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He doesn't want to get married

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 14, 2010 08:20 AM

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Sorry about the tech issues yesterday. They're fixed. If you want to add some comments to yesterday's letter (the comment box wasn't working after about 3 p.m.), feel free, especially if you're looking for some closure.

Not that I believe in closure. No such thing.

Q: I have been in a relationship with "Joe" for almost two years. I have never been so enamored with anyone in my life. We have a fabulous time together and he has a wonderful, caring heart. Everybody loves him because he really is just a great guy.

We are both divorced. I was married for just under four years. I married the wrong person and I was just too young and immature at the time. I married my ex because it was something that I thought I "should" do and because everyone was telling me what a great couple we were -- but I was never truly in love with him. We have an amazing son who is now five, and my ex and I are very amicable. He has since remarried.

Joe was married for over 20 years. He is 18 years older than me, which I have never had any problem with. His divorce was extremely tumultuous and the last years of his marriage were extremely difficult. His kids are older and I get along very well with them. I waited a while for Joe to meet my son because I didn't want my son to be subjected to a revolving door of dates and relationships. After about eight months of dating, I started to let Joe and my son spend some time together because I felt the timing was right and I felt very secure in the relationship. Joe was aware that it was a big step for me.

My issue is that I am looking to get married again. I am in no rush to get married soon. I don't need to get married this year or even next year but I do want to share my life and my son with someone. I know that I don't need to have more children, but I do want that long relationship and someone to grow old with. The problem is Joe is definitely not looking to get married again in the near future and perhaps ever. We've been having this discussion often lately and we talk in circles. I say that I understand that maybe we are just simply at different life stages, and that I get that he's "been there, done that" with a long marriage and is enjoying his freedom. I'll go on to tell him that I'm doubtful that we'll ever be on the same page and that we should go our separate ways. His response is that he loves me, is committed to me, is happier than he's ever been and doesn't want to lose me BUT he is unsure of if or when he'll want marriage again. I genuinely love this man Meredith, but I don't want to keep investing my time and heart in something that has no future.

Furthermore, I don't want my son to grow attached to someone who will leave.

Am I spinning my wheels? Am I wasting my time? Or am I trying to anticipate the future too much and over-thinking the situation? Am I being too anxious and fidgety? Should I just relax and enjoy? Take one day at a time? HELP PLEASE!

– Anxious in Love, Boston

A: You're not being unnecessarily anxious and fidgety, AIL. You want to know if your boyfriend of two years plans to stick around. You say that you don't need to get married again soon -- but maybe you want to. Your wants count.

Have you asked him what he means when he says he doesn't want to get married again? Is he opposed to living with you? Is he opposed to sharing money? Does he expect to bail in a few years? Or is he open to everything but the legal title?

If you knew he had hopes to share his life with you -- just without the wedding and the marriage license -- would that calm your nerves? If so, ask him if he has any interest in committing without the party. That would be a start.

If he doesn't want to get married because he's only comfortable dating, I think you should consider looking for someone who wants more. This guy is almost 20 years older than you. He has raised kids. He knows himself. If he's telling you that he doesn't want to get married because he has "been there, done that," well, that's just not good enough for you. You've been there and done that but you want to do it again.

A fresh start would be very difficult for your son, but it would be worse for him to watch his mom spin her wheels, as you put it.

Find out what your guy means when he says he doesn't want to get married again. Then be honest with yourself about what you want.

(You probably wanted me to tell you that you're overreacting and being silly but you're not. Sorry.)

Readers? Should she just enjoy the status quo? Or am I right? Does his "been there, done that" attitude mean he can't share his life with the letter writer? Discuss.


– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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