Keep Your Heart & Mind Open

By Mindie Barnett

Wellness coach, author, and speaker Mindie Barnett answers your questions about life, navigating these stressful and uncertain times, and steering you down a more straight forward path. We welcome your questions and invite you to contact Mindie at:  mindiesmusings1@gmail.com

Mindie is available for in-person and virtual wellness therapy sessions via her Executive Health by Mindie Barnett wellness coaching practice. Her expertise is in interpersonal relationships, overcoming depression, coping with anxiety and avoiding and overcoming burnout among many other wellness areas. Life coaching and career coaching are also areas she excels in. For more information or to schedule a session
visit mbexecutivehealth.com

Dear Mindie,

I am having a lot of personal struggles with my on-and-off boyfriend. He is separated from his wife and plans to divorce before the summer. He has been living apart from her for more than a year and has no plans for reconciliation.

We met through mutual friends last fall and began connecting as platonic friends. Slowly but surely, that friendship grew into a romantic relationship. Still, we have not officially called ourselves a “couple,” he is very guarded because he is not divorced yet and shares a child with his soon-to-be ex-wife.

While I care for him deeply, the situation makes me uneasy. Some days, I am happy; other days (when he is absent or elusive), I am sad. He wants to maintain constant contact, but from afar, which hurts my heart. While I know his intentions are good and he is not leading me on, I still wish things could progress in a more normal way. What should I do?  


Dear Sad,

Your situation sounds complicated! It sounds like you have met a genuinely lovely man and one that you care about. That is a win, especially in today’s dating climate. However, your timeline versus his is not in alignment. If you find more days are spent feeling happy than sad due to the fact this man is not able to provide you with more physical presence and support, then I would suggest you step away until he has worked through his divorce and can meet you where you are. This does not mean that you need to remove him from your life but scale back his accessibility to you so that you can better protect your heart and put your needs at the forefront. That move alone will leave you feeling much more in control of a situation you have little control over.

If that feels impossible or you find your days are leaning more on the happier side of the scale than sad, I advise that you breathe and know in time that you will receive the relationship you need and deserve.

We do not always (in fact rarely!) have a hand in the pace of interpersonal relationships; the rhythm is typically a collision of several factors: work commitments, geography, other interpersonal responsibilities, and the needs of two individuals.

Often, compromise is vital for every relationship element, and this situation is a prime example of that. You might suggest that while you understand his current constraints, respect his situation, and support him, he could also be mindful of your needs and do his best to meet you where you are, whenever possible, until his situation is different. That said, you must be willing to accept the situation as it is and know it may not change for the better anytime soon. Divorces can be messy and lengthy, depending on the circumstances and personalities involved. It would help if you were prepared for that.

You should do some real soul-searching and determine which option seems worse (as they are neither ideal). Keep your heart and mind open to possibilities, too – your first allegiance must be yourself. Our first relationship is the one we keep with ourselves, and if yours is not intact, then you will never be able to be a true partner to another, regardless of the details.

I wish you the very best and that you find the love you seek at the end of the tunnel!

Mindie xo