Remember to be constructive with advice.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I can hardly believe I am writing this. But here it goes:
A few years ago, I got involved with someone. I was married at the time and he was allegedly single. We had been talking as friends online for years before that. I never thought I would do that, but I did. I had been trying to save my marriage on my own for many years and I finally succumbed to the temptation of someone new. Let's call him Steve. During this time I never once lied to anyone about my current state. My then husband knew exactly where I was and even knew who I was with. I went away weekends with Steve and my husband knew. I knew my marriage was over for good then.
I fell head-over-heels in love with Steve. He was everything I ever wanted in a man. Then I learned Steve was indeed still married. I should have walked away then but it was too late. I was in love, my marriage was over, and he assured me his was over long before he met me. I came to find out that he had walked away from his marriage several times prior to meeting me but that he always went back for the sake of his young child.
After I divorced my husband I found a place. It was with the understanding that once my divorce was final, he would start to finalize his.
He didn't. The first excuse was he didn't have the money to do so.
We broke up for a while after that. He wanted to come back. I told him I wasn't taking him back until he moved forward with his divorce. He promised me he was going to and had even talked to his wife about it and she agreed to the divorce. He moved in with me, and I let him borrow the money he needed to get his divorce done. His excuse then was we needed to wait until we were settled into our house together. That was in the spring.
I put my foot down again this summer and told him he had a month to file his divorce papers. He said he would, he made a lame attempt to do the paperwork ... but it sits uncompleted and unfiled.
I've made another demand for it to get done and this time the excuse is he's afraid of losing his son (ridiculous -- they have a great relationship) and his retirement to a divorce.
Please, Meredith and readers, give me the kick in the pants I obviously need. He's never going to divorce his wife and I really need to move on.
– Needs a Good Kick in the Pants, Mass.
A: You already know what you have to do, NAGKITP, so I'm not going to focus on kicking you.
Instead I'm going to boost you up and assure you that you're going to be OK. You've learned so many things about yourself during this relationship, and it helped you find our way into a new life. That new life is set (you're divorced, you're in your own place, etc.), and you can finally focus on enjoying it -- alone or with someone who isn't caught up in a lie.
I don't want you to punish yourself for wasting time. Sometimes we need to get the runaround three or four times before we're sure about a decision. I bet that a year or so ago you wouldn't have been confident enough to write the last sentence of your letter, but you did this time around and that means you're ready for great things.
Prepare yourself, because when you tell him that you're done with him, he might run and file that divorce paperwork. And if he does, do you care? Because it seems to me that it's too late, no matter what.
Readers? If he runs and gets a divorce because she breaks up with him, should she take him back? Thoughts on recovering after such a long, messy relationship? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.