Going back to the single life?

norcalgirl78November 5, 2008

I post a lot on the stepfamily forum, but was re-reading the old living together vs. marriage thread here from 2004 (that the OP asked to finally be dropped) and wanted to share.

I am F30, never married and childless, BF is M39, a divorced father of two DDs aged 9 and 5 who live about 7 hours away with their BM and SF.

I have been dating BF for 2 years, and a year ago he asked my father for my hand and we moved in together. A year has passed with no ring due to BF's extreme financial problems. I have gone through a lot of struggles this year, trying to cope with and adjust to the girls, who are lovely and beautiful and smart and fun, but I never thought I'd have kids. BM is very jealous of me, even though she left BF for her current husband before I ever met either of them, and tries to interfere wherever possible. The kids visit irregularly which frustrates me because BM does not adhere to the custody order and BF has neither the finances nor the wherewithal seemingly to force her to.

I have some debt that should be paid off in a year, but BF's finances are a disaster. He owes tens of thousands of dollars all over the place including to the IRS. I have insisted that he clean this up during the whole year we have lived together, because I have gotten sick to my stomach with credit cards companies calling our place. However no debt consolidation companies that are reputable have been willing to take him on, so he *finally* last week started working with a financial planner for free through our credit union. I am contemplating moving into my own apartment at the end of our lease in 8 weeks, and requiring him to clean up his act before we take our relationship any further.

I don't pay his bills, and he doesn't pay mine, and outside of finances and money management issues, and my general discomfort with the idea of kids and being a SM, we don't have any problems. I get frustrated with him sometimes and his general lack of follow-through - I think he is just overwhelmed by a busy job and too many tasks, and when he has free time he doesn't want to focus on this. (Many are guilty of this I think, including me at times.)

It is hurting me deeply, partly because I'm afraid that I am making a huge mistake no matter what I do. I envision a future where I have a baby with him and have to always pick up the slack in our family budget because of his other obligations. Then I envision losing him by trying to make a point that I *deserve better* than his procrastination, hopelessness and financial mess, which he is already painfully aware of!! It hurts, hurts, hurts and preoccupies me constantly, and I don't know what to do. I have been in love and contemplated marriage before, but with him things are different. If I took a long list of good qualities in a mate, he would earn a double check mark by every one - not jealous, considerate of my feelings, understanding, good looking, professional, sense of humor, similar values and goals, my family loves him (no mean feat), knows how to stay calm and not let the ex always win, an incredible father and role model, fun loving, and worships the ground I walk on ...

Things could be perfect, only if.

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"Things could be perfect, only if."

Only if....he had a pot to pee in or ever will? If he wasn't surrounded by goons and harpies and always will be?

Wake up girlie. If you buy this, you'll own it, too.

I have no doubt he's god's gift to manhood but with this kind of baggage what difference does it make? If you go ahead with this, you will have earned your grief.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 8:58PM
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Ok, so his problem is big time financial. I guess it's important to ask how he got in this mess. Was it a one time auto accident without insurance, did his house catch fire, bad business deal, gambling addiction, expensive mistress, what? Everyone can go through a bad period; but his financial problem seems major and on going.

If he declared bankruptcy or was able to dig himself out, would you expect this financial problem to start all over again or not?

You mention his good qualities but I'm not sure you can really say these particular ones exist:

considerate of my feelings
similar values and goals
an incredible father and role model (really?)

Do you think with his big time financial problems (unless he got into them helping to pay for a child's brain surgery) you can really say those above things about him? You're left with some good qualities... cute, funny, worships you... are those good enough for you?

Money isn't everything. He could be a starving artist or work for pennies for a volunteer organization, but he needs to be intelligent and respect you (and his children) enough to know that (unless sick or something) he needs to be able to help to financially support his family. He needs to have a real attack plan -- otherwise, I would bet not only does he not really respect you, but probably not himself either... and that, is a really bad trait to have.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 9:55AM
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Hi. My first reaction after reading your post was get out quick! I am trying to put myself in your place but am having trouble. First of all when he asked your father for your hand I assume he meant marriage. Why are you living together? If marriage is what he wants to share with you then he needs to make that happen and if that means changing his ways then that is what he'll do. I am sure he has some wonderful qualities or you wouldn't be with him but please please be sure that you take care of yourself and protect your future. You have it all together financially and sound like a caring person and you deserve to have a partner who has the same qualities. Consider carefully moving out for a set amount of time that you both agree is adequate for him to get on his feet and headed in the right direction. There are some problems (his ex wife) that you have no control over but many other things that can and should be "fixed" before you commit yourself to a lifelong relationship. Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 1:11PM
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you describe your situation as "dating" for two years but that includes living together for one year. what is dating - especially as it relates to marriage? when you moved in with him did you expect that everything would just run smoothly with no problems at all? it ain't like the movies honey - it's hard worke, and four people are involved here, not just you.

my greatest concern is for the children. you said you are generally uncomfortable with them. did you go into this arrangement knowing that? if so, are you being fair to him and his family? these children have already been traumatized and now they're being handed back and forth between two families, both of which seem to be unstable. my heart breaks for them and their father, who is apparently trying to provide some stability for them albeit with plenty of mistakes on the table.

money problems can be fixed with time and discipline, but are you willing to wait? he has not asked you for assistance, but isn't sharing problems as much a part of marriage/partnership as sharing the good things? do you have any shortcomings yourself that he is dealing with?

i think you should ask yourself what you really expected to from this arrangement. if it is perfection you may never be married.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 3:17AM
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I think what's important is for him to first have a plan to deal with the financial end of things, and then commit to it right now. You can look again at a permanent relationship after six months and see if things have progressed according to plan by that time - in other words if they're likely to continue, if debts are being routinely paid on time, etc. etc. The other part then, would be for you to decide about marriage as of that time, with specific dates lined up for maybe 3-6 months later at most, being very honest with yourself about everything, and that means the girls, his ex, him, money, etc. If you expect just a romantic time with him, don't go ahead, because even if he gets his finances on track, the other 'baggage' will still be there and needs respect and lots of attention, not just your grudging tolerance, but a spirit of caring and wanting to help.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 5:38AM
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