Friday, December 7, 2012

Reader Thinks Man-Child Might Be Proposing, Hopes She Is Wrong

Dear Tazi:

Christmas is coming and I have a feeling that my boyfriend is going to ask me to marry him.  The problem is, I do not want to marry him.  I do not want to break up with him - I enjoy his company - but I do not feel compelled to get married because of some unwritten societal rule that states we must get married because we have been together for a couple of years now.

"Steven" is a great guy, but I do not think he would make a very good husband.  He still lives at home with his mother, who does everything for him, from cooking to laundry.  He is completely helpless around the house, and cannot handle even the smallest repairs.  He either cannot or will not cook for himself, preferring to ask me to cook for him or ordering take-out if his mother is not around to do it for him.  His mother sees no problem with her enabling Steven to remain a child; she says it is her job as a mother to care for her son, just as it would be my job as his wife if we were to get married.  Right!

On top of all this, Steven does not pay rent or board.  He has a good job, and spends his money on guy toys - his motorcycle, his sports car, his stereo system, video games, etc.  I am not certain if he even has a savings account because the few times I have tried to bring up financial responsibility he changed the subject.  Other than his inability to take on the responsibilities of adulthood, Steven is the perfect boyfriend.  We have similar interests, he always treats when we go out somewhere, and he lets me have my independence to pursue my own interests, separate from our mutual interests.

I am a financially independent woman with a good career, good friends, and a supportive family.  I would like to get married someday, which is what I tell Steven whenever he brings up the subject; I tell him that marriage is on my list of priorities, but it needs to be to the right man.  He would get upset, saying he would like to get married, and would like to think that he is the "right man", but I can not see him giving up his lifestyle in order to make the necessary financial and domestic sacrifices needed to live apart from his mother.  If Steven does ask me to marry him, do you think I would be leading him on if I said no, but that I would like to continue seeing him?

Liking The Status Quo

Dear Liking The Status Quo:

I can see why you enjoy the status quo - you are dating a man-child who treats you like a princess; you have the emotional security that comes with being a part of a couple and the freedom to follow your own, separate interests.  Your boyfriend has no financial responsibilities to anyone but himself, leaving him free to spend that money on you and some really cool toys.  You would like a lifetime commitment to someone who treats you this way, so what's not to love?  Oh, that's right; his inability to shoulder his share of adult responsibilities.

If your boyfriend wants to ask you to marry him, this may mean that he feels ready to man up and be the kind of man worthy of the title "husband".  Perhaps he has decided that it is time to grow up (you do not mention how old you are) and that getting engaged - thus putting another woman before his mother - is his way of cutting the apron strings.

Obviously, Steven is not ready to get married; not if he thinks that life will be just like living with Mom, only with an added sexual aspect to the relationship.  However, this does not mean that the man is hopeless.  If he asks you to marry him, which you do not want to do, saying that you would like to stay together would be giving him hope for the future.  Could there be hope for a future between the two of you?  It appears that you would like to see a future Steven; just a new and improved version of him.

I would suggest to you that you give an explanation for your refusal to marry your boyfriend, should he ask.  Explain to him that you do not want to take the place of him mother, that you want an equal partner in life; then, I suggest you start acting like one yourself.  The next time Steven asks you to cook for him, offer to teach him how to make a few basic but nutritional dishes.  If he is open to this idea, try teaching him how to do his own laundry; see if his friends can teach him how to make minor household repairs, which is something you should know how to do, too!  Home repairs are not gender specific chores!

If, in time, if you start to see changes in Steven's behavior you may find that you feel differently towards marrying him.  If, however, you still cannot see yourself offering him the commitment he seeks, you must be fair to him and be honest about where you see your relationship going - as in nowhere further.  If he can accept this, I see no issues.  If not, I see a break-up in your future.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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