Marriage on Hold

10 Oct

Letterbalm Waiting ClockDear LetterBalm: My boyfriend and I have been together for 10 years. I’m 49, he’s 52. Both of us are divorced. I don’t have any children, my boyfriend has two grown kids. Last year, we bought a house together, contributing equally to the mortgage and expenses. We have a solid relationship – our principles and interests mesh, we like our jobs, and our families and friends regard us as a loving and supportive couple. After so many years and such a level of commitment, both of us want to get married. The problem is my boyfriend’s daughter. She’s 22 and out on her own but very attached to her dad. When he mentions marriage, she gets emotional and starts crying, saying that her father is slapping her mother in the face. (They got divorced more than 15 years ago, but her mother hasn’t remarried and still hopes for reconciliation with my boyfriend.) It’s a messy situation. So far, my boyfriend can’t get his daughter to go for counseling. He and I must have a serious talk. What do I say? We can’t wait forever.

–Biding My Time Bride

Why is it that those who most need counseling are the ones who refuse to go? If your boyfriend’s daughter won’t agree to therapy, your boyfriend must. He needs to see why he permits his dysfunctional daughter (and her mother) to interfere with his life. Ms. L.B. says you and your boyfriend should move ahead with the wedding plans, once he has a clearer understanding of what is driving his daughter’s behavior. This will take time, but at least you and he will be moving toward a goal. And, perhaps that will be when to start referring to each other as fiancé and fiancée. Talk to him gently but persuasively, your ducks in a row:

Darling, can we have a talk about getting married? I know this is a touchy subject for you because Doreen has such an extreme reaction whenever you bring it up. It’s long past due for you to get some answers about how to deal with her motivations and how to break the cycle of her undue influence over the situation. You and I are putting our lives on hold over this, and it’s not fair. We love each other and deserve to begin our married life. Will you agree to get a referral to a therapist? I know it will take time for you to gain some insights. I’m willing to wait because it’s a goal worth pursuing. You’re worth it, I’ll never stop believing that.

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