For the past year, I have been dating and indeed been in a full-blown love relationship with a man who is still married. He is, however, separated and is going through a contentious divorce where his wife. What I can say at the outset is that after all I have gone through this year, “Don’t do it!” Even with the best of guys, and I think I have one of the best, you will likely get your heart broken. If you don’t want to hear endless details about his ex and his divorce, details you may feel oddly compelled to know a little about, don’t do it. He is not free yet and you won’t be either.
If you decide to ignore my advice and fall in love like I did, I will take you through some of the steps you might face and offer some advice on how to survive.
- First, there is the FACT of another woman always lurking between you and your man (there is a threesome when you want a twosome) and that fact will come out in obvious and unobvious ways. In my case, I checked out her facebook page to get a look at my competition. That was demoralizing.
- Communication about the wife and the impending divorce is lose/lose for you. You want to get enough information to not get hurt but if you do that, you may not like the answers so be prepared. It is almost impossible to find a happy medium here. Plus you are likely already losing yourself although you don’t realize it yet. I didn’t. Then it will be lose/lose/lose.
- Sniping, it will be there. She is trying to hurt your guy either by getting his money or his property or likely both. If she (as in my case) is a total dependent, know right now that she will get almost everything she asks for and that will affect him and you. You will instinctually want to make your guy feel better and protect him. That is what you do with someone you love. That behavior may hurt you.
- Your man will be depressed and agitated by the above. His depression “will” affect your relationship – count on it. If your guy is already the self-absorbed type (and mine was at times) it will be worse.
- You will wait (and wait). You can never make long-term plans, ever. The first and foremost dates in his mind are not future forever plans with you (beyond the ephemeral “when we have a house” and other nebulous offerings) – the dates in his mind will be the next court dates with his current wife. You are still last after him, his lawyer, and his wife and her lawyer. You will feel small.
- He will tell you and often that he is short of money. That in itself is not especially troubling (at least to me) except that you know where the money is going. To finance a court case with another woman – his wife. And not for dates with you. Know that indirectly (and directly later) you “will” be subsidizing the divorce if you pay for anything and it is likely you pay for a lot. If you don’t, count yourself lucky. As the date of the divorce gets closer, special dinner dates (and dates period) will disappear or fly out the window and you may feel resentful. Especially because special dates are supposed to happen now, at the beginning of a relationship.
- The future. Accept that your whole life is contingent upon what happens in his life and divorce – that sounds ugly but it is a fact you can’t escape from. Not only can you not make any future plans, you have zero say in how fast or slow the proceedings likely affecting your future are. Hence, you are deeply “in” the relationship but “out” of one of the most important things going on in your man’s life. Don’t do it.
- The good times. You will likely have great times with your man (or else why would you stay?) – know that those highs may be erased in one day by news about his divorce. Or you may have an insensitive man (better to find out now).
So, what can you do to protect yourself and hold on? I will include things I did and did not do.
- Block out the divorce and ask yourself if this is the love of your life (as my guy was), if that is a fact, tell him point-blank that “this” relationship is all about the two of you and there is little to no room for her. There financial agreement to get through, but you can separate yourself from that and concentrate on the two of you. Put your relationship first.
- Self care. And I mean this. If he is talking too much about the divorce, take a break. Or many breaks. His tenderness for your feelings in the midst of this nightmare will tell you everything you need to know about him.
- Let the past go. Let the past go if your guy is making future plans with you. Realize all you “have” instead of the hard things you have gone through. It is likely you would have gone through other troubles anyway which is not to take away from the trauma of his divorce. This just happened to be your “trial by fire.” Realize that most men at a certain age have baggage (and you have some yourself) – give your man a break and realize (if this is true) all the ways he has been there for you and remains there for you.
After the divorce, it is time to see which way both you and your guy are going to go. Assess the future carefully. Give your relationship a chance. Don’t get caught in fast promises and desire immediate results. Take things slowly. If your relationship is right, it will stand the test of time. It worked for me.
Clover Mahoney is a published poet and blog writer located in North Carolina.