My first relationship was with a great, loyal guy, but a coddler. We started in high school and it lasted for almost five years. I broke up with him because halfway through college I felt like I had outgrown him and I didn’t want to waste any more of his time or my own when my heart wasn’t in it anymore. We’re still friendly, but we don’t talk regularly.
My last relationship was on-off literally for 7 years. Turbulent, dynamic, bittersweet, entertaining, fun, stupid. We were great friends from the time we met, but relationship status changes were not uncommon and always a bit drastic. Synopsis: we each once relocated to live with the other, separated because we weren’t getting along, broke up a handful of times (he had a lot of fear of commitment), and there were months and even a whole year during which we did not speak. After a bizarro year of being broken up but civil, we’re now officially friends again. We’ve run the gamut, so I’m pretty confident that we’ll continue to be friends as long as we don’t try to date again. We had “the talk”, too, so we’re on the same page.
I share these with you for comparison to the other thing I want to bring up because I think I see a pattern forming. Even before my first boyfriend and as recently as two weeks ago, regardless of my relationship status, I have consistently attracted committed and married men. What’s worse is I’m often attracted to them, too. The last guy I made out with (whom I’ve known casually for a while) turned out to be married. I found out after the fact, but still. With varying degrees of passivity or participation this scenario has been the side story of my dating life since it began. I can’t figure it out. Is it them? Or is it me?
I’ve got a pretty free-wheelin’ no-harm no-foul philosophy when it comes to relationships and interactions of that nature. I’m okay with being physical with someone I like and it won’t escalate emotionally. I’m queen of abiding by “it won’t get weird.” I also don’t blab about it to my girlfriends. In that way, I’m kind of a dude. So I wonder if maybe guys pick up on that. Like maybe I give off a “good time girl” vibe or I’m being flirty. What’s going on that men who are already in committed relationships seek me out? Maybe men just cheat? Is there a creamy middle that I’m overlooking?
So, if you had a friend who got into a fender bender in a grocery store parking lot, and she said, “What bad luck!” you would probably say, “Indeed! Bad luck!”
But if your friend got into another parking lot scrape a month later, hit a construction sign a couple weeks after that, got rear ended at a stoplight, racked up a dozen door dings, and plowed through someone’s flowerbed and lodged her Civic on a tree stump, eventually when she said, “What bad luck!” you’d be like, (cough, cough) “It’s you!” (cough, cough)
So yeah. It’s probably you. That’s not a value judgement, and the DW does realize that clumsily destroying cars is probably not the most favorable sounding analogy to your situation, but there’s kinda no way around the common denominator here.
Let’s put it this way. Yes, married men are attracted to you, and the DW is sure they have excellent reasons to be, sexy reader. But Married Men Looking To Cheat are attracted to a lot women. That’s their deal. They’re opportunists. The main quality they need in a gal isn’t so specific as Perky or Brainy or Leggy or Funny or Awesome. It’s Willing To Sleep With A Married Guy.
Does that mean you’re giving off come hither vibes? Not necessarily. And even if you are, there’s no dog whistle a woman can blow that only dudes with significant others can hear. More likely, you’re simply far more receptive than your average gal when being hit on by a married/taken dude. The Wifey, even in her single days, for instance, if approached by a dude with a ring would have reflexively doled out a truly horrified Did You Just Crank A Chilidog Fart? face. There would have instantaneously been zero doubt in the dude’s mind he’d have better luck trying to fuck Secretariat. And that would be the end of that.
But if you, Mur, laugh at a married guy’s jokes, see a ring and ignore it, accept another free drink, and generally act like it’s totally acceptable that he’s placing a hand on your hip and letting you know you have a cute caboose, well, that puts you in a friendly minority, from his perspective. He figures there might be some ankle grabbin’ potential, and so you will be vigorously pursued.
So, is there anything about you that combines the married dude thing with the other long term on/off relationships you described with available dudes? Well, the thing Mr. Turbulent, who you stuck with for seven years through way ups and way downs, obviously has in common with a married dude is his general lack of availability. Commitment issues, fights, wives- these are all ways dudes can maintain distance. Meanwhile, the guy you describe as a “great, loyal guy” you also describe, in a way the DW took to be a criticism, as “a coddler.” As if his loyalty crowded you, held you back, made you yawn.
Add this all up and it starts to look like one of the things you value in a dude is fear of commitment. Which would seem counterintuitive. Unless, of course, you had commitment fears of your own. Are you afraid of what might happen if you let someone all the way into that sweet, defenseless, creamy middle of your heart?
Here’s to your next dude coming along sans wife.