Should I Stay with a Married Man Who Still Lives With His Wife?

I met a man online, we had an immediate connection, chemistry, romance, physical connection. My first date after 8 years of break after marriage (emotionally abusive marriage). However, he is still married on paper. They live together for the kids but in separate rooms. He was broken by her cheating. He has told me he sees us together in the future. But recently also shared he was thinking of long-term dating, scared to combine homes etc. I am feeling like I may need to move on but I don’t want to do something that I should be trying to work through. Do I listen to my gut and just know that I can do better!! My heart is open and ready for love and learning. I have put my past behind and I am ready for fun and happiness in my life. Is it time to let go of this? Thank you!!!


There are a few primal drivers in our life, Amy: to seek pleasure and to avoid pain.

Why do women stay with men who aren’t making them happy? To avoid pain.

Why do women leave men who aren’t making them happy? To seek pleasure.

The end of your letter tells me you’re ready to seek pleasure, and, from my experience, listening to your gut is rarely a bad idea, Amy.

The gut tells us what the brain and heart won’t: “I don’t feel safe here. Something is off here. I don’t think I can be myself here.”

I sum that all up into a neat quote: Believe the negatives, ignore the positives.

Of course, you’re going to have chemistry, romance, physical connection with a guy – that’s exactly what STARTS pretty much every relationship.

Well, dating a “broken” married man sounds, to me, like the opposite of fun and happiness.

But you’re playing the long game here – trying to find a lifetime partner, presumably – and your decision-making criteria has to change when you’re considering a future.

I think of a former Love U student named Kelly. Late 40’s, never been married, a long history of accepting poor treatment from men.

Finally, through coaching, Kelly sees the light and finds a guy who is smart and kind and funny and interested and treats her right. That’s the positives.

The negatives? Her boyfriend had a kidney disease and was missing a kidney. Because of complications from his disease, he had the bottom of one leg amputated. Because of his health issues, he was depressed and suffered from erectile dysfunction.

Eight months in, Kelly was starting to feel guilty – she appreciated that he was a kind man who was treating her well, but she didn’t have the “normal” love life she sought – one filled with fun, travel and sex.

When she turned to me for private counsel, I’m sure she was expecting me to tell her something about character and communication and valuing how well he treats her.

Instead, I said this:

“Kelly, I promise you that you can find another man who treats you well that has two kidneys, two legs and a working dick.”

I meant it. She can feel bad for him. I can feel bad for him. But that’s not a reason to stay in a relationship, especially if the relationship isn’t making her happy.

So, I say to you, “Amy, I promise you that you can find another man who treats you well that is not married, living with his wife, and not scared of intimacy.”

You claim to want fun and happiness.

Well, dating a “broken” married man sounds, to me, like the opposite of fun and happiness.

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