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Hi all,
I'm at a point where I'd like to make a decision to buy a house, but am also in a relationship that I could see eventually evolving into marriage, or at least being a multi-year thing. We're both happy and like eachother a lot.

There are a few factors that complicate this:
- I have a daughter from a prior marriage & joint custody, and see my daughter a fair amount (approx 36% of the year when all days are added up)

- GF has no kids and has never been married. We're both the same age, in our late 30's.

- My daughter & XW live in the burbs, and I also live nearby in the burbs (for the sole reason to be close to my daughter).

- GF lives in the city, in a gentrifying neighborhood where she can ride her bike, walk to bars & restaurants, and parks, etc. I appreciate that & also used to live in the city... nightlife was important to me in my 20's and early 30's, but it's a lot less now.

- I'm renting right now, and while my living situation is decent enough and stable, I'd like to buy a house here so I can have a backyard for my daughter and her friends to play in, and also garden for myself (a hobby I've taken up because of the quarantine/COVID-19 situation).

- My GF has said in no uncertain terms that she will not move to the suburbs.

- Pricing - I've been looking at real estate listings here and in the city, and really could not afford a single-family home in a decent neighborhood in the city; I'd be looking at a 2 bedroom condo, or at best a 2/3 bedroom townhome. So... finding a working compromise is nearly impossible.

More recently, I mentioned a nice house I saw pop up on the market here in the burbs. GF got surprisingly hostile and said if I wanted that, she could just buy a condo in the city then. When I said, maybe that's the solution, I live out here and she lives there, and we see eachother a couple days during the week, and on weekends (which is how often we see eachother now), she got upset and said that would be a dealbreaker for her.

So... I guess she sees marriage and cohabitation as the goal.

I do too, but I don't see a way to make that work & also balance my responsibilities as a father with her no-suburb-ultimatum. I'm committed to being part of my daughter's life, and I don't want to be in the position where I have to drive an hour both ways in rush-hour traffic to pick her up, and drive out to the burbs in the morning to take her to school. This would mean I get less time with my daughter, and also adds a lot of traffic-related stress to the equation.

So... specific questions:
1) From a woman's perspective, would you move into a house your BF bought on his own... or is it really that important that it be "a joint endeavor"?

1a) Is there anything I could do to make it more palatable... like let her decorate? Give her joint ownership in a pre-nup if we have kids?

2) Does this situation look like a long term deal breaker?

3) I thought living apart could be a reasonable compromise. Reasons for this are we're both more independent & somewhat introverted, set in our ways, and after my last experience, I'm not convinced I ever need to be married again, but am keeping an open mind. Has anybody else managed a sort of "separate but together" housing arrangement?

FWIW, I'm not in any hurry, and can wait to see how things play out, or if she ever comes around. I.e. I don't NEED to buy a house anytime soon. But I'd also hate to miss out on something I like... I would be much happier in a house right now than my apartment. I'm trying not to push the issue, but I don't feel like my GF is being reasonable about this.
 

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It is a tough situation, but what I do not like is your girlfriend's hostile attitude. if this is a deal breaker for her, that should tell you something. The living arrangement shoudl be something to discuss in a calm manner. if she looks at this as potential marriage and kids and you are saying you done with marriage most likely, that's another issue between two of you that should be clarifed

And as Mr.Married said - your daughter should be here priority. And you want woman who understands that.
 

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Divorced woman here, single mom to two kids for the past decade.

I'd definitely buy a house in the suburbs and make a nice life with my daughter, yard and garden and all.

Your girlfriend friend doesn't want to live in the suburbs. Sounds like you two are incompatible.

Move forward with your life with your child.

There will be a woman out there who will enjoy living in the suburbs and having a life there with child, garden, and all.
 

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I’m a woman. If it were me I’d encourage you to buy a house in the burbs. You’re already in the burbs anyway so why not improve your living situation for you and your daughter?

I understand wanting to take your GF‘s wishes into consideration but she’s not open to options so, IMO, she’s affectively removed herself from consideration.
 

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Ok so. I think part of what upset the girl friend is she is looking at this all wrong. It feels like you are picking your old family over your potential new family. And your suggestion that you live apart is a signal that you don't see marrying her.

Have you sat down and just had an open conversation?
I like you and I think eventually I could see us living together and getting married. I am a father and I need to be in the burbs so I can afford a house for me and my daughter and maybe you one day.

I think this whole conversation threatened her perceived position. But instead of guessing or playing games you could just lay it on the table.

How does she and your daughter get along? Is she nice to your daughter or does she just tolerate her? How is the dynamic when you are involved work? Does your daughter play you?

If they don't get along then this was never really going to work anyway. If they do then you should have a more straight forward conversation with your girlfriend. Tell her that you understand she likes the city but with children you don't see living in the city anytime soon.
 

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Nope, I wouldn't move into and contribute to a house that my bf owned and got all of the benefit out of, particularly since you're looking for her to fold into your life, which she does not want to do and isn't obligated to do.

But I also think you should stay near your daughter, so that makes you two incompatible. Your gf has a child free life and isn't obligated to change her life to suit your responsibilities, but your daughter must be a priority in yours.

Find someone who wants what you want.
 

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You're not married to her, therefore, she has no say in where you should live/what house to buy. Not really sure why she's mad about that...You want to be close to your daughter; also, it's not right for you to ask this woman to change her lifestyle for you. If it's a dealbreaker for her (which I understand), then you should not be together. Your daughter should come first. Buy the house you want for the sake of your daughter, and let the chips fall where they may.
 

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I am not a woman, but I have to say something. In long term relationships, many things have to be negotiated and at times, renegotiated. These things range from where you live to who empties the dishwasher. It sounds to me like she doesn't want to negotiate. Her life remains the same or you are out. That would be a disqualifying demeanor for a successful relationship in my book.
 

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I am not a woman, but I have to say something. In long term relationships, many things have to be negotiated and at times, renegotiated. These things range from where you live to who empties the dishwasher. It sounds to me like she doesn't want to negotiate. Her life remains the same or you are out. That would be a disqualifying demeanor for a successful relationship in my book.
I agree with this in general, but I would add that he is actually not going to negotiate anything. He wants her to move into a house that he is going to buy on his own to suit his responsibilities.

The problem here is that because he has a daughter all sacrificing has to be done by her....her. She'd have to upend her life while his barely changes at all.

It's nobody's fault..their situations just aren't compatible.
 

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I agree with this in general, but I would add that he is actually not going to negotiate anything. He wants her to move into a house that he is going to buy on his own to suit his responsibilities.

The problem here is that because he has a daughter all sacrificing has to be done by her....her. She'd have to upend her life while his barely changes at all.

It's nobody's fault..their situations just aren't compatible.
The above answer is my train of thought as well, your current lifestyles aren't quite in sync. You can be in love with someone but that doesn't always mean you are right for each other. Buy the house that best suits your families best interest.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks all, for the advice.

To be clear: my daughter absolutely comes first, and I would not make a decision that affects my relationship with her, or stretches me financially or for time just to accommodate my GF. So I'm not letting her dictate anything.

And as much as I enjoy the nightlife of the city and eating out, neither are happening right now due to the pandemic, and regardless - we're both at the age where it starts to really take a toll on one's health to "indulge" so much... and I think my GF is starting to realize that on her own. Plus her best friend is having a kid and settling down now.

I don't want to put this as an ultimatum to her; I mean, she knew I was divorced and had a daughter when we met and started dating, so it seems to me unfair for her to complain about those at any point in our relationship (not that she has, but I'm thinking about the longer term). Obviously though, because of that she has to make more compromises in the relationship to accommodate my history. But I hope that's something she can deal with mentally and move on, without it becoming a continuous issue.

I kind of hope my GF starts to come around to the idea on her own; I mean she likes to spend time at my place. And as time has gone on, she offers to come over here more frequently.

I suppose I'm looking for what's "reasonable" to expect a woman in her situation to accept or agree to, and what compromises to ask her to make. At the same time maybe some of you are right, and at some point, I need to say to her "This is just how it is for me. You can take it - and move in, or leave it - and move on."
 

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There’s obviously a big difference between life in the burbs and life in the city. I enjoyed both at very different times of my life but they are very different lifestyles. She wants the city and won’t leave. You want the burbs and shouldn’t (IMO) leave. The idea of continuing to live apart seems the best solution but sounds like she wants marriage much sooner than you do. She probably doesn’t want to wait until your daughter’s not with you (and I assume that might be a number of years yet to go). So, yes, you may have to remind her that she knew what the situation was when she started dating you. Nothing’s changed. If that’s a dealbreaker for her then it is but your daughter deserves to be your priority for now.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I am not a woman, but I have to say something. In long term relationships, many things have to be negotiated and at times, renegotiated. These things range from where you live to who empties the dishwasher. It sounds to me like she doesn't want to negotiate. Her life remains the same or you are out. That would be a disqualifying demeanor for a successful relationship in my book.
I get that everything is a negotiation, but I feel like some things - kids for example - aren't a negotiation point. A person needs to accept that about their significant other, and move forward. Or if they can't accept it, move on - preferably sooner than later.

We can negotiate what color to paint the bedroom, or where to eat dinner.


I agree with this in general, but I would add that he is actually not going to negotiate anything. He wants her to move into a house that he is going to buy on his own to suit his responsibilities.

The problem here is that because he has a daughter all sacrificing has to be done by her....her. She'd have to upend her life while his barely changes at all.

It's nobody's fault..their situations just aren't compatible.
She'd likely get a better paying job here in the burbs (she and I have already discussed her job options outside the city).

Plus neither of us own property right now. We're both renting.

She's sent mixed messages to me on this; she's told me she wants to settle down and have a family (though that window is starting to close for her), and feels the pressure from her family and friends over being single and w/out kids. I can see she's struggling to decide things for herself.

I think she's a good person, and really like her and am happy with her, so I don't want to ditch a wonderful relationship over the housing issue, but I also am not going to live my life going forward chasing a lifestyle that forces me to give more than I receive. I suppose in the end, it may come down to whether I can persuade her to see things my way or not.
 

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How do your daughter and your girlfriend get along? How often is your daughter with you want your girlfriend is around?
 

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I get that everything is a negotiation, but I feel like some things - kids for example - aren't a negotiation point. A person needs to accept that about their significant other, and move on.

We can negotiate what color to paint the bedroom, or where to eat dinner.



She'd likely get a better paying job here in the burbs (she and I have already discussed her job options outside the city).

Plus neither of us own property right now. We're both renting.

She's sent mixed messages to me on this; she's told me she wants to settle down and have a family (though that window is starting to close for her), and feels the pressure from her family and friends over being single and w/out kids. I can see she's struggling to decide things for herself.

I think she's a good person, and really like her and am happy with her, so I don't want to ditch a wonderful relationship over the housing issue, but I also am not going to live my life going forward chasing a lifestyle that forces me to give more than I receive. I suppose in the end, it may come down to whether I can persuade her to see things my way or not.
Why would you want to persuade her? Seems to me that this is a decision she should make on her own.

There is no compromise here where you will give more then you receive. While she knew you were divorced she may not have fully realized what that meant, so she probably has mixed feelings....thus the mixed signals.

And on the flip side you knew she had no children and liked her city life...nobody forced you to date her yet now you want her to give up her life to accommodate yours.

I just get the feeling that you don't comprehend that you're asking her to essentially leave her life and drop into yours, and I think its important that you understand that pretty much all of the sacrificing is going to be done by her if she decides to go along with this.

It's going to set things up for a lot of resentment if you take the attitude that she knew about your daughter and so you are entitled. If she feels like you understand what you're asking of her it might even help her decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
How do your daughter and your girlfriend get along? How often is your daughter with you want your girlfriend is around?
FWIW - my daughter is very sweet & likes my GF. and my GF says she likes my daughter, and they seem to have a good connection and like eachother's company.

My GF will buy her books and things, and will come over when she's here (generally every other weekend... but a bit less due to the pandemic).
 

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On the other hand, I know --too many to count-- men who have dated and then married women with children, and these men became stepfather and husband and formed a family until with these women and children, suburbs and gardens and family lifestyle and all, and are proud of the family they created together, and never termed it as having to "drop into" her life.
 
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