How long is too long to wait for love?
November 5, 2011 2:36 PM   Subscribe

How long it too long to wait for someone?

Kinda of long story but I'll try to shorten it up. I've been divorced for over a year and in that time I have moved back home, got a good job and my own place to stay. Shortly after I moved back home I reconnected with a friend from high school, this friend is someone that I had feelings for in high school. Before she came to visit I let her in on the fact that I had feelings for her in high school, we flirted and things went from there. We decided that when she came to visit we would get together and go on a date.

We did and the date was fantastic, best date of my life. We did our best to see each other whenever we could while she was here. 3 weeks later she left to go back home and we were still together. We tried making the long distance thing work but it didn't last long, about 3 months after she was gone we split up. I guess I should mention that she is married and two beautiful daughters.

Anyway, we remained friends or at least tried to it got to the point that we stopped talking for a few weeks. Fast forward to 2 months ago, she came back here for a visit and we decided that we would be nothing more than friends. Well that lasted about a week, one night we went out drinking and dancing and we ended sharing a good night kiss on my porch. Things went from there and we are back to the same spot again as last time. I am here and she is there.

She has made several comments about not being happy in her marriage and him not making her feel the way I make her feel. I've got friends telling me that she just wants the best of both worlds. And that I need to put a time limit on the relationship and make her decide what/who she wants.

So I turn to the world of strangers to give me some advice. Do I sit around and wait on her to come back to me? Or do I give her a time limit on things and force her to make a decision soon? If I put a time limit on it, how long is a fair time limit on this sort of thing? Please help me!
posted by roxiesmom to Human Relations (47 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Carrying on an affair with a married person that doesn't have clearance from their spouse is really not ok, IMO.

Break it off.

Make it clear that you have more than feelings for her, which is why you initiated the affair in the first place. You realize now that was a mistake, no matter how good it felt for both of you, and that it has to end. She should do what she feels is right for her and for her daughters.

You can wait after that for as long as you want to, although I wouldn't recommend waiting for very long.
posted by kavasa at 2:44 PM on November 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


She can look you up when she's not married anymore. You shouldn't have a romantic relationship until/if that happens. You probably shouldn't have any relationship with her.

Do I sit around and wait on her to come back to me? Or do I give her a time limit on things and force her to make a decision soon?

Don't do either of these things. Just move on.
posted by sweetkid at 2:45 PM on November 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


How long is too long to wait for a married woman who has never told you she intends to leave her husband and be with you? Um, however much time you've been waiting is too long.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:48 PM on November 5, 2011 [31 favorites]


She was never "yours" to wait for because she made the decision to commit her life to her husband with whom she consequently had children. If she's not happy with her marriage that's between her and her husband, not you and her. I'm with your friends -- she wants the best of both worlds. She wants to feel the excitement of a new romance without the work of sorting out her stagnant marriage.

Guess what? There are billions of people in the world and I bet at least one of those people can be as interesting and appealing as she is to you while being in the happy circumstance of being single. What are you waiting for (really)? Go out there and find her!
posted by loquat at 2:52 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't mean to sound harsh, but never in a million years is a long-distance relationship with a married mother of two going to work. Even if she were to leave her husband, how are you going to deal with the distance? How old are kids? Are you expecting her to leave or relocate them?
posted by lunalaguna at 2:57 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Even if she had said she was leaving her husband for you, unless she has the papers in her hand...

You're deluding yourself. Shut it down.
posted by custard heart at 2:58 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


She is from here and her family is here so it she did leave him, she would move here. She has made mention of leaving him but as pointed out she doesn't have papers in hand. She says she's in love with me and wants a future with me. But I keep coming back to the distance and her marriage
posted by roxiesmom at 3:06 PM on November 5, 2011


People say a lot of things. Run away. Given how vulnerable you've been so far, you shouldn't have any contact until she's divorced and even then.... She sounds like bad news. I hope she gets her act together in time to be a good influence on her daughters.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:12 PM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


The fact that you're female makes it even less likely, IMO, that she will leave her husband for you. Leaving an unhappy marriage is one thing. Leaving an unhappy marriage with children involved, even more complicated. Coming out in addition to all that may be something she's scared or reluctant to do. It might make it difficult for her to keep custody of her kids, could cause her family embarrassment. As enlightened as many people are, this would still be major, potentially devastating scandal for some.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:18 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess I should mention that she is married and two beautiful daughters.

You buried the lede there, my friend.

Abort! Long distance + married + kids = this is already a mess. She may well be unhappy, but you're just the fantasy option for her right now. You deserve someone who can be with you unencumbered. Relationships are hard enough. Listen to your friends.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 3:19 PM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


In this case, about 1 second. There are other women out there,
posted by Ironmouth at 3:20 PM on November 5, 2011


I'm going to depart from the pack. It's hard to tell whether you feel like you are deeply, irrevocably in love. If the answer is yes, one hour is too long to wait for her, yet a lifetime seems do-able too. Good luck, been there.
posted by thinkpiece at 3:29 PM on November 5, 2011


She's married to a man? And you are a lady, yes?

Is she bisexual, or is she not heterosexual at all? Because if she needs to come out in order to be with you, that's potentially a big sticking point all its own. BUT, it could also mean that she isn't living her life as her real self right now.
posted by clockzero at 3:42 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am in fact madly in love with her.
posted by roxiesmom at 3:43 PM on November 5, 2011


She was openly gay in high school. If asked now she would classify herself as a bisexual. Many of her friends now about she and I, as well as my friends and co-workers.
posted by roxiesmom at 3:44 PM on November 5, 2011


Tell her that as soon as she files for divorce, you can be together. Until then, cut it off.
posted by fraula at 3:50 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, so people know- that's great. She likes drama. You deserve better. You deserve better. You deserve better. Go find something better.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:52 PM on November 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


Madly in love or not, unless you're happy being "the other woman" and having her cheat on her husband with you, you shouldn't spend anymore time with her or even talk to her anymore unless she leaves her husband. You obviously aren't capable of being just friends with her. And right now, she gets to be with you when she feels like it and then can just go back to her family and not have to make any hard decisions.

Unless you're content with hanging around indefinitely, you're better off cutting off contact with her and moving on with your life.
posted by wondermouse at 3:56 PM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh, sweetie. I feel for you. This is not going to happen. I think you need to cut off contact for a while.
posted by mochapickle at 3:57 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Somewhere out there, there's a woman who is wonderful and available.
This woman isn't her.

As painful as it is, walk away.
posted by luckynerd at 4:02 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd say "don't wait." You have your life to live and a whole world of possibilities waiting for you.

IMO, affairs with (monogamously) married people tend to be errors in judgement. If children are involved, then starting that affair is a decision that can have serious consequences for their lives.

I'd say that if it's real love, let that give you the strength to do the difficult thing and back off. If she's going to leave her marriage, let her do it for her own reasons; if she's going to come to you, let her do so freely; but don't be the reason that family breaks up.

Bottom line: There are people nearby who will love you wholeheartedly and want to build a life with no one but you. These people are far more satisfying to love than the addiction of the eternally unavailable.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:03 PM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


When she left this last time I did my best to tell her we couldn't be anything while she was still married. But I caved when she kissed me and told me she loved me and saw things differently this time with us. Says she sees things with us as the happily ever after but......
posted by roxiesmom at 4:36 PM on November 5, 2011


Right now, she has a pretty great setup- a husband who presumably loves her and helps support the household and is apparently ok with watching the kids while she goes back home to visit for weeks at a time, AND a girlfriend back home that she doesn't even have to hide her relationship with. Why would she change this?

I know you are thinking, well, she's a good person, she sees me as more than some ass on the side... but if she's such a good person, why is she cheating on her husband?
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:47 PM on November 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


Nthing run away.
posted by naoko at 5:02 PM on November 5, 2011


it sure sounds like she is a selfish/dramatic person, and you are getting played.
posted by facetious at 5:06 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Her kids come with her every time she visits, her husband knows she's got a girl onthe side I'm not the first and I'm sure if I walk away I won't be the last. She's told me to go out and date while she is gone.

I can't seem to stay away from her when she's here so I know if I dated someone I'd end up hurting that person when she came back to visit
posted by roxiesmom at 5:08 PM on November 5, 2011


This just keeps getting worse and worse. I thought it was bad enough until you mentioned that many of her friends know about your affair with her. Yeah, that just makes her sound nuts. There's no way this will work, both of you are about to walk off a cliff.
posted by jayder at 5:10 PM on November 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm getting the feeling you're going to threadsit until someone says it's ok to pursue this. I don't think anyone here's going to do that.
posted by mochapickle at 5:16 PM on November 5, 2011 [21 favorites]


Her kids come with her every time she visits, her husband knows she's got a girl onthe side I'm not the first and I'm sure if I walk away I won't be the last. She's told me to go out and date while she is gone.

This just underscores that she's not going to leave her husband and that she's got exactly the set up she wants here. If that set up is totally fine with you, stick around. Sounds like it's not.
posted by sweetkid at 5:19 PM on November 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


Please make showbiz_liz's last sentence above your mantra. I know it's so hard to believe that someone you like and respect might actually not be as awesome as you think, but just know what this looks like from the outside. And as mochapickle points out, we pretty much have consensus here that this is a bad idea.

Try to think of friends who have been in similar quandaries, and if in considering their situation you find yourself saying "yes, but she's different, this is different," then that will be a good indicator to you that your perspective is being clouded.
posted by gubenuj at 5:20 PM on November 5, 2011


roxiesmom, it seems from this end of the internet that you're absolutely desperate for someone to come in here and say "yeah, this is fine. She'll leave her man soon and you guys will live happily ever after".

But of course, you wouldn't even be asking if deep down you didn't know this was a terrible situation.

I can't seem to stay away from her when she's here so I know if I dated someone I'd end up hurting that person when she came back to visit

This is some serious bullshit, and you know it. This woman doesn't have a pussy made of gold, and she doesn't have a mind control device that will make you come to her whenever she calls.

Tell her you're not going to see her as long as she married. Period. If she says she's going to get divorced at some point in the future, say "great! Give me a call when you're out!" but don't believe her. She'll just find another woman who's fine with being a piece on the side. Remember: she can be a great person, and you two might have great times together, but that doesn't mean she isn't a terrible person to have in your life.

You're young. You're a wonderful person. You will find someone fantastic who is not a glutton for drama.
posted by auto-correct at 5:25 PM on November 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


If she's had a chick on the side before and you know that if you leave her, you won't be her last chick on the side, then what on earth makes you think you have a sustainable relationship with her? I mean, clearly you know the score. Why are you lying to yourself, and disrespecting yourself so much that you'll let this woman use you and throw you away?

You can do better. You can do better. You can do better.
posted by palomar at 5:35 PM on November 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


Her kids come with her every time she visits, her husband knows she's got a girl onthe side I'm not the first and I'm sure if I walk away I won't be the last. She's told me to go out and date while she is gone.

Okay, so it sounds like she just wants to have a girlfriend outside of her marriage, but not that she actually wants to leave her marriage, nor does she expect any sort of serious commitment from you. To wait around for her to leave her husband with the idea that she would date you exclusively is only asking for more problems in the future. She's not only bisexual; she likes having more than one relationship going on at the same time. She doesn't even hide that. If you're not happy being in an open relationship, I doubt you will ever be any happier with her than you are now.

Says she sees things with us as the happily ever after but......

This isn't a fairy tale. I'm not sure what sort of response you're looking for here, but it very clearly sounds like you want more from her than she's willing to give, and therefore you've already waited long enough for her and it's time to move on.
posted by wondermouse at 5:45 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


She says she's in love with me and wants a future with me.

If she wasn't in love with you and saw no future with you, but wanted you to be her girl on the side for as long as possible, what do you think she would say? I think she would say "I love you and I want a future with you". This is totally a case of actions speaking louder than words. She has a history of having girls on the side that her husband totally knows about. So it's not like it's going to all blow up if her husband finds out, and it doesn't sound like she has any difficulty finding women to be involved with. Plus she has kids with her husband and she doesn't even live where you do.

She currently has absolutely no reason to leave her husband, and it sounds like there is nothing you could do that would make her want to leave her husband. Wanting desperately to be with someone who does not desperately want to be with you is a recipe for heartbreak. Time to move on.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:01 PM on November 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


I am all for love. I am all for leaving bad marriages to be your true self. I am all for long odds romance, even. I am not all for being a doormat.

Being in love is not actually an excuse for being an idiot because this is not a Hallmark movie. You tell her you love her, you tell her you want to be with her, and you tell her that the minute she walks out the door of her marital home, she's got a door to knock on.

And then you cut all contact, knowing there's a 50% chance you'll never hear from her again.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:10 PM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've never found a quicker or more reliable path to heartbreak than settling for being the sex on the side while wishing and hoping you had love and commitment instead.

Don't do it.
posted by Space Kitty at 6:36 PM on November 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


This is totally a case of actions speaking louder than words.

Agreed. What she is saying and what she is doing are two different things. You need to believe her actions; they are right in front of you.

You can do better.
posted by Specklet at 6:47 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm curious as to why you don't think that at some point you will be the girlfriend/wife/whatever and she'll have a guy on the side. Or, if you think that's likely (and I do, given her current pattern of behavior,) how you rectify that with your vision of a "happily ever after."

Right now it looks an awful lot to me like she's imposing open relationships on whoever wants to be with her romantically enough (or has so much to lose) that they'll put up with it. That... doesn't seem healthy to me at all.

(I also think you and she are setting a terrible example for her two daughters, in the "walking all over someone just because you can" and "getting walked all over because you've decided you're in love" department.)
posted by SMPA at 8:02 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


A LOT of married people who like to cheat will claim that they're unhappily married (this may or may not be true), and/or may claim to leave their spouse. And then don't. It's a lot more easy and comfortable for her to stay rather than go. Especially with kids.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:03 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's pretty much never a good idea to wait for someone to figure out their shit so they can be with you. What you're communicating to her by being willing to do that is, "I put my needs after yours - I'm willing to put my life on hold for you, but would never expect you to do the same for me." That's not really a good footing for a relationship.

There's really only one thing to do here, and it's going to be hard. Tell her you can't talk to her again as long as she's married. Cut off all contact with her, and date other people. And... that's it. I know it seems like there should be more, but there really isn't. You need to detox from her so you can see how bad this situation is. It's clear from your question, and especially your updates, that you can't see that right now.
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:22 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A late-night addendum to my last comment:

You aren't the least bit stupid for getting into this situation. I think that I and lots of other people in this thread feel strongly about this because we totally see ourselves in you. We've all been there. Being in love is wonderful, but it can also make us do stupid things.

Most recently, I was dating a girl that I was really, really into. There were lots of signs that she wasn't that into me: I was the one arranging all our dates, we always stayed at my place, I never met her friends. I saw these signs, but I justified them away. "She's shy. She wants the guy to make plans. She wants to wait until we're serious before letting me into her life. etc etc". My friends warned me, but I kept coming up with reasons to keep spending time with her (much like you've been doing in this thread). And in some ways I wasn't wrong; we did get along great, the sex was really good... but the good stuff doesn't cancel out the bad stuff. After dating for a couple months, she just cold stopped returning my calls. After a week of no contact, I realized I'd been a sucker. Two weeks after that, she sent me a text message to tell me it wasn't going to work out; as if I hadn't already figured it out.

My point is, the situation was blindingly obvious to anyone looking from the outside, but she was smart and really pretty so I was pretty much ready to justify any bullshit she sent my way.

Here's the way I see it. If someone loves you, you should never have to make excuses for them. In the good relationships I've been in, I've been really eager to tell my friends all the great things about [girl], and I look forward to them asking me questions about her. In the sketchy situations, I preemptively make excuses for their behaviour and stretch for justifications for why their actions don't match up with their words. It's very, very hard to see a relationship clearly from inside the limerance, but you should try really hard to read your own post and ask yourself what advice you would give someone who asked you this question.
posted by auto-correct at 1:38 AM on November 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


Every day you spend waiting for this woman is a day you're missing out on having a real relationship and partner.

You are nothing but her piece on the side. When you bail, she'll find another.

When you're ready, you'll decide you deserve to be someone's first choice, not someone's replaceable side action.
posted by 26.2 at 7:34 AM on November 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


When she left this last time I did my best to tell her we couldn't be anything while she was still married. But I caved when she kissed me and told me she loved me and saw things differently this time with us.

What a lousy trick to pull. There are lots of non-monogamous folk she could be dallying with, there are lots of poly folk who would be willing to give her non-primary love attachment, but she's unwilling to give you up and uses your sexual attraction to her to interrupt your attempts to set boundaries.

She already has the relationship she wants: her marriage, with occasional flings with other women.
posted by endless_forms at 12:15 PM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


To update I've since broken things up with the girl. I told her as long as she's married I'm her friend nothing more. My heart is broken but I'm hoping things will improve. She says she's gonna get a divorce but not sure I know what believe.
posted by roxiesmom at 12:58 PM on November 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


That sounds like the right move, roxiesmom! Good luck -- I hope it all goes well for you.
posted by cider at 1:11 PM on November 7, 2011


Good to hear that you have made a firm decision. Believe in her actions not words. She did ask you to date while she is away then that means she is divorcing because of you. I believe everyone deserve 100% relationship not 50%
posted by artofgiving at 11:20 PM on November 7, 2011


Yay for you! "Believe in her actions not words." be strong and don't waste time following her actions.

You are better off right now than you were yesterday.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 1:45 PM on November 8, 2011


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