Dear Thelma: My lover is dragging his feet over his divorce

  • Family
  • Sunday, 03 Feb 2019

I have been dating this man for over a year now. I’m deeply in love with him and he feels the same too.

But we are both married. He is sorting out his divorce and he has been telling me that for a year. I feel he is not lying to me but it’s the wife who doesn’t want to let go of the relationship and he just wants to end it in a proper way.

He keeps asking me to give him time and that he is sorting matters out as he doesn’t want to hurt the kids either. The same goes for me.

On my part, my husband threatened to go and beat up my boyfriend and tell my company about my affair when I told him I wanted a divorce. However, it is already coming to three years now. We have not been sleeping together for two years.

And I can’t even talk to him properly. Most of the time, it’s through WhatsApp or else the children would be the messengers.

What should I do? I am buying a house which will only be ready in three years’ time. My plan is to go and file for the divorce after I get my house. But I am worried if my husband threatens me again. Will he take the kids and commit suicide? And what should I do with my boyfriend?

Deciding you want out of a marriage is okay. What’s not okay is keeping your husband on the hook purely because you don’t want the inconvenience of shifting into temporary accommodation.

As you express no interest in trying to rescue your marriage, you will have to negotiate the best exit possible. That’s going to take some time and effort.

First, stop using your kids as messengers. This is your mess and it’s not right to drag the kids into it. Act like adults and talk to each other.

Next, it’s unclear from your letter if your husband mentioned suicide or whether that is your secret fear. If he mentioned it, get him a therapist. To move forward, sit down with your husband and sort out your divorce. You have kids, so they come first. Work out what they need in terms of home, school and parental time. Then decide who will be the best primary caregiver – you or your husband. If you fight, hire lawyers to do your negotiating for you.

Do not gossip about each other or tittle-tattle in public. You have kids so you have to deal together for some years to come. Think about the future and behave with dignity.

As your finances will take a hit, I strongly suggest you talk to a financial planner. Consider it may mean that you have to put off buying your house, buy a smaller one or significantly lower your current standard of living. It’s not pleasant, but it’s the price for ending a marriage and starting over again, so be realistic and suck it up.

As for the boyfriend, he may leave his wife and kids. Or he may find he loves his family too much. Either way, it’s his decision to make.

Meanwhile, I suggest you consider that the stealth and drama of illicit passion can throw an enticing glow over a lover. Once you are both free, you may find that the excitement fades. I’m not saying it will. I’m just cautioning you against placing too much confidence in that relationship lasting. I think you should focus on getting your own life on track. As juggling kids, work and a divorced spouse can be a challenge, it will take you some time to learn to be a divorced lady.

And if your husband finds a new love, you’ll have the dynamics of a large extended family to cope with. Divorce is never pleasant or easy but there is one positive: if your marriage was a mistake, then focusing on the freedom and second chance that follow will help get you through the process.

Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Write to Dear Thelma, c/o StarLifestyle, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor or e-mail Please include your full name and address, and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

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