What is the relationship between Myrtle Wilson and Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby?

Myrtle Wilson and Tom Buchanan are lovers.

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In The Great GatsbyTom Buchanan is the wealthy, notoriously unfaithful husband of Daisy. Myrtle Wilson is the wife of George Wilson, but she and Tom are having an affair. In chapter 1, Jordan tells Nick that Tom has "got some woman in New York." She is...

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In The Great Gatsby Tom Buchanan is the wealthy, notoriously unfaithful husband of Daisy. Myrtle Wilson is the wife of George Wilson, but she and Tom are having an affair. In chapter 1, Jordan tells Nick that Tom has "got some woman in New York." She is here referring to Myrtle Wilson.

Myrtle is much more invested in the affair than Tom is. She enjoys the brief glimpses of upper-class lifestyle that she gets with Tom. Tom, however, never seems to think of Myrtle as anything more than a mistress to call upon and discard.

Although Tom has the affair with Myrtle, it appears that to some extent, he really does love Daisy. In fact, when Myrtle dares to mention Daisy's name in chapter 2, Tom, with "a short deft movement," hits her in the face and breaks her nose. He seems to do this because by mentioning Daisy's name, Myrtle reminds him of the fact that he is being unfaithful to the woman he loves.

Toward the end of the novel, in chapter 7, Tom refers to his affairs when he says "Once in a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back." He means here that he always comes back to Daisy, and he implies that all of the women he has his affairs, or "spree[s]," with, are meaningless to him. Myrtle Wilson is one of these meaningless women. Next to Daisy, Myrtle means nothing to Tom, which makes her feelings for him all the more pitiful.

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