I am a man in a same-sex relationship with another man. He is in his midfifties and I am in my early to midtwenties. We’ve been together for five years now, and I’ve done the painful task of bringing up the topic of marriage to find out how he feels about it.
My partner married twice in the past and both marriages fell apart. He has two kids from his first marriage and two from his second marriage. His first marriage lasted for about seven years, until his wife decided to file for divorce due to differences they had both acknowledged. The divorce was mutual. His second marriage lasted for seventeen years, until his second wife cheated on him with five to six different men. At the end of it all, she made up her mind about filing for divorce, even though he was willing to make things work.
Because of his past experiences, he has doubts about entering into another marriage. I feel he’s afraid and that he never wants to marry me. He has told me he is just not ready, and that when he is he will let me know.
Do you think I might be pushing it a bit too far? Should I continue to be with someone who doesn’t believe in the true values of marriage because of his past? Will he eventually come around if I relax and don’t smother him with questions? I do know one thing: I love him and I want to be there for him to the very end. I love his kids as if they were mine. He feels that we are already living a life of marital bliss, but I feel otherwise. I feel we are living a life of sin by not following through with the tradition of marriage. He feels that marriage is just a piece of paper that our future shouldn’t be defined by, while I feel it’s important. Please help me clarify the confusion.
—Push Pushy Partner
A: Dear PPP,
It seems safe to say you guys have some different goals and expectations regarding this relationship. Sure, I’m all for taking what someone says at face value, and maybe he will eventually want to marry you. But you guys have a pretty significant age gap, different levels of experience in relationships, and he’s even got a pile of kids. There’s a good chance you’re coming at this from different perspectives.
Aside from that, sometimes folks just aren’t straightforward. I don’t think he’s being intentionally dishonest with you, but sometimes it’s hard to articulate what you’re looking for in a relationship. And it’s possible that his vision of long term and your vision of long term are just not the same.
Whether you agree with all of that or not, waiting around for him isn’t practical. Who knows how long you’ll wait? It doesn’t sound like he’s got a grip on when he expects to be ready, if he expects to be ready. So if you’re going to stick with this guy, it’s got to be for what you’ve got right now. Maybe it’ll change, but you can’t bank on that. If things stay as they are forever, are you okay with that?
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK APW A QUESTION, PLEASE DON’T BE SHY! IF YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO BE NAMED, ANONYMOUS QUESTIONS ARE ALSO ACCEPTED. (THOUGH IT REALLY MAKES OUR DAY WHEN YOU COME UP WITH A CLEVER SIGN-OFF!)