I’m a man deeply in love with my fiancée of five years. I’m 55, she’s 44, we met eight years ago, both soon knew it was true love.
We’ve lived together in my house for over six years, and we’re committed to sharing the rest of our lives.
I have two sons in their 20’s from a previous marriage, she has no children though she was married briefly years ago.
She’d like us to marry soon. It’s the only issue between us that’s not resolved. I feel that we are as married in every sense. She says she sometimes feels that she’s only a “guest” in our life together.
The fact is that my ex-wife has very strongly influenced my sons to expect (if not demand) to inherit well from me as I’ve been very successful in business.
I’ve reassured my sons that they’re in my will but that I’m healthy and have years ahead.
They’ve said that they like my fiancée a lot, but believe it’s unfair that if anything does happen to me, she could claim the house or at least half of it, and also inherit from my money as well.
Meanwhile, my ex-wife, whose second husband hasn’t been successful, has spent much of the money and gains from our former shared property, which was her settlement in our divorce.
I’ve promised my sons, whose education and travels I’ve paid for, that they’ll be well provided for, but their mother keeps emphasizing the uncertainty of it, after I marry.
My fiancée resents my ex-wife’s meddling in our private matters and upsetting my sons.
She also gets frustrated with me that I won’t just go ahead with wedding plans, and let the others see over time that I’ve been true to my word.
Am I being so unfair that I risk losing her?
Love, Marriage and Money
Yes, you’re being pressured unconscionably by your ex-wife to whom you’re no longer legally or financially accountable.
If you don’t push back, your fiancée will naturally fear that this woman will always push your buttons regarding your sons and cause trouble between you and them, if she chooses.
Naturally, if you wish, these adult sons may be helped by you to a gifting limit that you can afford, but they should be told firmly that they’re not going to be carried as dependents indefinitely.
They’re educated, well-travelled and unless incapable of working, need to develop independence.
Talk to your financial advisor about what type of reasonable arrangements you want to make for them in your will.
Then talk to your lawyer about how you’ll provide appropriately and fairly for your spouse-to-be, should you predecease her.
The matter of the matrimonial home – which you now still call your house, should be clear, such as whether she’s entitled to shared ownership, or if not, whether she can stay in it for a pre-determined period of years, or until she passes.
But first, before you lose the woman you love, set a wedding date with her, in the near future.
It doesn’t require your ex-wife’s permission or approval. Your sons’ congratulations and well-wishes would be welcome – and they can be assured of their continued importance in your married life. But their permission is also not required.
What IS critical to your life ahead with your fiancée, is standing up to anyone who tries to come between you, now and in the future.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who didn’t tell his live-in girlfriend that he was married, with two kids (May 22):
Reader – “I believe the correct advice to this woman is to move on and don't look back
“A man who commits huge lies regarding fundamental facts such as the existence of a family is a huge manipulator, driven by nothing but self-interest.
“Manipulators typically are very charming! There's no doubt that he'll lie again and again.
“Big lies are a symptom of big flaws in a person's moral compass, of future relationship problems, and an all-out huge red flag.
“The letter-writer has invested under-four months into this relationship, so it's a relatively low-cost lesson for now.
“But after 10 or 15 years of being manipulated by lies big and small? Research the “Sunk Cost Fallacy,” and leave now. There are honest men out there.”
Ellie – Apply the “sunk cost” concept to emotions, to understand the “fallacy” here.
Tip of the day:
Getting engaged is meant to be a public promise, not a stalling tactic. Don’t play fast and loose with your loved one’s patience.