Don’t wait, and then you ll know

Question: My boyfriend is married. You can’t imagine the scolding I’ve endured from friends. Some of it is beginning to sink in, and I’m doubting whether he will ever end his marriage for me. In your opinion, if I am in love with this man, is it worth the wait? Do you believe the philosophy that he will cheat on me, too, because he’s cheating on her?

Answer: I see those as two separate questions: Should you wait, and, if he ever becomes eligible, should you trust him?

The first is the easiest call you’ll ever have to make: No. You don’t “wait.” You don’t want him to end his marriage “for me.” You want him to end it only if, and only when, it’s the right outcome for that marriage. Being the reason a marriage ends might look romantic on the pages of escapist fiction, but in real life it means you took someone else’s candy just because you wanted it.

And no, “The marriage was already in trouble” doesn’t count, not if you’re there to help it collapse.

Continuing to see him is not the only way to keep him, stay in love, or whatever else you hope to accomplish. In this case, the reverse is true: If you love him and love yourself, then you will walk away. A love worth your attention not only will survive the wait for better circumstances — but deserves better circumstances.

Of course, decisions can be easy to make and hell to execute. You’ll feel devastated, you’ll have cravings, you’ll jump when your phone rings.

However, whenever your resolve weakens, remind yourself that your show of willpower will help answer the trickier question: Should you trust him?

Why people cheat and whether they’ll cheat again are case-by-case questions. Right now, by being available to him on the side, you’re enabling the worst case: that he feels entitled to something on the side. If you’re available to him only when he’s available to you, then you starve the worst case of oxygen. Choose best case or nothing at all.

Question: My girlfriend and I are closer to getting engaged, but there’s one thing we haven’t discussed. She is moderately religious (and wants a partner who is), and I am not.

I was raised in her faith, but organized religion never has worked for me. However, I don’t have strong feelings against it, and I would like to raise my kids in that church. Can I tell her I’m happy to join her church and raise our family there? My instinct is that there’s no moral wrong in pretending a little.

Answer: Fraud isn’t murder, but it’s still a “moral wrong.” Disclose exactly what she’d be marrying, and give her the chance to decide.

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