The Luv Doc: Mostly Happy
Not only is the glass half empty, it's got a hole in the bottom and it's leaking poison
Dear Luv Doc,
I have a problem. I have been living very happily in Austin since I moved here in 2015. I have a great apartment in South Austin, an adorable dog, and I have made some good friends in the past few years. My life was stress-free up until a few months ago when my ex-boyfriend from college moved to town and started messaging me regularly. At first I wasn't worried about him getting in touch with me because he is married to a very attractive woman. I have even gone out to dinner a few times with him, his wife, and some other friends from college. Then a few months ago he asked me out to a happy hour and it turned out to be just me and him. I was cautious at first, but he said his wife doesn't mind because she travels a lot. We ended up having a great time, but nothing happened. A week later at another happy hour he told me he isn't happy in his marriage and that he has been missing me ever since we were together. I have to admit that I still have feelings for him too, and recently we have been spending more and more time together. He is now saying he wants to file for divorce and wants to move in with me. I don't know if this is a good idea, even though I know he is sincere about leaving his wife. Should I tell him yes? – Mostly Happy
I am sure I don't need to bore you with the countless scenarios on how that situation could go wrong. Shakespeare (or maybe Christopher Marlowe?) carved out a sizable niche in literary history turning romance into tragedy. The ancient Greeks burned up plenty of papyrus well before that, and my bet is the Chinese were well bored with romantic tragedy long before Sophocles got his nib wet. Instead of sitting around writing about fireworks, they actually invented them. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could do that with the solar-powered flying car?
So yeah, this fellow, no matter how sincere he is about leaving his wife, has some easily foreseeable obstacles to overcome – and my bet is that those are going to be even greater if he is shacking up with you. I am sure he is already girding his loins for what is to come, but have you girded yours? In the immortal words of another British playwright named Bill, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." He should have added, "... and God help you if a scorned woman has your dog's address." See? There I go making up tragedies that may or may not happen. I'm going to blame that one on Sophocles' nib ... or maybe that movie with Glenn Close.
I am fairly sure our attorney Pete would advise strongly and vociferously against me encouraging you to enter into a living arrangement that is, historically at least, doomed to fail and that might put you in imminent peril. Then again, we don't pay Pete for his optimism. We pay Pete to tell us that not only is the glass half empty, it's got a hole in the bottom and it's leaking poison. As you can imagine, we don't call Pete very often, and mostly, we don't get our pants sued off.
This fellow's wife might be the absolute picture of Zen, serenity, forgiveness, and understanding. He might well get unhitched without a hitch. You might well develop a deep, passionate, eternal love that will outlive the creator herself, and if somehow, by wit or wisdom, you defy the merciless reliability of statistical probability, well good on you. My guess, however, is that you're feeling that little pang of doubt that things somehow might not work out and you're going to get steamrolled somewhere along the way. You should trust that pang. You're not the one who needs to get his shit together. You're not the one who needs to sweep up some loose ends. Therefore, I am going to suggest that you let him take care of his business before he makes it yours.