DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband and I have been back together for eight months. We were divorced for two years, during which time he remarried. We stayed in contact during his second marriage and he says he still loves me, so he left her.
He's now back with me after living on his own for a few months. I'm frustrated because he won't commit to me again. He says he has forgiven me for what broke up our marriage, but he will never consider remarrying me.
He says he has lost faith in all women. He says one marriage to me was enough and that he's confused. He told me it's fine with him if I put my rings back on. He introduces me as his wife when we're out together, but won't divorce his second wife.
I know I'm coming on too strong and pressuring him to be the man he used to be. I just don't think it's right that he should get all the benefits of having his wife and children back with none of the commitment. Should I back off and give him time to heal, or am I trapping myself in a hopeless relationship that's going to leave me a divorcee? -- HOPELESS IN MISSOURI
DEAR HOPELESS: I think we both know the answer to that. Your ex has stated clearly that he will never consider remarrying you. Under these circumstances, your wedding rings should remain in the drawer. While he may introduce you as his wife, you are NOT his wife. His WIFE is his wife, which entitles her to all the rights and privileges of her status as a spouse according to the laws of Missouri.
Be prepared to give your ex plenty of time to "heal" while living on his own. If he is confused, insist that he work his issues through with a therapist. Allowing him to stay with you while married to someone else was a mistake. You should have thought through how the arrangement might affect your children before you agreed to it.