Hi Anna, I’m a grad student in the Bay Area and I’ve gotten myself into a complicated situation. I started a thing with another girl in my program, but she currently lives with her girlfriend of two years. Her girlfriend caught us about a month back and now she isn’t allowed to come near me. I thought they’d break up, but her girlfriend wants to work it out, so instead we’re still sneaking around.
I really like her and I think she likes me a lot too, but she says she doesn’t have enough money to find a place on her own right now, but hopefully she can find one soon. She seems very sincere and understands completely if I want to stop being with her, so I want to believe her.
We are also both interning together this summer so we have to see each other a lot. I’m torn because I don’t know if I should continue the affair and wait for her or just break it off. I am also unsure how to break if off and still work with her all the time. Is there a way to make this work between us? Is it horrible that I still want to be with her?—The Other Woman
Anna says: It’s not “horrible,” TOW, but it’s certainly not very smart either. You’re involved with a girl who not only has a girlfriend, but one she lives with. You got busted once already, and it didn’t lead to your lady breaking things off. It only led to you sneaking around further. She is still with her live-in girlfriend, and you are being played, regardless of how “sincere” she seems.
If she wanted to be with you, she would be with you. Instead she’s having her cake and eating you too, in a dark supply closet where no one can see or find out about it. Her excuse of “not being able to afford a place” is flimsy, TOW. She could go somewhere temporarily, or crash on friends’ couches, or hell, even work out an arrangement with her partner, if ending the relationship were truly an option on the table, which I honestly don’t think it is. And it won’t be an option if you allow yourself to keep putting up with this sneaking around shit.
You deserve better. I say this as someone who has been the Other Woman and the Chump Cheater. It never works out like you want it to.
If you really want to be with her, if you want to give the relationship a fighting chance, then break the affair off now. Let her prove to you that she’s worthy of your devotion. That she can and will make it right by ending things with her current girlfriend. Until she does that, however, she’s not allowed to have you. You have to cultivate tits of titanium (balls of steel are overrated) and say no to sneaking around, say no to lying and dishonesty, and say no to hurting other people, even if it means ultimately hurting yourself in the short term.
I realize that saying this is much easier than doing it, and yes, it will be harder if you have to see her all the time, but you owe it to yourself and your sense of integrity to try your damnedest. Be firm with her. Tell her you refuse to accept the conditions of this particular arrangement. And then follow through.
Loving people is hard, TOW, but loving ourselves is harder. Be like Kelly in Beverly Hills 90210 (the old one) and choose yourself. You owe it to yourself to be with someone who wants you not just on the side, but front and center, in the back, and in reverse cowgirl, too. Accept nothing less.
You can do it. Tits of Titanium!