New Bee, advice on how to sensitively ask when

posted 5 months ago in Waiting
Post # 3
1827 posts
Buzzing bee

This is a tricky one, with his mother’s terminal illness.  Honestly, I’m not sure how you could raise the topic at the moment; I don’t think he’s in a head-space to discuss his future.

On the other hand..  surely he would want his mother to be at his wedding, even if it meant a very scaled-back and simple courthouse type ceremony?  

I do wonder why he says he will “have” to go live with his father after his mother passes away. Did he actually mean move in with his dad and live with him, or did he mean he’d like to go stay with him for a few months to provide support?

Post # 5
330 posts
Helper bee

This is a rock and hard place. Even without his parents unforseen circumstances, I would say be patient. With the additional info, I guarantee this is the last thing on his mind and he is not at a place to plan a proposal. Give him some time, judging by your post, I’m guessing he found out about his mom about a month or so ago?  This is still very fresh for him. His grief and worry is the reason he says he is moving and all that. He’s most likely thinking out loud and trying to wrap his head around everything. Continue to support him as you have been and he will think about it again when he is not 100% focused on his parents. 

Post # 6
859 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

How does he feel about moving 3 hours away from you to be with his dad? Is there an option for his dad to move to where you live? How would moving affect his job, or can he work remotely?

I think the best thing you can do right now is be there for him, ask gentle questions that show you’re on his side, and support him. I agree with a PP that maybe his mom would want to be there for his wedding, but I wouldn’t push it from that angle – just see if it comes up naturally and let him know you are willing to plan a quick wedding so she can be there.

Post # 7
898 posts
Busy bee

There’s no way he’s in the mindset of figuring out your future.  Be supportive and give him any space he may need.  Know that it’ll be a long road and engagement is the furthest thing from his mind.  Let him get through this and then approach him much much later.  

I would however discuss the living arrangements and how that affects your relationship in the near future. But I wouldn’t mention marriage.

Post # 8
1090 posts
Bumble bee

Honestly just being by his side and being supportive and putting the whole engagement thing on hold usually would indicate to him how good you are to him and would make him want to marry you more… but not right now. If he feels this way it will be when the grief has had a chance to slow down a lot. If you bring up the engagement now… I would see him feeling the reverse.

Post # 9
10384 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

I totally disagree that this should not be discussed. The idea that he will permanently move in with his father, with no discussion whatsoever involving OP, is kind of a big deal. 

This affects the OP and her future and tragic circumstances or not, it seems she’s not being treated with any consideration at all. I would raise the subject in a sensitive manner but would certainly want to know where I fit into all this and react accordingly. 

Post # 11
287 posts
Helper bee

gemsy83 :   you’ve been together 3 years and he has explicitly stated he is planning on moving away from you. It went from a ring purchase to a long distance move.

I disagree with everyone who says to just be supportive of him. You need to know where you stand with him because your relationship is going to be infinitely more difficult after his mom dies. This may be insensitive but you’ve given him 3 years and now you are confused. Just because he is going through a hard time does not mean he can’t be honest with you. It’s your life too, and you are leaving it in his hands.

“Babe, I really think we need to sit down and talk about something. Two months ago you were asking for ring sizes. We have been talking about marriage for a long time now, but it feels as though things might have changed for you because you talk about moving in with your dad. What does OUR future look like together?” Reiterate you are there for him no matter what etc. But this is your life too.

Post # 12
15 posts

Hey gemsy83: 

I am so sorry for what you and your SO are going through.  Caring for unwell parents is so scary and hard.  I am a waiting bee too (also new to WB), and my advice would be to give him a bit and see if a conversation comes up naturally.  Two months is not a long time for him to process potentially losing a parent, especially since she was given such a short prognosis.  I don’t think it says anything about his love or commitment to you that he is not thinking about you first at this particular point in time.  I recently (and suddenly) lost my father and my SO was so supportive, but mostly by stepping back and not expecting me to be a top-notch partner during that time.  I spent most of those months on an opposite coast from him to be with my father/family and he came out when he could, but mostly let me focus on them.  Honestly, that made me love him all the more.  

His talking about potentially permanently moving away is unsettling, but I wouldn’t bring it up out of the blue.  Maybe on a calm afternoon in a month or a few weeks (if new or sudden has happened with his mom?) would be a good time to revisit your conversations, especially if he starts talking about moving.  Would it be 100% permanent?  Could you/would you move?  I am learning to embrace that timelines sometimes need to be much more flexible than we originally envision. <3  

Post # 13
6939 posts
Busy Beekeeper

gemsy83 :  


Dear OP, asking about your (apparently  deferred ) future together is not ‘bombarding him  with your concerns’ . Like a couple of pps, I agree that putting your feelings on the back  burner yet again, and having no apparent role in his life except to agree with and support him is not the way to go. 

Of course it is hard for him , many of us have  been there ,  but whilst I am not advocating your being  hard or unfeeling with  him , I do think  this “initiate  a gentle conversation about living arrangements and how i fit into his current thinking”. is rather too subservient and placatory in tone , a bit “please sir is there any  room for  me….ish  ‘  as if you were begging for a favour or something. I think you need to initiate a conversation certainly  but more along the lines of your having  been  thinking that probably  the best move now would be  to get married in a low key fashion, maybe just a simple courthouse ceremony  soober rather than later.

The living arrangements with his father are another matter of course – are you prepared to have him live with you both?  Or move to live with him.? If your SO doesn’t want to even discuss any of this then you  have to work out what that  means to you . 

I do hope it works our for you both. 

Post # 14
955 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

It is hard for him but you two are also in a relationship  and for him to suddenly change the whole direction of your relationship is something that you are allowed to discuss.

My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer around the time of my wedding and I needed my husbands support, there was no way that I would have considered moving away from him or making decisions without talking to him. If you guys were serious enough to be purchasing rings then you need to sit down and see where this is going.

I mean even if diagnosed 6-12 months it doesn’t mean his mum won’t live a bit longer and then he goes through grief and looks after his father for years so that could equal 5 or so years of limbo for you. You don’t need to be accusing or agressive just calmly discuss that obviously circumstances have changed and you want to be there for him and your wondering how he sees the next few years looking? Does he imagine you moving with him, if not then unfortunately you have your answer. 

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