He has to focus on the now

Dear Meredith and LL community,

A couple of months ago, I visited good friends who live far away. During my visit, their marriage imploded in a rough but quick manner. Long story short, it involved the wife having an affair. The husband found out, all trust was lost, and it was over.

My role in this was trying to be a good friend to each without judging or choosing sides. Lots of listening and learning about their innermost selves. However, after it all ended, the husband and I went on a road trip to clear his head and get away from the mess. During this trip, with the wall of their marriage gone, we realized we had strong romantic feelings for each other that we had been suppressing for years.

We discussed it for a while before we decided to seize happiness in this crazy situation and enjoy our time together before I left. We both recognized that he needs space/time to heal and become independent, while I need to go live my life, trying not to become too attached. Now I'm home again, far away, and feeling sad. We care deeply for each other and I see a very likely happy future for us. However, he is in a place where he is focusing on the now. He may be ready to talk about our future in 6-12 months, but I can't put that pressure on him. Also, practical job limitations will keep us physically apart for about that long.

I don't know how to move forward right now. And I'm not sure about the healthiest way to interact with him in the meantime. Or maybe deep down I do and don't want to do it. But overall, just looking for thoughts, similar experiences, guiding words, or even jokes at my expense :).

- Languishing in Limbo

The practical job limitations are a gift. They're forcing you to take your time and to see how you both feel as reality sets in.

My advice is to live your life (that means dating when it feels natural), and maybe check in on this guy every so often, the way you would a faraway friend. It doesn't sound like he's given you any rules about contact. I wouldn't bombard him with calls and messages, but I do think it's OK to be a part of his "now."

No matter what, do your best to stop thinking abut your "happy future," even in six months. You've known this guy as a friend – a married friend – for a long time, but that doesn't mean he'd make a good partner for you. When it comes to your romantic relationship, assume you're starting from scratch. In six months, all you should be talking about is dinner and a movie.

– Meredith

Readers? How should she connect with him for the next six months?