DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Earl," and I married when I was 23 and he was 26. We had dated for five years long-distance. We moved to an area where he could get a job -- 15 hours from my home in Connecticut, but only two hours from his home in South Carolina. Since I am a teacher, I have more flexibility.
During the first year, Earl quit his job to go to college. He also began an affair, which resulted in his moving out of our apartment and moving in with his girlfriend, who was also married. Because of state law, we had to be separated a full year before filing for divorce.
The year is just about to end. I have moved to New Jersey and Earl has gone back to his original job. After six months of not seeing or hearing from him, he called my family to get my phone number. Now Earl is saying that he has realized his mistakes and is straightening out his life -- yet he is still living with his girlfriend! He suggested that divorce is "not needed" and that "possibly" things may work between us.
Abby, I am not a silly schoolgirl thinking her knight has returned, but should I EVER (even if not now) give Earl the chance to re-establish the relationship that was so strong between us for 5 1/2 years, as purely friends? My friends doubt whether I could ever trust him as a friend, but should he be given the chance? -- SOON TO BE A GEN-EX STATISTIC
DEAR SOON TO BE: You have nothing to lose by listening to what your soon-to-be-ex has to say. But remain skeptical until he leaves his girlfriend. Even if he wants to revive the marriage, do not agree until the two of you have had many months of marriage counseling.