Ask Amy: In this family, kids come before marriage

January 27, 2014 

Dear Amy: I have been with my girlfriend for over four years. Everything happened really quickly between us: She got pregnant after only three months of dating and then we moved in together.

After our son was born, the "flame" slowly started to go out between us and never really came back. After three years, as much as I really loved this girl my patience had worn out, and it seemed we were more roommates than a couple raising our child.

On top of that she told me (after three years together) that she doesn't want to get married. This shattered me. She talked about marriage in the beginning but as soon as things got tough everything changed.

I'm traditional and would love to get married; it's something I have dreamed about and believe in. I love this girl so much and I don't know whether I should split up my family over her refusal to marry me, especially now that she is pregnant with my second child.

I don't know what to do. I'm so torn. I love her so much; please help me sort this out.

— Frustrated

Dear Frustrated: Marriage marks an important declaration about long-term commitment, but your perspective (and your partner's) is skewed. She thinks, "Our relationship is flawed, and so I don't want to get married." You think, "Our relationship is flawed, and so I want to get married."

Marriage will not solve (or even change) your relationship problems. You've already made a family together. Because your partner seemed to want to get married at one time, you can assume that she is not necessarily against the institution itself.

Do not push to get married when your relationship is in the ditch and then use her refusal/reluctance as a reason to leave. Because you have children together, you are both duty-bound to make every effort to have the best relationship possible.

Dear Amy: "Put Out" felt that it was unreasonable to transport her parents from the airport a couple of times a year. Your answer was spot on. I have cared for elderly relatives for more than 10 years.

I would give so much to be able to spend one more day with my dad. Put Out needs to re-evaluate her priorities. By showing her kids that she makes sacrifices for her parents, maybe they will learn compassion.

— Laura

Dear Laura: Many readers agree with your perspective. Thank you.

 

You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at askamy@tribune.com, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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