We met on a dating app. He was a great guy - and on the phone seemed normal and interesting. We decided to meet in person.
Our dinner went well. He was funny, interesting, and smart. He also was attractive. That was a nice bonus.
He lived in another city, so we would usually meet someplace in between. I have found this is the best handling for meeting someone new, especially when you live in a small town. No pressure. (Don't worry, someone always knew where I was and who I was with and we were always in a place that was well populated.)
I'm quite specific on dating apps. I know what I am looking for, not only in boyfriends but also in friends. The qualities are similar.
One thing that matters to me is that if once married, the person is now divorced. I know plenty of people don't care as long as they are separated (and some don't even care if they are still married), but I try to minimize drama in my life. I also believe people should take a bit of time to process the end of a relationship. I have seen too many people jump from one relationship to another, and it often does not turn out well. I don't want to be their marriage counselor through this.
Date three was there and I had looked forward to it. Everything was progressing well and I felt good about the direction in which we were headed.
We were out at dinner and at one point he referenced "my wife". When a surprised look crossed my face he realized what he had said.
"My ex-wife, I mean."
How many think I should have just moved on? Nope, me either.
"Hey Nick, are you still married? And when I say married, that includes separated."
"Ummmmm. It's complicated."
"I have plenty of time to listen."
He'd been separated for 11 years. She and their daughter lived in California. We lived in North Carolina. Well, I did. He was actually here on a long-term contract job. Yep, another red flag, but only an issue for me because of the wife.
He said the only reason they had not divorced was that she and the daughter had health problems and couldn't get insurance except through his plan.
Critical error. He forgot I am a licensed insurance agent whose specialty is employee benefits.
"Well, maybe when you started the separation that was true for covering your wife - you could have always covered your daughter - but nowadays there are no pre-existing conditions."
He gave me that deer in the headlights look.
Needless to say, that was our last date. We ended it cordially. He told me he was going to explore that insurance thing and look into divorce. It was time.
He said he would call me when he had things worked out. I admit I laughed. I suspect that was the last thing either of us really wanted.
If he had been upfront about the separation from the first, or even on the first date, saying they were separated 11 years and had just not bothered to get divorced, I may have made an exception. But probably not. As in this case, there is usually more to the story and I have the rule for a reason.
He didn't need a woman like me and I didn't need a man like him. Pure and simple.
I gave him a bit of advice before we left. Most of us can understand a whole lot of what is going on in someone's life, but when someone finds the need to lie about who they are, any trust build immediately collapses. It was built on a lie, which is not a solid foundation for a relationship.
If he changed his dating profile to separated and explained it, there would be plenty of women who would go out with him. Just not me. But we weren't right for each other anyway, based on that one "little" thing. If you haven't learned to come clean as to who you are by our age (I was in my late 50s, he early 60s), it's probably not going to happen.
Relationships are hard enough. When we don't come into them just as we are, with honesty, we make them harder.
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