We can be together – in four years

Chat at 1 p.m.

I've been dating a man – who is still married – for one year. We talk, FaceTime, and text multiple times a day. We started talking in August 2018 and began our long-distance relationship that September. During spring break of this year, I flew my kids and mom out to meet him face-to-face. They were head-over-heels smitten with him.

I flew back out to spend time with him in April, when he moved out of the house where he, his opioid-addicted wife, and both of his kids reside. Upon landing, he FaceTimed me in tears, barely able to form sentences, telling me he told her he was sure he wanted a divorce. She asked for time to get things in order, to find an attorney and money to get her side taken care of.

This man is not perfect. He is a veteran and suffers from PTSD. I've experienced his lowest times, and although his wife's addiction has taken a huge toll on the kids and his marriage, I know his own baggage has taken its toll on their marriage. He has since moved back to the family house and sleeps in the spare bedroom. I've been shown the divorce papers. I've asked how it's going and it's slow. They've been together for nearly 30 years.

Our plan has been that his kids will graduate high school and then he'll move to my state. Then, after my kids graduate, we'll move somewhere together. But it will be almost four years before his kids are out of the house and he can move. Am I doing this backwards? His kids have hinted that there’s another woman. I've not dated long-distance prior to dating this man. It's been 172 days since we were physically together. Of course this bothers me, yet not enough to pack my baggage and run. What do you think?

– Frustrated


What do I think?

I think that 172 days is a lot of days. I also think your relationship with this man might have too many limitations.

I'm sure you love him and that he's wonderful in person, but that's the problem – he's not in person much at all. You're making a plan for four years down the road without knowing what next year can bring. Instead of thinking big – and about forever – can you focus on now? What happens in the immediate future?

Ask him what the two of you can do for each other over the next few months. Will you be able to spend quality time together? How will the relationship advance? Then decide whether you can live with the pace of it all. If you need help processing, therapy is good.

I can't speak to the possibility that there's another woman, but if you find yourself having trouble with trust, it's another reason to reconsider this long-term plan. Sometimes we meet someone we love and spot all of this potential, but that doesn't mean we'll be able to enjoy it.

What are you enjoying at the moment? Not much, it seems.

– Meredith

Readers? Time to end this? Stick it out?