Relationship advice: My man is afraid of commitment

February 15, 2005

Relationship advice: My man is afraid of commitment
Question: I’m a 37y.o. mum of two boys (16 & 10) and am currently living with my partner of just over two years (October). When we first started going out, he said to me “we’ll be engaged within 6mths & married within a year”. Of course i didn’t take it too much to heart at the time, but over the last two years it has got to me. We also moved in together straight away. I?ve brought the statement up a few times out of frustration and lately he’s said that he’s not ready for marriage, even thought he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. I don’t know if I?m ready for marriage either, but an engagement ring or proposal, as a sign of what I mean to him, would be nice. I’m getting to the point where I don’t know if it’s worth staying. Neither of us are getting any younger and obviously being engaged means more to me than to him. He was 42 in December and I?m wondering if he realises what he’s on the verge of losing. I don’t know whether to stay or go, as I?m feeling used and taken for granted. It’s affecting our relationship (from my side). He’s happy as long as he has food on the table and his washing, ironing, cleaning, etc., done for him. He’s also a diabetic, so i help him manage that also. It’s all wearing me out slowly and i’m too young to be worn out.
Please let me know what you think.
lost Aquarian

Answer: Hey lost Aquarian,
I?m not too sure what is wearing you out. Is it the emotional strain of wanting to be married to a man who is not ready to marry you or is it that you are running after three men and doing all the housework without any help? Taking sole responsibility for the housework is a choice and if you don?t choose to do it all alone, you need to bring about some changes. Start by asking your sons to do their fair share around the house. Give them specific jobs that are their responsibility like clearing the table and washing up after meals, taking out the garbage, putting on a load of washing, folding their clean clothes etc. The way you introduce this new regime will determine its success. If you go in guns blazing, start throwing accusations around, sound like a victim and make a fuss you will find them less willing to listen that if you introduce the concept in a calm or playful way. Once your partner sees the boys doing their fair share around the house, it would be a good time to introduce him to a few things you?d like him to do. If you want to do it all at once and in a democratic way, make a list of EVERYTHING you do around the house and ask each of them to choose from the list six things they will do.

As you are feeling so overwhelmed, it sounds like you need to instigate some ME time where you get to pamper yourself and do something you feel is a treat like have a massage, or go for a walk, find a quiet spot to read for a few hours or take yourself to the movies with a girlfriend. Having some personal time for yourself will take away some of the resentment you are feeling.

You also need to consider that if your partner is treating you like an unpaid maid, there is the chance he thinks you are happy in that role so you need to tell him how you are feeling. Choose your time and your words carefully and don?t make it about him and the things you think he is doing wrong. If you do this he will feel he is being attacked and he will retreat. Tell him what you need; don?t tell him what to do.

The disinterest in marriage is another issue altogether. If he doesn?t want to get married, it is a mistake to push him into it. Don?t give him an ultimatum, he may tow the line but he will forever feel like he was pushed into something he didn?t want. Before you go down this path, figure out why you want to get married to this man. (I don?t buy your comment that you don?t know if you are ready for marriage. If you aren?t sure why would you want a proposal)? Is it validation of the relationship you are looking for, or is it something else? Marriage or an engagement are not validation of a relationship. Once you have explored why you want the proposal or the ring you will be in a better position to decide if you are committed to the relationship as it is or if you are ready to walk away.

By Michelle Lewis

Michelle has been one of Australia’s leading matchmakers and as a relationship expert is the founder of Date Doctors.

Her first book is The Street Guide for Flirting. We all notice that guy or girl who effortlessly breezes into a room and immediately attracts the attention of every individual there. And they’re not necessarily the best looking, wealthiest or smartest in the crowd. So what’s the secret? This guide shows you how to be the most fabulous flirt.

RRP $19.95 but only $17.96 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop.

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