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Q. I have been dating my boyfriend for almost four years now and sometimes I am not sure if he is the one for me. I was married to my ex for many years and we have children. I met my boyfriend after the divorce, and the relationship was great for me because we would only see each other every other weekend while my kids were with their dad. It was a nice escape.
Throughout my relationship, my boyfriend has always pushed things to the next level before I was ready. He moved in with us late last year — long before I wanted him to — and now I am having even more doubts about us. (I have always had doubts.) Our discipline styles are very different and he seems easily annoyed by my kids. I just don’t know if he is the one for me and I refuse to marry again (he would like to) unless I feel like it is 100 percent right. Is this normal? Should I be in this relationship?
A. You were at your happiest with this man when you only saw him every other weekend. It sounds like he was a great first relationship after the divorce — but then he wanted more.
My question is: Why did you give it to him? You didn’t want him to move in with you, but somehow, he lives there. Now you’re pushing back on marriage in a way that suggests it’s really on the table, even though it’s not what you want.
If you don’t feel like you have an equal say in your relationship — if there’s no room for compromise — you should end it now. That’s the biggest red flag here, all the talk about pushing.
Doubts are normal, by the way, but you shouldn’t have them all of the time. If you’re always uncomfortable and uncertain about your future with your boyfriend, you know the answer. You just have to tell him.
“He moved in with us late last year — long before I was wanted him to ...” Why did you let this happen?
Being single can be a difficult lifestyle adjustment; it requires a confidence that isn’t gained overnight if you’ve been in a long-term relationship for “many years.”
If you don’t learn how to express your concerns and needs, you’re going to end up married to a guy you are not sure about. Does that sound like the outcome you want?
You can try counseling but I suspect this is just a doomed relationship. Best to end it and take a little time to figure out how it got to where it did.
She may need counseling on her own to discover why she let him move in against her wishes.
Look at it this way, letter writer: Is this the example you want to be setting for your kids? You don’t say how old they are, but if this relationship has been going on for four years, that means they are at least old enough to pick up on some of the dynamic here. So far, your example has told them that they shouldn’t stick to their guns if something feels wrong, but should allow their romantic partners to manipulate them into something they don’t want to do.
I was in a situation with my 2nd marriage where he was easily annoyed by my kids (daughter more so than son) and didn’t agree on discipline styles and it was such a huge mistake on my part — we were divorced after 5 years. It should have been sooner, but I think I tried to hang on longer due to the embarrassment of getting divorced a second time, plus other issues. If you decide to get married again, it should be to someone who at least likes your kids and enjoys being around them.
Usually, “the less you see someone the more you like them” isn’t a recipe for happily ever after.