The power to put an end to relationship limbo is hers
Q: I'm divorced (seven years). I've been in a "relationship" for five years with a married man who is separated from his wife, but not divorced. I'll call him Jack. Jack tells me he is working on that. He says he is committed to me and wants an exclusive relationship, but he travels extensively for his job, and in the past 18 months I've only seen him about twice a month.
Meanwhile, I've been lonely. I've gone online to dating sites and met some men. I've gone on some dates and slept with one guy. I've been honest with Jack about everything but the sex. Do you see this as a "committed relationship"?
I do not because he is not divorced, but he does. He wants me to sit home alone and not interact with other men when he is not here. I won't do it. How do you see this relationship?
A: I see it as committing a "relationship" — one I'd rather see you commit while I have a bag of popcorn in my lap.
Setting aside the possibility that Jack isn't in fact separated and his "extensive travels" are to his marital home — I do hope you have enough trust and access at least to rule this out — you're still left in relationship limbo with a man in relationship limbo with somebody else. And you have a divorce in your past to remind you how important it is to take good care of yourself even while loving somebody else.
You can't end Jack's limbo, but you can end your own. If you continue to see Jack, then make it clear you're doing so as a single woman, with all that entails — dating, sex, future potential.
Note the opening "if." Since Jack seems to bring you little besides angst with strings attached, consider detaching from him entirely. You already know these are your choices; you just need the backbone to choose.
When to divide costs three ways or four
Q: If a couple and two single people go in on a gift or rent a hotel room together, etc., is it proper to split the cost three ways or four? When it comes to a dinner out, there is never a question among my friends — the bill would be split four ways — but when it comes to the other situations, the argument is always that the couple is one unit so the cost of the hotel, gift, etc. should be split three ways.
I have to admit that, being in the single camp, I find this unequal and unfair, but perhaps my judgment is clouded . . . which is where you come in.
A: Everything is split four ways, except when the couple shares space that the single people occupy alone. Say you rent a three-bedroom apartment, where the singles get their own rooms and the couple shares a room. Then I could argue for splitting the tab three ways. (If the couple bogarts the master bedroom with balcony, stunning vistas and whirlpool tub, then you go back to dividing by four.)
But the couple still counts as two people with any utility charges, food bills, rental car charges and gifts where you all sign the card. Anything that smacks of a Singles Tax must be shot down by singles and couples alike.