Before I continue, I should tell you that I’m married (not happily) and until recently John lived with his longterm girlfriend. She recently moved out, but they are still in a relationship. He told me that being with me was wonderful and it brought back all of those old feelings we felt so many years ago. We decided to have coffee together and spent four hours talking. We agreed to have coffee the following week, but it never happened. I shared my feelings with him and he said we could not see each other any longer because of our history and because we were both in relationships. I still text him, and he always responds; he says he won’t know for sure what’s going on with his relationship until April when she finds out if she can have children. If she can, he does not want to and their relationship is over.
I am just wondering if he still may have feelings for me. Is this why he no longer wants to see me and is limiting our texting? I asked him if he wanted me to stop texting and he just said that he wanted to keep our conversations to a minimum. We always had a great connection and chemistry, and I would like more. I’m separating from my husband, regardless. Should I stop texting him? — Fanning an Old Flame
Yes, you should stop texting him. John has told you that talking with you brings up the old feelings you shared many years ago, but that doesn’t mean you are meant to be together. In the past, timing was never right, and guess what? It’s not right now either. You’re still married and have not even separated from your husband yet, and he’s with a woman he cares at least enough about that he’s not going to end things with her unless maybe it turns out her desire and ability to have children is greater than his desire not to. And that’s no given. Think about it — if he were really interested in pursuing something with you, he’d break up with his girlfriend. But he’s not doing that. And he’s not telling you to completely stop texting him because he does like you and if things don’t work out with his girlfriend, then he’s got you on the back burner waiting for him. Come on. You’ve got to be, what, about 40 years old? Is this really ok for you? Being unhappily married to one guy and being the back-burner consolation prize for another? I’m thinking no. MOA from them both.
I have yet to tell my family, and only a handful of my friends know that we have slept together. He is a good man – he is very kind to me, we have good conversation (although his English is minimal), and his funny personality is coming through more and more each day. I enjoy spending time with him and hearing about his life in Argentina — he speaks with wisdom and knowledge and slight sadness.
I would like to continue seeing him, but only for now; I do not see this as a long-term thing (especially when I plan to travel for three months starting in April). I would feel bad if I ended things now, considering he has gone to all this effort to convince his family we are meant for each other. How bad is the age difference? — The Younger Woman
You say he’s “gone to all this effort to convince his family” you’re meant for each other, but considering that he has potentially ruined his relationship with his older daughter, I’m not so sure he has convinced his family you’re “meant for each other.” And why would he? YOU aren’t convinced you’re meant for each other. This is just a fun little thing for you until you start traveling in April. And you’re going to let him ruin his relationship with his daughter over that? So you guys can have sex and you can feel all grown up listening to his wisdom and knowledge and slight sadness? Get a grip! You are 18 and are in over your head. Let this guy go. Don’t let him ruin his life — or at the very least, his relationship with his daughter — because you like the sound of his accent or whatever. That’s just… well, it’s cruel. And in ten or fifteen years, you’re going to realize just how cruel it really is.
He is not wise. He’s an idiot, blinded by the sparkle of your youth, and though it isn’t fair to expect you to be the one to act like the grown-up here and call things off, that’s exactly what needs to happen. Because at least you know that this relationship has a shelf life, and even if you don’t yet realize the damage he may be doing to his life for a relationship that’s going to end in a few months, there has to be some part of you that feels bad about it or you wouldn’t have written to me. That part of you that feels bad is called your conscience, and it’s a wonderful, and often inconvenient, thing to have. Embrace it and let it guide you to compassionate and wise decisions that, even if not always convenient or fun, keep you from that sinking feeling that you did someone wrong.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.