Live and learn
Two years ago I met a man at a singles event, and we really hit it off. On the third date, he told me he was separated, no kids. I asked him why he wasn't divorced yet and he explained that in our state, you need to be separated for a year in order to be granted a divorce. I was 32 at the time, and having spent most of my life in the city, I have very few friends who are married, let alone divorced. So I figured his was just like any other breakup, only there was a judge involved. Everyone has exes right? He was just legally tied to his until he signed on the dotted line. Boy was I wrong. One year in, I found out that he was now legally allowed to get a divorce, but had made no move to. I also learned that he still paid his wife's rent while he was living on his own. I was devastated because for the first time, it felt like I was dating a married man--which felt disgusting. He promised to officially divorce within the next 6 months, but it never happened--not for 6 months, then 8 months and then 12. Instead, I gradually found out that his wife believed they might still get back tgether, and that they still spoke on the phone once or twice a month just to "check in." Now two years into our relationship, I told him I can't continue like this. Three days ago, I put our relationship on hold until he chooses which woman he wants to be with--because right now, he's stringing us both along. I realize that I was extremely nieve going in; the last thing I'd ever want to do is steal another woman's man--it's against everything I believe in. I now think separation is an incredibly weird limbo state, where both people have one foot in the door of their marriage, and the other foot out--which leaves room for another person to get sucked into a big painful mess of disappointment, jealousy, and heartache. I vastly prefer non-married breakups, where you simply declare "I hate you you stupid tool! WE ARE SO BROKEN UP!!!!", then you divide all the stuff, burn a few photos, and that's that. But separation? Ugh, what an ugly mess. Not something I will ever get mixed up in again.