[Two Pronged] Self-styled moral adulterers
Dear Dra Margie and Jeremy,
It’s Christmas morning, and I find myself emailing you in hopes of getting some clarity and help in my predicament. It’s Christmas, and I should be happy with the birth of our Lord Jesus! It’s a time for family gatherings, but all I want to do is crawl under the sheets and sleep the pain away. Been relating to a mish mash of your articles, and I decided to write you and ask you your professional opinion with my situation. I hope you will take the time to indulge me.
I consider myself a moral person, and I don’t go for men who are spoken for. But Joey was different. We met at work and I developed feelings for him, though I never showed it. In time, he admitted that he liked me. I knew he was married (no kids), and deluded myself that I wasn’t breaking up a marriage, because it was broken to begin with (why else would he get attracted to me and act on it?). His wife was my opposite. Simple, demanded so little of him, never asked him any questions, and didn’t belong in many of his world. Meanwhile, I challenged him: we talked about travel and political events, I gave him books that he devoured and shared with his company. He said he wasn’t looking for a fling, and that he was in love with his wife. To be fair, he tried to keep his distance, and yes, I was a pursuer after he told me he liked me. His willpower to say no to me wasn’t that strong either, as after a while, he’d give in and reply. Perhaps this is also why I had hope that one day, he’ll realize he’s been settling with his wife.
To be fair to Joey, we only went as far as making out three times. Even if I wanted to go further, he was the one who said no (a big ouch on my pride and ego) because he didn’t want to cheat on his wife. At most, “our relationship” was more of a “fun friendship”, with kilig. He would call me everyday, we would have dinners, we would email each other in between work and text, and him getting his “intellectual fix” and “admiration” from me.
I wanted more than the status quo, and eventually, told him. In his heart of hearts, he claimed that our "friendship" was not wrong, though I asked him that if there wasn’t anything wrong, why can’t he tell his wife about me. Later on, he admitted our friendship was wrong, this is not appropriate behavior, that I was a mistake, and therefore was pulling away.
In truth, Doc, I feel that it was a convenient excuse for him to walk away, while disguising it as noble and being committed to his wife. Because at that time, we have been fighting a lot already, mostly because I wanted more than friendship.
It’s been 8 months since he pulled away, and truth is, I’m still hurting. I feel that he had his little fun, and walked away unscathed, with his wife none the wiser. Meanwhile, here I am, smart, educated, a lot of things going for, YET threw myself at a married man. I feel I lost so much from this experience, and the only way to redeem what I had lost (my dignity and integrity) is if all my effort actually worked, meaning we ended up together.
I have many signs telling me this man isn’t for me, my family and friends are against it, even calling me the “prude who started making wala”, but my heart refuses to accept them. I know why it’s difficult for me to get over him. It’s because I let go of myself, I let go of my values, felt pathetic initiating and being rejected and my dignity trampled, in hopes that he’d choose me. I also know that I’ve been with other guys, but never really connected with them the way I did with Joey. When I was with Joey, I was also pursued relentlessly (in the first few months—our thing went on for a year) who appreciated me. I have never felt more alive, than when I was with Joey.
In my daydreams, I dream that Joey’s the one running after me, and I ignore him, found another love, and Joey regrets for the rest of his life in letting me go. On the other hand, I also find myself day dreaming that I take him back after he realizes his mistake. Schizo dreaming?
Doc, help me.
1. Is this a pride thing?
2. When men have affairs, physical or emotionally, is there something wrong with the relationship? He’s flawed, clearly. But what about the relationship? He obviously wanted more from a partner? Right?
3. I often wondered, perhaps with the affection he’s shown me, I dreamed it would be so much wonderful if he could give his all, if only he wasn’t married. To be fair, when we were together, he was mine, I had his attention, I had his time.
4. I also realize that the things he was attracted to me for, was also a double edge sword. Am opinionated, empowered and passionate. His wife is the opposite, not even asking him any questions when he goes home late at night. But he also called me “insane and volatile”. I guess between the two, he prefers the safe one? Oh, I always felt I was saving him from a passionless marriage of convenience. His wife is a simple girl, worked corporate but never really climbed the ladder, until they got married and she eventually stayed home. Meanwhile, Joey and I met at work, when I was in charge of building a partnership with his firm. That’s where our friendship started, when we would get dinner with our colleagues. I sometimes wonder if he got bored with his wife who supported his ambitions, but couldn’t really relate to his day-to-day business interactions.
5. Most of all, did he love me? Attracted to me, yes. But did he love me, or was I just a fun fling? He told me that this was the first time he ever did something like this the whole time he was married. I believe him, because even after what he did, Joey is a moral person.
Doc, please tell me how to move on, and tell me that Joey’s not the kind of guy ANYONE deserves.
P.S Merry Christmas! Even if this doesn’t get printed on Rappler, I hope you will take the time to respond even if privately. I still want to save my Christmas, and make it happy.
Thank you for your letter.
I am afraid that I do not have good news for you. Despite all efforts to restrain myself, I find your account of this relationship very unsavory, to put it mildly.
I have no real problem when somebody says that they fell in love with a married person. These things happen, after all, and there is no way to avoid Cupid's arrow, or if you prefer, Zeus's thunderbolt. What counts is what the people involved do next and why – and this is where your story becomes distasteful.
You insist that both of you are moral people yet your tale is at odds with this. You readily admit that you set out with deliberation to seduce a married man. He was somewhat less willing, you suggest, but he did not shy away from texting, calling, meeting and making out. Ok, ultimately he went back to his wife but it takes a very loose definition of moral indeed to say that a man who has been that emotionally and physically unfaithful is moral. Nor do you, the seducer, become moral just because your quarry escapes you.
In answer to your various questions:
Is this a pride thing?
Yes. As you yourself say, you threw yourself at him and yet he chose to walk away.
When men have affairs, physical or emotionally, is there something wrong with the relationship?
As a general rule, there would be something wrong with the relationship but there are two people in any relationship and it is therefore a problem shared by both (even if all they do is ignore it together).
He’s flawed, clearly. But what about the relationship? He obviously wanted more from a partner?
Perhaps, or his wife was reacting to the increased emotional void that his affair with you was causing. Given the lack of information on this point in your email, I shall typically pass the buck to Dr Holmes!
But did he love me, or was I just a fun fling?
This is a false dichotomy. It may have started as a fling (again, this is difficult to square with your description of Joey as ‘moral’), developed into the beginning of a true love and then he had to choose between you and his wife. It is not unheard of, after all, to love more than one person.
All the best. – Jeremy
Many thanks for your letter. We probably could have made your letter shorter so that my own answer could follow, but we thought everything in it – including the p.s. – might be grist for the therapeutic mill. And that it definitely is. So please hold on till next week when I give my own take on your issues. In the meantime, I hope you will be happy with Jeremy’s answer and any comments that our readers may share.
All the best. – Margie – Rappler.com
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