Going back to the single life?
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.