Fiance Dragging Feet
Q: I've been with a man for about two years and I love him to death. The problem is that he has a psycho ex-wife who is doing her best to break us up. It's working, and I feel he's letting her get away with this. He also has a daughter who is 8, that he's absolutely crazy about. The main problem is that, although we're engaged, he's only home about 2-3 nights a week. He's with his daughter every weekend, and we never have any time together. I don't think he's cheating on me, but I feel betrayed because his daughter doesn't know that he has someone else. Also, he's 30 years older than me and I feel that if he doesn't know what he wants now, he'll never know. I don't know if I should just forget it or try and stick it out. He's always asking me to "be patient, it's a delicate situation," but I feel I've been more than patient. I'm only 25!! What should I do? -- Jenny
Dr. Susan: Psycho ex-wives are so run-of-the-mill that I won't even comment on that. Goes with the territory. (She's probably extra-peeved that you're so young, but what can you do?) The problem I see here is that your beloved isn't being totally honest with you, in a couple of ways at least. I agree with your instinct that's telling you it's time for him to quit using that old saw of "Be patient." After two years of dating intimacy, why isn't he ready to commit to you? And he apparently isn't ready, or he'd let his daughter know of your existence. Personally, I wouldn't stand for not being acknowledged all this time. Why is he hiding you? If you're a flash in the pan, fine. He would be correct in not wanting to confuse his young kid by introducing every woman he dates. But if you're for real -- and I'd assume that "engaged" means "to be married," then why hide you any longer?
I'd also be curious as to why he's home so little. Work obligations? I don't get it. And neither do you, so ask and don't settle for fuzzy answers.
People who are fully honest don't rely on "it's a delicate situation" for two whole years. That's too long. Is he really divorced? Is he really in love with you and expecting it to last? I have way too many questions here, and so should you. Insist on answers or this engagement is a sham that's going to leave you broken-hearted and bleeding. If he really doesn't know what he wants, then it's likely he doesn't want you badly enough to justify your hanging around for a few more years.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.