So I might also suggest that in some cases it's easier to disentangle complex things slowly. I've had lovers pressure me to cut off ex's so quickly that there ended up being a lot more confusion in the end for everyone.
Good lord, IW. Your boyfriend already blew up his marriage, lost his job, did lord knows how much damage to his relationship with his kids, and moved to a new state to be with you. And now you're regularly picking fights with him because his divorce, which from your own account is doing nothing more to harm you than taking longer than you expected, isn't finalized yet?

You seem like a real prize.
"Whenever I ask him for an update on the process, we end up arguing and not speaking for an entire day."


"Given the amount of time this is taking, and given your boyfriend's angry response when you bring the subject up, it's possible ..."

If she's putting him on blast for being methodical, he might be angry because of how she's coming at him, not the questions in particular. Dude has all sorts of reasons to be methodical and do this in such a way so that his ex isn't angry at him. They have kids, so he's gonna be interacting with the ex at a minimum until they are all 18.

Homewrecker views the ex poorly ("she tries to play tricks on him, keep the kids from him,") but treating her that way is a recipe for years of strife. Why go through that unless the ex is already making it so shitty...
What's your hurry, IW? Are you planning on having kids with this man? (and does he know/agree with this?). My ex and I delayed our divorce for 2 years after separating to allow her to stay on my gold plated health insurance plan while she operated her small home business.
I feel that they belong together.
He's taking his time because he can; for all she knows he's still sleeping with the ex.

I just think that paying for her lawyer is a pretty big deal; as he has no lawyer he will loose most everything to his ex-wife.

Loose loose situation. If this guy is a Knight in Shining Armor; maybe you should find a court jester.
My partner lost his job over the affair and I eventually resigned from mine.
So IW and her married boyfriend were colleagues? And he got fired over the affair when it came to light, but she didn't? Or was he in the clergy, or politics, or some other field where you can lose your job over extramarital sex with a non-co-worker?
What @2 said.

The LW should try taking some pleasure in what she has instead of constantly complaining about what she wants.
@2. Yes.
LW, maybe he's hoping one of these fights will lead to you packing your bags and pissing off. He lost his job and now for the " new start", you guys have moved so his contact with his children is what? Every holidays or so for a week.
Another man sucked in by a woman who shows little care for his
connection to his children. And he is probably realizing now that he has sacrificed a family for a harpy.
This letter would have suited either July or August really well.

I wonder if LW has written in before, and perhaps received either a Cheating Pass or After-the-Fact Absolution from Mr Savage.
Wellll, on the one hand, I can say from experience that dating someone who has kids and who doesn't seem to be in a hurry to finalize his divorce (I didn't know the divorce wasn't final when we started dating) has its downsides. Seems like every divorcing couple's divorce proceeds on its own timeline, and what appears reasonable to one person may feel rushed, or sluggish, to another.

On the other hand, LW has left a lot of damage in her wake. She also says nothing about her relationship with boyfriend's children. I think she would do well to be patient.
The vibe this lady is laying down throughout the entire letter just made me think that perhaps he doesn't *want* to marry her. He's probably hoping she will give up and move on. His bad for not being straightforward and all, but hell's bells, y'all. LW does not sound like a prize and neither does he. Urgh. Marriage.
My partner does not have a lawyer, because he initially agreed to pay for his "hopefully-soon-to-be ex-wife's" lawyer

Your partner cheated (with you) on his wife, feels guilty about it, and is now using the divorce process to martyr himself. Forestalling your relationship is part of the "heroic" sacrifice he's making. This flogging will drag out as long as his wife wants it to. No wonder you are pissed.

Unfortunately, I have no advice on how to extract him from this enmeshment. When it's ultimatum time, you'll know. Good luck.

@6, please use a spellchecker, or better yet, don't write anything.
Sean@23, you love to play the pirate.
Occur to you he's stringing the divorce proceedings out because he misses his kids, doesn't want to finalize that story? Bit bloody late if he is.
Yes Sangu, they are both dipshits.
@14 A spellchecker wouldn't have corrected loose to lose. Unless they have become smarter since the last time I looked.
LW, have you considered becoming a high-end escort in England?
‘Cause I know of this one woman who did, and besides making tons of scratch (thousands a day for seeing 5-6 sets of jagged teeth behind contorted lips ain’t bad), she met the rich, brilliant man of her dreams, and is busy healing his heart and making her friends green with envy. Plus all her jokes are funny now, and I think she can fly!
Man, I wish I was an English hooker.
@17: I don't know; given the LW's description, I think "loose loose situation" might have been a pretty accurate analysis.
What IW wanted from the start: She'd get involved with a married man who would want her so badly that he'd leave his wife, marry her, and they'd live happily ever after coasting along on that amped up choosing her and desiring her part of the dynamic.

What IW's boyfriend wanted from the start: Avoid the real life responsibilities part of a relationship, the part where you have to get along with someone day to day cleaning up messes, compromising in arguments, and taking care of children even on the days when they're not being delightful. So he starts an affair with someone he believes he'll never have to enter the difficult part with.

Except it blew up in both their faces. He's looking at leaving one marriage to enter another. Shoot, that's not what he wanted. And she's looking at realizing that he doesn't really want her so much that he's willing to put aside everything else. They're in a holding pattern while they each reposition themselves trying to figure out how to get what they initially wanted.

I'm back to what a wrote a few columns ago about marriage proposals needing to come with an ultimatum element. IW, you've proposed marriage to your boyfriend. He's said yes but hasn't moved in the direction of setting a date and making it happen. Are you willing to walk away if he doesn't want to marry you? What if his divorce was final, and he still didn't want to commit to you? Would you try again with another married man?
I am trying to check my biases, but all that went through my head with lw was "what a b1tch."

Lw, *i* was a cpos who broke up her first marriage by being a cpos. And you come across to me as utterly indifferent to the wreckage you two have left in your wake. It might shock the shit out of you but your boyfriend may be hurting to the depths of his bones over this, even if it was a marriage that needed to end. If this apparent lack of empathy of yours is coming across to your boyfriend. Phew.

I suggest you read Dr. Glass (Ira glass mom). She did seminal research on affairs. The success of affair relationships is very poor. If I were you I'd stop pressuring your boyfriend - people hate that anyway - and get on building your new life yourself. Honestly from my view, after this transformatIve experience you both may decide you want separate futures.
It took me four months to finalize a marriage with no kiss, no assets, no retirement, no houses, and the divvying of property already done. It took my parents years. I think Dan doesn't get how difficult divorces are in places like VA.
LW provided no explanation as to why it is meaningful to her that the divorce is finalized in a speedy way, yet says they have almost split as a result of these arguments. Hm. Maybe it is that she is perceiving it as a barrier to them starting the "new life" she references? How do the kids fit into this new life? I feel for them.

LW also states each spouse periodically contacts the other to move things along, so the timetable doesn't seem to be dictated by one person. The progress she mentioned (splitting finances, selling a house) seems significant. Add to that there was an out of state move and probably a job search. To me, this progress doesn't seem slow.
Oh, and LW didn't really mention the custody agreement which usually takes some time to work out and presumably has been done as she doesn't mention it as a remaining task and the dude has already moved out of state. It seems to me they've made quite a bit of progress disentangling their lives, really.

OTOH, if it's down to the last couple things and he's dragging his feet, that doesn't seem unusual either. Perhaps he's in pain and not wanting to face the ultimate consequences of his actions. But so much has been done already (moving, selling the house, etc.), I very much doubt the two will reconcile at this point.

The LW's inevitable divorce to follow is going to be even more drawn-out by her in retaliation, surely.
@23: "LW provided no explanation as to why it is meaningful to her that the divorce is finalized in a speedy way, yet says they have almost split as a result of these arguments."

Impulsivity, the same reason why she pursued him in such a manner that got him fired, created an affair, etc. She obviously doesn't care how something is approached, she just wants it right now independent of collateral damage (including his kids, apparently.)
@LavaGirl: Occur to you he's stringing the divorce proceedings out because he misses his kids

If it was about missing the kids, he'd wouldn't passively allow his wife to "keep the kids from him". He would also have a lawyer to help ensure the kids had a father in their life rather than leaving the custody arrangements to be decided by an angry, vengeful wife who uses the kids to get back at him.
@28 and others. To me it's pretty clear why she wants him divorced. She wants them to start their lives over together, likely with engagement and marriage. The pending divorce proceeding represents a legal entanglement that ties him back. To be pragmatic, the pending divorce does interfere with any mutual long term property related decisions they make together, such as buying a house, time shares, even furniture.

@27. I'd keep in mind that LW is not a reliable narrator. So it's hard to say whether the wife is being vengeful. It's definitely a possibility. Not all spouses are. Even jilted ones. I am also curious of the "out of state" part. How out of state is it. Kansas City is in two states. Plenty of people live right across the border from one of them.

And now I'd like to say something in support of LW. Yes, her tone really puts me off. I thought she displayed a glaring lack of empathy toward the ruins they both left behind. But let's be clear. She didn't steal him. He went. And he always had the choice to... zip up his pants, go for the honorable divorce... stay in state... etc.

And frankly I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't head on back to the state where his kids are.

Not that DS isn't very good on relationships, but I do hope that some of the people who are getting themselves involved into affairs read Shirley Glass.…

She was one of the first, i think, that applied a lot of scientific method to affairs. She also looked at the long term results of affairs.

Here is the thing - Affair relationships rarely work out. Affairs aren't real as Fichu astutely noted at @20. The actual nuts and bolts of resolving conflict etc. are never addressed. The affair partners can just live in an endorpin induced bubble of fantasy. In addition, people coming out of marriages are (often) emotional messes. They make bad choices, they are drawn to bad matches. And then the emotional seas settle, they wake up, and realize that their affair partner is a terrible match and isn't very nice to begin with.

Dr. Glass has some stats to back that up. I've seen in beaucoup times anecdotally in my life. I would bet dollars to donuts the reason none of this is moving as LW wants is a combination of (1) misunderstanding of the difficulty divorcing at times and (2) reservations about the longevity of their relationship now that the endorphins are bleeding out of their systems. I'd ask LW herself to seriously consider whether she wants her BOYFRIEND as a partner. And I hope she didn't toss a good relationship just for him. Tomorrow is promised to no one.
@18: Nicely done! Thanks for the laugh.
@29: "I'd ask LW herself to seriously consider whether she wants her BOYFRIEND as a partner. "

I don't think that's how sunk cost works, if you wreck the course of six lives, you're contractually obligated to marry each other, right? Because what's one more bad decision?
Urgutha @7 -- "The LW should try taking some pleasure in what she has instead of constantly complaining about what she wants."

It's like the epitaph for several billion failed relationships.
@31, Well that's why its called the sunk cost fallacy
@18. LOL.
@7 - "So IW and her married boyfriend were colleagues? And he got fired over the affair when it came to light, but she didn't? Or was he in the clergy, or politics, or some other field where you can lose your job over extramarital sex with a non-co-worker? "

I'm guessing he was her supervisor.
@DarkHorseRising: I'd keep in mind that LW is not a reliable narrator.

Perhaps you mean to say that we don't know if she's reliable or not, which is a given with every letter. Unless an LW gives me good reason to think they are lying, I'm inclined to accept the situation as they present it.

There are a few here who prefer to play the Savage Love game by calling into question any facts that don't fit their preferred narratives. I don't find their comments very interesting.

So it's hard to say whether the wife is being vengeful. It's definitely a possibility.

"Vengeful" is probably going too far. But the husband has basically opened himself to being taking advantage of, and it seems to me, not at all surprisingly, that the wife has taken at least a few opportunities to take advantage of him.
@32: If that was her philosophy, why would she have cheated on her earlier husband?
@36: I don't think she's as active an unreliable narrator as some LWs, but her impulsivity/impatience along with her lack of empathy for the tougher entanglements her partner has suggest that she's holding him to an unfair standard.
This is probably beyond the point of the letter, but it is hard for me to imagine what sort of divorce lawyer would be paid by the party s/he's not representing and would be okay with being the only lawyer in that situation. Even when the divorcing parties are amicable, not fighting, no children, just dissolving a brief marriage, even when they both approach a lawyer to do what they've both agreed to, an honorable lawyer will say that they each need a lawyer to keep it all above board.
@39 I was just thinking the same thing. Hiring a lawyer who's sole purpose is to work against you seems unfathomable.

Either the LW is misrepresenting the lawyer's role or this dude is seriously unable to look after his best interests for some reason.
My advice to the LW's boyfriend: DTLWA.
@39 and 40, I take it as a given that the LW got that wrong. I'd imagine that there were some details lost between what the lawyer told the boyfriend, what the boyfriend chose to tell the LW and what the LW chose to say to Dan in her story of greivance and woe. I imagine that the lawyer is trying to represent them both in an amicable divorce or that he's only representing the wife and is being paid by the wife, but the boyfriend/husband is thinking of the money the lawyer is being paid with as "his," even though it isn't.
@42. There are circumstances where a spouse pays for both attorneys or a mediated divorce with one attorney who represents both parties. Present in my state.
Since she doesn't mention any children of her own, my guess is that she wants this divorce to happen so she and the guy can start trying to have children together (presumably after getting married). If so, then she is in a rush because of a woman's limited fertility window.

My advice to her: end this now. Work on rebuilding your career and find someone to date who is able to commit to you and shares common goals.

Snark alert: Then, ten years in, you can have really hot sex with your affair partner and blow up your second marriage for him.
My non-contentious divorce is going on 2 years. It depends on the lawyers as well. With kids, property, and debt it's a lot to divide up. Each divorce is different.
@seandr. I do somewhat doubt her narrative re ex wife machinations. But I don't hold it against her. This is a difficult area to discern truth, since the concept is impossible anyway.
It took my parents almost 10 years to finalize their divorce. Paperwork takes time, and some people are busy/have anxiety/adhd that prevents them from doing it with maximum efficiency. I would try and focus on being confident and secure in the strength of your relationship. Xanax helps.
What's the point of hassling him? Why the deadline? Are you trying to have kids? If not that back off. As you probably know, a divorce is a real hassle. Why give him two?
It it was about having kids wouldn't she have stated that? I think she just wants his ex out of the picture "officially", though obviously she's going to have to deal with her as the mother of his children.
Sean@27. I wasn't suggesting he was being rational with his behaviour. Just don't think his guilt re his ex family covers all. And all the stuff they had to disentangle, those guys were married for life.
LW, how old are the kids? If they are still young then they need their father. How about you drop being so concerned with what you want and put your mind a bit to what they need.
Maybe if you showed some real love for this man ie noticed he has three offspring he is responsible for rearing, and helped him do this as well as he can from another city, then maybe he'll stop dragging his feet.
A piece of paper is not going to free him from his past.
@43 I agree. He could be representing them both which is possible in an amicable divorce.
What's not plausible is that he is paying for her attorney and doesn't have one of his own. Something got lost in the game of telephone leading up to the description in this letter.
Dan/Letter Writer:

I say this as a divorce attorney in California so HUGE GRAIN OF SALT as I don't know what state these kids are living in/the laws in that state.

With respect to the commentariat re the lawyer thing (i.e. "My partner does not have a lawyer, because he initially agreed to pay for his "hopefully-soon-to-be ex-wife's" lawyer, and can't pay for two lawyers at the same time.") It sounds like letter writer is in pro per ("pro se" in other states). This means he is representing himself. Certain states, including California, will order the higher earning spouse to pay some or all of the lower earning spouse's attorney's fees. In some cases, it makes more sense for the higher earner spouse to go it alone because paying for his own attorney fees and the spouse's attorney fees can be ruinous.

Letter writer, just because YOUR divorce took six months, does not mean another divorce will take the same length of time. In California, for instance, parties cannot be divorced until six months plus one day following the service of a petition. Legal speak aside, that means if I file for divorce from my husband and serve him with the papers today, I can't be officially divorce until 6 months from tomorrow. I can say, however, that custody often takes a very long time to work out.

In addition, soon-to-be-ex wife can be dragging things out because the support she's receiving at the moment might be better than what she'll receive after trial. That's a long and involved issue, but trust that in some states this may be the case. Also Husband might be "not moving things along" if he's in pro per because he DOESN'T KNOW HOW to move things along. Your comments and pushing might be incredibly infuriating.

All that said, if your issue is just the title (you hate dating a "married" man) then some states will allow you to bifurcate the issue of status. What that means is, he can get a judgment of divorce while they're still sorting out the finances. He'll be officially divorced and you guys are free to marry but he may still be engaged in asset separation with the ex.

If your issue is "I hate this process and the existence of his ex" then you are SOL. They have three kids. They're bound together for life. Pick a new man.
14 months are not that long for a divorce involving houses, finances and, most of all, kids.
Here in Italy if you have children, it can take 4-5 YEARS and from what a lot of commenters said, that could be the case in the USA too.
My own perfectly consensual divorce with no kids involved took 20 months between lawyer to be consulted for the division of the things we owned together, civil registry offices that were having difficulties because the law changed a couple of months before we filed for divorce and they were not prepared, and us ourselves who were in no particular hurry so we took it in a slow and not-stressful way. Mind that we both had new partners at the time and none kept whining that we had to hurry.
Maybe the BF just wants to take it at the less stressful rate possible, what with the loss of job, the change of State, the kids far away, the fact that he has no lawyer and has to do it all by himself etc: get off his shoulder!!!
What he doesn't need right now is someone whining in his ear and adding on his (understandable) stress and making it all more difficult for him. And maybe trying to interpose herself between him and the kids. I wonder WHO decided that LW and BF had to live in another State, probably far away from dangerous past, AKA dangerous kids and ex-wife. 'Cos all considered, that doesn't sound as a smart move to me.
How old are you, three? Gee!
(I'm also wondering about the job loss: if one was the boss of another - which is suggested by the fact that only him lost his job - that was not a smart move, too. Maybe it would be best to DEOA - dump each other already - after all)
@53: " I wonder WHO decided that LW and BF had to live in another State, probably far away from dangerous past, AKA dangerous kids and ex-wife. 'Cos all considered, that doesn't sound as a smart move to me."

I'm sure she asked for a new start, because geographic "cures" for crushing neurosis and jealousy always work! I wonder how long before he moves back...
@54: exactly what I was thinking.

Or maybe he's really dragging his feet and postponing things for no reasons at all except his laziness or his own anxiety and foibles... But again, constantly whining is not going to get him doing anything, except maybe dumping LW.
Having a "dragging feet BF" myself, I know that unless something is really really compelling, it's better to let him take his own time. It's annoying and it's childish and most of the times it means that he or we'll have some messes to clean up ahead of us, but if that is a personality trait, I can leave him, kill him or keep him as he is.

Please wait...

and remember to be decent to everyone
all of the time.

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