Steph & Dom solve your sex, love & life troubles
Steph & Dom solve your sex, love & life troubles: I so want my own Big Day… but he won’t marry me
- An anonymous reader asked Steph and Dom Parker for advice on marriage
- She shared the frustration of her divorcee partner not wanting to marry her
- Steph & Dom advised the reader to commit to each other in other ways
TV’s Steph and Dom Parker, 51 and 54, draw on their 20 years of marriage to solve your relationship problems . . .
Q: I’m 54 and have been with my boyfriend for the past three years. It’s going well and we’ve even discussed moving in together.
But I’ve just found out that he never wants to get married again. It came up over dinner last week and has really shocked me.
I always knew that he’d had a messy divorce from his first wife — it involved two children and dragged on over several years. However, I had no idea it had put him off completely.
I know that this might sound old- fashioned, but marriage is important to me. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of — the dress, the cake, the traditional white wedding. But, for various reasons, I’ve remained single. I never felt I’d met the right person. Until now.
An anonymous reader asked TV’s Steph and Dom Parker for advice on a desire to get married to their partner who was previously divorced (file image)
I thought this would be my chance finally to experience everything my friends did 20 years ago. It makes me feel so resentful that he made that commitment to someone else, but won’t do the same for me.
And there’s also the worry that it means he’s not in it for the long-term. I’m upset, but don’t want to jeopardise my relationship by telling him how I feel. What should I do?
Steph says: You are 54 and you’ve spent the past three decades watching friends have their lovely, fairytale moment at the centre of everyone’s attention. Now, you wish it could be you.
On one level, I don’t really blame you. Everywhere you look — films, books, social media — the big white wedding is sold to women as the ultimate expression of romantic love. If you don’t get the dress and the cake and the car, we’re told, then you have not properly fulfilled your female destiny.
And yet, it is just one day. My concern here is that you’re focusing on the wrong thing and the wedding itself has become more important to you than the relationship. A long, loving partnership is surely the goal here, not a Gift List at John Lewis.
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Deep down, I’m sure you know you’re being a little selfish. You think your partner has misled you and yet you admit you’ve never actually told him how much marriage means to you. He’s not a mindreader and I’m afraid he doesn’t owe you a wedding just because you’ve been together for three years.
I wonder if this is really about social acceptance. You sound as though you desperately want to join the club all your friends already belong to and hate the thought of defying convention by staying unmarried. You feel shock, and even humiliation, at his refusal even to contemplate tying the knot.
But don’t, for goodness’ sake, worry about what other people think. If I’m being ruthlessly honest, you sound low in self-confidence. But you have no need to be! Focus on the positives. You have a solid relationship with a man who wants to commit — you’ve discussed moving in together — and, frankly, lots of women in their 50s would jump for joy for the same.
You think that by telling him how much you want your own white wedding, you might jeopardise the whole thing — and I’m inclined to agree. The last thing a reluctant man wants is the full bridezilla experience.
Steph and Dom Parker (pictured) advised the reader to focus on building a loving relationship and committing to each other in other ways
Be subtle. Explore his reasons for not wanting to get married again and then decide whether either of you can shift your position.
But do remember what’s really important here. If you’re both happy and in love, many of your married friends will think you’re the one to envy, not the other way around.
Tread carefully, or you may find your dream destroys your future.
Dom says: There are two possible scenarios here. The first is that he says he doesn’t want to marry again because he doesn’t want to marry you. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh. I’m not suggesting he’s using you, but it does seem possible he has no intention of settling down with you and that the relationship isn’t as permanent in his mind as it appears to be in yours.
In fact, I wonder whether his confession over dinner was actually the start of the long goodbye. If so, I’m sorry, but at least it frees you up to find a man who will go the extra mile to fulfil your dreams.
However, there is another very real possibility here, which is that he’s telling the truth and it’s a simple case of once bitten, twice shy. I’d be sympathetic, if so. A messy, long-drawn-out divorce is a soul-destroying experience. Personally, I’m amazed people get over a nasty marital breakdown at all.
If you’ve been through one, trust me, you’ll do anything to avoid a repeat performance. Getting married makes you vulnerable, not only to emotional and psychological hurt, but financial depletion and months of legal hassle. He knows that through bitter experience.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t commit to you in other ways. You’ve discussed living together, but you haven’t done it yet. Well, get a move on! I’m a firm believer in living together before getting hitched. You don’t really know someone before you’ve lived under the same roof 24/7.
You might find you’re not as compatible as you think and want to run for the hills. Or he might find the set-up so irresistibly perfect, he’ll get down on one knee after all.
The problem is that you both have such differing views of marriage. Yours is rose-tinted and his a little cynical. How about a blessing or commitment ceremony to bridge the gap? A party, with a lovely dress and cake, but without the legal bureaucracy of marriage, might well tick boxes for both of you.
Start, as always, by talking. Gently ask him which of the two scenarios this is all about. If he truly loves you, it’s time to show more commitment.
But don’t get hung up on wedding bells! A good relationship is worth infinitely more than a piece of paper.
If you have a question you’d like Steph and Dom to tackle, write to: steph[email protected]
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