Ask Evie: Should I wait for my lover to leave his family, or is it time to move on?

Hi Evie. Please keep me anonymous for obvious reasons. I’ve been with my partner for nearly two years now, I initially didn’t know he was married. When I found out, he told me that his marriage had been on the rocks for a long time, but his wife wanted to stay together for the sake of their 3 children. Apparently, they sleep in separate rooms and don’t do anything as a couple (only family activities). 

When we became serious, he told me he’d leave her so we could properly start a life together. But this was a year ago, and I’m starting to feel like he won’t ever leave her. I know it must be hard when kids are involved, and I’ve told him we can take this process very slowly. I feel like we really do love each other, I’ve never been in a relationship with such a strong connection before. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have continued it once I discovered he was married. 

But recently, I’ve been feeling stressed out about the situation. I haven’t introduced him to my friends and family yet although they know I’m seeing someone. I just feel like my life is in limbo, and I don’t know whether it’s worth holding on or letting go. Every time I ask him about it, he just says he’ll sort it out soon. But how long is “soon”? Should I trust him or move on? 


Thanks for reaching out – I feel for you, this is a tricky situation. The truth is that affairs are a tricky business in general. I don’t want to start on a pessimistic note, but if your partner is capable of lying to you (for some time at the start of the relationship) and, presumably, to his family too, this isn’t something that should be overlooked. Just keep this in mind as you read through the rest of my response…

But let’s go with the premise that he genuinely does love you and plans to leave his family – you asked a good question. How long is “soon”? 

When it comes to kids, this can complicate the situation even further. He’s most likely feeling a lot of guilt already for finding happiness outside of his marriage and family. Even if his relationship with his wife is platonic, by leaving and starting a life with you, everything becomes “official”…In other words, scary and real. 

So, putting a time limit on “soon” isn’t possible. He might want to wait until his kids are older. He may be holding out for his wife to meet someone else and thus make it easier for them both to move on. But one thing is clear:

He’s not in a rush to do it, especially if you’ve been waiting a year since discussing the future of your relationship. 

So let’s put him to one side for a minute and focus on you.

You mentioned you’re feeling stressed, and that you haven’t been able to involve your family and friends in the relationship (understandably). It’s no wonder you feel like your life is in limbo – you can’t make plans for the future, or even embrace the present moment with all of your loved ones together. 

The truth is, waiting for someone in a situation like this often means putting your life on hold for a future that’s uncertain and largely out of your control. It’s a path that can lead to prolonged pain and a sense of powerlessness. Not to mention, by focusing on this relationship’s uncertain future, you might be neglecting your own growth and happiness.

On the flip side, moving on isn’t just about physical separation.

It’s about realigning with your own values and needs. Ask yourself: What kind of relationship do I deserve? What are my non-negotiables in love and life? This process is about reclaiming your power and agency in your life. And right now, that’s what you’re sorely missing. 

So, while I can’t tell you whether to move on or stay, I can tell you one thing:

Don’t put your life on hold for anyone else. Even if you do decide to wait for him to one day take that plunge and leave his family, live an active and full life in the meantime. Go out with friends, explore your hobbies and passions in life, travel, and take control of the areas you can.

In doing this, the answer to your dilemma may become clearer as you focus on what truly matters to you. It’ll certainly become easier to work out when you’re not passively going along with someone else’s narrative, but creating your own. 

Once he sees that you’re getting on with your life, it might spark him into action. And if it doesn’t? You’ve got your answer right there. 

Wishing you all the best,

Evie 

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com.

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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