Separate but dating

Joey Garcia

I told my girlfriend from the start that I was married but had been separated for three months. She insisted that I get a divorce. I told her that I would try. We had a good relationship; I thought that I would marry her after my divorce. I did not count on legitimate delays, like my ex-wife getting pregnant by her new man. I felt an ethical obligation to my ex-wife, even though the baby was not mine. If I divorced her, her medical costs during the pregnancy would not be insured.

Tired of excuses, my girlfriend dumped me. I felt that the only thing I could do was lie and say that I had filed for divorce. In an attempt to be open, I told her about my ex-wife’s pregnancy. My girlfriend figured out that I lied. She accused me of lying about my divorce and cheating on her with my ex-wife and on my ex-wife with her. She also accused me of fathering my ex’s baby. She has sent me nasty e-mails saying that she hates me and would never forgive me. I want to get back with her, but her trust in me has vanished. Is there any hope?

There is always hope. For example, I hope that you realize that lying destroys trust. I hope that you understand that you do not deserve a second chance with your girlfriend because you are not ready for a committed partnership. Separation is either a period of discernment (you are deciding whether to divorce or to work harder to mend the marriage) or a period of preparation (you’re clear that divorce is the right choice and you are moving toward it with clear, consistent actions). If you are in discernment, you should not be dating; you should be in therapy. If you are dating, you and your nearly ex-spouse should be divvying knickknacks and meeting with an attorney to hash out the divorce. A person who is separated but also dating without moving toward divorce is impotent emotionally.

In your situation, keeping your ex-wife insured may have been an act of kindness. However, you may have done it to assuage your guilt about the divorce or having an affair. Or your ego may have liked the feeling of her relying on you. The bottom line is that if you were planning on marrying your girlfriend, you should have been acting like a couple. You should have told her everything. Then, as partners, you would have decided whether to keep your wife insured. You didn’t. Your girlfriend’s exit is the result of your betrayals.

I am a 42-year-old woman, never married. Four years ago, I took a break from dating to heal my habit of staying in bad relationships too long. Now I am a happy, attractive woman, but I can’t get a date with anyone suitable—let alone anyone wonderful. I am in a Christian singles group (zero dates) and on an Internet dating site (one date in five months). I’m active in church and other activities, but I haven’t had a single offer, and my invitations have been rejected repeatedly. It is as if I am invisible. I pray about this daily. Do you think God is preventing me from meeting someone?

No. If you have prayed and put this situation in God’s hands, you must forgo kronos (clock and calendar time) and surrender into kairos (eternal time). God’s responses are not on our schedule. In the meantime, continue to focus on the beautiful person you have become and search the world for opportunities to serve those who are without food, shelter, health care or opportunities for education. You may long to lavish your love on a man, but the world yearns intensely for your attention.

Meditation of the week
What inhibits you from being in closer union with God? During Lent, these 40 days of purification before the celebration of Easter, practice surrendering one of the attitudes or behaviors that block the flow of love from your heart to the world.

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