I’d dated a man for seven months, who lived five hours’ drive away but had clients in my city whom he saw every couple of weeks.
We weren’t in love, but we had good times together. He’s interesting, intelligent, and has good humour. We were late-30s, had sex, but hadn’t discussed a future together.
Then I discovered that he was practically living with a woman in his city. He apologized, and said he’d been torn between us.
I broke it off immediately, later fell in love, and moved in with my partner. That was a year ago.
Last week, my former “boyfriend” called to say we’re “too old to lose good friends.” He’d married his lover, wanted to get together as couples, and urged me to meet for a coffee.
I talked to my partner about it, and we both thought it was a decent outreach on the basis of friendship.
But during the coffee meeting, he “confessed” he missed me and put his hand above my knee under my skirt. I walked out.
Yet I feel guilty. My partner says to forget it, but I feel like such a fool. I can’t understand why it’s bothering me so much.
Tricked or Stupid?
The man’s a master player, one whose “charm” takes him far, even back to where he’s cheated before.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. You behaved according to the accepted “rules” of modern grown-up dating – being honest, undemanding, letting the relationship grow.
Not even your partner suspected this guy would attempt to deceive (his wife plus you and your guy) a second time.
You’re not stupid, perhaps just too unsuspecting in this case. Manipulative charm is a powerful draw. You weren’t rejected; you were reeled in as prey.
Convince yourself that you’ll recognize it in future and never let it happen again.
A friend with three school-age kids works full-time and over-depends on me to be back-up for her children, though she has a nanny.
I work part-time and am also committed to my own children’s after-school activities.
She’ll ask me to take one of hers along, then phone and say she can’t pick him up from the venue or even from my place.
Or, she’ll say her daughter, age seven, wants a Saturday night sleepover with my same-age daughter, then be “too tied up” to get her on a Sunday till dinner time!
Also one of her sons, age 9, tends to be rude and cocky, even bullying at times, which leaves me monitoring any play dates with him more closely than with other children.
How should I handle this woman without ruining the friendship?
It won’t feel like friendship if you continue to build natural resentment of her self-serving requests.
Either you grin and bear some of the leaning on you, for the children’s sake, or you get firm and clear about your boundaries.
Example: You can’t take her son to the after-school event unless she’s picking him up, which she hasn’t done so before. If she can’t this time, she’ll have to send her nanny in a taxi to get him.
More important, she needs to be told that her son is exhibiting “bully” behaviour. Say you care about her and her children, and it’d be wrong for you all to ignore this tendency.
Meanwhile, you can’t have him over for a play date because monitoring him isn’t your role. Investigating the reason for his negative behaviour is her job, and needs to be handled soon, before it escalates.
FEEDBACK More about the guest who’s upset at having to attend a wedding over a long holiday wedding (Dec. 22):
Reader - "Fed up with weddings" is being ridiculous. Couples may choose a holiday date to accommodate guests who mightn’t be able to attend otherwise.
“We chose a long weekend, allowing out-of-towners (half the invitees) to attend, without using up their entire weekend for travelling.
“They then could turn it into a mini-getaway with the extra day off if they wanted.”
Reader #2 – “Did it ever occur to the complaining invitee that maybe they chose a long weekend so fewer people would have to take days off from work?
“This same person would’ve been just as unhappy had they been invited to a wedding that required one, or more days off. I would also tell this person that the wedding is about the couple, not her/or him.
Tip of the day:
Recognize a Master Player, and move on fast.