Dear Annie: I have been with “Tony” for three years. When I started seeing him, I didn’t realize he was still legally married to a woman who cheated on him. He promised to divorce, but things remain the same. He claims “it’s just a piece of paper” and we are married in our hearts. I’ve tried explaining that it feels disrespectful, but he doesn’t get it.
Tony and his wife wanted to avoid court, so they drew up papers with a mediator. But each time she sends them, he finds she has hidden something that goes against what they agreed, and he refuses to sign until the papers are fixed. But Tony always waits for her to make the next move. In the past, whenever he pushed for resolution, she made it difficult for him to see their children.
It annoys me that Tony doesn’t try harder to end this. Worse, he and his wife still have a joint checking account. He keeps saying he’ll close it, but he hasn’t. Tony is a known procrastinator, but I am hurt and frustrated. Enough is enough.
I don’t want to throw away what we have, but I’m beginning to resent him and his promises. I think the only way he will open his eyes is if I leave. But I love him, and our family is happy together. Am I being unreasonable? – Tired of Waiting
Dear Tired: Tony doesn’t want to rock the boat and figures you’ll stick it out. But it could take a long time, and his wife enjoys holding the puppet strings. (And there is absolutely no excuse to be sharing a bank account.) Tony needs to see a lawyer who will establish visitation rights and make sure the wife sticks to the agreement. If he refuses, it is your choice whether your life is better with him or without him.