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Ask Lynn-Will she leave her boyfriend?


He felt love at first sight. So what’s the problem? She’s got a boyfriend! Should he wait for her to end things... or is she playing him?

By Lynn Harris

ear Lynn,
I am really into this girl I met several months ago. From that moment I felt something I can’t explain, something I’ve never felt before. After I worked up the courage to get her number, I found out she had a boyfriend. No big deal, I thought—I don’t jump head-first into relationships anyway.

We started hanging out and got really close. We share an unbelievable connection. We’ve gotten to
Am I crazy to wait? What should I do?
the point where we would like to be more than friends. We’ve cuddled/kissed/touched/held hands. She tells me she loves me, misses me and can’t stop thinking about me; I am the first person she wants to talk to in the morning and after work. She says when she’s with her boyfriend she thinks about me.

But she is still with him! She says their relationship won’t last and they both know it. She is unhappy with him, but neither of them will end it.

I love this girl to death and want to give her the world. I want to be with her officially, no more secrets. But he keeps making her promises to change/buy her a house/move in together and chaining her to him with promises of a good future. Yet he almost never spends time with her. Am I crazy to wait? What should I do?
– Waiting Gamer

Dear WG,
It’s true: sometimes people do meet — and get very close — while one of them is seeing someone else. It’s messy, and it needs to be handled with the utmost care, but it happens. Many suitors have “waited” while someone finalizes a divorce or deals with something he or she has clearly stated needs to be deal with, or returns from Space Station Mir.

But sometimes, WG, people wait, and wait, and wait. They try to wait out hope-fueling — but empty — promises (“I’ll break up with her when things get less crazy at work”; “I’ll file for divorce as soon as I can pay for it”). Or they wait, simply, for someone to wise up. And sometimes people do come to their senses, but often, people don’t.

Are you starting to see which “waiting” category — or trap — you might fall into, WG? I
This limbo isn’t doing anyone any good, least of all you.
realize you see many wonderful, special, unique, magical things in her, and that’s great. But she, unfortunately, is not even making you an empty promise. In fact, she is TELLING YOU SHE IS NOT LEAVING HER BOYFRIEND. You should listen.

Elsewhere, your instincts are on. You’re right to see that not breaking up for any reason is an excuse. Of course it’s exceedingly difficult to face the end of a serious relationship. The way you describe it, any false promises in this scenario are coming from her boyfriend.

But really, it never should have gotten to this point in the first place. Giving you her number: maybe. But all that flirting, physical contact and emotional outpouring? No, no, no. She is cheating on her boyfriend and messing with your mind. This is not cool. She gets to have her boyfriend and her cake, too; you get to tie yourself into knots. And you, my dear — whether you realize it or not — are falling for it.

Which should make you wonder—what is it that you dig, not just about her, but about the passion/drama/danger of someone unavailable? I know it smarts, but beneath the pining, what do YOU get out of having this “pretend girlfriend”? Is it the feeling of saving her? Is she an excuse to avoid getting into other relationships just in case she comes around? The craving of romance over reality? If you should wait for anything, it’s for yourself to do some soul-searching and see what you uncover.

Meanwhile, I think you need to distance yourself from her. This limbo isn’t doing anyone any good, least of all you. This doesn’t mean she will never be yours. It just means I don’t recommend waiting on her. Even if she disentangles herself in the near future (which is unlikely), I’m a little wary of her rebounding into your arms without her doing a little soul-searching of her own first.

So, WG, gather your strength, take a step back; wait for sparks to fly anew. If it can happen with someone with a boyfriend, it can happen with someone without a boyfriend. This new love will be the one who’ll say, “YOU are the man I’ve been waiting for!”


Lynn Harris (www.lynnharris.net) is co-creator, with Chris Kalb (www.chriskalb.com), of the award-winning website BreakupGirl.net — you can visit BG's blog to discuss this letter! A longtime journalist, Lynn has written about dating, gender, and culture high and low for Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Times, Salon.com, Nerve.com, and many others. She is currently the communications strategist for Breakthrough, a transnational organization that creates pop culture to promote human rights. Submit your own dating questions for Ask Lynn via bg@breakupgirl.net. Your question may be answered in a future column.
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