I met her 22 years ago, we lived in the same small town.
She chose a different husband (younger than I was), but he left her alone to work elsewhere.
I married, but later my ex-wife kidnapped my child out of the country.
The woman and I got closer and, during my 10-month marital separation, we lived as common-law spouses. But she left me before my divorce decision was final.
I kept occasionally seeing her in a sports club. One night I invited her and her then-boyfriend (my even younger skydiving instructor) to dinner at a local restaurant.
Two years later she called and asked me to help her get an airline ticket as she was far away and wanted to return to her husband in California but had run out of money.
I bought her a ticket without hesitation.
Three years later she called. Within seconds of meeting up, we were in the same state of mind as when we’d lived together.
I was single then. She said that her boyfriend (the instructor from before) had left her weeks ago to live with somebody else.
Again, we started living together in my home. Unfortunately, I was unemployed for five months then. After several weeks, she returned to her previous boyfriend.
Two years later, I had a medical emergency and she arrived at the hospital, talked to my doctors, and called to inform my father.
She then rented an apartment for me and moved all my belongings (with her boyfriend’s help) into it.
She remained with him and even invited me to a Christmas party at their house, with no objection from him.
I recovered, went to school, got a good-paying job far away and asked her to marry me, but she wouldn’t move.
Years passed without hearing from her.
Two weeks ago, she called and wanted to repay me for an old loan. I refused to accept her money.
I asked her for the third time if she wants to live with me and start a family with kids of our own.
She did not say NO, and actually had never said NO to my same proposal over 22 years.
Her boyfriend still lives in their old house but she says they’re not living together, and have never had kids during their 15 years together.
On her last call she said she loves me even more, and left it this way. She made plans to meet again this December 2018 and spend a few days together.
What’s my chance of marrying her? I love her the same as ever. It’s too painful for me to be her best friend or friend with benefits.
Never Gave Up
I can only use your own details to make a shaky guess at your chances.
But I encourage you to make your most heartfelt but last marriage proposal to her.
Ask her directly if your age deters her. Say that you feel ready for a full and vigorous life together, including raising children if she wishes.
Be clear that you can no longer accept the pain of being only her friend, or even one with benefits as her fallback guy.
Tell her that your love for her is unconditional, but also realistic. You know her adult journey, and you understand and respect who she is.
But say you cannot carry on just hoping and waiting. And mean it.
Then, go ahead and make your final proposal to love, honour and share life with her.
FEEDBACK Regarding the working mother left alone with children and chores while her unemployed husband visits city friends and sleeps at his mom’s house there (Aug.9):
Reader – “I feel for her. She knows what she must do.
“As the partner who’s unemployed, the least her husband should be doing is picking up the kids from daycare (so they don't have to pay babysitting costs), helping with homework, doing dinner and household chores.
“Sure, he (maybe) feels emasculated. But until he finds a job, she’s the breadwinner in the family and he needs to take on the support role, just as women have done for thousands of years.
“One word of advice for this man: Adapt. Or it's over. She's doing it all and he contributes nothing. What could she possibly miss about him if they part?”
Ellie – Agreed. Online, short-term counselling can help her speak up rather than accept his irresponsible neglect.
Tip of the day:
Unrequited love tolerated too long becomes a stale burden instead of fulfillment.