Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Moved in With Me and My Kids and Now Says He’s Not Ready to be a Step-dad”

My boyfriend and I have been together for one and a half years. He and I are 28 and 29, respectively, and I have three kids from my previous marriage. I told him from the start about my kids, and we took things very slowly in regards to his meeting them. Once we hit the six-month mark we decided it was ok for him to meet my oldest, who’s 6. The first six months of our relationship involved my divorce, and when that was finalized, I moved into my own apartment with my kids. He stayed over more and more. Then after a year of being a couple, he decided to move in with me.

A month later I unexpectedly got pregnant and unfortunately miscarried eight weeks later. After the miscarriage I found out he was talking to women he doesn’t know on Snapchat. I forgave him for a stupid mistake and he’s done everything to prove that I’m more important. But since the miscarriage we’ve been going through a rough patch. He isn’t sure being a stepdad is what he wants in life. He says he doesn’t want biological children of his own, which I’m fine with; I don’t want any more children either.

We love each other very much, and two months of a limbo state of what’s happening in our relationship has been driving me crazy. He says he isn’t sure if we have a future. He misses his best friends, too. I told him that if he felt like he needed his own time that he could have it. We do everything together other than work and going to classes. But I don’t have many friends to do things with, so I can’t just go out, plus I have my children. I told him he can have his space if need be, but I’m not sure if that’s enough for him. I just don’t understand how he was always fine with the idea of our being a family, having talked about our plans for the future being marriage, and then its suddenly changing. I just need some advice from a unbiased mind. — Tired of This Limbo

When you say he was “always fine with the idea of our being a family,” how long is “always” really? You’ve been together only a year and a half, and he didn’t even know your children for the first six months (which is a good move, by the way). After six months, you introduced him to your oldest kid, so that’s a year — and you don’t say when you introduced your younger two children to him — just a year in which he even had a clue what being around your kids was like. When you look at the time that you’ve actually been living like a family — six months, the last three of which has been a “rough period” for your relationship — the time of living happily as a family is reduced even further. Basically, you all lived together three months before he expressed that maybe this lifestyle wasn’t for him after all. And those three months followed only a handful of months that he even knew your kids. When you look at it that way — when you look at the actual timeline of your relationship, the “always” part of always being “fine with the idea of us being a family,” isn’t so impressive.

The truth is, he was fine with an IDEA, and when he began living the actual reality of life as a family with three young children, he realized he wasn’t so fine with it. I mean, the baseline we’re looking at here — how he felt about the idea wasn’t even great or excited or happy; he was “fine.” That was the baseline you started with. It’s really not such a big surprise that in three months’ time, he went from being “fine” with an idea to being unhappy with the lived reality. It’s not a surprise and it’s not confusing. He changed his mind. It happens ALL the time. People change their minds. They particularly change their minds about situations that are much harder than they had any idea they would be – situations like raising three young children.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of this bad news, but your relationship simply is not going to work out. No amount of love between you is going to change the fact that your boyfriend doesn’t want kids and isn’t ready — and may never be ready — to be a stepdad. You need to let him go. And in the future, you have to be much more protective of your children. To go from living with their father to living with another man in one year’s time has to be a little tumultuous. In the future, only move your children in with someone who has spent extensive time with them over the course of not a handful of months but rather a year or two at least. Don’t move your kids in with someone who has no experience with children, who does not fully understand the reality of raising children (either through raising his own children or through lots and lots of time with your children).

You need to end your relationship, and, rather than begin looking for a replacement partner, spend some time cultivating a relationship with yourself and building a circle of friends. It’s speaks volumes that you don’t have a friend you could call up to hang out with. That’s not healthy. We need friends. We each need a social life. We can’t depend on a romantic partner to meet all our social and emotional needs. For one thing, it puts a lot of pressure on you to find and accelerate a romantic partnership rather than let it take a slower, more organic pace. For another thing, you don’t have trusted individuals who care about you and your well-being acting as a sounding board and giving emotional support when you are making huge life decisions like moving your new-ish boyfriend in with your three young kids six months after finalizing your divorce and moving into your own place. A solid good friend would have/should have said, “Hey now, maybe take another year to let this develop a little more, and let the fall-out from the divorce and the move settle a bit, at least for your kids.” You need that friend. You need that friend a whole hell of a lot more than you need a boyfriend. I hope, for your sake and for your kids’ sake, you will focus on finding and building that kind of relationship in your life.

I’m 32 and have been with my now wife (Ally) for seven years (married nine months ago). Ally is naturally pretty and an incredibly kind, caring, and humble person. My friends described her as the “perfect girl,” and in a university of thousands of people, and in spite of her generally introverted personality, she was well-known and liked by many people. We managed to keep in touch post-university, and eventually, four years later and both single, we met again at a friend’s party. We chatted all night, and Ally told me she was keen to meet up at some point.

When I told my friends, they couldn’t believe my luck (!). Although I consider myself to be fairly good looking, Ally is beautiful. The problem was (and is) that I didn’t find her sexy. There was no chemistry. But because she is pretty, she is a lovely person, and we have a lot in common, and because my friends told me I’d be crazy not to, I gave it a shot. Long story short, we got on well (and still do) and started dating. Before long, we moved in together and were engaged in 2016. Although the chemistry never really materialzed, we had an ok sex life and all other aspects of our relationship were pretty good.

Shortly before our engagement, I started working more closely with a colleague a few years younger (Anna). Anna is very good-looking, and, although she was also engaged, there was immediate chemistry. She is sexy and funny, and as we have gotten to know each other, I realise Anna and I have more in common than Ally and I do. I’ve spent quite a lot of time with Anna on sales visits, and I feel like I know her better than most of my friends.

I kept these feelings to myself for a long time and so did Anna. Unfortunately, a month before my wedding, we went on a sales trip and ended up getting drunk together in the evening. I found out she had the same feelings for me and we kissed. Nothing else happened that night, and we didn’t speak about it too much. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it even though I was due to be married in four weeks. I didn’t say anything to Ally and we went through with the wedding, having a great day with our friends and family.

After our honeymoon, I returned to the office (and Anna). The feelings I had before returned and she confessed she hadn’t stopped thinking about me. We had several international sales visits lined up, and not long after being back, we slept together on one of these. This was really the beginning of an affair, and as well as seeing each other at work, we were constantly messaging each other on the evenings and weekends, and meeting up where we could.

It is now seven months since Anna and I have been seeing each other, and she has just ended it with her fiancé. She wants me to leave Ally and start a new life with her, or she is going to end what we have. I can’t bear the thought of it ending, but leaving Ally will absolutely destroy her, as well as causing tremendous pain to both our families. I can’t fault Ally as a person – she is incredibly kind, caring, and thoughtful, and she has done literally nothing wrong. She is also quite fragile, and ending it will undoubtedly cause irreversible damage.

What should I do? I could stay with Ally, let Anna go, and try my best to make my relatively new marriage work.

Or I could gamble on someone who might be better for me, perhaps even my soulmate. But in doing so, hurt someone I do still love and who only 9 months ago I promised to love and protect forever…

Please help me. — Should I Gamble?

 
If you really loved Ally and wanted to protect her, you wouldn’t have married her knowing you weren’t sexually attracted to her and that you had feelings for someone else. You were selfish and you were cowardly. And now all of you — you, Anna, and especially Ally will pay a far bigger price than if you’d been honest months ago BEFORE your wedding and before starting your affair.

You think you have a choice — you presented your options as if they are equal, worthy of weighing on a scale to determine which has better cost benefits. The truth is, you don’t have a choice. You stay with Ally and you and she will be unhappy for as long as your marriage lasts. The cancer that has developed in your relationship, which she may have already noticed the symptoms of, will only continue growing, the cells multiplying, and will create a resentment between the two of you that will never go away.

The best way you can “protect” your wife from a life of unhappiness, betrayal, and lies is to be honest now and let her go. Whether or not you “gamble on someone who might be better for you,” is irrelevant, honestly. Your feelings for Anna aren’t related to your feelings for Ally, except that it took the adoration of another woman for you to admit your dissatisfaction with the relationship you were about to commit yourself to. Nothing you say indicates Anna is the right match for you (maybe she is, maybe she isn’t); but everything you’ve said indicates that Ally is not. And that is what you should focus on right now — finally being honest with yourself and with her about this sad truth and about the heartbreaking mistake you made to pursue a lifelong commitment with someone you were never really in love with. Yes, it will be incredibly painful for Ally. That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t know. Living a lie with you would be far more painful in the long run, and you owe it to her to spare her that fate.

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

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

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

38 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Essie March 1, 2019, 10:12 am

    LW1: Wendy’s advice is wise, and your boyfriend is wise, too, to realize that the reality of being a step-parent isn’t what he thought it would be, and to tell you honestly that it’s not for him. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out, but your relationship is effectively over. And I’ll also second Wendy’s advice to develop a circle of friends. Being utterly dependent on your partner for all companionship isn’t a healthy situation, and it doesn’t make for a healthy relationship.

    LW2: I’d say there’s a good chance that Ally knows what’s going on, and has known for a long time. You always know when your partner’s heart is somewhere else. I don’t care how good an actor you are – she can tell. Prolonging this sham marriage is NOT A KINDNESS. And I think you know that, you just can’t bear the thought of admitting a terrible mistake and looking like the villain to your friends and family.

    There are going to be consequences for the mistake you made in going through with the marriage, but you have no choice but to face them. The longer you wait, the worse it will be.

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    • avatar

      Jamie March 4, 2019, 8:40 am

      LW2: I’d say there’s a good chance that Ally knows what’s going on, and has known for a long time. You always know when your partner’s heart is somewhere else. I don’t care how good an actor you are – she can tell.

      You say this as if it’s fact, when it’s just a view. You can’t prove this. We don’t know what she knows or doesn’t. She might not have any idea.

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  • avatar

    FYI March 1, 2019, 10:39 am

    LW1 — Within 18 months, your kids have gone from living with their dad to living with some other dude they barely know. Break up with him, and don’t move in with anyone else for a long, long, long time.

    LW2 — Wendy was kind in calling this a “heartbreaking mistake.” In my view, you’re extremely selfish. You KNEW what was going to happen; it wasn’t an accident. You’ve already caused irreversible damage. Spoiler alert: Anytime anyone says they “ended up” doing something, it’s clear that they aren’t taking responsibility for their actions. You didn’t “end up” kissing her. You made many conscious decisions in that direction and cheated on your (new!) wife. I hope “fragile” Ally takes you to the cleaners.

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  • avatar

    brise March 1, 2019, 10:40 am

    LW2: I don’t buy that you are afraid to hurt other people, your wife, your families. You are afraid to hurt yourself. You may not love your wife but I strongly doubt that you would start a serious relationship and get engaged to a woman you don’t love. I am pretty sure that you love your wife. You redefined your marital relationship in a lukewarm relationship after you met the other woman.
    And I would bet money that you are just the kind of guy who is afraid of intimacy. A man who falls in love with an other woman right before his wedding is just afraid of being committed. That is why, in my opinion, you stall when the time comes to be honest. The more intimate and committed you are to her, the more you want to escape and idealise someone else. But you don’t want really to break up with your wife.
    All the compliments you say about your wife show that there is something strong here. And the sex: you both could work on it. Attraction is not something stable, I wouldn’t found a relationship solely on attraction.
    But you went too far. Tell your wife the truth and get a divorce. Then start a therapy because I wouldn’t believe so much in your relationship with Anna. By the way, she is not that great: a woman who cheats on her fiance for months? A good person? You have lots in common, for sure, in the realm of honesty and loyalty.

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    • avatar

      Jamie March 3, 2019, 9:16 pm

      I’m not defending this guy, because he’s done a lot of selfish things, but I don’t think it’s outside of the realm of possibility that he wasn’t in love with his wife when he married her. People do things for different reasons, even if we -as outside observers- can’t see it. People think differently and have their issues and don’t always make decisions based on public idealism.

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  • avatar

    brise March 1, 2019, 10:42 am

    LW2: By the way, don’t think your wife is so fragile that she couldn’t make it without you. She will be disgusted, hurt, but then she will be fine and will move on. You both don’t have kids, so it will be easier for her to move on. I hope for her she will find a man who respects her.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie March 1, 2019, 10:50 am

    #LW 1 – Wendy is right. Your bf needs to see you and your kids as a package deal and he has to be excited that he gets a “four for 1 deal”. He’s not a failure or a bad person for realizing this reality isn’t for him. He tried, but he wasn’t being honest with himself. I think you getting pregnant was his wake up call that he’s on a path leading to a place he doesn’t want to go.

    You need to ask him to move out, take time to heal and then focus your attention on your kids and developing a social life with other women. You had enough time to date – so you can join a book club, find a club, take a class, something that gets you out of the house and meeting people that you don’t want to marry.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 1, 2019, 11:24 am

    LW2 I think you’d benefit from reading “Surviving an Affair,” by Willard F Harley Jr. You need to understand that you are getting a lot out of your marriage that you take for granted and then you are getting something out of the affair. You’ve never been in a relationship with just Anna. Anna has been the forbidden woman on the side. So far you’ve never needed to do basic, mundane things with Anna like take out the trash, pay the bills, figure out where to live. Anna has been fun without commitments or responsibilities. Most relationships that begin as an affair don’t last long after the primary relationship ends. The affair can’t handle real life. Just know that as a fact of life.

    The most likely outcome of people finding out you had an affair is that they will hate Anna. They will never like her and at most grudgingly accept her in your life. They will always compare her to Ally and she will always be less because she’s a woman who likes affairs. What’s the one thing you know beyond a doubt about Anna, besides the chemistry? You know she cheats. You know she isn’t trustworthy. She knows the same thing about you. You both know you can’t trust the other. That’s some foundation for a lasting relationship.

    Let Ally go because she deserves far better than you but don’t expect much of any happiness to come from your relationship with Anna. Ally deserves more happiness than she will ever experience with you. She deserves someone who is honest and loyal and devoted to her. She deserves someone who loves her and has her back.

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    • avatar

      Jamie March 3, 2019, 9:22 pm

      I’m not defending this guy, because he’s done a lot of selfish things, but I don’t think it’s outside of the realm of possibility that he wasn’t in love with his wife when he married her. People do things for different reasons, even if we -as outside observers- can’t see it. People think differently and have their issues and don’t always make decisions based on public idealism.

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      • avatar

        JD March 4, 2019, 8:10 am

        He made his decision based on what his penis wanted, and knew it was wrong. Spouses make decisions based on what is best for their marriage and spouse.

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      • avatar

        Jamie March 4, 2019, 9:44 am

        JD: He made his decision based on what his penis wanted, and knew it was wrong. Spouses make decisions based on what is best for their marriage and spouse.
        It runs much deeper than that; he says that he doesn’t have chemistry with his wife. He cares about her, but doesn’t have passion for her. I’m positive he’s not the first person to be in this type of marriage. He made choices that led to him being in the marriage, and for that he’s culpable. He knows the truth and is making all of the decisions, while Ally doesn’t know know the nature of his feelings or of his affair. It’s unfair to Ally.

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      • avatar

        JD March 4, 2019, 9:54 am

        Then he shouldn’t have married her. You aren’t going to get my support on your wacky opinion here. I can assume you aren’t married or at least not happily.

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    • avatar

      Jamie March 3, 2019, 9:30 pm

      You never know, even if he doesn’t go with his affair partner, he still might be happier being divorced and being single. I was single for years before I married and was extremely content. Take away the marriage certificate, and you are left with a long term relationship. And the relationship with Anna might work out, even if it was born out of an affair.

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      • avatar

        Jamie March 4, 2019, 10:25 am

        JD MARCH 4, 2019, 9:54 AM

        Then he shouldn’t have married her. You aren’t going to get my support on your wacky opinion here. I can assume you aren’t married or at least not happily.

        I’m happily married, but I just don’t see the point in people staying in a marriage when they aren’t happy with the person. I think he should be free to leave it if that’s what he wants to do. It’s his life and he’s free to live it the way he wants. Everyone is.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 4, 2019, 11:59 am

        No one has said he should stay married to her. Everyone has said he should let her go. He’s just foolishly naive if he thinks he can just slide Ally out of his life and replace her with Anna and everything stays the same except he has a woman that he feels passionately about. He’s deluding himself if he thinks people are going to love Anna as soon as they realize how wonderful she is. They won’t. They will look at Anna as the marriage wrecker. They won’t like her. That doesn’t mean he should stay with Ally. It just means he shouldn’t think it’s all so simple as trading one woman for the other. They won’t like either him or Anna.

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      • avatar

        JD March 4, 2019, 12:02 pm

        Ya I don’t know how to get you to read the words written any better so I really am over it. It’s very clear.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse March 4, 2019, 12:07 pm

        Not one person is telling him to stay married.

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      • avatar

        Jamie March 4, 2019, 12:36 pm

        What difference does it make what other people think? He seems to worry a lot about what other people think though. His reasons for having a relationship with Ally and marrying her shows this. He’s image oriented, and I think someone said that. Anyway, I wouldn’t find myself in this position in the first place, but if someone didn’t approve of my partner, I just wouldn’t have anything to do with them. Anna didn’t do anything. This was all his doing. People are irrational if they blame Anna in any way.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 4, 2019, 1:11 pm

        If your entire family is disapproving it can be very difficult. If no one supports your relationship it is very difficult. If no one likes your girlfriend it is difficult.

        We see posters on here who are complaining that the boyfriend or husband’s family doesn’t like them or hates them or doesn’t include them. We have posters who complain that the partner’s family likes the ex better. Posters who want to make the family quit having a relationship with the partner’s ex. It is human nature to be judgemental about people who cheat on their spouse. He has been cheating through the entire marriage. People won’t like him because of that. He’s never put his focus on his marriage. It has always been directed outward on another woman. From the beginning this marriage has been a farce when he could have broken the engagement and not gotten married. When he could have quit dating her long before the engagement but just kept going because he didn’t know how to break up with a woman who was beautiful and nice but not right for him. His family and friends would have been much more accepting of him if he had done that than what he wants to do now.

        In general, we tell people who write in trying to choose between two romantic partners to choose neither. This guy is so weak and so consumed by image that he can’t make a good decision. Maybe he grew up with a hugely image conscience family. Maybe that makes it even more difficult but if he wants to be happy he needs to break up with Ally but he shouldn’t assume he will be happy with Anna. That’s not likely to happen. He should still break up with Ally. They will both be better off if he does. He shouldn’t assume that his image conscience family will embrace the woman that they feel makes him look bad and so makes them look bad. Anna will be a constant reminder that he was an awful husband to Ally. They will want Anna gone so that she isn’t there as a reminder and so that people won’t talk about her. They will want that part of his life to disappear.

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  • avatar

    Vathena March 1, 2019, 11:36 am

    Geez LW2, what a weak and pathetic person you are. You stayed with and married a woman you weren’t attracted to, because your friends thought you should? You “ended up” sleeping with a co-worker? Whoops! It must have slipped in there! I hope you are truly ashamed of yourself, for having cheated Ally out of YEARS (SEVEN YEARS!) of her life where she could have been with someone who truly made her toes curl. Years where she might have found a true and honest person, and not wasted any potential fertility. Instead here she is, wasting time with someone who only married her because he cared so much about the opinion of his college buddies, who doesn’t even give her a satisfying sex life. Weak. Pathetic.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 1, 2019, 11:42 am

    LW2 You write as if you are a passive participant in your own life. You base personal decisions on things like your friends think she’s great and more superficial things like she’s more beautiful than you are good looking. You seem to have no inner core where you make serious decisions based on your own thoughts and feelings and conscience. The way you tell it things just happen to you and you let them happen. You take no ownership in your own actions and choices. You sound like someone who needs to grow up. Needs to take responsibility for their own actions and decisions. Needs to learn to be alone before being in a relationship. Needs to figure out what they need in a relationship.

    It probably is no coincidence that you found your wife’s replacement just before marrying your wife. Now you have an out from a relationship you claim you never wanted that much. I doubt you are trying to save your wife and your family from pain. You’re trying to save your own face. You don’t want to look bad and you don’t want to hear what they will all think of you. They won’t like you. They will be shocked to see who you really are. They will be stunned that you could be you. They won’t like you and they will hate Anna and they will hate the two of you together. Your bliss will be very short lived. Anna will be hurt and angry that your family and friends don’t love her and accept her like they love and accept Ally. Anna’s family could easily feel the same about you if they realize you were in an affair. The world will hate you and you know it. That’s the pain you don’t want to face.

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  • avatar

    SailBobo March 1, 2019, 12:17 pm

    ” … we went through with the wedding, having a great day with our friends and family.”

    This quote just struck me … He seemed to think about the wedding as a day, not a lifetime … Very strange … Clueless really …

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    • avatar

      Jamie March 4, 2019, 12:45 pm

      He struck me as someone with no spine. He dates a woman, builds a relationship with her and eventually marries her all because his friends (maybe even family) are of the opinion that he should. I know of a couple of people who are like that, and it’s frustrating.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor March 1, 2019, 12:40 pm

    A straightforward double MOA day.

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  • avatar

    Kate March 1, 2019, 2:04 pm

    LW1, BIRTH CONTROL PLEASE. I’m not sure why we read about so many “unexpected” pregnancies here when we’ve worked hard to make reproductive choice easier, but please take care to avoid having the fourth child you say you don’t want.

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  • avatar

    Kate March 1, 2019, 2:11 pm

    Web MD says almost half of pregnancies in the US are unplanned. And it says the single biggest reason for unplanned pregnancy isn’t ineffective birth control, it’ s from a couple not using ANY contraception. Some women may not have access to it or have a partner that doesn’t want them to use it, but often it’s that women or their partners aren’t sure if they want to have a child. They’re not planning to have a baby but not actively trying to avoid pregnancy either, and they end up getting pregnant. If this is you, IT’S NOT OKAY. Unless you really know you want a child, and you both agree, and you have a stable home and enough money to meet a child’s needs, you need to be actively trying to prevent pregnancy. I was an “accident,” my parents didn’t use a diaphragm correctly or it failed, and I’ve had this pissed off feeling my whole life like why didn’t you be more careful if you didn’t want kids for 10 years after you got married?? And they DID stay married and have a stable life and all that. I’d be so angry at my parents if they weren’t even using birth control and brought me into some kind of crap situation. God.

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    • avatar

      Kate March 1, 2019, 2:12 pm

      PS, the above “Kate” with a different avatar is someone else.

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  • avatar

    PDX816 March 1, 2019, 2:24 pm

    OMG LW 2, just Fuck you. you and Anna deserve one another. I hope Ally takes your ass to the cleaners and your life with Anna is miserable. Screw you.

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    • avatar

      Kate March 1, 2019, 2:34 pm

      Seriously dude, you did a really bad thing by not telling Ally you cheated on her and going through with the wedding anyway. Do her a favor and end it now. Better she’s hurt now than 10 years from now. You already wasted 7 years of her life, let her go before it’s too late for her to have kids if that’s what she wants, and so she can find real love.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse March 1, 2019, 3:09 pm

    LW1: he doesn’t want to be a stepdad. You should encourage him to find a new place to live. Make friends because you need a community of supportive people around you. Even if it’s other moms or parents that you take turn watching the kids with. I commend you for waiting six months to introduce your bf, but he moved in too fast after that. Be careful with your children. They need more time to acclimate. They need stability.

    LW2: It’s so indicative of the kind of person you are when you say the truth/leaving her would destroy your wife. She’ll be hurt, angry, feel betrayed and disgusted but she deserves to know, and she deserves the chance to move on and be with someone who actually loves her. You come across as so selfish and image obsessed. You never were attracted to her, but your friends thought she was hot so you stayed, proposed, married…how brash and arrogant to decide to lead someone and pretend to love them because they make you look good.

    Your family will get over it. Her family will, too. You don’t get to decide what’s best for two different families and your poor wife that you have never loved, never respected and have cheated. I don’t think you’re worried about any of them at all. You’re worried how this will reflect on you. Time to own up and admit what has been going on.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymarkright March 1, 2019, 3:13 pm

    Sometimes ideas are appealing — but Reality proves decidedly less so,

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 1, 2019, 5:55 pm

      Yep!

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster March 1, 2019, 4:15 pm

    LW2, I think most of these comments have it covered. But there is one thing I want to drive home: you are afraid of the consequences, not of hurting Ally. You’ve already done the thing that hurts her. I say this as someone who has cheated in the past (on a very long-ago ex when I was young and stupid), so I know the kind of cognitive dissonance involved in doing something this terrible and selfish: you are not a whole person. You committed to someone you had no intention of truly committing to. Why did you do that? You are pretending all these things happened to you instead of recognizing that these are choices you made that were completely within your control. Why? You need to find these answers- and definitely with a therapist.

    But first, you need to tell Ally the truth and set her free. I promise you she is not the one who is fragile in this situation. It will rock her world, for sure, but she will not only survive, but will likely thrive. Do the right thing for a change. Let her go.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 1, 2019, 6:00 pm

    LW2 You were an exit affair for Anna. Now she’s exited her relationship she can take you or leave you. Did you notice that. She wouldn’t mind being in a relationship with you but she will also be happy to move on without you if you don’t leave your wife. She no longer needs you.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros March 1, 2019, 7:47 pm

    LW2: I’m sure you’re VERY concerned with hurting Ally since you chose to marry her even though you weren’t attracted to her and were into someone else, and since decided to cheat. You sound disgusting. So, you think your wife is a precious, sad little baby and you can’t possible hurt her — then what? Are you intending on just staying with her forever? Forcing her to secretly be married to a cheater until the point where you do something stupid enough to get caught?

    You know you have to end things with her, and you’re afraid. Put on your big boy pants and stop stringing along your wife. Divorce her now so that she can start putting her life back together ASAP and be even closer to meeting someone who is worth her time.

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  • avatar

    ron March 2, 2019, 10:17 am

    He thinks he is the lone incredible blessing in poor Ally’s life. That’s how narcissists think. He can’t see what a POS he is and how Ally would be so much better off without him. The split is inevitable. Better sooner rather than later. I’ll bet he’s no good for new girl either.

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  • avatar

    saneinca March 4, 2019, 3:42 am

    LW2, I don’t know about you finding your soul mate as you don’t seem to have a soul. But may be you and Anna are better suited as both of you don’t mind cheating.

    But please do let go of Ally. She will be fine in future even if hurt in the present.

    No I don’t think you should give your marriage another try as you have never tried even in the few months you have been married. Ally does not deserve a husband with one foot out of the door.
    And I don’t think your hesitation for breakup stems from concern for Ally as much as you getting the flak from your family/friends.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 4, 2019, 1:57 pm

    LW2 You of all people would benefit from spending time alone in no relationship. You need to understand why you would stay in the wrong relationship for that many years and actually get married or you will find yourself repeating a bad decision. You need to understand your core values and your life goals before you can get into a relationship. You need to know what you want out of life before you pick a partner. Did you pick a career you wanted or was it the career everyone expected? Do you like where you live? If you could live anywhere where would that be? Do you like traveling or do you prefer relaxing at home. How do you handle money. Do you like to save, invest, spend? You need to know the basics of you before you can find a partner that is a good match. You need something beyond looks good standing beside me or my friends think she’s a catch.

    You’ve realized that you want chemistry and passion in a relationship. That’s good but it’s not enough to make a relationship work. You also need shared core values and life goals. You need to want the same basic things from life. You need to have a shared view of money and property and where to live and how to live. You can’t figure out if you match until you know what you want, not what your family wants or friends think is good. What do you want? What are your goals? What are your dreams? Where do you want to live? What kind of house do you want or do you want one?

    Have you ever discussed any of that with either Ally or Anna? When it comes to Anna have you discussed how the two of you would be able to trust each other? You both cheated on your committed partner. You both know that about the other. You both know that instead of working out problems or just breaking up you cheated. How would you keep that pattern from repeating if the two of you get together? How would you feel if she traveled for work and you weren’t included? The same for if you traveled without her?

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