Divorce Doubt

23 Sep

Letterbalm Divorce GavelDear LetterBalm: I’ve been in a relationship with a wonderful man for the past four years. At the time I met him, he was separated from his wife and three kids, now all teenagers. In all this time, he hasn’t made a move toward divorce. In fact, he won’t let me meet his kids – although he says they know about me – and he spends Thanksgiving and Christmas with his wife and family in his old home. I’ve tried hard not to nag him about ending his marriage, but this is getting me down. My family likes him; they also say he’ll never change things because the situation suits him just fine. How can I get him to make the move?

-Weary of Waiting

A four-year relationship is plenty of time to have a serious talk with your guy and ask him why he hasn’t divorced his wife and introduced you to his children. First, however, ask yourself three questions: Is he staying married because his wife and kids need the money and he needs the tax advantages? Would his wife take a divorce badly, complicating life unmercifully for all? And, what are you prepared to do if he refuses to end his marriage? Ms. L.B. says you need reasonable and thorough answers before you proceed, and she hopes you are already in counseling. It’s time for you and your man to have a serious, sober talk:

Darling, you and I have been together for four years, long enough for us to realize that we are so good together. I think we are closer than ever. That’s why I need to know why you haven’t made any move toward ending your marriage and introducing me to your children, even celebrating holidays together. You may be concerned that Cheryl and the kids will take a divorce badly, but I hope you know me well enough to realize that we can weather this. It may be a question of money – that staying together benefits you and them more than divorce. This, too, needs to be discussed. It’s time to talk about what we both want from our relationship. Because I love you, I’ve given you time to make a decision about your marriage. Until you do, freely and honestly, we can’t move forward – either as a committed couple or going our separate ways.

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