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He's a Struggling Divorced Father That Says He Won't Remarry. Why Doesn't She Hear Him?

Updated on March 18, 2010

Dear Veronica,

I have been with my boyfriend for almost three years, he has three kids(7,8,17),and currently going through a divorce. I have no children and divorced. he lives with his sister since his separation and i live alone in my own house. We have a great relationship and get along well 99% of the time. I told him the other day that i am no longer comfortable with our arrangement( a few nights a week at my place and every other weekend together as he has his two younger kids every other weekend), I told him i would like things to change and i want to know what he has planned for US or I will have to move on because i would like more companionship, more permanence to the relationship, not necessarily marriage. I gave him some time to thing about what i said and then we would sit down to to talk about what his plans are for us. when we finally go around to it. he told me that he is not sure what level of committment he can give me now because his oldest son is a priority right now, until he graduates high school in a couple of months (he has sole custody of his 17 year old). he didnt say what the plan is after he graduates other than, we will travel and do a lot more things together as he will have more time to devote to me. I would like to know that he would like to get married agin some day, but from his reactions when his friends have announced that they are re-marrying, it appears as tho he would NEVER consider getting married again. I have NOT blantatly stated that i would like to get married or have a child with him, but i gather that he is not ready and do not want to pressure him. but at times i wonder if i should leave him and hope to find someone to love as much as i love him and that would be so turn off by remarrying and having another kid just because they're first marriage was a disaster. what should I do?

show me a sign

Dear show me a sign,

I don’t know why he would think about getting married again. Even thinking about it far into the future just doesn’t make sense to me right now.

He’s living with his sister without a home of his own, he’s failed at marriage, he has 3 kids to worry about, one of which he has sole custody and whom he’s said is his priority.

Nothing about his situation says it would be wise to think about extra commitments and responsibilities. He’s not in a financially secure place, he’s got a lot of responsibilities. He can’t really be emotionally available to commit to a life partner while all this is going on. Can he?

He spends weekends with you when he doesn’t have his younger children, and he gets to come to your place a couple nights during the week. It doesn’t actually sound like you’re his mate. He’s keeping his kid-time separate, you haven’t said there’s any romance or dating, or courting, the way a man would do with a woman he wants to spend his life with.

I'm sure he values your companionship. It sounds like it's the one indulgent and comforting thing in his life. But it is what it is.

Actions speak louder than words, and nothing you’ve shared says he’s given any indicator that he’s gearing his life toward stepping up his commitment to you. It sounds quite the opposite. He sounds like he is in a very taxing point in his life. I don’t understand what benefit there would be by his adding more commitment and more responsibility to it. I don’t think giving him an ultimatum was wise. He sounds like it takes everything he has to handle what he already has to handle. I give him alot of credit for that. 

But let’s listen to his words too. He’s no where near ready to get married, or even think about marriage. Despite every indication of this, you gave him an ultimatum. You said you want to know what his plans are for you, or you’re moving on. And he told you, he has no future plans.

It really doesn’t get clearer than this. He said, his son is his priority. He didn’t add anything about the future. His actions are in perfect harmony with what he's saying. Even if you can’t see what his actions indicate, you have to be able to hear what his answer was to your direct ultimatum: He said no.

Show me, I've written dozens of HUBS on this site about situations that relate to yours, like When He Says He Isn't Ready for Marriage Yet, and When Your Girl Wants to Get Married. Each situation is very different. The tells are different, the people really are unique. But all too often the bottom line is the same. If getting a man to propose involves having to change him, or give him ultimatums, the answer is no. Even if he can be manipulated or pressured, the real answer is still no.

I know I give it pretty straight and hard, but please don't think it's without compassion. Loving someone is always a risk, and often times we just don't want to hear the truth even when it's loud and clear.

My hope for you is that you can relax and enjoy this companionship for what it is, and move on in your search for your forever mate. 

Do you have a question?

I'll give it to you straight. Email me through my profile with your relationship questions. I'm happy to try to help. 

Wilson Gil & The Willful Sinners


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    evan 8 years ago

    the person that wrote in i feel very sorry for. her boyfriend is telling her he isn't having a future with her. but she is in denial. i was curious how you could give advice to someone like this. veronica you were very eloquent. i hope she can take your advice.