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When You Find Out
        That They're Married

Dear Philippa:

Right now I feel like a stupid fool. It's bad enough having your heart stamped on by someone, but the woman who dumped me is married. I didn't know she was married until we had been dating for over six months-her husband worked in another town. By the time I found out I was too hooked and crazy about her and now here it is three years later and it's over. I never felt so close to a woman before. She made me feel so loved. But she's been cheating on me and her husband all along and there have been other lies too. I've acted like I have no pride. How can I make sure I don't act like a fool again?

�Dennis, Tampa, Florida


Dear Dennis,

Under the circumstances it�s understandable that you are hurting right now. But you seem to be adding to your pain by beating yourself up with guilt and regret over the decision you chose to make when you found out this woman was married. You sound angry with yourself for feeling so weak and out of control with this artfully manipulative woman.

You must have had feelings of anger and betrayal when you first found out this woman was married after dating her six whole months? Yes, she probably told you that old story: how she and her husband were getting a divorce; how he didn�t understand her; etc.

So, why do we vulnerable humans cross that line when we feel the person on the other side has so obviously misled and lied to us? Why do we go on in a relationship where we feel like a puppet on a string?

There are many theories why people get involved with married men and women including low self-esteem and fear of commitment. I subscribe to a theory based on my experience as a former doormat. I believe we all go around with flashing signs above our heads. When we see ourselves as a victim or don�t believe we deserve to be loved, our signs may flash "kick me here" or "ready to be used and abused". When we feel good about ourselves, the signs flash positive messages like, "I am ready to love and be loved", "I love life and myself". Our flashing signs attract certain kinds of people. The users and abusers look for the victim signs and the good men and women are attracted to positive messages.

How can you change your sign so you can attract and be attracted to healthy relationships?

In order to change your sign you need a healthy dose of positive thinking. Concentrate on ways that you can start feeling good about yourself. Feed your mind with inspiring books. Use faith in a higher power. Choose to spend times with uplifting companions. Go on a dating hiatus and enjoy women as friends for a while. Take the time to be by yourself. Let yourself imagine your flashing sign reads, "I�m a great guy ready for a great woman". As you go about your days, see that sign in your mind. At first you will have to pretend. Eventually you will believe, and ultimately you will act like you know it and your sign will start flashing positive messages that will attract people who are good for you.

Dennis, you don�t need to sell your soul to be loved. There is someone out there, right now, looking for someone just like you, and she is unattached, ready for an honest and loving relationship.


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