*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Waiting for one marriage to end so you can be happy with the partner you chose will rarely bring the results you expect.
That's because there could be kids and other connections between spouses that can't be easily taken away just because one of them fell in love with someone else.
Making sure you're not just another affair will get challenging when you also notice your partner is trying to see if their spouse might forgive them for going out with you. Do you wait things out or give up on the first indication that you're not the only one?
My friend Denise has been going out with her boyfriend Andrew for one year. Their relationship evolved quickly after they first saw each other at a birthday party in Phoenix, Arizona.
They were celebrating a friend's special day and ended up dancing together the whole night.
"He was fun to be with, even if I could tell he was at least ten years older than me. I wanted someone more mature to go out with, and he was so calm and positive. That made me look closer and enjoy every minute of our conversation," Denise recalls.
She asked for his number, and Andrew was pleased she was so interested in him.
"That rarely happens to me; I'm used to seeking out women to date. With my first girlfriend, it took a lot of trying just to make her notice me. And her phone number needed three months to be available. Denise asked me for mine after only a few hours, so that was so fast and fun," Andrew said.
After he got his number, Denise texted him daily, and he always answered her messages. She also called him sometimes, but only when he said it was ok and he wasn't busy with work.
"He told me he worked and did overtime too, so I didn't want to be calling him when he had other things on his mind," Denisa said.
Things kept advancing that way, with constant replies from Andrew but rarely any texts or calls initiated by him. Denise didn't think that was an issue since she assumed he was shy and didn't want to be the first to do anything.
"I had some boyfriends like that. And it's ok to be shy; I like showing someone I like them and care about them," Denise said.
Once a month of texting went by, Andrew asked Denise to go out. She said yes and got ready for their date. They went out for dinner, and Andrew ended up staying over that night.
"He left early the following day and seemed to be in a hurry to change clothes. I thought it was about being late for work, so I let him get ready and leave very fast," Denise said.
But in the evening, when she called him and said they should get together again, he said he couldn't come and needed some time to sort things out.
Andrew was actually married, and his wife was upset because he'd been away the whole night without letting her know or having any excuse.
The following day, he talked to Denise and told her how things were. He also said he wanted to be with her and have a life together.
"I didn't like the fact that he was married and had two sons, but I did expect something like that because he was older. Most men would be married by his age. He was in his forties, so what could I say? The important thing was that he wanted to be with me. I decided to keep dating and wait for him to make his second family with me," Denise said.
They kept going out for the next eight months until Andrew decided to talk to his wife and ask her for a divorce. They argued, and she was very upset, but in the end, he packed up his things and came to live with Denise.
The divorce isn't final yet. However, Andrew is settled in Denise's apartment and paying for all her expenses, including rent and bills.
"I'm happy with how things are and can't wait for the divorce to be over so we can go on with our lives, buy a home, and have our kids. I'm sure our marriage will last longer than theirs did," Denise said.
Unfortunately, last week something happened, and it made her doubt Andrew's commitment. She got a call from his wife, and she told her Andrew wasn't nearly as decided as he seemed to be.
"He's divorcing for me; he asked his wife for another chance. She told me about it, and I asked him too, after work. He didn't deny he'd done it, but he kept saying it was for the kids. But I've been waiting for one year, and he's barely started his divorce. Is he letting me go after such a short time of living together?" Denise said.
She's confused about Andrew's behavior. She asked him to decide who he wanted to be with. He said he would like to allow his sons to grow up with two parents but still be in love with Denise.
His wife hasn't agreed to give him the chance he wants, and the divorce is going forward, but Denise is worried everything will be over if she changes her mind.
What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for Andrew to keep trying to get back together with his wife even though he moved in with Denise and told her he wanted another family with her? Should Denise wait and see if his wife takes him back, or is it time for her to end their relationship and find someone who cares about her?
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