I have been dating a man for 3 years. He’s amazing and we are in love. He told me he loved me first over 2 years ago and he says it to me daily.
Two problems: 1. His ex-wife was diagnosed with breast cancer as of a year ago and we do not know how long she has to live. He has four children with her and they have been divorced for over 5 years. And, 2. He has not asked me to marry him.
How long should I wait? I know it sounds a bit cold…but should I give him the benefit of the doubt and wait until his ex-wife dies? He tells me he can’t get married and hurt his children while their mother is still alive.
Should I stop having sex with him until he decides if I’m his future wife? My gut tells me that I should not be having sex with a man if he is not sure if he wants to marry me at some point. (Our sex life is amazing…really don’t want to give it up).
Oh, god. Not this again.
Let’s get the easy part out of the way first: Sex is NEVER to be used as a weapon.
This guy is your loving boyfriend of three years and you’re thinking that the best way to procure a ring from him is to PUNISH him by withholding sex?
Are you kidding me?
Cutting off sex from your partner is childish, selfish, petty, and, above all, ineffective in making a man WANT to commit to you for life. It demonstrates that you have no clue how to communicate verbally, establish healthy boundaries, and be a fair and even-keeled partner. Literally, NOTHING could be a worse idea than you floated above.
By the way, none of what I said above means that I think your partner is a healthy bet for a husband. That’s a completely separate question. But now that we’ve dispensed with why it’s always a bad idea to use sex as a weapon, let’s talk about the real issue at hand: whether this man is a good investment of your time and energy.
Cutting off sex from your partner is childish, selfish, petty, and, above all, ineffective in making a man WANT to commit to you for life.
I’m working on limited information here, so forgive me.
All I know is that you say that he’s an “amazing” man who tells you he loves you every day and that you’ve been together for three years. For all the women who are inclined to reflexively side with you because “women good/men bad,” please pay attention to the OPs words: she’s HAPPY and gets treated well by her long-term boyfriend.
However, if Paula wants to be a wife, and not just a long-term girlfriend, she needs to get some clarity as to whether this relationship has a future, not just a present.
He’s not “wrong” if he wants to avoid hurting his children while their mother is still alive.
At the same time, you’re not “wrong” to want to get a ring on your finger after three years together. That’s why you need to communicate in a healthy, matter-of-fact fashion to your boyfriend. You’re not going to attack him, or berate him or threaten him. You’re going to ask him to help you solve an intractable problem.
First of all, ask him, point blank, if he intends to marry you.
Is that direct? Yes. Should he know the answer after 3 years? Yes.
If he hedges – and pulls out that typical guy stuff like, “Why do we have to rush things? Why do we have to label things? Why do we need a piece of paper?” you have your answer: your guy wants you as a girlfriend, and nothing more. You must have the courage to leave him.
Ask him, point blank, if he intends to marry you. Is that direct? Yes. Should he know the answer after 3 years? Yes.
However, if he says yes – but he doesn’t want to do it until his ex-wife has passed away – then you can follow up with some more empathetic questions. Ask him why he feels that way. Do his kids know about you? Love you? Have a relationship with you? Want him to get back with his ex? These are all things that I can’t answer which are germane to your situation. Personally, I think he needs to be able to stand up to his ex-wife and his kids and tell them his intentions, but I don’t know the nuances of your relationship or his family dynamics. Only you two do.
Personally, I’m skeptical. Sounds to me like he’s making excuses to avoid marrying you and this is just a convenient one. However, if YOU determine after talking to him that he loves you, he treats you well, he wants to marry you, and he promises to do so shortly after his ex’s passing, then, by all means, stick around.
It’s a lot of “ifs” but you should be able to trust your gut if you think he’s a man of character.
Then again, your gut tells you that you should cut him off from sex to get him to propose.
Forget that I said that last part and get an answer about this guy’s intentions right away.