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?
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.