How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
TherapistMarryAnn is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am a 47 year old female, 2 teenage children and divorced.

This answer was rated:

I am a 47 year old female, 2 teenage children and divorced. I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 4 yrs. don't live together. He's still married tho separated and lives alone. He has 2 children, aged 9&12. We've had several ups and downs. He is also my boss. Why won't he divorce his wife? He works long hours, is studying a degree and has his own domestics and leisure time to fit in. I can't stay with him or go away on our own as my daughter 'hates' her father and refuses to stay with him. I support this. From past comments I think/feel/know my boyfriend resents having to come to my home/not have time away alone. I keep thinking he's keeping me as a future option and also, that his life would be better with someone more able/available to give him what he appears to want/need. Should I call it a day? Have tried before but we end up back together but I feel very inadequate and suspicious. Help!
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like there might be a couple of issues going on in your relationship. One is that your boyfriend doesn't want to accommodate your situation with your daughter. It is understandable that it's not easy to always come over your home. However, if he wants to see you he needs to understand that for now, this is how you need it to be. It won't always be like this.

To address this issue, you may want to try to makes some compromises. Maybe hire someone to stay with your daughter for a weekend, for example. Or allow her to stay with an older relative. Just so you can give your boyfriend some time. You may want to try this to see if it does improve things between you both.

The other issue is that your boyfriend has not let go and moved on from his wife. He is still legally married (even after 4 years), which means he cannot commit to you. Why he won't proceed is curious. He either is unsure about leaving her for good, likes the arrangement as it is (has a wife and a girlfriend, sometimes an ego issue for men) or he still wants to try to make things work with her. None of those are easy to consider, I know. However, the last thing you deserve is to be in a relationship with someone in limbo over their past relationship and who won't let go. You need to have him free to make choices with you and not tied to his past.

You may want to ask him point blank why the divorce is not taking place. You are with him in a relationship and he needs to be fair to you about where he stands with you. He would not like it if you were still tied to your ex, so you deserve the same consideration.

If you try both of these things with him and you get bad results (i.e. he refuses to tell you why he is not divorced and/or he won't compromise on the visiting at your home) then you may want to rethink the relationship. Although it is painful to consider ending the relationship, you have been with him for four years which is considered a long term and therefore committed. You should be getting more consideration and his full attention by now. If that is not happening, finding another relationship where you can get your needs met might be a better option.

I hope this has helped you,
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. He tells me there is nothing to be gained from divorcing her yet and I think he's scared that she'll be vindictive in terms of access to his children. He is extremely attached to his children and they to him but she gives limited access at present - a few hours at their family home on Thursday evenings and from lunchtime til 7pm on Sundays when he can take them where he wants. This time never includes me - I have briefly met his children twice. I believe his wife holds me responsible for their marriage breakdown and any subsequent girlfriends may allow him more access to his children, which he would love.
He says he's prepared to be patient and expects me to be. However, the fact that he's still married and they still have many attachments after all this time makes me feel anxious. Is he being reasonable and are my expectations too high? Helen

You're welcome, Helen!


It is understandable that he fears losing his privileges with his children, but he should be working that out with his attorney. No reasonable judge would take his children away unless their were serious issues and it does not sound like there is any, so that may not be a valid reason. It seems like there is more to this than he is telling you. Plus the fact that you have only a few very brief interactions with his children tells you that he is still firmly committed to his wife and what she wants.


Your expectations are definitely not too high. He won't leave his wife for some reason but it is probably not for the ones he told you. Does he expect you to wait until the kids are of age? That would be a good question to ask him. That is many years from now and not worth waiting for. He basically is asking you to put your life and expectations of a normal relationship on hold while he does what he needs to with his wife and kids. And that is not fair to you. He is either in or out of your relationship. Unfortunately, you may have to make that choice for him and move on if you want a more committed relationship from someone.