Waiting to leave our spouses

Hello Meredith,

Twenty years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet the most amazing woman. We dated for six years and got engaged. I was divorced with a child and had many personal issues with my ex and my family. None of them approved of this woman, which made our relationship – and engagement – very difficult.

I made a decision to leave her to save her (and myself) from all of the fighting. We both moved on, both married and had children with other people. But we have reconnected over the past few years and have admitted that we aren't over each other and that we have unfinished business. We both agree that we would like to experience what could have been. We have talked and seen each other now on many occasions and it's obvious the spark still exists. We haven't been together physically this time around. We don't even kiss.

Both of our marriages aren't the best, but we are both still married to other people. I have told her I would leave my marriage for her. She said she would also leave her marriage, but asked me to wait and hasn't given me a timeline. I love this woman and I know I was 100 percent the reason for our split. I have no clue what to do. I'm afraid to wait and that she'll change her mind. She swears she won't. I don't want to string my wife along through this process.

– Waiting

"I don't want to string my wife along through this process."

Well, that's what you're doing. It sounds like you've been setting up a second life without telling your wife that there are any real problems. You say your marriage "isn't the best," but does she have any idea that that you're basically out the door?

You owe your wife the truth – before you pack your bags. Please tell her you're unhappy and that you've been making plans without her. Let her ask questions and think (and talk) about how she wants to proceed.

Please know that she might want to work on the marriage. She might have questions about what you can fix together, with help. You should think about whether you're open to that kind of effort, and what going to a counselor could do. Perhaps it would make it easier to discuss next steps. It also might remind you why you're in this marriage to begin with.

My advice is to focus on your marriage and what to do with it. I know the other woman is the one on your mind, but you can't be a good partner to her without dealing with your current commitment. Do not skip that step.

– Meredith

Readers? Did the LW miss a step here?