So, you bought a home with someone you’d only been dating a few months — someone who is still legally married to someone else and whose estranged wife doesn’t seem interested in making a divorce easy? Hmm, I’m not sure what advice you want now. Had you written earlier, I would have said to not move in with him so soon and definitely not to buy a place together. But that’s done now and I’m not sure what you’re asking.
The thing is, when a couple has 20 years of history, a child together — one who is still in high school — and is still legally married, it’s unrealistic to think that moving in with someone else and dropping off a box of clothes is going to somehow erase one person from the other’s life. And it’s unrealistic to expect your boyfriend to “cut all contact” with his estranged wife. For one thing, she’s still his wife. Estranged or not, they are still legally wed, and, at some point, details will need to be discussed and plans will need to be made. They have a child together. Just because he’s almost 18 doesn’t mean he doesn’t need his father in his life anymore, and I would hope that your boyfriend wants to continue being part of his son’s life — perhaps providing financial support for college and emotional support as his son continues growing up, becoming a man, and, oh yeah, processing the end of his parents’ marriage. And as long as your boyfriend and his estranged wife share a son — which will be as long as they both are alive — they will share, at the very least, a tenuous connection.
I’m sorry that moving in with a man months after he left his wife of 20 years hasn’t been as easy and convenient as you might have expected. But now his baggage is your baggage. If I were you, I would encourage him to file for divorce. I would also talk to a lawyer and make sure you are protected as much as possible. Is the home you purchased together in both of your names? Talk with a lawyer about what that means if his wife seeks financial support from him.
On an emotional level, don’t assume you know the whole story of your boyfriend’s marriage just because he’s told you some of his side of it. Maybe his wife continually cheated on him and maybe she didn’t. But even if she was a chronic cheater, marriages are never black-and-white. There isn’t one spouse who is horrible and one who is an angel. Both partners are flawed and make mistakes, and if, in your boyfriend’s description of what went wrong in his marriage, he has only expressed the mistakes his wife made and has never shared any of the shit he did, be very leery. Without much distance between his bad marriage and his relationship with you, your boyfriend is likely to repeat whatever wrongs he committed in his marriage because he didn’t have the time to process and grow. And if you have no idea what those wrongs were, you may find yourself caught completely off guard when they show up in your relationship too.
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