I Have a Great Relationship But Long for A Deeper Commitment. Should I Be Satisfied With What I Have?

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 3 years. I am a divorced mother of two and he never married and has no children. When we met, he told me that he’d always dreamed of having a wife and children and being a father. He said it was his ex who didn’t want children, and his concern over the stability of the relationship that prevented him from proposing marriage. He was keen to meet my twins, as well as to introduce me to his friends and family. He took me to a friend’s wedding after only dating me 3 weeks. He told me he loved me (by accident – it slipped out) after dating me only 2 weeks!

He is fully committed in the sense that we have been exclusive from the start, he is honest, loving, straightforward and kind. He spends three evenings a week at my house, sleeps over twice a week and spends most Sundays with us. We now work in offices that are close to each other, so he joins me nearly every lunch hour for my daily walk.

However, that is the extent of our commitment. We do not live together despite talking about it for three years. His house requires extensive renovations in order to be prepared for a sale, but although he could afford to pay a contractor he prefers to do these things himself and has thus far not accomplished much. He is very cheap and money is a big issue for him when it comes to moving in together. He wants everything separate to protect his assets legally and he wants to pay for everything separately including food, even after we have moved in together as he feels he should not be paying for anyone other than himself. He’s no more wealthy than I and we earn equivalent salaries.

He also has a pet parrot that I am terrified of. I have told him how frightened I am of the bird, and that it frightens me to have it in the house with children. He won’t get rid of the bird. He feels I am asking him to give up his dream, to give up the things he enjoys. I believe that means the dream of living together as a family with me and the boys is not as valuable a dream to him…and that hurts me so deeply. To lose out to a bird….

I know that if a friend asked my advice in this situation I’d tell her she should walk away but it’s never that simple when it’s yourself. He is a good man and my kids adore him. He’s the only father figure they’ve ever known (their real father left when they were 5 months old and wanted no custody). I’m 42, I dated for 4 years after my divorce and I know there are not a lot of good men out there. He and I rarely fight, he’s dependable, reliable, and hardworking. He’s never mean. He’s never violent. He’d never steal from me or lie to me or intentionally hurt me. He does love me. He never flirts or shows any interest in other women. He tells me I’m beautiful every day. He’s affectionate. He’s respectful. He comes from a good family and has a good job. Commitment issues aside, my only complaint about him is his cheapness. We could carry on as we are forever, if it weren’t for my longing for a deeper commitment. Should I be satisfied with what we have?

Thanks,
Lorna

Dear Lorna,

You contradict yourself so quickly it makes my head spin.

The fact that you can you extol the virtues of your boyfriend for 200 words and, in the same paragraph, write that you’d tell a friend with a similar man to walk away means that you are really confused right now. So let’s sort a few things out together, shall we?

If you can make peace with the parrot and the cheapness, then you should ask him a straightforward question: “Do you have any intention of proposing to me?”

You have a great man and a great relationship.

There are three issues here:

    1. He has a parrot that you don’t like. Let’s do a thought experiment. Man tells woman that she should get rid of her cat on his behalf. How do you think that’s gonna fly? You’re not wrong for hating parrots. You’re wrong in thinking that it’s your right to tell him what pets he’s allowed to have. If you choose to make the parrot a dealbreaker, it’s a dealbreaker. I would think that would be one of the stranger causes for a breakup, but, then, who am I to judge?

    2. He’s cheap. Not an attractive quality. You’re not going to singlehandedly change his relationship with money. But have you had a measured and adult conversation with him? Not one where you attack him as cheap, but one where you attempt to understand what he’s thinking and how he got this way? Have you attempted to explain not how “wrong” he is, but how his penurious ways make you feel? How it’s very clear that you’re not with him for his money, but his refusal to share with you has an unintended effect of making you feel bad – even though you know how deeply he loves you? Perhaps you can hold up the mirror to him so he can see himself clearly. It would be like you saying you loved him, being the perfect girlfriend, and never wanting to have sex. It’s not your intention to hurt him, but a reasonable boyfriend might feel bad about not feeling desired. Again, you’re not going to turn him into a completely different man, but you may get some motion from him on how he views money. And, strangely, like the parrot thing, it’s up to you to decide if being cheap overrides his long list of great boyfriend qualities. My wife is slow. I’m critical. We all have flaws. Happily married couples learn to accept and work around them as best they can.

    3. The marriage thing, strangely, might be the easiest to resolve. If you can make peace with the parrot and the cheapness, then you should ask him a straightforward question: “Do you have any intention of proposing to me?” And then listen to his answer.

If he has no intention of marrying you – and you want to get married – the relationship is over.

If he has the intention of marrying you, but has an excuse, listen to it and determine if it’s valid.

If it’s not valid, you walk.

You’re the CEO here. If you don’t like how the intern is performing, you fire him.

If it is valid, give him time to buy a ring, renovate his house, take care of business – within limits. Tell yourself that if you don’t get a proposal in the next 6-12 months (or whatever), you’re out the door.

Point is: you’re the CEO here. If you don’t like how the intern is performing, you fire him.

But before you do, maybe you should do an open performance review. Seems you’ve done everything right except for having a heart-to-heart conversation with the man you love about your feelings.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Stacy

    Uhh…for me the elephant in the room isn’t about the cheapness or how long the renovations will take.  The real elephant in the room is this,

    He wants everything separate to protect his assets legally and he wants to pay for everything separately including food, even after we have moved in together as he feels he should not be paying for anyone other than himself. He’s no more wealthy than I and we earn equivalent salaries.

    Sorry, ‘cheap’ I can sorta kinda understand. The parrot? Yeah, can probably work around it. But, the incredibly selfish nature of a man who feels that he can live with you and ‘only always pay for himself including food…’, I think this is should be a dealbreaker for EVERY woman. This is just unacceptable. It is entirely selfish and why would someone want to live with someone like this? It’s one thing to have flaws, but this red flag beats out many others.

    1. 1.1
      AllHeart81

      I couldn’t agree more Stacy. Those were my thoughts exactly.

      1. 1.1.1
        Sunflower

        Agreed!  Maybe that’s why the relationship hasn’t moved forward and she’s starting to question things.  You don’t keep separate food cupboards and shelves in the refrigerator when your married and have kids in the house.  This guys sounds like he has things exactly the way he wants them, no real commitment.

        1. jon

          I don’t think any women should need or want to get married for the feeling of emotional security or fear of loss/loneliness. Its such a fairytale construct created by the puritans that marriage will create the perfect life for a woman. Marriage is not going to solve every problem or make life perfect if the husband does not want to be bound to that relationship.  The reason this guy does not want to marry the OP is because he does not want to be financially obligated to provide for 2 children that are not his. If she were childless, I bet he would be more motivated to lock her down because she will be more appealing to other single men who don’t have kids. In most cases, women will get more money the longer she is dating a man, while a single man loses more money the longer he stays with a woman. He’s made it clear he doesn’t want to mix his finances with her household. If she doesn’t need his money, she can stay with him. If she wants a guy to marry her for the sake of a certificate or for religious reasons, then she should find a new boyfriend.

      2. 1.1.2
        Chaka

        Absolutely spot on!

    2. 1.2
      bellamytree

      I totally agree, Stacy. Wanting to pay only for himself if living together as partners – it’s not even clear what this means.   What proportion would he consider fair payment for his share of utility bills? What about if they jointly buy a new sofa, or redo the kitchen?  Imagine what it would be like if every time a bill comes in or there’s an unexpected expense, there has to be a big discussion about what percentage he contributes based on predicted usage?  When he sells his house (no time soon, as he’s making little progress with renovations) will he want to legally protect the profits as personal assets while living in the OP’s house and only paying his share, e.g. of a mortgage or the rent?  His heart’s not in it.

      I hear him hinting loud and clear that he doesn’t want doesn’t want to  become a blended family, and wants to be a  boyfriend but not a partner. He would be more like the lodger if he only pays for his share.  A lodger with benefits.

      I agree that a full and frank discussion might help the OP to understand what’s going on. But it’s hardly ‘Come live with me and be my love’ is it?

    3. 1.3
      Gen Caston

      Agreed!!!

  2. 2
    Skaramouche

    I found the fact that you were extolling his virtues heartwarming; you obviously care about this guy but I have to admit, the beginning of that paragraph: “I’d advise a friend to move on” really confused me.  I guess it is indicative of your inner turmoil at the moment you wrote the letter.  To an outsider, the two issues: cheapness and the parrot don’t seem enough to break an otherwise solid relationship.  Marriage (or lack thereof) is another matter entirely.

    I can understand that the cheapness is really annoying but as an earning woman yourself, should this really affect your life?  If nothing changes, the exact division of expenses will get annoying over time but I think his insistence on paying only for himself might stem from his fear of being taken for a ride.  Once he realizes, with experience, that you are not trying to “freeload”, he will hopefully loosen the reins a bit.  But in general, without examples of his cheapness, it’s hard to know whether he is really tight fisted or just watching out for himself.  He has no children of his own and might not want to fund yours.  Not a popular stance perhaps but an understandable one, I think.  

     
    Re: parrot, as a person who prefers animals to people (I’m kidding but only partially :D), I have a more extreme comparison.   If he said to you: “your children really scare me, can you please get rid of them”, how would you feel?  To those who will inevitably point out that children are not the same as birds and animals, yes, I know that.  The point I’m trying to make is that if any person I was seeing had said: “I really don’t like your cat, it’s her or me”, I would have shown him the door.  She’s gone now but I had raised her from her kitten days and “getting rid of her” was not an option.  It wasn’t just about trying to control what pets I could have but more a question of asking me to abandon a family member.  I don’t know what the situation with the bird is but (how attached he is) but I do find it a bit disturbing that you feel it is acceptable to just abandon a living thing to which he made a commitment.  This is how animals end up in shelters…people take them on when they are young and suddenly find them inconvenient later in life.  Moving on from my rant about animal abandonment :), is there something threatening about the bird?  Has it attacked you or your children?  If you genuinely feel that you or your children will be in danger, that’s a different story.  Perhaps you can discuss confining the bird or other strategies to make you feel safer.  If you just don’t like it, well, I don’t know what to tell you!

    1. 2.1
      Stacy

      Well, I would say that a woman should not marry a man who thinks that her children are not even good enough to buy food for at times.  Don’t date a woman with children then.  This has nothing to do with wanting to be taken for a ride. C’mon, some food? But I bet he feeds his parrot.

      1. 2.1.1
        Morris

        @Stacy – I have to agree with Skaramouche. Until they are married I don’t see why he should be paying for her children’s expenses. Food included. Are you ok with a man that you’re not married to making decisions ‘equally’ about the children as well?

        1. Stacy

          Morris,

          The OP said, “He wants everything separate to protect his assets legally and he wants to pay for everything separately including food, even after we have moved in together …”

          So if this man is talking about protecting his assets legally, I assumed he was talking about if he married the OP. Of course I dont expect a man to be responsible for those things before marriage. But I would expect that to change if he is either married or living together with the person and signs up for a ready made family. Who the heck wants to live with someone who doesn’t want to combine money for food because he feels the children will gain from it? One would hope that he is willing to cook all his meals as well.

        2. Morris

          Stacy. I agree the wording she used is a bit unclear. I assumed he wanted to protect himself for common law or some other possible legal issues that may arise. If they marry I would think he would help out financially.

           

          But I still disagree with you on helping out with food. Two growing kids aren’t cheap. And not helping out with that prior to being married isn’t cheap either. He’s either the father figure and has a say in how they are raised. And also proved. Or he isn’t. You can’t expect it to be both ways.

      2. 2.1.2
        Skaramouche

        Yes Stacy, I see your point.  A marriage cannot work if every single trivial expense is being divided exactly down the middle.  It’s up to her to figure out whether this is a temporary defence mechanism or whether he is really is so cheap/selfish that he will count pennies forever.  I disagree on the other point, however.  Dating a woman with children does not necessarily mean that he must be willing to foot the bill for anyone other than himself.  Marrying her, yes.  And even then there are many couples who decide to keep their finances completely separate and contribute to a pool for common expenses.  Even if they are not counting every dime, they are essentially only paying for themselves.  I agree that based on OP’s description, this guy is taking it to the extreme but it’s hard to say without knowing more.

         
        Yes, of course he feeds the parrot.  Doesn’t she feed her children?  The parrot is a dependent and part of his family.  Why is this so difficult to grasp?

        1. Stacy

          Skaramouche,

          Yes, we already agreed that dating a woman does not mean that he must be willing to foot the bill. I never said that in my post and if I wasn’t previously clear, I will say it again – I am only talking about if a man chooses to marry (or live with) a woman who has children. I agree with the rest of your point.

          As far as the parrot comment? Nothing difficult to grasp. Again, I was simply saying that if a man has no problem feeding a pet but has a problem feeding his WIFE’s children (or if he lived with her and had a problem doing so), therein lies a problem.  Is that so difficult to grasp?

        2. Skaramouche

           
          You said it…they are his WIFE’s children, not his.  The primary burden to feed and support them is on her.  Anything he provides is gravy.  The major problem with your comment though is that the parrot is irrelevant to your argument.  There is no correlation between the parrot and the children.  Whether he marries her or not, whether he feeds her children or not, he will continue to feed the parrot as long as he is giving it a home.

  3. 3
    Karmic Equation

    I don’t see what the big deal is.

    If OP can raise her children now on her own salary, why does she feel she has a say on how he spends his salary or whether he spends his salary on the kids should they ever move in together?

    If he’s “cheap” then I guess we’d have to call her “greedy”. She’s not entitled to his money any more than he is entitled to hers.

    If they were to move in together, she should pay 3/4 of necessities (tp, toothpaste, and the like) but go halves on utilities and rent. And if she cooks, then he buys. He cooks, she buys. The kids can do the cleaning 🙂

    That aside, I think OP is the reason that there are MGTOWs. She sounds entitled. She feels if they move in together she gets to call all the shots. Get rid of parrot. He needs to spend on her kids. He needs to share equally on the household expenses (even though there’s a 3:1 ratio). What exactly is OP bringing to the table? Even her love and appreciation are followed by a “but”.

    If OP feels her needs are reasonable and this guy isn’t meeting them, then she needs to end the relationship. Getting married is a reasonable need. If he doesn’t plan to ever marry her, because he doesn’t want to pay for her children, that’s his prerogative. Her choice is to walk away or accept that. Now is better than 5 years from now when she’s 5 years older and her SMV has dropped even further.

    Or she can stop wishing for marriage and just simply enjoy her LTR with a good man who loves her. And let the cards fall where they may.

    1. 3.1
      Chance

      Excellent comment, KE.  I agree on all points.  However, I have to call out the man by wondering (out loud) why he is even involved with a woman who has kids if he feels the way she describes.  I feel the way he feels, but I’ve never dated women with kids.  He’s right to feel the way he feels, but we all know that when a man is dating a woman who has kids, the woman’s expectation is that – one day – he will be providing for those kids.  Not saying it’s right… just saying that’s the way it is the majority of the time.  So, while I don’t approve of her sense of entitlement, I understand her confusion and frustration because he is not playing by the unspoken rules (even if those rules may be quite unfair).

      1. 3.1.1
        L

        This.  I think she’s wrong about the parrot – you can’t ask someone to give away a pet absent an allergy that would make it impossible for you to live together.  But she is right to be concerned if he is so selfish with assets.  She doesn’t need his money but it seems to be indicative of his views about family life.  If he marries her, they become a family and her kids become his step children. He is responsible for providing for the entire family, just as a woman without kids would be expected to provide for her step children if she marries a man with kids.  That’s the way families work.

        A man who is so steadfastly possessive of his resources is a selfish man, one who may not be well suited to family life.  It is that selfishness that would make me question whether he is the one.

        1. Stacy

          L, you stated this better than I did. This was my point exactly.  This should be a dealbreaker.

        2. Joe

          Note that the OP says he wants to split expenses after they’ve moved in together, not necessarily after they’ve been married.  It’s a lot more difficult to extricate finances after they’ve been commingled, should they break up after moving in, but before getting married.

      2. 3.1.2
        Karmic Equation

        Good point, Chance.

        As a woman, I’ve yet to date a divorced man with young children. I’ve had dates with men whose children were teens or older. And I think this is one of those times where the double standard is on the woman’s side. Most men wouldn’t expect a woman to contribute to his children’s welfare and upbringing. Whereas most women seem to expect this. However, to be fair, if a childless woman ends up in a relationship with a man with children, she would be most likely providing a lot of free babysitting, nurturing, and other non-monetary support for the children. Plus if she takes the kids out to the park, for example, she’s likely to pay for lunch, etc. I can’t envision men providing free babysitting or taking their gf’s kids out to the park, unless they’ve been together a long long time.

        Anyway, I absolutely agree. A man needs to keep his own boundaries. No matter how milf-y the woman is, if she has children, and he’s made a decision he doesn’t want any or he doesn’t want to provide for other men’s children, he needs to stay away from single moms. No matter how hard she works to seduce him 🙂

        And single moms need to be very wary of dating men who don’t already have kids. She needs to make sure he’s the kind to love children, regardless of whose they are, before she gives him her heart or introduces him to her kids. She needs to understand that it is a BIG BIG deal to introduce a man to her children. If I had children, I would say that I would limit my children’s interaction with the man I was dating until we’re engaged. “I love you’s” would not be enough to risk hurting my children. They deserve permanence or bliss-through-ignorance (of her dating).

        1. Stacy

          I agree. Although I have never introduced a man to my children, I would never expect a man to provide for them particularly. But if we were to marry or live together, I would not expect him to not want to buy food for the household at times just as I will. And, just as I would cook for the household, clean for the household, provide monetarily for the household, etc., I won’t marry a man who expects things to be so separate to the point that this man is taking it in the letter. But, that’s just me. If that’s the case, he should pay me if he wants me to do his laundry. He should pay me when I cook and clean. When I was married,  my ex husband ate as much as myself and my  children ate.  Living with someone who counts pennies to these petty measures is frustrating and frankly, I don’t see the point.

          Men like this should not date women with children period. Problem solved.

           

        2. L

          As a divorced woman with kids it isn’t so simple to say “If I had children, I would say that I would limit my children’s interaction with the man I was dating until we’re engaged.”  You need to know how your SO interacts with your kids BEFORE you get engaged.  He isn’t just getting engaged to you, he’s getting engaged to your entire family and you need to know that the chemistry is there all around.  I once dated a guy who was great on paper.  He had no kids and one of the big deal breakers for me was that I didn’t feel that he would mesh well with my family.  He liked my kids but there was something about how he interacted that made it clear to me that he couldn’t ever really be a father figure to them. 

          I don’t introduce anyone to my kids unless I believe that person is in it for the long-haul, but you better believe that I watch very closely to see how a guy interacts with my kids once they meet – far more important than how the guy interacts with any other person or people in your life. Most people I know IRL who have children and date feel the same way.

          I also disagree with your statement that “most men” wouldn’t expect a woman to contribute to the upbringing of their kids from a prior relationship.  Not true.  As you note, women who are step-parents often play a key caregiving role in the upbringing of step-children.   I didn’t get the sense that OP expects her BF to literally pay for her and the kids and support them, but rather, it bothers her when he nickles and dimes.

        3. Karmic Equation

          Engagements can be broken. To me that signifies beyond a reasonable doubt that the man is in it for the long haul.

          I wrote “limit” his interactions with my hypothetical children 🙂 To me that means that I don’t want my children to get attached to him before I know there is definitely a future.

          From your POV you want to make sure he treats your children in a manner you’re comfortable with. “Limiting” is still a good word for that.

          We just disagree on whether to get engaged or not before letting the man and kids spend unlimited time together. I still say “engaged” is safer for the children, as long as you’re comfortable with breaking the engagement if the fiance and kids can’t get along. The problem only comes if they DO get along, but like the OP’s guy, he doesn’t want to marry her, so the kids are attached and you are attached and now you have to decide whether or not to break up over his not wanting to get married.

  4. 4
    Selena

    If you’ve been together for 3 yrs I’m surprised you haven’t gotten used to the bird by now.  Is it a psychological thing?  Would you be willing to work with a therapist to get over your fear?

     

    When I read the part where he only wants to pay for himself, including food it sounded to me like a guy who didn’t want to be part of a family.  Then I read all the great things you wrote about him and thought maybe sharing money  is one of his fears.  My worry would be what would happen if you were unable to work for some reason. Would he freely take care of you and the kids? Would he kick you out? Many couples divide their bills and manage to adjust to each others spending/frugality habits. I think you could do that as well, but I would want to be sure he was “all in” emotionally before moving my children in with him.

     

    If being legally married is very important to you, you need to explain to him why that is so.   If he doesn’t want to marry you listen closely to his reason why. “As long as we both shall live” is a serious promise, and sometimes people don’t want to make a promise they are not sure they will be able to keep.

     

     

  5. 5
    JK

    This is a classic “stall as long as I can” type of situation. If he were truly into her and her kids he’d be getting engaged by now. Sorry this is so blunt, but in what I’ve seen in similar instances, the guy after THREE years needs to decide what he wants or move on so she can move on and quit with the pipe dreams. There are a lot of “great guys” who are emotional vampires who at the end of today, only care about themselves.

    1. 5.1
      jon

      Yeah, this guy is not interested in marrying her and will just dump her in a few years for a younger woman.  If he’s cheap, then it seems like he is more worried about not paying for her 2 kids college (when the bio-dad won’t pay a cent).  Maybe he’s just not into her and thinks he can do better in a few years when he finds a new girl.  But I would say that most men over 30 are paranoid about money and getting ripped off in a divorce settlement.  He may just be happy having casual sex once a week, instead of making a more expensive financial committment like getting married.  American women are pre-occupied with getting married and having financially-binding government documents.  Some men just don’t have traditional values.

    2. 5.2
      McLovin

      Great topic here, rampant with the ugliest kind of female entitlement. So many IDs laid bare. Absolutely golden psy-op info.

       

      I must ask you, though, JK. Why do men owe women marriage? Why do you frame it here as something that she rightly deserves and he is cruelly withholding?

       

       

    3. 5.3
      lydisy

      True.  Some are just cowards blame their ex but it is a sign of worse things to come.  Although I would think men speak with their actions more than their words and all the great things he does with her and the kids, meeting her every day for lunch to walk ( or maybe he needs to be walked by someone like a dog, who knows)?

      Something is off here. His actions don’t seem to match his words. Karma is right that it seems like he doesn’t wanted to support her kids. I don’t think he means it to the letter of I won’t share my loaf of bread but he doesn’t want to say ” I don’t want to support your kids”  Maybe he is afraid that she is using him to be a substitute father figure which is why she has been with him. She says that she has dated for awhile and the men are all bad and irresponsible ( or something to that effect) and points out his quality. He may be right; she may not really love him and this is what he is testing.

  6. 6
    Mrs Happy

    I knew a couple who worked in a split-expenses-exactly way and I was amazed they did it. He inherited a lot of family wealth on his 21st birthday, and had a high-paying job, standard 5 days/week, 40 hour/week job. She was an architect on weekdays, decent medium professional type wage, and to earn extra worked all weekend in retail jobs (selling crockery), thus working 7 days a week. She also did almost all of the housework, she came from a cultural background where women not men did the housework.

    It was so weird to be at their house and watch the expenses splitting. He would go through items on the long weekly grocery shop receipt one by one, marking each item with a note, refusing to chip in to pay for things he wouldn’t use much/at all (e.g. shampoo, she had long hair), but I did notice food for cooking dinner etc they’d halve – interesting, because he was twice the size of her and ate much more. But she just wasn’t the type to say, no you are eating 5 lamb cutlets and I’m only having 2, so divide that correctly. But he was that type, so when it cost him more, he’d do the maths to his advantage. I couldn’t work out why she put up with it. It seemed very small of him, in my opinion.

    When a couple live together there are numerous expenses. I wonder, in the OP’s plan of any future situation if she were to move in with her boyfriend, is every single expense going to be discussed and records kept? And what about all the non-financial contributions to the running of a household? How are these going to be weighed? How absolutely exhausting to have to live like that. Yuk.

    After reading this I considered – if the tables were turned and I (a female) moved in with a man with children and I had none myself, I wouldn’t be ecstatic about paying enormously for those children (e.g. really hefty education expenses)… but I wouldn’t insist on splitting expenses. I wouldn’t want to live like that. It seems a step (many steps?) too far. It doesn’t have a family feel. But I’d not have stayed with a cheap man in the beginning, and since 3 years ago she did, she may not mind cheapness as much as it grates on me. I worry it reflects an emotional stinginess; people who are generous, are generous in many domains, so I think maybe the reverse is true. Maybe people who are stingy with money, are also more likely to be stingy with emotional giving and kindness. And those last 2 are dealbreakers for me.

    Anyway I suspect the debating is moot – I think, he doesn’t want to move in with her.

    And regarding the parrot – she is a mother and it is her job to scan for dangers to her children. She’s allowed to be worried about the parrot. Numerous generations of past mothers keeping children safe are why each and every one of us is walking the earth today. It’s instinct to be more worried than you need to be, once you’re a mother.

    1. 6.1
      N

       

       

      “But I’d not have stayed with a cheap man in the beginning, and since 3 years ago she did, she may not mind cheapness as much as it grates on me.”

      This.

      “Anyway I suspect the debating is moot – I think, he doesn’t want to move in with her.”

      And this.

      1. 6.1.1
        Chaka

        I agree.

  7. 7
    Jules P

    For the OP,,,

    He’s with you simply because up till now it’s been comfortable.   I too, was in a similar situation…

    I divorced nearly eleven years ago, I have a beautiful 15 year old daughter and going back 11 years, I leapt straight into a new relationship with a wonderful man (divorced + 1 daughter too).  It took him 6 months to meet my family; and fully 2 years for him to introduce me to his family.  We would spend time together during the week and pretty much every weekend was spent at my place.   Fast foward to three years ago this August… we split up after 8 years together.  Because I was the one who wanted ‘more’ and ‘more comittment’ and for us to make the decision to live together.  He said no… stating clearly that he was not ‘able’ (translate – don’t want) to give more.   So I split us up.

    It took many months for me to admit that he was with me because it was ‘comfortable’ for him.  Maybe he did love me… I’m sure he cared.  OP… don’t wait a minute longer if you know what you want!

    Wishing you all the best.

  8. 8
    Julie

    For the OP–

    He sounds like a nice enough guy, but he’s stringing you along.

  9. 9
    Selena

    I’ve been in partnerships with guys who couldn’t save a dime. I was the frugal one, the one who was budget conscious, the one who was concerned that we had a cushion in case of an unexpected expenses, losing a job.  What I found in these situations was that I was periodically telling my partner “No”. No, he/we didn’t need this. He/we couldn’t afford this right now. It made me feel like a parent rather than a partner. It made me feel controlling. And I didn’t like feeling that way.  Flip the coin, I would have been very aggravated if I had a partner who questioned every time I bought a new outfit, a pair of shoes, something for the house.  I would have felt he was trying to control ME.

     

    In a later partnership, we split the household bills but didn’t share finances. A problem in that one was groceries. I did all the shopping and the cooking and he consumed 2/3 rds. or more of what I bought.  Many weeks though, he only reimbursed me a fraction of what I thought was fair. I resented that.  One day I went to all our local restaurants and got take out menus. I would cook 2-3 nights a week and ask him to get take out from those restaurants  on the other nights. Even though he ended up spending more on restaurant food, than I ever asked him for in groceries, he never complained.  I think he liked having control over what he spent on food, rather than having to give me cash. It was a compromise. It worked for both of us.

     

    I understand an unwillingness to “throw everything into one pot” comes across as un-family-like, maybe even psychologically stingy. But for some couples, having separate finances is the best way to avoid arguments and resentment.  The OP labels her man cheap. To him, he may be sensibly frugal. Perhaps he thinks she is somewhat of an over-spender and that would create problems living together without keeping their finances separate.

     

    I would think after 3 years together they would be on the same page re: marriage, finances, pets.  Why aren’t they?  EMK’s advice to sit down and really have a heart to heart about these things is the only way to go.

  10. 10
    Josie

    Honestly I think OP sounds a bit unreasonable. Terrified of a parrot?

    She does not explain why.  No description of a vicious attack.  I don’t like cats and neither do my dogs, but if I met a cat guy , and I liked him,  I would figure it out.  I’m a horse person and I’ve dated a few men who disliked them but understood from the beginning that riding is important to me and that I would eventually want to own my own horse.

    But OP’s boyfriend does not sound like a man who is capable of an emotionally healthy commitment. He is parsimonious and neurotic with money, and OP describes him as procrastinating with his house renovation which seems to be  in an effort to stall their moving I. Together and marriage ….The housing market has recovered and is healthy just about everywhere, so if OP’s guy wanted to market and sell his home, it could be accomplished in a short time frame.  Many people in opt to protect themselves with a pre-nip, but instead OP’s guy is balking with general concerns about sharing his assets.  He is not looking for a solution to this situation, he is procrastinating and OP feels that she is in limbo. I don’t see a solution other than ending this relationship.

  11. 11
    Josie

    Sorry, auto correct interfered with my post above. OP’s partner is stalling on commitment , and instead of pre-nip I meant pre-nup.

    1. 11.1
      bellamytree

      Josie – ‘pre-nip’ is a hilarious Freudian slip!  Exactly what I’d be afraid of with a large beak hanging around.

      1. 11.1.1
        Josie

        LOL!

         

  12. 12
    Andrea

    This is what I think.

    When we met, he told me that he’d always dreamed of having a wife and children and being a father. He said it was his ex who didn’t want children, and his concern over the stability of the relationship that prevented him from proposing marriage.”

     

    The fact that he even spoke about wanting marriage and children is a good indicator that at that particular point in time he actually considered you as a potential wife / mother. Otherwise his reply would have been vague, or he would have avoided the topic of marriage and children or something to that effect.

     

    “He was keen to meet my twins, as well as to introduce me to his friends and family. He took me to a friend’s wedding after only dating me 3 weeks. He told me he loved me (by accident – it slipped out) after dating me only 2 weeks!

    He is fully committed in the sense that we have been exclusive from the start, he is honest, loving, straightforward and kind. He spends three evenings a week at my house, sleeps over twice a week and spends most Sundays with us. We now work in offices that are close to each other, so he joins me nearly every lunch hour for my daily walk.”

     

    This also shows that he cares about you and the relationship you both have.

     

    BUT

    “We do not live together despite talking about it for three years.”

    A man has priorities. If moving in was high on his priority list he would have already moved in with you. My thinking: He may be saying that he wants to move in simply just to keep you, but not because he actually wants to move in with you.

     

    “His house requires extensive renovations in order to be prepared for a sale, but although he could afford to pay a contractor he prefers to do these things himself and has thus far not accomplished much.”

    Understandably he wants to repair his house on his own – fair enough, BUT “has thus far not accomplished much” means that selling his house at present is not a priority for him. Otherwise he’d have done it by now or at least be getting somewhere.

     

    “He wants everything separate to protect his assets legally”

    That is totally understandable. Especially if he has been burned before he may now be extra cautious.

    “and he wants to pay for everything separately including food, even after we have moved in together as he feels he should not be paying for anyone other than himself. He’s no more wealthy than I and we earn equivalent salaries.”

    The description of whom he desires to be living with sounds like a house-mate. house-mates share rent, utilities and everyone pays for their own food. Is that who you want to be living with?

     

    Two mums I know were single. Both met incredible husbands. Both marriages have different agreements on how to spend their money and who foots what bill. But they have got one thing in common: The more serious their relationships got the more the men helped out with the children as much and as often as needed and they still do. (Taking them to the doctor when sick if mum cannot do it, travelling somewhere together as a family, picking them up from school, spending the entire day together during school holidays without mum) Basically, they behave as a family (even if those children aren’t theirs). I also know similar stories about women who met single dads.When he met you, children were part of your life. He cannot change that. He also cannot ask you to give them away. Similarly, that parrot has been part of his life before he met you. You cannot ask him to give his parrot away.
    If you were to marry him those children would belong to the both of you (obviously not biologically) and that parrot would belong to the both of you as well. Marriage is not a me, you deal. Marriage is about the both of you together. It is your couch, not “his” or “her” couch.

    Potential questions: Are you guys like family? Or maybe he is more like the uncle, gets to play a father figure when around but doesn’t have a full-time responsibility? At the end of the day, whatever arrangement you both have – you need to be happy with it. As Evan suggested: have a heart to heart conversation with him.

  13. 13
    SparklingEmerald

    My personal opinion is that these two are just a plain mis-match.  He expressed a desire to be a husband and father someday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean to HER.  In fact, I think he does want to get married and start a fresh family from scratch, not try and blend in with a ready made family.  I don’t think there is ANYTHING wrong with wanting YOUR OWN family, and not wanting to take on the children of some one else.  It seems to me that he is just biding his time with her.  Unless she has no burning desire to have more children, there’s no ticking “biological time clock” for her, and although men have a secondary “clock” (finding a woman young enough), most men who want children seem to think they have all the time in the world.

    For me, if I was terrified of someone’s pet, that would be a deal breaker from the start.  I am phobic about snakes (even non-venomous ones), so I would NEVER get past the initial dating phase if I knew a man had pet snakes.  I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask someone to give up a pet for a relationship.

    Even tho I had a step son in my first marriage (and I adore my step son, and was very active in his life, with his biological mother’s BLESSINGS) I think single parents should date other single parents ala Brady Bunch.  I see some pretty selfish single mothers out there, expecting men to love their children as their own AND forgo the chance to have children of their own.   (and single fathers as well, but not as often)

    Between his parrot and her children, I am really puzzled that these 2 have been together for 3 years.  He is probably acting like a bean counting cheap-skate due to resentment that she wants him to get rid of his bird (her words,  why does he choose the bird over her — I say, why is she even asking him to make such a choice ?)  and maybe sub-consciously he resents her children, because he does desire HIS OWN children, and yet he has chosen to tie himself to  a ready made family, who be a drain on his future off-spring, if they did decide to marry and have children together.

    When he finds a childless woman that he wants to marry and have children with, I doubt that he will be going over every receipt with a fine tooth comb and splitting the cost of a tube of toothpaste.

    For both of their sakes AND the sake of all the children involved (including the feathered one), I think they should move on, rather than stay in this relationship limbo.

  14. 14
    marymary

    Parrots can be a lot more obnoxious than a cat and they live a long time.

  15. 15
    Marie

    Forget about who is wrong or right, this relationship is doomed: 1)the have opposite ways of viewing money. 2) he wants the comfortable illusion of having a family but not to be permanently responsible for an actual family and yes that would mean some financial responsibility, if it’s someone else’s kis while the OP expects what she thinks will be a blended famil. 3) she resents his ‘child’ the parrot. Look lady if you’re afraid of parrots or think it’s harmful to your kids then don’t date a guy with a parrot.  The parrot was there first. Did you say how much you hated his parrot wh  en you first met and how you wanted him to g.et rid of it? I bet not. I bet you pretended to like or tolerate it. It’s disingenuous for you to ask him to get rid of it now. What if he said your kids were bad for the parrot? He made a commitment to take care of that animal. Where is he supposed to dump it?  You are asking him to break a commitment yet want him to commit marriage to you and your kids.  This is how people wind up dumping pets who have been with them for years.  Due to irresponsible people like you.

  16. 16
    Ruby

    First, the bird. I must admit to not knowing a lot about them, but I’m assuming the OP is “terrified” because the bird is let out of its cage and allowed out in the home? I can’t imagine her being so scared of it otherwise, but if the bird’s behavior is unpredictable or aggressive, that could be cause for concern.

     

    On the larger issue of commitment, my sense is that, despite his talk about wanting to be married and having children, he does not want to take on the financial responsibility of being a true father to these kids. It sounds like they are still pretty young, maybe 7 or 8. With children involved, and no biological father in the picture, it’s very hard to keep finances that separate and to expect mom to pay for everything for the kids after marriage or living together.

     

    I think the OP is looking for a father for her children, and her boyfriend is hesitating about taking on that role. She mentions that her kids adore him. How does he really feel about them and about being their father? If he says asking him to give up his bird is asking him to give up his dream, I think that is more about his willingness to give up his autonomy then anything else.

  17. 17
    Raindancer

    I understand the OP’s vulnerability after being abandoned by her husband (?) or boyfriend (?) with whom she had her twin sons.  Fled when they were only 5 months old?  That’s awful.  I can understand her being lonely for male companionship and a father figure for her boys.  But that is where she had to be extra vigilant.  Dating a never-married man without kids might have seemed perfect to her at first (no his and her kids to blend), and she was completely taken in by his statements of being married and having a family one day.  That’s exactly what she wanted to hear.  But as time passes, you see what’s not so perfect.  Then you have to decide what you can live with and compromise about, as does the other person.  Which is the point that the OP has come to.  But in my opinion, she’s made some big mistakes.  First, she’s let this go on too long, by 3 years into a mutually exclusive relationship both parties should know what’s up and not have these lingering questions.  Second, she should not have brought her young kids into this whole thing until she had more of a firm commitment from her boyfriend.  Now they are attached to this man and will be very hurt if he ends up going away.  Of course she’s confused, she is already feeling guilty about the fallout.  And third, even worse, she’s enabling her boyfriend to sleep over a couple of nights each week while her kids are there (and not staying over at grandparents’ house or some other arrangement).  That only supports the illusion further.  Perhaps an honest and open heart-to-heart talk in private with this man will bear fruit, but I doubt it.  He has a nice set-up for himself, and the home repair stuff is clearly procrastination.  OP, while it’s true a lot of men do not prefer a single mom, there ARE other nice men out there who can love you and your boys without the cheapness and a large pet bird.

  18. 18
    natty

    Gonna sound a bit harsh here, but I think the op is lucky for what she’s getting. She is a single mum of two and it doesn’t seem that the father is producing child support. Therefore the guy is right to be cautious about providing any funding  for her kids. They are not his responsibility. He wants kids it seems, then he isn’t making the best choice in woman either as her attention is spread. What I’m saying is that she needs to ‘re count her chips and objectively assess herself as an asset. Right now her entitled attitude seems to show that she has a higher view of what she is bringing to the table then she’s worth in the sexual market place. Sorry, but this is the reality.  I would say that if he wants kids with her then he will marry her, if he doesn’t then there’s no need. Is she looking for a new daddy for the kids? Is he up for that? That’s a huge ask and she hasn’t really mentioned that.

     

  19. 19
    popee

    Yeah this guy is not interested in becoming the de facto father (i.e. financial head of the household) to the children. I can see the OP’s point – being cheap is not attractive – but I can also see this man’s situation.

    The “commitment” isn’t just to the OP, it’s to the kids as well. Since they have no father to speak of, that’s what marriage will mean. It’s A LOT to ask. I’m afraid the answer is no, he isn’t into it.

    I fell  for a man who has 3 kids. I don’t have kids myself.  If we were to move in together I would be weirded out if I felt that I had to support his 3 kids. I don’t mind cooking for them and buying food and everything but I think it’s telling how the man in the OP’s story acts. If I were to move in with the BF to me that implies we are “family” and therefore splitting costs or at least not being anal about it. By being so adamant about “his” things he is saying we are not family. We don’t share. To me that’s very telling. That said, I’d want to live with him. If after 3 years this guy hasn’t made an effort he is not THAT into you, but you have to accept that what you ask of him is a lot. So that’s that. A divorced dad might be a better option.

  20. 20
    JoJO

    He is very very generous where it counts.  Or do you want a man with only money but no values, love, kindness.

    Go for it… it’s life…..

    The bird will out live all of you in the end and reap the seeds of riches.

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