When this midlife couple met, they briefly discussed marriage. After dating awhile, she’s ready, but her beau is happy with the way things are. Is it time to move on?
Dear Dr. Gilda,
I am a divorced female in my late 50s. I’ve been dating someone for two years. When we met, he asked if I wanted to remarry, and I said that I did, eventually. I told him then that I did not want to date for years, seeing that I’m not getting any younger. He said that if I had said no to marriage, he wouldn’t have continued to see me. We talked
briefly about marriage, but he has not popped the question. He keeps saying that we get along so well that he doesn’t want it to change. I have grandchildren, and I want to leave a good impression with them. We do not live together. I’m attractive and I feel I could find someone else, but maybe not the good person he is. I’m not the type to play games, and I really don’t want to lose him, but something tells me maybe we should move on. I don’t want to be the one to bring up the marriage thing; I want him to be the one to ask! I guess I’m asking for suggestions as to how I could handle the situation.
—In a Dilemma
You say, “I’m not the type to play games.” So what do you call it when you want something, yet you’re unwilling to ask for it? A game by any other name is STILL a game. Let me get this straight: For the two years you’ve been with Good Person, you’ve put your own desires on the back burner, you’ve played Shrinking Violet, and you’ve HOPED that Mr. Good Person would spring the idea to change this comfy setting into something unknown. Hmm…
What prompts any human being to want to alter what s/he knows for sure? Well, perhaps honesty with someone s/he loves. Yet you say, “I don’t want to be the one to bring up the marriage thing; I want him to be the one to ask!” That’s another game, girlfriend! Get with the program; this is not the 1950s, and you’re not June Cleaver!
I have invested my life’s work in training people to:
1) identify their deep desires, and
2) have the guts to communicate them.
These are difficult skills, but in order to make any relationship work, you must have them!!
If you don’t tell Mr. Good Person that marriage is important to you, do you think he’ll uncover your feelings through osmosis? What are you waiting for? As my Gilda-Gram says, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always go where you’ve always gone.” And for you, honey, I’m afraid that means nowhere!
You claim you don’t want to lose him. He claims he doesn’t want to change what’s already working well. This may be painful to hear, but it seems like each of you has become cozy in your semi-single status.
To determine your next steps, I suggest you follow this sequence:
1. After these two loving years, decide whether becoming a married woman truly appeals to you after all. Discover what prompted you to conclude that enough is now enough. Then decide whether this was a fleeting thought or an ongoing desire.
2. Pick up a book on assertiveness. Practice enunciating your needs with everyone you meet. The test is whether they hear what you say.
3. With Mr. Good Person, begin to voice your wants for things having nothing to do with marriage. Acknowledge how it feels to communicate honestly.
When you become sure of what you want and you’re not reluctant to share it, you will request it with ease. There is a possibility that Mr. Good Person may actually want what you want! But you’ll never know until you speak your mind.
DR. GILDA CARLE is an internationally-known relationship expert, author, professor, and Match.com columnist of ASK DR. GILDA, published on MSN.com and Happen Magazine. Her best-selling book, “Don’t Bet on the Prince!" has become a classic. Her latest E-Books are "99 Prescriptions for Fidelity" and "How to Win When Your Mate Cheats." Visit her at www.DrGilda.com