Can you Define Divorced?
I met Henry at a restaurant while waiting for one of my girlfriends. He was waiting for his friend, too. So, we four ended up having a couple drinks and appetizers together. During the conversations, Henry explained that he was on a nine-month assignment, and lived in an executive condo near the business district. He also has a larger house about 150 miles away that has been in his family for at least 100 years, and he just can't part with it even though he spends little time there. His marital status comes up and he says divorced. "Children?" I asked. He said they are grown and out of the house. He was funny, good-looking, and I was thinking worth a date, even though he was a little older than I usually date. About two hours later, Henry and his friend left. I was disappointed that he hadn't asked about meeting up again. When the check came, there was a note along with the charge slip with his number on it. He wrote that if I was interested, to give him a call in the next couple days. We got together for several dates a week over three or four months, and occasionally he would go back to his family's home to "check on things." I thought nothing of it. There were pictures of his kids and grandchildren around, as well several of the "family" house. No women's clothing or toiletries to be found in the condo. The furnishings were tasteful, but very masculine. No bitter remarks about the ex-wife. He apparently had a good income and treated me well. We went out on many of those dates. All good signs. One blustery night, we decided to not to go out for dinner as planned, but instead watch a movie and order Chinese in. The snow was piling up and I thought nothing of staying over even though it was a workday; I dreaded driving home because there was no sign of snowplows. That night, around 1:00 am, the front door opened and closed. I could hear someone going into an upstairs bedroom and settle in for the night. Because the "someone" had a key, I didn't think much of it. Probably a friend or one of his kids who had too much to drink at one of the bars nearby. Henry, who was sleeping beside me, didn't move until I got up around 5:30 am. I commented about someone coming in during the night. There was no mistaking the look on Henry's face: BUSTED. He tried to act casual while he walked me to the door. He was not convincing. I was distracted at work all day, needless to say, but avoided Henry's calls thanks to caller id. I accidentally answered one of his calls on my cell phone driving home (he called from his aforementioned friend's cell phone, which I did not recognize). He said that he knew I was owed an explanation, and that we should meet. I told him over the phone was fine; give me the bullet point version. Here it is: He was "technically" divorced from his first wife, but not the second. The second wife was the one who had come a calling in the middle of the night. She had gotten stranded at the local airport because of the storm, and took a taxi to the condo. She is a restless sleeper, and they haven't shared a bedroom for at least two years, and that's why she went to another room. She travels a lot, and usually goes to the "family" home on her time off, sometimes when Henry is there, too. She didn't know that I was in the condo, and (you will and won't believe) therefore, "No harm, no foul." And, could I join him at a fundraiser dinner the next night, because he needed a date. I explained that he had the "wrong paperwork," that I wouldn't see him again, and advised him to lose my phone number ASAP. "Oh, by the way, Henry," I said, "you aren't divorced unless all the wives have a divorce decree. It's kind of like being declared dead without the benefit of a funeral and burial. Think about it, because I have. Many times today."
— Jennifer, 33