Dear Em & Lo,
I am torn. I don’t want to be a male poacher, however, “Bob,” who is my coworker, and I have undeniable chemistry. We have never physically done anything — nothing! He does say to me quite often that he wishes he and I were together. He has cooked for me, he is a vegetarian and he ate meat for me, but he says that he would feel guilty if he left his girlfriend of almost two years for me. Subsequently, we continue to have what I believe is an emotional affair. I really do care about him. I have confronted him and told him that what is happening is not fair to his girlfriend or myself, and since then, things have cooled. But I know he feels very strongly for me — so why won’t he dump her if he cares about me like he says?
–Borderline Male Poacher
Ah yes, the emotional affair. As the polls on our site recently showed, both men and women agreed that it would be way worse if their partner had an emotional affair than if they had a one-night stand with someone they didn’t really care about: 40% of men said the emotional affair would suck more, 14% said the one-night stand would be worse, and 35% said they’d suck equally. Amongst the women, 52% said the emotional affair would be worse, 3% said the one-night stand would be worse, and 42% said they’d suck equally.
So what do these results tell us? Well, for one, Bob was being a really bad boyfriend — in fact, as most of our readers would probably agree, Bob already cheated on his girlfriend by having an emotional affair with you. Which means that you have already been The Other Woman. Sorry to be the bearers of bad news.
In better news, Bob has decided to be a better boyfriend, and you need to support him in that decision. Monogamy can be a frail edifice at times, and it is good citizenship — not to mention good karma — to buttress it in times of need. If things have cooled, then let them be cool. In fact, we’d aim for icy. Bob knows your feelings, there’s no need to reiterate them. If he wants to be with you, he’ll dump his girlfriend. Until then, back off, sista! And if he never dumps his girlfriend, either (a) he obviously doesn’t wish he was with you that badly, or (b) he’s too spineless to dump his girlfriend to be with who he really likes — i.e. seriously Bad Boyfriend Material.
Speaking of Bad Boyfriend Material, do you really want to be with someone who is so bad at commitment that he simultaneously has an emotional affair and breaks his vegetarian vows in one fell swoop? We didn’t think so.
Em & Lo