perfect fit – his kiss was irresistible. There was no awkwardness, we had achieved a level of intimacy immediately. I was hooked; I couldn’t wait to be with him again.

The rules started to bend, he called me almost every day, was he courting me?

We barely spent more than 48 hours apart I started to open up about my past relationship, which left me with an emotional knot I was still trying to untangle.

I asked him to come to join me for a dinner that I needed a plus one for. Paul wouldn’t commit, one of his best friends was visiting. I was disappointed, and experienced my first hiccup in emotions with him. He reassured me and wished he could be with me. But there was a red flag in how he acted, something was not right. I asked him point blank if he had a girlfriend. The answer was no.

Our last time together was spent 4 weeks to the day since we first met. I was waiting for him to get dressed and I found a beautifully written love note to him sitting on his kitchen counter. It felt like I had been kicked in the stomach, he had lied.

I confronted him, he confessed and apologized. I felt the obvious emotions of betrayal and anger. But the final “first” Paul gave me was empathy, not jealousy or scorn for the other woman or for him. Sad that her love was seeking intimacy and sex from someone else and how tragic that he would have to live a lie no longer with me, but with his girlfriend.

This is not a unique situation, and also not necessarily always with the man being the one with the infidelity. But what are you supposed to do if you find yourself in a situation like this, unknowingly?

Cut off all contact.

This sort of goes without saying but even if the guy tells you he has broken up with his girlfriend, he is not to be believed. He already broke your trust once, so I’m not sure you should trust him again.

DO NOT be the whistleblower.

I know you want to rectify the situation and tell his girlfriend that this guy is a cheating bastard. However, I’d strongly advise against it. Not only does it make you look bad as the cheat-ee (and you want to stay as far away from this situation as possible) but you also have no idea the nature of their relationship. You basically are always going to lose when you try to come between two people who presumably love each other. Even if you’re right, chances are your word wouldn’t mean much.

I know that sounds like not only are you getting hurt in this scenario but you’re also not getting your word out that you didn’t do this with the knowledge that the guy was cheating. You want people to know that you would never have dated this person. But the truth is, it’s probably better to just not discuss it at all. It’s a horrible situation to be in.

What advice to you have?

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Email meredith@theffjd.com

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