17 answers

Would You End a Long Term Relationship over the Question of Marriage?

i am just curious because i am not in the situation so i am having a hard time empathizing with my mother (not that i don't support her 100%, i DO utterly and completely support her decision and i would love and respect her no matter what) because i have never been in this position. she is in her 50's, my parents have been divorced for about 15 years now, and she has been with this current man about 10 years. they live together, his 17 year old son lives with them full time, they were in the process of buying some land (adjoining her house, which is where they live) together. it has been serious and exclusive almost since day #1. my whole family considers both him and his son family, his son calls my grandparents "grandma and grandpa", ect.

marriage is very important to my mom, she thinks at this point it is the right thing for them to do (as they are making this major purchase together, and have been living together as a family for a year and a half now). they have had this fight a few times over the years, he has even left before, but this time, she says he's not welcome back. he has disrupted his son's life yet again (the boy's mother was/is negligent and doesn't have a maternal bone in her body, before my mom and her bf got custody he had gone to about six different schools, bouncing from his moms newest boyfriends house, to the next, and been kicked out of his mom's house twice, before she finally moved to texas, which was how he came to live with them. sorry this is confusing i am super tired and stressed out for my mom....!

so long story short this is like the divorce all over again, everyone's upset, we're worried about losing his son as part of our family (he is 17 but doesn't drive or have a car). huge drama. me, i'm just po'd that this guy would be so terrified of a dang piece of paper (that changes NOTHING!) that he would do all of this to everyone. i myself lived with someone and then married him - it changes nothing!! (unless, i suppose, the person decides in their head it does...as in this case). i SERIOUSLY don't get how he is choosing to run, and hurt so many people, rather than just sign the dang piece of paper. but at the same time i am wondering at my mom's fortitude in insisting that he marry her or leave. how many of you would give the same ultimatum, or have? i just can't imagine being her age, in a relationship for 10 years unmarried, being mostly happy (he really is such a great guy that's another reason this is just puzzling) but willing to end it all if a piece of paper isn't signed. and i'm not talking about "getting the milk for free" or all the religious aspects (although i suppose that is a big part of it because that is how my mom's feelings came about, i am sure). i am simply saying, would something as simple as a piece of paper making it "official" be a deal breaker?

i am sure she is right and i have zero intention of ever mentioning these questions to her...i just wonder.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

thanks everyone! i appreciate all your input. i have continued to talk to my mom and support her decision, and the more i talk to her (and read your responses), the more i see how important it really is to her, so i at least can sleep at night - i know that she is doing what is right for HER. it doesn't matter how much i can see her point of view or not, it's her life and she is being true to herself. she wouldn't be happy staying with him and not being married, and THAT is the bottom line. when i thought of it that way, that's when it all clicked. thanks again!

Featured Answers

IMO Its not just a piece of paper. Because i have that piece of paper its costing me thousands to undo it.

3 moms found this helpful

At this point, she was living like a marriage couple without the marriage for 10 years. Usually, people will make the stand to get married first before moving in together. Maybe she just made the decision that enough's enough. It is like a divorce. I wish you the best!! Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

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To me marraige is NOT a piece of paper. It is a commitment, it is a vow, it is a promise. (I would not define myself as a religious person) Maybe it didn't change your life, but it changed mine, and I truly beleive it also changed my husbands.

I agree completely with your mother's feelings and actions.

5 moms found this helpful

If it's important to your mother, then yes, his refusal to marry her should be a deal breaker. He has expressed just how "important" your mother is by his lack of willingness to fully commit to her in the way that she requires. She needs to stick to her guns. Why would she want to stay with a man who doesn't want to make her happy and doesn't want the same things she wants?

5 moms found this helpful

It sounds like it is to BOTH of them.

Your mom is willing to throw away everything if he won't marry her.
He's willing to throw away everything to not marry her.

They sound very much alike.

4 moms found this helpful

Someone several weeks ago posted a question about marriage ("Why do you think it is or is not important?"-- or something along those lines). It was interesting reading the responses.

I would have to guess that for your mom, it is sort of the 'bottom line'. Either he IS committed to her, or he ISN'T. This is the measure by which she has decided she will know. If he walks, he is not committed to her (obviously). If he marries her, then he is.
Of course, we all know that once married doesn't guarantee that the two will never go their separate ways.... but for your mom, this is how she has decided she will judge his commitment to her. And I'm guessing having legal entanglements with him (buying property for example) have prompted her to press the issue.

3 moms found this helpful

It is much more to some people then a "piece of paper". The sad thing is your mother waited so long before she felt strong and worthy enough to ask for what she truly wanted. If the live in companion loves and respects her, he will marry her or leave.

The 50's may seem ancient to you, but if your mom wants a total commitment, there are probably plenty of men out there who would love and cherish her for the long hall.


3 moms found this helpful

IMO Its not just a piece of paper. Because i have that piece of paper its costing me thousands to undo it.

3 moms found this helpful

Personally if my husband wasn't on the same page as me when we were dating and didn't want to get married, I would have ended the relationship. Marriage and commitment are that important to me. I am sure he would do the same for me---We both believe in marriage and this was right for us.


3 moms found this helpful

A piece of paper itself does not change anything but apparently marriage is more than "just a piece of paper" to both of them. To him, it is a step he's not willing to take (maybe because of his past experience, maybe because of fear of true commitment, or maybe because he feels you should only get married once, or whatever his reasons are). To her, it is important and a natural next step (whether it be her feelings for him, desire to be married, religious reasons or whatever it is). Either way, just as he is willing to run rather than wed, she is willing to let him rather than remain unmarried. Would she really want to be married to him knowing he doesn't want to marry her? Even if he did agree to marry her, how would they both truly feel about it? If they have had this fight before, it should come as no surprise now. While I don't fault her for wanting what she wants, what is making her take this stand now? Maybe they will work something out.

As for losing his son as part of the family, remember that family isn't just who your are related to but rather it includes those you love. If you love this child as your family, reach out to him and his father (since he is a minor) and let them know that you still consider him family and would like to continue to include him. Additionally, be sure to offer the son the support of consistency as he has been through a lot already.

3 moms found this helpful

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