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My Married Man


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I have no idea on how I should write this post without making my boyfriend sound like a complete sleaze ball, but I'll try my best. We have known each other for a little over a year and started dating 8 months ago. The problem is that he's married. I have justified this in my mind so that what we're doing doesn't feel "wrong". His wife has been cheating on him for over 3 years, he has wanted out of the marriage but never had the financial or emotional stability to make the leap. Now the divorce is final and things are wonderful..except that I'm having so many doubts. I've read so many articles online about couples coming from adulterous affairs and not making it as life partners. First of all, I dont feel that we were having an affair..it was out in the open, we never hid from anyone, his marriage has been loveless for 3+ years.


Why do I feel the need to justify all of this?? Considering the circumstances that loomed over our heads for the first 7 months of our relationship, I feel like our relationship is fairly healthy. Does anyone believe in fresh starts? We love each other, we both have trust issues, but we both truly want this to be a long-lasting relationship with marriage potential. How do we move on and start our "new" relationship??

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Please be careful--It may reveal a little about his character that he did not first approach his wife with formal divorce proceedings before he started into a relationship with you. He has bypassed the grieving/learning process by transferring love and need onto you.


I am not judgmental at all about your choices, and I respect the way you feel about him. But for the safety and protection of your heart, please proceed with caution. He said he was in a loveless marriage, and that may be true to an extent, but he what would have been healthier is for him to have discussed things with his wife in detail, achieve some closure, take time to reflect, and then work on establishing a new connection when he had the proper time to get over his loss.



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Thank you barelyalive. I hear exactly what you're saying, maybe the reason for all my doubts? He and I have talked about his grieving process, his mental state, and whether or not I'm a "rebound". He's had a lot of time to himself in the past 3 years with his wife traveling to be with her bf so he claims that in that time he was able to heal and move on from the loss of the marriage.


I'm definitely approaching with caution. I feel like I've found "the one", I just wish there weren't so many complications right off the bat! We'll take it slow, no rush. Maybe even try some counseling. Only he and I can make it work, I guess!

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I see that the way the relationship started is creating trust issues for you.


Basically, you feel the relationship is healthy but it started in an unhealthy way.


The best you can do for yourself and the relationship is to stay in today. That means just be present, just relax, just enjoy your life. Don't project into the future about what may or may not happen. Leave the outcomes to God/your higher power/whatever. Do what's in front of you.


You do not have to know right now how this is going to turn out.

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Yeah, I agree with the above poster. I would proceed with caution. He definitely should of gotten a divorce before he started a relationship with you. I would just be worried that he would eventually do the same thing to you. Did his wife know you two were together while they were still officially married? Did he still live with his wife while you two dated?

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Nothing you have done is immoral--You haven't intentionally meant to harm anyone, and you felt he was ready to deepen his connection with you because he had been moving away from his wife emotionally for quite some time.


The only thing I feel concerned about is the fact that he sort of "skipped over" the grieving process, even though he spent a lot of time alone while he was with his wife. He essentially was still involved with her, and hadn't concluded the connection in a clean, healthy way before involving you. It may be hard to hear this, but issues in his marriage were not one sided--not to say that he did anything to deserve being cheated on (because nobody does), but the fact that he chose a partner who would be capable of this may reveal something about his insecurities, needs, etc.


What it signals to me is that he may not have spent all that alone time learning how to love himself--and instead may have chosen to become involved in order to segueway out of some of the more painful lessons of learning self-love.


This is not to say your connection cannot ultimately work with him; it may be able to work if you are both willing to examine the issues at hand in a healthy, mature fashion, and discuss your concerns openly with him.


Fears brought out into the open are dissipated with proper, loving communication and understanding.

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What you have to do now is focus on the existing relationship and doing what all couples do to make it work. The day to day relationship will now be no different than anyone else's EXCEPT you have the added wrinkle of knowing that he is capable of choosing to go outside his primary relationship to date people even when married. You have to overcome the burden of always wondering if he will choose this path again when the two of you are married if he sees someone new he wants.


I'd suggest you attend some pre-marital counseling with him before marrying to talk about how to build trust and whether you think you will ever trust him enough to commit to him. There is no guarantee that someone you meet who was single wouldn't cheat on you as well, so i wouldn't break up with him merely becuase you met during an affair, but he does need to understand that if there is conflict between you in future, the solution is counseling and talking about it, not him pursuing an affair with someone else again and repeating history.

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The only thing I feel concerned about is the fact that he sort of "skipped over" the grieving process, even though he spent a lot of time alone while he was with his wife. He essentially was still involved with her, and hadn't concluded the connection in a clean, healthy way before involving you. It may be hard to hear this, but issues in his marriage were not one sided--not to say that he did anything to deserve being cheated on (because nobody does), but the fact that he chose a partner who would be capable of this may reveal something about his insecurities, needs, etc.


What it signals to me is that he may not have spent all that alone time learning how to love himself--and instead may have chosen to become involved in order to segueway out of some of the more painful lessons of learning self-love.





I agree with this. He should have taken more time. Relationships sprung out of pain are difficult to maintain.

I think the wise thing to do would be to step back and just casually date for a while- Not even discussing marriage, etc. I think this would be the most healthy thing for you both. I think if you rush into a serious committed relationship- He's not facing issues, loss, greiving that he needs to go through. It may have been a loveless marriage etc- But better to take it slow than have him have a total relapse or emotionally breakdown by rushing into another committment -that I doubt he is ready for. He may be just covering up issues by being with you. Plus, would you want him making the same mistakes or even bigger ones with you ? Don't rush this. I suggest you casually date so he can figure out-

If he really wants to be with you or if he just feels like needs to be with you to cope. I think the only way you will know is by stepping back for a while- and certainly don't make any major committments at this point. I think that's the only way you'll truly know if it's real or just a rebound thing.


Good Luck !

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You're in a unique situation. Yes, he was married but he wasn't cheating on his wife since she knew about it and also had a boyfriend of her own--it's only cheating if the other person doesn't know about it and is not OK with it. I think like others suggested you may want to get pre-martital counseling because there are clearly some issues to discuss and you are feeling discomfort over this, so it's worth trying to figure out why and how to move forward. It doesn't sound like a rebound but it sounds like there may be some rebound-like issues that he will be dealing with such as not fully processing the emotions that naturally go with the end of a relationship and perhaps not fully getting closure on that. Good luck with everything. It sounds like you both have each others best interests at heart.

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Here's a few elements to consider.


He's divorced now you say.....is he financially independent and sufficient, living on his own and does he maintain a healthy relationshiip with his children on a regular parental basis - if that issue exists.


What you'd want to avoid is osmeone that needs your lifestyle and income and resources and time and energy to "have a lifestyle right now'.


That's really all rebound is in dynamic. Everything i didn't have with the other person - i have with you - but quite often what they did have with the other person, they don't have with you.


When he lacked the ability to be financially independent without his wife...that indicates unless he's resolved that is now and remains financialy independent and living apart form you for quite some time - it'd be impsosible for HIM to know so can't tell you otherwise, whether he's with you out of needs, convenience, and the option based on your consent...or whether it's because he finds you as a person fascinating, exciting, intelligence, and integrity ridden.


If he's financially and lifestylle independent...and he's still dating you - it's because he finds you appealing in some way, otherwise why he's dating you might be based in situation need and situations are always changing as are options.


If you think about childhood - you get it. Children are dependent on parents to meet emotional needs, financial and lifestyle needs, to detrmine paths and otpions and opportuntieis for them. Children demand providership - because they lack the ability to be independent and decide for themselves what they want and need and pursue it via thier own efforts.


Going from relationship sot relationship is like "adult foster care".....it's the person that goes from being provided for, structured ,supervised, and optioned by parents.....and now the parnter takes on that parental role...until the parental partner doesn't want to ......and so the "adult child" has to be transferred to another "parental partner".


The "adult child" simpy refusees to become self-accountable and self-responsiblity - adn people keep associating with them based on their own emotional needs, and what they see as Potential".


When a person turns about 40 or 45...and hasn't become self-sufficient, identiifed, independent and responsible...what happens is they are no longer ocnsidered osmoene "with potential" - and whoever that last parental parnter is - is stuck with them, and the guilt that ensues from "dumping a child off on the side of hte highway".

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Yes, he's financially independent now. There was some accumulated debt, home, and other finances holding him back from pursuing the expense of divorce. Also, they had no children. I believe his marriage was one of convenience, each of them felt as if they weren't going to find anyone else so they just married and co-existed with very few feelings.

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Okay, he had nothing to "grieve"...he wasn't doing it because he wanted marriage or commitment or her in the first place...he wanted convenience, or to meet the expectations of society, etc.


That could be why he's dating you...it might not be.


It's pretty easy though - just don't move in or commit to him for several years. If he's one of these people that isn't sure what he wants - he's got to have the time and space, while he has the resources and options to figure out if you're what he wants or the best he can do, at least for right now.

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I dated a married man for 9 years......same sort of situation.


We both viewed it the same way...his legal inability to marry - allowed us to be gain our independent identity.


I didn't consider us anything but dating - which only about the moments you spend together and not about the future for 8 of the 9 years.


I needed the time to get my life in order, get my debt resolved, find out what it was like to have options and financial means to utilize them...he needed same.


8 years into it they finally got divorced.......and we talked about whether we were with the person we knew them to be....or whether we were with the options the dynamic we were in presented.


We said we'd keep on dating now that legally things for him had changed......and things are still just fine a couple of years later.


Every time something significant as either of you view it changes.......the dynamic has the potetial to change..that's how all relationoships work.


In his case, he didn't consider the divorce significant. It was a technicality to do when the time was right. He wasn't living with his wife in marriage for most of the time we dated ,but they were definitely copraenting in close proximity from the duplex he bought specifically for that purpose during all that time.


In my case, I'd been one of those "adult fostr children" from 17 to 35.......relationships to relationship out of need, changing partners as needs changed. I needed those years from 35 to 43, to figure out how to be self-sufficient adn reliant, learn to prioritize me equalliy with other people, etc.


Now...his last child becoming an adult and leaving home.........THAT is huge to him.....that's why he tolerate this arrangement and sacrificed significantly financially all these years...parenting...he loves being a parent.


And he's just now losing that in his life.....so of course I'm going to wait another 1-2 years efore considering living with him.


Just becuase he's been divorced for a year, hasn't meant that he's been lacking in obligations....obligations limit options......and a relationship isn't a goal....so we go on, very happily, I might add.

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Yes, his wife knew. She has been in her own relationship for 3 years w/ a married man as well, using her own husband as a crutch. My main problem is how much I pride myself on my own common sense, morals, & religion. Or did.


It sounds like you stepped on your ethics and over your boundaries for instant gratification. It's not that you odn't trust him...it's that you don't trust you to do right by you so you fan't know if you can evaluate him accurately for character or not.


You need to earn yur own respect and trust of self back.......stop justifying your actions by "if "X" happens then "Y" was right to do.


The problem will correct itself over time.

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Yes, he's financially independent now. There was some accumulated debt, home, and other finances holding him back from pursuing the expense of divorce. Also, they had no children. I believe his marriage was one of convenience, each of them felt as if they weren't going to find anyone else so they just married and co-existed with very few feelings.


This kinda makes me leery. Why did he do this exactly ? We live in a society where now more than ever - You don't have to get married to be secure in any sense. So to say he got married out of convenience seems very odd to me. And even if that's the 100 % truth- that is a pretty lazy attitude to have, combined with that fact that he was then too lazy to get divorced and so just cheated instead. And if in fact she was cheating before him, why didn't he get divorced then especially if he didn't even love her that much ?

You see what I'm getting at- There is probably a Lot that is going on and has gone on that you knwo nothing about or that he is lying about.

If there's one thing I've learned from all the divorced couples I've known- You can never take one person's story as the full story.

And a lot of what he's been telling you seems shady to me.

With this last post you've made, I now think maybe you should even take two steps back- and just be friends for a while.

Because if what you said in this post is true- He has major co-dependency issues that he needs to work on.

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There's some basic issues here.


First, marriage is a legal contract of financial option/obligation in our society - that's it.


If it means more as a status to an individual, it'll be because of thier own religious beliefs or standards.


It's not uncommon to find people that got married out of expectation, found there was joint benefit such as insurance, lower tax rates, etc. in it- and aren't wanting to cause financial upset and loss to either one of htemselves...but they don't get along, don't want to live together, or have sex, etc.


They have the benefit of marriage as a legal contract...but they don't have the convenience of marriage in cohabitation.


And staying in that state now is pretty common......and it's actually used by some people as what keeps them from running out and doing something "stupid again" - called marry!


It's kind of ironic to use this as an example but......gay couples are together despite having no legal benefits of the option of legal marriage, because they want to be together....for their own reasons..and they do get the convenience of cohabitation and a shared income...but none of the real benefits of insurance, tax breaks, etc.


When married but separated people are dating.....in order to have a relationship of commitment, it's got to have that same level of integrity and trust involved like the gay couple.


You've got the awareness that "you're with me because you want to be, you get nothhing out of it, tehre's no security financially or legally in it, and we're together by choice - not default."


Once the person gets a divorce......they're now able if they're of the same perception and values system as got them into the marriage to go out and pursue a relationship of commitment with someone else, either th epreson they've been dating or not, if they're so inclined.


It'd be at that point you'd want to give the time to assess this individuals values, priorities, standards, boundaries, principles and goals.....based on what they pursue and what they accomplish and waht standards they hold themselves to as an individual free to do whatever they want.


So teh married person you're dating....depending on why they stayed married while dating........might or might not be the same person you get once the divorce is done.


I've seen plenty of situations where it's like the addict/enabler relationship. When the addict isn't self-sufficient..the enabler has choas, but the enabler has identity. When he addict becomes mature, secure, and self-identified - the enabler has no identity in being associated and the "fixer of a dummy".


It's usually the enabler that leaves to find another addict.......the addict generally has found a way to stick out the negative, while creating more positive for themselves as htey define it now.

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I think the difference here is the circumstance. It's hard to picture it as an affair, because I usually see those as someone lying to their spouse, fooling around on the side, and coming home pretending they love them and it's all okay. It sounds like their marriage was already an unofficial separation, and that he was just moving on.


Like everyone else said, I'd be cautious, because it seems his main problem is breaking up. If he finds a problem with you like he did with his wife, he may do the same and go find someone new without confronting you about your problems.


You didn't do anything wrong, you came into the picture of a loveless marriage and possibly helped him make the decision. Don't feel bad about that. Just take care of yourself though.

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Wow, thank you Excalibur for relating. Its good to hear a somewhat similar story from someone that seems sane. I've found other message boards pertaining to affairs, but the women and men seem like they're just playing a game to see whose marriage they can break up. I was NOT out looking for another woman's husband, actually, I wasn't looking for anyone. This one just fell into my life and its been a series of highs and lows.


Sunshinegirl - you're right. That is one of the issues that I bring up fairly often with the boyfriend. He's very quiet, hates confrontation. Will he come to me if he ever gets "tired" of our life together? He has committed his word to work on expressing his emotions and feelings.

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Insecure, immature people "avoid confrontation" - it's because they don't communicate with themselves first and so they can't communicate with others as a result, that confrontation is continuously what they are involved with at some point.


It's simple.....everybody is the common denominator in every situation and relationship in thier own lives. When the same things keep happening - you're the cause....not the revolving door of faces and places and details.


He didn't want to get married...but didn't know how to say no. He didn't want a divorce, more conflict and having to state his positions...when he considerrs that "defending himself.


He's one of these people that sounds like he falls into the most convenient thing...until it's not convenient, and then he finds alternatives without notificaton.


He'd be the person that hunts a new job and takes it - and just "fails to show up every again, including for his last check" at the job he quit.


In his view, he'd quit by not showingup, and he'd do that way because "I'm not good at conflict".


In reality, the reason he wanted to quit, is he's not self-responsible and self-accepting so he tolerated everything until he couldn't stand it anymore, worked himself up into righteous indignation, and believved he had a "right' to walk off.


As long as whatever he has issue with "goes away" permanently by his disassociation - he's okay...otherwise, not so much.


I mean, I stayed married because I didn't want conflict...in his viewI thinik it went liek this.


His wife had a boyfriend...he had a girlfriend, nobody was hiding anything, they both had shared insures and dual incomes, and they didn't have any kids, so they could limit the contact with each family. They didn't have alot of explaining to do - so they didn't have any complaints.


I suspect his wife wanted to get more serious about the other guy....so she divorced him,, and whatever arrangement she presented him with, he signed it because it didn't completely bankrupt him.


He's now living on his own, doing his chores and paying his bills...he's no worse or better off than before unless he lost insurance or some big chunk of money in "divorce granted".


What he never wanted was obligation...and now he doesn't have it.


I remember this statement...and how i heard it wrong for a long time. "I never want to be divorced".......the only way to ensure it is never marry.


It's the same statement, in different words....I never wnat a divorce is a less conflictive way to state 'I never want to get married".

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He actually filed papers and divorced her, she signed everything w/ no complaint took her half of things and walked away. No, my boyfriend never wanted a divorce he wanted to stay married b/c that is the "right" thing to do. He came to the realization that continuing his marriage was actually dragging him down.


The issue I was looking for guidance for wasn't how do I get over his marriage, it was how do we start fresh and move forward? Just put the past behind and live life for what it is?


I do need to stop wondering "if he cheats.." "if he falls out of love with me..." "if we're actually not compatible.." and I need to just trust him in the future. Maybe I'm naive but I honestly believe he has been 100% honest with me about his marriage and past.

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