Dear Married Man,
I know it’s rough. It’s very sad indeed that you are stuck in a marriage that you can’t leave because of the kids/because your wife is too fragile/because your wife is sick/because you can’t afford it financially/because you promised/because you’ll do it later/because you’re confused. And yet Married Man, you want something more. Me? Oh, you’re attracted to me are you? Why, you’ve never known anybody like me? I’m the most beautiful/fabulous/amazing/sexy/smart creature you’ve ever met? Gracious, you don’t think you can live without me? Gee, that’s swell, Married Man.
What’s this now? What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her? Interesting. Oh, she has her own life, I see. Maybe she’s having an affair herself. Or she had one before. Of course, she’s too busy with the kids and doesn’t pay any attention to you any more so it’s okay. Or she’s married to her work. You poor thing, she doesn’t want to have sex, what can you be expected to do? Your sex drive is higher. It’s not healthy to squelch it. Besides, she wouldn’t care if you had an affair. Or she’s given her blessing. Your point is these are two different relationships; one has nothing to do with the other. It is only me making the mistake of conflating the two. I feel much better now that you’ve explained it.
After all, Married Man, it’s no big deal, plenty of people have sex and relationships outside their marriage; I’m clearly making a fuss over nothing with my antiquated thinking. Haven’t I heard of being monogamish? That monogamy isn’t really a natural human state? Science backs you up! Anyway, you’re living separate lives, married in name only. Why, you’re really separated but just staying in the same house because you can’t afford to move out now (that’s my favorite, Married Man). She’s essentially your roommate! Yes, yes, of course. The divorce is almost final. Hmmm, MM – may I call you MM? – you seem to have many explanations. And it is truly tragic, these unfortunate circumstances under which you live. Why, you’ve been a saint not to stray before this! Or not to have strayed more times than you already have. And those other women before now were just distractions, they meant nothing, you really wanted someone like me. Because, after all, Married Man, you have standards.
I know, I know, if you could just get with me, it’d make everything better. I’m the answer to everything! Or at least a few things, right? It’d clear your head if you could just talk to me, just see me, just go out with me, just have sex with me. Then you’d know what to do! I get it, Married Man, I’m a crucial part of the answer which is why I shouldn’t stay away till you sort it all out. We don’t even have to do anything; it’s just talking, where’s the harm? You just need someone to talk to, you are so lonely. Talking to me makes you feel better, Married Man, because I understand you better than anyone, certainly better than your wife does. We should just “hang out” and see what happens. You’re sure I want to. I see your point, Married Man, it really isn’t the big deal I keep saying it is. And naturally, if I’m not seeing anyone else, or at least not anyone better than you, it follows that I should see you! Your logic is unassailable, Married Man.
You can’t wait. This has to happen now. It’s too exciting, too fun, too risque, too dramatic to put off. Who could blame us, you ask, for acting on such powerful forces? For not denying a match that is beyond our control? We’re meant to be together so time is a’wasting. How can I stand in the way of this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime chemistry?! I’d be a fool, obviously. Thank you, Married Man, for setting me straight and making me understand.
(Not) The Other Woman
(Note: Married Man is not a specific person)