Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Haven’t Met My Boyfriend’s Family”

I’m a 31 year-old woman and have known my current boyfriend, 33, since 2007. We dated for a year and a half and parted ways. He wanted to marry me but I still had baggage from a divorce and didn’t think it would be fair to him to marry him before cleaning my life up. We kept in touch but not too much; I signed up for school and pursued my dreams without a man and embraced my alone time. I always loved him and never forgot him.

To make a long story short, fate brought us back together. But by then, he was living with a woman and I would not settle for second best. It took him about a year to end things with her. She had no job and nothing going for herself and I guess that’s what he missed — he has always admired my ambition, so he eagerly reached out to me once she was gone for good and professed his love and pursued me again. That was February of 2011 and we are still together. He treats me well, spends much of his free time with me and talks about the future.

The problem is, I have anxieties about what’s next. I want to get married and he says he still does too, but he avoids the issue if I bring it up! It’s like he talks about the future only when he wants to. Most important, I haven’t met his mother but I know she knows about me. Is that a bad thing? I know he’s not embarrassed to be seen with me because we go out together all the time. I go to functions for his work and his friends, but have never met his family. Am I maybe a little pushy? My mom says I’m controlling and impatient.

I have prayed about him and all the signs lead to him. We still have great chemistry, are highly attracted to one another, and we rarely get upset with each other (and when we do, it doesn’t last long). Is it the divorce that gives me anxiety? Or should I just enjoy the moment and not worry too much?! I don’t want to nag him. He wants me to believe in him and he always says: “Whatever I say I’m going to do, I do! It may not be when you expect it, but just believe in me.” That does make me feel like I can trust him. I don’t want to mess things up, I just need some pointers. — Growing Impatient

The first thing you need to do is separate the issue of marriage with the issue of having not met your boyfriend’s family yet. The two are not directly connected. If you want to meet your boyfriend’s family and you’re curious about why you haven’t yet, ask him! If they don’t live nearby, maybe the opportunity hasn’t yet presented itself to take you home to introduce you. Maybe he wasn’t sure you were ready to meet them. Maybe he is estranged from them (though if that’s the case, I’d hope you’d know that since you’ve been together for a while). It’s interesting that you say you know your boyfriend isn’t “embarrassed to be seen with you,” as if that’s a possibility you’ve ruled out. Why would that be a possibility in the first place? Is there something about you that you think could embarrass him? Is there a difference between you — say, a difference in race or size — that might stand out? If you are, in fact, different races, it’s possible that he comes from a conservative family that may not be open to interracial relationships. But without more details, I’m just grasping here. To know the real reason your boyfriend hasn’t introduced you to his family, you need to ask him.

As for your future together, I’m unclear as to whether you don’t believe your boyfriend wants to marry you or if you’re simply frustrated that you two haven’t discussed a timeline for when a marriage (or proposal) might actually happen. You aren’t unreasonable for wanting some idea about whether you’re on the same page in terms of a future together and a general timeline for things like a wedding. If your boyfriend is unwilling to discuss a future when you bring it up, then you need to present your feelings as statements and not as questions. For example, instead of saying: “When do you want to get married?”, you should say, “I’m not sure what your intention is, but I need you to know that I’d like to be married to you in the next two years [or whatever your time frame is] and if that doesn’t match up with what you want, you need to let me know soon so I can adjust my thinking.” You don’t have to let him know that part of “adjusting your thinking” is breaking up with him and finding a man who isn’t so scared to discuss a future with you, but you do need to let him know what your expectations are so he can act accordingly (and not be taken off-guard if/when you MOA).

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter and ‘like’ me on Facebook.

50 comments… add one
  • avatar

    TECH May 16, 2012, 9:33 am

    Like Wendy said, this letter doesn’t give us any clues as to why you haven’t met your boyfriend’s family. Ask him directly, and if you don’t get a good answer, I would seriously consider ending the relationship. If they live close by and are not estranged, there’s got to be a seriously good reason why you haven’t been introduced, but I can’t think of one. And no, you are not pushy for wanting to meet his mom.
    Also, like Wendy said, the marriage issue is a separate one. He should be able to give you a general timeline of where he sees things going. You don’t mention whether or not you want biological children, but if you do, your timeline is getting shorter. If he can’t give you definite indicators of wanting to build a family with you, I would MOA.

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  • avatar

    Micah May 16, 2012, 9:43 am

    I kind of see his cryptic “Just trust me!” responses as almost a hint that a proposal might be closer than you think, LW. If he avoids talking about marriage explicitly, but tells you that you need to “believe in him,” that, to me, sounds like he’s thinking about marriage just as much as you are but doesn’t want to ruin the moment when he chooses to pop the question. I might be totally off the mark with this, but that was the impression I got.

    Of course, a conversation about your needs regarding long-term commitments should be had, as Wendy said, because you do want to make sure you and your boyfriend are on the same page. If you want a wedding in the next few years but your boyfriend wants to wait longer, that would be something worth discussing. Are you happy living where you are now? How would you feel relocating if that were necessary? And there’s the issue of children as well. Do you want to have children? Does he? If you haven’t talked about those issues, then you definitely should.

    I might be reading too much into this, but still, it seems to me like your boyfriend has marriage on the brain, too. His vague non-answers might be saying more than you think.

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    • avatar

      katiebird May 16, 2012, 11:16 am

      Thats what I got from it too. He’s probably planning something, either that or still saving up the money for a ring. LW, you have a good thing here. Try not to let your anxieties muddle things up. I struggle with the same things in my relationship, anxiety I mean. Just remember to take a step back and breath. It always helps.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom May 16, 2012, 9:56 am

    If the two of you go out everywhere together except to see his family it could be that he is embarrassed by either his family or their home. Ask him about it gently and kindly. Let him know you won’t think less of him if his family is strange or his mom’s house is falling down or she keeps 30 stray cats or if she is a hoarder, etc.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG May 16, 2012, 10:16 am

      I thought the same thing.

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  • Budj

    Budj May 16, 2012, 9:57 am

    How long have you two been dating now?

    I think it strange you haven’t met his family yet. Especially during the first 1 and a half year go around. There could be a good reason for it though so just ask as Wendy and others have/will suggest…

    A guy working for a year to get rid of an ex sounds fishy to me…but maybe I’m reading into that too much.

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    • avatar

      ktfran May 16, 2012, 10:03 am

      I can see how it sounds fishy. But sometimes, people take a long time to make decisions. For instance, I knew pretty much right after I got engaged that I shouldn’t have. It took me 6 months and therapy to finally call it off and end things. I guess I wanted to make sure I was making the right decision.

      With that being said, he comes with baggage from that relationship.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle May 16, 2012, 10:06 am

      I thought the ex thing was weird too, especially since she kind of glossed over it (“…fate brought us back together. But by then, he was living with a woman and I would not settle for second best. It took him about a year to end things with her”)

      It KINDA makes me think that they were fooling around while he was still with this woman? If that’s the case, then it makes sense that she’d feel validated by the fact that he’s not “embarrassed” to be seen with her.

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    • avatar

      AndreaMarie May 16, 2012, 11:48 am

      I have a feeling he wasn’t trying to “get rid” of her all that time. If you want a relationship to end you end it. And its weird when the LW says “when she was finally gone for good” as if the BF didn’t have control over no longer having her in his life..

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    • dandywarhol

      dandywarhol May 16, 2012, 1:29 pm

      Yeah that didn’t sit right with me either…it took him an entire year? I have a feeling they might have been sneaking around that time…or something. “She was finally gone for good”?? What!

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  • avatar

    DMR May 16, 2012, 10:07 am

    On the plus side:
    “I want to get married and he says he still does too, but he avoids the issue if I bring it up!”
    This sounds like he wants to spring a proposal on you as a surprise. Which is romantic. Chill out and relax!

    Now for some alarm bells. Maybe, ‘alarm bells’ is too strong. Points of possible concern.

    1. The not-meeting-the-family thing. Like Wendy says, we don’t know enough. But you should at minimum know why you’ve never met Mom. You don’t. Why not? Is there anything else you don’t know? Are you being strung along?

    .2 “But by then, he was living with a woman and I would not settle for second best.”
    I’m a bit more tolerant of this kind of thing than some others here (I don’t see cheating as a sign of some kind of irrepairable character flaw), but even so, it’s food for thought. Let’s just spell it out here. He wanted to cheat with you when living with another woman.

    3. “He wants me to believe in him”
    This, I think, is a central theme for you two. He’s the one in control. He runs the show. he says when you can meet his mother, when you can get engaged, when you can ‘talk about the future.’ Maybe that works for you two, personality wise: you’re a shy girl, he’s the confident, powerful alpha. Or whatever. But it seems that you don’t have much say in this relationship.

    I wouldn’t call this an MOA situation but there are some issues that need addressing.

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    • Budj

      Budj May 16, 2012, 10:12 am

      Your 3rd point is interesting because it seems it was the opposite during their first go around. Maybe some residual b.s. from their previous relationship together is affecting this one?

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    • avatar

      Kerrycontrary May 16, 2012, 10:15 am

      Yeh, I think the second thing you brought up is a cause for concern as well. I mean look at it from the other woman’s perspective: the man she was living with broke up with her, moved out, and immediately started dating someone else. While he may or may not have cheated on her with the LW (she doesn’t make that clear), he was probably having some sort of “emotional affair” with the LW long before he broke up with this woman. I don’t see that as a great way to start out a relationship BUT to each his own.

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    • katie

      katie May 16, 2012, 10:54 am

      i think the third point could also be because she is religious… i recent read a list of 100 things every married couple should do, and on it was -no joke- let him make the big decisions. let her make the little ones. there was a crazy shit storm in the comments, but the overwhelming response from the religious women was: my bible tells me to be submissive to my husband, to let him make decisions, and trust that he will make the best decision for our family. that might be why the dynamic is this way..

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      • JK

        JK May 16, 2012, 11:22 am

        Here when you get married you get the “family booklet”, which basically now is a document where they write your personal info, then when you have kids they get written in there too. But we have the one from when my husband´s grandparents got married, and in the front there´s a whole list of “rules”, all along those lines. Wife has to obey the husband, clean, cook, raise the kids. And the husband´s job is to bring money. Granted that was more than 60 years ago. Scary to think people still feel the same way now!

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      • katie

        katie May 16, 2012, 1:18 pm

        yea its pretty crazy. i dont get it. and im sorry, but im way WAY too much of a control freak to just be able to say, well husband, you know whats best for our family. go with it!

        one of the comments on that list said that its a beautiful thing to be able to trust your husband to make the right decision for you family…. which i have to agree with. to be able to completely give up control of your own life to your husband and your god and trust them to do everything right… i dunno, i just couldnt do it.

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      • theattack

        theattack May 16, 2012, 2:39 pm

        Yeah, I would TRUST my future-husband to make good decisions for us. I absolutely trust him and his judgement, or I wouldn’t marry him, but that doesn’t mean we have to exercise that absolute trust. Why can’t those husbands trust their wives too?

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      • katie

        katie May 16, 2012, 3:56 pm

        that is exactly what i think too- of course you trust him to make good decisions, thats probably why you are with him… but that just means that you sit around and just trust that it happens? that he knows what hes talking about? i mean, talk about being passive about your life. i mean if something goes wrong, i guess you have someone concrete to blame for it, but that doesnt help you out of a bad situation at all! i also think it just invites abuse to happen…

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  • avatar

    bethany May 16, 2012, 10:14 am

    Perfect response from Wendy. I have nothing to add.

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    • avatar

      Sunshine Brite May 16, 2012, 10:37 am

      Agreed, this was a great breakdown of the factors presented in the letter.

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  • avatar

    CollegeCat May 16, 2012, 10:15 am

    I really detest how this LW found it necessary to knock her SO’s ex-girlfriend in this letter. What did she ever do to you except have the nerve to pick up a guy you had let go? It was completely irrelevant to the situation and to call her the “woman he was living with” is absurd. She was his long-term girlfriend and it took him a whole year to break-up with her after you became available again – clearly she has some good qualities. From my experience people who put others down for no reason have some serious self-esteem issues – you should work yours out.

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    • avatar

      Kerrycontrary May 16, 2012, 10:16 am

      yeh I agree, this woman doesn’t need to be insulted after having her live-in boyfriend leave her for the LW.

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    • avatar

      AndreaMarie May 16, 2012, 11:49 am

      Though the same thing. LW says “she had nothing going for her”..if that was the case then why was he continuing to be with her for over a year?!!

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      • avatar

        Ravage Maladie May 17, 2012, 9:02 am

        Actually, I took that to mean there wasn’t one, clear process of “I break up with you!” “Ouch!”, but rather a long drawn-out mess of the LW’s boyfriend knowing the LW was available again, them dipping their toes back into dating without ever really breaking it to the other woman, a lot of angst on his side over which girl to choose (and maybe him feeling responsible for the fact he’d leave a woman with ‘nothing’), and the other woman finally ‘giving up’ and moving on.

        But nevermind – she’s gone for good now! *sorry, that’s bitchy, I just thought that was such a mean-spirited sentence:)*

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    • dandywarhol

      dandywarhol May 16, 2012, 1:33 pm

      Yeah, sounds like she has a deeper issue with the ex-gf then she lets on…

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  • avatar

    Suzannne May 16, 2012, 10:45 am

    “he was living with a woman and I would not settle for second best.”

    So the bf wannted our LW to settle for second-best, but she refused. That’s sketchy – did he just want her to be his secret FWB? Was he cheating on his gf with her? I do not get good vibes from this.

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  • avatar

    applescruffs May 16, 2012, 10:55 am

    I met my boyfriend’s dad VERY early on – I thought we were using his dad’s season tickets to a ball game, but we were going with him, surprise! – but I haven’t met his mom yet. His parents are divorced, his mom is an alcoholic in a major way, and has been in rehab at least once in the past year.We’ve been together about 10 months now, and while I assume I’ll meet his mom eventually, I know he’d prefer that I meet her when she’s doing better. No big deal. So, there could be a reason that has nothing to do with you why you haven’t met her.

    The committment stuff, though,I agree with Wendy and others. Micah said there may be a surprise coming that he doesn’t want to ruin, which I think is totally possible. But either way, you’re 31 years old and it’s fair for you to be able to plan, at least in general terms, the direction your future is going to take.

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  • avatar

    John Rohan May 16, 2012, 10:01 am

    It’s funny that she’s considered that maybe he was embarrassed to be seen with her.

    It hasn’t occurred to her that instead maybe he’s embarrassed of his mother? That’s a far more likely explanation, IMHO.

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    • Budj

      Budj May 16, 2012, 10:04 am

      Yea – I have a feeling some parents get even more pushy with marriage and long-term committments the older their kids get / stay single too. So it could be compounding!

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  • avatar

    AndreaMarie May 16, 2012, 11:41 am

    I’m sorry but there are a bunch of things that are a little off putting to me in this letter. First of all the LW says they dated for a year and a half and when he began talking marriage she ended things because she wasn’t ready. Then LW goes about her business getting her life in order (which is commendable) but doesn’t keep in contact with the former BF. Then they meet up again and he is in a serious relationship (Im assuming this because he is living with her). From the small amount of details in this letter I get the impression that the LW was involved in some form of relationship with the former BF, even if just emotional, for over a year while he was with someone else. LW doesn’t mention if she was seeing someone as well. Also, again with little detail regarding that year and a half, you say your BF didn’t want to be with this woman because she had “nothing going for herself”. Well my question is, then why didn’t your BF end things sooner? If she had no redeeming value then why would he continue living with this woman for over a year?! And LW saying “when she was gone for good”, as if the BF had no control over ending the relationship or their living arrangements.

    Now onto the “meeting the mother”…why don’t you just ask him? Why did you never meet them when you were dating for a year and a half previously? It doesn’t make sense that this issue hasn’t come up. Like LW would know if the mom lives far away, or is sick, or the BF is estranged from her. Also, of all the reasons there are for not yet meeting someone’s mother the LW says ‘I know he’s not embarassed of me”??!! Huh? There has to be something going on there as Wendy stated.

    Onto the marriage thing, just look at the history of the relationship. He already got to the point of wanting to marry you and you rejected him (which is fine), then you both moved on with your lives, he even was living with someone. Though you’ve been dating for over a year maybe he’s waiting for the relationship to develop more. Maybe he doesn’t want to rush into it since you were already divorced and want to make sure you both are ready. Just talk to him. Don’t need to be pushy like “when are we getting married”, just a convo about the path of the relationship, expectations for the future. And like a poster already said…maybe he’s got an engagement in the works, maybe he’s waiting for a Holiday or special event in the future to do it.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow May 16, 2012, 11:50 am

      I have so many questions too! If LW wants advice about not meeting the BF’s family, then she should have provided more details. Has he met her family? How family-oriented are the two of them? How often does the BF see or talk to his family? What do they do for holidays? I’m so confused!

      LW must have SOME idea as to the reasons she hasn’t met his family yet. Otherwise, yeah, it’s pretty weird at best and concerning at worst.

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  • Lyra

    L May 16, 2012, 11:57 am

    The fact that he never is willing to talk about the future when you bring it up doesn’t sit well with me. Sure he might have said “just trust me!”, but you’re in this relationship too. You need to have a say in this type of stuff. My boyfriend and I started talking about the long term future very early in our 3-year relationship (literally within 3 months). We both didn’t want to date just to date and were looking for something where we had potential for a solid long-term future.

    I would also ask him why you haven’t met his family yet. If both of you have seriously been considering marriage at some point in this relationship, don’t you want to meet the people that could potentially become your family?

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  • Jess

    Jess of CGW May 16, 2012, 12:08 pm

    I don’t think this was mentioned yet. My first thought about why he hasn’t introduced LW to his mother was that the mother knows enough of their history to be skeptical. LW broke her son’s heart, he recovered and moved on with someone new (and perhaps Mom liked the new woman?!), then LW pulled him away from the new woman and started back up with him.

    It’s easy to see, from a mom’s perspective, where you wouldn’t feel warm and fuzzy about meeting this person. He may know that and he may be biding time hoping that time will prove that LW is really committed and worth his time this go-around.

    Just a thought.

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    • dandywarhol

      dandywarhol May 16, 2012, 1:36 pm

      I was just thinking this! His mom might know more about this situation then the LW is aware of.

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    • Lili

      Lili May 16, 2012, 1:50 pm

      I really wanna know why she didn’t feel the need to meet them the first time around. A year and a half is still a significant relationship. Even if its not on marriage track, its still acceptable to introduce SOs to the family right?

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark May 16, 2012, 12:24 pm

    Let us review… Okay, so the very last time he wanted to marry her a year and a half into their relationship, SHE said “NO (too many issues on my end, wah, wah, wah!)” and promptly dumped him… Gee, I wonder why he would ever take things slower this time… Yeah, that was sarcasm, folks, for I can certainly understand why in even LESS than that same exact amount of time this second go around he has decided to take things a bit more slow…

    As far as his family? There can be a million reasons… But a big one sure could be that since they probably already have heard ALL about how YOU BROKE HIS HEART the last time, he is hesitant about introducing you to them now until he is actually much more SURE about things…

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    • Lili

      Lili May 16, 2012, 1:03 pm

      I was thinking the exact same thing! Also, I get that people think its romantic and fate when getting back with an ex, and maybe its just cynical and jaded of me but I wonder how people-and their friends and family-are able to separate the past issues from THIS specific current relationship. Like, I think my best friends ex is a dbag. He was selfish and careless and in my opinion disrespectful to her. If in a few years he has a change of heart and grows up and they get back together, I’d be happy for her and hope that it would all work out, but to be honest, I don’t think I’d hang out with them as a couple that much because I know I have a hard time not being uber critical of him to see if he’s ‘falling back in old patterns’ and mistreating her again.

      Also, I’m curious why the LW didn’t meet the mother the first go around year and a half relationship. Were they in different states? But what about holidays? How about flying to his hometown–is it some godforsaken place?

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    • avatar

      Caris May 16, 2012, 1:12 pm

      I was thinking pretty much the same thing.

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    • theattack

      theattack May 16, 2012, 2:40 pm

      Perfect response, BGM.

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  • avatar

    MsMisery May 16, 2012, 1:11 pm

    What Wendy said, and also don’t listen to your mother. If your mother is like MY mother, then she only sees the negative in people and can’t be happy unless everyone else is unhappy. Stop telling her personal stuff.

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  • avatar

    amy May 16, 2012, 1:30 pm

    First of all LW, I want to commend you on your strength. You seem like an incredibly strong and independent woman. You did NOT want to play second woman to this man and you did the right thing by waiting until he finished his relationship. You also achieved your dreams and didn’t let someone else get in your way.

    Do you know his family at all? He might not be introducing you to them because his family might embarass HIM, not the other way around. I would talk to him about it if you haven’t, mention that you would love to meet his family, and maybe host a dinner or something and have them over, or go out to dinner.

    As for the issue of marriage, you have known each other a long time, dated before, etc. but there is also a divorce in the mix. It sounds like you were the one divorced, but he also got out of a relationship and jumped right into one with you, it seems. He might not be ready to go down that road with you yet.

    Like Wendy said, be honest with him, you can ask if he sees a future, and just mention that he seems uncomfortable when you talk about it, and ask why. He might be uncomfortable with the talks for a reason, and if you calmly ask him, he might be honest and open up to you. This type of communication will strengthen your bond, unless of course the answer is not appealing to your needs of a future with him.

    Good luck LW, remember that although you are having anxieties about the guy right now that you are incredibly strong and independent. I’m very impressed 🙂

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark May 16, 2012, 1:40 pm

      Eh, I thought she sounded both incredibly arrogant and insecure at the same time. Like others here, I found her witless, bitchy putdowns of the hapless woman that came after and before her just petty and cheap. Decidedly unattractive. Yeah, it’s always been my experience that those who genuinely are great catches simply don’t ever have to slag off everyone else in a desperate bid to make themselves look better…

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      • avatar

        amy May 16, 2012, 1:49 pm

        That’s actually a good point that I didn’t pick up on in the letter.

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      • avatar

        amy May 16, 2012, 1:51 pm

        Maybe she already knows the praise I just gave to her lol. Ooops. Didn’t mean to inflate an ego that might already be over inflated

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  • KKZ

    KKZ May 16, 2012, 3:46 pm

    In defense of the LW, she might have said “I know he’s not embarrassed of me” to preempt us on suggesting that as a reason he hasn’t introduced her yet – i.e., that could be a problem for other relationships but she doesn’t think it’s the case here, NOT that she has some reason to think it might be. I think a few of us are reading a little bit too much into the word choice here.

    Same with the whole “it took a year to get rid of the ex” thing. If everything were neat and tidy and ideal, relationships could end in a cinch when they needed to, but real life is messy and confusing and doesn’t go according to plan. While we’re grasping at straws here, why not draw a few that don’t paint a worst-case-scenario of cheating and dishonesty and suspicious intentions. Maybe he felt bad for the ex. Maybe it took longer to end things because they were living together – didn’t want to kick her out on the street. Maybe he tried to end it but the ex lingered. That’s what I get from the “gone for good” comment: he tried to break up but she roped him back in or convinced him to stay, or she was a crazy ex and kept coming around after the breakup and trying to interfere with his life. Stranger things have happened, even here on Dear Wendy.

    I would be more concerned, LW, if he went to see his family without you or somehow *insisted* that you can’t meet them. To me, “he hasn’t introduced me to his family” is a little less incriminating/suspicious than “he won’t let me meet his family.” Placing suspicion on someone for something they *haven’t* done as opposed to something they *have* done is shaky ground.

    You’ve been together on this go-round for over a year – what have you done about the holidays in this time? Did you part ways to spend time with your individual families? Did you celebrate privately at home? Did he make excuses for why you couldn’t see his family? You didn’t give us any indication that this has even come up as a discussion/argument with you two. And what relationship does he have with YOUR family? You don’t say if he’s met your mother.

    It sounds like you are confident that fate has brought you together and he’s The One, so have faith that fate will bring you to the altar with this man too and don’t worry so much about the details. It’s easier to find problems, or symptoms of problems, when we’re looking for them.

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    • avatar

      *HmC* May 16, 2012, 10:41 pm

      “Same with the whole “it took a year to get rid of the ex” thing. If everything were neat and tidy and ideal, relationships could end in a cinch when they needed to, but real life is messy and confusing and doesn’t go according to plan. While we’re grasping at straws here, why not draw a few that don’t paint a worst-case-scenario of cheating and dishonesty and suspicious intentions. Maybe he felt bad for the ex. Maybe it took longer to end things because they were living together – didn’t want to kick her out on the street. Maybe he tried to end it but the ex lingered. That’s what I get from the “gone for good” comment: he tried to break up but she roped him back in or convinced him to stay, or she was a crazy ex and kept coming around after the breakup and trying to interfere with his life. Stranger things have happened, even here on Dear Wendy. ”

      I do think that our comments can get carried away over-focusing on word choice sometimes. After all, some people just don’t communicate as effectively in writing as others. However, I have to disagree that it’s “grasping at straws” to place significance on the face that it took this guy a year to leave his live-in girlfriend. All those reasons you gave for not leaving someone you claim you want to leave? They just sound like poor excuses to me, that some weak-willed/dishonest person would give. You want to break up with someone, you break up with them. End of story. There is no “trying” to break up with someone. It only takes one person to break up. There are a lot of relationship situations where nuance matters, but not this one.

      If someone can “rope him back in” or is “crazy”, then what is HE doing with her? That’s the question. This isn’t about this poor other girl, it’s about HIM. And frankly, even if everything he told the LW about his previous relationship is true (and it might not be which makes him a liar), then he’s weak-willed, and dated and lived with a crazy person, all while (at the very least) emotionally cheating with the LW. That’s skeevy behavior in my book.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ May 17, 2012, 9:37 am

        OK, sure, but how many letters have we seen on here that went into the messiness of breaking up with someone you live with? Or timing a breakup? (Think: letters where the LW wants to break up with the S.O. but the S.O. is under a TON of stress at the moment or in a really bad place emotionally, and dumping them at that moment seems cruel. Or, letters where we advise readers to set an internal timeline for “if things don’t change by now, I’m MOAing.”)

        Placing significance on the timeline here is not grasping at straws – but reading between the lines and drawing conclusions when we really have VERY little information and few facts about the man’s relationship with the ex, that’s what I consider grasping at straws. Call it a red flag if you want, but I wouldn’t go any farther than that by coming up with specific speculations and explanations.

        Flipping the situation to the guy’s POV: “I dated a woman for a year and a half and wanted to marry her, but she was skittish because of baggage from her divorce. We called it quits and each moved on. I met someone else and eventually began living with her. Some time later, my ex and I met up again by fate/chance. I knew I still had feelings for her, but I also cared about my current girlfriend and wasn’t sure I wanted to break up with her to pursue an old flame, particularly someone who had dumped me before.”
        Even barring the possibility that the ex was crazy/clingy/manipulative etc., this was not a cut-and-dry situation. His decision was not necessarily an easy one. A year does seem like a long time to make a breakup final, but we really don’t know enough about what happened during that year (seems like the LW was trying to keep things brief) to jump to any conclusions about WHY it took that long. That’s all I’m saying.

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    GTR May 16, 2012, 9:22 pm

    You want some pointers, honey?

    Step 1: Stop being such a freakin’ drama queen, and

    Step 2: Calm the hell down.

    Reread your letter. You bounce from him to your divorce to his “other woman” to his mother to your mother to God… it makes me dizzy just reading it. Are you always like this? If so, that may explain why he’s holding back.

    You claim to be an ambitious, successful, motivated woman. Start acting like it. If you find that your feelings of anxiety are damaging your relationships, look into getting a therapist to whom you can vent all of your crazy, which will hopefully make you a more rational woman for dealing with your boyfriend.

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    Violet May 17, 2012, 8:36 am

    This letter vexed me, if only because the LW neatly glosses over what seems like a period of cheating she did with the BF, and I am really curious why it took him a year to break it off with someone who was without any good qualities in his eyes. I understand that not every relationship neatly ends before starting the new one, but waiting a whole year? Something is really strange here.

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      DMR May 18, 2012, 4:51 am

      I’ve totally changed my mind on this letter.

      It sounds to me like the LW was extremely jealous and resentful of the other woman, and clearly considered herself to be the better catch. The LW is highly competitive with other women.

      some of the comments here opened up a whole new possibility that hadn’t occurred to me (or possibly Wendy) and that’s to look at it from the other side of the equation. The LW is a femme fatale who the guy is hopelessly infatuated with. Hell, he was even in a serious relationship with someone else, when she decided to reappear on the scene, bust up that household, and get him back.

      His family and friends probably think that’s she’s no good for him and will break his heart again. They’re probably right. And maybe they liked the guy’s previous girlfriend, which is why no visit with the mother.

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