I am dating an unhappily married man

-- Question for John --

I have been dating a guy for two weeks. He is in a unhappy marriage, sleeps on the couch. He bought his wife over from another country, then she changed. We see each other many hours a day, we love each others’ company, but I am worried about the wife. He has not had sex with her for over a year, and she does not want to go back to her country. Am I going to get hurt?

-- Answer from John --

You seem to believe his story. But it seems to us that he certainly must be lying to someone — at least to his wife. We doubt he is keeping her as up to date about you, as he “appears” to be keeping you informed about her.

So there would seem to be a high probability that deceit is in his behavioral repertoire. But that’s not all. Take his story at face value and we notice his proclivity to weasle his way around problems — rather than deal with them head on.

And that’s our best case analysis of the situation. So be warned.

To be blunt, his story really sounds like a well worn story that a married guy uses to get laid outside his marriage. It plays on a prospective sexual companion’s sympathies and eliminates any sense of competition. It’s a story made for scoring. It also portrays the guy as a hapless victim — rather than a calculating perpetrator.

But maybe he really is a victim. Then we need to ask you why you are attracted to a guy who acts like he is a victim? Do you know the improbability of acheiving a solid relationship with a guy who acts like a victim?

This is no walk in the park, no matter how you cut it. Be clear. He is probably lying. He acts like a victim. So how do you imagine he will be transformed into an upright, responsible, solid and reliable guy down the road, when it’s your turn to play the “wife” role in his drama?

What exactly would bring about such a remarkable change in him? Does your “love” offer that kind of magic power? Think again. Talk to the countless women who wanted to believe in that fairy tale, too.

Now let’s look at your potential role in such an affair. They say what goes around comes around. Right now you can play the “other woman” role. Fast forward the pattern in your mind. Later you can play the “wife” role. Think it all the way through.

If you pursue this romance you are implicitly endorsing a model for behavior in life and love. So be sure you understand the model you are acting out. Visualize yourself in that future wife role — down the road with this gent — and then tell me how this same model for behavior works for you from that viewpoint. How do you feel when the next “other woman” enters, stage left?

In starting new relationships, we advise you to choose guys who are totally free and clear. This means not being married — unhappily or otherwise.

We say throw this one back into the sea, and go on about your life as if there is not really an important opportunity here for anything of lasting value here.

If he ever does move beyond the victim role and becomes free and clear — and if you are still available — then perhaps give this a second look.

In the past they used the term “eligible” to describe a guy who was a good candidate for longterm love and possibly marriage. We might want to reinstate that term, to help keep matters clear from the start.