Reader Email: Dear Athol, I wanted to take this opportunity to say “Thank you” for the large amount of information and insight you have made available on your MMSL website. I’ve been reading regularly for the past few months now, and I find it reassuring to see concepts which I have been struggling with described and explained in an easy-to-understand format. Rest assured that I have ordered the book, and am currently awaiting its arrival.
My girlfriend and I have been together for almost 5 years now, the last 3 of which have been at a distance of 400 miles. We are both previously married, her with one teenager and me with two younger kids. When I got transferred to my current location 3 years ago, I offered for her and her son to move in with me. She looked around my new area for jobs, but that was back in ’09 when the economy went in the dumper. After not finding anything, and given that her son was now in high school, she wished to wait until he was done to consider moving again.
Well, that time is approaching soon, and I’m starting to get the “where is our future headed” vibe/questions. Now, I haven’t received any kind of ultimatum, but after some discussion, it’s become apparent that she is ready to get married and won’t move here unless I propose.
Am I facing the ultimate fitness/shit test here?
Athol: Hi there, thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.
In this case I don’t think it is a Fitness Test. What you’re asking her to do is uproot her entire life and come to you. So you’re asking for her to display commitment to you. By holding out for marriage, she’s asking you to display commitment to her.
She’s basically playing “Tit for Tat” as I would advise her to do. Either you both play the “commitment” card, or you both play the “not committed” card and no one is worse off than the other. But she can’t let herself get punked by her playing the “commitment” card and you playing the “not committed” card.
If I was advising her, I would tell her not to move unless you marry her… if moving her whole life isn’t enough to get you to pop the question, the question will never be popped because you can get her to do what you want without having to.
So it seems a fairly reasonable expectation on her part. She gets a husband, you get a wife and a live-in stepmom for your kids. However the risk to you is she moves her whole life to be your wife, and “fails on arrival”. She can’t find a job, she can’t find friends, she can’t do whatever… and she crashes into an early retirement of sorts at your expense. So I think a reasonable expectation for you is that she doesn’t fail on arrival and clear/fair/reasonable expectations should be set in that area. (i.e. “you need to find an appropriate job within X months”)
The entire point of marriage being to have a functional, productive and happy life together.
And naturally this entire thought process is dependant on her being someone worth marrying in the first place.
I have a sixth sense that all is not sitting right with you on a gut level. If after three years long distance you haven’t decided she is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, I don’t know when that feeling is going to kick in for you. Jennifer and I were long distance for three years and all but deranged to get together and married and the suffering of long distance over with. Jennifer and I put marriage on the table to begin our long distance courtship. You don’t seem that keen.
Plus if you’re reading the blog and about to read the book, I suspect you’re about to get the jones to get your shit together and bump your Sex Rank up a point or two and see what that gets you on the open market.
Your call. If she’s the one, she’s the one and more power to you. If not, don’t drag it out.