When he left, I moved back in with my parents — we had repaired and rebuilt a stronger relationship while I was away — and they then bought me a house that I live in with my daughter rent-free. They put a while lot of money into fixing up the house so that my daughter and I would have a nice place to live. Eventually, they wanted me and my next husband, whoever he might be, to live in this house.
This past February I met a man. I did take two months getting to know him before introducing him to my parents (I have a hard time forming my own opinions with them whispering in my ear). We’ve been dating quite happily. I love him, my parents love him, his parents love me (especially his mom — she wants us to get married), and I love his parents. It’s been going great.
He and I had planned on getting married, moving into my house, and starting a family, but we hit a rather large snag. I found out less than a week ago that I’m pregnant. We have my first appointment tomorrow. He and I were initially very surprised but also very excited for our baby. However, having a baby does mean that our ideal future plans are going to have to change in some way.
We wanted a real wedding, not a rushed one, and a real honeymoon. I don’t want to just move in together and spit in my parents’ face. I want more stability and commitment than a live-in relationship, for the sake of my daughter at the very least! I will NOT have a revolving door of men in her life. I don’t want to move her around a lot. My boyfriend has a vision for how he wants to propose and has some things he wanted to take care of first, etc. We both really love my house, but my parents own it and there is no way we will be able to just live here together without a commitment. They would never agree to it. But we both agree it is in the new child’s best interest for us to all live together.
A compromise that he and I have thought up is: We should get engaged to give me that commitment that I need, and then move in together when the baby is born so that our family can have stability. Our first choice is to buy my house (which we could do if my boyfriend sells his house and we use the money from that for a down payment). Having a baby and living together without being married — even if we’re engaged — isn’t exactly what my parents have in mind and I don’t know if they will go for it. I think they will want us to hurry up and get married.
We are going to talk to them together, but we are nervous to do so. After all they did for me, I feel like if we can’t keep this house, I am spitting in the face of all their kindness. Any advice on how to do this? – One Confused Mama
I’m confused as to why you aren’t planning to get married before the baby comes. Is it because you don’t feel emotionally ready (as in, you aren’t sure you want to commit to each other for the rest of your lives) or is it simply a matter of your wanting a super special proposal, a big wedding, and a fancy honeymoon and you don’t think you can have those if you’re “rushed”? If it’s the former — you don’t feel ready, then, I wouldn’t advise getting engaged and moving in together either. Those are very big steps if you aren’t sure you want to spend your life together, and to do it for the sake of “stability” and/or your parents’ feelings is… well, it’s unwise. It’s not going to feel very stable when your relationship implodes because you weren’t ready for the pressure of cohabitation.
If your reason for delaying getting married is because a “rushed” wedding just doesn’t fit your vision of things, grow up. You’re a single mom who’s already been married and divorced and now has another baby on the way. Your vision of a pretty princess wedding isn’t realistic for your circumstances. Do what you need to do to create the best stability and security for your child and child-to-be, and accept that it may be a few years before you have the time and resources for the kind of occasion and honeymoon you’re dreaming of. Why not have one hell of a fifth (or tenth or seventh or whatever) wedding anniversary party and belated honeymoon? Why does your vision of perfection have to come at the cost of your kids’ stability and potentially your relationship with your parents?
But this is all assuming that your boyfriend actually DOES want to marry you. I’m not so sure that’s the case. I’ve been doing this advice thing a long time and I’ve come to recognize code phrases for procrastination and “I’m not ready for this.” Your letter is riddled with such phrases, like your boyfriend “has a vision for how he wants to propose” and he “wants to take care of some things first” before you get engaged/married. Red flag, red flag, red flag. You are in a situation you weren’t planning and so “visions” have to be modified. Your boyfriend either wants to get married or he doesn’t. You don’t have to be married or even live together to raise a baby together. You can give yourselves more time if you aren’t ready. If you are committed to not having a “revolving door of men,” maybe that’s the wisest option: to decide that you won’t allow a baby to fast-track a relationship that shouldn’t be fast-tracked.
I have a good friend who was in a similar situation to the one you find yourself in — pregnant with her boyfriend of only a few months — and she and her boyfriend decided that just because they were going to have a baby didn’t mean they were suddenly ready to live together. They weren’t. They were still getting to know each other. So, they co-parented from different homes (different states, in fact) until they were ready to move in together. Their baby was four before that happened. And you know what? They’re happy and doing well! They took the time they needed to make sure their relationship was ready for the commitment of living together and that relieved a lot of stress they potentially would have put on themselves had they moved faster than they were ready to move.
Really think about where your relationship is, independent of the baby on the way. If you weren’t ready to get married before you found out you were pregnant, you aren’t ready now. Maybe you will be in seven or eight months when the baby comes, but maybe not. Why not give yourself the time you need to figure it out? And when you ARE ready, you can plan a wedding in a few days and get married at the courthouse. If you honestly need more than that, then I respectfully suggest that perhaps your priorities are a bit out of whack and you might need your parents “whispering in your ear” more than you think you do, especially since it seems they have you and your daughter’s best interests at heart.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.