I am hoping to get perspective on an issue more to reflect on it and process it before deciding what to do. This is the situation: My first love and i were together for a year and a half before a very silly solit. He thought he wasn't ready as he was jobless at that time and also feared that as i was young, i will regret being with him when faced with hardships. Anyway, after two years, our common friend who was still in contact with me got my email address and passed it to him. We were both in two different countries by then. He emailed me twice but i didn't reply as i knew he was married by then and had got a job and settled and had a child. I even blocked him and deleted my email account. I married a man much older than myself who said he had fallen in love with me based on the fact that i found him responsible and serious. Fast forward to 12 years later, our common friend and i were on face book and he messaged me to tell that he had met up with my first love and they had walked down memory lane of our times together and he ended by saying 'I thought you should know.' I found that weird and anyway i replied that those were good days. He must have communicated what i said to my first love as the very next day, he sent me a friend request on face book. I accepted it but promptly ignored him and his liking all my posts and photos. I was as cold as they get and gave him really bad ice. In the meantime i was going through hell and bearing abuse in my marriage that included verbal, emotional, psychological and sometimes physical abuse. This abuse was for silly things like accidentally stepping on my husband's toes and getting hit for it, not taking his calls as i was working and phone was on silent and he would knock me on my head and verbally assault me. I can say a lot more - but yes it was the typical abuse. I stayed with him out of my sense of attachment and shared history and knowing that i was the only family he had left. Then in 2015 my first love messaged me and we spoke - very general stuff about work and such. I never picked up anything else - call me dense, but after a month of chatting, he gave up. (He later told me that he felt i was being rude and trying to cut him off and i didn't realize i had come across like that). 2016 went silently by. But by 2017 an incident of trauma made me realize that i had built a wall around my heart since my first love and i broke up and i hadn't resolved the feelings. So i initiated contact for the first time and he was extremely happy to say the least. I was at my lowest point at that time. After that, he told me that he had never stopped regretting walking away and this time he will not let go of me and he proved it by initiating contact on a daily basis for a year and a half almost now. He even made calls once a month and then progressed to calling me once or twice a week. We live really far from each other. But the most shocking thing is that he actually travelled the distance and came and met me. He was the perfect gentleman and didn't push me to do anything out of the boundaries. We just hanged out in cafes and spoke, catching up on life and such. During this time i found out that he had rushed into marriage with his wife after having met her for a very short time. This was about a year and few months after we split. Their marriage was on the rocks for a long time and she wanted to divorce him on the grounds of no common interest. He refused and asked her to wait till the kids were older. He has been honest and vulnerable with me - telling me about his struggles and failings, his hopes and dreams and shares his daily life with me like sending photos of his pets, his kids, cooking, what not. Not a day goes by without him sending me good morning and good night messages and during the day random nonsense. I have been holding back though. I made it clear to him that if we have to be together than we must make a clean break with our current spouses. I don't want to be intimate or do any other nonsense. I think being friends and chatting is fine as it helps both of us stay positive in the unhappy marriages we are stuck in. I have my doubts if he really loves me based on the following reasons:1. He started sexting a little too early and most of the time i was dense in understanding it. But when he met me thankfully he didn't do anything of the sort and behaved himself being quite the man. 2. He jokingly boasted that he has had flings with about four women - later he said he was joking and trying to extract information from me to see if i had done anything of that sort. But then now i don't know what to think. He said if we will ever be together i will be the second woman he is being intimate with. I don't no. 3. He confessed he has been to the strip club on two-three occasions always with friends and got lap dances but that is it. He doesn't want any disease and he didn't go beyond that. He could have chosen not to tell me this but i don't know why he had to tell me. His wife doesn't know this. 4. I know all the advice about married men so i am super cautious. I don't want this to develop into anything unless we are both free and seriously decide to commit. So at this point i really don't know if he is having a bad relationship with his wife and if he will really leave her when the time comes. Do note here he said three things that have confused me:a. When he met me, he asked me if in the future when we are no longer with our spouses, i want to be with him and i said yes. I asked him the same question and he said, of course yes and added that he wanted to be with me because we understand each other and that makes for a good relationship. He told me that i was the total package and he won't let go of me this time. b. He speaks on the future - things like commenting how we will walk down certain streets hobbling in our 70s together and he has also taken up my hobbies and made them his own. c. He said he is making plans to shift to where i live after he has settled his marriage and got out. He is widening his career prospects so he can find a job where i am and he has set goals and is working towards those. Ok - so are all these just empty words because i know many women have fallen into such a trap and i will stay out and cautious till i am absolutely certain he is the real deal. I for one feel my close to 20yrs of marriage has robbed me of my youth but on the positive side, i have learnt, grown, become independent and stronger because of all the pain. Does he love me? Or not? Is he worth the wait or is he spouting empty words? Must i risk it all and take a chance with him? Help!
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broke up, different countries, divorce, lapdance
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reader, anonymous, writes (19 May 2018):Thank you @janniepeg for your response! He did quit a bad habit a few weeks after he started talking with me and that too without me even asking. He has been changing his lifestyle and has started to focus on being positive and healthy after listening to me and the way i go about my own life. I am glad for that. But you are right, there is no need to rush things. I will stay cautious and protect myself. Afterall time will clarify the motives and intentions of people. All i need to do is wait and observe. If he is serious, he will make things happen. If not, it will be words and words alone. As for the kids, one is in college and the other will soon join. He told their momma to wait till they are both in college (that's what he says, i take it with a good dose of salt, as it sounds typical of many such men) before they can both go separate ways. They are friends so i think they will handle it in a civil manner. And yes, i have no kids of my own and i know i cannot replace their momma, but i can start by being their friend, if they are open to that and things come to that situation in time. But for now, i will sit back and focus on healing and dealing with the mess in my own situation.
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reader, anonymous, writes (19 May 2018):Thank you @WiseOwlE for that blunt but brutally honest response. Just to clarify - the ex is actually in a very stable job, has a home and is financially secure now. He was planning what he must do in the event if he moves to be with me. He has been through much, like myself, and i think it has changed him in many ways. But i agree with you, this is not the time to consider a relationship. I need to focus on my own healing first. I am independent and stronger now and i know i don't need a man in my life to complete it. I will stay friends with my ex. See how my current one wants to handle things - whether he wants to get help or call it quits, before i plan my next move with him. And i will focus on becoming the best version of myself, in every way possible and dive right into my passion and work involving people and animals. I am free and feel complete and fulfilled. Thanks for helping me get perspective :)!
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reader, WiseOwlE + ♥, writes (16 May 2018):Leave both men. Run screaming for the hills!!!
I'm going to be blunt with you.
You're too mature to be so caught-up in sentiment about some beat-up broken-down man who was so bad for you that you had to walkaway way-back when. You're forming daydreams, fantasies, and unrealistic notions about some guy you knew 20 years ago.
He was a loser when you met him; now he's talking all sorts of bullsh*t sweet-talk, to find somebody to take care of him. Not to mention giving you a rundown on all his latest troubles and hardships. Not much has changed, apparently.
He has no woman after all these years? Do you wonder why?
You're a woman who has been knocked around by men; and you over-look very important things about them that should be taken into account before you commit to them.
You married a man because: "who said he had fallen in love with me based on the fact that i found him responsible and serious."
Not because you loved him, not because he was a man of good character; and not because you were a good match for each other. You need to get your head out of the clouds. You're no longer a teenage girl. You're not a victim. You have to take care of yourself.
Your so-called "first-love" is a piece of dirt. Don't talk about how 20 years was stolen from you. You chose to stay with the man. You just married him out of what amounted to convenience. His abuse didn't force you to leave or seek help. You're not at fault for abuse; but you did make the choice to marry him.
As you've said, you've learned, grown, and you've become more independent. Therefore, leave that loser "first-love" in the past where he belongs, and put as much distance between you and your abusive husband as you can.
You can see a train-wreck coming; but you're still standing on the tracks!
I'm going to be honest. I only skimmed your post; because in the first few paragraphs I saw too many discrepancies about both the men to read it completely through.
He's widening his career prospects? At his age, he should already have his career in order. He's seizing on the opportunity that you're needy and alone; and he may have a nice secure nest waiting for him.
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reader, janniepeg +, writes (15 May 2018):You take your time and be cautious. You have nothing to lose by waiting. You don't have to risk it all if you take it slow. He rushed into his first marriage so he can be understanding why you both need more time. Some people do romanticize the one who got away but it's also possible that he never stopped loving you. If you don't give him a chance you would never know. As for joking about flings, you know his humour and his quirks. The strip club thing is going to bother me though. You have to decide if this is a deal breaker. If he loves you that much then it would be no problem for him to quit it, or other bad habits he has. You also have to decide if your heart is big enough to love his kids. He has to understand that if he moves closer to you and uproot his kids' lives, he is doing this at his own risk because you two are just catching up and feeling each other. Nothing serious has been determined yet. There are also potential drama with the kids' moms if she brings up problems with visitations, now that he and his kids are going to live away from her. Or is she going to have sole custody?
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