Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “One Confused Mama” Responds

updatesIt’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “One Confused Mama,” whose (religious) parents bought her a house for her and her daughter to live in after her husband left them. She had since divorced the husband, met a new man, and become pregnant before she and the new man had a chance to get engaged and move in together. She worried about how her parents would react. She wrote:

“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. My boyfriend and I both agree it is in the new child’s best interest for us to all live together, but he has a vision for how he wants to propose and has some things he wanted to take care of first, etc.

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.”

It’s been about fourteen months since she wrote in — check out her update below.

We ended up getting engaged a few weeks after I wrote to you, on Christmas Eve. My boyfriend and I moved in together a few weeks after that, around our one-year anniversary. Our healthy baby boy was born a few months later. We are set to get married in October of this year. I’m back in college (for teaching PreK to 3rd grade since after doing science projects, learning games, activities, sign language, etc. with my daughter, I discovered I have a real passion for interacting with kids). We are planning on having one more before I graduate. This relationship remains the strongest and healthiest relationship I’ve been in, and my son has been an amazing blessing to it.

A few things that I remember not addressing, from way back when I asked this question, that I would like to address:

1. My ex and I got married, had a kid, and then on the weekend before Easter when my daughter was 17 months old, he walked out. Like, we were playing games that morning, I went to buy an Easter gift for his daughter from his first marriage, I came back and he was gone. He told me to get out of our mutually-owned house and go to my parents’. I did not want to try to work anything out. My instincts about my ex had been that he would not up and leave a family. My insistence on my fiancé demonstrating his commitment was a reflection of that. I obviously know that a baby is a commitment, but I needed more.

2. My living arrangement was an agreement between my parents and myself to ensure that my daughter did not suffer because her dad was a jerk. They knew that without their help we would go from living in one of the best school districts available to living where my daughter probably wouldn’t be able to play outside. Our arrangement was made so that her standard of living remained the same.

3. My reason for having a real wedding: it is his first wedding and it was important to him. We are excited to have set the wedding and honeymoon dates for after our son turns 1 year old. My daughter is my jr. maid of honor and our son is his jr. best man. We are so excited.

But did you buy your parents’ house?! What did they say about you guys moving in together — into the house they bought you, I assume — before getting married?

Congrats on all the rest of it and best wishes for a great life together!

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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1 comment… add one
  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy February 1, 2018, 8:58 am

    From the LW:

    We did not buy the house. They are beyond angry, but our decisions were in the children’s best interest. Having seen what my daughter goes through being split between 2 houses, it was important to us to NOT put another child through it; we couldn’t split him between 2 houses to appease my parents, since that was the only reason we were not moving in at the time we made the decision to move in together (referring to the time we decided to move in and not the timing of my pregnancy, If that makes sense). Further my daughter was starting to show some behaviors common in children in single mother homes–like excessively worrying about me, getting wound up and not being able to calm back down, etc. Especially exacerbated once her dad started dwindling on visitation. My fiance moving in has had a tremendously positive impact and she now seems well adjusted.

    My parents still hold tight to what we are doing being unbiblical and are very angry and hurt that I chose to move in with him after they had purchased a house for my daughter and I and did so much for us.

    They love both grandkids very much, however and we have largely kept the conflict away from the kids 🙂

    Also, we set up our first marriage meeting with the priest at my church, and while we had intentionally set the date of the wedding beyond 1 year after our son was to be born so he could be in the wedding, I’d be done breast feeding, etc, while we were meeting we got the impression that the priest was expecting us to be trying to get married before his birth, and also got the pretty clear impression he probably would not have married us before our son was born. Perhaps churches are starting to discourage the rushed marriage now? Idk.

    One more thing since focusing on relevant details and leaving out a big picture item got me into trouble with the readers last time: We wanted to move in because we love each other. I will reiterate here the part about it being the healthiest and strongest relationship I’ve ever had. However with kids involved he and I both out heavy weights on their best interests and less weight on what we feel. So while our first reason for moving in is loving each other and wanting to live together, our discussion was on the kids. We know we love each other already.

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