I have been friends with “Kelly” for five years. Although there has always been great chemistry between us, the timing has never quite worked. Anytime one of us was getting out of a serious relationship, the other would always be in a relationship, so we never dated.
Last year, she had an unplanned pregnancy. Now she’s with the guy, because she feels her daughter needs a father, but he is horrible to her. He constantly belittles her, has a bad temper, and does drugs and drinks around the child. She is miserable, but feels she is supposed to stay.
Several months back, we were hanging out and ended up sleeping together. It was an incredible night, and has been repeated several times. She says she loves me and has cared about me for years. She wants to be with me but says she can’t right now because she has to stay with her boyfriend for her daughter’s sake.
I don’t know what to do. I love her. Honestly, I’ve had feelings for her for years. I love her child too and spend lots of time with her. It’s hard to be only sort-of with Kelly, but I don’t want to give her up. Should I end this to save us both more heartache down the road? Should I stop sleeping with her but wait around to see if she leaves him? Should I continue things as they are?
— Looking for the Right Thing
It’s a shame you can’t make “Kelly” leave her baby’s lousy daddy. It sounds like he's not exactly the sort of man who should be raising a child. However, if she decides to come around it has to be totally up to her. If I were a gamblin’ woman, I’d bet that someday she will grow tired of her boyfriend’s drinking and drugging and finally leave his sorry ass.
But it’s really not fair for you to have to sit around and wait for that day. Some women stay with horrible men for their entire lives. If Kelly is one of them, you’ll be old and wrinkled by the time you figure it out.
Have you talked to Kelly about your desire for a real relationship with her? Something beyond sex? If not, you need to let her know that if she’s willing to leave her man, you’d gladly scoop her up.
Help her to realize how great a relationship with you would be by going out of your way to do nice things for her, but let her know that you can’t wait around forever.
You should also assure her that you’d make a better dad than the baby’s biological father, since she might be concerned that you wouldn’t want to help raise her child.
Once you’ve expressed how you feel, the ball is totally in her court. Set a timeline in your own mind — a few months, perhaps. If Kelly hasn’t come around by the end of the deadline, it’s time for you to move on. And by move on, I mean, stop sleeping with her. Having sex is doing nothing but keeping both of you emotionally engaged in a situation that’s unhealthy.
I hope things work out in your favor. But if they don’t (warning: cliché coming up) there are certainly other fish in the sea.
Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at firstname.lastname@example.org.