Dear Miss Emily:

I have somewhat of a dilemma. For nearly two years, I have been involved in an Internet relationship. It started first in Dec 2006 before it fizzled off in March 2007, after he became involved in a somewhat serious relationship in the "real world." In Dec 2007, it was rekindled, once again, but I ended it after being frustrated by the relationship's lack of progress. However, after "fate" and pure dumb luck intervened, I contacted him again and he welcomed me back. The only problem is that he is in a serious relationship and wants me to take the role of his mistress. Under normal circumstances, meaning if this were not merely an online relationship, I would have more than likely refused, regardless of my feelings for him. But this is an extraordinary and complex situation, or at least iseems so to me. I have feelings for him, in fact one might call it love, but I know that, given this request and his willingness to deceive, I would never want to have an exclusive relationship with him. In addition, we both live on opposite sides of the country and neither is willing (or interested enough I would say) to move, nor does he have the desire to pursue this relationship outside of the virtual world, that being one of the reasons our relationship ended in the first place. I am just not sure what I should do at this point. We have already started our relationship, and it's fun and enjoyable for us both. But, after the 3rd "meeting" my conscience is starting to take effect, or I am having 2nd thoughts about this arrangement.  I am entering this relationship not expecting anything to come out of it and do not desire to bring about the end of their relationship. Quite the contrary, I'd probably feel horrible if it did. I just like having him in my life and don't want him to not be in it.
Having Second Thoughts

-------------------------Miss Emily’s advice-------------------

Dear Second:

This guy is a master at compartmentalizing, and maybe that’s an art form to be admired in some cases, but in this one?  I don’t like it. Call me a romantic, but I cozy to the idea of loyalty when a relationship is described as “serious.” That means, two people, and not conducting a secret life no matter how out of physical reach you are.  I won't judge the nature of a cyber relationship, because people do things for all sort of reasons.  If neither of you wanted to carry this to a higher level, then it should be easier to let it go.  I think you feel you are being used.  A mistress?  How very presumptuous of him!  I wonder if you carry on this relationship because you have a  fear of physical intimacy?  It would seem that this is not an issue with him.  Having an on-line relationship puts trust in the deep freeze. How can you ever really know what's going on thousands of miles away?  But whatever your motivation for entering into this, you are a of person of integrity, right? Calling it quits would be a commendable thing to do.