Morning Quickie: “My Gay Ex-Boyfriend Is Back with His Wife”


I’m a 22-year-old gay male in Illinois who has recently ended a short-term relationship that lasted about two months. “Ken” and I met online and things moved pretty fast. He has two younger daughters, and I found out early in the relationship that he is still married to the mother of his children. He said he was getting a divorce. Before him, I was with my former partner, “Keith,” for four years. We had been split for about a year before I met Ken.

My relationship with Ken was fine until one day he decided to break up with me through a text message. The night before this event, we didn’t argue, but he seemed very nervous and edgy. He was drinking and smoking, which he never did. He broke up with me because he said he thought I wasn’t over my ex. A week later, which was a month ago, we met up to exchange the rest of the belongings. When I saw him then, he looked like he wanted to cry.

A week later I texted him to check up on him, and he confessed that he broke up with me because people were telling him to give things another try with his wife. We agreed that we did move a little too fast and that we would try and move more slowly. We agreed to meet up and catch up, but that never happened because there is an excuse for everything to not see me. He has leukemia and now he’s saying that he’s too sick to talk to me, yet he’s going out to functions. When I caught him in a lie, he said that he’s feeling better. I know he does really have leukemia, but that’s not the only excuse. He said he’s busy at work and now it’s his daughter getting her tonsils removed.

Is it me or are there too many coincidences going on? He won’t even call or text me back. We only talk on Facebook. He did admit that he was making excuses to not see me, but he won’t explain why. He said he is not back together with anyone. I don’t know whether to call it quits or what. It’s just terrible for me because, as a gay male, it’s very hard to find the right guy and I wasn’t ready to let this one go. What should I do? — Not Ready to Call it Quits

I’m not sure I’d call these excuses to avoid you “coincidences.” Ken doesn’t want to see you and you need to respect that. I’m assuming you probably live in a smallish town and that, as hard as it is to find the right guy as a gay man, it’s probably pretty difficult for a man of a certain age, who has lived, at least externally, as a straight guy in a straight marriage with children, to come out of the closet if he hasn’t yet. Add to that potential challenge a leukemia diagnosis, and, well, it’s no wonder he isn’t interested/doesn’t have time or energy to pursue a relationship with you or anyone else right now.

It was a two-month relationship and it’s not worth the worry you’re investing in it now. Let it go. Look online for a date, or find a gay bar nearby, or put some feelers out with your friends that you’re looking to date. And if I’m right and you DO live in a small town that makes meeting someone difficult in general and especially challenging if you’re gay, consider moving to a bigger city. Since you live in Illinois, I would recommend Chicago. Dude, if at 22 you can’t find a nice gay man to date there, then you’re just not trying hard enough.


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  1. You should find someone that is available. Good Luck!

  2. Yeah, I’d say cut Ken some slack. It sounds like he’s dealing with a ton- a major health crisis, possibly coming out of the closet, possibly tearing apart his family including young children. That’s a lot for anyone to deal with, and he’s got to do it on his own timetable.

    Move on with your life and let Ken move on with his, as he is ready to handle things. If you cross paths again later on and want to give it a go, then it’s meant to be- but waiting around and analyzing everything to death isn’t good for either of you.

    1. I definitely agree Ken is facing a lot right now, yet it also sounds like he’s been stringing the LW along with his lies. Despite everything he is dealing with, it doesn’t excuse him lying.

      1. Oh absolutely- but whether what Ken is doing is or isn’t right is kind of irrelevant to how the LW should proceed. I just think some perspective about what is going on in Ken’s life might make it easier for LW to move on without taking it personally.

  3. It sounds like Ken brings a LOT of drama with him. And if he was/is married with TWO kids I wonder if he’s older. Don’t wait for him to get his shit together; that’s on him and it’s definitely not worth it. You’ll thank yourself later for moving on from him now.

  4. “It’s just terrible for me because, as a gay male, it’s very hard to find the right guy and I wasn’t ready to let this one go.”
    Dude, as a single girl, it’s also hard to find the right guy and their have been PLENTY of them that I wasn’t quite ready to let go. But that’s life. You’re young. You’re only 22. You don’t need to deal with a man who is still figuring things out. He DOES have have lot on his plate. A severe illness. He’s still married. He has two children. His family wants him to try to work things out with the wife. He’s sick. He’s being pulled in a million different directions. On top of that, he needs people he loves to accept him for who he is. I really do think I would cut my losses. You want more than he can give right now. And that’s ok. But I wouldn’t hold it against him. I mean, geesh, just thinking about what he’s going through makes me sad.
    Also, Wendy is totally right about Chicago and the gay scene. My hairdresser, who no longer lives here, had a new boyfriend every few times I went in, and I get my hair done every four weeks.

  5. This isn’t the last man in the world. He broke up with you after two months. Honestly you sound like my friend who clings to every man she dates until they pull something terrible and unforgivable and force her hand. Join some other dating websites, or follow Wendy’s advice and move to a bigger city. Even if it’s not easy to find someone new, it’s much harder to do if you cling to this one guy who has shown you he does not have room in his life for you.

  6. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Wait, he lied about having leukemia – to avoid seeing you? He’s an asshole. You don’t want to be with someone like that.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Oh wait, sorry, you wrote “I know he does really have leukemia.” I thought that said “does not” have leukemia. Ugh, reading is hard!

      1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        It’s early–and it was written in a confusing manner.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        that, plus … i’m losing it! i am forgetting how to read.

    2. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

      No, about how he was feeling–he still has leukemia.

    3. Hi AP! I think he does have leukemia. Unless I read it wrong. Or the LW wrote it wrong.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Yeah, I wish I could delete delete. I misread that.

      2. Another meet up. Maybe in November. Or next year. We’ll see. Or at least a Pedway date.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Yes yes and yes.

  7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    I agree with what everyone else has said. This guy does not want to see you (well, actually, maybe he does but he doesn’t want to want to see you, if that makes sense, otherwise he’d make it happen). He has a LOT going on and isn’t including you, so I’d move on.

  8. Yeah it sounds like Ken has way too much on his plate and while he might want to ‘see’ you, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. The chances of you finding someone are even smaller if you don’t let Ken go and put yourself back out there.

  9. Whatever might be going on with Ken, he’s got too much drama. Go find someone else. Dude, he broke up with you via text. At the very least, that’s kind of rude.

  10. Ken is sketchy as fuck and doesn’t know who he wants to be. He may also be dying soon. You have only a little time invested. This is a no-brainer. He doesn’t want to be with you. Go find someone worthy of your time. Good luck.

    1. I agree Ken is sketchy. He broke up with you by lying and saying it was about your ex when it really was about him. He uses his illness as an excuse to avoid you instead of just being straight (ahem). He kind of lives in this grey area of truth telling. How do you know he was getting divorced? Was he even separated? Does his wife know he was seeing other people? Other men? Forget the illness. Forget the one foot still in the wife and kids closet. What you do know about this guy is that he doesn’t have a close relationship with the truth. That’s enough reason to consider him a bullet dodged.

      1. Or, he could just be trying to figure his shit out? I mean, the reasons for not seeing the LW actually sound like good reasons, not excuses. His daughter getting her tonsils removed, pretty damn good “excuse” if you ask me.

      2. Sure he is figuring his shit out – but that doesn’t give him license to lie to the LW. You say what he said when confronted about the first lie. You say “I cant be with you because I’m thinking about working things out with my wife” you don’t say “I’m breaking up with you because you aren’t over your ex.” Call it flipping the script; gaslighting; outright lying – whatever – it’s deception. You don’t say “I’m too sick to see you” when you aren’t and the truth is you just don’t want to – and when you are caught in that lie list other reasons. The LW has a responbility in this too. When someone breaks up with you – and in any talk of reconciliation their actions don’t match their words – the onus is on you to move on.
        For me, anyone having that kind of flexibility with the truth – I would question all the other things he said too. I think the daughter having her tonsils out is a good reason to not see the LW – if it’s true – but I think the fact that he actually broke up with the LW and that his actions indicate that still stands is the better reason and the LW should just move on.

  11. LW, there are very few instances where starting a sentence “He DOES have leukemia, BUT…” is ever okay.
    Some examples:
    “He does have leukemia, but he shouldn’t have murdered that man” or
    “He does have leukemia, but he shouldn’t be selling purebred pit bulls on the black market” or
    “He does have leukemia, but he shouldn’t have banged my wife”
    Examples where it does not work:
    “He does have leukemia, but he shouldn’t be avoiding my calls”
    Do you see the difference?

    1. For real. Having leukemia is actually a pretty solid reason not to return the calls of someone you dated for only two months!

  12. Lily in NYC says:

    I highly recommend not dating someone who is married to a woman and doesn’t seem ready to come out of the closet. All the other stuff just complicates what is very simple: this dude is not ready to face life as a gay man.

  13. “It’s just terrible for me because, as a gay male, it’s very hard to find the right guy and I wasn’t ready to let this one go.”

    You’re hounding (and borderline stalking) a guy who has leukemia and two small children, and you’re worried that it’s terrible for YOU?!

  14. How do we know Ken is gay and not bi? I mean, I agree with what Wendy said, but I didn’t get that impression necessarily. Not that it makes anything better either way. I don’t know, I found it hard to follow.

  15. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned the possibility that the guy is bi, still loves his wife, and isn’t ready to leave his marriage? Sometimes it takes a long time for people to figure out their sexuality, and sometimes the labels and tidy little compartments we all like to use…..just don’t fit.
    Gender and sexual attraction is not just a matter of flipping a switch and saying “OK, not straight any more, I’m all gay all the time from here on out!” Or “oops, made a mistake there, flipping the switch back to straight now and forever!”

    And really, all of that is not terribly relevant in the LW’s situation. LW, Ken has made it very clear that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you anymore. Knowing the reasons may make you feel better, or give you a sense of closure, but ultimately, it’s not going to change anything. He’s done. I know it hurts, but you really have no choice but to move on.

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