He’s still married, but he gave me a ring

I'm in a long-distance relationship with a still-married man. The scenario is that he is unhappy, and he and his wife checked out a long time ago. They're still living under the same roof and haven't taken steps to end the marriage. He and I are both 50.

His job requires him to travel a lot; I am in London and he is in Paris (not too far for him to make the effort to see me). We've had few weekends here and there and we talk daily. Recently he had a family event (without his wife) and I was not invited, which rang a bell for me big time. He did put a ring on my finger as a sign of commitment, but I think he only did it to gain time. He makes very good money and the ring was kind of cheap. He either didn't mean it to be important, or he intended to protect his money.

When we discussed his moving out of his house, said he couldn't because of his job. Then he said his wife will begin the divorce process when she retires in June. I don't know whether to believe him, and the reasons for waiting don't always make sense.

– Waiting


June is not that far away. If you want to see who follows through on what, you can simply wait.

But please understand that your need for movement – and 100 percent commitment – might not be realistic right now. Let's say his wife begins the divorce process this summer. That means this man will need time to negotiate terms and sign paperwork. He might even need some space from you, just to breathe, before he's ready to set up any kind of new life. That ring symbolizes something, but what? Did he explain what he wants to promise right now?

You suspect he wants to gain time. But that doesn't seem like a terrible thing. Maybe it would be helpful to find out what kind of patience will be necessary as you move forward. Ask him how this would play out, if it were up to him. Then decide whether you can wait. Because this is going to involve waiting, no matter what.

– Meredith

Readers? What kind of patience is required here?