ASK AMY: The couple must separate during the separation

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Dear Amy: For a year, I have been dating a man who is separated from his wife. They broke up shortly before we started dating and both want a divorce. He loves his two children very much (11 and 13), but regrets (quite openly) having children with her.

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He and I are currently living together – I know we rushed, but there were several factors (he still pays the mortgage on his house and all the expenses. His wife doesn’t work).

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His friends know me, but his wife is barely aware of my existence/importance to him, and doesn’t know that we live together.

It’s fine with me because knowing her could make the divorce worse. I don’t really want to interact with her either.

Frankly, he dreads starting divorce proceedings due to the nastiness that might ensue around the money/eventually selling their house.

He does not move forward and is very upset when I talk about it.

I am 31 years old and I really want to start a family (especially with him). He also echoes this and says he wants the same.

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My concern is that the divorce will take a long time due to his fears/inaction, and therefore integrating me into his life (i.e. meeting his children) will take longer, and I will be too old to have a child.

I don’t want to be with a married/separated man for the rest of my life.

How can I stay united but also defend myself (without harassing)?

Am I too impatient? How to keep the faith?

– patiently waiting

Dear Expectation: By cohabiting, you push this man’s divorce further into the future. Because he lives and shares his expenses with someone he also loves, he has no incentive to go through the emotionally, legally, and financially difficult process of dissolving his marriage. Phew! What a relief for him!

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I wonder where his wife and kids think he lives?

I understand your position that you’re better off living in the shadows and avoiding this drama, but you also need to understand that your man is telling a series of lies – lie upon lie – in order to avoid facing this. He is pathologically passive, paralyzed or both.

Yes – his choice to live with you could ultimately make a divorce more difficult for him. Quite simply, it shouldn’t. Along with all the other negative factors, her kids will feel pretty betrayed when they find out. (And they will find out.)

He should seek the advice of a lawyer immediately, and he should follow the advice of the lawyer – step by step. And you should ask him to stay with a friend or family member until he can sort things out.

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You might also consider the reality of having a child with someone who regrets having the children they already have – even if they love them.


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Dear Amy: We have guests visiting us every year for 20 years.

Before, they shared their stay between their sister and us, but now they only stay with us. They go out for another week, but that’s too long for us.

How can I tell them that three days would be much better than a whole week?

I remember the old adage ringing true: “Fish and guests start to stink after three days.

Can you suggest ways to handle this?

– Affected hosts

Dear concerned: Be honest. As privileged guests for 20 years, you have more than earned the right to defend yourselves.

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Try this: “We look forward to your annual visit. Unfortunately, we have to reduce your stay with us to three nights. We hope you still find a visit worthwhile and promise to make a one week visit in a shorter time. Can we make a plan?

Dear Amy: I just wanted to tell you how much your advice comforts me, makes me smile and reassures me in general.

It also helped me reframe my « OK, boomer » mentality.

If you’re like that, if you understand youth and culture, there’s no excuse for anyone else.

Thank you for being the voice of reason.


Dear T: Thanks! I’m not the heppest of hep cats (to use an expression that really needs bringing back), but I struggle to keep up. More importantly, I have been aware of my own influences, feelings and reactions since I was young.

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