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I’m a widow and I discovered I’m dating a married man – The Boston Globe

I am a widow who ran off with the first man who looked at me when I was still a teenager. Forty years later, I’m dating for the first time. I have been pursued by a married man for more than a year. He spent the first nine months assuring me he was separated. He even brought me to his home to show me how they’ve lived completely separate lives for the last 10 years. Due to financial issues, he moved back into the lower level of the family home. I don’t believe him anymore. I believe he’s a married man cheating.

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I am lonely. My counselor says I can keep this man as a “boy toy” while I continue to look for someone. Now I’m dating online. But I’ve only felt chemistry with this married man. I don’t have the problem of men not being interested; I tend to be the one who says, “I’ve enjoyed your company, yet we are not a match.”

Would you advise that I continue to see this man? I don’t want to take someone else’s partner away.

– Looking

A. Your counselor advised you to continue to see this man? That surprises me. I’m going to have to disagree with that professional opinion.

I don’t think it will be possible for you to bond with a new person if 99.9 percent of your mind is on this married guy. You’re comparing first dates to the time you spend with someone you’ve known for more than a year. And, you’re limiting your online dating experiences with this kind of overwhelming distraction.

Also, this man is not a “boy toy” (ugh, let’s never say that phrase again). He’s not some no-strings-attached partner you enjoy for physical attention. You have strong romantic feelings for him. You might even love him. Plus, you’re angry with him for lying (even if you haven’t leaned into that feeling). You don’t want to “take someone else’s partner away,” which means that every time you see him, you’re breaking your own rule. The baggage in this relationship only gets heavier.

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I know you want to enjoy him. I assume the state of the world only makes his attention seem that much more important. But … this isn’t good for you. You don’t trust this man. Sometimes you have to make an empty space in your life before you can find someone to jump into it.

– Meredith

READERS RESPOND

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Decide what kind of person you want to be, and be that. WIZEN

Right. There is another person involved — the wife. Maybe she cares, maybe she doesn’t, but as Meredith pointed out, this is not a no-strings-attached arrangement. TALLTALES87

Staying with this guy is clouding your judgment. You’ll never find someone else if you don’t stop comparing them to this guy, you know, the one who is married and lied about his status for a year. He’s not as perfect as you think. SURFERROSA

Yes, this! Being with this guy is preventing her from finding someone else. And that’s without all the other stuff that she knows, like it’s wrong to be with a married man who is lying about being married. She should end this immediately. And find a new therapist. ASH

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Catch Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.

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Written by Alice

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