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Messing Up The Perfect Thing

Dr. Dennis W. Neder:

Good Morning! I was on your site today and read several of your Q & A’s and I have to say that I am very impressed with your down to earth no b. s. responses. With that said; I have a question for you, I know you are surprised…

I am a 36 year old, single mother of 4. I know what you are thinking… RUN.. really it isn’t that bad, I promise…

Anyway, I have been living with a man of the same age for the past year. We are both financially secure; we both own homes and pay our own bills. His house sits vacant and we pick his mail up once a week… I am sure you get the idea. The children adore him and my seven-year-old refers to him as his step-dad. We enjoy each other sexually and enjoy training together for marathons, and in general we have the perfect thing. We also have started a company together which we still have our day jobs.

We have many differences between us, but these are not a problem at all and we’ve found ways to work through them. For example, he’s a perfectionist and I am not. He likes things orderly where I can handle just about anything. We resolve differences in different ways, etc.

I’ve always had a goal, to be happily married however. I have been married twice and have known both times that it was not right however pregnancy came with both decisions and wanting to do the right thing. Now I know that I have met the right person but he is afraid of marriage – not commitment; marriage. His last relationship lasted 8 years with no kids or marriage.

I have always had a 2 ? year rule that if I guy I was involved with hadn’t shown signs of committing, i.e.; a ring, then I would end the relationship. I have told him this and he has made a couple of comments about how I am pressuring him. With that said I have told him I am not pressuring him but I want him to be aware of my timeline and desires.

So the real question is should I push for commitment because of the children or should I “enjoy” the commitment the way it is? Also, when do you think I should expect him to sell or rent his house?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

By the way, I am going to buy your book.


I may be thinking "RUN!!!" but I'd never admit it! ;)

Let me ask YOU a question [rhetorically]: would you really break up this seemingly perfect relationship just because you don't have a contract and a piece of jewelry? If so, I think that's very sad and short-sighted. Powerful, happy, satisfying relationships don't come along that often and with all that you two have in common, the business, the kids, the finances, etc., I think you're making a mistake here.

Let's cover a few important facts:

First of all, marriage isn't a "relationship", it's a FORMAT of a relationship. So is living together, dating exclusively, dating non-exclusively, triads, quadrads, those with kids, those without kids, those with pets, etc., etc., etc. There are literally thousands of different relationship formats out there. None is more "valid" than any other.

Second of all, being married doesn't give you any more security than not being married. He can leave you just as well as he can now.

Third of all, men and women view marriage as very different things. Women see marriage as security (false, as I've already explained), future, family, status, and many other things. Men on the other hand see marriage as responsibility, stress, loss of freedom, loss of choice, having a business partner to share in all of their decisions, and many other negative things. With this understanding, it's a wonder that any man gets married in the first place!

Fourth of all, if being married is so gosh-darn important to you, what are you waiting for? I'd bet you can find someone in the next 30 days that would marry you if you just ask enough people. Then, you'd finally be happy, right? Everything would be just fine because you're married and you wouldn't have to go through all of this, right? Of course not. Marriage has little to do with happiness. Trust me on this.

Fifth of all, consider that 1/2 of all marriages end in divorce. Of the 1/2 that survive, how many of them do you think that the people in them report as being "happy"? Do you think it's 90%? Do you think it's 75%? Nope: only 30% of married partners claim that they're "happy" inside the marriage! That means that 15% of all marriages are happy. Those aren't very good odds!

I'm not trying to paint a bleak picture here of marriage for you, but I'm trying to help you change your focus. Marriage isn't the goal - having a good, solid, happy relationship; where all people involved (even your kids) should be the goal. Whatever form that relationship takes to make it this way is the one you really want, right? Frankly, if you're that focused on the marriage and are willing to give up all the other things that are so important, as I've already said, you're really missing the boat here.

Ok, now that I've given you the bad news, let me give you some good news. There IS a way to help ease your partner into a "marriage-state-of-mind". Here it is:

Considering all that I've told you, in fact, many men do get married. They each have their own unique reason for doing so. What you need to do is to find out what those reasons are for your boyfriend. What is he looking for that would make him consider being married, and taking on the stress, loss of freedom, etc., in exchange for giving you what you want? You need to discover this clearly and specifically. When you do, all you need is one more step: Just become this woman for him. Grow into the person for whom he overcomes his negative ideas of marriage and you'll be getting your own goals met too.

Best regards...

Have a love, dating, relationship, sex or man/woman question? I answer all email. You can write to me at dwneder@beingaman.com for answers. For more information about my books, "Being a Man in a Woman's World" (volumes I & II), and other products visit: www.beingaman.com. Check out the discussion group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beingaman.

Copyright (c) 2005, Dr. Dennis W. Neder
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