You all have to stop calling yourselves “Confused.” We have too many Confuseds. I need more creative names, people. We’re all confused.
Here’s a confused dad. Help him.
Q: I am a 32 year old father of a two year old who has been married for about 5 years. About a month and a half ago, my wife told me she was unhappy with our relationship and wanted a divorce. We are still living together until we can make arrangements to sell our home, but we consider ourselves separated. We have been getting along well enough since. I wanted to try and work out our issues in couples counseling, but she said things could not be fixed for her. I have asked her several times if she is sure she doesn't want to try and save the marriage, and she always says it is too late. So after a couple weeks I went out on a date, and now have been seeing this person for about a month. I have been going out with her about 3-4 times a week. My wife didn't seem to mind, but she has never been one to talk about her feelings openly with me. So a couple days ago, I received an email my wife wrote to her friend, which she seems to have accidentally sent to me. She states in it how sad she is that I am going out with another woman. I asked her again, if she still wants to get back together, and she again says no. She adds this time "especially now that you've obviously been with someone else." Up until now, I have been taking her word for it when she tells me no, but my first choice would be to save my marriage. Should I stop listening to her and try and fight for her? Is that what she secretly wants? I'm not sure what to do.
-- Confused, Boston
A: Confused, um … is it weird that after just a month and a half you’re already dating someone three to four times a week? Wait – I’ll answer that question. Yes, it’s weird. Especially with a kid around.
The fact that your wife is upset about your dating habits may mean this divorce thing is a bluff -- but maybe not. People get jealous, even when they lose someone they no longer want. Maybe she's ticked off that while you're out on dates, she's babysitting.
If you want to be with your wife as opposed to this new person you’re dating (can we say liner-upper?) all you can do is ask your wife once again if she’s willing to cut the poo, see a counselor, and commit to making an effort. If she turns you down, it’s up to you to change your living situation as quickly as possible. I know the economy is rough, but being a dad who’s trying to date while still living with a soon-to-be ex-wife and child … well, it’s not a great living situation for anyone involved. Not healthy, not good.
Regardless of what she wants, I’d recommend slowing things down with his new person and doing some soul searching in therapy. There’s a lot of passive-aggressive behavior here, and some of it’s coming from you.