Question: I met a woman two years ago, we moved in together after a year. Just one thing is driving me mad.
I’d been separated for two years but she wanted me to complete my divorce, which I did.
She’d also been married briefly, divorced five years prior to meeting me. Yet she keeps her name hyphenated to her ex’s name. I asked that she drop his name, since we were discussing marriage and already trying for children.
She agreed, but did nothing. She made it sound difficult, yet I discovered how easily it could be changed. It hasn’t happened.
She’d given me an ultimatum to divorce or she’d leave . . . should I do the same?
What’s a Man to do?
Answer: The “name thing” often strikes a nerve — and it’s poking at both of you. She may have private reasons, such as fears of moving forward or having bombed out so quickly in her first marriage. You seem to think her ex-husband’s name diminishes your relationship together. But you don’t mention her having any contact with him or caring for him, so you’re also showing insecurity.
Bottom line: It’s still a developing relationship after only one year of living together. Tell her this matters to you as much as the divorce mattered to her, and that you’ve both shown worries about the future.
But if you’re serious about a next stage together, the name must change. Otherwise, you’re in a wait-and-see phase. And if one of you doesn’t like that, you’ll likely break up. That’s not an ultimatum, just reality.
Question: I discovered last year that throughout our dating, my boyfriend of three years was still in close contact with his ex-girlfriend. When he learned she was moving to a different country, he was depressed because he still loved her.
I’m pretty sure he didn’t break up with me because he’d only have had a short time with her before she left. He told a mutual friend that their correspondence was almost like dating again, and mentally they were married. He was even telling her that he loved her. I was crushed.
I tried saying I was uncomfortable with their contact but he said she was just his good friend.
Before I could discuss it further, there were deaths and big problems with his family and it wasn’t the right time.
Since she left, things have been great. He’s attentive, devoted and loving, frequently talks about marriage and wants to move in together once we save up. But I can’t get over it, just thinking about it makes me upset. I want to confront him. Some of my friends have recommended that I let it go — she’s across the world, it was a year ago, and he’s showing he’s devoted to me. I keep thinking that if she comes back, we’ll be in the same boat (they were on-off for four years).
Confront or Forget?
Answer: Your friends are half right. It’s foolish to ruin a relationship with past troubles when it’s going great. It’s highly possible that there’s more to his devotion than just her absence — after deaths and serious problems, people are often more appreciative of the good in their lives and he’s showing you that.
However, the other half of this situation is your inner anxiety. You want to prevent on-off dating and get over your fear of being cast off for this ex. So, do not move in with him until you’re engaged and marriage is being planned, not just talked about.
TIP OF THE DAY
The “name” issue is usually a metaphor for other relationship concerns.