Ask Amy: Being with a married man has a downside

July 8, 2014 

Dear Amy: My boyfriend of four years is married. He and his wife separated months before we got together, and I am sure he has had limited to no contact with her while he is with me. But as I get older and friends are becoming engaged and married, I find myself wanting those things too.

Confronting him with the topic of filing for divorce ends in World War III! He says the only reason he hasn't filed for a divorce is due to laziness, but I worry it is more than that.

My dilemma is that I have a 41/2-year-old son (my boyfriend is not his biological father). They adore each other, and he has been an amazing bonus dad.

How can I approach the situation and express my feelings without sounding controlling?

— Upset girlfriend

Dear Upset: Your judgment seems so compromised, it is hard to advise you about a specific course of action, other than for you to take a long look in the mirror and make a promise to yourself to act in your son's best interests from here on out.

Ponder your choices: Committing to a married man who gets attached to your son but will not legally commit to either of you? Not in your son's best interests.

Being in a relationship with someone who engages in "World War III" when you try to talk about his choices and your future? Not in your son's best interests.

If you truly feel that "I haven't filed for a divorce because I'm too lazy" is anywhere near an acceptable answer, then you two might just deserve each other. Bringing this up is not controlling; it is raising a topic of importance to everyone.

Know this, however: Locking this guy down with marriage is no guarantee he will stay.

You don't seem involved with your son's birth father; at some point I hope you will realize that being alone is almost always preferable to being with the wrong person.

If this man loves your child, he can continue to love and spend time with the child as a special friend, regardless of whether you two are a couple.

Dear Amy: Regarding your advice to "Flummoxed," whose 37-year-old daughter was pregnant and in no position to raise a child, I think that instead of your "soft and gentle" approach, this would-be grandmother should have told her daughter, "Fine. You want this? You're on your own. Good luck."

That's tough love.

— Upset reader

Dear Reader: That's no love.


Contact Amy Dickinson via email at, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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