I Want My 6 Week Boyfriend To Finalize His Divorce and Cut Off Contact With His Ex Wife!

My boyfriend and I have been together for 6 weeks. He has been separated from his wife for almost 1.5 years.  Two weeks after we began dating, he told me that he invited his ex and their 3-year-old son over for dinner as the ex was upset about breaking up with her boyfriend recently. I made it very clear that I was not comfortable with this and he said it won’t happen again. The following week, he catches up with her father twice so they can spend time together. I finally asked him directly to finalize his divorce and he said it was a big step, but later changed his mind and printed the forms off the net. I asked him last week if he had spoken to his ex about it, which he said she agreed. The paperwork is still sitting there incomplete. Should I ask again or move on?

Abigail

If I were your boyfriend, I’d dump you in a heartbeat. You’d be gone so fast from my life that you’d get whiplash trying to follow my ass out the door.

Dear Abigail,

First I want to share a brief story about someone I know.

She was in love with her boyfriend, but her boyfriend was preoccupied with his mother, who was dying of cancer. Each time he flew back to see his mom on her deathbed, my friend couldn’t help but feel strangely jealous that he wasn’t spending time with her. When he’d return from his weekend trips, he’d get a passive-aggressive guilt trip. She knew he was under stress, but she had needs, too. How can she feel secure about their future when he’s spending half his time focusing on things other than her?

He broke up with her before his mom passed away. She was heartbroken, but couldn’t help the way she felt. Of course, she was 19 at the time, so she had an excuse.

I don’t know how old you are, but I’m hoping you’re 19 as well. Which means you’re going to have a long time to recover from what I’m about to say to you next:

If I were your boyfriend, I’d dump you in a heartbeat.

You’d be gone so fast from my life that you’d get whiplash trying to follow my ass out the door.

I’ll bet you’re wondering how I could say such a thing. After all, he’s YOUR boyfriend. Why should you have to worry about exes and fathers-in-law and sons and paperwork? Shouldn’t he be ALL YOURS?

Um, no.

Let’s look at a tale of the tape:

You: 6 week girlfriend. Likely cute. Maybe insecure. Probably needy. Definitely clueless about anybody else’s perspective and needs besides your own.

Him: A poor confused wuss with a big heart and a wide loyalty streak who was probably dominated by his ex and is now signing up to be dominated by you. Lucky guy.

So now, by your logic, since this guy’s been sleeping with you for six weeks, he should just summarily CUT OFF the very pillars of his former life?

Everyone Else: Has been in his life WAAAAAAAAY before you arrived. His wife’s been around for probably 6+ years, as has her father. Both know him incredibly well and care deeply about him. All are bound by the presence of a beloved 3-year-old boy.

So now, by your logic, since this guy’s been sleeping with you for six weeks, he should just summarily CUT OFF the very pillars of his former life?

Because YOU’RE threatened and jealous, he should refuse to console his ex?

Because you’re unreasonably demanding, he should have no relationship with his son’s grandfather?

Can you see how narrow-minded and selfish you sound? It’s all about YOUR needs. Screw anyone who gets in the way – including your boyfriend, whom you’re already bullying about his divorce.

Here’s the deal, Abigail:

If he wants you as a girlfriend, if he wants to sign divorce papers, if he wants to prioritize you above everyone else, it will be because HE chooses to do so, not because you browbeat him.

His world doesn’t revolve around you.

Not after 6 weeks – and, if he’s got any guts, not for much longer.

I sincerely hope you take a different approach to understand the needs of the next man in your life.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Selena

    Karl #26 Re: When do you start referring to each other as boyfriend/girlfriend?

    I know your question was directed to Paul but, I’d like to answer it too if I may. For me it’s always been when “I love you’s” were exchanged and that was within the first month or two, so 6 weeks doesn’t seem outrageous to me either.

    I have to add though, that in these cases we were seeing each other every day, automatically exclusive. The relationships I’ve had where I only saw the guy twice a week or less I considered casual. Within that frame, I didn’t refer to the guy as my boyfriend, rather as someone I was “seeing”. Some relationships do move faster than others. Has been my experience anyway.

    Selena

  2. 32
    Evan Marc Katz

    Acerbic? Yeah. Too harsh? Perhaps. But advice is an imperfect science, at best. Some people respond to an ass-kicking because it’s the only thing that’ll shake them out of their orbit. Some people just want validation. I didn’t find much in the OP’s original email that I could rightfully validate. It seems plain that a six-week girlfriend does not have the right to dictate the behavior of a new boyfriend. Could I have said, “Listen, sweetie… you just need to find a more emotionally available man?” I suppose. I just don’t think the problem here is HIS availability. To me, the issue is her ability to accept that divorce is complicated and that the end of a marriage doesn’t mean the end of a relationship. Thus, the verbal bitchslap. My sincerest apologies to anyone offended by my tone. Have a wonderful weekend, y’all.

  3. 33
    Selena

    It would be helpful if we knew what he actually told her when they first started dating. Maybe he told her the divorce was imminent. Maybe he told her they had delayed it to pay off some debts first. Or to put it into a more favorable tax year. There could have been any number of reasons he gave to give her the impression he would be legally divorced very soon and now, 6 weeks later, she is questioning his sincerity. I would be too if after a 1.5 year separation he said divorce was “a big step”. Well duh. And if he was unsure about getting a divorce why was he dating?

    After reading Abigail’s letter a second time it seemed less demanding to me. She simply asked since he hadn’t filed the papers should she ask him again, or move on? I’m interpreting this as asking if his reluctance a sign she is wasting her time with him? Maybe. Best advice would probably be to ask HIM (in a calm, non-demanding, non-judgemental way) if there is a reason he hasn’t filed. If he’s not ready, then he’s not ready and she should base her decision on continuing to date him on his answers.

  4. 34
    Jennifer

    @Kenley #12- I completely agree. We are all making a big deal of the six week thing, but notice that her ‘boyfriend’ has no problems with her demands- he hasn’t told her to shove it, or asked her if she’s crazy like it sounds like most people would if your girlfriend of six weeks asked you to do these things. He’s promised to meet her demands. He’s not bothered by the title and timeline. Soime of us may think it’s a bit much, but the two people in the situation clearly don’t.

    Which leads me back to Kenley’s response- he has too much attachment to a life he is trying to act like he is done with, and the letter writer is correct to be concerned. She isa bit misguided in thinking that if she just makes him sign the papers everything will be okay, but her gut feeling that he is not really fully available to be with her is correct and she should be concerned and/or leaving.

  5. 35
    A-L

    Abigail,

    Don’t ask again, just move on. Also, when in a relationship, you may always request something, but never demand. Unless you’re willing to walk. And even then, being demanding is just a pretty sucky characteristic to have.

    Karl R & Selena:

    Ditto to y’all. I won’t call someone my boyfriend until we’re exclusive. By the six week mark I’m usually seeing someone 3-4 times a week, or more. And my current bf and I became exclusive around the 6-week mark too. So, not all people think that six weeks is too early, though maybe the jury’s out on whether or not I’m a weirdo.

    To those who are concerned about the OP’s letter and how Evan responded to it:

    All the OP wanted to know was whether she should continue nagging her boyrfriend or just move on. So did Evan give her more than she was asking for? Yes. But it’s also like the woman who asks if she has any lipstick on her teeth but who happens to have a bunch of broccoli stuck in them. You could just answer the question about the lipstick but it would be kind to also mention the broccoli, even though she didn’t ask about it. And her demanding nature is a big red flag for most guys, even if it isn’t one for her current boyfriend. So Evan was right to bring it up. Could he have been gentler about it? Yes. Would that affect how the OP received his message? None of us know. Some people need to be told things very carefully and tactfully, while otherwise need to be slapped across the face with it. Since none of us know Abigail personally, none of us can really say.

    In regards to the veracity of the letter and Evan’s questions

    I think it’s a real letter. There are probably other people in similar situations. That said, however, I tend to prefer the letters/advice columns that have some of the general/bigger picture dating questions than some of the dating practicalities/minutiae, but maybe that’s just me.

  6. 36
    JB

    @Cilla….yes “advanced dater” = someone who’s mature and been dating a number of years and DOES’NT ask “why doesn’t my boyfriend of 5 days who I’m in love with wanna be exclusive with me when we hold hands every day in the cafeteria?” Are’nt we going “steady”?? Yadda,Yadda,Yadda

    Sorry if you don’t know the difference,maybe when you’re older you’ll understand that someone that’s been doing something 20 years rather than 3 might be a little more advanced. Btw Evan was an “advanced dater” before he got married…lol

  7. 37
    Cilla

    @JB

    Re: “… maybe when you’re a little older…” You have no idea how old I am. Just for the record, I’m 47.

    Age does not always have bearing on one’s understanding of relationships. I know people who are 20 who are wise beyond their years and people who are 50 who are as socially awkward as pre-adolescents.

    If you re-read Evan’s post #23, perhaps you’ll see that even he failed to see the difference between the problems of (self-proclaimed) “advanced daters” and the rest of his readers. I took that to mean that regardless of their dating volume or experience, all daters eventually run into situations that stymie them. I also interpreted his continued use of quotation marks around the phrase “advanced daters” to indicate some sense of skepticism on his part about that term.

    There are plenty of people who have been dating for 20 years and consider themselves “advanced daters” by virtue of sheer volume but have not evolved in their comprehension of human nature in the least. Perhaps that is why they are still on the market 20 years later. At some point the term “advanced dater” becomes interchangeable with “aging lothario.”

  8. 38
    Selena

    I have to wonder what kind of questions those of us who are “advanced daters” could come up with for Evan? Seems we are more adept at supplementing Evan’s opinions and advice with our own “experienced” ones than coming up with something new and outrageous. lol

  9. 39
    JB

    Well that would be ADVANCED aging lothario btw…lol
    And because I’m so advanced I don’t have any questions….lol

    While I do agree that age isn’t always an indicator of one’s understanding of relationships. The vast majority of people are more likely to have knowledge and experiences the longer they do anything.

    For the record I had no problem with Evan’s answer to this gals question like others may have.

  10. 40
    Selena

    Does anyone else find it a bit odd that the wife in this equation has had a relationship AND a breakup with a boyfriend when neither one in the couple has even filed for divorce?

    Yeah, divorce can be complicated … but, this whole situation seems more off after the first read.

  11. 41
    Jelise

    I thought the OP seemed a bit pushy and a little clueless. That said, I find divorced/separated guys really insane when it comes to the exes, so I can very easily imagine that the guy’s behavior regarding his ex is inappropriate and insensitive to the new woman in his life, even if she is a very new woman. I also thought that Evan’s response was out-of-line harsh and unjustifiably accusatory.

  12. 43
    downtowngal

    Hello?!?!? He’s STILL married!

    Evan, you would dump her because you’re a decent guy. This guy won’t because he probably enjoys having someone in his life who’s willing to serve at least one of his needs, but he is in now way ready for a relationship. Which means this gal has to make a choice.

    I’ve seen all too many times women who get involved with guys in transition – they always get hurt. Could be the nicest guy in the world but at the end of the day you’re still ‘rebound girl’.

    Though I think it’s weird for a guy to invite his ex out to dinner w his new gf, this dude doesn’t owe her anything. Get a life.

  13. 44
    Slim Pickens

    I’m a guy that’s been separated about 16 months now. I started ‘dating’ after about 6 months of separation, but very quickly came to my senses and stopped. There was definitely a brief period when my priorities were all screwed up, my rebound was at the top of the heap, and my 18 yrs with the soon-to-be-ex be damned. I would have probably agreed to just about anything the rebound wanted.

    Obviously this is the recipe for disaster. I came to very quickly though, before any serious damage was done. And the damage that did occur was all self-inflicted.

    The Guy in this scenario was telling this 6 wk old friend that okay, he will never have dinner with his ex and kid again. That tells me that he has a very long way to go. He has no business dating right now, he hasn’t learned a very basic lesson. I can sort of understand the long delay between separating and filings, there are many reasons for that. I can understand the temporary insanity thing. But after 1.5 years, something is off here. With both parties. One of them needs to come to their senses, quickly. Perhaps Evan’s sage advice will wake her up. (I doubt it though).

  14. 45
    Joe

    Selena asks:
    What’s the hold up?

    I don’t know about the state where you live, but the one I’m in requires a 12-month minimum period of separation before you can file for divorce.

    Also, I’ve seen situations where people separate but don’t divorce until one of them is ready to marry someone else because of benefit reasons (not those kinds of benefits! :-p), such as maintenance of health insurance.

  15. 46
    Joe

    Oh, also, in the letter it wasn’t just dinner with his ex, it was dinner with his ex AND their 3-year old kid. That’s not exactly the kind of get-together that screams, “Romance!”

  16. 47
    downtowngal

    Slim, what you’ve said reflects what I’ve been advised by many guys who’ve been there – if you’re looking for a committed relationship, don’t date a guy unless he’s been divorced. Not separated, divorced. And some go further to say for at least a year. Doesn’t matter the circumstances.

    The same probably holds true for guys and divorced women as well. I know when I broke up w my ex it took me at least a year until I felt ready to commit myself emotionally.

  17. 48
    Lucy

    Abigail,

    Why should you have to ask a man to get a divorce even a first time, let alone a second? He either wants a divorce or he doesn’t, yes? It appears from your letter this couple is content to stay married and have relationships with other people. If you want no part of such an arrangement (and who could blame you?) your choice is clear. Tell this person you do not want to be a married man’s girlfriend and move on.

    Stray thought: I wonder why the wife’s boyfriend broke up with HER?

  18. 49
    Selena

    Joe, Re: #45

    In states that mandate a year’s separation before a divorce is granted, aren’t the parties required to file a statement of intent to divorce at the start of the separation?

    Since the man in this letter is printing forms off the internet a year and a half later for the first time, it wouldn’t seem he falls into such a scenario.

  19. 50
    starthrower68

    I’m afraid as someone who gets along with her ex and still has quite a bit of interaction with him because of three children I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for Abigail. That little boy is not to be penalized for who his mother is; if you don’t want to share your man with children from a previous relationship then do not become involved with a man who has them. Second, I can tell you that life will go much smoother with a man who gets along with his ex rather than with one who is always bickering with her. Third, feelings are not facts. They are to be taken in balance as in all things and are not to rule us. I agree with Evan that perhaps this is not a good match.

  20. 51
    Angela

    She should move on. Six weeks is too early to claim someone. All divorces are not acrimonious. Just because he is friendly with his father -in law and had his soon to be ex wife over does not mean they are getting back together. My ex and I often had dinner together with my son. I left him and there was nothing going on. In addition, we had him over on his birthday so my son could do something special (cake and ice cream) and a gift.

  21. 52
    Joe

    Dunno never been divorced (or married!).

  22. 53
    someone who knows

    it totally may be other circumstances, like money for a divorce- or kids. He may be from a religious family who do not belive in divorce who he has to get the guts up to tell. Bottom line— divorces happen everyday and 6 weeks (longer now) is not a lot of time to demand him to pay a lawyer the retainer (1,000-35,000) depending on the case. He has to decide that on himself. Allow him to make the right decisions without your influence. If you are the person he may want to spend the rest of his life with- he will want to get it finalized after due time together and everything will take care of themselves. You are the one that chose a guy (even if a wonderful great guy) with very excess baggage. This is either going to be a push to him to get it done eventually, or he will show his true colors. If you love him enough to stand by him now- do so not threatening-like cause he’s going to get enough of that in a divorce and that may be what he is trying to avoid. If he loves you enough and you love him enough you have time for divorce in your future (his- not you all’s). Good luck! If it’s meant to be- it will be

  23. 54
    kadija

    I understand Abigail’s point of view. Firstly, yes you can call someone your BF after dating for six weeks, the way I read this post is, she wanted advice on how to go about this relationship, and if it was worth for her to pursue this relationship.
     In my opinion I feel she should walk away from this situation, it sound as if this guy is not over his ex wife, why would he want to console his ex when he has a new relationship? Yes hes got a child with his ex wife,and no woman should disputewith a guy about spending time with his child,  from mypoint of view I know that  most woman will not agree for their new bf to be taking their exs out for dinner….
    I was in a relationship some years ago similar to this post,  in the end  I had to make an exit cause the guy was clearly stuck up on his exwife even though he divorced her after we started dating and later living together, it felt like his exwife was his main priority evne though she had moved on and married someone else, I told him I was not happy the wa he behaved and I was accused of being controlling and all sorts, like it was normal for him to visit her when im not around, she would call and ask him for extra cash that he would liet o me about, there were all sorts and in the end I had to make a choice, so i left.. I am divorced too with four kids from my ex husband, I have never given my ex bf reason to feel insecure about my ex husband, whereas I have felt insecure about his ex wife for so many reasons….

  24. 55
    Cat

    The “boyfriend’s” ex will ALWAYS be in the picture because they share a child. Not clear is whether Abigail will be in the picture, too…

    Abigail sounds incredibly insecure and immature to me. Six weeks is hardly enough time to have had a few dates, much less deliver ultimatums to someone you’ve just started dating! If he’d only dated his ex for six weeks and they didn’t have a child, I could see where she’s coming from. But what a terrible stepmom she’s going to be–that is, IF she doesn’t get dumped. (Would you even want a guy who’ll treat his ex & child badly just to make you feel secure?)

    It’s natural to want to know someone’s marital status. In fact, I choose not to date guys going through a divorce because it IS complicated and messy (even without a child’s well being to consider.) But if the guy isn’t ready to get a divorce, you won’t force him to change his mind. Also, #54, you can call someone your BF anytime you want, but that doesn’t make it true… I’m glad you went on from a bad marriage and have a new relationship! As Evan told me recently, don’t get stuck in the past… Good advice!

  25. 56
    Goldie

    What bothers me the most in this story is not that the guy is on good terms with his ex, or takes care or his son (good things, both). Is that he’s been separated for a year and a half and hasn’t even gotten around to “printing the forms off the net”. It would be one thing if he’d spent this whole time trying to get his divorce finalized, but from Abigail’s letter I see it had never entered his mind to even get started on this. For whatever reason, this man really does not want to get divorced at this point in time. Hence, he cannot be anybody’s “boyfriend”, and it’s pretty silly to complain that he is not over his “ex” – she is not even his ex at this point, she’s his wife, simple as that. I would really like to know what he did or said to lead Abigail to believe that they’re in a relationship. I disagree with Evan’s comment that “the end of a marriage doesn’t mean the end of a relationship” – I mean, I agree with this statement on principle, but I don’t believe it applies to Abigal and her (boyfriend?) whomever. This guy’s marriage is nowhere close to ending. Heck, now that his ex(?) is available, I woouldn’t be surprised if they got back together. Happens all the time. It would probably be a good thing, too.

  26. 57
    Terri

    SIX WEEKS?  Are you serious?  As others have said, calling a man a BF after such a short period of time is what we did in high school.  You hardly know each other and have no right to make demands on him at this early point in your relationship.
     
    If he wants to invite his not-ex wife and child to dinner, he should do so when he is not with you.  The little boy will always be in his life and deserves his undivided attention when they are together.  If this man were to marry you, which I strongly doubt, you would probably be a terrible stepmother.
     
    He apparently is not ready to divorce.  Maybe he does want to go back with his ex.  I doubt that he “loves” you.  You are a pleasant interlude until he decides what he really wants to do but stop nagging him as you will drive him away very quickly.

  27. 58
    Chris

    I’m sure that there are facts which where possibly never mentioned. Maybe this boyfriend lead her to believe he was available Maybe he feed her mind with kind and sweet words and never ready advice here what the situation was and how involved he was until feelings were deeply involved. in fact, He probably painted the opposite picture about his ability and involvement with his ex and her family. And him calling her girlfriend, it was all part of the mind game, he possibly was playing. How do I know this because the exact same story happen to be. Except as much as I’ve Grown to care about him I realize I have a chose to move forward . The problem is his as well as hers. He should be involved in a relationship if he never got divorced officially. I now have learned the same lesson.

  28. 59
    nicol

    it doesnt matter for how long they are together, there is about his own actions. He didnt do it for 1.5 years perhaps in a hope will have his family back, but thats all to be assumed. No matter when u meet someone if he is married yet on the papers, will certanly doubt your decision to be or not with someone who cannot make up his mind… think u people taken too hard comments on this girl. Bet you would like ur exes to flaf around your houses any time u want, with kids or without. Symphaty is good but is always a teritorial thing that we like to apartain and control in the end, thats why is called commintment… the marriage. If he needs to decide something will be for himself first and for a luck of respect for his ”newlly girlfriend”. i dont know in which world are you people live but some of us can get married at distance, after 2, 3 months even since u met someone, so how come u can be judgemental that someone calls herself girlfriend???!!! I have a child myself, but there is no friendship like ” hey ex lets have a drink and socialize over our problems”, our own concern is our son. Thats all. I dont know anything about his like and so he about mine. There is all respect and ignorance regarding us ”today”. who cares what he is doing if he does care about our son. Thats all that matter to me. Justice… hmmm…. is that to clean your plate before u dribble another one… so thats call a new start. If you cant do it, stay in house till u ready to love proper someone not to mess up another mind! cheers guys! nicol

  29. 60
    Cathy

    I didn’t agree with Marc’s response to this letter and I was shocked that my thinking was, seemingly, so ‘out’.  

    Why would a guy take a very new girl (doesn’t matter what we call her – girlfriend or not, a potential new romance) to have dinner with his ex-wife?  That is incredibly inappropriate.  I question his judgment.  This seems to scream of emotional unavailability.

    Furthermore, why would he choose to hold this dinner because his ex’s new relationship has failed?  He should show appropriate sympathy, concern and understanding, also bearing in mind that she is the mother of his child, but console?  That isn’t his role, especially after so little time being separated from her, himself.  Let’s not forget, he also isn’t divorced or settled into a new, long-term relationship himself.  

    Yes, 6 weeks is too soon to be called a girlfriend, but this could just be semantics.  Yes, bullying or demanding someone to get a divorce after so little time also shows a degree of insecurity and immaturity.  Yes, she will most likely be dumped for this and I feel it will do her a big favour.  

    They are both in the wrong.  Her reaction is wrong and his involvement is inappropriate.

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