Q. I am a single woman in my late 30s. I never thought I would say this, but I have fallen in love with someone who is married with young children. He is planning on leaving his marriage but wants to do it as gently as possible — in order to protect his kids and also to minimize the hurt and pain for his wife. He is a very good man. Our affair — if it is even that — has been very brief. Not even two months. The physical contact has been minimal — only a few days out of that time. (We live on different continents, met at a birthday weekend, and most of our contact has been in the form of e-mails and video chats.)
He says the marriage was over in any case, and I believe him. We have talked about building a life together, and both of us believe it’s possible. I agree with him that his children must come first in this next bit of time, and I would be happy to try to be a loving person (or perhaps even a stepmom) in their lives if we ever got to that stage.
The affair is over and we are now in a period of no contact. I have said that I don’t want to meet again until he has talked to his wife and begun the process of leaving. But we love each other and I want to support him. My question is this: Is it possible to stay in touch (but not see each other) while he leaves his marriage or should I cut him off entirely and wait until he is a free agent? Please don’t be too harsh. We fell in love, we didn’t mean to, and now we are trying to do the right thing.
Thank you for your advice.
A. Stay away from him until he’s a free agent. You don’t want to get caught in the middle of a divorce, and frankly, this process could take years. You need to protect yourself. Leave him alone.
I also want you to continue to live your life. You’re thinking about potential stepmom duties, but you haven’t spent any real time with this guy. In real life, after a few dates, you might not be so compatible. You have no idea whether this guy is capable of being a good partner.
Please don’t save yourself for him. He’s not “the one.” Right now he’s just a married guy who swept you off your feet. It’s very possible that there are other people — local people — who can do some similar sweeping. Don’t put blinders on just yet.
You’ve set appropriate boundaries. Now go live your life. Maybe he’ll show up, maybe he won’t. But for right now, he’s unavailable.
My instinct is to let this guy go until he sorts out his affairs. It would be the simplest and more direct way of seeing if he’s going to do what he says. Listen, I believe in love and all that, but sometimes we’re not meant to stay with the people with whom we fall in love. Learn from this experience, grow from it, don’t put your life on hold while this guy sorts out his marriage and if he comes back, well, happy trails.
Bad, bad, bad. Leave him alone. If he leaves his wife — that’s his business and it should have nothing to do with you. Do you really want to be the reason to break up his family? And if you live a continent away — how in the heck do you know what’s going on with his family? You may THINK you know . . . but you have no idea.
“We live on different continents.” Lady, why don’t you just fall for a convict in prison? It has about the same chance for a positive outcome.
Listen — it’s great you both love each other. But with love comes responsibility. He has responsibilities to take care of before having a relationship of any sort with you. He has to END the first relationship — for which he is knee-deep in a marriage. He also has to care for his kids during the transition. When a guy jumps into having a relationship with someone else BEFORE taking care of these things — he is NOT ready — it’s that simple.
So you live on different continents, but his marital status is the deal-breaker? I’m confused. You’re infatuated. You’re not in love.
I hate to break it to you but you’ve been played. This guy for sure has several women on several different continents. You need to move on ASAP because you’re never going to hear from this guy again.
How can you fall in love in two months, when you’ve only seen him once or twice? You can’t. You didn’t mean to? Are you adults? Did you know that by beginning a relationship, you might develop feelings for one another? I have no kind words for you.
Easy-peasy. Tell him to call you when he has his finalized divorce decree in hand and then go on with your life as if he doesn’t exist. Something tells me you are going to find out about six months from now that he has zero plans to divorce his wife . . . but that’s just my guess.
I’m not going to be hard on this letter writer because I think she is trying to do the right thing (after having done the wrong thing). The only advice I can give is to stick to the boundaries you’ve set until you know for sure you can be together. The fact that you are CONTINENTS apart gives me pause. I’m not sure I trust that he’s being on the up and up with you and I’d hate to see you put your life on hold for what may turn out to be a total emotional scam. Mere is right to say you need to keep living your life until you know FOR CERTAIN that he is free.
Edited and reprinted from www.boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at email@example.com. She chats online Wednesday at 1 p.m.