Mommies who met their current DH/Partner before they were divorced - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 60 Old 05-20-2009, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't want to do a lot of explaining - but anybody have general advice for me? I'd really love to hear from mommy's who have experience with this. I need advice. :
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#2 of 60 Old 05-20-2009, 07:15 PM
 
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My X and I had been seperated for almost four years when I met my love, but we were not divorced.
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#3 of 60 Old 05-20-2009, 08:25 PM
 
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greenirene, you haven't even left your husband yet! PLEASE don't get involved with a new partner yet.

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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#4 of 60 Old 05-20-2009, 10:26 PM
 
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I don't want to do a lot of explaining - but anybody have general advice for me? I'd really love to hear from mommy's who have experience with this. I need advice. :
It's ironic that someone has brought this up today, since I was just thinking about it! I suppose I, too, "wear the scarlet letter": I met my husband and we started dating before his divorce was finalized. (Is that what you meant? Or did you mean you aren't divorced yet? Of course, both situations are essentially the same, it's just a matter of which party you identify with.)

Most of the time, I feel no sheepishness over this. I am 100% confident I did not cause the breakup of their marriage, nor did I distract them from a potential reconciliation. They filed for divorce and began living separately years before my husband and I met, and things went on between them that are hard or impossible to forgive, and certainly irreconcilable. (Of course, having read their entire case file, I feel like the worst behavior was on her part, but I'm sure she would tell you the opposite.) The fact that it took such an insanely long time for their divorce to be finalized is, IMO, a failing of the legal system that did not take decisive action to end some of the shenanigans, but instead scheduled hearing after hearing to revisit issues, as though my husband and his ex had money trees in their back yard and felt better if they donated it all to attorneys!!

HOWEVER, since their divorce did take so long, plenty of people in their lives met them after I entered the picture. Of course his ex took every opportunity to tell those who didn't know better that he had "abandoned" her and their son, for me! Although people felt comfortable gossiping about that, they seemed to feel it wouldn't be polite to actually bring it up with me and give me the chance to correct the misinformation. Quite frankly, if I HAD been given that chance, I would have just sounded like I was making excuses, or covering, or inappropriately sharing the details of their divorce, which really weren't any of my business. People are usually going to believe the 1st version of a story that they hear, anyway.

Last night at the grocery, I ran into one of the people who believed I broke up their marriage. She was surprisingly friendly and seemed genuinely happy to hear that things are going well for us. But it was really awkward and I found myself feeling like I had something to be ashamed of, just because I knew she thought I did. Silly, right?

Not knowing any details of your situation, I guess my advice based on my own experiences would be this:
- Try your best not to let other people make you feel guilty, if you really don't have a reason to.
- Try to be empathetic with your boyfriend's ex (or with your ex, if you're the one who's still married): Divorce is hard enough, without witnessing the fact that you can be replaced. Even if you've concluded the person you're divorcing is a jerk, it might soothe your ego to imagine that they will still pine for you. When they start dating someone new, that fantasy flies out the window.
- If you did break up someone's marriage, or distract another woman's husband when he might have reconciled with her, or if you broke up your own marriage for another man, it may be too late to reverse the damage, but it would still be awfully big of you to own the fact that you hurt people and did something you would not like to have done to you. Especially if there are kids involved, an honest, "I'm sorry. The way I went about things was not right," could go miles toward making communication and custody-sharing easier and less hostile, in the future. Admitting you were wrong doesn't make you a worthless, unforgiveable person. Everybody does things wrong. Apologizing takes more guts than a lot of people have.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
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#5 of 60 Old 05-20-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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Do you mean someone who eventually married someone they'd known while they were still with their ex? Or someone who got divorced because they met someone else? Or someone who had an affair while they were still married, and eventually married that person? I was friends with my current husband when I was married to my ex, but that is very different than having had an affair and deciding to get a divorce in order to marry him...

Are you looking for the perspective of a parent with a child, or the perspective of someone who became a step-parent?

Happy to help if I am the right person... feel free to PM me if you don't want to give out details "in public."

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#6 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 10:00 AM
 
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I started dating my current dh while I was still married to/living with my first. XDH was physically and otherwise abusive, we'd been living separate lives for several months, barely spoke, but hadn't really decided what to do as far as moving out, divorcing, etc.

Anyways I've known my dh now forever, since we were kids, but lost contact w/him while I was married, met up one night through mutual friends and I moved in with him about a week later

Not my proudest moments I suppose, but no regrets either. We've been together 5 yrs, married 2.5
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#7 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 10:11 AM
 
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I started dating my current dh while I was still married to/living with my first.
My former husband began dating his current wife while he was still married to and living with me (and it was the typical extramarital affair: a secret from me both that he was sleeping with others AND that he was no longer committed to our marriage - which was brand-new and happy). And he's still married to the affair, so yes, even though second marriages lead to divorce more often that first marriages, some DO last. I also know female acquaintances who started their second marriages as an affair on their first. It happens a lot. (Oh, and almost all of the affair participants say that the first marriage was "over even though we still live together," while we betrayed spouses often explain we thought our marriages were strong and there was no plan to separate. So somebody's not telling the truth...)

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#8 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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My X and I had been seperated for almost four years when I met my love, but we were not divorced.
This is more my situation.

I was single (legally married, but separated) for several years before I dated. I highly recommend taking that time to get to know yourself as an individual before going into something else. It was invaluable and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
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#9 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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DH and I were both still married to our ex's when we became involved with each other. If you search for posts from me in this forum you will find longer version's about our situation. Think the most recent and most comprhensive is in the thread about dealing with a step-parent who is the one your ex had an affair with.
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#10 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 12:28 PM
 
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I tell men and women not to get involved until the divorce is final-- that is best. It helps you have time to "heal" and look back and learn what went wrong. Some things you might need to change about you.

Now reality this doesn't always work. Esspecially if you have been seperated a long time.

Also not all situation are cut and dry.
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#11 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 12:35 PM
 
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My advice is don't commit adultery. It rarely works out well for you and never for your kids. Have the respect for them, if not for your ex, to wait until you are divorced to start seeing someone else. This is their family you're rearranging and they'll feel better about it down the road if they believe it was a tough decision.
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#12 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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(Oh, and almost all of the affair participants say that the first marriage was "over even though we still live together," while we betrayed spouses often explain we thought our marriages were strong and there was no plan to separate. So somebody's not telling the truth...)
EXACTLY! My X has always been unrepentant about the affair and says it was "reasonable" and "expected" since our marriage was dead. It would have been nice if he had communicated that to me if that's the way he felt.
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#13 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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My partner and I were both still married when we started dating (somewhat casually).

He had lived separately from his wife for over a year, the divorce was in progress, and both had dated other people in the interim.

My husband and I were fairly newly physically separated, our marriage had long been dead. We'd gone back and forth about staying together for three years, and when we pulled the trigger, there was more relief than anything. (My ex-husband married the woman he moved in with right after he moved out of our house. We're all friendly, and our stepkids play together.)

We didn't move in together until my divorce was LONG final (over a year); his was *supposed* to be final before our move-in date but things kept getting pushed back. His ended up getting finalized about 6 months after we moved in together. His ex-wife was OK with this and it never came up in the divorce (and even if it had, WI doesn't care--their funds had been separated by that point, and the only way the "other woman" affects custody is if that other person is actually a harmful influence--think drug dealer, violent, etc.).

The only kid involved was my partner's then-toddler--she had no memory of her parents living together (they split before her first birthday); older kids, or kids of my own who were newly trying to process their parents' separation, may have changed things.

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#14 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 12:40 PM
 
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I highly recommend taking that time to get to know yourself as an individual before going into something else. It was invaluable and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I totally agree. Here's another thing: I was asked out quite a few times in that four year time period, but it was important to me to not have men in and out of my children's lives. I wanted to wait until it was someone that mattered. Someone worthy of meeting my children and becoming a part of their lives. He was worth the wait - next week will mark the two year anniversary of our first date, and we've been in love with each other ever since.
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#15 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 12:40 PM
 
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DH and I met a matter of days after my ex moved out (my heart was out of the marriage for some years at that point, and I'd been celibate for over a year.) and were in a committed relationship shortly after. I'm not up for discussing it on a public forum, but feel free to PM me if you think I can help.

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#16 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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Oh, and almost all of the affair participants say that the first marriage was "over even though we still live together," while we betrayed spouses often explain we thought our marriages were strong and there was no plan to separate.
So true! Apparently we were "seperated" long before I knew about it, and he "cheated" with me - that's how our third child was conceived, you know! <insert eye-rolling smilie here...>
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#17 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well i'm stuck living with my current dh. don't want to be here. i asked him for a divorce. he wouldn't talk about it. there's been alcoholism, threats of violence, and in a decade i've never gotten the emotional support or anything I needed in the relationship. i finally figured out that it was because we were a real mismatch of people. he couldn't give me what i wanted because he didn't have it in him. I really want out but can't leave due to custody issues currently.

i met the person who is right for me. I really love him. i've known him for a while but it took a while for us to both be open with each other how we felt. i'm a sahm with no money. i won't explain publicly but i can't currently leave my dh for custody reasons. my state has some laws that make my life very difficult.
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#18 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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anybody gone through this with their kids? mommyto3girls i think your situation is a bit like mine but the other person doesn't have kids. i do.
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#19 of 60 Old 05-21-2009, 09:24 PM
 
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(Oh, and almost all of the affair participants say that the first marriage was "over even though we still live together," while we betrayed spouses often explain we thought our marriages were strong and there was no plan to separate. So somebody's not telling the truth...)
I don't think it is "not telling the truth" so much as two very different truths.

I came within a breath of leaving my ex twice, then actually did leave and came back... We fought about some really big issues that neither of us were willing to budge on. Then he left for a while and I finally realized I could make it on my own, and I told him I wanted to get divorced... Yet it apparently came as a huge shock to him that I had been unhappy, that I didn't want to be with him, that there were issues in our marriage so big they weren't going to change, etc... I had definitely not hidden these things from him.

He would tell you it was totally out of the blue, that we'd been happy, and that we both planned to stay together. I don't think he's lying, I just think that's what his reality was. It's just not the same as my reality.

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#20 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 01:22 AM
 
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I don't think it is "not telling the truth" so much as two very different truths.

I came within a breath of leaving my ex twice, then actually did leave and came back... We fought about some really big issues that neither of us were willing to budge on. Then he left for a while and I finally realized I could make it on my own, and I told him I wanted to get divorced... Yet it apparently came as a huge shock to him that I had been unhappy, that I didn't want to be with him, that there were issues in our marriage so big they weren't going to change, etc... I had definitely not hidden these things from him.

He would tell you it was totally out of the blue, that we'd been happy, and that we both planned to stay together. I don't think he's lying, I just think that's what his reality was. It's just not the same as my reality.
i agree. both parties may be "telling the truth" -- that's the thing about truths. there is always more than one way to "see" it. and that's the thing about a marriage. it takes *two* people committed to making it work.

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#21 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 03:54 AM
 
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i fit this thread but i am fallin asleep--subbing for later!

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#22 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 05:00 AM
 
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My ex-husband was still married when we met, and he was still married to me when he met his current wife. It is kind of a pattern for him, he can't be alone. Sadly, he came over to my house just 6 months ago, and expressed his grief that he remarried so quickly. This only 4 months after getting married (during that wonderful honeymoon phase).

If you are looking to discuss situations that arise from this type of relationship, I would love to be an ear and can tell you my stories, too. If you are looking to start a relationship like this, let me tell you that I would suggest you and your possible partner take some time to be single first. Keep the regrets away.

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#23 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 06:55 AM
 
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that's the thing about a marriage. it takes *two* people committed to making it work.
and just one to break it by having an affair.

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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#24 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 09:01 AM
 
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and just one to break it by having an affair.
Is it really an affair if the marriage is long dead, but not quite legally over yet?

This is a sore spot for me- My Hubby was in the beginning of divorcing his Ex when my stepdaughter was born, and was seperated from his Ex for 11 months and working very hard on his divorce when he met me and it was a very nasty divorce (starting BEFORE he met me), and his Ex dragged it on for years (until my stepdaughter was 3 1/2), but somehow, I'm always considered the "Homewrecker". Whether I was in the picture or not, my Hubby was already divorcing, so I don't see how I should matter in the divorce equation?

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#25 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You know some people have affairs as some silly 'get off' thing and some have them because they've been long unhappy and disconnected from their sometimes even abusive marriages and met someone they truly feel is the love of their life. Due to the legal process, leaving isn't always just as simple as so many think. I don't understand why some spouses want someone to stay with them when they truly love another person.

It's funny how everyone loves the movies where the girl gets rescued right BEFORE she marries the wrong guy. Why is it so bad when someone realizes later they're with the wrong one. They're the hero if they do it before in the movies and the villain in real life if they do it after the wedding.

And trust me I do not take vows lightly. But it's funny to me too how my DH never took any of the other vows seriously and treated me like a piece of crap for years - none of the 'love and cherish' stuff and lots of verbal abuse and threatening other things. I was the one who worked the whole time to fix the marriage. But in the end I gave up after realizing some things would truly never change. And I worked to get out. There was never any going back and forth between the two guys or anything for me. But I have circumstances that basically are preventing me from leaving now. And I won't walk away from my children for another man, even if he's 'the one'.
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#26 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 09:08 AM
 
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it takes *two* people committed to making it work.
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and just one to break it by having an affair.
Both are very true. The one thing I learned from what I went through with my ex-husband was that I could not want it enough for both of us. I couldn't love him enough, carry the entire load, want the marriage to work all alone. We both had to.
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#27 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 09:12 AM
 
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Is it really an affair if the marriage is long dead, but not quite legally over yet?

This is a sore spot for me- My Hubby was in the beginning of divorcing his Ex when my stepdaughter was born, and was seperated from his Ex for 11 months and working very hard on his divorce when he met me and it was a very nasty divorce (starting BEFORE he met me), and his Ex dragged it on for years (until my stepdaughter was 3 1/2), but somehow, I'm always considered the "Homewrecker". Whether I was in the picture or not, my Hubby was already divorcing, so I don't see how I should matter in the divorce equation?
You're not a homewrecker in my book at all - they were seperated and the divorce process was started. You don't matter in the divorce equation at all as far as I'm concerned.

As I said above, I was seperated for four years and then met the love of my life. For many reason (financial and custody being the main two) I had not started divorce proceedings until after we started dating. My marriage was long over though, and my ex had been through at least three girlfriends and many, many short-term things (and those are only the ones I know of). Those women don't have anything to do with our divorce either, the only one that I hold some hurt toward is the one he was having an affair with when I still thought we were in a happy marriage - and even then he bares much more of the blame to me than she does - she didn't take vows before God and our families to me...
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#28 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i have always wondered about the idea of a 'homewrecker'. Is that possible? Can a third party really interfere between a solid marriage? I guess if you brainwashed someone you could do that. I've never understood the need to control an ex once the fact that they don't want to be with their spouse is clear. I've heard people say things that make me think they believe marriage is for life even if there's a divorce. Why do people get upset about exes moving on? I guess for me I've been quite unattached to my dh because I was aware of how little he cared for me for so many years.

In some cases it seems like some people I've heard say things that make it sound like that if their ex won't love them then they shouldn't get to love and receive love from anybody. I also heard someone say how truly happy they are that their ex was really happy with their new person. That all they wanted was for the ex to be happy. And to me that's one of the most beautiful things I've heard.
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#29 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 10:49 AM
 
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...but somehow, I'm always considered the "Homewrecker". Whether I was in the picture or not, my Hubby was already divorcing, so I don't see how I should matter in the divorce equation?
When people take a black-and-white view of this issue ("If he's still married, he's married. Period."), you can't really argue with it. Technically, legally, they're right. Morally...well, they're certainly not wrong! If you don't date a guy until the ink is dry on his Final Decree of Dissolution, you eliminate any chance that you are interfering with a reconciliation of his first marriage - and any chance of being accused of that!

But I think it is more truthful and realistic to acknowledge that every divorce is a unique situation:

- John may truly have given his wife Sally no clue that he's dissatisfied with their marriage. But if John wants to hop in the sack with Jane, it's clearly in his best interest to tell Jane, "My marriage is dead and Sally and I are both seeing other people". So Janes should really do some independent fact-checking and not be cavalier about Sister Sally's marriage!

- But there are also cases where John and Sally have been living separately for years; neither of them envisions getting back together; moreover, such rotten and heart-wrenching things have gone on between them that no rational, fair-minded person could expect them to go back to sharing a home; but through various manipulations and failings of the legal system, their divorce is still not finalized. And then John falls in love with Jane. In that case, Sally gains an advantage if she (unreasonably) calls Jane a homewrecker. That lets Sally convince herself (and all her friends?) the divorce is a simple case of John being a cheating bastard, and she can avoid owning any of the crummy things she did, to contribute to the broken marriage. In such cases, people should really give Jane a break!

But it may be that only John, Jane and Sally really know which situation they're in.

BTW, like you, I am definitely the Jane in the 2nd example. And I would say this: it's hard to be judged, even when you know it's off-base. So, even in the 2nd situation, I would not get involved with John unless I'd gotten to know him well enough to think he might be THE ONE. All the baggage with Sally wouldn't be worth it, for a casual fling. My (now) husband and I spent a couple years getting to know each other well, through working closely together and our kids being friends. We always got along really well and liked each other, but we were VERY slow to move on to dating. In fact, before our 1st date, we discussed the fact that both of us envisioned marrying the other, and if not for the fact that we expected things to get that serious, we wouldn't bother dating each other. I mean, we still took a couple years to date and make sure (it's not like we got engaged on our 1st date!), but we did clarify from the get-go that it wasn't casual.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
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#30 of 60 Old 05-22-2009, 10:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
Is it really an affair if the marriage is long dead, but not quite legally over yet?
Yes. Marriage vows last until the marriage is ended by death or divorce (unless you weren't legally married but only, say, did a handfasting on a year and one day). So any sleeping around before the marriage ends is both adultery and an affair. I "blame" the woman my husband slept with - in addition to of course blaming him - because she had an affair with a married man. (And yes, she knew it - she was at our wedding and I cried on her shoulder with joy when we became pregnant.) Without violating the UA, I'll just say that sleeping with someone you know is married is unethical and immoral.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenirene
I don't understand why some spouses want someone to stay with them when they truly love another person.
I expected my husband to stay with me because we had marriage vows together, because we had just - after much praying - conceived a child together, and because we both loved and respected each other - as my spouse had written, on the card to a dozen red roses in fact, the morning he left. (The card did not say he was leaving.) Gee, I must be nuts.

I know some people (my husband, and you) decide - while still living with their spouse, as a family (you even have young children with your husband in your home together), and relying on that spouse for support - that they want a new spouse. And that is both wrong and unwise. Finish your business with the spouse you promised your life with, first: get your own home, your own $upport, your custody plan for those kids. And respectfully and lovingly TELL your spouse, before you trade him in.

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
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