October 9, 2014

Ask Me Anything: On Complicated Relationships With Selfish People. {Weekly Advice Column}

Tetra Pak/Flickr

*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal opinion, view or experience of the authors, and can not reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here. 


Dear Elephants,

Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected] or private message me on Facebook.
I look forward to hearing from you!

~ Erica

*The following letters have been edited due to their length. The content is true to the original.


Dear Erica,

I’ve been seeing a girl for the last seven months.

We’ve connected in a very special way and in a space of seven months have fallen in love and really can see a future together.

She is very open, sexual and likes to talk to people about it, send pictures and share. We’ve spoken about inviting a girl in our bedroom and the relationship in general has been very open and honest. We’ve discussed boundaries and what we will accept but always agreed that we are number one and number two and will always discuss openly and honestly with each other any of our fantasies, desires etc.

I have found this approach to be really refreshing as I can share my thoughts with this girl I love and she can share her thoughts without being labeled a pervert.

However, as time progressed I’ve noticed a guy called Ryan who she has been messaging, sharing pictures, etc. with. This has been happening for the last seven months. She only knew him online and had never met him until recently. I raised my concerns with her a few times about “who is this guy,” but she said that he is just a friend. Because I made a promise to myself and her that I will accept her for who she is, I let it be.

Two weeks ago we realized she fell pregnant. I wanted to have the baby but after a long discussion with her we decided against it. We had to leave Dubai to go to Cape Town to have a medical abortion. It was a really though time for us but we got through it.

A few days after the dust had settled she told me she wanted to contact Ryan, which I felt was very disrespectful as we just went through an abortion and she knows how I feel about him. After lengthy discussions and frustration with her for the next two days about this, it was finally decided she would not to see him. On our last day in Cape Town, I said we should go out and reflect on what we’ve been through. On our way out she asked me if she could invite Ryan. I said yes, let’s meet Ryan and see what it’s all about.

The night turned out to be a disaster. He arrived and it was almost if I wasn’t there. First it was just them chatting with their backs to me, but as the night progressed so did the flirting, touching and general feeling each other up. It’s obvious there is sexual chemistry between them and this Ryan guy wants to get in there.

At the end of the night, after many hours, I simply lost it. She was really drunk and I told her we had to leave. I was furious that she would treat me like this. We had a massive fight, and I eventually had to actually pick her up and carry her out to the car.

The next morning she was extremely sorry for what she did. I gave her a piece of my mind and made it very clear, if we to move forward Ryan needs to be removed from the scene. This was agreed and we were in a good place, putting it behind us, sharing our love and looking forward to the future.

I finally asked her if she could send a message to Ryan saying she can no longer be friends. This turned into another massive fight. She wanted to “work through it with him” and said she can’t just cut-off a “friend” like that. Again, I agreed to this.

Last night I found out she had been speaking to Ryan the whole day. I feel they have this relationship behind my back and now she is telling me she wants to continue being friends with him and that I need to understand she needs people like this in her life.

I have had enough. I love this girl, but I feel this is asking a bit much. I don’t trust this guy, nor can I trust them together to just be friends. I feel right now she is choosing his friendship over our relationship.

Am I being unfair to her by asking her to stop talking to Ryan?

I feel really lost here and could really appreciate some advice here, Erica.

~ Third Wheel


Dear Third Wheel,

You feel like your girlfriend is choosing her “friendship” with Ryan over you because she is.

To recap: You and your girlfriend have been together seven months. She has been communicating with this other guy the entire time.

She is very clear that she is open about sex and that she is open to sex with him, as demonstrated by her behavior in front of you, just after you made the difficult choice to terminate an unplanned pregnancy together.
When you discuss your feelings with her, her default position is to defend her own needs. Any meaningful discourse ends up in a “massive fight.”

You say that the two of you have agreed that you will always be “one” and “two” in the relationship, especially when it comes to tricky sexual arrangements, but that is not the case. She is number one, and you are not really in the picture.

In the grand scheme of things, you haven’t invested much time in this relationship. You do not have children together or share any other practical link. Be grateful for this. You can, and should, make a clean break.

What kind of future could you possibly envision with this unstable, selfish and unethical person?

You deserve better than this.


Dear Erica,

I am a mother of five amazing girls, divorced for a year and single for three and a half years. I left my ex-husband for me.

Although I started chatting inappropriately with a man online while I was married, I never had a physical affair with anyone, and when I left I didn’t meet anyone in real life for over a year.

Now I have this guy with whom I’ve developed a great friendship. He’s been divorced three times and is in a complicated four-year relationship, currently. He started flirting with me and I didn’t give in right away, but now we’ve been seeing each other weekly for about three months.

I’m falling for him. When I weigh the pros and cons of this relationship, the pros stack up pretty well, but I can’t deny the cons and even discuss them with him.

He says he is hurt by his girlfriend’s behavior (she sends and receives texts from a younger man regularly). I like my single status and I still date other men, but I’m not enjoying my dating life.

My friend and I have fun together and can talk about anything. I want a real relationship but I’m not unhappy with what we have either. I’m making a conscious choice to be with him with no expectations, but have also told him I would love to be in his “big picture.” He is not happy with his situation and I’m not unhappy putting my life on hold.

I’m not sure what I’m asking you except that if I feel happier with him than without him, why would I even consider ending this relationship? Am I being true to myself and doing what will make me happy?

~ Not a Wife


Dear Not,

If you were happy and everything was as it should be, you wouldn’t be writing to me in the first place.

I can’t figure out if you don’t think you are worthy of more, or if you just don’t think that it’s out there. Let me assure you, you are, and it is.

You made a very tough decision to leave your husband because you opted for happiness, but you are setting yourself up to be unhappy all over again. From what it sounds like, this guy is perfectly okay with the status quo, despite his claims that his four year girlfriend is texting someone else and making him miserable (the typical excuse a cheating partner uses to justify their cheating).

You say you have five amazing daughters. What would you tell them if they came to you and told you exactly what you have told me here? I’m a mother, too, and if you’re honest with yourself, you know that you would not just tell them to run, but shout it to the heavens.

You have done so much, been so brave, raised beautiful children and fought for your independence—is this really what you want your life to look like? Being the other woman to a thrice divorced man?

Demand more for yourself—and if you can’t do it just for you, do it as an example to your lovely children.




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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Tetra Pak/Flickr




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