Dear Lucia,

I am 40-something and newly separated after 10-plus years of marriage. I met a man, same age, same situation, and we hit it off. For the first three months we did everything together, we even joined our families. My kids are five and 12; his are 12 and 13.

His ex-wife found out that we were getting serious and insisted on meeting me if I was going to spend so much time with the kids. I did, and much to my surprise the meeting went well.

She told him I seemed very nice. (She had a fiancé of her own and appeared to be happy with the arrangement.)

However she started calling at night because the cat got out, the car broke down – things of this nature. Her fiancé was still living in another state and planned to move here as soon as he could.

So here was the man of my dreams, I thought, leaving me to tend to his ex-wife. Soon after that we had the talk.

He said things like, “How do I know we were meant to be?” He suggested seeing other people. I was crushed, but I went out that weekend and met someone else.

He was surprised the next week when he saw me at church with someone else. He stormed out of the parking lot like a teenager. I called and said, “Wait a minute – this was your idea, not mine.”

I was happy. I even asked him several times if he was sure this is what he wanted. He doesn’t want to lose our friendship. It has been six months since that time.

Here’s the kicker – the truth came out in the friendship. He’s still in love with his wife. She is getting married next month, but she still sends him e-mails and messages that things are not the same without him and that someday she may change her heart.

The whole thing makes me crazy. I’ve dated several other men since then, but I am still hopelessly in love with him.

We talk every day as friends. I don’t know what to do. I can’t convince him to stop loving her. He cries himself to sleep sometimes over how much it hurts him to see another man with his wife.

Do I hang in there and wait for his heart to heal? I really think we had something very special.


Dear M.M.,

You think you had something very special; I think y’all are very immature. Let’s start with you. Being 40-something with two children, one would hope that you would know better than to bring them into a new dating situation.

I don’t have children, but even I know not to take them from one unstable situation (divorce) into another one (new relationship). Children learn by example, so what are you teaching them by exposing them to this environment?

What do you think they’re learning? Do you think they will have a positive or negative view of relationships?

The man of your dreams is still hung up on his ex-wife. The first questions to ask when you are considering dating someone who is divorced are how long have you been divorced, and who wanted it?

You need to not let your emotions get involved until you find out whether they are over the ex or not. At the first signs that they aren’t (i.e. rushing over every time she calls) you need to bounce. This is easier done when kids and emotions are not involved.

As an aside, when someone throws a tantrum (storming out of the parking lot), you shouldn’t be the one to initiate contact if you haven’t done anything wrong. You need to let people think about their actions, realize they were out of line and eventually get in touch with you.

Finally, his ex doesn’t want to lose her slave, so she throws him crumbs to keep him hanging on. She doesn’t necessarily want him, but she doesn’t want anyone else to have him either. That way, he’ll be available whenever she needs something.

The bottom line is that you need to keep dating other men and put this one on the back burner. If and when he gets over his ex-wife and if you are still interested and available, you can re-visit this at that time.

Remember: Love inspires, empowers, uplifts and enlightens.

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