Let me break down the last five years of my life for you in terms of me and my boyfriend. I’ve been dating him for five years. For the first two years he didn’t introduce me to his family, because he wanted to wait until his divorce was final and he didn’t want his ex to find out about me. So, I was the secret girlfriend.
Then the divorce was finalized, and he introduced me to a few friends. When I asked about meeting his family, he kept saying, “I need time.” He said he didn’t want his family to think that I was the reason for the divorce, so he didn’t want to introduce me too soon or admit how long we had been seeing each other. But I was not the reason for his divorce. When I met him, he was in the middle of it. I think the real reason is because he is from a chasidish family, but not living like that anymore, and I am far from chasidish, but still a Jew, and he was scared of their reaction. I asked him about it. He said that was crazy and not the reason. Whatever.
Finally, I met some siblings after another year, and then finally I was able to meet his parents. Twice, those plans fell through hours before the meeting. I thought he was stalling, but he promised that he wasn’t. He said that it was because he’s from a large family, and in large families something was always coming up: a nephew’s bar mitzvah, a niece’s l’chayim, etc. More than once, I asked if his mother knew that I wasn’t chasidish or yeshivish or anything like that. He kept saying that his mom knew all that, but she gets busy at the drop of a hat. I would think that meeting your son’s girlfriend would qualify as something she would make time for. It didn’t have to be a big deal and last hours – but give me ten minutes!
I finally met his mom and dad. Very uneventful. She’s a nice lady. We spoke for a few minutes and that was it. I made sure to wear my most tz’nius dress, didn’t have my acrylic nails on (I also didn’t have them on for the two meetings that never happened). It was hard, but I didn’t smoke for six hours before I met her and made sure I had breath mints. I wanted to make a good impression on her. I’ve been waiting to meet her for years. But like I said, uneventful. Then I was officially introduced to my bf’s son as “my girlfriend,” but I’m not sure if the son understood it, because he was nine at that time, living a chasidish lifestyle. Over the last couple of years, it’s gotten easier with his son.
So let me get to the real point. It’s been five years. I’ve met everyone. I’m not the secret girlfriend anymore. I thought it would be a matter of months before he would propose once everyone got to know me. Nothing yet! I’m 37, and have invested five years in this. I always said I didn’t want a dead-end relationship; he said this wasn’t that. I want marriage and kids of my own, but now there aren’t any excuses anymore. I gave him two deadlines to meet, but he didn’t. One was my birthday, and one was the end of the summer. When he didn’t propose by the end of the summer, I told him I had to break things off, because there was always an excuse and I can’t do this anymore.
My boyfriend told me to stay. He bought me a “promise necklace” and said he would start talking to his son about the two of us marrying because he needs his son to be okay with it. Fine. That was four months ago and still nothing. I brought up the subject again last week. My boyfriend said that he still wants to marry me, but now he didn’t like the pressure of deadlines and ultimatums that I’ve given him.
Hell-o, it’s not like we’ve been going out three weeks. I’m talking years! I played along with waiting things out, but now I’m ready and I don’t think my ultimatum is a bad thing. If he doesn’t put up now, he should shut up and we should go our separate ways. I don’t want to break up. But what about what I want? He said to give him some more time. Time? It’s been years!
Do you think he’s stalling and has no intention of marrying me? I need the truth. Is he playing, or do you think he will propose? No holds barred: Tell me the truth.
Thanks for your letter, Amy.
This sounds like a similar situation to a what a former co-worker of mine was going through: She was dating a divorced dad for years; he kept stalling and then told her he’d propose if they could go three weeks without an argument. I told her to cut her losses then, because every couple has a squabble now and then. C’mon, it’s nearly impossible – and I think he knew that. I resigned from the company before there was any resolution, so if you’re reading this, email me and let me know!
Back to your email…Whoa! That is a lot of information to digest. I know you wanted to give me the synopsis, but the synopsis had a lot of players, reasons, and time.
My gut reaction: He doesn’t have any intention of popping the question. I hate to even write that. I don’t want to hurt you, but I’d be hurting you if I lie and say, “Give it more time...” You’ve been a good girl: waited for the divorce, then to meet the mother, the son...and you are no closer to the ring than you were on day one.
I can understand waiting until his divorce was finalized before introducing you as his girlfriend. But I can’t understand the rest. It sounds like a lot of stalling. But what’s his excuse now? Everyone knows. You said that you seem to have an “okay” relationship with your boyfriend’s son, so that reasoning shouldn’t last weeks or months.
A few red flags for me that lead me to think he’s just out for a good time and not a commitment: It took him years to divorce his ex. After going through what sounds like a long-drawn-out process, many people aren’t ready to jump right back in to a marriage. Some do, but some not. You mentioned that plans to meet his mother fell through hours before the meet? Not once, but twice? A bar mitzvah, t’na’im (vort), bas mitzvah, and weddings are planned. So, if he told you he forgot about a bar mitzvah – chances are his mother didn’t (My shvigger has over 30 grandchildren and she keeps a calendar of planned simchos). Chances are low that she would have scheduled the meeting for a night of a simchah. You mentioned the different lifestyles more than once. He grew up chasidish, his son and parents are chasidish, but you aren’t. It would be normal to think that was a reason that things have been drawn out for so long. Maybe family or friends aren’t as gung-ho for this relationship to progress as he may have led you to think they are. If his ex and son are still living the chasidish lifestyle and he isn’t anymore, there may be a lot to think about, especially if visitation or issues with the yeshivah will come up in the future. I could be right on the mark or way off base. I can’t say for certain here, because I’m not in your bf’s mind, but as you said, it’s been five years, everything’s out in the open now, so what’s the excuse?
I hate ultimatums, but I don’t think you were wrong in issuing them after all this time, and there is still no ring in the picture. He doesn’t have the right to feel pressured by you. You’ve invested years with him and every time there was something for him to do to move the relationship along, he has an excuse that bought him more time. But why did you let the first date of the ultimatum pass and then give him a second deadline? If I were him, I wouldn’t worry about anything, because that would indicate that you aren’t serious about leaving.
“But what about what I want?” Right? This relationship may be a comfortable one that you don’t want to leave. Yes, I’m sure you love your boyfriend (after five years together), and it is scary to leave and try to find someone new. But how do you feel about all that you’ve done for him, and how long you have waited, and now his reaction to you asking if he’s ready to get married? Your biological clock is ticking. You deserve someone who puts you first instead of him putting every excuse before your wants and needs. I’m not certain, but I don’t think your boyfriend will drop to one knee anytime soon. He sees how hurt you are, you’ve discussed this with him several times, and where did that get you – it got you a “promise necklace.” What was the promise? The only promise you need is one that an engagement ring offers.
I’m so sorry, Amy. Stick to your guns. Have a very real conversation with your boyfriend. Lay it all out. See his reaction, listen to his reasons and excuses, but I think you know what the result will be after everything you’ve described. I hope it is the start to a beautiful new life. You asked for my honesty, I don’t think it will be, or he would have proposed long before now. I offer my opinion.
Hatzlachah to you all.