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He's been separated for 6 years but wont get a divorce, am I a mug for staying with him?

Tagged as: The ex-factor, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (27 November 2012) 8 Answers - (Newest, 28 November 2012)
A female United Kingdom age 41-50, anonymous writes:

My boyfriend and I have been together for 18 months, he has been separated from his wife for 6 years! But still isn't divorced! He says she means nothing to him and its only a piece of paper. We have bought a house together and I have 1 child and he has 2 who stay with us most of the time. He doesn't see that him being married to his ex as a problem, but I find it extremely hurtful that he won't cut ties with her or stand up to her! He told me the other night that he doesn't see what the problem is as he won't ever marry me!!! I've never mentioned him marrying me all I want is for him not to be married to someone else as I feel I'm living in someone else's shadow and second best! Am I being a mug?

View related questions: divorce, his ex

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A male reader, Serpico United States +, writes (28 November 2012):

Im one to finish one thing before I start another, particularly when those things are mutually exclusive.

In short, "separated" = "still married." All one does in starting another relationship while still being married is unnecessarily complicate things.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2012):

Yes their marriage may only be a marriage on a piece of paper, but that piece of paper has some magic powers bestowed by the government and other institutions!! Such as:

1. Without a legal marriage, what if one of you has a medical emergency and are unable to make decisions for yourselves, the other partner will have no legal power to make decisions on your behalf (such as those involving life support or medical procedures), or maybe even visitation rights in certain situations. Instead, his WIFE will be the one who the law gives permission to make such decisions for him. Is this really what he wants??

2. If she is still his wife, then she is legally his next of kin. This becomes important if he were to die. You would be suffering not just the grief of losing him, but of not even being treated (by the govt and other institutions) as if you were his partner. Unless he specifically made a will saying otherwise, she would be the one who gets access to his estate. If he died an untimely death (like in an accident away from home), she would be the one notified by the police/paramedics not you!

3. Health insurance - I guess right now you both have your own separate health insurances. But if either of you lose your job and health insurance along with it, you wont' be able to get on the other's health insurance if you're not legally married.

4. If she's still legally his wife, I assume she still has legal rights to his property depending on what state you live in. I would check with an attorney but it's possible she may even have rights to the house you and him bought together, because as his legal wife what's his is also hers!!

Finally, remember that if he's still legally married to her, then technically you're both committing adultery!! In some places this is actually illegal.

So, yes, their marriage may be just a piece of paper. But this piece of paper has a lot of power and consequences.

find out why he won't divorce her? Is it because he would have to pay her alimony and he doesn't want or can't afford that?

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A female reader, AuntyEm United Kingdom +, writes (27 November 2012):

AuntyEm agony auntNot to be morbid or anything but if he died, she'd get everything that is in his name. You need to protect your assets by keeping records of anything you buy or any house repairs you pay for.

He is being short sighted by staying married to her and life could be made very difficult for either of you in the future.

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A female reader, So_Very_Confused United States +, writes (27 November 2012):

So_Very_Confused agony auntmy ex husband and I did not divorce until one of us wanted to marry. I was separated from him from 1989 til 1994 when he wanted to marry... we never had any issues with it... just never got around to it but had no intentions of ever being together again. We have two children together and he's been remarried for years now..

My aunt came out of the closet and her then husband moved out with his gf and they never divorced as neither needed to be married to new partners.... when my uncle died he was still legally married to my aunt.

Are the costs of divorce prohibitive? Are there medical coverages that are not going to be available if the divorce is final?

You are not living in her shadow and are not second best...

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A female reader, oldbag United Kingdom +, writes (27 November 2012):

oldbag agony aunt


sorry, I see its your child not a baby you had together,misread that bit

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A female reader, oldbag United Kingdom +, writes (27 November 2012):

oldbag agony auntHi

You two have a child and bought a house together. If him still being married bothered you that much then why did you proceed with the relationship to this extent.

What has bought on this question about his divorce now?

I agree he should have divorced after 6 years,maybe the cost of it puts them off, it doesn't matter if he never marrys again.He is still a married man and it looks like he will stay that way for the forseeable future. Hope the house is in both your names especially if you have invested money in it.

If you stay with him or not is your choice,bit like closing the stable door though - whats the rest of your relationship like?

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (27 November 2012):

Honeypie agony auntWell the "so-not-an-ex" will never entirely be out of his life, because they share children.

BUT personally I wouldn't be with a man who has no intentions to get a divorce from his "so-not-ex". What is his reason for not wanting a divorce?

I get that he doesn't want to marry again and that seems fine with you, but there is NO reason that he NEEDS to stay married to her, is there? Why can't he let go?

Yea I wouldn't stay in this relationship. The thing is you let this slide for 6 years... why? Why bring it up now?

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A female reader, Honeygirl South Africa +, writes (27 November 2012):

Honeygirl agony auntHon, I have no idea why you have committed to this man - bought a house together and have a child together when he wont commit to you.

And to add insult to injury he has told you that he wont ever marry you - time to re-assess this relationship - is this how you want to spend the rest of your life?

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