Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Can’t Handle My Divorce”

I am 40 years old and a mother with two amazing children (12, 10). I am in the middle of getting divorced after being married for 13 years. My husband and I just grew apart over the last several years, and, since I realized that I didn’t really love him anymore and deserved to be happy and loved, I asked for the divorce.

But there’s more to the story. In August I had an affair with a married man, and it was after that I realized that I really didn’t have any feelings for my husband. The man I had the affair with got caught by his wife and our very brief encounter ended. I wasn’t looking for anyone else at that time but realized that my marriage needed help, so we started counseling. It was during the counseling that I realized that there wasn’t anything left for me in this marriage, but I continued with the counseling nonetheless.

At this time, I met someone online purely by coincidence; let’s call him Mr. S. We met up and connected immediately. Soon, we fell in love. He is 6 years younger than I am and single. Over the last four months we have been together weekly and speak every day. He was aware of my situation from the beginning and has continued to say that he will not commit to me until my divorce is final. He has become my best friend over these last few months, and I can’t imagine a day without talking to him about everything and anything.

Throughout this time, my husband and I have agreed to divorce and he just recently moved out of the house. The kids are managing with the separation and divorce and have been very open with me about their feelings and thoughts during this process. Most of the time, they are managing okay and I have tried to normalize their lives as much as possible.

So here’s the issue: Mr. S and I have had our ups and downs over the last four months. He gets freaked out every once in a while about being in a relationship with someone who is still legally married, and then he freaks out about being a stepfather. I keep reminding him that he’s not being asked right now to be a stepfather but to just wait for the divorce to be final, in about a month, and then we can date and see where things go. He also gets worried that he’s not strong enough to deal with any crap that my soon-to-be ex might throw at us after the divorce.

How do I get him to slow down and stop freaking out about things that are off in the future? How do I get him to realize that he is strong enough to deal with things and that together we can be there to support each other? Is there a way for me to help him realize that, before I introduce him to my kids, we need to strengthen our relationship first? Or do I just walk away and find someone who is mature enough to know these things and who will not get freaked out every couple of months? — Soon-to-Be Divorced

If you have to convince someone that dating you is less work than he thinks it will be, then dating him is probably more work than it’s worth. Honestly, if you’re already having drama just four months in and you only see each other on a weekly basis and your divorce isn’t yet final and this boyfriend is telling you in a variety of different ways that he thinks you have baggage he isn’t prepared to deal with, you might just want to cut your losses and move on.

A forty-year-old divorced mother of two is going to be more than some guys want, including, it sounds like, the one you’ve fallen for. I’m sorry that seems to be the case. But the upside is that there are many men who won’t be turned off by what you bring to the table and will actually embrace it (without arm-twisting and without hard convincing). I’d hold out for a guy like that. Life is short. Why waste some of it trying to convince someone not to freak out about being in a relationship with you? That sounds neither romantic nor fun, and, after a divorce, I think those are two things you’d especially want to hold out for. A third thing, of course, should be freedom from so much drama.

Embrace your new-found independence and enjoy being single and dating around. If you don’t find a right match and you’re getting lonely, you can always settle for good-enough later, but why do that right out of the gate?

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

93 comments… add one
  • avatar

    TECH January 17, 2014, 9:09 am

    To answer the LW’s question: “How do I get him to slow down and stop freaking out about things that are off in the future?”
    They’re actually not that far off in the future. You’ve been dating four months. You have two kids. You’re finalizing a divorce. It’s not like dealing with these things will occur 5 years down the line, I would guess, probably within several months. In fact, he seems to be dealing with them right now, even though you’re not.
    Listen, you’re going through a divorce from a long term marriage. You had an affair, and after that affair ended, you jumped right into a relationship with someone else.
    Trust me, being alone is better than people make it out to be.

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    • avatar

      Sunshine Brite January 17, 2014, 9:16 am

      Precisely what I was thinking

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 17, 2014, 9:47 am

        I wholeheartedly concur!

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    • avatar

      MMcG January 17, 2014, 2:27 pm

      the timeline here seems to be a bit compressed doesn’t it? Affair in August, pretend counseling (sorry but that’s what it was) for awhile, start “coincidentally” dating someone in September, then you decide to get a divorce!?!

      Afraid to be alone much? Start being a mother that your children can be proud of… stop being a passenger in your own life and take some time for yourself and focus on your kids who WILL need you.

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    • possumgirl

      Jenn January 17, 2014, 2:57 pm

      I am 41, and divorced 4 years ago. I feel your pain, and understand the whirlwind that is divorce. It is almost impossible for others to understand the chaos and confusion around you.

      The only relationship worries you should have right now surround your daughters and learning to co-parent with their father. (He is #1. Father #2. Ex-husband, and in that order). How you model your behavior in this divorce will be one of the biggest learning experiences they will have. What story do you want them to learn? What type of women do you want those girls to be when they face relationship difficulties?

      Take a deep breath. Take care of yourself. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, the ones you made and the ones you will make. Get some counseling. Parent your daughters.

      Tech is right. Being alone is INFINITELY better than people make it out to be.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 January 17, 2014, 9:18 am

    At least it will be a seemless transition for your kids, their dad moves out, and their step dad moves right in before the divorce is even official. Try thinking about your kids here, and be single for a little while and give them time to process this whole thing.

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    • avatar

      Christy January 17, 2014, 9:24 am

      Umm, my mom’s boyfriend moved in within WEEKS of my dad moving out. I honestly don’t remember a time between the two of them living there, but I was in the 6th grade so I might be misremembering.

      Let me tell you, this letter is giving me painful, painful flashes of my adolescence. My mom married a 32-y.o. at 39 (and divorced him at 40), my mom moved on too fast post-separation, etc. It’s kind of close to home.

      I’ll comment more later, LW. Please, ffs, think of your kids. I only heard about my dad’s girlfriends when they were serious, and I heard all about my mom’s dating life. I really appreciate that my dad sheltered me from that. (Thank goodness the second girlfriend was a school psychologist and encouraged this.)

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      • avatar

        Christy January 17, 2014, 9:36 am

        And FWIW, it was a seamless transition. I got to transfer all of my positive male-figure feelings to this man, and then I got to be pissed off at my mom when they broke up. I got to do that again when she married the 32-y.o., like him (although it took me longer) and then be mad at my mom when they broke up.

        I stopped liking them after that.

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    • avatar

      Amanda January 17, 2014, 9:42 am

      WBS. LW, it may take years for your children to adjust to your divorce. Please please please don’t rush into a new relationship without giving your children time to adjust to their new ‘normal’. Like Christy, this letter is bringing back painful memories of events that in general, children shouldn’t have to endure due to my mother’s poor decisions. Please MOA from this man and be single during this transition period. It will help your children.

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 17, 2014, 9:51 am

        Thank you guys for bringing this up. My parents are still together, so I don’t know what it’s like to have parents that divorced, but all I kept thinking about while reading that letter is the kids. Their whole world has turned upside down. I can’t imagine it being easy to be introduced to a new boyfriend or girlfriend. I mean. Take some effing time for the kids sake.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 10:25 am

        Its nice some people think of the kids! Too bad its not the kids’ MOTHER.

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      • avatar

        TECH January 17, 2014, 10:12 am

        Yeah, the LW says her kids are “managing okay” and honestly, after divorce, most kids “manage okay.” It doesn’t mean it’s not hard. A lot of children internalize their feelings. They don’t process things the same ways adults do. Usually you experience the after effects of your parents’ divorce for years (I know I did). Probably more than anything, the LW WANTS to believe her kids are okay. People tell themselves all sorts of things to rationalize their behavior.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna January 17, 2014, 11:08 am

      To offer a different perspective, my mother started dating again quickly after separating from my father (don’t remember the exact timeline, but it was quick), but she didn’t introduce us to her new bf for a while. They’ve now been together for 15 years. The important thing is not so much for LW to be single (though it does sound like the relationship simply isn’t working) but for her to focus on her kids and not introduce them to someone new yet.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna January 17, 2014, 11:15 am

        And to be fair she said she doesn’t want to introduce the new guy to the kids yet, and moving in isn’t mentioned.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 17, 2014, 11:32 am

        Agreed. She’s allowed to date as long as she doesn’t introduce them to the kids or move them in too quickly. Both my parents found SOs shortly after their divorce, but didn’t introduce us right away. I remember figuring out that my mom had a boyfriend and “outing” her so she had to admit it to me, haha. She’s married to him now. My dad moved in with his girlfriend, and they did end up breaking up, but it wasn’t traumatic or anything.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 11:44 am

        Haha, I remember seeing my stepmom sitting on a bench outside every time we would leave his house. Strange considering there were pictures of them in the house at the time.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 17, 2014, 12:30 pm

        Oh, but for this particular LW – it’s probably a good idea to be single for a minute. For her, though, not *necessarily* for the kids.

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  • avatar

    TECH January 17, 2014, 9:20 am

    Another thing that really stuck out to me in this letter is the concept of “instant intimacy.” The LW described her new boyfriend as her best friend, and how she can’t imagine not talking to him every day about everything. Let me guess, the sex is good, too.
    One thing I’ve learned after being burned a couple of times is to be wary of instant intimacy. If I find myself falling in love or meeting my soul mate or my “best friend” after a couple short months, it probably means that I’m trying to avoid feeling my feelings. Maybe I’m trying to avoid my loneliness, or anxiety, or whatever uncomfortable emotion it may be.

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    • avatar

      EricaLnyy January 17, 2014, 9:50 am

      Totally unrelated to the letter (sorry), but your comment just made me feel a whole lot better about not being instantly “butterflies and talking all day every day” with the guy I’m dating.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna January 17, 2014, 11:18 am

      Yeah, I think this is the real problem here. She’s being unreasonable in her attachment to this guy. After a few months, it’s not healthy to think “I can’t imagine not talking to him every day”. In my book, if she wants to cautiously date him (without introducing him to her kids), that’s fine. It’s not the suggested route after just having ended a marriage, but it could be done without doing any damage. But only if she’s capable of looking at the situation realistically.

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    • Jess

      Jess January 19, 2014, 10:57 am

      Well said! From my experience, the instant intimacy relationships burn out big and fast. I think you are right that its because they are usually built on fantasy. You can’t KNOW someone well enough to determine they are a soulmate after a few weeks. With my husband, by 2-3 months, I knew that he was someone really special and already I could see it as one of the best connections I’d ever had. But our relationship evolved slowly and naturally to reach that understanding. There was no rushing in.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle January 17, 2014, 9:21 am

    This will probably sound snarky, but I promise I’m not being–LW, instead of trying to find ways to get your boyfriend to “stop freaking out”, you should examine WHY he’s freaking out & maybe accept that his worries are on-point? Listen to him, even if you don’t want to hear it, because he’s trying to tell you he can’t be the man you want. (Also, you should listen if only to slow yourself down a sec, because you may THINK you’re taking things as they come, but you’re actually going a million miles a minute.)

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh January 17, 2014, 9:24 am

      Yeah I agree. You can’t make him be the person you want him to be! I wonder also if the fear of being alone for the first time in 13 years is playing a part in this. But, it sounds like the LW really needs to learn to be alone and focus on herself and her kids for a little bit and then re-enter the dating world. And find someone she doesn’t have to convince to date her!

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl January 17, 2014, 9:30 am

    Ahhhhh what day of the week is it??

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary January 17, 2014, 9:31 am

    I can’t really say much because I don’t want to say nice things to this LW. Listen to Wendy. This man is basically telling you that he doesn’t want to deal with your baggage, but you’re trying to convince him that he should. Do you really want to have to convince someone to be in a relationship with you?

    Focus on your kids and stop focusing on your affairs/new boyfriend so much. I get so so angry at people who continually put their SO before their children. I”m not saying you should never date again or that you should be a martyr for your kids, but give it 6 months for gods sake. You may think that the kids are resilient and that are doing OK with the adjustment, but divorce has very long-lasting affects on children. Heck, it even has a hard effect on children who are already adults. Do you know what kind of example you’ll be setting by finalizing your divorce and the instantly introducing a new man to your kids? Your kids aren’t stupid. They’re going to know you’ve been dating for a while. They may have even caught onto your previous affair (I had friends who caught onto their parents affairs when they were 11 or 12).

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  • avatar

    bethany January 17, 2014, 9:31 am

    WWS, and I want to add that it sounds like you probably shouldn’t date until your divorce is finalized.
    For some people it takes years to finish up the paperwork and work out the financials, so yeah, it makes sense for them to date while technically still married, but that’s not the case with you. This is really fresh, your husband JUST moved out, and your kids are at really impressionable ages. They really need you. They need you more than they’re showing to you. You want to date? Date your kids. Take your kids out, do fun things with them. Be there for them and allow them to be there for you.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary January 17, 2014, 9:35 am

      I don’t really understand why people are so eager to jump back into dating after a divorce, especially one with children. Like if I just had to deal with all this relationship drama, the last thing I would want is the company of another man.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ January 17, 2014, 10:24 am

        My guess is they’re feeling insecure amid the divorce and looking for something secure to latch onto (even if “secure” means “unhealthy/unstable/dramatic relationship” – at least it’s familiar). After so long of having an SO, they can’t imagine NOT having one. It’s a cry for help if you ask me, but I’m no expert and have no firsthand experience with divorce at all, to be fair. I don’t say these things to cast judgment, though – I (think I) understand where the feelings come from, but just like any feeling, people deal with it in different ways, some helpful and some harmful.

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      • avatar

        SasLinna January 17, 2014, 12:35 pm

        It’s probably not that they’re abstractly longing to jump back into the dating pool. It’s that they meet someone they like. Honestly, I think it’s a minority of people who are able to say “not ready to date right now” when they meet someone they like.

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      • avatar

        MMcG January 17, 2014, 2:32 pm

        Codependent – party of wannabe more than 1 😉

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      • avatar

        Calligirl January 17, 2014, 8:43 pm

        I think particularly in the case of women, they tend to not make a snap decision to divorce, so by the time they actually do they’ve well and truly moved on from the relationship. The LW had probably experienced a lot of these feelings at the time of the affair. However, when children are involved they should be given time to adjust.

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  • katie

    katie January 17, 2014, 9:37 am

    i believe the term for what is happening here is “the shit has hit the fan”. LW, when you started dating your boyfriend, life was a series of “ifs” that were happening the future “someday”- “if” i divorce, “someday” when the divorce is final, “if” we continue dating, “someday” when you meet my kids, ect, ect- but now its real. you actually *are* divorcing, you actually *are* going to want to integrate this guy into your life, meet your kids, ect- the shit has hit the fan. this is all real life now, its not just a bunch of hypotheticals. and he cant do it, it sounds like he doesnt want to do it, and he is telling you as much.

    thats the answer. period. he doesnt want the life that he thought he may have before. he is allowed to make that decision.

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    • katie

      katie January 17, 2014, 9:52 am

      also, im not even touching the whole “soulmate after 4 months” thing, or the fact that your kids are, you know, there…. so just listen to everyone else on that.

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    • avatar

      ktfran January 17, 2014, 10:12 am

      Haha. This reminds me of one of my bazillion friends who moved away last year. She moved back to her hometime. Prior to that, on visits, she was “hanging” out with this one guy. The made out a few times. I think had one date. Talked occasionally when she was away. When she moved back home, she thought that yay, this guy is going to want a relationship with me and she thought she would get a boyfriend. She didn’t. SHOCKING! He liked flirting with her. And making out with her. And that’s it.

      I basically told her what you just said. Because as soon as it became real that he could have a relationship, he bailed.

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  • avatar

    ricky January 17, 2014, 9:37 am

    Let me put this straight to you LW – he is not worth it. Definitely not. You said, you want to be loved but from the sound of this letter, I wonder how can you love and be loved by someone who has so many concerns about your past and is basically polite in telling you that you have too much baggage? Getting out of a marriage is not easy esp. if you have kids. There are so many women who continue to live in a bitter/loveless relationships for the sake of kids/society/religion etc, so I applaud you for being bold and addressing your feelings. I am assuming living a single life after being in a family environment for so long is not easy but I guarantee you’ll not regret it.

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  • avatar

    EricaLnyy January 17, 2014, 9:42 am

    LW, probably a huge chunk of why you want this guy so badly (you “can’t imagine a day without talking to him”) is because he is holding back. He said he wouldn’t commit to you until the divorce is final, which is smart on his part. But when a person isn’t committing, a lot of the time it makes you wonder “what can I do to make them commit?” even if committing may not be right for YOU either.

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  • avatar

    bethany January 17, 2014, 9:43 am

    Oh, and how do you meet someone online “by pure coincidence”? I genuinely don’t understand how that can happen.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary January 17, 2014, 9:50 am

      Haha yes! Can we please get an explanation for that? I’m going to assume Craigslist Casual Encounters.

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      • avatar

        ricky January 17, 2014, 10:01 am

        Oh it can happen. You can be a part of some group on facebook and become friends there. I have had a one night stand with someone I met on facebook.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra January 17, 2014, 9:45 am

    You should NEVER have to convince someone to be with you. If you find that you are trying to convince them, it’s not worth trying to make it work. Waaaay too much work than it’s really worth.

    The biggest thing that stands out here is that you had an affair and immediately jumped in with this guy into a relationship…have you been single at all? This divorce is a huge life change for you and for your children. I’m guessing with the affair and this relationship you’re trying to find what you haven’t felt with your husband and you’re craving love. I totally get it — who DOESN’T want love? — in your case however I feel as though you’re looking for it for the wrong reasons. It’s apparent that you haven’t had a good connection with your husband for quite some time, and that’s ok…but think of your kids. How are they feeling that you have this new guy in your life? Their dad moves out and you’re already with someone new. They need you to provide them with as much stability as possible throughout this transition. I guarantee they’re scared even if they aren’t showing it. Quite honestly I think you’re on the rebound with this new guy, and that is NOT going to provide them with the stability that they need.

    Please be single for a while and focus on you and your kids. Give it a few months. Let the dust settle. I’m sure being single scares you too, but look at it as an opportunity to invest in yourself and your family as you go through this together.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope January 17, 2014, 9:55 am

    A contemplation on marriage–
    Passion is largely chemical but love is a verb. One has to work at it to keep it alive.It’s amazing how many people check out of marriages that aren’t particularly unhealthy, in search of that “magic” that by nature fades within a short period of time.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary January 17, 2014, 9:59 am

      I completely agree. You CHOOSE to love someone every day, even if you don’t feel like it that day, or week, or month.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh January 17, 2014, 10:01 am

      I don’t think someone should force themselves to stay in a marriage that they’re no longer happy in either though. This LW ended up cheating on her husband. Maybe if she had decided she would leave earlier that wouldn’t have happened. And while you do have to work on your marriage, you can’t force yourself to love someone if you don’t any longer. It kind of sucks to the idea of staying with someone you don’t love just because it’s not unhealthy. Do you really want to be the other half in that marriage? Where the person you’re married to doesn’t love you anymore? That would make me feel like crap. Divorce might not be an option or ok under certain circumstances for you, but it doesn’t mean that someone else has to follow the same rules.

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    • katie

      katie January 17, 2014, 10:05 am

      eh, i dunno. the LW references wanting to be “loved”. maybe the ex-husband was the lazy asshole who checked out first.

      you never know.

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  • avatar

    lemongrass January 17, 2014, 10:06 am

    Why, god why would you even think about introducing a man who isn’t ready to be with you, can’t handle your divorce, is one foot out the door, that you are unsure of, that you have only known for 4 months, aren’t even really dating, to your kids JUST after your divorce? No, no, no. I’ll say it again: no. Don’t introduce any of your boyfriends to your kids unless you are serious (like forever train serious, not oooh he’s my bff, he ‘gets’ me, 14 year old serious) and have been together 6 months at the least. Don’t be so selfish and impatient. If you think your kids are managing fine (which really, divorce isn’t like moving, it can have lasting damage that you don’t pick up on right away) they certainly won’t if you start introducing men to them like this.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ January 17, 2014, 10:27 am

      Yeah, I don’t have any experience with divorce at all, but I can’t imagine it makes a kid feel very good to witness his/her father being so easily replaceable, especially if the kid’s relationship with the father is a good one.

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    • avatar

      Christy January 17, 2014, 10:38 am

      I don’t think it requires forever-train serious. I think it’s if you’re serious about each other, been seeing each other in a bf/gf way for at least 3 or 6 months, and you intend to stay together for the foreseeable future.

      I think what’s more important is that parents’ SOs don’t sleep over, especially at first. The kids’ home needs to be the kids’ safe space.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary January 17, 2014, 10:52 am

        My hypothetical reaction would be to introduce a guy to my kids like I would introduce a guy to my parents. So in my life, I’ve only introduced 2 guys to my parents. I’ve dated a lot of people for 3-6 months, and I wouldn’t want my family making the effort to get to know someone and integrate them if they weren’t going to stick around. I think I would feel this way about my children too.

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      • avatar

        Christy January 17, 2014, 11:12 am

        Right, exactly. It’s the ‘are they going to stick around’ part that’s the real issue here, not the length of time. I just think you can know that, pretty well, after 3-6 months. If you don’t know, don’t introduce them.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass January 17, 2014, 11:09 am

        I don’t have the experience of having divorced parents so maybe I’m being a little harsh. I just picture my niece, whose mother has terrible taste in men and have introduced multiple men that she has dated for a year or so each. They have come and gone from her life and none of them were good guys and I just feel so bad for her.

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      • avatar

        Christy January 17, 2014, 11:17 am

        But if you’re the primary provider, what does that mean? You don’t get to live your life at all? Like, sure, it wasn’t a burden for my dad’s girlfriend Lynne not to stay the night when the kids were there, because my dad only had us every other weekend – they still had plenty of time for sex and sleepovers and that. But my mom had us all week AND every other weekend. She should be allowed to form relationships again. I know TWO mothers who never dated again after divorce. Just never dated. And like, that’s not ok in my book. Date if you want.

        I agree with you, I just think it’s a little more complicated than black/white territory. Like, that sucks for your niece. It probably also sucks for your sister(-in-law?) to be a single mother. Honestly, even if your sister thought she was on the forever train, she’d probably be wrong. You know? Some people just don’t make good relationship decisions. (My mother is 100% included in that list.)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 11:25 am

        You can form relationships, even serious ones, without having him sleepover though (which I think is what you are saying too).
        Sure I’ll agree being a single mother can suck, but that’s the life of being a parent. Your life will suck for a while til your kids get older. If you don’t want to sacrifice, then don’t become a single mother. I don’t get why anyone has to have their SO around their kids at the beginning.

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      • avatar

        MMcG January 17, 2014, 2:36 pm

        sucks when you have children and you can’t just party and do whatever you want – AMIRITE!?!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 2:46 pm

        Pshh, that’s what cribs are for Mmcg! Babies don’t require that much supervision!

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      • avatar

        MMcG January 17, 2014, 3:48 pm

        What was I thinking lbh!?! heck at 10 and 12 they are definitely old enough to just stay by themselves overnight, get themselves to school, make their own food… back in the day they would have been working in a factory by now 😉

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      • avatar

        lemongrass January 17, 2014, 11:29 am

        I do agree with you. I just wish she thought a little more of “is this a good role model for my daughter? Is this the kind of relationship I would want her to have? How will her memories of this man shape her ideas of how a relationship should be?” Instead of dating another deadbeat who treats her like crap and uses her.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 11:41 am

        YES! I sent Peter a link to a thing (need to look for it) about how you treat me is how Lil will think she should be treated, etc. I really, really believe fathers/mom’s bf/stepdads teach that to their daughters.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass January 17, 2014, 11:47 am

        And to their sons too. How I treat your mother is how you should treat women.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 11:49 am

        Yes, you’re right. Didn’t mean to cover only the dad/girl situation.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl January 17, 2014, 11:59 am

        Cute, semi related story- I was at CVS last night grabbing some stuff and got in the back of the line to pay. As we got closer to the front, the man in front of me turned around and said “Go ahead ma’am” and of course I was all “no no, you where first blah blah” and he goes “My daddy would have my hide if I didn’t let you go before me.” and I thought it was so cute and sweet. This grown, probably 30 year old man…ah I wanted to give him a hug.

        So yes, what you teach your children, explicitly and implicitly, is so important!

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      • theattack

        theattack January 17, 2014, 12:07 pm

        Wow, a 30 year old man said that? I’ve gotten that from elderly men a lot, but never a young person! I’m impressed.

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl January 17, 2014, 12:08 pm

        Yes! I was so taken aback! Plus he was super cute, and well dressed. I could have done with out the Ole Miss hat but you know. And he only had ONE item (I only had like 4 but still). If I wasn’t married I might have asked for his number.

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        SasLinna January 17, 2014, 11:31 am

        IMO it’s all about how you introduce someone you’re dating to your kids. It’s possible to introduce someone the same way you would introduce a friend. The key is not giving the kids the impression that anyone you’re dating is someone they’re supposed to form a deep bond with. That’s what goes wrong a lot of the time: People fail at introducing a gf/bf as anything other than “my new lifelong partner that you must now treat as daddy/mommy”.

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      SasLinna January 17, 2014, 11:26 am

      I understood her as saying that she DOESN’T want to introduce him to the kids yet. It’s him who’s thinking about being introduced to the kids and being a stepfather, not her. At least that’s what she wrote.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay January 17, 2014, 10:14 am

    Instead of trying to change how he feels, take time to listen and understand it. For someone to be wary of dating someone who is legally married or unsure of taking on stepchildren, that’s not as that awful. It’s not a character flaw. To me, it sounds like a fairly normal response to dating someone who is going way too fast. Might be good to stop and listen to his feelings and take them to heart instead of trying to steamroll them.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 10:23 am

    Ugh. So you had 2 affairs while married (1 while your husband thought you were trying to fix the marriage since you were in counseling). I have no sympathies for you whatsoever.
    Anyway, let this man go. He sounds smart enough to voice his concern over having to be with someone who is 1. married and 2. has children. Some people don’t want to deal with children so they shouldn’t. Why push that?

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  • avatar

    TheTruth January 17, 2014, 10:27 am

    Who gives a f* what this chick did.

    Had an affair.
    Left her husband out of blue (even though apparently he was trying to make it work in counseling)
    Took the kids (Im guessing even though she was the one who abandoned him, she is still going to go after every cent of child support and alimony she can, cause she quite frankly sounds like a bitch)
    Immediately jumped into a dependent relationship with a guy who is clearly not ready.

    Who doubts her “amazing” children are going to be subjected to a merry-go-round of dysfunctional dudes in and out of their lives.

    Oh… but as long as she’s happy… who cares.

    Next…

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark January 17, 2014, 10:29 am

    How wonderfully refreshing to hear how you truly are putting your kids first and not simply falling head over heels with each and every new man you nail or whose marriage you oh-so-casually help to destroy. Just beyond thrilled here to read that you aren’t even the least bit of a self absorbed mess…

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  • Diablo

    Diablo January 17, 2014, 10:31 am

    So much of my reaction to this depends on the way in which the LW portrays herself and the BF. She grew apart from here husband, she says, but it was after she had an affair and got caught that she realized that her marriage was over. She then met a new boyfriend “purely by coincidence online.” Yeah, I’m online all the time, and yet have never purely by coincidence begun a romantic relationship. is the boyfriend freaking out or is he raising perfectly reasonable apprehension, because they were dating before the husband even moved out, because there is no divorce yet. Even a good guy might take a few months to adjust to the fact that he might become a father figure suddenly to two tweens. Meanwhile, she is being very quick to bring a new person into her life. The BF may be too much drama, sure, but maybe the LW herself is “feeling very alive” due to all this new drama, which it looks like she created by having an affair.

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    • avatar

      Shadowflash January 17, 2014, 10:49 am

      Yeah, if you read between the lines a little it sounds like the LW was all, “OK, now that my ex-husband is out of the way you can jump on in and take his place!” Any reasonable guy would freak out at being asked to go from “not committed” (what does that even mean in this case? is this code for “let’s get married”?) to effectively married-with-kids. There seems to be a glaring problem with LW’s expectations.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 10:54 am

        Someone convincing me that their own children won’t be a problem, to just ignore them, would make me run so fast.

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  • avatar

    Lily in NYC January 17, 2014, 10:51 am

    After only 4 months with your new “best friend”, I get the feeling this dude is freaking out more about your trying to rush things than about the divorce (red herring). Sorry, this just reads “stage 5 clinger” to me.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie January 17, 2014, 11:07 am

    I’d be more concerned if Mr. S didn’t take this whole thing very seriously and freak out at least somewhat. He’s 34 and in the prime of life wanting to have a committed relationship with the LW but she’s got 10 tons of baggage. On the plus side he’s farsighted enough to be aware of the responsibilities that comes with the kids and with no experience to go on he’s not sure he’s up to it. None of the parties can predict what the future will include with her ex tied to the kids and his feelings for the LW. All in all he sounds like a keeper but she’s go to let him get through his doubts on his own.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 January 17, 2014, 11:37 am

      Yeah he actually seems to be the level headone in this.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ January 17, 2014, 11:20 am

    LW, this is just desperate. You’re 40 years old. Be better than begging a man to be with you and let this guy go. Put your kids first and your relationships status second for awhile, and, do some work on yourself. In what appears to be a relatively short span of time, you have had an affair, decided you don’t want to be married any more and are now engaged in a “whirlwind” romance. Clearly, you’re looking for something and you’re not going to find it bouncing from man to man. Figure out what it is that you really need – to feel young, alive and beautiful; some excitement; an adventure; whatever it is – then figure out how you can make yourself feel that way, and after you’ve done that and you aren’t looking for someone to distract you from the hole in your life, then start looking for someone to date.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope January 17, 2014, 11:31 am

    I wonder if any of you lived through your parents’ divorce without feeling like your whole world just came crashing down. Yes, children are resilient but it was hell on earth for a very long time.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh January 17, 2014, 11:35 am

      I think that is dependent on the marriage and home life. My parents divorcing was the best thing that ever happened. We were all miserable and when they no longer lived together, we were finally able to be happy. No marriage, no divorce and no family is the same. Obviously for many children isn’t what it was for me. But, yes some people do live through their parents divorce without their world crashing down.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 11:42 am

        Did you feel that way instantly or did it take a while for you to get there?

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 17, 2014, 11:45 am

        Instantly. I mean my parent’s marriage was pretty awful as was my Father. So I mean I’m probably in a separate group of people who dealt with both divorce and abuse. But, I was so happy to not live with him in the house anymore. My little sister at almost 30 still doesn’t deal well with my Mom dating. But, she always had some attachment issues stemming from the abuse.

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        lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 11:48 am

        Interesting. I guess that must be the difference–divorce and abuse. Because even while I knew my dad was blatantly having affairs, I STILL (selfishly) wanted them to stay together. My mom did too, so maybe that made it even harder?

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        jlyfsh January 17, 2014, 11:54 am

        Yeah, I mean my Mom definitely had to be pushed to divorce which seems funny saying, but abuse is weird and makes you think and do things that as an intelligent person you wouldn’t normally do. So, there wasn’t any plan to divorce until he was arrested and they told her she had to choose, him or us. If she chose him we would have been taken out of the home. She always wanted to choose us, she just didn’t feel like she had the tools or was safe enough (that we would be safe enough) to do it. She did finally go to see the prosecutor which is how the ball got rolling. But, even at that point she said she wasn’t dealing with the idea of divorcing him. She was protecting us and forgot that would mean she would be getting a divorce? Which I’m sure sounds weird as well. But, I’m sure it was partially her brain protecting itself from all of the crap going on.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 17, 2014, 11:57 am

        I wasn’t traumatized either. I knew even then that my parents were better off apart.

        BUT. The way my mom acted after the divorce fucked me up a bit. She made my dad out to be the bad guy, and generally didn’t handle it very well. I understand it was stressful for her, but I think at least appearing stable for your kids goes a long way.

        Divorce itself isn’t always all that awful, but how the parents act in front of their kids makes a big difference.

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      lets_be_honest January 17, 2014, 11:38 am

      At 30+ years old, I finally know that my parents’ divorce was good for them, but I still have issues because of it and I likely always will. At the time (I was in 8th grade) and until not too long ago, it was a terrible thing that happened “to me.” I think very few kids, even adult kids, handle it well and come out of it without issues.
      Some people on here know I’m very hesitant to marry, and my parent’s divorce and how it changed me and my views on marriage is the #1 reason. I have issues with trust and men because of it.

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    • avatar

      Christy January 17, 2014, 12:19 pm

      It wasn’t that my whole world came crashing down. I knew my parents would split; they were really unhappy. It was weird, sure, and it wasn’t fun in the beginning, but really, middle school wasn’t gonna be fun anyway. I had a harder time, I think, with my mom’s post-divorce relationships and marriages.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna January 17, 2014, 12:39 pm

      My parents split when I was a teen. Looking back, I’ve realized that any damage I suffered was because I have this specific set of parents – and not so much because that set of parents broke up. I’m sure I wouldn’t have suffered any less if they had stayed together (likely more).

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    • katie

      katie January 17, 2014, 1:10 pm

      i also lived through divorce with not a “crashing” in sight.

      i mean, it sucked for a little while- they fought, they thought we couldnt hear, ect… but it was ultimately the best thing that ever happened to me. and they have since become great friends, and we still all hang out together.

      i would say the bad was maybe a year, and then good was everything since.

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    • avatar

      Lindsay January 17, 2014, 5:31 pm

      My w

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    • avatar

      Lindsay January 17, 2014, 5:35 pm

      My world didn’t crash down, but that’s because my parents didn’t so anything too crazy in the divorce. They also barely interacted when they were married near the end. That’s not to say, though, that I didn’t have memories of when they acted like a family. My thing is that as much as a divorce may improve your day-to-day life, you still may be really aware of what you’re missing out on.

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  • avatar

    Lucy January 17, 2014, 11:35 am

    To any questions that start with. “How do I get him to?” the answer is always, “You can’t.” He’ll either get over your baggage, or he won’t. Frankly, I think his baggage should be the least of his worries with you: he should be much more concerned with the cavalier way you seem to be leaving ruined marriages in your wake. I’ll take your word for it that your kids are managing well, but you don’t seem to realize that they could go off the rails at any point during this extremely disruptive time. You should be focusing your attention on them and on getting your own life and character together.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope January 17, 2014, 11:39 am

    Jellyfish, thank you for sharing. Considering the number of divorces, it’s good to know that not all children will experience it the way I did.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom January 17, 2014, 12:17 pm

    It sounds like you’re expecting a man to make you happy but you are the only one who can make you happy. There is no one you can add to your life who will make you happy. Happiness is something that you have to work out on your own. If you find happiness within yourself, in your attitude, your outlook, in the way you appreciate the little things then you can let someone in and share that happiness with them, if they are also a happy person but you have to find happiness by yourself first. Otherwise, you’ll just be disappointed and move on to the next guy whose job is to make you happy.

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  • findingtheearth

    findingtheearth January 17, 2014, 1:58 pm

    I have a few friends going through divorces/separations right now.

    One has not even filed yet, and he has a new girlfriend, has introduced her to his kids, and posts on Facebook all the time how much he loves her.

    One other waited until the tail end of the divorce to start dating, but moved in quickly with the guy.

    Another told me she is waiting a year or so after her divorce is finalized, as she wants to make sure the kids are okay.

    As a single mom, I worry about attachments and relationships between my daughter and a potential significant other. I don’t date, and don’t plan on it unless I meet someone who is willing to be friends for awhile first. I just think there is too much potential for drama and unnecessary pain for my child.

    LW- take some time for yourself. Get to know yourself. Then maybe think about going on a few dates. This guy sounds overwhelmed already.

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  • avatar

    MMcG January 17, 2014, 2:23 pm

    “But there’s more to the story.”

    you don’t say!?! I feel bad for your husband and children, you seem really selfish. WWS – be single for awhile and focus on your kids as they deal with the divorce.

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