Stalling on Marriage Plans

Q: I'm 37, the man I live with is 59, we're both divorced and have been together for seven years. Four years ago, when I moved in with him, we were making plans for marriage. The problem is that progress toward marriage has stopped. I love him and want the proverbial white picket fence. He will not even talk about marriage now because he is happy the way things are. He takes care of me and my son, but he's emotionally impotent. The old saying, "Why buy the cow," rings in my head often. I am losing respect, love and trust in him. Am I being selfish or should I continue to wait and wait for him? I help him in his business without a check, we have a home I take care of, I live for what he wants in his life. When do I decide to honor myself and demand more or walk away because I cannot keep living this way? -- Debra

Dr. Susan: You need to tell him quite directly that you're losing respect for him because he's changed the deal you made with him. You expected to get married, and that's still important to you. Ask him why he's so against it. Not being willing to talk about it is not acceptable any longer. No, you shouldn't wait and wait, because you'll wait forever. It's quite reasonable to want to legalize your relationship, for all kinds of emotional and legal reasons. You must have that talk, listing all those reasons that matter to you. Then if nothing changes, you may have to give him an ultimatum and start planning to move out. I hope he'll take you seriously and care about pleasing you enough to reciprocate all you've done for him. You can certainly be ready to compromise on wedding details and so on, but not on the fact of marriage itself. You've been quite patient!

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