Dear Miss Emily:

So look, I'm 21 and I've got this girl -- she's a few years older than I am, and she's super awesome. She gets me like no other woman, and we have such a good relationship (although its only been 3 months!).  We can talk about anything, even if it's just one of my random thoughts about nothing and she's right there w/ me thru the whole process of getting it out. But anyway, I really, really like her and she likes me for my fat butt and all. So here's the kicker...she's married w/ a 10 year old daughter.  BUT she has been planning on leaving him for a while, because he has cheated on her for years and she keeps telling me she is going through with it.  She's already kicked him out of the house and everything, but not had "THE TALK" with him.  My questions are #1- is it right for me to tell her how much I want her to go ahead and leave him, and to tell her I don't want her around him at all?  The reason I ask is because I feel like I have no right to tell her what to do in her life since she is (hopefully) going to change it all for me soon.  I feel like her leaving him in the first place is a big thing and I, being raised in a household w/ 2 parents, feel bad about the whole situation because I feel like I caused it, even though she says I didn't. So question #2 is- how do I keep the guilt off?  Because it is so bad, sometimes I even doubt my own feeling towards her (i.e.-whether they are strong enough for it to be worth her time). Granted, I really, really care for her to the extent that I would say I love her, but I just worry about letting her down in the future.  I don't want to hurt her and I worry about it even though I have no plans of doing so. I know that's a lot to read but it has been bothering me for a while, and I just needed an unbiased, uninvolved opinion.
Thanks ahead of time!


-----------------Miss Emily's advice-------------

Only three months out of the gate, it's no wonder you have some doubt about your future with her, despite the incredible intimacy you two have developed.   When you get involved with an individual who is married, you are bound to hear all the dirt about the rotten (or, in some cases, merely inadequate) spouse. You get so emotionally involved, and upset because now, as the new love interest, you have become everything the louse, or loser is not. You verbally go to bat for the person and say things like "You need to leave him (or her), because you are  wonderful, he's a jerk, and he's blind to both facts."  But here lies the rub:  When you say things like that, it begs the question -- are you just stating a fact, or are you offering to take his place -- to set up house and (in your case) play new daddy to her 10 year-old daughter?  You need to make your feelings clear.  It is reasonable to say, "I think you are in a bad marriage, but I want you to do what is right for you and your daughter.  That said, if you do leave this man, it does allow us to explore our relationship and see where it goes from there."  I see how your guilt is associated with the fear that, at 21, this might be a lot for your "big butt" to handle.  Although you are in the two-brain mode (I want her, but am I really ready to have her?), it doesn't stop you from sitting down with her and discussing a sensible plan if (and it's a big IF) she were to leave her husband.  You did not cause the problems she is having with her husband, but you will be part of the problem if you lead her to believe that you offer her anything other than an opportunity (were she available) to explore the depth of your relationship, free of deception.  Always keep in mind -- hasty plans can lead to long hours of regret.  Keep it honest, and this whole situation will resolve itself the way it should.