REBOUND BACHELOR WANTS TO MARRY AGAIN
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR: I am 46 and divorced for just over a year and have been dating this wonderful woman for the past four months who I met online. She is 36, been divorced for 5 years, and has two young teenage kids age 15 and 13 (a boy and a girl). This woman is everything I’ve ever wanted in a woman, she is beautiful and keeps a good home and is a great parent although her kids act a bit snotty and distant. Her ex is not in the picture at all but the bad part about that is that he pays little if any child support. [She says he is a drug addict loser who cannot keep a job.] I’m so in love with this woman – the bedroom activities between us are phenomenal, the best I’ve had in my life. I’ve read enough of your site here to know about the various warning signs, and I don’t see any
except maybe that she gets a little jealous and tends to get critical of me sometimes. I want to propose to this woman but I guess I want an opinion about whether I’m rushing things. Her kids don’t seem to care much about what their Mom does, in fact her kids are hardly home even when I spend the night (maybe twice a week). If you ask why I want to get married to her, it’s because I cannot stop thinking about her and also the sex. If I were to walk away from this, I feel like I’d never find anything this intense again. Plus I just don’t like being alone – I prefer to be married instead of single. Do you think I should marry her, and do you have any suggestions on a good romantic way to propose?
MIDLIFE BACHELOR ANSWER: Your intentions are obviously good, and clearly you are head-over-heels in love ... but I have to say that I seldom run into write-in questions with so many warnings signs. Where to begin? Okay - first of all, since you've been divorced for a year and have been dating this woman for 4 months, I conclude that she is probably the first serious relationship you have had since becoming single. Wanting to do something as drastic as getting married so soon is definitely a symptom of being ON THE REBOUND. Not sure if you read the Midlife Bachelor Strategy section that discusses rebound behavior (see Rebound - Does Fear of Being Single Drive Your Behavior?) but you actually fit the definition of at least two possibly three of those qualifiers ... not wanting to be alone, ignoring flaws, becoming quickly enamored. There is nothing wrong with being on the rebound, you just have to know and understand yourself and your behavior enough so that you don't make critical life-changing decisions based strictly on rebound impulses. In other words, doing something as serious as getting married requires one to remove the “rose colored glasses”, and to be sure you see the person you intend to marry as they really are, and to be cognizant of the entire situation you would be marrying into. I'll point out what I'm talking about here next.
Some of the warning signs that I see which you may be overlooking include possible issues with her kids, and also with her being jealous and critical of you. Concerning her kids, you said that they are “snotty and distant”, and that they are seldom there when you spend the night. Do the kids spend the night with their father? I would guess not since you said that she said her ex-husband cannot afford child support, and is a drug addict who cannot keep a job. So where do the kids go for those two (or maybe more) nights per week? Maybe you know but didn’t say in what you wrote in with - but I guess I'm looking for validation of her being a “great parent” (your words) when her kids are “snotty and distant” and possibly staying out all night. Those kids are YOUNG teenagers (15 and 13) ... so I think what I mention here is important. Hopefully you know more than what you wrote, and hopefully I'm not reading too much into this whole parenting dissection of her.
The other warning sign I see in what you wrote me had to do with you stating that she gets jealous and critical of you at times. If you read the Fundamental Truths about Women and Midlife Dating Today section of this site (under Midlife Dating Advice) ... particularly the Be Careful Right Out of the Starting Gate / Great Sex Hides the Truth page, then you know that people are usually on their best possible behavior during the first six months of any new relationship ... and that when you are having massively hot sex with someone new, you tend to ignore flaws in your partner that otherwise would be fairly obvious to you. In other words, if it bothers you a little now about her acting jealous and being critical of you ... then downstream I think there is an excellent chance that you haven’t seen anything yet, and that these behaviors of hers will become more pronounced, and seriously get on your nerves increasingly as time passes. It would be extremely unfortunate to get married too quickly, and then realize after several months that your new wife annoys the hell out of you. Or that she is a bad parent. Or that her kids are rebels who stay out all night, and do as they please.
So my best advice to you is to PUSH THE PAUSE BUTTON on the whole idea of proposing and getting married. Give it some time - there is no rush, is there? In my opinion, a marriage is more likely to succeed if there are reasons for getting married beyond simply “being in love” or “not wanting to be alone” or “being afraid you'll never find something like this again” (all are your words). Take the time necessary to know who you will be marrying … to better understand her children … to better understand yourself. Be sure you want to get married for the right reasons, and not out of fear of being alone at this moment. The last thing the world needs is another divorce.
I had to cut myself off because I wrote twice as much as I originally intended as my response to you. I think it would be a great idea for you to join our Midlife Forum here, and learn from some of our members (many of whom have gone through what you are now going through). There are a couple of recent discussion threads there that are loosely related to what you are writing in about:
Take Off from the Widow thread (man wants to marry widowed woman after dating her for several months, and her daughter resists moving)
Is Marriage at Midlife a Good Idea? - Midlife Forum discussion thread
Good luck. Let us know what happens, and how things work out, okay?