This one's messy. Remember to give constructive advice. :)
Q: Dear Meredith,
I have been married for almost a year, together with my now-husband for almost a decade. We moved in after a year of dating and were happy for a couple of years before he started pressing the issue of marriage. I never wanted to be married and I made this clear when we first met -- no marriage, no kids. He said he was OK with that but apparently he wanted to "have" me, and being happy with me in our relationship wasn't enough.
Fast forward four years and I caved. We signed the papers and I hoped for the best. Over the past nine months I have tried to work on myself and have come to realize how controlling and manipulative he can be. Friends and family say I've changed for the worst over the years and I am starting to think they might be right. From gaining weight and losing interest in the things I used to love, to losing touch with close friends and family. We became each other's only friend/hobby and I know that's not healthy. He is a great guy and I've loved him dearly (otherwise I wouldn't have made him my whole world for so many years). The problem is, the moment I want to do anything myself -- shopping, talking on the phone, anything that doesn't include him -- he throws a fit and I'm tired of it. I know part of this is my fault ... I've allowed this to happen for a long time.
Now on to the next issue (because the marriage isn't bad enough?!). Six months ago I reconnected with an old crush and we began a friendship that has turned physical over the last two months. We have so much in common. Back when we met I wasn't married, though I later found out he was. Though we lost touch, I never forgot about the what-if. When we reconnected it started with talking, which turned into coffee, which turned into talking on the phone, and now here we are. Now, ready for the worst part?
A month ago he found out his wife is pregnant. The wife he claims to be so unhappy with. Which of course has left me wondering if his home life is as unhappy as he has led me to believe. Before he found out the news, he told me he never wanted kids, but every now and then I question whether or not he was just lying to me all along. Then when I'm with him, all of my fears and doubts instantly slip away and it feels right.
He says it feels like she’s having the baby to try to save the marriage and he wants a divorce regardless -- that he can be a father without being with her. He sees a future with me. In the meantime, what about me? What if he watches her growing belly and can't leave? Then, even if he does, I've never wanted kids, and regardless of how amazing we are together and our feelings for each other, I’m just not sure I can stay with him with a kid in the picture.
Where do I go from here? Divorce? Wait and see if HE gets a divorce? Work on my marriage? Break it off with everyone and be alone?
– Lost in Love, Boston
A: LIL, the first thing you have to do is let this other man go. Maybe he'll get a divorce. Maybe he won't. But he's not anywhere close to figuring this out and you shouldn't be involved in any of it. Don't be the other woman. He has a pregnant wife. Your unhappy marriage doesn't entitle you to take part in this kind of betrayal. And like you said, there's nothing in it for you at this point. Even in a best-case scenario, he's setting up a life that you don't want.
After you get out of this new situation, take your husband to a therapist. Say all of the things you told us (the first two paragraphs of your letter) in front of a professional. Make decisions with the help of a third party.
I think you know how all of this is going to end. I'm not saying that it'll be easy to get there, but that's why you go to a professional -- for guidance.
You're in the middle of a mess, one you know you helped to create. You're accountable. You get it. It's awful. So hold the hands of some friends -- and some people who are trained to mediate -- and start fixing it. Now.
Readers? Any hope with this crush guy? Any hope with the husband? Should she tell the husband about the affair? 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.