My friend wants to date a married man How would you have handled this? June 27, PM Subscribe I am a single woman, late 40s, divorced for almost 20 years and dating most of that time. I have a lot of newly single friends, recently divorced, new to dating.
Anyway, I met this great girl, in that situation. We have been friends for about 6 months, talk or text almost every day.
We have our differences, but we worked those out by just not talking about it at all we are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, which in this particular day and age is really a big deal as we all know. Here's what I want to talk about - So she started dating after getting divorced from a 25 year marriage. She met a new guy online. He is married and "separated" for 1 year, but per my friend, he has not pursued a divorce at all. The man and his wife share. The man is far apart from the wife, in different cities. Please see the extended explanation for the rest of this.
Here's what I did - I told her she needs to find out why he has not pursued a divorce in 1 year of separationand I told her that she should ask questions because maybe they are working on getting back together. Maybe he has not told his separated wife that he is dating. Her response was that she did not want to bring it up yet, she does not even want to know, because what would be "upsetting", and that even if he is attempting reconciliation with his wife, that she would still want to date him, and that it did not matter to her because she likes him THAT much.
So my response was telling her that us singles should not be dating married men, that we should ask pertinent questions on the first date ex: "are you married", "are you pursuing a divorce"and that a man is only available while being separated IF he is PURSUING a divorce. I told her also that she might be hurting another woman the man's wife by continuing to see him if the wife does not know about it, that we are worth more than this, and that it will be a lot of stress and pain, and the usual Here's what happened: After about 2 weeks of us talking back and forth like the above, she got mad at me, saying "You are upsetting me" and "Drop the subject.
I don't want to talk about it anymore". After sitting with that a day, I decided that the stress that comes along with hearing a friend's stories about dating a married man is just not what I want in my life. And that I want a friend who would share the same values, respect as I do regarding this.
And I noticed how my stomach hurt frequently around her now because of this. So, I told her kindly that I just can't deal with this stress in my life and I think there's just too many important differences between us so we aren't a good match for a deeper friendship. Pretty much said good bye like that. What do you see here that you would have done differently? If someone stresses you out, for good or bad, it's always best to cut them out of your life.
It sounds like you made a good choice for you.
I don't necessarily align with your opinions about dating but I think if your friend insists on making this a topic of discussion and it's not an okay situation for you and it makes you think your friend is bad or making a mistake or whatever, it's okay to move on. It's fine to have a friend who shares your values. It's fine to not want one who doesn't. Where I live, you have to be separated for one year before filing for divorce.
As a result some stay separated for a long time. Personally, I don't think lack of divorce paperwork means a person is "taken". It's fine for you decide not to date men in this situation, but you way overstepped in deciding that for your friend. The friend dumping was also unnecessarily dramatic. I think you did your friend a favour in dumping her and you did yourself a disservice.
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You're right to set the requirement for yourself that friends share your values. You do not have the right to demand she share those values. I would have found hectoring about my choices to be extremely annoying-- particularly if it went on for two weeks. Her choices are really none of your business. Be her friend or don't. But don't lecture.
Personally, what I would have done is said, "Jane, my husband cheated on me and told the other woman that we were basically separated, which was a lie. I have no idea the truth of your boyfriend's situation, but because of what happened to me, I keep imagining the worst. I'm afraid that means I'm not really a good person to talk to about your new relationship. My issue. Very sorry. Do you want to talk about the film? This is my real backstory, and really how I would react. You never get to tell other people how to live, and trying to rarely works out well for anybody.
And even if you're trying to help, she made it pretty clear to you up front that she doesn't give a shit if he's married. That said, you're fine to walk away from people you decide don't meet your standards. You just don't get to demand they change to meet your standards.
I might have withheld my opinion and asked some questions like "How do you feel about that? If they expressed any concern I might have said "you know, you deserve someone who can give you more. When I withhold judgment people are more willing to share openly and less likely to get defensive, and then I can often see that they actually have complicated feelings about things, and if they want to make a change I can then offer them support.
However I have a tendency to find myself playing untrained therapist in some of my friendships so this may not be the best approach. I think frumiosb's script is really good.
Honest, focuses on how the speaker feels, and sets a boundary. I mean, just as a counter example, my mother and father separated when I was 2.
My mother met my step-father a year later and they moved in together. My mother and father literally didn't bother to get divorced for another decade.
You don't get to make a universal declaration about how "us singles" can or should operate. You get to make decisions about your own behavior. You do not get to hector other people's about theirs. If you cannot live with a friend's choices, you exit quietly and with as little drama as possible.
There are no points for making a moral stand. Yeah, ditto DarlingBri. My parents were separated; my Dad met someone; she was initially concerned that he was separated but not divorced; she decided to trust him and told the friends who were pressuring her to mind their own business; and my parents were able to negotiate the logistics and finances of their divorce on their own timeline.
Her patience saved the rest of the family a lot of drama forcing a home sale immediately rather than after my Mom found a new placeand I'm really grateful to her for that. I think there are points for making a moral stand about, like, child abuse, or securities fraud, stuff like that.
In this case I think you overstepped. She's not breaking up a marriage and I just don't understand why you think yours is the virtuous stance.
For all you know she could be the best thing about this guy's life right now and an important part of his emotional recovery from a traumatically bad marriage. That said, if you find her detestable then don't be her friend, that's a choice you get to make. It doesn't matter if you overstepped or not. You identified something in this friendship which was stressing you out and making you unhappy, so you ended the friendship.
That's always the right thing to do.
Best answer: And Wow, I guess I am surprised so many people are ok with single people dating married people. I feel like everything in the world is turning upside down on everything anymore. Like things are all backwards anymore. I guess I just don't fit in anymore. Your opinions line up with some people's and not with others'. There's not a monolithic morality in the US where I think you are though there may be within some subcultures. More to the point, there are edge case situations mine is uncannily similar to DarlingBri, my parents were married for another few decades after the separated, stayed together for I don't remember health insurance or whatever that may be central to some people's lives.
And some of those people are here. So I wouldn't worry too much about this. It's fine to set your own boundaries with a friend and within your own personal relationships as you have done. It's just also useful to understand that those values belong to you and not necessarily to the entire world so sometimes you may want to make different choices in how you prioritize, say, your feelings about marriage versus your feelings about friendship.