And feel sorry that you thought I might be.
Yes, I know that isn’t your name but I certainly don’t want to embarrass you in public. What follows might indeed embarrass you if people connected it to your real name. I don’t want that to happen.
I thoroughly enjoyed most of our day and evening together yesterday. Lunch, wine tasting, walking around town to look at the odds and ends in Wenatchee’s trendy consignment shops. Lots of conversation and laughs. Fun stuff — very promising for a second date.
I looked forward to our dinner together as I drove the winding roads to my temporary home with you behind me in your car. I appreciated you helping me with the groceries and my unexpectedly malfunctioning smoker. (Honestly, if the thing had worked properly for the entire time I was out yesterday, those ribs would have been much better.)
But it was during our conversation while I made dinner that things started to go south. You see, you originally represented yourself as “divorced.” I was very surprised to learn that not only was your divorce not finalized, but you haven’t even filed for divorce yet.
News flash: You are married.
You told me about your troubles with your wife — although I’m not sure why you referred to her as your “ex-wife” when you’re still legally married. I understand that things are not what you want them to be. You told me that she kicked you out, although you also said that she refuses to admit that she did so. Maybe she didn’t? Maybe she was giving you some freedom so you could get your head together?
And I think you need to get your head together on this.
When I asked you outright whether you would go back to your wife, you had to think about it before replying.
And what’s with the apartment without furniture? You say you have furniture in storage — why not move it to your new home? Is it because you’re not committing to that as a new home? Is it because you think there’s a chance that you and your wife might get back together and you don’t want to go through the process of moving twice? You did say more than once that you could pack up everything in your apartment into your van. Are you thinking of moving back in with her? Be honest with yourself! What are you really thinking?
You tell me that you send her money, so you’re still supporting her. You refer to your house that’s up for sale — don’t you realize that she owns half of it? In fact, because of the length of your marriage, that she probably owns half of everything you own? And, until you file for divorce, she can lay claim to half of everything you earn?
You tell me that your separation went smoothly and that you and your ex-wife remain on good terms. But she’s not your ex-wife! She’s your wife! Wait until you finally file for divorce — if you ever do. Things will turn ugly very quickly if you have something that she wants and you’re not willing to give it up. And how do you think divorce negotiations will go when another woman is involved? (Ask my ex-husband. He threw away any chance of the “amicable divorce” he claimed he wanted when he lied, cheated, harassed me, and made unreasonable demands for money and property. He turned what could have been a quick, civilized proceeding into a costly, never-ending war.)
And what about your kids? Do you really want them to remember you as the man who cheated on their mother?
I’ve given all this a lot of thought since you left last night on your long drive home. I realized, with a great deal of sadness, that you’re playing the same game my ex-husband played: poking around on dating sites to see whether you could replace your wife before doing the paperwork to legally end your marriage. You’re showing the same weakness he did: a fear of facing life alone. I honestly believe that you’re suffering from the same kind of confused thinking that plagued him in the final year of our marriage. That midlife crisis gone horribly wrong.
Yes, as I mentioned to you last night, my ex-husband also signed up for an online dating site while he was still married, before there was any talk of divorce. While he was talking to me on the phone about spending the summer with me in Washington, he was dating other women in Arizona, actively looking for my replacement. I can imagine him telling those women the same thing you told me: that you and your wife were separated with no chance of reconciliation. Is that really the truth? It wasn’t the truth for him.
But unlike the desperate old whore my ex-husband wound up with — what else could you call a woman who sleeps with a married man and takes his money and gifts? — I don’t date married men.
I have morals and principles. Being “the other woman” does not fall within the realm of what I’m willing to do for companionship and a warm body beside me in bed. And I’m not looking for a meal ticket or someone to tackle a “honey do” list.
Unlike the old woman who seduced my weak and morally confused husband with her sweet talk, 30-year-old lingerie photos, and god knows what else, I am not desperate enough to compromise my principles. And I never will be.
I do appreciate your honesty, even though it was belated. I’m just not the kind of woman you might think I am.
I’m disappointed. I really liked you a lot after our first date. So much, in fact, that I as I showered and dressed for yesterday’s date, I considered the possibility of asking you to spend the night if things went well. I even made appropriate preparations for whatever that might entail. But your revelations about your true marital status put any such thoughts out of my mind.
I’m also a little angry. I feel misled, manipulated.
So I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I say that I’d like to end this now, before it goes any further. I don’t need to make another bad emotional investment — I’m still reeling from the last one.
And do you know what’s crazy about all this? If the woman my husband left me for had half the moral fiber I have and had walked away from him as I am walking away from you, my marriage might have been saved. Maybe I’m saving yours.
And yes, I’ll speak to you in person before I post this online. It’s not my intention to break this kind of news in writing, especially in a public forum. Only a coward would do that — and although I’ve been called many things, coward is not one of them. This blog post is a reminder to me — and others in my situation — of how misguided some men can be. I’m so sorry that you’re one of them.
With sadness but no regrets,