Today's letter has an appetizer. It's a cute note that isn't worth a full day, but I thought you could give the writer some tips before or after you deal with the main course. - M
Q: Not necessarily a LOVE question. But I need some advice!
My dad lives in a gated community and most of the time when I go over, there's a seriously attractive male working the gate. I'm never sure how to start up a conversation with him, or if it's even worth it! I only pass through the gate for a matter of 5 seconds -- we wave and smile to each other and then I'm on my way. What should I do?!
– KB, Delaware
Q: Late last fall, I attended a convention for bicycling enthusiasts where I met an attractive, interesting, outgoing woman. After a bit of small talk, I asked for her phone number and suggested that we get together for bike rides or platonic social events. She agreed, so we planned a first date a month or so later.
On that first date, she admitted that she was married (unhappily), and that her husband spent half the year abroad on business. She told me she agreed to the date because of its platonic nature. We had a great time and have seen each other a few times subsequent to that day.
The problem is that she is giving unmistakable signs that she wants something more. I made it clear, early on, that I would not get romantically involved with a married woman. That reality has not changed anything between us. We still see each other, and nothing happens beyond a quick hug goodbye. We meet in public places and mind our manners in every case. Aside from moral considerations, the last thing is want in my life is an irate husband armed with a shotgun.
I realize that this relationship has no romantic future. I personally don't romantically date someone until they have been divorced for at least a year, and since we don't know each other very well yet, I certainly can't expect her to alter a marriage on account of me. Besides, she indicates that divorce is not an option. As I said, I will not do anything physical with a married woman. I'm free to date others, and can live my life as I choose without interference from her. Most important, she has no children that could be affected by this activity.
Is it wrong to date this married woman as a friend, or am I doing something wrong?
– Concerned in Connecticut
A: It's fine to have a married friend, CIC, but only if she's really a platonic pal. This woman has feelings for you, and you describe your outings as dates. That doesn't sound platonic to me.
I'm worried that after more time together, your relationship boundaries will begin to bleed. A friendship will become an emotional affair. An emotional affair will turn into something you never wanted.
My advice is to see her in groups -- and less frequently. Bring her out with a pack of bikers and let her see that she's one of many friends, and that she doesn't get special treatment. Many commenters will probably tell you to cut her off altogether (and I can't say I disagree with them), but if you feel like there's something to save here, turn her into a member of your greater biking community. It's what's best for her, too.
You mention that there are no kids to confuse, which means that you're doing something confusing. Reserve your date time for someone who's really available.
Readers? Does he have to cut her off? What is he getting out of this? What will happen if they continue this? What are his obligations here? Help.
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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.