Stupid and insecure?

parhelion1969June 14, 2006


it's been many years since I posted here, but I really need some advice.

I am 37. Three years ago I met a man at work, we really got close from the very beginning. Both of our marriages were heading south way before. So to make this really long story short, we both got divorced and have been living together for about 2 years. He has a teenage daughter and I have 2 boys, 13 and 7. We started our own business together and are doing really well. Life should be great, except.... he has not asked me to marry him. I really feel it is important. I am tired of calling him my boyfriend, either to our children's teachers or to customers. I feel that there is a stigma attached to woman my age with children who are not married, and that it sounds a whole lot cooler for a man in his forty's to have a girlfriend then for me to say that I have a boyfriend. He knows about my issue with that, but keeps saying to just wait, things are going to happen.

Don't you think at our age we should know what we want out of life, and decisions like this can be made a little quicker? I get really frustrated and agitated about this situation, and he is more than happy to argue with me about this, then we sometimes fight for weeks, and of course then he says we can't possibly get married or engaged if we fight like this.

Well, he's right, but I am just not happy no matter what his excuse is, because I want to be married.

Please let me know what you think.


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IMHO I think you need to consider what are your reasons for wanting to be married? Completely & honestly. If it's just so you don't have to refer to him as your "boyfriend" then just switch to introducing him as something else, like your "honey" or "partner" or just say this is "his name" and leave it at that. You are both recently divorced...(*after* meeting each other), and I can understand his hesitancy at jumping back in. He may also not see a reason to get married...after all according to you, he's happy and you're (mostly) happy, except with that one area. I wouldn't worry about the "stigma" there are a lot of women out there with children, either single or with boyfriends/commonlaws. I think social stigma has flown out the window in most areas that were taboo 10 or 20 years ago. If that's really the problem, then just refer to him by name to customers/teachers etc. It's really not their business anyway.

I understand the "I want to be married" feeling. DH and I lived together for a year and a half before we got married. He was my first relationship of that sort, but he'd just gotten out of a messy common law relationship, with 2 kids, and was hesitant to get married. For us it was different though (probably...unless you're planning on having more kids), I wanted to be "Mrs. _____" and I wanted to have children, and I wasn't willing to have them before I got married. He also didn't want to have any more kids unless he was married, and he viewed marriage as a permanent arrangement (same as me) so he didn't want to make that decision until he was ready. (Common-law was a test phase to see how compatible we were...once we got married then we're stuck ;-) with each other.) I would guess that's different for both of you because you're both divorced.

When push comes to shove, the fact is're this stage of life you should likely both know what you want, and be able to act on that. Either he doesn't want to get married again, maybe he honestly isn't sure if he's ready for that again, perhaps he just doesn't want to be pushed into it...and you're pushing, or it could be that he really isn't interested in remarrying, but he's just putting it off so he doesn't lose you. You need to decide what's more important...being a single mom with a boyfriend (and maybe/maybe not a husband some day) or being a single mom without a boyfriend. It sounds like he knows this is important to you need to know if he is honestly open to the idea of marrying you or not. If he isn't and you can't deal with that, then you have to make some decisions. If he holds by "just wait" then you have to decide if you can live with an indefinite wait or not. If the rest of life is great then maybe you need to just let go of the idea of being married. (I know one couple that was happily commonlaw for 10 year, got married and divorced a year later...I think she expected things to change with the new status of "wife" and he thought things would stay the same. (Isn't that usually how it goes??)

Maybe you're insecure...maybe he's insecure...Personally, I don't think he's necessarily making a bad decision by *not* jumping into another marriage.
Just my $0.02

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 8:04PM
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I really appreciate your answer. I don't know where to start. I guess that I just really want to get married becasue I love him, and I expect him to show me how much he really loves me as well. It doesn't really feel like 3 years to be divorced is such a short time, I think at our age it's reasonable to make decisions in that time frame. I also really liked being married and I know I want to be married again in my lifetime. I think marriage does give a feeling of security and closeness that I can appreciate. And honestly I think I may be wasting my time by waiting a whole lot longer. Let's face it I am not getting younger (or prettier or more attractive).
It all comes down to feeling loved unconditionally, and I know full well that it is not a guarantee (been there done that). I just don't want to spend the rest of my life alone.
And I do feel that he isn't going to marry me, because he gets the milk for free, why buy the cow. I don't always feel all that loved with him. As a matter of fact most days feel like he'd rather not be with me, however he hasn't much choice, as we own the company together.
Whatever I do in life has always been very clear to me, very blak and white, I either want to do it or I don't. What is so hard about making a decision? You want to be with me or not? And since he knows about how I feel, why can't he just say yes or no. It's pretty simple really, if he has any doubt just leave and I'll be on mmy merry way. That would hurt a lot, but it's better then wasting my life, isn't it?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 9:41PM
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There's no stigma whatsoever for a woman of your age, or any other age for that matter, to be single. There must be worse reasons to get married than because you don't think it sounds "cool" to say you have a boyfriend, but not too many. He obviously isn't in a rush to get married, and given that both of you have had a marriage fail in the past, shouldn't be. He *does* know what he wants, and at least for now, it isn't marriage.

I think you need to look at yourself and ask why you believe you're "wasting your time" and even "wasting your life" if you're not married. I certainly don't consider the years I spent single as being wasted. You can give and receive "unconditional love" with or without a ring on your finger. Why the insecurity? Sometimes the best way to build trust in a relationship is to be together because you want to be, not because there's a legal obligation to.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 3:02AM
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Lee, there is a stigma attached to living with someone and raising children together and not being married. And the children feel it everyday and so do I. If he would tell me that he doesn't want to get married I could make a decision based on how important it is for me to be married. However he says he wants to be married, but first he wants to never argue anymore and everything should be all wodnerful between us. His expectations are so high that I will never fullfill them. I have changed so much just to please him, that I am starting to feel like I am not even myself anymore, and it's never good enough to ask me to marry him.
I guess I see what you say about being single (which I am not) not being a waste of your time, but I am in this relationship to move forward not being stuck here for the rest of my life, living in a situation that is by my own standards not right. And that to me is a waste of my life. I guess I can read in my own messages where this is heading, I just have to be strong enough to pull the plug.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 9:50AM
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It sounds to me, like you've figured out what you need to do to be happy. If you don't feel "all that loved by him" and you feel that he's just staying with you for the sake of the company then I think you know what you need to do. Breaking up is hard to do (been there, done that) but if it's what you need to be happy, to allow you the opportunity to find a man who will love you unconditionally and *want* to marry you, then you need to do it. Try to keep it are business partners, and if you're willing, you can remain so after the break up. Just express what you've told us here, that you love him but if you're in a relationship, you want it to one where he has the same goals as you, one of those goals being marriage. Let him now that since he doesn't seem interested in marriage, and you don't want to pressure/hassle him into it, that you feel it's better if you both went on your way, to give each of you the opportunity to find someone who is on the same page. No ultimatums. Then let him know that you'd still be willing to be business partners (if you are), or give him the option to buy out your shares.

Next time round (if you believe "why buy the cow...") don't move in till after you're married. Remember that each new 'father' figure that comes in and out of your boys lives *will* cause trauma to them. Whether he's a BF/common-law or a husband, if he's there for any lenght of time and then gone, it will cause turmoil. If you feel really strongly about getting re-married, consider dating like a business transaction. Find out about goals & ambitions before you get emotionally attached (if he's not interested in the same goals as you then say good night.) My sister's mom had several "relationships" after my dad and before she finally settled down with her current man (I don't think they ever married...but not sure.) sister has had some pretty traumatic experiences, because she'd get attached to 'new daddy' and then mom would decide it was time to move on, and he'd be out of her life forever. (Kids may be resilient...but they do take scars with them, through into adulthood and the relationships they enter, as a result of the actions of their parents.) The other thing to remember, when dating with children, is the more dates you expose them to, the more chance there is you'll unknowingly introduce them to some sick b*st*rd. (Don't think it can't happen...I know one person who had it happen to them...and don't think that just because you have sons, that they aren't at risk...they are too.)

Good luck...I wish you all the best...for you and your boys.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 12:33PM
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parhelion, I don't have kids myself, but I certainly know plenty of single parents who are raising children, which may or may not be their own, with or without living with someone else, and none of them have related any "stigma" attached to it. They go on living their lives just as married couples with children do. Nor have I heard any complaints from the kids themselves. I certainly never gave a hoot about my parents' marital status when I was a child myself. A substantial percentage of children live with single parents of some sort. It would be hard for there to be any significant stigma attached to something so common and unhidden.

But I think the real issue here behind your rush to tie the knot is an underlying insecurity and lack of self esteem. You're so anxious to marry someone whose "expectations are so high that I will never fulfill them" and you "have changed so much just to please him". Instead of being loved and respected for who you really are, you're letting your life become ruled by a perceived need to change into whatever shape you think you need to become in order to please your man, all the while worrying about how others perceive you and allowing those (mis)conceptions to guide your every move. If you ever do coax him into marrying you, only then will your mind be at ease knowing you've finally snagged your man. But with the need to pretend to be someone else now gone, you'll naturally start acting like your real self again, thus becoming unrecognizable to the man who married you, and the stage will be set for divorce #2.

Do you not see what you're setting yourself up for? You're so wrapped up in subverting your own needs in order to please someone else, and to meet your perceived perceptions about what others have about you and your actions. Me, I feel I'm in a great relationship when I *don't* have to concentrate on keeping her satisfied all the time, or on meeting some sort of emotional demands or obligations to change and become who she wants me to be, and when she can likewise do the same and be her real self with me. I try to get to a point where those things become *instinctive*, where there's no need to fake being someone I'm not, because I know she is in love with who I really am and not some wildly modified version of myself that's been carefully calculated to win her over. I know I can make her feel good, not by acting artificially "cool" or doing chores for her or doling out compliments, but simply by being there. And she knows her very presense has the same effect on me. When there's no need to put on airs anymore, and you can just be yourselves and loved for who you are, that's when a relationship can start to feed on itself and you can become really tight. If you have to change so much "feel like you are not yourself anymore" as you put it, that's a HUGE red flag, not just for your relationship, but for your own thought processes.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 6:18PM
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I do understand where you are coming from.

Some people (women esp.) really feel that being married is very important and feel as if society is more accepting of women who are married.

However, from what you describe, not feeling like yourself, changing who you are to please him, etc. you are putting TOO MUCH stock in this relationship. Believe me I have been there, done it. I am coming out of a marriage that was basically all about pleasing him. But that is another story.

Can you honestly say that if you were to get married this person it would stop there? Or would you forever be trying to please him or trying to morph yourself into someone that you're not, just for the sake of getting their acceptance/love. That is a terrible way to live, and not what marriage is about.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that what your feeling about being married isn't wrong. It is wrong for him to play games with your head and tell you that "oh now we fight too much, we can't possibly get married". That is a big red flag to me.

Somebody recently told me this, "The one who cares the least in a relationship has the most power in it". It's true. In a healthy relationship both partners care about the relationship & where it is heading, not just one.

I wish you much happiness in whatever your decision may be,

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 12:11PM
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