Dear Wayne and Wanda,
Years ago, I started sleeping with "Rick." It was never intended to be serious; in fact, I expected it to be a one-and-done thing, the result of a lot of flirting and wine. But after that first night, it happened again, and again and again, until my infrequent but ongoing hook-ups with Rick became something comforting that I could count on. Here's where we differ: I only met up with Rick when I was single, but he has pursued me for casual meet-ups regardless of his status, including when he was dating other people or even seriously involved with someone.
About a year ago, Rick got his girlfriend pregnant. We'll call her "Anne." We met up several times during her pregnancy, while all the while his social media posts showed him at the baby shower and beaming as her bump grew, acting every part the happy father-to-be. Yes, the hypocrisy of this irritated me slightly, but frankly, the simple physical connection I have with Rick overrode anything else. And part of me has always looked at this like I was with him before these other women, and it isn't anything serious, so what's the big deal?
Well now Rick has a baby and he's proposed to Anne. He has messaged me since the proposal to meet up. Even though I wanted to, I declined. That was probably when this became too much for me and I don't think I will see Rick again, although I admit I have said that before. How can I break this pattern? I know it's bad to continue to hook up with him and yet I always do. And the bigger question is, should I tell Anne what's happened between us? I feel like that would help me sever my connection to him once and for all, and she has a right to know that she's about to marry a guy who's had a side piece all these years.
So now that you're done with Rick, you feel evangelized to enlighten Anne, yet you justified it just fine up until now? Come on. Here's the best thing you can do here: Walk away, don't sleep with Rick again and definitely don't contact Anne.
Need more emotional ammo to pull the brakes and make the break take? How's this: There's no such thing as being grandfathered into an enduring sexual relationship and getting some kind of monogamy hall pass because you were there first. You might have come up with some kind of creative categorization for your occasional place at Rick's side, but cheating is cheating, and you've gamely played the role of The Other Woman. You really can't be OK with that. And if you think you are or really ever were, it's time for a deep emotional dive into your abyss of issues and trauma to figure out why you were willing to settle for way less than you deserve.
It sounds like you and Rick started off with something fun and easy that was then gradually devalued when it entered into corrosive infidelity territory. Just because you were always single doesn't mean it was OK — I think and hope that you know that. And yet, knowing something is one thing; doing something is another matter. You can take the high road here, finally, by doing. In plain English: Stop doing Rick, don't do a thing involving Anne, and just do you. You'll be better off if you leave all this drama behind you.
Sure, go ahead and break the news to Anne. While you're chatting with her, offer to return for the kiddo's first birthday so you can also tell them that their daddy is a big cheater. And be sure to keep Thanksgiving open, because I've got a feeling this family's new tradition won't feel complete without having you around. Just stay away from the turkey, because I'd hate for it to get burned during your Scorched Earth campaign.
You can write all you want about how this isn't a big deal, that he's dragged everyone else into his lies, and how you're so offended by his decisions to cheat on his soon-to-be baby mama … but you're his accomplice and partner in crime! And it seems like you're seriously freaking out that the sex spree as you know it may be coming to an end. Hey, you guys had a good run. Then it turned into a not-so-good run. And now it's about to be a run that goes completely off the track, over a big cliff and into shark-infested waters …
If you're upset that he ultimately picked someone else to do his version of "settling down" with, don't blame them; blame yourself. You've had plenty of time to walk away or lock Rick down … to the best extent that you can lock this guy down. Or maybe that's the reason that this never elevated to your version of "serious" — there's no way either of you would trust one another to be faithful.
The best thing you can do is exactly what you claim you want to do — sever ties with Rick, his soon-to-be wife, and the whole situation, and don't look back.
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