Ok here goes… I don’t have a lot of people to talk to about this, so I was hoping for some (friendly?) advice…
I’ve been living with my b/f and his 7-yo son (50% custody, from a previous marriage) for almost a year now, but we’ve been dating for ~2.5 years. We met when he was separated, and he’s been officially divorced for a year and a half. I have a great relationship with his son, who I’ve known for over a year, and a great relationship with my b/f. He tells me he loves me, calls me his partner, says he’s fully committed to me, that he never thought he would find someone like me. He encourages a close relationship between me and his son, who calls me his “big sister”. For my part, I’m totally in love with him and, while it’s been a rocky road to emotional commitment to someone with ex-wife-and-child baggage, I am finally beginning to feel like part of the family. There are rough patches, but day-to-day we’re all very happy.
The trouble, of course, is that b/f isn’t ready to get married again, but after living with someone and their son for a year, I’m ready to solidify a real commitment. When I moved in with him, I told him very clearly that I see moving in together as a big step towards marriage, and he told me that he could see himself getting married again someday. Ok, I thought, let’s give it some time.
In December, he told me he was really happy and ready to celebrate our commitment together, and we should get tattoos or matching jewelry or something and have a little ceremony with friends/family… BUT that he wasn’t ready to think about marriage. I told him that this sounded like he wanted all the important aspects of marriage without actually getting married. He said he wanted to celebrate commitment on our own terms. I told him that we can do the marriage thing on our own terms, but that I don’t want an “un-marriage”.
A couple months ago, he said he was thinking more about long-term commitment and we had a discussion about possibly having a child together, something he’s been wishy-washy on for a long time. I took him initiating the discussion, though, as a good sign.
That’s how everything was left, until now… I’m about to turn 30 and I want some legitimacy. I don’t want to be a live-in girlfriend forever! I’m fully integrated into his son’s life, I attend his school events, I cook and clean and do laundry, I help coordinate with his ex-wife on scheduling, we have several summer trips planned, I’ve met all his family, he’s met all of my family, etc etc etc.
I brought it up the other night. I said, I’m having some stress around turning 30 and in a situation where I’m taking care of a house that I have no ownership in, caring for a child that isn’t mine, and sharing finances with someone who isn’t my husband. I said I want to be sensitive to him about not being ready for marriage but I feel like I need some real commitment.
He told me that: 1) inviting me to live with his son is the biggest commitment he can make, 2) that marriage is just a piece of paper, 3) that he wants to enjoy a relationship that he doesn’t have to call anything, 4) that he doesn’t want to be bullied into proposing to me, 5) that he’s becoming more ready for it, and 6) when it’s the right time, “it’ll just happen”. All of those responses are troubling to me.
I do know that he was with his ex-wife for 5 years before he proposed to her, and they had an amicable split because of several incompatibility issues. I don’t want to rush anyone, and I’m certainly not bullying anyone. I thought that was an obnoxious thing to say. No one wants to marry someone they have to pressure into it!
It’s just hard for me to understand how you can be truly in love with someone and truly committed to them and STILL not want to get married. Our lifestyle is such that not very much would change, and I don’t expect it to. I’m willing to sign a pre-nup protecting assets for his son and I’ve never wanted an expensive wedding. It’s unclear to me what his hang-ups are, unless he’s just not fully committed to me.
I have no other reason to doubt his commitment, but this one is a biggie. I feel rejected, unappreciated, and depressed and I’m not sure if this means I need to cut my losses and scoot. After all, he’s the one with the complicated baggage, not me.
I wouldn’t have a problem with waiting a bit more if I knew he’d be ready in a decent time-frame, but he hasn’t given me a time-frame so I’m not sure what to do… is this a “why buy the cow” scenario, or am I rushing it?