Dear Cheryl: I'm 20 years old, and I recently had my first kiss. I've never had a serious relationship. I'd really like to be in one with my friend, whom I've known for years. He would, too. We're on the same page. But he lives pretty far away — far enough that I have to fly to visit him, which I plan on doing some time in the next month. Is it a bad idea for my first serious relationship to be long-distance? — On the Brink
Dear On the Brink: Don't overthink this. You like him; he likes you. Go for it.
Dear Cheryl: I'm 45, and I've been divorced for a year and a half. I met a nice man online, who's my age, and we clicked immediately. We began a very nice relationship. We have the same educational background and interests. My kids met his kids, and we all got along great. He met my parents. They really liked him. I met his parents, too. After four months he said he wanted to get engaged. I didn't push it, because I'm in no rush to remarry. But we chose a ring, and I was thrilled with the commitment and the prospect of a nice future with him. About two months ago (six months into the relationship), he began to have severe back pain and was admitted to the hospital. That's when his dear mother told me, "I don't think his divorce is final."
I was in shock! Why did he give me a ring when he was not yet divorced? I called his wife, whom I had never met. She said they were still working on the divorce, but they weren't in a rush to make it final. Huh? By the way, he married her twice. Their last separation was just over a year ago. He swears up and down that it's over and they've just been too busy or lazy to get it done.
Meanwhile, he can't walk without help, he has to cut back at work, and he is tired and cranky. He's in and out of the hospital. Maybe I'm selfish, but I'm angry he lied to me. I don't know what's going on with his wife, and he's evasive when I ask. I know he went bankrupt once before, but it seems there are many things he's hiding from me.
If our engagement were legit — it's not because he's still married — I would be taking care of him. But I feel no obligation now. I want to move on. I feel like the rug was pulled out from under me. A month ago, I was thrilled about the future. Now I have I have a man who lied and is quite ill. Should I walk away? My friends and family tell me to bail, but it's hard to let go of the love and emotions. — Fish or Cut Bait?
Dear Fish or Cut Bait: Cut bait. Consider his mother's little slip of the tongue a gift. This guy has major problems, and I'm not talking about his physical problems. The first clue was when he wanted to get engaged after just four months. That's way too fast when there are children involved. You got lucky. It's a good thing everything blew up before you actually married the guy.
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