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Backup Boyfriend Can't Say No to Teacher He's in Love With

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 39-year-old gay male who was in a relationship with a very attractive 44-year-old teacher. He never wanted to commit to a monogamous relationship.

After 10 months of seeing each other, he informed me that he is about to enter into a relationship with a 22-year-old. He said it was nothing I did, but he is just attracted to younger guys when it comes to relationships. He also informed me that he will always be in my life and will never let me go. He said we could see each other secretly, but no more dates or public outings. I can see him only occasionally now, whenever the new boyfriend is working or out of town.

I'm afraid not to go over when he calls because I'm in love with him. I'm afraid if I don't abide by the terms of the relationship he has set, he will disappear out of my life. It hurts to see him in a new relationship, while I beg and wait for time with him. What do I do in this situation? -- RUNNER-UP IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR RUNNER-UP: I know what you are experiencing is painful, but if you have an ounce of self-esteem left, cut your losses and stop being this man's "booty call." To say the dynamics of this relationship are unhealthy for you would be an understatement.

He thinks he will always be in your life because you will tolerate this awful status quo. The only thing he is prepared to give you is more of what you have been getting -- pain. Recognize that things don't always turn out as we would wish, get emotional support where you can find it -- from friends or a licensed therapist, if necessary -- and move on. Please.

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