5 Benefits of Having a Girlfriend Who’s Married
When I told my immigrant mother I’d been in a relationship with a married “straight” woman for over a year, all she did was roll her eyes and ask, “Why would you want that?” I was surprised by her tepid response. I was expecting a volatile debate, typical of how we usually relate, but it seems as if the woman has become exhausted from experiencing consecutive disappointments. So, why would I want this? The short answer is that I don’t. The long answer is that this relationship, while it’s not what I want in the long run and has an undefined expiration date, has taught and continues to teach me about love, relationships, and the kind of partner I want and strive to be.
I was hesitant to embark on this journey with her initially, and while I’m not suggesting that you all go out and find yourselves a nice married woman, I am glad I took a risk on this incredibly progressive person, for the following reasons:
She Shows Me How to Communicate Better
Before we acted on our mutual attraction, which grew out of friendship, she talked to her husband about opening their marriage for the first time to explore her newfound feelings. She is constantly checking in and keeping both her husband and me on the same page – an ability that amazes me since I barely have enough time to keep my own emotions in check, never mind two others’. Since we’ve been in each other’s lives, we have had to continually communicate about where we are at with each other emotionally while managing our expectations. This isn’t typical in today’s dating culture, in which we tend to make assumptions about where people are at instead of asking them directly, for fear of seeming “desperate” or “uncool.” Having this influence has made me more direct in all my relationships, romantic, platonic, and professional alike.
She Keeps My Ego in Check
I used to have a very narrow view of what love is and believed you couldn’t love more than one person. I have always had a competitive streak, and always want to do the best and be the best. Sharing someone I love with someone else is not normal to me yet (or maybe ever), but this experience has helped me to understand that there’s enough love to go around and that her love for me is a different love than the committed partnership she has with her husband. I am learning that people fall in love for all sorts of different reasons, and satisfy different needs that just one person, or person of a specific gender, might not be able to fulfill.
She Helps Me Work Through Intimacy Issues
This is my longest relationship, after a string of flash-in-the-pan, five-alarm-bell romances that flamed out as fast as they sparked. Getting to know her has been a slow process. We were friends first and then slowly built toward the sexual attraction we knew was there. Too often, we rush into having sex and forget to find out about the person. The slow burn has helped us bond, become more intimate, and feel safe with one another in saying anything – even having the difficult conversations about the nature of our relationship. She was the first person to ever tell me she loved me. And, after my general bewilderment at the prospect of anyone actually loving me, she was the first person to help me understand all the reasons why I deserve to be loved – and believe it. That’s invaluable.
She Shows Me How to Have a Healthy Relationship
Building on the intimacy thing, I’ve come to consider this a relationship on training wheels. There is a reason she is married. In addition to being one of the most beautiful humans you’ve ever met, she’s emotionally in tune, a strong and direct communicator, and incredibly supportive. I’ve learned that these are all things I want in my eventual primary partner – and I’ve learned not to settle for less. Her decisiveness about pursuing me is something I admire, and I appreciate it every day. It shows me that when a person truly wants to make it work, they will take clear and direct steps to show their interest. For goodness’ sake, the woman opened up her marriage to spend time with me! Screw the Tinder girl who responds three days late and reschedules your date five times in a row, you know?
I’ve Learned How to Be With Someone Without Expectation
Finally, this relationship has taught me how to just be with someone without wondering what our fucking kids’ names are going to be. This is the most present I’ve ever been in a relationship, because we have no plans to build a life together; that is a commitment she’s made and is sticking to with her husband. It’s a boundary I respect and admire because it shows me that love and commitment can survive the messy, unexpected realities of life when both partners are willing to collaborate and grow together instead of growing apart. That’s the kind of relationship I want and will strive to have moving forward. But for now, I am glad that we can simply enjoy the gifts we bring to each other for however long it lasts. And really, isn’t that the whole point of any relationship?