Where Is The Line, When Flirting With A Married Man?

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Dear Elsa,

What do I do about flirting with a married man who’s flirting back? I KNOW it’s wrong, and I’ve no intention of being a homewrecker (he is married with children). I was in a relationship once before with a married man (who divorced after we broke up, though his wife never found out about us), and I don’t intend to walk that road again.

I met the current MM through a mutual friend and we hit it off really well, often able to finish each other’s sentences, and are an equal match in wit and verbal dexterity. We have started collaborating on a research project together and I’ve no doubt the work will be fruitful.

However, the verbal sparring matches, as they do, have taken on a decidedly sexual turn. We don’t talk dirty. Just funny, with a lot of innuendo. The irony of the situation is we reached this point after our mutual friend (not even his wife) accused us of having an emotional affair behind her back. She was doing the ‘I was friends with you first, and now you are spending time with her (online).’ We were indignant and annoyed at first, but didn’t want to complain or bitch about the mutual friend. I think somehow that got deflected into jokes about what she will think we are doing, even though we were just talking about work. And the jokes are beginning to have a life of their own.

Curiously, his wife is absent in the matter. I’ve never met her, and he mentions her on the odd occasion, but only in passing. I do not want to speculate on the state of their marriage, which I think should not govern my behavior anyway.

I intend to pull back on the innuendo, but have I crossed a line? Is there a rule book that says single women and married men can never be good friends? We have been chatting online for a couple of hours each evening for a few weeks now, partly for work, but a lot of it social too. Is that the same thing as seeing somebody for a couple of hours a day? Am I doing something ‘wrong’ that will inadvertently cause a lot of suffering later?

Moon in Capricorn Wanting to do the Right Thing

Dear Moon,

If you have to ask, I would say you have crossed the line for sure. And never mind the “right thing”, you have a pattern here with married men. You have been involved with one and you are now involved with another. If you doubt this, check your language, Gemini.

You refer to you and him as “we”. We are doing this, we think this other. We reacted like this. He is not you partner!

You also cut the wife out and he does the same because she is rather inconvenient, yes? So hey! Let’s just ignore her.

Single women can be friends with couples and perhaps with married men but only if they respect the marriage, which is not what you are doing when you flirt and talk about sex with this man… and spend the day with him at work and the evening chatting with him on a computer. If you need a check on this, just ask yourself how his wife would feel if she intercepted your communications.

You’re both adults, you can do what you want but you are asking me so I am telling you: you are having a virtual affair with a married man and yes, people are going to get hurt – most namely, you.

Good luck.

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