[Two Pronged] Anna and her tennis coach

She's married with 4 kids, but she's attracted to her tennis coach. 'Even if I want to stop my training lessons, I can’t do it, because I don't want him out of my life,' writes Anna

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes. Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives. Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,

I’m Anna. Im 40 years old and have 4 kids. But a lot of my friends say that I look younger at my age, that I look only 29 years old. I don’t look like I have any kids yet. 

I have a very active lifestyle just like my husband who also looks young for his age. We are both active in playing tennis. I attend regular tennis training. It is a rigid training, that at my age I do all the physical trainings endurance, stamina, etc. 

At my age I am considered strong because I can do all our coach wants me to do. In short, I have a very active body. 

From the things mentioned above is where my problem comes in:

What does it mean if you always think of someone, and you want to see him everyday, just so you can take a peek at him even if he doesnt pay any attention to you? 

What about the fact that even if you fight, you are always the one that says sorry even if he is in the wrong just to save your friendship?  And even if you are already hurt and feeling mo ay nababastos ka na (and you feel that he treats you with no respect) you are still the one who apologizes just so that he doesnt get angry at you, doesnt all that mean that you love the person? 

When I see him talk to someone else, I get jealous.  I want to always be the one he talks to, even if this cant be because others might notice that I like him. So all I do is just imagine myself talking to himbut deep inside I’m longing so much to have at least a short chat with him. 

When I speak to him, no matter how short our encounter is, I feel like I am in heaven.  When he just says hello to me, I feel so excited.  Could you then say I love him? 

I am speaking about my tennis coach.  I’m very confused po with what I’m feeling. In spite of my age I dont know what I feel for him.  All I know is I care so much for him.  I always want to help him, I always give him pasalubong when I am out of town.

Every time I am out of town, he is the first one I think about not my family in terms of what I can buy for him. 

Why am I feeling this way towards him? I even occasionally give him expensive gifts that he’d surely like.  Even if I want to stop my training lessons, I cant do it, because I don’t want him out of my life. Although I really want to be good in playing tennis, but sometimes I am wondering if it’s really the training I want or just my coach. 

Even if he has hurt and made me cry several times, I still want to continue my training with him.  I’ve been his player for less than 3 years po. And what’s worse Dra. is that I long to be able to have sex with him just only once. 

Sometimes when I’m having sex with my husband it’s my Coach that I’m thinking of and that arouses me more.  I say to myself: “If I can just have him, even just once, I will stop fantasizing about him.

Do you think, Dr Holmes, Mr Baer, that if sex happens between us I can stop all this?  Because at this time, sex is what I want to happen between us.

One more question please, to you both:  Do you think my coach notices that I like him? 

Although at court I cannot really get that close to him and we very seldom talk but we sometime throw jokes at each other. We also sometimes send silly text messages at each other. I also exchange gud nyt stickers in our private messages at FB but it’s me who initiates the message.

What do you think of my situation Dra? Mr Baer? Just want to have your advice.



Dear Anna, 

Thank you for your message.

Your story – a woman past the first flush of youth falling in lust for a sports coach – is not uncommon. The list of targets is long: golf, tennis, badminton, personal trainer etc.  And lust is not confined to sports either – dancing instructor, therapist, doctor/dentist, minister/priest are all favored, too.

Nor is it uncommon that your interest be unrequited. After all, he must have innumerable students, some of whom are as attractive and young, perhaps even more attractive and younger, than you. 

Maybe he is one of that select group of men who actually prize fidelity to their spouses. Or perhaps you are just not his type. Whatever the reason, you have not been able to demonstrate that he has the slightest interest in you other than as a tennis student.

Socio-biological theory states that when it comes to sex, men and women are hardwired differently. Generally speaking, and there are many exceptions, a man will have sex with any woman who says yes while a woman will only do so if there is a good chance the man will still be around when any resultant child is born, though this is admittedly less the case since the advent of contraception. 

With this in mind, the notion of having sex with him just once to get it out of your system is nothing short of absurd unless you are one of the exceptions to this statement, something which your message does not reveal unless your phrase “I have a very active body” is code for “I have many lovers.”

And even if you are one of the exceptions, just remember that one of the most important differences between humans and other animals is that humans can practice self restraint. 

Consider sex: animals are programmed to have intercourse when their partners are ovulating. Humans do not experience that compulsion and so they can and do restrain themselves, for any number of reasons, one of which could be that the object of their desire is not interested.

So I suggest that you embrace your humanity, forget about sex with your coach, give up tennis lessons to avoid backsliding and take up another sport or hobby instead. 

All the best,



Dear Anna,

Thank you very much for your letter. Jeremy has given you the possible reasons you feel as you do and the reassurance (if you can call it that) na hindi ka nag-iisa (you are not the only woman in her 40’s to feel this way.)

There may be no choice in what you feel, because  feelings come unbidden, but there is certainly a choice in terms of what you do about these feelings. 

You asked us several questions, including:

‘‘What does it mean if I always want to see this person everyday, just so I can take a peek at him even if he doesn’t pay any attention to me? … And that if we fight, I am always the one that says sorry even if he is in the wrong? And even if I feel nababastos ka na  I am still the one who apologizes? If I feel like I’m in heaven when I speak to him and get so excited even if he just says hello to me could you then say I love him?” 

No, Anna, it does not mean you love him.  You seem to have a schoolgirl-like crush on him, getting kilig (excited for no real, objective reason) when you see him. You may even convince yourself that you are in love with him, but in truth, the only thing one can say for sure is that you are the kind of person who says sorry even if you don’t think it’s your fault.

It also suggests that you might take a closer look at what this means regarding your self-esteem and sense of self-worth. 

I even have a feeling that the reason you hope it’s love is so you won’t feel too bad because you want to sleep with him.  Does that resonate at all, dearest Anna ? 

But like Jeremy, I would strongly suggest you do not sleep with him, Anna.  As my good friend Ruby Avila likes to say, “If you make something out of ‘nothing’ then you will definitely make something out of ‘something.’ Even if that something is sex ‘‘even just once.”

All the best,


– Rappler.com

Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email twopronged@rappler.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.

When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Two Pronged asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Please consider especially how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by someone in this situation, and be aware that comments which appear to be disruptive or disrespectful to the individual concerned will be removed.

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.