Should I tell this other woman that I plan to get divorced?

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I finally told my wife of 35 years, the last 12 being without sex, that I wanted a divorce. She is a truly good and kind person and I've stayed married out of the the obligation to provide for her, although she has a decent job and good benefits. Throughout our marriage I have paid the mortgage and all our bills and bought her a good car. The only thing she does for me (and I mean only) is to provide my health insurance. Our life together is civil and peaceful, but my frustration is unbearable. We have no personal connection to each other apart from our grown kids and grandchildren, and she is content to devote her life to them. On my part, I feel that my kids are in charge of their lives and that I've done my best for them and I deserve to lead the life that makes me happy.

When I told her that I wanted a divorce, she said "why bother" since we basically we are. Her only concern seemed to be where she would live. Since I pretty much come and go as I please, I have met a few women who I sensed were interested in me, but things never progressed, in part, I believe, because I was always upfront about my situation and I really wasn't comfortable with cheating, although I question whether it really would have been. At the time, it was OK to tell myself that just having a woman interested in me was an accomplishment. The last woman I met was at a show with a male acquaintance who I assumed was her boyfriend at the time. He and I exchanged numbers planning to meet again for another show. I made small talk with this woman (who is much younger than I) but didn't think much of it until she texted me out of the blue the next day saying how nice it was to see me. She had gotten my number from our mutual acquaintance. I replied the same but didn't give any indication that I was interested in her until about a week later when I couldn't resist and texted her. Through some back and forth we ended up meeting for drinks, which seemed to go well. Our communication is pretty much at zero now. I feel that part of the reason is that my marriage made us both hesitant to take things further. Still, the steps I made caused me to feel like more of a man than I had in a long time, while at the same time realizing I was a coward, and it was this that finally caused me to tell my wife I wanted a divorce. So now that I've made the first step I'm wondering where to go from here. I know that telling a woman that I asked my wife for a divorce is pretty weak, but I feel more free to do what I want than I have in a long time.

I also realize that until I am finally divorced I will never be one hundred percent free to pursue any kind of relationship with another woman. Being a longtime reader of Love Letters I realize I will get a lot of ridicule, which frankly I deserve, but save the age comments. I also know that there are many well-intentioned people who will give me sound advice.

– Not Divorced (Yet)


I don't know what advice you need, really. You've learned that there's a big difference between staying married-on-paper and getting a divorce. You've also realized you need to live in your own place because sharing space with your wife, even if she's barely that, prevents you from moving on with other people. Your convenient living arrangement isn't good for you after all. You figured that out on your own.

Your only confusion seems to be about this specific woman, but I'm not sure she can be very important right now (sorry). She was a great catalyst – she made you realize that you needed to take action. But you can't expect her to wait for you, to be your sounding board while you make major life changes, or to be your girlfriend the second you're really single. See her with your mutual friend if you can, and let her know about the changes in your life if that conversation comes naturally, but do not announce this divorce in a way puts pressure on her.

Also know that she might be dating lots of people and doing her own thing. Maybe she didn't see you again because she had other things to do. Remember, she's been single this whole time.

I don't see any reason to "ridicule" you, by the way. Your marriage stopped working so you talked to your wife about it. You tried to compromise and it didn't work. Now you're taking steps for a happier future. Good for you.

Just take this specific woman out of the equation. One thing at a time.

– Meredith

Readers? Any advice for a person taking steps toward divorce?