Q: I can't believe I'm writing this all down, but here goes. I met this man through a friend about a month ago. We are both in our late 20s. The night we met we instantly hit it off -- common interests, same sense of humor, the whole deal, we just clicked. I never meet anyone I click with, so I was ecstatic. He asked for my number and started texting me almost immediately.
The next day, I e-mailed our mutual friend to ask about him, and she broke the devastating news that Mr. Perfect was, in fact, Mr. Engaged. I was baffled. We had talked the whole night and he didn't mention anything about a girlfriend, let alone a fiancée. From his behavior I would never have imagined that he was attached. I convinced myself I'd misread all his signs and that Mr. Engaged just wanted to be my friend.
Well, before I knew it, we were texting all day every day, and constantly making plans to hang out (always in a group). But even in the group setting we just find ourselves in our own conversation talking and flirting. A few nights ago he asked me on a date. Hesitant to go out alone I asked one of my friends to come with. Later in the night he flat out told me that he liked me. I told him that it wasn't fair, that I am the only one getting hurt in this situation and that I wish we had met at a different point in both of our lives.
My friend took me away at that point and tried to end the conversation knowing very well it wouldn't lead to anything productive.
Since then nothing has changed. We still talk, text and hang out all the time. He never speaks of his fiancée with the exception of one or two brief conversations where she has come up. I find myself constantly thinking about him and wondering what he is doing. It is so difficult for me to find someone to connect with and when I finally do, he is engaged. I am not out to ruin their relationship, but I do not know what to do. The rational side of me knows I should run, I should never have gotten involved to begin with, but I can't seem to help myself.
And since I know all the readers are probably wondering -- they're in a long distance relationship right now. They only see each other once a week, and when he is with her, he is still texting me.
– Wondering What Could Happen, Boston
A: I suppose your question is in your sign-off, WWCH. But I think you know the answer. Nothing good can happen. Not with a guy who's leading you on while lying to his fiancée. He's either really into you and too confused and cowardly to deal with his engagement, or he's using you as a placeholder while his fiancée is away. Either way, it's bad news.
Of course, you're using him as a placeholder, too. He's special because you like him, but if you had another nice guy to text and hang with, you'd drop Mr. Engaged.
You know what I'm going to advise you to do, but I'll say it anyway. Tell Mr. Engaged that you're looking for the real thing and that you're not comfortable dating someone who's already betrothed. Delete his number from your phone. If he shows up on your doorstep single (and I wouldn't put it past him) we can talk more then, but for the moment, I'd rather you be single, lonely, and looking for something right than filling the void with something wrong.
Loneliness makes us do things we're not proud of, but at some point, we have to hold ourselves accountable. Be good to yourself and walk away.
Readers? How can she say no to the attention when she has been so lonely? Is this guy going to drop his fiancée for the letter writer, and if so, should the letter writer date him? Am I right that they're simply using each other as placeholders for what they really want? How does one learn self-control in these situations? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.