"He's staying with his wife and kids; I want him home with me," woman upset with boyfriend, who's a dad

Amy Christie

*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission

Beginning a relationship while knowing your partner is still married is challenging both for the single partner and for the one who's still staying in a marriage and needs to decide where their happiness is. And as time goes by, the single partner will keep wanting a more important place in their significant other's life.

Is it acceptable to have your boyfriend go on living with his wife just because he doesn't want to upset his kids, or should you expect a clear decision and a start to your life together sooner?

My friend Jennifer has been dating Harry, her boyfriend, for two years. He was married when they first met, and he told her that. Harry also admitted he wasn't happy with his wife at the time, but he wasn't sure if he wanted a divorce.

"They've been roommates for the past ten years. I know he cares about her as he would about a friend, but he loves me. He's told me that so many times. I'm the only one who can make him happy," Jennifer said.

After the first few dates, she doubted whether she should go on seeing him since his family situation was complicated, and she didn't want to be responsible for ending his marriage. However, Harry assured her he was going to separate from his wife.

It was just that the divorce was a more decisive step, and he didn't know when the right time for it would be since his kids were still growing up.

"They're not even in high school yet, and he doesn't want to disappoint them or make them feel their dad doesn't love them anymore. I get that, and I told him as long as he doesn't have feelings for his wife, I can wait a while until he makes up his mind to get a divorce," Jennifer said.

She did point out she wouldn't be his second choice permanently and that she wouldn't wait too long. And Harry said he would talk to his wife when he felt it was the right time.

Months passed since then, and Jennifer and Harry saw each other four times a week in Phoenix, Arizona, and texted and called the rest of the time.

"He's still there, in the same house with her and the kids. But he talks to me so often, and he texts several times a day. He couldn't do that if he cared about her. I'm sure she noticed what's going on," Jennifer said.

Her parents also met Harry, and they got along well with him. They're not happy he's still married, but he explained to them he's only postponing the divorce for his kids.

"That shows he's a good dad, but I'm not sure how in love he is with my daughter. I don't approve of ending one marriage for the sake of another woman. Maybe he stopped caring about his wife long before he met Jennifer, but I just don't see him hurrying up to do anything about it. And the more time passes, the less likely it is he will ever have a home with Jennifer," Natalie, Jennifer's mom, said.

Natalie and her husband are willing to allow Harry to visit them and be friendly, but they're doubtful about Jennifer's future with him.

And lately, Jennifer has changed her mind about the pace things are moving. It's been two years since she's seeing Harry, and she thinks she's given him plenty of time to decide when to ask his wife for a divorce.

And knowing his home is still with her is not something she'll put up with anymore.

"He's staying with his wife and kids; I want him home with me. I'm getting close to a point where I will just ask him to do it or never come see me again. I told him so many times that I was not in second place. How is he ever going to leave her if he keeps living there? It's time to pack his things and come and live with me. And if he doesn't, I'll know what to do," Jennifer said.

She talked to Harry and let him know how she felt, but he thinks she hasn't given him enough time. And he's surprised she would get so upset about him being home with his wife when she was apparently fine with it all this time.

"Two years was ok, and now suddenly, I have to move out to please her. She won't tell me what to do. And she'd better understand my situation; it's my kids we're talking about, and I won't disappoint them even for her," Harry said.

Jennifer didn't have the patience to listen to another long talk, so she just told him he had three weeks to move in with her. And if he doesn't, he can forget about her and their relationship.

How do you think this situation should be handled? Is Jennifer right to ask Harry to move with her and tell his wife and kids about their relationship? Should Jennifer keep waiting until Harry feels it's ok to talk to his wife about their divorce, or is it better to leave if he can't do it soon?

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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