It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.
My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year. I have two children from a previous relationship. He has never been married or engaged. I am divorced. We are both in our late 30s. We all get along very well and have a lot of fun. My boyfriend is kind, romantic, really hot, smart, funny, etc., and he’s very vocal about how much he loves me. He talks about marriage all the time. He knows whom he wants as his best men, how much he is planning to pull out of his savings for our wedding, whom he wants us to invite, etc. The problem is, he balks every time I bring up moving in together. His concerns include: joint finances, and whether he’ll have his own space/freedom (he’s used to living on his own). I worry that one or two years will go by and we’ll still be in this same stage and then I’ll have to break up with him and start all over again because I’m looking for someone to marry. What do you think? Why would a man who talks constantly about marriage not want to live with me? — Ready to Marry
Does he talk constantly about marriage? The only examples you gave were of his fantasizing about the wedding day, which is hardly the same thing as discussing marriage. And you think his concerns about finances and sharing a space with a wife and two step-kids are “small,” but I’d argue that most people would consider those very big, reasonable concerns to consider and certainly worth having many discussions about. What WILL his life be like when he’s suddenly living with three other people, including two children? How WILL your joint finances work? After a year together, you should START having these conversations, not be moving on because marriage isn’t happening yet. If you truly love this guy, give the relationship another year as you continue discussing what actual marriage — not a wedding day — will be like together, especially with two (step)children involved. Here are some other topics worth discussing before getting married or moving in together.
This weekend one of my best friends is having, for her birthday, a girls-only party at the lake. I asked my boyfriend if I could go and he immediately said no. He told me that, if I went, to expect him to be gone when I get back. So I told him I wouldn’t go. But I feel horrible about ditching my best friends. At the same time I can’t loose my boyfriend. What do I do? — Girls Only
I’d ditch the controlling boyfriend and stick with the friends instead.
I’m a 34-year-old male with two beautiful kids, 10 and 6. Their mom and I are separated as of a few months ago, but we still live under the same roof. I’ve met someone else and she lives in another state on the other coast. She wants us to take things to the next level and for me to move out there. I’ve visited her and she’s come here and we know we make a good couple; my only fear is my kids. How will this affect them and will they hate me for it? My new partner is very understanding and will make sure I fly back and forth on a regular basis, and there will be my phone calls, texts, emails and video chats with them. I just don’t want to be selfish or have them resent me later on. I’ll always be a huge part of their lives no matter what or where… — Two-time Dad
Sorry, but moving across the country and leaving your young children for a woman you barely know and have spent hardly any time with is the epitome of selfish (not to mention incredibly stupid). If this woman who is so perfect for you is so very understanding and wants so much to be with you, she can be the one to move. But before that happens, the next logical step might be, I don’t know, for you and your wife to stop living together.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.