Meanwhile, I met and began dating another man about fifteen months ago. He is very insecure and somewhat jealous and clingy, and the relationship is volatile and intense. He has depression, and his moods are variable, but he is also very loving, caring, and romantic. When things are going well, we are very happy; however, we seem to quarrel every week – and usually over the most ridiculous things. He wants to marry me, and I am so tempted to marry him for the financial stability. He isn’t rich by any means, but he has three pensions, which equal pretty much guaranteed income. He has substantial savings in the bank, and he owns a home. He has given me $2,000 to pay off my credit card debt, and he bought me a $1,000 ring. If I marry him, I won’t have to worry about being poor when I am too old or sick to work anymore. He has even said that, if he passes away before I do, he’ll leave his house and everything else he has to me. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t own a house. But my husband is loving and kind, he has a calm temperament, and he will bend over backwards to make me happy – we have never quarreled. Fear is what drives me. Fear of being old and poor. Please help me see things logically and not through the eyes of fear. Thank you so much for your advice. — Financial security or peace of mind?
I think you already know what the right answer is here, but, again, you are afraid. You’re afraid that if you make the decision that you know in your heart is the right one, you’ll have regret later if your life ends up being harder than you think it might be if you had made a different decision. You let fear of regret paralyze you from moving forward, and so now you find yourself 52 years old, with no savings and no retirement plan, caught between a good man you seem to have fallen out of love with and a man with whom you might have some financial security but a volatile relationship.
There’s good news and bad news here and it’s exactly the same news: You can’t make a decision anyway. You aren’t in a position to decide whether or not to marry someone else because you are already married. You can’t marry the more financially secure man until you’re legally divorced from your husband, and since getting divorced would cost money you don’t have/don’t need to spend, for that reason alone — and, of course there are plenty of other reasons — I would focus on fixing what you have with the man you are already legally married to. Since it seems to be easier to think about the practical side of your relationships — financial security, etc., rather than the emotional side — start there. Meet with a debt or retirement counselor along with your husband and discuss steps you can take now to secure yourselves financially for the rest of your lives. I would imagine that maintaining two different households is pretty expensive. What would need to happen to get you back into the same home? Once you have that mapped out, what support do you need (from each other and possibly from a marriage counselor or even a clergy person if you’re religious and can’t afford a marriage counselor) to get the emotional side of your marriage back on track? If, and only if, you decide that the marriage isn’t worth saving and that even financially it doesn’t make sense living together and planning a future together, you can explore the idea of legally divorcing. And then, and only when you are legally divorced, should you be discussing the idea of marriage with anyone else. But I would hope that someone else isn’t someone who’s jealous and clingy and moody and depressed and treats you like garbage, no matter how many pensions he might have…
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].