He’s going through a divorce

The first episode of the Love Letters podcast is up today! The whole season is about the best ways to get over a breakup. Episode 1 is about whether it works to "get over someone by getting under someone new," and I talk to people who tried. There are a few epic stories, including one about a Craiglist ad for rebound sex. Listen here. You can send comments about the episode to loveletters@boston.com.

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Hi Meredith!

I have been a single mom for almost five years now. The split with my ex was pretty traumatizing and the co-parenting relationship between us hasn't been any better. I have been completely on my own since then, even as a parent. It has been hard but it has made me focus on my career and myself. I recently met an amazing man, but he is going through a divorce. He has young children and was married for about 10 years.

Because I hadn't really dated anyone seriously in so long (other than a few dates here and there) I tried to be sympathetic to what he was going through (divorce, not seeing his children as much, living in a new place) – but I started to notice certain things that were happening that didn't feel quite right. Rather than taking the children during his visitation, he would go over to his ex-wife's home and stay with the children, and sometimes even have dinner together as a family. They spent holidays together and there were a number of other things that happened that made me feel uncomfortable. Like I said, because I have a young child, I saw that he was trying to do what was best for his kids, but I couldn't help but feel awkward and that it seemed like he wanted to get back together with her.

All of that has stopped now, ever since she found out about me. He doesn't go to their house anymore, other than to pick up his kids. I find myself sometimes getting angry with him because I felt like he took me for granted or used me to get over his ex. I feel like I put up with a lot and sometimes he forgets how much it hurt me. I know it's in the past and I can't punish him forever but I don't know how to let it go. I don't know when the divorce will be final either.

- The third wheel


It can take a while for ex-partners to figure out what routine is truly best for the kids. Sometimes shared dinners and vacations are a nice way to ease the transition. There is no official system that works for everyone, and it's a lot of trial and error, from what I've seen.

But you know this, right? Even if your boyfriend's divorce experience doesn't mirror your own, you've probably seen other ex-couples attempt to share time with their children. It doesn't mean they're trying to get back together. Really, it just means they're trying … something.

You've chosen to date someone who's almost divorced. That means he still has to deal with custody, paperwork, new schedules, and figuring out what he wants next. If that doesn't work for you – if you need someone who's in a more stable place – let go of this relationship and seek other partners.

But if this man is worth it – if you want to wait and see what he can offer – stop punishing him, and accept that this was going to be messy no matter what, based on timing. It doesn't sound like he used you. I think it's more that everything has been happening at once.

– Meredith

Readers? Should the LW stay in this relationship? Was she being used?