Misleading lady friend remains just that
Dear Annie: I am a divorced male in my mid-50s. A couple of years ago, I met a divorced woman through a mutual friend. We share a common hobby, which led to us spending hours of time together, often just the two of us.
I asked my lady friend early on if she was interested in dating. She told me she had recently been through a bad breakup with her live-in boyfriend. She thought it would be nice to have someone with whom to go out for dinner, but she wasn't interested in a sexual relationship with anyone. I accepted that. As time went on, however, we became closer. Although there was never anything physical between us, we had what I considered “dates,” where I would pick her up and we'd have dinner. I thought it was only a matter of time before our relationship became romantic and intimate.
I recently learned that, for the entire time I have known her, my lady friend had been having a sexual affair with another guy who already has a live-in girlfriend. When I confronted her, she neither admitted it nor denied it. Instead, she said her sex life was none of my business.
I think I've been used for two years. I enjoyed our time together, but I never would have spent so much of it with this woman if I'd known she had a sexual partner. We are no longer seeing each other, and although that is probably for the best, it is awkward since we have mutual friends.
What do you think? — Feeling Used
Dear Feeling: We think this woman definitely took advantage of you, but we also believe you went into this with different expectations. The woman needed someone to squire her around for dinner and such, and could not do so with her already-attached boyfriend. You were a convenience, and she misled you. You, however, assumed there would be an eventual sexual relationship with a woman who told you upfront that she wasn't interested (the reason is irrelevant). If you had instead considered her to be simply a friend, with no other agenda, you could have enjoyed dinners out and hobby time without feeling used.
It's time to let it go. You made a mistake getting involved with her, but it shouldn't shame you into avoiding your mutual friends. Hold your head up, be civil around her, and look for romantic companionship elsewhere.
Dear Annie: I thought I was being respectful by addressing ladies using the title “Ma'am.” Recently, I said that to a woman and she responded, “My name is Mrs. X. I am not a 'Ma'am!'”
What do you think? — Lafayette, La.
Dear Lafayette: We think some people are too easily offended. We all have a preferred term of address, but we cannot expect others, especially strangers, to know what that is. One doesn't chastise a person for being polite. For those of you who have been unintentionally insulted and feel the need to respond, simply correct the person in a gentle manner so they will know for next time.