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He wont divorce is ex. Am I stupid for being bothered by this?

Community Member
Hi Ive been with my boyfriend for 4 years. He is 56 and I am 48. I have been divorced for 3 years and have a friendly relationship with my ex for the sake of our 3 adult children. My partner has been separated from his partner for 10 years although they were still living and sleeping in the same bed as friends - no sex up until I started seeing him at which time she moved out. the have a long history spanning 30 something years. I have never really understood his relationship with his ex. My boyfriend had a successful business and a His wife was cheating on him and had a gambling problem and basically gambled away all the equity in the home loan and he ended up with nothing. He left her when he found out she was cheating. They sold their home and that's when he found out there was no money to split between them. After a year or so he ended up living with her again apparently for the sake of their 2 teenage boys and as I said didn't leave until we started seeing each other. I have never been able to understand why he would stay friends with the woman who cheated on him and gambled away everything he owned????
We do not live together but see each other everyday. Recently he has finally agreed to take the next step and move in together but no matter what I say he refuses to divorce her. A part of me believes hes only agreed to move in with me because he knows I want more from him and he is afraid I will end it if he doesnt. I think he would be quite happy leaving things the way they are. He knows I feel as though he should get a divorce to show his commitment to me and close the door on that chapter of his life. He know it really really bothers me and that I don't understand why he wont divorce her and yet he doesn't seem to care. He says its only a piece of paper and hes not going to pay for it. He does have the money to pay for it if he wanted to by the way. Also the car she drives is in his name he organised that during OUR relationship because she is bankrupt and cant get a loan or insurance. Am I crazy to be even bothering with this guy or am I just being jealous and unreasonable. Why the hell would he go out of his way to help this woman and why the hell wont he divorce her??????
4 Replies 4

Community Member

Hi jessemjim

Welcome to the forums. You're not being unreasonable to want the man who is planning to move in with you to be divorced beforehand. He's obviously got a very complicated history with his ex though, so I guess it's not a simple thing to disentangle from that. They do have children together, so he will never be able to cut ties with her completely due to that, but I certainly understand your concerns.

Considering what his wife did, I'd think your bf has major trust issues. That might be holding him back from fully committing to you. Perhaps his not filing the divorce papers is his way of keeping you at a distance because he's afraid to trust in a partner again. Do you know if he's had any counselling to help him deal with his ex's betrayal? Because what she did was a betrayal. Also is she still gambling? Maybe he feels responsible for her still, as gambling addiction is an illness. Perhaps he just can't abandon his sons' mother, or his helping her with a car loan was really about making sure his kids have transport, and not really about her.

Nobody can tell you whether or not you are wasting your time here, only you can make that decision. But perhaps you need to sit down and figure out what you get out of this relationship vs what you don't. Like a pro con list. Is he caring toward you? Fun and loving? Does he treat you with kindness and respect? Does he complement your life in other ways, and this divorce paperwork is the only thing coming between you? If his pro list is very long and all that's wrong is his dragging his feet on divorce papers, maybe you could give him a little more time to sort that out. Talk openly about how it makes you feel to know he is still married so he understands it's not just about paperwork, it's also about your feelings and how much you feel you can trust him.

Be aware though, that if he remains very closely tied to his ex, she is essentially in your life in some respect as long as he is. If he's helping her with loans etc. that's going to effect you, especially if you and your bf decide to join your finances. Would he continue helping her in this way even if they were divorced? These are questions you might need to ask him so you know what you're getting into if this goes further.

Hope this helps. Good luck.


Community Member

Welcome too Jessemjim

Good witch has offered some wonderful advice that may be hopeful and give you a chance of some clarity in your realtionship.

I think he is still emotional connected to her too like Good witch has said he afraid of beening serious hurt again. I think also that he just not quite ready to let go of that part of his life with his ex but knows that their no future with her anymore.

It tough on you, I can see how much you care for him but I think he knows that and he accepting the little push you giving him.

I can see that the divorce gave you a chance to strengthen your relationship with him and to open up new doors to a brighter future with him. I think if he do get a divorce it might not change thing straight away.

Maybe she plays on his heart strings a bit. The loyalty card. It sounds she not interested in a relationship with him anymore but not wanting to let him go.

It all up to him to cut the ropes if that want he wants. It up to you to feel if the time you give him to cut the rope is reached or not in due time and a decision on the outcome can be made. It a bit of a waiting game.

Take Care, hope it goes well for you both.

Hang 10

Thankyou so much for your advice and the time you took to reply. You make a lot of sense. No he hasn't received any councelling and yes I believe he has huge trust issues because of his ex. Its not at all like a think he is going to go back to her, I know he wont. The car thing I don't understand because his kids are grown adults that don't live with her and they don't need her to transport them around. The divorce papers wouldn't worry me so much if I felt he was more emotionally invested in me. I know he loves me but he is extremely closed up emotionally to me. He doesn't know how to connect with me in the ways I need so your right he has huge trust issues. I just feel like he cant let go of his past with her nor is he able to commit to me fully. He doesn't know how to make me feel special and plug into me the way I need if that makes sense??? I have talked to him about this so many times and all I seem to do is make him feel bad about himself which is the last thing I want to do.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Jessemjim, I can't say much more than what GoodWitch and Hang10 have said, and because she has gone bankrupt then there is a certain feeling of 'protection' so that she is able to get what she wants as she is restricted.

I also feel as though he is a little confused because if he stays with you for 3 years and not divorced then legally he is sort of married to 2 women.

That maybe a concern.