Dear Amy:

After two years of being in a relationship, I don't know what to do.

I met a wonderful man who is fun to go out with. We have dinner, drinks and a lot of laughs.

When we first met, he told me he was married. I called him and met him anyway. I figured that his marriage was going downhill and that his wife is cold, obnoxious or very hard to get along with.

I have met his friends but never his family members. I never get to see him on holidays or have him share holidays with my family. It is getting harder and harder not to want more from him. I am in love with him and he has said that he loves me.

When we first met, he told me that he was in love with his wife and didn't plan on leaving her. He just wants to leave his regular life for a while and forget about his responsibilities. I think that if he were really happy in his life and marriage, he wouldn't be out with me.

We have been together for two years. We get along so well when we are together. I try to call him every day and let him know that I am thinking about him all the time. I can't believe that our relationship is at a dead end.

Should I confront his wife? Should I give him an ultimatum? Or should I walk away from this? My friends believe that this is not a healthy relationship for me.

As an outsider looking in, what do you think I should do?

Looking for Answers

I have a question for you. Don't you get tired of being a cliche?

Even when married boyfriends promise their girlfriends that they will leave their wives, 99 percent of the time they don't. Your guy is already telling you that he loves his wife and that he won't leave her. He may be a lying skunk to his family, but it sounds as if he's telling the truth to you.

You should give him an ultimatum. When presented with an unshakable ultimatum, your boyfriend will leave you. Then you can get on with your life. You have a lot of maturing to do.

For encouragement, read, "This Affair is Over!!" by Nanette Miner (1996, BVC Publishing).

Dear Amy:

Your advice to the man who wanted to ask a stripper on a date was a bit off. You suggested that the stripper only expressed affection and love for him because she wanted his money.

This is so offensive!

What you effectively said was that exotic dancers are not real people, and that they are incapable of having emotions and falling in love, and only care about money.

You were right to caution the man that, given the context, the woman might have expressed her affection as a way to continue a stream of income. But, like anyone else, she may have developed sincere love and affection for the man who wrote to you. There is only one way to find out, and that is to ask her.

There is nothing like regret, and it is better for a guy to try and fail than to wonder 10 years from now what might have been.

S in Maryland

My advice to the man who wondered if he should ask a stripper out was to remember that the stripper's first job is to separate a man from his money. He presented evidence that she was stringing him along (he had been a faithful client for more than a year and had already told her that he loved her.)

I know that patrons of strip clubs would love to think that all strippers are just hardworking entertainers working their way through medical school while they look for love at the end of the runway, but stripping is more lucrative if patrons believe that the dancers are sexually or romantically interested in them. Don't fall for it.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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