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“Difficulty coming to terms with her past”
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I've had an online female friend for a couple of years (I have been single for some time and quite comfortable with that) and we use to chat every few weeks via a chat program and occasionally over Skype. Recently she was facing some problems at work and was clearly stressed and anxious about her future. As someone who helps many friends I offered to help her with this issue. We resolved the issue over a two week period and got to know each other much better.

Soon the phone calls became marathon sessions of up to 6 hours at a time, just talking as friends and being very open about our lives, loves lost and gained, and our general history. She is also going through another small issue for which I lend an ear to vent into. It became clear that she had faced some significant challenges in her early life which led her to join the military as soon as she could leave home. I found her strength of character, intelligence and sense of humor fairly intoxicating but as she had shown no interest, left it alone. Later she hinted at an interest but not wanting to damage a friendship by making a mistake I have continued to leave things as they are.

I have been described as unusual for a guy in that I have strong feelings about the importance of trust and respect in relationships and never betraying someone by being unfaithful. I would rather end a relationship on a basis of mutual respect than cause someone pain just because of an inability to face up to issues. In a recent call she dropped some bombs (well to me they were bombs) about several relationships she had with married men (all military and mostly while on deployment).

She said that she was attracted to these men and they to her and that in the military it's basically accepted that if you are away from home and mentally stable, you can be unfaithful and it's no problem. She said that each time both parties were just having sex and that no 'relationship' was created or intended. She also talked about being completely comfortable with using guys just for sex. She is still Facebook friends with all these men. I can safely say that many men I know would love to have a sex only relationship such as those she engaged in. Everyone has a past of some kind and my attitude to people's past relationships is generally that the past is the past but in this case, her flippant attitude towards the fact that these men were betraying wives that loved and supported them, and trusted them to be faithful and not bring home an STD threw me completely. In fact it makes my stomach turn.

She does not appear to have remorse/guilt over the potential impact to the families involved and only once referenced them in a negative light as 'silly mistakes'. She has also mentioned married guys hitting on her recently and her main reason for not jumping them was because they were not attractive, not because they were married... You often hear people say 'Don't judge' and I am trying to resolve in my own head if I am wrong to not understand how a person that has been betrayed herself, is clearly intelligent, confident and driven, could care so little about others. I have also wondered if in fact she does feel bad about these 'non-relationships' and laughs them off to avoid talking about them and it just comes across as cold, or that perhaps she is simply a deeply selfish person I should avoid.

So now my first instinct is to withdraw and not have anything more to do with her because it seems to me that it requires a significant level of detachment and lack of empathy to sleep with married men and not have any concerns for the potential destruction to an innocent person's life. I'd be interested to know if I'm overreacting or simply missing the plot here and that in this day and age it's considered ok to be unfaithful or that it's bad for the man but understandable and not so bad if a woman knowingly helps a man betray his wife because I need decide whether to continue holding out the hand of friendship or to simply cut her off entirely. Feel free to be as blunt as you want as I'm not the sensitive type, just looking for answers. Thanks.

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