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The Dating Nerd is a shadowy figure whose whereabouts and identifying details remain unknown. What we do know is that he is really, really good at dating. He’s been on more dates than you can shake a lengthy bar tab at, and he’s here to help the average guy step his dating game up a notch — or several.
Hi Dating Nerd,
I screwed up. I think. I’ve been seeing this married woman. We met at a party — I was one of the younger guys there and she was one of the older women there, though we’re fewer than 10 years apart. The sex, when she has time to see me, is phenomenal. Every time we meet up, I can’t stop texting her for days afterward. It’s exciting, but I don’t know where it’s going. If her husband finds out, I’m probably dead. I know I should stop, but I’ve never felt anything like this before, where she gets my heart racing this bad. What should I do?
- Should I Put A Ring On It?
Reader, I am sympathetic. Because this is yet another example of how much misery is caused by not being able to choose who we’re attracted to. Assuming that you’re not a horrifically ugly toad (apologies to the horrifically ugly toads out there) I bet there are other women around — the girl you met in spin class who ticks all the boxes, who’s perfectly single, who you felt absolutely nothing for the morning after. For reasons you couldn’t identify at all. You were just like, whatever, it’s time to get lunch, alone.
But something about this married woman got you. The curve of her leg, or her smile, or her intoxicating laugh. And now, you, foolish person that you are, are stuck on someone unavailable. Really, I don’t blame you. When I tell you that you should probably be very cautious about this woman, it’s not from a place of moral judgement. As they say, “the heart wants what it wants.” Obvious implication: Sometimes (often, in fact) what the stupid heart wants is stupid.
And she’s facing the very same problem. She knows her husband inside and out. (Maybe literally, if she’s freaky.) She knows about the foot smell. She smiles back at his yellow-toothed smile. Though he isn’t flawless, she decided that he was worth settling down with. But now you come along and you Ruin Everything.
Partly she’s so excited because, y’know, you’re the handsomest, most charming dude of all time. But partly it’s because it’s the early days of your relationship — she doesn’t know who you are. You haven’t had a chance to annoy her yet with the way you fondle your own testicles constantly. (Stop it.)
In summary: You’re a dream, not a reality. That she developed this dream is understandable enough. Any human with functioning glands sees an attractive person and instantly fantasizes about what a magical unicorn they must be, and keeps that dream going as long as possible. (It’s when the dream ends that you find out if you’ve got a real relationship.)
What’s not as understandable is that she’s decided to screw up reality (her relationship with her husband) for a dream (you). No matter how effective a cheater she is, unless her husband is a total drooling moron, he knows what’s up. She’s distracted all the time. The sex isn’t what it once was — the fellatio is becoming rarer and rare. And why is her phone buzzing all the time?
Now, maybe their relationship was already terrible. But there are a lot of ways to deal with a terrible relationship. There’s couples counseling. You can make it into some kind of pell-mell polyamorous penetration-fest. Also, you can just be an honest person and break your partner’s heart. But she’s not doing any of that. This is an important illustration of her character. When she gets bored in a marriage, she hunts down some other guy and takes her pants off. That’s how she deals with sexual malaise. That’s her brilliant solution.
This is a fine kind of person to get involved with if you just want to have a crazy affair. Which might be fun. Just keep in mind that you’re screwing up some poor chump’s life. No offense. But you are. I truly don’t believe in the common wisdom that the married half of an affair is the ethically culpable half. I feel like this is wisdom distributed by whiny man-children who can’t admit when they’re displaying questionable character. Surely, this woman didn’t just fall onto your boner out of nowhere. Surely, you were part of the process.
One time, a married woman invited herself up to my apartment. We’d just had a long chat at a party; most of the chat focused on how she was dubious about married life. After our chat, it just so happened (bullsh*t) that she was leaving at the same time as me (bullsh*t) and that we were walking in the same direction (bullsh*t.) And, instead of saying goodbye, she said, “Why don’t I come up for a drink?” Unsurprisingly, drinking wasn’t all we did that night.
You could say she “tempted me.” But that’s a bunch of nonsense. After all, I participated in her conversation about how monogamy is stupid, and stared deeply into her eyes the whole time. And when she invited herself up, I accepted. If her boyfriend found out about what happened and punched me in the face, I don’t know that I could blame him. What I did was regretful, and I regret it.
Are you OK with that? OK, fine. I’m not here to parent you. Just to clarify the situation. And here’s one more clarification. If you’re really emotionally invested in this woman, then you should shut this whole thing down immediately. Stop talking to her, stop seeing her, unfollow her on Instagram, no matter how those yoga booty shots liven up your afternoon.
Because let me tell you what happens next. Finally, she leaves her husband. All those hate-filled sessions with a divorce lawyer make her frisky as hell and you have crazy, all-night sex. She tells you how you excite her in ways her old husband never could. You feel like more of a man. You feel like this is it — that you’ve finally found the one.
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She probably thinks the same thing at first. And then, a few months later, she gets bored again. Or, worse — a year later, after you’re married. Because, remember, at first, her husband was a dream, just like you. And then the dream died. She realized he wasn’t perfect. Now, she realizes that you aren’t either. All of your habits irritate her to an unbelievable extent. She starts faking orgasms.
And that new guy at her work — well, he’s charming. He’s exotic-seeming. He’s confident. He’s a bit short, sure, but he’s built, and he has great style. She finds him on Facebook — just so they can talk about work. Then, casually, one day, he invites her out for a drink after work. Just a friendly drink, he assures her. What could go wrong?
Think you could use some dating help, too? Email the Dating Nerd at email@example.com.