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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 25 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 43
Kiki with D: Wedding bell blues
Section One
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Kiki with D: Wedding bell blues

by D Smith - SGN Contributing Writer

Dear D,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for six years, living together for five years, and just recently bought a home. Sounds like all great things, right? Except that anytime I bring up an engagement, he freaks out. We have openly talked about wanting to get married and have a family, and it is definitely something we both want. With the current legislature it is now finally possible.

Recently, if I bring it up (which honestly is NOT very often), I get responses like, 'The more you ask about it, the longer it will be put off' or he'll make excuses, like, 'I need to make more money first,' 'We just got a house,' or 'I want to pay off my credit card' - ANY reason why we can't get married. He keeps acting like he is waiting for the perfect moment (seemingly financial) and then he will do it, but he doesn't understand that it is NEVER going to be the perfect time and the bills will always be there. Worst of all, he dangles it like a carrot in front of my face a lot by hinting at my ring size, mentioning that he has priced out some options, and talking about having babies. When I show intrigue or ask questions, he backs off again.

It is getting to the point that everywhere we go people ask us why we aren't married or engaged. We have been together longer than all of our friends who are married with children. I am getting impatient, but I would never give him an ultimatum or leave. What should I do? Why is he so hesitant when we are already very committed to one another?? I am not getting any younger here!


- Ready to Tie the Knot Dear Ready,

I believe that you're confident that he's in for the long haul. This is about how you're being treated as you wait for a proposal.

You need to have a talk about the weird dangling of the carrot. You're not a child, so you shouldn't be punished like one. When he says, 'The more you ask, the longer you'll have to wait,' is he kidding? Or is he really treating you like a teenager who broke curfew? You need to explain that this is not cute to you, and that you want to be a part of the decision-making process for your future. Let him know that if you both develop the grand plan, it'll be less stressful for him. He shouldn't be the only accountable party. And no matter what, he should treat you with respect.

If he feels overwhelmed by your questions, he should say so instead of firing back with comments that put you off or humiliate you.

I do have some empathy for the guy, of course. Buying a house is a big deal and he might need to sit with that change for a bit before contemplating the next one. You can let him know that you understand that this was a big move. It was so big that you want to make sure that you're both on board for the next step and that you've talked it through before it happens.

I really feel that your issue isn't about the proposal - it's about communication. You want to know what's happening instead of waiting for him to make decisions for both of you. Let him know that after six years, he has to treat you like the co-pilot, because that's what you are.

Hope this helps. Remember to be true to you, love yourself, and encourage yourself and others. - D

Dear D,

My boyfriend and I have been dating about six months. I haven't been in a relationship in a while, and I've been really happy to be with someone again. However, I have a bit of a trust problem due to situations with my past boyfriends.

With this current relationship, I've always been a little leery from the start because he does like to go out and drink a lot, and I worry he'll cheat. I recently was feeling insecure and decided to look at his phone. I found text messages back and forth with a girl that lasted about a month and a half. I was already his girlfriend for two months at this point, so I don't think he was trying to casually date. It's unclear if he actually cheated, but some of the text messages bothered me. He told her that he wanted to take her out and she invited him to a few events that he couldn't go to because he had plans. She also sent a few pictures that were a little inappropriate. The last few messages she sent he did not respond to. I'd like to think he stopped talking to her because he knew it was wrong, but I don't know what really happened.

I'm struggling to decide if I should confront him or let it slide. I really want to bring it up to him because I'm upset and I think it will affect my mood toward him if I hold it in. I know there's a big possibility that it will blow up in my face, since I broke his trust by snooping through his phone. It's been almost three months since he's texted her and we seem to be getting more serious (meeting family and friends). I don't want to ruin what could be a good relationship, but I don't know if it's already ruined by what he did.
- Untrusting

Dear Untrusting,

You have to tell him what you did and then talk this out. Because you're still snooping, right? I'm guessing that you know that it's been three months since he contacted this other woman because you continue to check his phone. Time for you to get it together and take responsibility - or are you just going to read his texts forever? When does it stop?

It sounds like you guys committed way too quickly. You decided to be a couple when you were still just getting to know each other. You skipped, like, eight steps, and now it's all catching up to you. This can cause a lot of problems. You put the buggy before the horse.

I don't know whether the relationship is ruined, but you'll find out by coming clean. Tell him what you did and what you fear. Find out how he deals with conflict and whether he can put this behind the both of you and move forward, or decide to end it. At the very least you'll put your mind at ease.

I have to be honest - I do not love this situation. The lies, the drinking, the texts, you going through his phone ... it's a series of red flags. But it's worth a discussion. You'll either leave the talk feeling confident ... or not, and then you'll know what to do. It's obvious the current path is not a healthy one and needs correction, if you are going to have anything positive and productive. You can grow from this. You will feel better laying all the cards out on the table.

Hope this helps. Remember to be true to you, love yourself, and encourage yourself and others. - D

Dear D,

I've been in a serious relationship for two and a half years. This past January we had the conversation about our future and where we saw this relationship going. He told me that he has issues with his ex (financial, they were living together) that he has not resolved. The ex's name is still on all his assets (house) and although they now live separately, they have some issues that they need to resolve with lawyers. He is afraid to just pay $$ and break ties as it would jeopardize all the money he has put into the house. I told him that there is no way we can start working on our future until these issues are resolved.

I was both upset and angry that not only did he not tell me this when we first started dating (taking away my choice in the matter), but it took so much pushing and probing about our future to find out about it. Aside from this, when I look at our relationship, it was great. We never fought or disagreed, and we were each other's best friends.

My problem is that we work in the same building, so although we are now broken up, we still manage to bump into each other in common areas and start talking. We chit-chat and say hello when we see each other, and this sets me back in the moving-on process.

When we had the discussion about breaking up, I was crystal clear that we were DONE, and that if we saw each other, we could be civil but other than that, no text messages, phone calls, or any casual correspondence. However, it always seems to start small and then we reach a point of daily correspondence, and a text message here and there that leads to phone calls. I was clear that any relationship between us would have to be him coming to the table prepared to discuss taking our relationship to the next level, and only if his financial issues with his ex were resolved.

In past relationships when things have ended, I have been able to bounce back much quicker and move on with my life. This relationship has really hit me and broken my heart. I just feel this intense pain and when I see him, I genuinely want to completely ignore him and not stand around for 10 minutes providing a mundane update of my life, but I feel obligated to have a conversation.

Do I just walk away? Do I just ignore him? How do I get back to focusing on me?
- Broken Heart Trying to Heal

Dear Broken Heart,

You can ignore him. Unless there's a professional reason to talk to him during the day, you can pretend he's invisible. If you need space after a breakup, even in the workplace, you're allowed to take it.

It seems to me, though, that you need a better understanding of this breakup - at least in your head - before you can move on. Resolve any unresolved issues. You told him that you couldn't be with him until his financial issues with his ex are resolved, but does that mean he can show up again as soon as he figures it out? What if he buys her out in six months or a year? Will you still be open to taking him back?

You never told us whether he said he saw a future with you, and whether the house was all that stood in his way. If his connections to his ex were no longer an issue, would he want you around for the long haul? If you never got an answer, that's something to consider. It sounds like he's using that house to maintain the status quo, and that's just not good enough for you.

I would tell him (e-mail is fine) that you must stop all forms of communication. Tell him that when you asked about a future together, he talked about the house, and instead of working with you to come up with a solution, he let you go. That was his choice, right? If he's willing to let you walk, there's no need to talk.

He could have asked, 'How can we make this work?' Instead he did nothing. (Right?) You're allowed to remain silent. It's called self-preservation. Time to search your soul to ensure this is the end. If so, stand strong in your decision.

Hope this helps. Remember, be true to you, love yourself, and encourage yourself and others. - D

Dear D,

Nine years ago I met my best friend. At the time he was hoping to start a relationship. He was not quiet about wanting that. I was young and had just ended a wonderful three-year relationship that had become awful at the end. I was not interested in starting something new.

After years of being friends, he asked me why we couldn't be together, especially because I knew how he felt about me. I asked him why people couldn't be just friends anymore. After some time he told me he would always be in love with me, but would accept being platonic.

He moved back to his home state after a while, but we have remained friends. He visited me over the years and we have always been great. Recently, we realized that it had been a few years since we had seen each other, so he flew me out to visit him. I guess that during these years I realized I love him. I really do.

During the trip, I thought he was sleeping and I am not even sure why I whispered it, but when I was headed out of the living room, I told him I loved him. His head shot straight up. He was more shocked than I was. He couldn't understand why I waited so long.

Even longer story short, he told me he was not sure what to say, that he still loved me but doesn't know if I waited too long. He asked for time to think about it. We left it alone for a few days and behaved like friends.

He eventually told me that he will not move back and said that I have to figure out what I want. I told him I wanted to be with him but did not know how yet. I asked what he thought, and now he wants more time to think.

Did I make the biggest mistake possible?
- Long Time Waiting for Love

Dear Waiting,

I don't believe that you're in love with this guy. I believe that you care about him a lot, but you spent years rejecting him and you've been content to live without him. It's possible that your priorities have changed and that he's now what you're looking for in a long-term partner, but you have no idea what it's like to see him every day for long stretches of time.

Don't get me wrong - it's OK to say, 'I have feelings for this person but I don't know what they mean.' You don't have to jump to love and commitment. Taking that step is very serious and requires you to weigh all the options and make some powerful decisions. Are you ready to do that?

The only thing you can do (if he's willing) is to see him more frequently and figure out if there's any potential. Of course, he flew you to him for that last visit; ask him if you can fly him to you for a weekend to reciprocate, to see how it feels. If you're cash-strapped, all of this will be up to him.

But please, if he does agree to spend some money to give this a chance, don't oversell your intentions. Your feelings for him have evolved, but that's all you know. You can't say, 'It's always been you!' because it hasn't. All you want is some time to explore and clarify. Maybe he'll be more willing to consider this if you take the big promises off the table. He has waited this long, and I am quite sure he will not mind taking a little more time to see how compatible the two of you really are. Remember, you never really know a person until you live with them.

Talking on the phone and a few visits here and there do not a love make, but it is a good start.

Hope this helps. Remember, be true to you, love yourself, and encourage yourself and others. - D

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