A reminder: Please be thoughtful about your comments.
I don't mind critical comments, but they should be constructive. People are asking for help, so help them. Empathy.
Q: I am a single woman in my late 30s. I never thought I would say this, but I have fallen in love with someone who is married with young children. He is planning on leaving his marriage but wants to do it as gently as possible -- in order to protect his kids and also to minimize the hurt and pain for his wife. He is a very good man. Our affair -- if it is even that -- has been very brief. Not even two months. The physical contact has been minimal -- only a few days out of that time. (We live on different continents, met at a birthday weekend, and most of our contact has been in the form of emails and video chats).
He says the marriage was over in any case, and I believe him. We have talked about building a life together, and both of us believe it's possible. I agree with him that his children must come first in this next bit of time, and I would be happy to try to be a loving person (or perhaps even a stepmom) in their lives if we ever got to that stage.
The affair is over and we are now in a period of no contact. I have said that I don't want to meet again until he has talked to his wife and begun the process of leaving. But we love each other and I want to support him. My question is this: Is it possible to stay in touch (but not see each other) while he leaves his marriage or should I cut him off entirely and wait until he is a free agent? Please don't be too harsh. We fell in love, we didn't mean to, and now we are trying to do the right thing.
Thank you for your advice.
– Want to do the right thing from now on, Cambridge
A: Stay away from him until he's a free agent. You don't want to get caught in the middle of a divorce, and frankly, this process could take years. You need to protect yourself. Leave him alone.
I also want you to continue to live your life. You're thinking about potential stepmom duties, but you haven't spent any real time with this guy. In real life, after a few dates, you might not be so compatible. You have no idea whether this guy is capable of being a good partner.
Please don't save yourself for him. He's not "the one." Right now he's just a married guy who swept you off your feet. It's very possible that there are other people -- local people -- who can do some similar sweeping. Don't put blinders on just yet.
You've set appropriate boundaries. Now go live your life. Maybe he'll show up, maybe he won't. But for right now, he's unavailable.
Readers? Is she allowed to keep in touch with him? Will he leave his wife? Does her age have anything to do with this? Why do you think she fell for him so quickly? Should she wait this out? 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.