Since probably 6 months ago, I've been dating with a girl (let's call her Emilia) who has BF, (we are in our mid twenties, both from USA) and she told that me since the beginning and I agreed. So we have continued seeing each other in secret.


I avoided the subject of her BF for some time until I decided to talk about that with her, I wanted to know where I was, I mean, I would like to be more formal with her and at some point she needs to take a decision, yet, she does not like to talk very much about that, I have tried asking directly things like :

  1. "I really would like to be with you 100%, why don't you leave him and try with me?"
  2. "I can't understand why is so difficult for you to leave that guy"
  3. "do you think we will have a chance for us someday?"

But I usually receive vague answers like "I don't know", "is more difficult than you think", and sometimes she gets angry about the situation.


What I would like is to find an effective way to get a genuine answer about if she wants to break her relationship or not.

Please let me know if you need more details.


Answer to some of the questions you posted:

How long has she been with her boyfriend?

  • 6 months (same time with me)

Is it a long-distance relationship?

  • No, we live in the same city.

Does he know her parents?

  • Yes, he already meet her friends & family

Is there suspicion of violence in case she breaks up?

  • Not sure, she has not mentioned nothing about violence.

Could she be pregnant?

  • I don´t think so, she told me she has never had sex with him, I have my own doubts about this.

Is he suicidal?

  • Not sure, the only thing she has mentioned has been is he is very emotional

would you also be ok if she had a relationship with someone else while you were formally dating?

  • Of course not, even tough the possibilities are higher than normally would be, at least I want to try.

Does the other guy know about me?

  • Of course not.

Important to mention

We work on the same place, I am talking just about Emilia & me.

  • 6
    Is she in an open relationship, where her BF also knows about you, of is she cheating with you? If she's cheating, her motives might be partly financial (if she lives with or is substantially supported by her boyfriend). Or she might actually enjoy having something 'on the side' and the thrill would be gone if she made your relationship legitimate. It's amazing how many people seem to -actively enjoy- deceiving others... – Meg Dec 21 '18 at 16:03
  • She has a 'stable' relationship with her boyfriend. You however are someone who has no problem with cheating. Why would she give up her relationship to start one with a cheater? To her it's probably fun to cheat, but not to be cheated on, you'll be a liability one you'll become her official boyfriend. - Could she have this reasoning or do you believe this could not be the case? – user2848 Dec 31 '18 at 11:43

I think the key for you is not so much to talk to Emilia about her other relationship as it is to listen to Emilia about that relationship while telling her what you want between the two of you.

You ask her "why don't you leave him?" and when she say's "it's complicated" or "I just can't" do you just say "oh, ok, glad we had this chat"? It sounds like you do. Instead, you need to stay in the conversation. Pick a time when there's time (ie not in a break room at work, not right as she is headed out the door to go back to him for the night) and ask and really listen. Something like:

I wish we could [go out in public, spend the night together, holiday together.]

Wait for her to say either "so do I" or "you know we can't" or the like. Pay attention to what she says and how she says it. Is she sad and wistful, or irritated that you're mentioning this again? Does she have a look in her eye like she's thinking a thousand things that you don't know? Gently press.

This is important to me. And I think it's important to you that things stay like they are. But I don't understand why. Are you trapped in something you wish you could change, or is it a problem that I want more than we have now?

Again listen. You don't know if she wants to leave but feels she can't, or if she's enjoying friends-with-benefits and wants you to stop wanting her to leave. The only way to learn this is to listen.

Depending on what comes next, you may want to tell her how important it is that she leaves him, or is more open about seeing you, or includes you in more of her life. It's important she knows this, so telling her is a good idea. But only telling her those things won't magically change everything. What will? That depends on why she isn't leaving him. And she's the one who knows that.

She may not exactly know. She is unlikely to give you a one sentence answer that makes everything clear. But you can keep listening, asking gentle questions, and not reacting angrily to whatever she tells you. Responses like

I see. And is this a temporary thing or will it always be like this?

are more neutral than

Seriously!! You're actually planning that?? For how long!??!

Angry responses will close the conversation down before you learn what you need. It may take several conversations before you begin to understand her thoughts on the matter. Once that is gained, you can decide if you want to help her (assuming she needs help), to accept her wishes (if you understand she wants things to keep going as they are) or to end the relationship and look for one that is more like what you want. Trying to choose one of those (or threaten her with one, or offer one) when you have no idea what she's thinking? That just can't work. And threats and bribes are no way to get someone to reveal their inner thoughts to you. That comes from the hard work of asking, listening, reacting gently, asking more, and so on, until you understand.


If it is a competition between you and the other guy, it isn't a fair one. You know about him, but he doesn't know about you. Your relationship is being conducted in the shadows; he has the benefit of being able to take her any place she wants and impress her in front of her friends, family etc.

Asking her to leave her official boyfriend for you while you are in this secret relationship is like asking someone to leave a stable job and a regular income to come and work for a small, unproven entity. The only way she can even begin to consider you as equals is if everything becomes transparent. If he knew about you (which would either end their relationship or at least take it down a gear and not be as serious) and you were free to date her properly then she could compare you in a fair way. Again, this is assuming you want to be "compared" this way.

Personally, I wouldn't want to date someone who was willing to cheat. There is a saying "Once a cheater, always a cheater". Not everybody is a "serial" cheater, but if their morals permit them to do that once, what prevents them from doing it to you also? Being objective though, if you are all at the dating stage of your relationships and still trying to work out if you want to be with that particular person for the rest of your life there is no reason for anyone to continue in a relationship they are not completely sure of, and that could be the case with 'Emilia'.

If this is what you really want then you need to be forthright about your expectations. It isn't like you are demanding things of her in a controlling way - you are simply asking for your feelings to be respected and to be treated as if you are actually in the relationship she has been pretending to have with you in secret.

You might say:

I have already told you that I want to be with you. My feelings for you are real, and so it has come to decision time. I cannot continue as we are and not get hurt, so if you want to remain with your boyfriend then we cannot continue.

Don't expect her to make a decision immediately. You might feel that her inability to make a decision means she wants to be with her boyfriend, but often we are torn between our "head" and our "heart". Sometimes we make a decision very quickly, but we agonise over the decision because of the fallout it will create, and this can be seen as indecision. But do mean what you say, and be prepared to walk away because you will get hurt if you continue. If you continue as you are even in the short term, it will only serve to make her think she does not have to make a decision so quickly.

If she still says that there are things you don't understand, then patiently ask her:

Please help me understand.

It may just be as simple as not wanting to hurt her boyfriend. It may be that he is part of a circle of friends she is scared of breaking up. Unlikely, but it may be something more complex and cultural. If there is something credible, but she indicates that she would rather be with you, you may wish to give her some time to resolve it. But again, continuing as you are in the meantime will give her no sense of urgency about that.

  • Based on personal experience, it's not clear to me that her "official BF" doesn't know about the OP. In other words, it may be more of an "open relationship" thing than a "cheater" thing. – DaveG Dec 21 '18 at 14:00
  • @DaveG not sure if this was edited after your comment but "Does the other guy know about me? Of course not" – BKlassen Dec 21 '18 at 17:44
  • @BKlassen ah, that wasn't in place when I commented. But given everything, I think the most the OP can say is "I don't think he knows about me". – DaveG Dec 21 '18 at 21:00

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