As some of you know, I’m dating a man who was married before. He has two children from his previous marriage. He has custody of them, but they live with his mother in the Philippines, since he didn’t have a well-paying job there, and wasn’t able to support them financially and raise them. His ex-wife abandoned him and the kids, and is living with her parents, about 30 minutes from his mother’s house. My boyfriend lives in Korea, about 90 minutes away from me.
My friend is furious that I am seeing a man who was married before, and who has children. She insists that he is probably still married, and refuses to acknowledge him or my relationship with him until I offer her proof that he is not married. She believes that he is still married to his ex-wife, that his “wife” believes they are still married, and that he is leading me on because he wants to cheat on his wife.
She is refusing to talk to me about him until I offer her proof that he is not married. She says that if I can’t prove that he’s not married, then it’s the same as dating a married man, and the kind of woman who dates a married man could never be her friend.
I have not actually seen his divorce papers and annulment papers. I wouldn’t even know what they would look like! I knew him as a friend for about 6 months before we started dating, and we discussed his relationship with his ex-wife. He had no reason to imagine that we might start dating, and therefore no reason to lie about the relationship with his wife. I have been given no reason to distrust him or believe that he is lying. He has never been anything but honest with me. I have looked for warning signs, in case my friend is getting a vibe from him, but there are no warning signs.
I have met members of his family, who have referred to his ex-wife in conversation. I have spoken on the phone with his sisters, who confirmed that he is divorced. I have spoken on the phone to his daughter (who is only three years old, and so didn’t have much to say on the subject). He went home to the Philippines to visit his kids, and gave me his sister’s number as his contact info. Every time I phoned it, the phone was immediately passed to him, which indicates to me that he was indeed spending time with his mother, his sisters and his kids, not with his ex-wife. His friends have independently confirmed his story that his wife abandoned him and the kids. All the signs point to him telling the truth.
So what do I tell my friend, who refuses to believe me that he’s not married?
I feel that I have no reason to distrust him, and so I don’t want to ask him to prove his marital status by showing me the papers. Asking him to show me the papers shows that I have no faith in his word. I do have faith that he is a good person.
The whole issue started because when I first met him, he showed me pictures of his kids. I took that to mean that he was married, and mentioned in passing to my friend that he was married. A month or so later, I learned that he was divorced and waiting for the annulment process to be completed. He apparently felt uncomfortable mentioning the divorce until he knew that he would be completely divorced. A few months later, he mentioned in passing that his annulment had been approved. And, a few months after that, we started dating. Certainly, I would never have considered dating him if I hadn’t learned that he was divorced. My friend thinks that he made up the divorce and the annulment in order to start dating me. I think that since we started as friends, and were not even considering dating when he told me he was divorced, I have no reason to doubt his word.
My friend says that my faith in him indicates that I
a) have no morals and no compunctions about sleeping with a man who could be married.
b) am naive and foolish to think that a man would be telling the truth about his marital status.
c) am gullible for believing this man, who is probably only trying to get my guard down so he can get into my pants.
So what do you think? Is my friend overreacting, or does she have a point? Do I have a moral obligation to make sure that he really is divorced?