It can be hard when someone new comes into your life, because if you hope to have a future with him or her, you will have to make some major adjustments in your life, as will the other person make changes for you. You need to decide if changing your routine and the way you “like things” is worth this new relationship and the future it may afford you.
Don’t give up on a new relationship because you’re set in your ways. Remember, it’s all about making compromises, so no one ends up winning or losing. When you enter a new relationship, things may get topsy-turvy and there is no instruction manual to follow; but you do the best you can until new habits and routines are forged together. I’ve heard people say they’re too busy for a relationship because their life is “busy enough” or too full. Human beings were made to socialize and, yes, to couple up. So, you’re too busy living your life to actually live the life you’re supposed to? You won’t enter into a new relationship because of what you’re currently busy with? Sometimes, changing your routine is for the better, and if you end up sharing your life with someone because of the changes made, then wasn’t it all worth it?
Whether it’s a first or second marriage, changes have to be made to everyone’s life. Both parties have to give 100 percent of themselves, not 50 percent. Marriage isn’t math, where each gives 50 percent so you end up with one whole [marriage]. In that equation, you’re only investing and trying with half of who and what you are. You have to be fully committed and invest 100 percent of who you are to make the relationship work. One hundred percent of one plus 100 percent of the other will equal one whole marriage.
In this scenario, we have a couple who found love the second time around. But one part of the couple has been on her own for so long that she’s worried about losing her independence and identity if they make it official and get married. She wants things to stay as they are, but ultimately, she knows that’s not what her other half wants or would be happy with.
My ex-husband and I divorced decades ago. We co-parent and grandparent together.
A year ago, while visiting a friend, I ran into a childhood friend of mine who had lost his wife a few months earlier. Over the years, I had run into them here and there as a couple, but we weren’t friends or even acquaintances. Just people passing through time. My girlfriend made the call to him, and a few weeks later we had our first date. We’ve been together ever since.
After all these years of being independent and not relying on a man to help me run errands, kill bugs, or carry heavy luggage, it’s nice to have someone around who wants to do all of that plus more. It’s wonderful and fills my heart to have someone who wants to be there for me in every sense of the word. I may have fallen out of the habits of the wife role, but he is still very much in the husband role.
We’re in love, having a great time together. We reconnected and are building something for ourselves. I don’t see an issue if we kept things as they are, having a permanent boyfriend, or other half. On the other side of the story, he wants to make it official. He doesn’t want to keep “dating” and not to get married and live together. He wants to be the husband again and have that extra connection. I can understand that, but I’m so used to how things are in my life that I don’t really see why it has to be made official. We both know we aren’t dating anyone else; we love only each other. To me, getting married again doesn’t make sense; it’s just making it “official.” But to me it’s already official and I don’t need a chupah to cement it.
Is there something wrong with me to want to keep things as they are? I love being in a relationship with him and still being independent to a certain degree, still having my own space. I don’t want to lose my independence. Maybe it’s because I fell into a routine through the years. I don’t think that becoming a “Mrs.” will change much in our relationship, except that I will be losing a name and maybe I feel like it’s a little part of myself. What do you think?
Thank you for your letter, Marilyn.
Call me an old romantic, but I think it’s sweet that you reconnected with your childhood friend and have found love again. But I understand what you are saying. True, you have been on your own for a long time and I don’t know what type of marriage you had when you were married: if your husband was the type of person to help out a lot or if he kept to his “husband” role and you kept to your “wife” role and nowhere in the middle did lines get crossed. And it is true that as people age, the more set in their ways they get. But this can be a change for the better. You may be able to keep your independence and yet make it official.
You wrote, “I may have fallen out of the habits of the wife role, but he is still very much in the husband role.” This is very understandable. You’ve been on your own for decades, but if your boyfriend is new to this independent role, then he may have trouble giving up or forgetting what he thinks his responsibilities are in the relationship as “the man” or “the husband.”
You also wrote about losing part of yourself, as well as your name, if you marry this man. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by losing your “independence.” Does this mean you won’t be able to make decisions or have a girls’ night out? I need your definition of what that word means to you. Have you mentioned any of this to him? I’m sure he doesn’t want you to feel as if you are losing part of yourself, but rather finding another part or sharing yourself with him. I don’t think he would want you to feel swallowed up by marrying him. You won’t say goodbye to who you are, to stand at the door at 5:30 every evening with his slippers and newspaper in hand, and dinner ready on the table. Speak about it. I’m sure he has his own worries. This is also a big step and change for him.
Loving each other is great. Dating is great. But let’s look at one part of the reality if you don’t get married. Neither of you will be the other’s next of kin. You will have no say in health or legal matters that may arise in the future. His children and your children will be the ones making the decisions. They may take what you want into account, but the decision is theirs – even if you and your partner had the discussion about what to do when something happens.
The two of you need to discuss what your lives will be like if you decide to get married. Your manfriend may have loved his role as his wife’s assistant, partner, and helper – whatever term you may use – because that’s just in his nature. Being on your own for “decades” changes a person in that he or she becomes self-reliant. It takes some time to let someone else help out once in a while, to begin relying on someone, but that doesn’t mean you are less of a person or less independent if you allow someone you love and who loves you to assist you. That’s an act of love, as well.
Some will disagree with me and say, we all do things “in the name of love.” You may not need the chupah to make it official, but it means so much to the man you love to get married. Can’t you do this for him? But that is a discussion in and of itself. It’s important to remember that if you do marry him, you aren’t losing anything. Both of you are really gaining.
I feel that the most important part is that the both of you found love again. Open communication is always best, and if you speak with him and tell him about your fears of losing your independence, both of you can work something out to make sure you don’t feel like you lose your identity or any part of yourself in the relationship if you do stand under the chupah together.
Hatzlachah to you all.