DEAR ABBY: I'm a single man, in my mid-40s, an Air Force Academy graduate and former officer, who has never been married. I fell in love with a divorced mother of two who told me while we were dating that for the last 10 years she'd been having an affair with a married man I'll call "Rex." She left her husband because Rex promised he'd leave his wife and marry her, but he reneged -- so they met twice a week for sex. Rex worked nearby and would stop over during his lunch break. She told me all this while I was seeing her.
She finally broke it off about six months ago, saying she knew Rex was "no good for her." Subsequently, I gave her a job in my business, and she has turned out to be an excellent employee. Well, she recently confided to me that Rex came over during Easter and they'd had sex. She said that she didn't "fight it off" when he made his advances.
Abby, this woman is extremely bright. She's a wonderful mother to her daughters, a great worker, yet she lives like someone who's still in college and accountable to no one. She says she's not proud of what she does and calls herself "hopeless" after an afternoon of sex with him, but she continues to do it. We no longer date, but I still have strong feelings for her. Does this make me nuts too? How can I help her? How can I break the spell he has cast over her? -- MIND-BOGGLED IN CINCINNATI
DEAR MIND-BOGGLED: Help her? Has it occurred to you that this woman may be happy just the way things are? She knows there's no future with this man, but she allows this on-again, off-again affair to continue. Not only that, she has a good job with you, a former beau who makes excuses for her and cuts her lots of slack.
Rather than trying to get her head out of the clouds, how about working on your own? You can't "save" someone who doesn't want to be saved. My advice is to appreciate her for what she is -- an excellent employee -- but stop allowing her to dump on you about her personal life, and start looking for a woman who will recognize you for the great catch you are and reciprocate your feelings.