It’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 “Parent Trapped” who wrote in in the fall of 2016, when her boyfriend of a year asked her to move in with him and his mom–a boyfriend who treated her son like crap while he supported her through the financial mess she found herself in. “She had a run-in with identity theft a few years ago, and since then she has not used her social security number. Everything she has her boyfriend pays for or it’s in his name. She even works for him, and he pays her by housing her and feeding her. She has literally nothing without him.” The LW decided she didn’t want to move in until the mom moved out, but the mom wasn’t budging.
“This is putting a lot of pressure on our relationship, and I’m not sure what to do. Should I talk to her and tell her my struggles and that I feel held back in my relationship with her son? Do I just let her do her thing and hope to God she moves out soon? My boyfriend won’t push her out and I don’t want her pushed out if she’s not ready because she’ll just be back at his door a month later. I’m just hoping for an outside perspective.”
Keep reading to see what has happened in the fifteen months since she wrote in.
As far as our relationship, whenever I try to ask about ANYTHING regarding our future, he either gets silent, gets mad, or cries. In the beginning of our relationship, I told him that I didn’t want to be a five-year girlfriend, and with the exception of the year we were on a break, we’ve been together for six years now! At the beginning of last year, he promised that he’d propose by the end of the year. However, he didn’t propose and hasn’t mentioned it since.
I love him and I feel that he is perfect for me. I want to get married and I want a large family. I’m ready to move forward. I turn thirty next year and my clock is ticking loud as hell. It’s honestly embarrassing at this point when people ask when we’re going to get married. People get engaged and married every day; I don’t get the delay. He tells me that he wants to marry me and that he’s working on it, but I don’t feel as if it’s a priority. I see him spending and giving away money — money that could go towards a ring. He gave me really good Christmas gifts this year, which was sweet, but he literally could’ve gotten a ring with the money that he spent on my gifts.
I’m not sure how to proceed. I don’t want to force him to marry me or give ultimatums, but I also don’t want six more years to go by and realize that we’re in the same position. His mom and both my friends and his keep asking what’s the rush, but I don’t feel like six years is rushing at all. What should I do? — The Forever Girlfriend
Why would you want to marry someone who has this mother problem he hasn’t figured out and has no plan to figure it out? What do you think is going to happen if you get married? That she will miraculously move out of the house he pays for and go live her own life and leave you two alone to set up house and have a life together independent of her? No, that’s not going to happen. And isn’t this, like, a HUGE big deal? Isn’t it why you wrote to me in the first place back in 2016? Isn’t it kind of important to figure this out before you go making plans to get married?
I have to agree with everyone else in your life: WHY are you so eager to move forward with a plan that sounds pretty awful for you (legally binding yourself to a guy who is so entangled with a dependent and, frankly, messed-up mother whom he lives with)? Are you just so desperate for marriage and a big family and so afraid of that ticking clock that the circumstances (for marriage and parenthood) don’t matter to you? They should matter to you. This is your life. This is your future. When you look at the life your boyfriend lives — how involved his mother is, how dependent she is on him, how your boyfriend spends and gives so much money away, and how resistant he is to marrying you, is that really what you want for yourself? Really? That’s what you’re super eager to put a ring on and legally bind yourself to?
I think you need to give this a lot more thought than you have. You need to be honest with yourself about what your life and future would really look like if you were to marry your boyfriend as he and his life are now and not how you wish he was or how you dream life together could be. You’ve had years now to see what his priorities are, how he lives, how he treats you, how he deals with his mom. I don’t believe you’re looking at all of these examples and thinking they’re awesome. You should think these things are awesome if you want to marry a person. You should think the way he treats you is awesome. You should think the way he deals with challenges is awesome. You should look at his life and want it for yourself, want to be part of what he has going on. If you can’t honestly say that, then you shouldn’t be pushing for marriage. Instead, you should probably MOA. At 29, you still have plenty of time to meet someone new — someone who actually has room in his heart and life for you — and start that family you so desperately want. But as long as you stay in this dead-end relationship, you are wasting that time.
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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