I am a guy of 39 years and have been going out with a married woman of 34 years for the past two years. Our friendship is very sweet. She calls me daily, and sends me love and kisses by text message daily. We have great sex like once a month. Whenever we are not together she says she misses me. She is very independent, a free spirit, and has attributes of a cat. Whenever we quarrel she finds subtle ways to come back to me slowly.
My dilemma is she hardly uses the words "I love you" to me. She prefers to sign off text messages with lots of love and kisses. Can you help me make sense out of this? Is it because she does not love me or is not the type who says it?
Also, how do I get her to commit a little more of herself to what we have (I don't mean marriage)?
Wanting More From the Married Woman
Dear Wanting More,
Since she is married, you are going to have a hard time getting her to commit more to the relationship. You are not her primary attachment. Her marriage is more important. She will try to not do anything to jeopardize that.
As to why she will not tell you she loves you, people who are married but having affairs will often draw the line at certain phrases or certain acts. Perhaps she has asked her husband hypothetically what he would do if she were unfaithful and he has told her that if she had an affair he wouldn't like it but it would be forgivable as long as she's not in love. So she might think, OK, as long as I don't say, "I love you," this affair does not have to be a threat to my marriage. That's one possibility. Or she and her husband may have an actual agreement, like, OK, if you had an affair I might understand, but if you said, "I love you" to someone else, that would be the end. Or she may be holding back in a more general way, both to preserve her marriage and to exercise some control over you.
In any case, she will probably not commit more as long as she stays married. Marriage means more than sex; it means a secure home, family, economic security, peace of mind. She probably does not want to risk all that.
People draw lines to keep things straight. It may be partly superstitious. It might not give them any genuine control. It might just make them feel they have some control. But this is what people do. They draw lines.
It's impossible to know precisely, without knowing you and her, where her bottom line is. But the general truth is that if you are single and she is married, you are in second place. She has other priorities. If you want greater intimacy and commitment, you are going to have to find a relationship in which you can be in first place. That means finding a woman who is not married.
You like this woman a lot. But since you say she is like a cat and draws you back in, it sounds like she is manipulating you a little bit. She has the upper hand. That's what it's like when you go out with a married person. She will always have the upper hand because she has a husband to go home to.
There is also her husband to think about. You might consider how you would feel if you were married to her and she were cheating on you. It's not the best situation. Maybe her husband knows, or they have an understanding, but if not, you could really be harming this man you don't even know. I mean, you have the power to end this, so maybe you should. After all, you're not going to get what you want from her; this is probably as far as it's going to go.
At least, I suggest you find a new woman who is not married. That would even things out. It would give you some bargaining power. But you might risk losing her, too. She might be willing to carry on the relationship only while she has the upper hand. If so, that's the way it is. You deserve to have your own girlfriend.
If you do find a second attachment, be sure to use condoms. And -- though each couple make up their own rules -- you should tell your married girlfriend if you are going out with a new person. She may have strong feelings about it.
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What? You want more advice?