Q. Last year my marriage collapsed after 14 years together. We tried counseling (twice) but we couldn’t solve our differences. While this was happening, I met a man who told me his marriage of 22 years was collapsing as well. We began an affair, so I immediately asked my husband for a divorce and moved out. Now I live alone. The man I started the affair with said he would divorce his wife, but his side of the process is so much slower because they have two kids.
Four months after I moved out, he served her divorce papers and they started the divorce proceedings (negotiations with lawyers about division of assets, child custody, etc.). Because he wants partial custody of the kids, he can’t move out of the house until the divorce is final, which means we still have to hide our relationship. He calls me every day and visits me often, we talk about how in love we are and how we want to build a future together.
However, the fact that he is still having an affair with me while I’m free (my divorce is finalized) is putting a strain on the relationship. He said he is moving as fast as he can and asks me to be patient and trust him. He said the plan is to move out by the summer. I have tried to focus on the future and be patient while he deals with his divorce, but many of my emotional needs are unfulfilled in the meantime. He gets upset when I bring up the fact that we can’t do normal couple activities due to his current situation. We have intense chemistry, we are deeply in love, we share common interests, and we get along great, but I’m not sure about how I should proceed. I would love to hear your advice.
A. I’m not sure why he’d have to stay in the house until the divorce is final. Maybe he and his wife are still figuring out how to manage the split and he doesn’t want to cede any time with his kids just yet, but ... a lot of divorcing couples manage to live in separate homes.
I’m not calling him a liar, I’m just wondering more about the details of this setup. Is this about affordability, quality time, how his partner is dealing with the news, or something else?
I’m also questioning whether the two of you should expect to be fully coupled, public about it, and building a future the minute he’s out of the house. If this divorce happens, he might want to set boundaries with his children and wait to introduce you until they’ve had time to adjust to new routines.
It’s understandable, of course, that you want to date someone who doesn’t live with his wife. Summer is not far away, so you could wait to see how things change then. If he doesn’t move out and you’re still waiting to do “normal couple things” because he lives with his family, accept that the timing might be off here. It’s possible for two people to love each other but be on different paths.
Please remember that your marriages fell apart last year. I’m sure there were issues before 2022, but these changes are still pretty new. Even if he does move out of his house in a few months, you’ll need to have patience for next steps. His kids come first, and you’ll have to work around that. Think about whether you’re willing to take it slow and be flexible.
Cold, hard, good advice you’ll not want to hear: End this affair and move on. You won’t do it. But remember this advice when this inevitably hits the fan.
My advice is for you to realize that you likely have months if not years ahead of this until his divorce is settled. If you can’t wait that long, you need to move on. You will need a lot more patience than you appear to have if you will be involved in parenting his children.
You say you deeply love him, but how true is that if you’re concerned he isn’t moving fast enough through his divorce to suit your needs? Get some professional counseling on that, for yourself alone, because you started a physical affair with a married man who you are now holding solely responsible for the fact that his divorce isn’t finalized like yours is.
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