Q. I am in my early 30s with a young daughter. I have a husband with temperament issues, but he’s a nice guy otherwise. He wasn’t much help during my pregnancy, though he has loved being a father. Some incidents that involved him yelling at me drove me away emotionally and physically over the years. We have stayed together but have not had an intimate relationship for four years now.
Recently I have met a guy in his early 40s who just filed for divorce and has two kids. We instantly connected and made plans to move on together once both of us left our current marriages. This connection drove me even further away from my husband. Now I think about divorce every day.
But my new boyfriend is now unsure about our future together, as he is worried about his kids. He wants me to work on my current marriage and fix it; he feels divorce is a very painful process that nobody should ever go through, especially me.
I love my boyfriend and am ready to get a divorce. I feel like I can wait for years for him to come around. But the way he speaks about it makes it sound like I’d be going through the trouble of divorce for nothing.
He is reconsidering his own marriage — even though it is abusive — for the sake of his kids. He might not stop his divorce, but, either way, is there a possibility of a future for the two of us? Should I be giving up everything for him or just try to work on my current relationship through counseling? Never in all these years have I felt so much love for anyone. That is stopping me from accepting that there is no future for us. But am I wrong here?
A. “... am I wrong here?”
You’re not wrong to have strong feelings for someone. You’re not wrong to fantasize about what kind of life the two of you could share. But let’s move away from the “wrong vs. right” stuff here. It’s a bit reductive.
It doesn’t sound like your boyfriend is offering more than a temporary relationship right now. He’s told you he might call off his divorce, and he’s instructed you to stay in your marriage. That doesn’t suggest he’s ready to build a life with someone new.
The thing is, he is doesn’t know what’s best for you, and he should not be the person dictating your decisions. I am a child of divorce with one specific experience, so please take that into consideration, but ... is it possible that ending your marriage might be what’s better for your child? Is it good for your daughter to be around two people who are navigating “temperament issues”?
Again, my opinions are based on my own history, not from the perspective of someone who specializes in child psychology, but I believe there are ups and downs to maintaining the marriage you have. Your daughter might grow up in a tense home, or be taught (accidentally) that a person is supposed to put up with misery.
Also, you met someone new and fell for him pretty quickly. Who’s to say that won’t happen again? If it doesn’t work out with this boyfriend, wouldn’t you want to be truly single the next time you meet someone wonderful? If you leave your marriage, it won’t be for your boyfriend or for nothing. It’s for you and your commitment to a healthier, happier future — one your child can enjoy too.
Make decisions for yourself. Get counseling to figure out the best next steps.
I’d be more concerned about whether your kid is around the yelling/your husband’s anger issues.
Pull this mess apart and make decisions based on the individual parts. Don’t get divorced because you hope this guy comes around.
Your divorce and the relationship with the boyfriend are two separate things. You get divorced for you.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to email@example.com or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.