From my online chat of Sept. 10, Commitment Fears:
My fiancée has cancelled our wedding plans twice. Once it was a legitimate excuse because her dad was ill and would possibly not be able to walk her down the aisle.
I said that was a reason to bring the date forward, but she refused, and thankfully her father recovered.
Next, it was because she got a promotion that involved her travelling for a week every month. She said that would cause a stressful beginning, and she needed to adjust.
It’s been a year and she handles her job well. I use her week away to catch up with friends and paper work.
But I can’t get her to agree on a final date, and now she’s not sure she likes the venue we originally picked.
Is she just no longer interested in marrying me?
She owes you an answer. Then it’s you who may have to think about delaying marrying her - either because you’ll still doubt her sincerity or because you realize she has a skewed vision of marriage.
If her answer is that she’s still committed to the idea of marrying you, just not the specific timing or place, insist that you both go to couples’ counselling. Be prepared to discover that she also needs to get counselling individually, too.
If these delays are because she has fears about the time demands and other realities of being married, you both need to discuss how you’ll handle them.
Professional guidance can help put whatever’s looming large and daunting in her mind, into normal perspective.
It’s unlikely that she’s just uninterested in marrying you, since you two are apparently still engaged and balancing your time together with work.
So try not to get insecure about her previous delays. Instead, you need to be firm about making sure that she’s emotionally ready for a healthy, and workable union.
I’ve been living with my common-law partner for seven years, since after being high school and college sweethearts. We’re both 30. We have a four-year-old daughter together.
He loves me and loves our child, but still lives like the boy I met years ago. For example, he plays hockey two nights a week, plays cards another night, visits his mom after work every day, and sometimes plans camping, hiking, fishing, and ice-fishing trips with his buddies for weekends.
He keeps saying I’m the world’s greatest mom and our daughter’s very secure, so his absences aren’t affecting her.
His mother says his father lived that way too and she accepted it because she loved him. I’m getting beyond accepting it but don’t know if I can manage alone.
He’s unwilling to grow up, and has clearly never had to. However, you’re not his mother and shouldn’t take on her indulgent role.
He’s self-indulgent and neglectful as both a parent and a partner, leaving much of the responsibilities to you.
You’re already managing alone, so perhaps only finances are a concern if you separated from him.
Get legally informed for your jurisdiction. Find out if you have common-law rights to child support (you do in Ontario), and to accommodation for you and your child. You need to know how you can manage, and then tell him.
He needs to know that this isn’t about wanting a marriage certificate, but finding whether there’s a man inside the guy who lives with you.
We connected through a grief support group, as we’re both younger than the others (I’m 38, he’s 41) who lost their spouses.
We’ve moved toward “dating,” though it’s more of going for walks, and maybe a movie, since we both have children at home.
However, we’re both somewhat closed emotionally, afraid to risk getting closer as it’d mean another big change for our kids (adolescents and young teens) who’ve already had to bury a parent.
Is there a way for us to get past the obvious fears we have of committing again?
Start talking about how it would work for you two to be “closer” – more time with each other’s family, a joint vacation, etc. And proceed slowly.
The children need to get to know each of you without feeling their father or mother is being replaced or forgotten.
Change is a normal fact of life. Shutting out a good person would be a mistake.
Tip of the day:
Get couples’ counselling if a negative view of marriage is causing doubts and delays.