Tell Me About It: ‘I wonder why he wants to meet my mother before marriage’
PROBLEM: I met a man online a year ago through Facebook and we have fallen in love. Recently, on Valentine’s Day, he got down on his knees and he presented me with an engagement ring asking me to marry him.
I said yes.
We’ve both been married before. Him twice, with only one child from his first marriage and he says he adopted his second wife’s children who were in their late teens at that time. His history is of being a seven-year navy veteran and he has retired from service with a big company.
I have been married and divorced for more than 30 years with two adult sons living abroad. My fiance has not met my sons nor my one adult daughter who is married and living in Eastern Europe where I also live but they have all spoken on the phone. Because of Covid we have tried to protect each other.
We both shared our news with family and friends, and he wants to meet my only living parent, my mother. Both his parents are deceased.
We are both elderly seniors. I am very healthy, no issues nor concerns. My partner has type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and is lacking in the area of sex. I still love him in spite of anyone or anything and I know he feels the same.
My question is why would he want to meet my mother before marriage?
He said he has a living will and he wonders what he should do, or what we should do about that. He has just purchased an expensive home 11 months ago and I have my own home that I am still paying for. What steps do we need to take? Do we get married and work things out, or plan and work things out after marriage?
He has been ill and in hospital since we have been engaged but is getting better and asking that we get married as soon as possible.
I am confused and want to know how to handle all this.
ADVICE: Congratulations on your engagement. It is wonderful to know that love blossoms on Facebook and at every possible age of life. I am not sure if you have met your partner in person (assuming it is possible to get on your knees online) but this might be something to organise before committing to spending the rest of your lives together.
Your first question is about why your partner wants to meet your mother and I think you should ask him this and also talk about why you are concerned about this request. If you are to get married, you need to be able to communicate your fears and concerns without trying to mind-read your partner’s response. It is all part of growing as a couple and setting patterns for your future time together. As you both have properties and children, it would be very wise to see a financial adviser or indeed a solicitor who can help you with the details of a living will or any other legal issues that will occur as a result of your marriage.
Trust your instinct and seek lots of time for communication while reassuring him that this will make you a closer and more united couple
It would be best to sort this out before the ceremony, so that all expectations are clear and upfront, but your partner sounds as though he is anxious to get married quickly and perhaps this is due to his ill health. It would be worth investigating why he feels in a rush, and to check out if this is due to his sense of protection (financial and otherwise) for you or if it is to do with his own fear of being alone and unwell.
At the core of your confusion is a need to talk and clarify many things and it seems that, while your fiance wants to speed things up, you want to slow them down until you can unravel the many parts of your possible life together.
You should trust your instinct and seek lots of time for communication while reassuring him that this will make you a closer and more united couple. You may need to address his fear, and this is probably harder to do through online communication than it is in person. It is possible that your partner’s difficulty with sex makes him less confident in his relationship and again this is an area that needs to be talked about.
Many older couples have wonderful intimacy without orgasm or erectile functioning, and this may be an area both of you would like to explore – finding pleasure in each other will create a strong foundation. Again, time and commitment allow us to be more vulnerable in the arms of our loved ones and you two are at the beginning of this journey so try not to rush but let it evolve naturally.
While falling in love is expansive and wonderful, it also gives us the boost to stretch ourselves in ways we might otherwise avoid, so be courageous and tackle the issues between you as soon as possible and trust that the relationship will endure.