I don't think I want to get married anymore....

Hello everyone, I'm a regular poster here and like many of you I've reregistered under a different name and I dearly need your help. I posted this on the emotional support thread but I'm from Africa so also wanted an African perspective.



I met h2b on an online dating site 3 years ago, we got on wonderfully and he really was unlike anyone I'd ever met. We communicate well and basically have (or had as the case may be) a good strong relationship. That is, until we got engaged and started planning the wedding.



Everyone (family/friends) seemed to be happy with our relationship until we announced our engagement and now I've got family members and friends giving unsolicited advice (though out of love and concern) on our relationship. The thing is he was married before, and has 4 kids from that relationship, is quite a bit older than me, he's 41 and I'm 29 and is from a different country/culture than me.



Basically the advice I'm getting is that I'm selling myself short, I deserve and can get better because I'm beautiful and intelligent etc. Its one thing to have a boyfriend but another to have a husband because a marriage is the merging of two families not just the couple. They feel like I'll get "lost" amidst his kids and that I would always struggle for his attention and time. Bottom line is that they feel that I should have a husband from a similar background as me, a young man who I can start a family with not a man in his 40s with an ex wife and 4 kids in tow, and that I'd be playing nanny with his kids, with a disgruntled ex interferring and exerting her power by using the kids as pawns, just generally a less than ideal situation for me.



My h2b is kind, cnsiderate, successful and very loving and we have a good relationship but I can't help but wonder if my family is right.... They would support me if I did put my foot down and insisted he was the one for me but I'm just not sure anymore... When I take a step back and look at the situation I feel horrified at what I'm "letting myself in for" but when its just me and him, talking, cuddling etc, I forget all my problems and just love his company. But when we're in the company of either his or my family, its just an awkward uncomfortable vibe. I want a husband who gets along with my family and I his, someone who was truly part of the family. I come from a very close knit family and would be devastated if I had to keep my distance to avoid awkward gatherings.



I can't deny the fact that his family is there and not going anywhere. I just don't want to wake up one day, stuck in a marriage I no longer wanted (divorce is not an option for me). I keep thinking what if I am making a wron choice? But then what if one day I'll regret letting him go?? I just don't know what to do and I'm up crying every night. I'm paralysed and can't progress with any wedding planning because part of me is wondering, what's the point? I don't want myself or anyone else to invest any money in a wedding that might never happen, but at the same time I've got vendors ringing everyday asking for my decsion on xyz. I just feel like I'm drowning and don't know what to do!



I'm not sure what help I can get but I would very muc like to hear neutral opinions because if I asked advice from any of my friends or family they would tell me to cancel the wedding and move on...



Any advice woud be greatly appreiated, thanks in advance

Posts

  • I am sorry to hear of your stress, I totally understand your situation. And as an anonymous poster I can reply honestly. I totally get what you are saying in that you get on, and he's lovely and all that, but i believe as much as you need that romantic side of marriage, its a long hard slog and you need to be practical. When faced with a similar scenario, I decided that children were important to me, and I wasnt happy for my children to be no.s 5, 6 or 7 in the food chain, and also as it would be my first time, I didnt want it to be a bit 'old hat' for him, or for him to be unintentionally patronising as he had seen and done it so many times before. For me to love and respect him would mean for him to be a committed father, and for him to do that was going to be mean I would always be less of a priority, which sounds selfish but we all have needs. Invariably you would have to always be accomodating his children, and his ex-wife and I feel this could be burdensome, particularly when you are pregnant, or just need his support. At the same time I don't know all of your facts, and it comes down to what you feel and how you interpret the situation, your expectations etc. If you are happy to do this, and you feel comfortable that the situation will suit you then by all means I wish you every happiness, at least you will make the decision with your eyes open. Maybe you can put it on hold for a while and give yourself some time to think about it..................



    Good Luck xx
  • ronniqronniq Posts: 229
    I would love to give you my opinion but I think, I'd prefer to e-mail you privately. If you switch on your e-mail function on ur profile I can tell you what I think.



    I grew up as a child in this situation your H2B is in and dated a guy with kids, ex-wife the works (or so I thought..................another story for another day). He is not my fianc???? now (thank goodness) so maybe if I give advice I can try and use my experience.



    Whatever you decide to do it will hurt, I'm not even going to lie or beat around the bush and say time heals, blah blah blah cos it will hurt and if you love this man it will hurt even more no matter what you decide.

  • Here is my little 2pence worth... lol..



    I can understand your families point of view, and their reaction as a boyfriend to husband is two completely different relationships...



    I'm not entirely sure what YOUR feelings are on this issue... *how do you feel about being a mother-in-law to 4 children? *what is your current and post-engagement relationship with the children and their mother like? *is the age difference a problem for you, or did it previously play on the back of your mind?



    PERSONALLY, i knew i wouldn't even enter in a relationship with someone with children, as i previously did, and didn't like it at all... you have started a lovely relationship with this wonderful man (who you knew had children)... did you start the relationship w/out a thought of a possible future as his wife? was the engagement/marriage not something you both spoke about before he 'popped the question'..



    My 2pence worth is for you to understand what YOU want... family will always be there, like you said they will support you no matter what!



    Has your question been raised because you have only just started looking at the relationship as a marriage and not a boyf/girlf relationship... im sure we have all gone through the stage of realising "Wow im actually getting married!!" For me i started noticing little things he would do that would annoy me... and i'd think, i've got to put up with this for the rest of my life now, lol... Thankfully they aren't anything major, and i can live with him drinking tea like an old man!! lol

    Anyway, I'm not sure if this is the stage you are at... or whether this is something that has been playing at the back of your mind for a while!



    Let us know what you think of doing hun...

    edited for spelling image

    [Modified by: ?????????????Mrs Tinkerbell????????????? on December 18, 2008 04:46 PM]

  • Thank you so much both of you. Mrs N2b, yes it is the fear of being "burdened" by his kids and ex wife that's giving me difficulty. I think they're great but I can't love them like I would my own kids and I suspect h2b might feel guilty about our kids having a close stable family (i.e no divorced parents) and may overcompensate by going overnboard with his kids or toning things down with mine? I just don't know.... The more I think about it the more I can see that this ia not ideal situation that I want to be in and if my daughter was in the same situation I'm in I would be very concerned, But then I love him and he is a good man... And I'm 29! And I lay up at night thinking of all the people who would laugh at me if it doesn't work out... I'm just so confused...



    Iks wifey I've enabed my email function. Thank you so much for your help.
  • Hey,



    I was wondering what country your H2B is from? Just to get an idea of the culture he is from.



    My friend was in a similar sitiuation during the last year and as much as she loved him, their relationship ended due to his past.

    I think this doesnt have to be so but I also think that for a lifelong relationship only love is not enough. You need to want the same out of life etc and you need to be able to life with your partners past..



    From what you said I don't really see the problem with the 2 of you as for example you both want children.



    I find it a bit concering, however, that your friends and family see this man of yours so critical. Do you know why exactly that is?

    Quite often people that are not directly involved see more than the people involved, especially since you are in love.most people in love tend to see things the waythey want them to be and not the way they really are.



    I disagree with the comment that its only the two of you getting married. It is the merging of two families and since he has children, you are also kind of marrying them...





  • Hi Mrs Tinkerbell



    My feelings on this is all mixed up but the predominant feelings are fear and dread. And if I'm being honest I'd rather not be a step mom, but I love h2b and I feel like it all comes with the package so to speak... The age difference isn't really a problem but I do worry a bit about him dying and leaving me behind! Paranoid I know... I knew he had kids when we met and got together but they live with his ex in their country and they visit (one at a time) for a few weeks a year. They're 18, 16, and 14 year old twins so they're not little kids (h2b got married at 21 the first time around). I guess because they weren't always there I convinced myself that it was just me and him and when the kids came over it would just be fun and we could live as one big happy family. But now the word forever fills me with such fear and panic and after having a frank conversation with an aunt I just feel like such a fool, and like I've been in denial and out of touch with reality.



    I do love h2b and I love our relationship but every good feeling I have for him seems to have a clause. I love him so much, if only he was 10 yrs younger, if only he didn't have kids, if only he was from my culture etc things would be so much easier. I wonder that if I'm thinking of all these things maybe I shouldn't be with him. But then I keep hearing how marriage is hard work etc so then I think, maybe this is the hard work bit..... I'm so confused, my biggest fear is that I would end a good relationship and find myself alone at 38 with no man and no kids, having thrown away the one good relationship I had because he had kids. But then I also worry that If I do marry him, I'll hate myself and him for ???????trapping??????? me in a situation I didn't want. The closer the wedding comes the more I'm panicking and just want to run away... all the time feeling maybe I'm making the worst mistake of my life no matter what choice I make... I'm going crazy!



  • ally2009ukally2009uk Posts: 2,020
    I have to say, I'm a bit taken aback at the 'if only...' things would be much easier train of thought.



    There are so many 'ifs' in your worries. Yeah, he might die before you, but he might not. If you decide not to go ahead with the wedding, you might still be without a partner at 38. This might happen, or this, or this...



    Who knows? That's the thing, nobody knows what's going to happen in the future. But you can't live your life worrying about all the what ifs. It's here and now that are real.
  • MrsZ2bMrsZ2b Posts: 53
    I send lots of hugs to you helpintrouble i can imagine its awful to be going through what u're going through.Does your H2B know how you feel? have you discussed anything along those lines peviously with him culture diff etc ?(u've probably answered this in u posts and i've missed it)
  • Hun, when is the wedding?? How long have your been engaged?? Know you want to stay secret, so im not sure if you want to answer...



    I ask because following on from what ally2009 has said.. there seems to be alot of what if's and but's... for alot of issues. Are you over analysing what you are expecting from married life??.. Is the wedding getting closer and you getting 'cold feet' or is ending this relationship something you really want? I've only been married a few mths, but im sure it is hard work... but so is alot of issues we face in life....



    All those if's and bit's mentioned:

    Age

    Step-mother

    Different culture.... are they that big off an issue to you, that you don't feel you can marry this man?? As he personally done anything to you? ... To me seems more like 'cold feet' (personal opinion here), as all the issues you have mentioned were pre-established before the ring went on you finger - you knew he had children, you knew the different in culture, and you knew the age - either you or him can change these things hun.. so, why have things caused major concern now? How do you feel being married will change how you deal / cope with those issues differently to how you have previously dealt with them?



    Im not going to say 'leave him... or you have to stay' im just trying to make you question certain issues so that you can make that decision on your own accord...



    Have you spoken to him about your concerns?

    (((Big Hugs))) x

  • Thanks guys, Tinkerbell you should be a therapist!



    The wedding is in a few months, so maybe a part of it is cold feet. But like I said, these issues have always been issues but I chose to ignore them because I was happy and didn't want the cold reality of our situation to spoil things. But now with the wedding looming, I can't put it off, or ignore it anymore and I feel such a fool for letting things get this far before airing my concerns. I think part of it was digging my heels in when my parents expressed disapproval, I was thinking I'd show them I can make it work but I don't know what I'm doing anymore.



    I have spoken to h2b and he's been just amazing and understanding. He said he understands my concern and my family's concern and that if it were his daughter he would be very concerned too, He wants me to think hard about it and make a decision and whatever I decide he would understand as he doesn't want me to be pressured into marriage, that's exactly what happened to him the first time around.



    I'm so confused...
  • I have nothing to add to all the advice above, but know you are doing the right thing by taking a long, honest look at your situation. Don't feel bad in anyway for asking yourself these hard questions or for whatever disicion you come to.

    This is your one life, Can you see a life without this man, do you both have enough strength to deal with his ex and kids, long term? would life be happier (not ness. easier) without him? i hope what ever your decide, you are happy , as it is you that will live with the choice you make, not family or friends who comment on what they think you should do or who you should be with

  • ally2009ukally2009uk Posts: 2,020
    It also sounds (reading both threads) that you're placing a lot of emphasis on what his family thinks and what your own family thinks.



    When it comes down to it, it's about what you think and how you feel, *not* what your family (or his family) thinks is best.



    Families don't always know best, they have their own dynamics and their own prejudices (I was shocked to discover just how racist my lovely gran is).



    You're an adult, and part of being an adult is doing things that might sometimes go against what your family wants and expects, because you feel that these things will make you happy and they're what you want.



    So, I'd suggest taking the respective families out of the equation.



    *If* either of them choose to disgrace themselves at your wedding, that is their affair and will reflect badly on them. It's not really your business or your responsibility how they act.



  • He sounds like a lovely supportive man hun, im pleased you have spoken to him about your feelings... your relationship doesn't seem to be the concern as you appear fine together....



    Only you can decide whether these issues can be overcome...



    During your time together.... how has his age or culture caused a major problem in your relationship?? How do you think they will get worse over the course of the marriage? Can the problems you have had be overcome ??



    Im not 100% sure if the children are a major concern here as they only visit annually-ish, so im not sure if they would put a direct strain on your relationship to call off the wedding - i maybe wrong, only you know...



    Lots of cuddles and support..... if you really don't want to go ahead with this, just say and i'll stop rabbiting on with 101 questions lol...!! xx
  • ronniqronniq Posts: 229
    I think at the end of the you have to make the decision as you will live with it. Just weigh everyhing up. I know I sound harsh but none of us here know ur H2B so your the only one that knows whether you can deal with his baggage and if he will be there to support you 100% of the time all the way.



    Take care. And please like i mentioned in the e-mail, stop watching your age. I nearly made a very big mistake last year cos of age. I'm now 30 and have everything I could ever wish for in a husband (to be) and more on top.



    Gosh just read this again. Hope i'm not being too harsh. But ultimately the decision lies with you. I guess we all wish we could help you out with this. Take care and stay strong - whatever happens you will get thru this.



    [Modified by: Ik's wifey on December 18, 2008 08:24 PM]





    [Modified by: Ik's wifey on December 18, 2008 09:44 PM]

  • hiya x I wish I could say something profound to you , perhaps something that hasn't already been said// offer you the answer in a golden ticket.... i dont think i can... but i will say this -



    Huni, you need to consider whether you already doubted your ability/his to deal with his family/situation BEFORE your family/friends brought up the issue? I hope that makes sense?



    I know its easy to feel swayed by family/friends as we believe they have our best interests at heart...but when it comes to matters of the heart, yours is the ONLY one you need to heed! trust me. Nobody but you knows the answer to this dilemma.



    I think deep down you know what you want to do, but you're too scared to do it for fear of a) making such an important commitment in the knowledge that your family/friends have reservations OR b) finding a way to live without the man that you love...and risking never finding another man who makes you as happy as this one.



    In my opinion, you should write a list of pros and cons for getting married to this man... and then screw it up and throw it into the bin.... get down on your knees and pray (even if you're not religious, just talk out your thoughts and fears and hopes and dreams - the words have to go somewhere right? ) and then just follow your heart... your heart knows what it wants, you just have to tell your mind to give it some space xxxx



    Hope I've helped on some level xxx M
  • nimsgirlnimsgirl Posts: 480
    Helpintrouble,

    I think all the ladies have cover the points.What i would say your only 29,you cant marry any guy out of fear. i only meet my h2b in my 30's.You need more than love to make a marriage work trust me,if you marry him,will you end up hate him,take some time out. Pray and the answers will come.
  • My heart really goes out to u my dear. In addition to most of wat's been said here already, take a moment to block out all the pple that'll laughat u if u do/dn't get married. At the end of d day wether u marry him or not u'll have to live wit dat decision 4 d rest of ur life, not dem. like Ik's wifey said as well dn't let ur age worry u, there's always someone out there for u, dn't jump into anything for d wrong reasons. Ask urself y u fell in luv wit him; wat r his strong points, wat r his weak points, aside from his'baggage'? balance them out. can u live with him n his weak points? How does he relate with his children,ex-wife n especially his family. Dn't wanna be pushy n ask wat cultures/backgrounds u're from but that sometimes affects relationships wit in-laws n exes (how u interact n wat's expected)

    Above all, wat r ur plans for d future in terms of kids,careers,retirement? R u 2 in sync on ur main issues? let him know ur exact fears n give ur self the frame of mind to listen to n accept ur heart's decision.

    remember dat watever decision u make will still not pklease everyone but u at least have to be happy wit it n know dat it's a life changing decision

    Hope dat helps somehow?

    hugs n kisses
  • Oh my goodness, just been catching up on the last couple of days and first of all big hugs to you. You sound like you're going through a lot of heartache and I really feel for you. Like the others, I can't really add anything new or life changing but what I would say is don't apologise or feel bad for wanting your kids to be your h2b's top (and maybe preferably his only priority). Even if you weren't honest to anyone else you have to be honest with yourself whether others agree with you or not. I don't think anyone's marriage is ideal, no one has the perfect relationship that ticks all the boxes so maybe the fact that he has kids is the box that remains unticked? It just depends what you're willing to compromise on and what you're not. If him having kids is really too much for you to handle then maybe it would be best if you walk away because if you didn't you would only resent him in the long run which would be unfair because he does sound like a lovely man. If you leave him now it would hurt like hell but time is a great healer of wounds and in the greater scheme of things it could turn out to be for your own good. And don't forget you always have your family to lean on.



    Forget the haters waiting for you to fall, they'll find something to snigger at no matter what you do and you must never make a decision with them in mind. This is about you and your happiness. And please please please don't worry about your age! We're so lucky that we're now at a time when age is not a big deal anymore, I don't think I have a single friend who got married before 30, my best friend is 32 and getting married to the love of her life on the 27th! Once you're married, you're married. No one is going to say oh but she only just got married at so and so age. It just doesn't matter. What matters is the man you end up marrying and your happiness and I'd rather be an older but happier bride than one filled with so many uncertainties and questions.



    Think hard about what you're about to do and take all the time you need. Don't feel rushed into marriage because its an even bigger mess to come out of a marriage. If you decide to stay with your h2b then I wish you every happiness and urge you to always focus on the positives. Having step kids is never easy but it's not the worst thing in the world either. If you accept your husband and his kids into your life, then do so with all your heart, not grudgingly because you have a choice. You always have a choice.



    And remember the grass is always greener on the other side, no matter what side you're on so if you decide to stay on your green grass, take some time to appreciate it and not wish for the green-ness of the other side because if you stepped over to that side, I can assure you that the other side would suddenly seem greener!



    I wish you the very best and you will be in my prayers.

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