Doc Love: Being The Other Man

The Other Man

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"When Susan told you that she was involved with some guy named Joe, you should have known right then and there that you were wasting your time."
Doc Love, author of "The System," explains why you should never be "he other man."

Hey Doc,

Susan and I met through mutual friends. We hit it off well from day one and things were going great until one of our late-night conversations veered into her somewhat secretive relationship. She was going on about how much she liked me and had feelings for me, which I assured her were mutual. Then she threw in the but: “I’m in a relationship and it’s kind of confusing.” So I asked her to try to explain it to me as best as she could. Basically, she is involved with another guy we’ll call Joe.

Susan is 100% Chinese, so her family influence is very strong, which is nice because I’m a family guy myself. However, she’s afraid to tell her parents about her boyfriend, which is why no one else around her but me knows about him. She said she wants us to keep things casual, which was fine by me because we were just hanging out anyway.

This guy Joe, however, is in China for at least another year. They have been separated by this distance for three months or so. From what I was told by Susan, he is living with a very attractive Chinese woman.

Well, at this point, I was okay with the situation, but after many late nights of deep conversation and going out to bars with Susan, I started to develop feelings for her. I told her I don’t want to be the guy who tears apart a relationship, but one night something rather inevitable happened and we ended up getting very romantic.

We both enjoyed it immensely and she insisted that we do it again, but I told her it can’t happen again until she is not involved in another relationship. She smiled and said she would take care of things and not to worry. However, when I last talked to her, she said she really loves Joe and that the two of them talked and have decided to have an open relationship.

I know that neither open relationships nor long-distance relationships work, and Susan’s relationship with Joe is both. In the end I know their relationship isn’t going to work out. But she is insistent that it will and that she doesn’t want to lose Joe.

I’m confused about what to do, since Susan and I aren’t officially dating. And I certainly don’t want her to be with Joe. I plan on still seeing Susan and hanging out with her, and we will likely get romantic again, but is it wrong of me to continue what we’ve been doing knowing it’s going to damage an already failing relationship?

Maximillian - who doesn’t want to be a third wheel

Doc Love's Response

Hi Maximillian,

Your first big mistake was assuring Susan that her feelings for you were mutual. The man never talks about his Interest Level. So what are you doing telling this babe that you dig her? What’s more, if you didn’t admit that her feelings were mutual, you would have been a challenge to Susan. You would have set it up so that she would have had to work for you or negotiate to win you. But you blew all of that by having no discipline whatsoever and flapping your gums.

When Susan told you that she was involved with some guy named Joe, you should have known right then and there that you were wasting your time. It’s not fine that you were just hanging out with her. Max, you have to stop seeing Susan because you are frittering away your time on something that has no future because she has a boyfriend.

To add to the confusion, Joe is living with an attractive woman in China. Dude, all this does is make the entire situation even messier. Who knows who’s up to what? Like my cousin Rabbi Love says, “This is not the type of girl you want for a long-term relationship.”

But it doesn’t surprise me in the least that you’ve started developing deeper feelings for Susan. To you psych majors, what happens when you spend time with a babe is that you start to like her. This is why when Susan said she had a boyfriend that you should have been immediately out of there.

When you told Susan you didn’t want to be the guy to break up her relationship with Joe, you were being all heavy and serious. You shouldn’t have gone anywhere near that type of subject. You’re supposed to keep it light and funny, remember? Like my cousin Sal “The Fish” Love says, “You’re better off being the court jester.” You don’t get into heavy, serious conversations with someone you like, especially someone who has a boyfriend who’s far, far away. It’s obvious that you haven’t memorised my book. Judging from your blunders, I’ll bet you don’t even have it.

Then Susan told you that she and her boyfriend have decided to have an open relationship. Like my Uncle Jethro Love says, “Now you definitely know you don’t want her.” And by the way, Max, why are you concerned about Susan and Joe’s relationship not working out? Your relationship with Susan isn’t working out! In fact, your relationship with her never got started. Like my cousin General Love says, “This plane never even got off the runway.”

You might be dying to get romantic with Susan again, but all that’s going to happen is that you’re going to get burned when the other guy comes back. Like I said before, this whole deal is nothing but a waste of time. You’re No. 2 here, and the third wheel you don’t want to be.

Of course it’s wrong to continue what you’re doing, but only because you’re going to get hurt down the road. Like my cousin Brother Love says, “Bro, you’re playin’ with fire.” My job is to protect your heart.

This girl is not available, so if I were you, my friend, I wouldn’t hang out with her at all. Remember, guys: When she has a boyfriend, you’re wasting your time.

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