I'm 49, my boyfriend is 61; we’re in a loving, committed relationship.
We’d talked about moving in together and perhaps marrying at some point in the future.
I’ve re-considered my views and would like to be engaged, or married, before I move in with him, and take other life-altering steps.
Do you feel that living together is a natural progression before marrying?
It’s what YOU feel that counts, plus only the opinions of your guy and the needs of any children involved, should be considered before you two proceed to what’s next.
As a syndicated advice columnist who hears from tens of thousands of readers, I can comfortably say with authority that it’s fairly common today for mature adults such as yourselves to prefer living together before seriously planning to marry.
However, it’s also true, as you suggest, that even just moving in together triggers the need for other substantial changes, whether involving children, financial concerns or changing location, lifestyle, and/or jobs.
I can also report from readers’ experiences that, in many cases, such couples that move to live together often decide not to marry at all. They find that co-habiting satisfies their needs for companionship and commitment, and they hope to avoid any further legal or family complications that marriage might bring (or at least one partner thinks that way).
If you, personally, fear – as I suspect – that moving in together is as far as your boyfriend is willing to go for quite a while, and it’ll delay an engagement longer than you wish despite your having had to make other major changes, then consider that there’s no guarantee of a “progression” to tying the knot.
You need to say what you want - and recognize that your guy is equally entitled to his feelings on the matter. This requires a full, straight-up conversation in which you both are open and honest about your personal views of living together, getting engaged and/or marrying.
I don't know what to do – I’m a 28-year-old Pakistani girl whose dad is insisting that I marry someone he found for me.
I’ve adamantly refused because I want to find someone on my own. I have tried to give this guy a chance but he's just not the one for me.
How do I deal with this intense daily pressure from my parents?
I have truly tried every route possible.
- Stressed and Distressed
This is a strongly entrenched cultural tradition for your father, so it won’t be easy to change his mind. He undoubtedly wants the best for you and, like many parents in his community, fears that Western-style “love” marriages can end up in a bad match, divorce, and/or bring shame to the family should you marry someone of a different background.
You need an ally, or at least some help in talking this out with your father. I recommend you seek someone, likely a person from the community, who’s understanding of the traditions but more accepting in views.
There are potential compromises to be considered, such as asking your father to let you look at his list of potential candidates and allowing you to choose with him those men whom you’re willing to meet, to see if there’s a possible connection.
Remember, if you defy him completely, you could end up estranged, so you need to ask yourself if that’s something you can truly handle.
My 12-year-old daughter is totally in "love" with one of her male peers. She told me that this boy asked her if she’d do anything for his love. She said "Yes.”
He asked her to run an "errand" for him that was completely inappropriate. She obliged.
When I said, "Would you jump off a cliff if he asked you?" she replied, sincerely, "Yes, Mum, I would.”
To what extent will this boy go?
Should I transfer her to another school?
- Greatly Worried
Contact the boy’s parents (and if necessary, a school official). The adults need to take charge.
Proceed gently with the boy’s parents so as not to antagonize them, but to express your concerns for your own child, regarding their son’s sense of power over her.
Then build your daughter’s confidence, through encouragement, praise, activities she handles well. If she doesn’t gain more self-esteem, consider getting counselling for her.
Tip of the day:
When discussing the next big step in a relationship, make sure you both hear and agree with each other’s expectations from it.