Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“How Can I Ask My Parents If My Boyfriend Can Move In?”

When I was 21, I met a man and entered a long-distance relationship in secret as my parents, who are super religious, wouldn’t approve. Then I got an apartment with him, moved all my stuff to that apartment two and a half hours away and introduced him to my parents with a: “Sooo, this is a guy I’ve been dating for six months…and, by the way, I’m moving in with him.” We eventually got married and had a kid, and then he left me for someone else (the whole relationship was five years in duration).

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.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

62 comments… add one
  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover November 17, 2016, 2:14 pm

    I was going to say the exact same thing as Wendy – if you’re ready for marriage, get married, and if you’re not, don’t get engaged and don’t move in together. Delaying your children’s stability so you can have a fancy party is ridiculous. It’s time for a serious talk about your future with your boyfriend. If what you’re trying to do is make sure your daughter has a stable life, you need to make sure this relationship is going to go the distance BEFORE your partner moves into your home. This will be better for the new baby as well, since if you break up in a year or two it will affect both kids less if he’s not living in the house with you at the time.

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      Original poster November 21, 2016, 8:34 am

      We are confident our relationship is stable to last. His sister is getting married the month I’m due. We dont want to be disrespectful and steal their moment on their wedding.

      Dec 2017 was when we planned to be engaged before. Yes, we’ve been talking engagement and marriage. June 2017= 6 months difference. So that one doesn’t seem as huge of a deal.

      We have been focused on pacing the relationship since too much pressure too quick can implode even a solid relationship. Marriages are statistically more likely to fail without a honeymoon. Fancy is not quite the best way to describe either of us.

      We have talked future quite a bit. I do feel you are one of the more reasonable responses who has made some of the fewest incorrect assumptions.

      I’m incredibly confident this relationship can go the distance if we make the right choices. Compatability wise, this relationship is solid. I learned how to keep my head in the dating game and chose wisely. I learned a lot from past experience and we have done a lot of work on laying groundwork, in spite of Compatability because the groundwork is important too.

      He and I have been on the same page about confidence in our relationship lasting, and prioritizing pacing, laying groundwork. Upon realizing we are pregnant we agree that our number 1 priority is staying together. The only question is of what is too much pressure, too soon. When I am 8 months pregnant, we will have been together 15 months or so? Although a baby is a lot of pressure, we have upped our groundwork game and I’m confident we could survive cohabitating if that were the only pressure. I agree on not usurping his sister’s big day (they are close).

      I guess the bigger question is more of spitting in my parents’ face and the impact the guilt will have on our relationship. On the flip side, resentment is a big relationship killer and not allowing him to live with his child BECAUSE of not wanting to spit on my parents, and not based on our relationship ship in and of itself will also no doubt have an impact on the relationship.

      Us staying together is a priority for both of us. It is number 1. I have another friend (because of 5 people I’ve asked with varying degrees of knowledge into my personality, relationship, etc and everyone has a different answer) who pointed out one BIG factor no one else had pointed out and is probably going to make the winning argument for my choice.

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        RedRoverRedRover November 21, 2016, 9:38 am

        OP, you asked for our advice, and you got it. You’re free to do what you like with it. But in all honestly, most people who really want to get married don’t have to plan for an engagement a year in advance. When you decide you want to be married, that’s when you’re engaged. What Wendy said about red flags is completely on point. Don’t get financially entangled with your boyfriend until you actually have a commitment in place. And an engagement is not a commitment, so I don’t see how that’s going to make your parents feel better at all.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 21, 2016, 9:43 am

        I looked up the study linking a lasting marriage to a honeymoon. They did find a good correlation but they also strongly emphasized that you not get engaged until you’ve dated for three years if you want a long lasting marriage.

        http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/10/the-divorce-proof-marriage/381401/

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        RedRoverRedRover November 21, 2016, 9:49 am

        That’s an interesting study, but most (if not all) of them are related to money and appearances. Spending lots of money on showy things (ring, expensive wedding) are bad, spending money on things that build family or relationship bonds (lots of people at wedding, honeymoon) are good.

        Also, these are correlations, not causations. Forcing yourself into the “more likely” category isn’t a recipe for not getting divorced. Not to mention that statistics don’t matter to the individual. There are plenty of people who did everything “right” according to this study, and still got divorced. And plenty who did everything “wrong” and are still together.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 21, 2016, 10:05 am

        Yes. Correlations are just correlations. There is no guarantee that you will or won’t stay married. It also doesn’t say whether people stay together in a bad marriage. Some people in lasting marriages are unhappy but still married. The study also doesn’t address getting married in a hurry because of a pregnancy. It doesn’t address having a baby immediately. It doesn’t address buying real estate together before marriage.

        This link goes to an article saying that there is a 90% divorce rate within six years if a marriage results from an unplanned pregnancy.

        http://www.divorcesource.com/blog/unplanned-pregnancy-and-marriage/

        These are factors shown to increase divorce.

        One marriage has an extremely low chance of divorce, while one is virtually guaranteed to end quickly. Consider the following circumstances, all of which dramatically increase a couple’s risk of divorce:

        Marrying while one or both partners is a teenager
        Marrying because of an unplanned pregnancy
        Marrying when one or more partners has children from another relationship
        Having divorced parents
        Earning less than $50,000 per year
        Having only a high-school diploma
        One or both partners smokes
        One or both partners drinks two or more alcoholic drinks per day
        The woman is an active member of the military

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      • avatar

        Original poster November 21, 2016, 10:25 am

        These are the types of discussions I was looking for and needed to see.

        We have 1 to 3 of the markers. I have a child. Not sure on the pregnancy marriage. It is a start I’m aware of and another reason we weren’t planning to marry before the baby. And on the income it depends if they mean each of us or a combined income.

        But I’d love more fact based info like the above. I know from ample googling that engagement and moving in is more solid than moving in with no engagement.

        I know rushing the marriage is statistically more likely to fail than if marriage after the baby.

        I realize they are correlations but not causation, but stats are more solid than opinions with no backing.

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        RedRoverRedRover November 21, 2016, 10:38 am

        But the most likely to stay together are when you don’t rush in at all. Why not stick with your original plan? It’s the most stable one, plus it would solve the issue re your parents.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 21, 2016, 10:42 am

        I think the advice to wait is good. If you wait you give yourself the time to see if the relationship will last. In the first 12 to 18 months of a relationship the body puts our chemicals that makes you love the partner and then those chemicals wear off and you may not even like them any more. For an understanding of how that works try reading the books The Female Brain and The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine.

        https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=brizedine&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Abrizedine

        Your local library may have them or be able to get them for you at no cost through an inter library loan program.

        You need to wait long enough to see what you feel after that chemical cocktail wears off. You also have pregnancy hormones running. Plan for the long term with the understanding that it could all fall apart. Give yourself the time for it to fall apart and if it doesn’t you know you are probably more likely to have a successful relationship and then go ahead and get married. Giving yourself time will in no way harm your relationship but rushing a marriage won’t help it. If you rush and then realize it was a mistake you will have a second divorce.

        If and when the two of you feel ready to live together then live together. Your boyfriend doesn’t need to buy the house you are currently living in for that to happen. Listen carefully to how he speaks about marriage and what he needs to do to be ready for marriage. A list of items that aren’t getting checked off is a bad sign that the marriage won’t happen. Always putting the marriage off to some unspecified future time is also a bad sign. He doesn’t have to live with you to spend time with you and the baby. He can stop by after work every day. He can see all of you on weekends. He can watch the baby while you nap.

        Have you discussed how you would handle finances? Are the two of you compatible in the way you want to maintain the home? Is someone OCD about how and where to keep things? Is someone a slob? Does one of you tell the other how to do everything?

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        Original poster November 21, 2016, 11:12 am

        Yes, I do think that might be the most stable. My friend pointed out an issue in my personality due to my past. Her concern is that if we don’t move in, he won’t get the chance to be the involved father, which may create resentment. In my last marriage, my ex wouldn’t help me with our daughter. If I asked for help, he would blatantly tell me “no.” (I did not pick well and have learned from my mistakes. That is the other issue I am presently considering. If he doesn’t jump in, I will do it all because that is what I am used to and all I know.

        Skyblossom: I am aware. While living with my parents I invested in books by samantha sanderson, John Gotham and I forget the other author but he was good and went into chemistry and the importance of non negotiables and keeping head in spite of the chemicals. Prior to meeting bf, I spent several months building my and my daughter’s life, reflecting on past relationships, my role I’m their demise and what characteristics are the most important or the things I try to change. We are compatible.

        If we lived together we would mingle finances. Bills first. Fun money next. We are both family oriented, and while I will put more priority on things like “date night,” we aren’t really bar people. We both gravitate towards walks in the park, movies and nights in. Chores would be divided with us both doing dishe’s and laundry. Me doing most of the chemical cleaning, him doing most of the straightening. He has better organizational skills. I am better at getting things “clean”. We’ve also discussed how easy it would be to take each other’s contributions for granted, but it actually is a pretty equal and complimentary balance.

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  • avatar

    Kate November 17, 2016, 2:18 pm

    I agree with everything said… am I crazy though or have they only been dating 9 months??

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      RedRoverRedRover November 17, 2016, 2:37 pm

      Yep, only 9 months. Definitely not long enough to move someone in with your little daughter, who’s how old? Four at the most it looks like. Maybe only two or so.

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  • avatar

    Northern Star November 17, 2016, 3:03 pm

    Your parents will probably be surprised and disappointed that you are pregnant, but they have been your (EXTREMELY) soft place to land when you make bad choices thus far—why are you already assuming the worst of them? They clearly love you, regardless of what you do or how much you expect them to finance your life with free rent in your very own nice home.

    Like Wendy said: Grow up.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl November 17, 2016, 3:14 pm

    LW – You know the old adage, ‘if you want to make god laugh, tell him your plans.’ Yes you want a traditional wedding and honeymoon, but you are pregnant with your second child, and therefore have to adjust. It sounds like your parents have provided a great support network but you have to know that it is possible they will not willingly let you continue to live rent-free with your current situation especially if you want your boyfriend to move in with you. You mention that you could afford to put a down payment on a house if your boyfriend sells his – do you not have any savings as well? Weddings and honeymoons are expensive and so is raising two small children and purchasing a house – you will have to adjust your priorities. Take Wendy’s advice and prioritize what you want in your life and for the lives of your children.

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    baccalieu November 17, 2016, 3:15 pm

    I guess an abortion or an adoption is not an option here. She does say she and her boyfriend are excited about the baby. The good news is that it’s probably not going to be considered an option by the “super-religious” parents either (is there anyone who is “super-religious” and pro-choice?) so they will want to make some satisfactory arrangement for their new grandchild. I really like Wendy’s suggestion of co-parenting from different residences; it’s a great idea.

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      artsygirl November 17, 2016, 4:28 pm

      I think she should also start paying rent and utilities to her parents. She cannot expect them to continuously support her and two children especially since she obviously does not plan to respect their beliefs and values.

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      • avatar

        Original poster November 21, 2016, 7:51 am

        I pay utilities and insurance. All my costs except rent.

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  • avatar

    Arra November 17, 2016, 3:51 pm

    Birth control.

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      RedRoverRedRover November 17, 2016, 4:38 pm

      Good call. Someone who is still depending on her family for support definitely shouldn’t be having even more kids.

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      • avatar

        Kate November 17, 2016, 4:45 pm

        There’s a history of stellar decisions here.
        parents paying for everything doesn’t help someone be able to function as an adult and make adult decisions. It makes me wonder what’s going on here. Even my brother, who is seriously challenged, pays utilities and property taxes on his condo that my parents own. He’s like a child in many ways, but is able to hold a job and contribute a fair amount. But then he’ll say something like, “I want to sell my car and condo and go live on a cruise ship!” And after he says it twice, my dad is like, “well, we own your house and the bank owns your car, so good luck with that.” It kinda reminds me of “I want a second dream wedding and honeymoon!” Unless the LW is as challenged as my brother, I’m having trouble processing this.

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      bondgirl November 18, 2016, 7:06 am

      I was also thinking she should get on birth control after this next kid.

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      em November 18, 2016, 9:44 am

      thanks for saying what I felt too shy to say

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  • avatar

    Janelle November 17, 2016, 5:21 pm

    LW- I understand and relate to every thought you are having. I do think that your parents being so strict limited your development in many ways. That being said, they have been wonderfully loving and helpful. Few people get these advantages, which I feel you truly do understand and appreciate. That is wonderful for all of your (parents, you, daughter). That being said I a surprised that you are not so concerned, or did not express that much concern about their disapproval of the pregnancy. Not that I agree but the way you describe them it seems to me that might be a far larger issue for them. Bottom line, oh how we all want a big party, a beautiful dress, a lavish honeymoon. As we grow and mature we realize those things may not happen just as we wish. I still want a Barbie Dream House (side note, they are at Target and I am seriously considering buying one if at the age of 34 I wouldn’t look truly nuts having on in my house). You have a wonderful opportunity to get married in your church in a close family ceremony, have the baby and when you are ready have a lovely follow up ceremony and reception (honeymoon once the baby is old enough to be left alone). I think you might find it to be the best scenario as most new parents would relish in a great week away after a year of a newborn.

    All that being said I do agree with Wendy, neither of you seem ready to be married. I also caught the phrases that raised red flags. Your parents may not agree, be disappointed, frustrated, etc. but it is your life at the end of the day. I do think you have A LOT of maturing to do. Guess what, it is about to happen! Once you tell your parents you are pregnant they will be forced to get past their conventional thoughts quickly as you are unwed and pregnant (which again seems like it would not be something they approved of). Your best option is to focus on yourself and have a SERIOUS talk with your boyfriend. He does not at all seem to be in the same though process as you.

    Parents, conservative or not, are capable of evolving and adapting to different times and values. I also suspect that once they meet their grandchild they will relent a bit and want whats best for that baby…they have proven time and time again they will do whatever they can for you and their grandchildren.

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      Original poster November 21, 2016, 7:50 am

      As a teen my parents told me if I get pregnant I’m keeping the baby. So, no I was not concerned about anything in that realm. My mom’s reaction was even better than I thought. She screamed for joy when I showed her the ultrasound, although she is disappointed in the order.

      I do not want a large wedding. His sister is getting married in june and we are due in June. We are not planning to steal their lime light, and both of our parents agree on that decision. We need to give it a little time until after that. Statistically marriages have a better chance of lasting if there is a honeymoon, so that’s why the push for the child to be old enough to be left alone. On a second marriage I’m looking to maximize statistic likelihood. Lavish and Barbie wedding are very much not me. I’m a bit more practical. My first wedding wasn’t Lavish lmao, and my second I have no intention of being lavish. I like simple and practical. I think spending hundreds on flowers is foolish, I was annoyed at how many people my mom invited, though I took it in stride. She wanted to show off me getting married, my ex and I didn’t care to have people neither of us knew or else hadn’t spoken to in years.

      My parents and his parents are not disappointed in our decision that we don’t get married now, nor do they disapprove of us getting married. We both want to get married. Statistically if we get married before the baby is born we are more likely to divorce than if we get married after. Plus there is the whole his sister getting married issue.

      We’ve had many talks. Both of us prioritize staying together as our number 1 priority and number 1 best thing for our mutual child (and for my daughter).

      My parents almost didn’t come to my wedding because we didn’t get married in a catholic church. She asked the priest and he said that she could go. If he had not, she would not have gone. That is how optimistic we are for them adapting.

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    dinoceros November 17, 2016, 6:36 pm

    First, I’ll say that I don’t think practical concerns should force you into getting married if you weren’t already planning to get married this soon. Having a child doesn’t suddenly make your marriage guaranteed to be successful, so if you aren’t really ready or if you both are not truly committed, then don’t do it yet. ESPECIALLY since you already have a daughter. Nine months is generally too early to move someone into your home with your child, and having a baby with that person doesn’t really change that.

    I’m going to be honest in that I had to re-read the letter because I didn’t really understand why you were writing in. You write this as though it’s fairly simple — that you both want to get married, so I’m a little surprised that you thought that you needed advice. So, my question is, what is the issue here? If you want to get married and your parents want you to get married, what’s stopping you? Are you acknowledging that it might be too soon? Are you concerned that he’s not that into it?

    You should look into the reason why you got pregnant accidentally and try to find a more effective way to prevent pregnancy.

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      Original poster November 21, 2016, 7:39 am

      His sister is getting married the month we are due. I have 0 doubts as to him and his commitment. Wendy has both of us a tad mispegged. I did leave out a few vital details. The letter was quite long already.

      My issue I was writing in on was a conflict of loyalty. I was having trouble seeing through all the complications of the situation into what is best for my family. Everyone I ask has different advise.

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        Kate November 21, 2016, 9:54 am

        Please stop saying “we are pregnant,” and “we are due.” You are pregnant. And I notice you didn’t respond re: birth control. You sound like you mean well and have good intentions, but all these twisted stats combined with the “I pay my expenses except rent!” are making me laugh this morning (internally, not out loud).

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        Original poster November 21, 2016, 10:27 am

        No birth control is 100% effective and efficient eat the odds. WE are eatxpecting a baby. It is OUR baby. His fb post announcing also reflectsee his view.

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        Kate November 21, 2016, 10:31 am

        He’s not pregnant, and many forms of birth control are 99% effective with proper usage. Condoms and pulling out are pretty unreliable, and not what I’d be using if I were in a brand new relationship and didn’t want to get pregnant.

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        Original poster November 21, 2016, 10:35 am

        You guessed incorrectly. My birth control is between my bf and I and not what asked advise on anyhow.

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        Original poster November 21, 2016, 10:45 am

        Advise regarding creating the most stable situation for the situation I am in. Specifically about the relationship and my conflicts of loyalty.

        If it makes you feel better: I researched all forms of birth control and made the best decision for my situation: including past experiences, goals, discussing with boyfriend and getting his input and considering all relevant information available to me. Talking about birth control options is really crying over spilt milk. The pregnancy happened. We have statistics in the minority of cases for what we chose. We got pregnant regardless, and have chosen to keep the baby.

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        Kate November 21, 2016, 10:51 am

        Oh, I see your edited post above, doesn’t sound like it was the best option. All this stuff about stats too… I work with stats, it’s my bread and butter, but you can’t be applying them to all aspects of a relationship like a crystal ball as to whether you have a strong future. Your stats already failed you. I would just use practicality and common sense as a guide going forward, including choosing another BC method.

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        Original poster November 21, 2016, 11:35 am

        Yes, i did. It is hard for me to remove stats from the equation. Yes, stats fail, but they provide the best odds also. Particularly when I feel pulled in a million directions. The people who know me the closest, are most familiar with my past, and the one is also a friend of my bf’s .-all those types of people are advising me to move in with him.

        My parents, who base everything on religion–including whether to attend my wedding–have done so much for me also. I don’t want to throw it in their faces.

        Strangers who don’t have the nuances and details, just a general overview-an objective, general overview–say wait on all counts.

        My gut instinct is that we have what it takes to last. Based on relationship research, what I’ve learned from my past, opinions of our closest friends and family. Everyone is on our side. And while we weren’t planning on rushing marriage: his and my biggest reason is purely time in the relationship and desire to keep our families on our side. We enjoy having both of our families involved and happy for us. And grandparents are important to the kids.

        And my common sense based on having a child who is torn between 2 households already: it’s not good for anyone. She was too young to remember the divorce. Her fsther and I Co parent lovely and rarely fight, and yet she still cries everytime she leaves my house. Not because she doesn’t want to to see him, but because she doesn’t want to have time split between houses.

        My past with my ex: when we lived together he wouldn’t help me with her if I begged. I am used to being a single mom. Although I was married, being a single mom was easier because after the divorce I wasn’t cleaning after my ex too and his first child. Him leaving me ended up being a wonderful thing for me. But since I am so used to doing everything, my friends think him not living under the same roof will severely limit his ability to play the active involved father role he so desperately wants to play. I don’t know if I disagree. And it is not because I don’t want him to be involved. It’s just the only way I’ve ever parented.

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        Original poster November 21, 2016, 11:38 am

        And we have discussed other birth control. There will be several changes in birth control in the future. We will need 1 kind while I’m breast feeding (yay! He actually supports me in this. My ex and his family shamed me for it.) And then we will switch to another form.

        Before we knew we wanted at least 1 together. Now we are both leaning towards being done (I have my daughter the vast majority of the time) but don’t want permanent until we’ve gotten the swing of the new family life. But we have already begun our talks about the different options.

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        dinoceros November 21, 2016, 4:14 pm

        If you both want to get married, then I guess I’m not sure what the problem is. It sounds like you are concerned that your parents wouldn’t like you to move in if you weren’t married, but since you want to, then it seems like everyone would be happy then? I’m not trying to be obtuse purposely, but I guess I’d understand more if they *didn’t* want you to get married and you wanted to, or if they wanted you get married and you didn’t want to.

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      Kate November 21, 2016, 10:38 am

      Well, nevertheless, I’d be using one of the most reliable forms of BC if I already had a kid and couldn’t pay rent. And you did write in for advice concerning an unintended pregnancy.

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      • avatar

        Original poster November 21, 2016, 10:40 am

        Advise regarding creating the most stable situation for the situation I am in. Specifically about the relationship and my conflicts of loyalty.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 22, 2016, 6:42 am

        I don’t understand the conflicts of loyalty.

        Your primary responsibility is first to your daughter because you are her primary caretaker. Keeping yourself healthy so that the baby is born healthy is also primary. After your children you need to decide who is next. Is your boyfriend closer to you than your parents or are the parents more primary than the boyfriend. If you were to draw circles with more primary closer in and less primary further out where does everyone end up? If you are closer to your parents you are not yet ready for marriage. If you are equally close to your parents and boyfriend you aren’t yet ready for marriage. If you are closer to your boyfriend you place him ahead of your parents.

        I didn’t see a conflict of loyalty in your question. I saw you wanting advice on how to talk your parents into selling the house they own to your boyfriend. That has nothing to do with your loyalty. They shouldn’t sell the house to your boyfriend. That house, belonging to them is your insurance, your safe place if things fail. That is their loyalty and love for you. It belongs to them and it isn’t your business to try to make them sell it to your boyfriend. It is their money that they worked for and saved to buy that house and their decision if and when to sell it and to choose the buyer and you need to stay out of it. When you have the money to buy a house then it is your decision if and when to sell it and you choose the buyer. The house belongs to them so you need to leave them alone about their house.

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      Kate November 21, 2016, 10:43 am

      So you weren’t using birth control?

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        Original poster November 21, 2016, 10:46 am

        I already told you we were and it failed and it was not pull out or condoms

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 21, 2016, 10:52 am

        My thought was that she is repeating the steps of the first, failed relationship. After she got married she managed to not get pregnant for the entirety of the marriage so obviously knows how to use birth control accurately. What we don’t know is whether that birth control was provided through the ex husband’s job/health insurance. Then she gets into this relationship and repeats an unplanned pregnancy again which you have to wonder whether it was really unplanned or not. However it happened it doesn’t point to long term stability for either child. Stable homes and stable relationships have planned pregnancies. Unplanned pregnancies tend to result from things like financial insecurity where neither partner could afford good birth control, lack of getting out to get a prescription refilled in a timely manner but going ahead with sex, using the pull out method, using condoms improperly, not taking the pill as scheduled but could result from taking an antibiotic that inhibits or hinders birth control.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 21, 2016, 10:54 am

        Ultimately it is none of our business but we all know that if you have sex you may end up with a pregnancy.

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        Original poster November 21, 2016, 11:01 am

        I lived with my ex, then got married, then had a child. We dated for 2.5 years. I have also gotten my bcp through my own insurance. But yeah, you know: I totally see the resemblance between: date, live together, married, child, divorce and unplanned pregnancy early on.

        But by all means. Go ahead and speculate :p

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 21, 2016, 12:35 pm

        It’s just a pattern but the pattern is an unstable one. I think that in general an unplanned pregnancy indicates instability.

        You could live together and still try to do all of the parenting and you could live separately but have him scheduled to come at a set time and take care of the baby. If it is important to both of you it will happen. Maybe he could come after work and stay until bedtime and stay overnight on the days your daughter is with her dad or he could move in but you only want him to move in for the right reasons. Maybe you won’t know what to do until the baby arrives. You do want him to spend time with the baby and to bond with the baby and to feel confident as a father. When mom’s try to tell the dad how to do everything they tend to drive the father away from the baby so you will have to be aware that there is more than one way to do something and his way may be just as good as yours.

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        Original poster November 21, 2016, 1:12 pm

        The patternstory are entirely different (my daughter was planned btw).

        Date>live together>engaged>married>planned pregnancy>divorce
        Vs
        Date>unplanned pregnancy>???

        The only common step is they both started with dating.

        Yeah an unplanned pregnancy subtracts from stability. Which is why I’m trying to explore options to maximize stability.

        Yes, it is important that he be able to bond with the baby and be confident as a father. And Its amazing he wants to. I want to encourage him. And I also want him too have his own unique ways of interacting–it gives the baby the male touch. Mom’s and dads bring different things to the table and they are supposed to.

        We have talked about the time issue. We don’t have to decide now on anything. We have time on those big decisions. And we are weighing options now because it is very important to us that we come to too he best decision for our family.

        We’ve discussed him dropping his dog off on his way to work, coming straight here after work and staying until bed time (after stories). That’s actually our alternative if we don’t move in together. In order to not seem argumentative, i wont go into all the pris and cons-that comes with its own set of each.

        We have a few options on the table and all of them have pros and cons. Everything we’ve considered addresses unique problems but then has a gaping negative.

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        SpaceySteph November 21, 2016, 1:40 pm

        Things that do not maximize stability:
        Moving your young daughter in with the next dude to impregnate you, someone who you’ve barely known long enough for him to have a role in your daughter’s life.
        Getting married before you are sure you want to be with someone.
        Getting married due to an unplanned pregnancy.
        Having a big wedding and/or honeymoon you can’t afford.
        Relying on your aging parents to partially fund your housing.

        It’s possible for your boyfriend to be involved in his child’s life without living with you. Thousands of divorced parents do it every day. Don’t move in. Don’t move up your engagement. Have your child and work on successfully co-parenting with your boyfriend, then decide in the normal course of things that marrying him is the right thing.

        Reasons to marry someone, there are 2 and you need both:
        1. I want to spend the rest of my life with ___.
        2. ___ wants to spend the rest of his/her life with me.
        That’s it, those are the only reasons.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 21, 2016, 3:30 pm

        You don’t have to make all the decisions ahead of time. You can in the moment find what works for all of you. We’ve found that whenever we’ve had major life changes, like the birth of a baby or moving to a new house or a new job if we both jump in and do what we can we settle into a new pattern that works for us. You can’t make all of the decisions before the baby is born. You can make tentative plans with the idea that they are tentative and will change as needed. You don’t have to have everything fully planned to provide stability. You do need both of you committed to doing your best even when tired, when sore, when grouchy, when financially stressed, when stressed by relatives, etc.

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        Original poster November 21, 2016, 3:50 pm

        Skyblossom: that, exactly is what I need right now. What we all need. Tentative plans that are free to fall into place. Starting with the plans that change the least I think. I think it will always be easier for us to step more into things than it will be for us to go fast and step back.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom November 22, 2016, 6:51 am

        You really can’t micromanage everything in advance. You can make tentative plans and see how they work and adjust as needed. Your best plan is to plan to be flexible, to try things and if they don’t work well try something else. Plan to ask each other how things are working and if you have any ideas about how you could do things in a different way if either of you says it doesn’t work for you. I think one important thing to keep in mind is that if something doesn’t work for either of you it doesn’t work for you as a couple.

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        Original poster November 29, 2016, 5:29 am

        We came to our tentative solution that we are both happy with. He is going to drop his dog off in the mornings on his way to work, come here after work and stay through bedtime stories then go home. Throwing in a couple sleep overs during the week so he can be involved with night wakings. On weekends we are going to both clean both houses together.

        We want the baby breast fed, and we don’t want it divided between the 2 houses, as we’ve seen the effects of that via my daughter. This maximizes his time with our baby, without us actually moving in, and we feel offers everyone the most stability. And it doesn’t throw a wrench in my relationship with my parents.

        Still planning to get engaged in 2017, which was our plan from before, but lower key (he did tell me his plan for the engagement pre-pregnancy, but we do think it best to go a less expensive route with the change in our situation).

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        RedRoverRedRover November 29, 2016, 9:18 am

        OP, I think this is a really smart plan. Good luck with the baby!

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    Ron November 17, 2016, 8:43 pm

    The important things are your child, your child on the way, and your marriage/future relationship with your bf. Planning you life around a proposal, wedding, and a honeymoon is beyond silly, it is damned selfish for a single mom who is about to be the mother of two. This being your second marriage makes it even more selfish. A young mother of two who is as financially/emotionally dependent upon her parents as you are really needs to think more pragmatically about getting her life in order. Step one is determining whether you want to be married to your bf. If not, make sure you protect yourself and get lined up for him to provide child support. It might be just the way you wrote your letter, but Wendy’s interpretation that your bf sounds awfully lukewarm about marriage strikes me as dead on. And you’re focused on a big party and honeymoon? It’s time for you to grow up. Accidents can always happen, but grown up, responsible single moms are exceedingly careful about their birth control.

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    Cyndi November 17, 2016, 9:17 pm

    Ugggh! Hey your shit together ! Why do people think a wedding is a commitment ?? You are pregnant !! That is the commitment!!! Grow the f – up . You are grown enough to make two kids ? – heaven help those kids.

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    • avatar

      Original poster November 21, 2016, 9:21 am

      I am regularly complimented on my parenting and on my daughter. I put more effort into my parenting than anyone I know.

      My daughter wants for nothing. Although my parents don’t charge rent, I provide for 100% of her and my other expenses: food, ins, car payment. I put her in swim lessons, we take field trips to the science center, amusement parks, playgrounds, go for walks in nice weather, etc. I work with her on letters, numbers, and other academics. We do science experiments and play amd do crafts.

      We have an afternoon storytime and bedtime stories.

      She has a regular bedtime and I am here everyday when she wakes up as my full time job is work from home (full 40 hour a week and wage earning). I provide for her every need.

      I also schedule regular social activities and play dates.

      She has what would be considered a secure attachment by anyone who sees us together. We adore each other.

      My life revolves around her and minimizing the impact of the divorce on her.

      The poor poor child.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom November 18, 2016, 7:28 am

    I assume your question is how to make your parents like you living with your boyfriend rather than getting married. In fact, how to make them like it so much that they don’t mind selling the house to the boyfriend.

    If you aren’t married they shouldn’t sell the house to your boyfriend which is what they would be doing if all of the money comes from him unless he is willing to include your name on the mortgage even though he would be selling what I am assuming is his biggest asset. Unless the two of you are married it would be foolish of him to sell his house and then basically give you half of his equity. It would be just as foolish as your parents selling him the house without the two of you being married because in the end if you break up you will be the one who lost their home.

    The commitment needs to come before the engagement. You need to feel like the two of you will be together for the rest of your lives regardless of whether you get married. That’s when you are ready for the engagement. You are definitely not there. You are trying to get that feeling from the engagement but getting engagement can’t make you committed. I can give the appearance of commitment but you’ve seen for yourself that even marriage can’t make someone be committed and stay committed. Get engaged only when you are ready to get married. Marriage isn’t about a perfect proposal or a big, fancy wedding or a dream honeymoon. Marriage is about being partners for life. Marriage is about living and working in a way that enriches the lives of both of you. Marriage is about loving and supporting each other through good and bad. It is about shared goals and dreams and philosophies of life. You haven’t known each other long enough to know if you are compatible for life. You will soon be finding out whether you can handle stress together.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy November 18, 2016, 8:58 am

    From the LW:

    It’s the latter. we want a nice wedding, and a real honeymoon. doesn’t have to be big, just nice. and for the honeymoom, I’d simply like it to be when the baby is done breast feeding. and don’t really want the talking of it just being cuz of the baby. the plan was for us to get engaged by Dec 2017, which is why engagement doesn’t feel like rushing. I’m estimating my due date to be the end of june, so we would have been engaged within 5 1/2 months.

    Without the baby, no we would not be moving in together. I wanted a solid commitment for the sake of my daughter, and for me that meant marriage. Post divorce i took the necessary moves to rebuild my life and learn about relatuonships and this is the healthiest and most compatible relationship ive been in. Im more confident in this one than in any other one. with the he baby coming we had already talked and he is on board with pushing up the engagement.

    But you’re right, if it weren’t for the baby, the engagement wouldn’t be enough. pushing up the engagement a few months does not seem intense. I have a lot of reflecting to do on the advise you have given. but a lot of your points are the reason I’m questioning my best friend’s advise for us to push up living together out of fairness to him. I have her, who has always had my best interest at heart and my parents who do the same from a religious point of view and Dan on another side.

    I will give you an update, but wanted to let you know where you were on and off

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      RedRoverRedRover November 18, 2016, 10:54 am

      LW, go back and read this again, and find the part where you focus on what’s best for your daughter. Can’t find it? That’s because you’re entirely focused on yourself. You’re a mother now, and you have to put your kids first. You say you don’t want a revolving door of men, which is the right instinct, but rushing into living together is increasing the chances that it won’t work out. And then that’ll be a second man gone already from your daughter’s life. Why not slow down, keep living separately and building your relationship, until you feel like you’re both ready for marriage? That’s the most stable, safest way to do it for your daughter. It also gives you the best shot at your relationship working out long-term, which is a huge added bonus.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom November 18, 2016, 10:43 pm

      Pushing up the engagement doesn’t really help the baby unless the commitment is already there. You would be giving the appearance of commitment without a real, solid commitment. I don’t feel that you are certain that this relationship will last and so you are searching for a sign that this is the relationship for you. Rushing a relationship doesn’t strengthen the relationship, it just puts added stress on it. Since you wouldn’t be married before the baby is born it doesn’t make any legal difference whether the two of you are engaged or the two of you aren’t engaged. No legal difference at all. In the past marriage was the way that paternity was decided and so a baby born to an unwed mother had no legal right to a father. That has all changed now that there is paternity testing and so a baby born to an unwed mother has as much right to a father as any other child. You wouldn’t need paternity testing. The point is that you are trying to meet your parent’s expectations and morals which are based in the past on marriage determining paternity. You aren’t doing that anyway. You aren’t getting married to legally provide your baby with a father. If you aren’t getting married before the baby is born there is no good reason to push up the engagement. It is much better to get engaged because both of you feel that it is the thing you want to do. It is much better to get engaged when you have no doubts about the relationship. Pushing up the engagement won’t help the baby if the engagement itself stresses both of you and adds tension to the relationship. Parenting is hard work and a baby adds stress to your life as you already know. Why add extra stress at this point in time. Focus on your daughter and on having a healthy pregnancy with a healthy baby. Enjoy your relationship and let it grow naturally. I don’t see the point in getting engaged if you aren’t ready to get married and your boyfriend definitely doesn’t sound ready for marriage. If the two of you were ready for marriage you’d go and get married. You wouldn’t get engaged with the idea of a long delay between engagement and wedding. When the commitment is there you will know it and both of you will want to get married without any reasons to put it off. At that point you’ll get engaged and plan a wedding and get married. When someone has a list of reasons to not get married at this time they aren’t ready to get married and so shouldn’t be getting engaged. You can always come up with a list of reasons to not do something you don’t want to do and mean every item on the list. It’s the coming up with the list that shows you aren’t ready. In this case your boyfriend isn’t ready.

      I remember seeing statistics about marriages that are rushed due to pregnancy. The couple is likely to be divorced by the time the child is in Kindergarten. You’ve already gone through that once. It would be a shame to make the same mistake twice.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 November 18, 2016, 10:12 am

    Yes get married and move in together, because that worked out so well the first time when you rushed into it. How about trying to get to know somebody for a period of time before doing these things. It’s not going to help your current child if you move some guy in without really knowing him, who she could potentially see treat you like shit. It just baffles the shit out of me how people can be so careless sometimes, but I guess what’s done is done. Don’t sell the house to him though, because if this one fails in 5 years too, this guy has a nice little house, and your parents are going to be stuck buying you another one. I also hope that if you are getting spousal support and child support a good portion of that is going back to your parents.

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  • avatar

    Rangerchic November 18, 2016, 10:55 am

    I with the living in two different houses while raising the child(children) until your both ready to be married crowd. If you aren’t due until June, then that’s six plus months to still get to know each other, date, etc. Also, talk to your parents. See how they feel. You said they are super religious so they might want you getting married before the baby is born, but stress to them you’d like to keep dating the father and just make sure everything is right before marriage..because this is hopefully the last marriage you’ll have. It’s fine to be married after babies are born these days.

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    anonymousse November 21, 2016, 1:25 pm

    It’s interesting how hung up you are about statistics re: honeymoon, long term stability…yet you discount all the information that getting married to someone this fast is not generally a good sign for future stability.
    You need to shift your focus on what is best for your child, your baby and yourself. Statistics should not even figure into your plans. A honeymoon should not be in your plans considering you don’t even pay your own rent. That’s money you don’t have, and if you do, you should save it for a down payment on a house, or childcare, or a college fund.
    I also want to say there is absolutely nothing amazing about a father wanting to see his child and have a relationship with his child. That’s bare minimum.

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    • avatar

      Original poster November 29, 2016, 5:20 am

      I already said we were not getting married. The bigger debate was moving in or not.

      My focus is 3xclusively on what is best for my kids. The number 1 thing being not tearing another child between 2 households. That’s what is best for my family (me and kids).

      Statistics are used in your own answer when you say the dangers of rushing a marriage. Statistics are a way of keeping my head in decisions: keeping my head in figuring solutions is vitally important.

      Do not use childcare. I work from home. A honeymoon could be done for less than $1000. It can be a couple nights away at hotel 2 cities away. Less thank $1000 isn’t really going to get far on a down payment on a house or a college fund. And me individually not paying rent is different from a 2 income house not paying rent.

      And everything is based on experience: my first child’s father had no interest in helping with childcare when we were married and is happy with less than standard visitation. I had to talk him into planning to spend time with her on thanksgiving and he still cancelled. A father wanting to involved in childcare does make me happy and is something I want to encourage.

      This situation has been resolved. We have come to a tentative soltution he and I are both ok with

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