Do I belong here?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2012
Do I belong here?
Thu, 11-08-2012 - 10:25am

Hi,  I am dating a "married man" for the last 7 weeks or so.  He is going through a divorce and our relationship is out in the open so I'm not sure I would consider it an affair.  However, I really do need support because I didn't realive how hard it would be to "go through the divorce" with him.  The story is complicated by the fact that he was the love of my life off and on from age 16 to 20.  He chose his current wife over me 19 years ago, when I was 20 when we were sort of in the middle of a "love triangle".  He called me a couple months ago to tell me that he has never gotten me out of his mind for 19 years and is there any chance he and I can spend the rest of our lives together?  I have always loved this man and dreamed about him.  We have not had contact in 19 years although have apparently kept tabs on each other.  I had been married 10 years, divorced in 2005 with 2 kids.  Then I was engaged to another man for 6 years and had 2 kids with him.  I have been single/dating for 1 1/2 years when I get this call from the absolute love of my life out of the blue.  I couldn't help but drop everything for him.  When he found out I was available, only then did he ask his wife for a divorce.  They have been married 17 years, together 22 years.  He had cheated on her with me back when we were teenagers.  But, he was my original boyfriend first.  My mistake was breaking up with him when I was 17 and then he met her after that.  But he and I continued to carry on a relationship off and on for 3 years, culminating in him choosing her finally when I was 20 as I said.  He has no kids.  I have 4.  He has moved out of his house and is living with his parents because we feel it is way too soon for him to move in with me.  He is now feeling guilty that he didn't end his marriage before looking for me.  And, I keep thinking I am going to have the rug pulled out from me again as I did when I was 20.  Back then he was suppose to be choosing me over her and 24 hours of being in the wrong place at the wrong time turned the tables and he ended up with her and I walked away and tried to move on. 

Anyway, I really need support or I am going to sabotage this relationship due to my anxiety.  Is this he place for me? 

Thanks for your help



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2010
Thu, 11-08-2012 - 4:15pm

Welcome, DF! Yes, this is the place for you.  Although it isn't a typical A, you are facing a lot of the problems we face, especially as it transitions from an A to a real-life R.

Of course, nobody can predict if your R with your new man will work out.  There are some red flags that make me fear you will end up hurt again.  He has a history of going back and forth between you two, and it seems to me like most people who are indecisive tend to stay that way.  I think it is possible that he will start missing her the way he missed you when she is out of his life.  

I also worry that going from a household with no kids to one with 4 kids will be a big change for him.  It can be really challenging to go from a very calm, quiet home to home with the drama and noise that automatically come with kids.  I only have one child, and she is a pretty quiet kid (she can't speak and she's not a big cryer).  Even though I love kids (I'm a teacher), I get pretty worn out when I stay with people who have several children, even really good kids.  It's just a big change.  I think it could be a wonderful thing for him to finally get to have the experience of having children around, but I'm sure it will be pretty difficult to adjust to sometimes.

The last red flag is the short period of time since you got back together.  It definitely helps that you knew each other long ago, but nearly 20 years is a long time.  People change, and it is going to take some time to really get to know each other again.

So I would say it is very hard to tell if it will work out.  Does that mean I wouldn't try?  No way!  Who could live with herself knowing she had a chance to try again with her first love, but passing it up out of fear?  I think the temptation and the possible joy would be too much to turn your back on it.  I couldn't say no to the opportunity!

But I do think you should take it really, really slowly.  Although you knew him for many years, in reality, as the person he is today, you have known him for less than two months.  You have children who depend upon you for stability, so I think it is a good idea for him not to move in.  I wouldn't even involve him with your children for several months.  It's too complicated of a situation to do anything rash.  Plus, he needs time to fall in love with you again.  That means dates and time alone before he is thrust into the role of husband and dad (which is what happens when he moves in, marriage or not). Don't put that much pressure on such a new R.  Let it grow the way it usually would in a healthy R.

I know if you have been alone for a year and a half, the desire to jump into something again can get pretty strong.  But I think if you force yourself to take it slow, and you protect your heart a little by holding back until the R is more firmly established, you have a much better chance of success with him.  Good luck and let is know how things go!