There are several ways to look at this situation, and I want to help you consider a couple of them so that you can see these events differently.
When I see couples for therapy, I’m always interested in their origin story—how they met, what those early months were like, and what meaning each person gave (and still gives) to the events as they played out.
One way to tell your origin story is to say that your boyfriend wasn’t trustworthy and that you have evidence to support this: He didn’t initially tell you that he was separated rather than divorced; he kept in contact with his wife while you were dating; and he didn’t take the steps you asked him to take to move the divorce forward even though he said he would.
This version of the story could play out in various ways, but most likely it will keep you locked in place. Even if you find your boyfriend to be completely trustworthy going forward, you might carry the pain of this early time into your future, along with the belief that his not pursuing his divorce in the way you wanted reflected some deficiency in his love for you and/or deficiency in his moral compass. And viewed through the lens of this pain, you might never truly trust him. Needless to say, this isn’t a solid foundation for a relationship.
Another way to tell your origin story, however, goes something like this: Your boyfriend’s marriage was ending, but like many marital endings, it wasn’t clean and it was painful for both people involved. One or both of them might have been ambivalent. One might have wanted the divorce and the other didn’t. Or the decision to divorce might have been mutual but both still had to grieve the loss.
It might sound counterintuitive that exiting a bad situation would result in grief, but few relationships are all good or all bad. Most people choose each other because they genuinely enjoy many of the same things—they often have similar interests, ways of seeing the world, senses of humor, and sets of values. They might not match up exactly on all of these, but generally there’s enough emotional glue for them to choose to marry, for them to commit to a future and think, We’ll be happy going through life together.
But when a marriage ends, so does everything that came with it—not just the parts that weren’t working, but also the parts that were, all the comforts that the marriage provided: time invested in getting to know each other intimately, the built-in company and daily routines, all the private jokes and references, the shared memories and experiences. We can still miss aspects of people and the relationship we had even if we don’t want to be with them.
I don’t know how deeply you got to know your boyfriend as he went through his divorce, but my guess is that your anxiety about where he was in the process didn’t leave much room for your curiosity about his inner life, nor was he left feeling safe enough to share it with you. You met him at a major crossroads in his life, when he was trying to navigate the end of his marriage and the beginning of his relationship with you, and while he tried to accommodate your needs, I don’t know how aware you were of his.