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An age-old story: She wants to marry, but he's 'not ready'

An age-old story: She wants to marry, but he's 'not ready'

Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for five-plus years (we are in our 50s). We have both been married before, he multiple times, and I have two elementary-age children. I have wanted to get married for the last two years, but he is not ready. We have been together to counseling to see if we could identify issues that we might not have addressed — his idea. Nothing came up. He just doesn't think he's ready because he has been married most of his adult life and is enjoying being single for now. He says he does see us married at some point.

After five years I am stressed trying to maintain this relationship, raise two young boys alone, maintain a household, work a demanding full-time job, nurture my female relationships, not to mention have some downtime for myself.

He is very supportive and will do anything to make things easier on me. However, I am starting to get resentful and find myself pulling away, and I told him recently I need more time for my own life. Am I doing the right thing? I am tired of being disappointed after every special occasion that we have when he doesn't pop the question.

Five-plus years and counting

A: Why why why are you still counting?

He has been married "multiple times" and wants to breathe before getting married again.

Let's say you do distance yourself. Everything else on your list will remain the same. It'll just be without your boyfriend's companionship.

If that's appealing to you, then please do break up; if you don't enjoy him just for the sake of his company, then he's the last person you want to marry. If instead you'd miss his companionship, then why don't you just take him at his word, stop tap-tapping your foot while you wait for commitment, and accept that "boyfriend" is all he is?

His limited role has been your reality for some time, so the only change is that you'd be living it truthfully instead of with false expectations. If you find you don't want him as-is, then walk away.

If status quo is untenable, start looking at options

Q: I finished graduate school last year and have been working since last May. I had a job offer in a cool city from a collaborator who really wanted to work with me. The pay was equal to what I make now, but it would have been a really fun, fascinating position. I turned it down to be with my boyfriend. I have been applying for a TON of jobs but have been unable to find something else in my city.

I know I am responsible for my own decisions, but I am starting to really resent my boyfriend. He won't do a long-distance relationship, and so I'm "stuck." I feel frustrated that I spent so long in grad school, I'm SO bored at my current job, and honestly, I just want to figure out my life, by myself, without the stress of a relationship. At the same time I worry about being alone forever (I'm 28).

Graduate degree, looking for a job and stressed

A: Yes, you are responsible for your decisions — and you renew the decision every day to remain in a position you know makes you unhappy, because you're afraid you will end up . . . unhappy?

Please open your job search to include any city that holds the promise of more interesting work. You'd be under no obligation to accept a job offer; think of it as acquiring options. Line up something real, and see if you'd still choose what you have — job, town, man.

An age-old story: She wants to marry, but he's 'not ready' 04/16/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 16, 2011 10:29am]
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