Q. I am in love with a woman who is going through a divorce. “Jane” and I are both in our early 40s, and have had a wonderful, platonic friendship for many years. I have always been attracted to her, but have never acted on my feelings out of respect for her marriage. I have occasionally socialized with her and her soon-to-be ex, but I always thought he was kind of a jerk and often didn’t like the way he treated her. Nevertheless, I have never spoken badly of him or tried to interfere with their relationship in any way. One night a couple years ago, she got a little tipsy at a party and tried to get physical with me, but I was the one who backed off due to her inebriated state and out of respect for her marriage. We both laughed it off a few days later, and nothing like this has ever recurred.
A few months ago, her husband told her he wanted a divorce and walked out on her. Since then he has been insulting, demeaning, and emotionally abusive toward her. He insists there is no hope for reconciliation, and we both suspect he has another woman. She is emotionally devastated, and plagued with self-doubt. I have tried my best to be a good, supportive friend, and have not crossed the line or expressed my feelings for her. I only want what is best for her, even if that means getting back with her ex. However, this whole experience has made me realize how much I really love her. I can’t help thinking that I would be so much better for her. I would be a loving, devoted husband who always supported her and made her my highest priority.