That Time I Dated A Married Man
I consider myself someone with a well calibrated moral compass. I’m the person who still considers dating while separated “adultery.” While I realize that it may not be the most realistic endeavor, given that divorces can be long drawn out emotional land mines between two adults, I do make it a point to not date married men, let alone anyone in transition.
A while ago, I met an older man named *Sean on Tinder. We hit it off pretty quickly and he checked off a ton of boxes on my dating list. I was really excited and, quite frankly, beside myself. He was honest about the fact that he had a son and was in a co-parenting relationship with his child’s mother. I’d asked if he was married and he said that he wasn’t. Usually, when I ask straight questions and the answers are forthcoming without hesitation, I have no reason to believe otherwise. In my naivety, I forgot to factor in that people can be really good liars as well.
As things progressed and our relationship became more serious, there was talk of taking a trip over one of the holiday weekends. I was able to find cheap flights and in trying to reserve them, my then-boyfriend corrected me on the name to use on the ticket reservation. Instead of *Sean, he asked that I put him down as Mark. I didn’t think much of it and absentmindedly assumed he was using a middle name as his first. As days went by, something about it didn’t sit well with my spirit and any attempts to bring up this concern were brushed off.
One day while I was over at Sean/Mark’s place, I picked up a piece of mail just to ease my mind. It had a different name on it. I looked at another piece of mail and the story was the same. He’d lied. You can imagine the wave of panic that swept over me. Here I was, with a man I’d been seeing for a few months and he was not who he said he was. Was he a fugitive? Stolen identity? I panicked internally before making plans for us to go to dinner shortly after. Really, that was just a ruse to confront him about what I’d just discovered in a public place. I also sent the dinner location to my friend to let her know where I was because I was not going to end up on the news, especially with a man who was essentially a stranger to me now.
My ex’s first reaction to my question about his name was to get defensive and as why I “went through his mail.” Eventually, he gave me some excuse about “Mark” being a name he was called by friends which was bogus. It was clear this man wasn’t going to be willfully honest, so I politely gave an ultimatum that he tell me the truth or I leave.
This is when he began a very long-winded “boy meets girl” story in the third person as though it were some epic retelling of his life. I had to cut this tale short so I interrupted and plainly asked him if any woman within these fifty states was able to call herself “Mrs. [Redacted].” He responded yes.
I asked why he withheld this information from me, i.e. lied to my face about being married when I first inquired about his relationship status. He told me he’d married his child’s mother to help with her immigration issues and didn’t feel like it was a real marriage. He also said they were separated and working on a divorce. I, on the other hand, felt like I was in a real relationship with a sociopath and no longer felt safe. I thanked Sean/Mark for his time, asked that he never contact me again, and left.
While I’m aware that there are many varied opinions on dating while separated, I personally can’t date someone in transition. As long as the ink isn’t dry, there’s still a chance of reconciliation and that to me is a prime setup for an emotional “Mexican Standoff” if you will. Most of all, I was lied to and robbed of the chance to decide if this was the kind of relationship I wanted to enter into and that couldn’t be ignored.
Thanks to this guy, I’m more cautious now and find cheeky ways to ask for identification and verify that info. State searches for marriage licenses help too. You know, just to cover my bases.