Dallas, TX

"He separated from his wife after three decades; he still calls and visits her," girlfriend doubts second marriage

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

When one marriage ends while another relationship is just beginning, there will still be a connection between spouses until the divorce takes place. And if they stay in touch and help each other, what does that say about the second relationship that's going to eventually replace the marriage after divorce?

Is it more or less likely a separation will lead to the end of the marriage if your spouse is still your priority instead of your new partner?

My friend Jane has been married to her husband, Tobias, for 30 years. They had three sons together, and she's been a stay-at-home mom to look after their family and home in Dallas, Texas. As time passed, they cared less about being a couple and a lot more about being the best parents they could for their kids.

"I didn't mind focusing on being a mom and looking after our sons, but I did miss being loved and receiving gifts from time to time. I just learned to live like that, but sometimes I would've wanted more. Tobias was always a great dad, so I decided to think of that instead of feeling sad for the love that's been gone for a long time," Jane said.

Their kids grew up in a happy home, even if their parents were more like roommates than a couple. They didn't notice that too much, though they did ask Tobias sometimes why he didn't bring their mom flowers on her birthday or for other special occasions.

"That was the question I wanted to ask, but I gave up on it to avoid arguments. I just wanted to have a good place to raise our kids, keep the house tidy, and be comfortable. It could have been a lot better but also a lot worse. It was a compromise I agreed to without saying anything about it," Jane said.

Tobias was always ready to drive the kids anywhere they needed to go, and he worked in the office to be able to pay the bills and cover all other expenses.

But even though he didn't get presents for his wife and they didn't behave like a couple in love, that didn't mean he didn't want to have someone close. During the last five years, he's been seeing Gina and made time to date her whenever his wife and kids were busy or away.

"It wasn't that easy when our sons were still in high school. Now that they're all either working or finishing college and moved away, things got a lot simpler. And making an excuse to be away for several hours wasn't hard at all," Tobias said.

He knows it's not fair to date another woman, but at the same time, he feels he should be with someone who cares about him.

"Jane stopped showing me she cares so long ago that I don't even remember what it was like. I'm sure I was happy when I met her and when we got married, but after three decades, I look at her, and I only see a mom and happy kids. Nothing about her and me. And we're not in love anymore, if we ever were," Tobias said.

Gina knows he's married as he told her how things were from their second month of dating. She agreed to keep seeing Tobias because she hoped he would leave his wife and decide to have a life and a home with her.

"Their kids are all grown up, so it wouldn't be such a big deal to leave Jane and come and stay with me. And it's not like I'm taking a family apart. They're not together as a couple. They were parenting their sons; that's all there is to it. And now that's done with, so he could go," Gina said.

The more he saw Gina, the closer Tobias got to her, and lately, he's begun considering a different life for himself and her.

"Why would I always try and hide this from Jane? Maybe it's better to live out in the open and admit what I feel. I doubt my kids would judge me after all this time. And if they did, how much would that matter? I'd like to be happy again, if only for a few years," Tobias said.

Three weeks ago, he told Gina he'd made up his mind to leave Jane. But it would only happen gradually, and he would begin by separating from her.

"I would have wanted him to divorce her immediately, but I realized they spent so many years together. I respected his way of doing things. He chose me, and that's all that mattered," Gina said.

Since then, Tobias has spoken to his wife, and he packed his things and is now living in Gina's home, paying her rent and bills.

That doesn't mean he's not in touch with Jane. Instead, he talks with her on the phone every day, and he goes to see her two times a week. Gina isn't sure what this means and if they've really separated or just taken a break before they get back together.

"He separated from his wife after three decades; he still calls and visits her. I feel like she's still such an important part of his life. And if Jane is his priority, where does that leave me? How much longer should I wait for them to divorce? Are they even going to do that, or will they get closer again?" Gina said.

She talked to Tobias about it, but he asked her not to put any pressure on him. According to him, this is just his way of making divorce easier to handle for Jane. And he still wants to be with Gina. His girlfriend is worried, and the more he talks to Jane, the less she thinks Tobias really wants another home with her.

What do you think about this situation? Should Tobias talk so often to his wife if they're separated and he wants to get a divorce? Do his calls and visits mean he won't leave her and plans to get back together soon and leave Gina?

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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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