- 1 year ago
I’m hoping for a second opinion. I’ve religiously stalked these boards for over thirteen years. From my first failed marriage to my now seemingly failing second serious relationship.
Background: I’m in my 30s, married once for eight years and separated for one year before the divorce, 3 kids (joint custody). He was my high school sweetheart and I did not have any previous serious relationships. We never fought because honestly neither of us cared about the other. My now boyfriend is in his late 40s, one kid (did not have custody), married once with two longer term (4 years each) relationships that did not result in proposals. No relationships for 4 years prior to ours… just flings/one night stands. We worked together for 3 years prior to dating, we’ve now been living together for 8 months.
I recently gave up my job due to conflict of interest while working with him (it had to be me or him and he had the better position). I am now a stay-at-home girlfriend (and part time stay-at-home mom) despite two college degrees and a Masters in Engineering. I was very career motivated so this was a huge “sacrifice” for me, despite how ungrateful that sounds.
Marriage is really important to me, especially with the kids. Even though my first marriage failed, I truly believe in committing to one person for the rest of my life. I feel like I know what “for worse” means now. My bf says he’d like to get married again someday. I’m ready to get married now. My kids call him “Dad” and ask us frequently why we haven’t gotten married.
I feel like I’m all in. I’ve told him I’m all in. My kids see him as their second dad and I see him as my best friend, my person, the one I’d do anything for. I love him completely. Tonight we were talking about marriage and I’m there (heck, I wouldn’t have moved in with him or introduced him to my kids if I wasn’t!) and he is definitely not. The reason changes every time we talk about it. I don’t have a timeline and I honestly don’t know if we’re miles apart or feet apart. All I know is that every time he gives me a reason I try to “fix” it. And then the next time it’s a completely new reason. Tonight he said we hardly know each other and that it “wouldn’t be appropriate.” So we didn’t know each other when I introduced my kids to him? Or when he taught them to ride a bike? When we lost our own baby? When we went through major family illnesses and deaths? And most recently, when I gave away my livelihood? I’m not sure if he just doesn’t want to get married and won’t come clean, or if there really are that many things wrong with me.
Marriage to me is a sense of family, security, commitment that we won’t walk away from each other. It’s saying that “I know your flaws but you’re still perfect for me.” It’s saying that I claim you as mine by even giving you my last name… you’re good enough, I’m not embarrassed of you, mostly I choose you forever and ever. Every time he introduces or calls me his girlfriend, I hear “this is the girl I love BUT…” instead of “this is the woman I love unconditionally.”
I admit that I’ve made a ton of mistakes. If marriage was a deal breaker to me, I shouldn’t have ever exposed my kids to him or moved in with him without that kind of commitment. But I didn’t. I was selfish and put my emotions and feelings before what was best for my kids and logically best based on my true values. But I’m here today asking for advice on how to move forward.
1. Break-up: he never proposed to his past long-term girlfriends and there’s no indication you’re any different. Stick with your gut that it’s a dealbreaker and cut your losses now. Cold turkey for the kids seeing him.
2. Move-out: rent an apartment TOMORROW, drain savings and apply for jobs like crazy. Try to continue to date him (how does that even work anyway?!). Come up with a schedule to gradually reduce the amount of time the kids see him.
3. Suck it up. You made your bed so now sleep in it. Don’t disrupt the kids and just try to accept the fact that you’ll likely never be good enough to marry. Things could be worse.
Honestly, I want to move back in with my parents and spend the first week binge watching “He’s just not that into you” and trying to forget all the mistakes I’ve made in
my life. But now I’m an adult and I’ve got three amazing kids that are more important than anything else and my own Mom is 12+ hours away. Thanks for any advice.