Situation: Thirtysomething couple shacked up for decade or so. She still doesn’t know if she is keeper or booty. The record seems to show the latter by his lack of interest in the former. She senses pressure to marry or get out, but she loves him dearly.
Problem: Her father seldom sees her. But he gets angrier, and keeps himself and her mother in a dither. He keeps fussing that he should apply pressure on her to move out or her partner to marry her.
Problem: She has started having anxiety attacks. Perhaps sensing father’s or other pressures, something pushes against her reluctance to put demands on her partner. They’ve been too good together, and she can’t stand the thought of doing without him.
Fact: Her partner is respected and well liked by all the family. Except he seems to have little interest in doing what’s right for daughter, as others determine what’s right.
Assumption: All parties hope to see the couple marry and hope that it lasts forever. Although partner’s hopes are unknown, he seems to favor remaining together.
Options: There are five options designed to encourage the couple to wed but the first four lack glue to hold them together for life. 1) Father initiates discussion/expectation with daughter, or 2) with her partner. 3) Daughter initiates discussion/expectation with partner. Or, 4) no one initiates discussion and they continue as they are living together now.
With option 5), however, daughter decides to act on her own initiative, without regard or discussion with others, and without regard for the outcome. She wants to be a better woman for herself. Although chanciest for the present, out of this option grows the greatest chance for lifetime marriage. Only her partner can figure out what’s best for him and make it last.
Option 1 and 2. Father initiates discussion/expectation with daughter or partner. His third party interference almost guarantees lack of marital success, either soon or lifetime. He immediately becomes a competitor of her partner, or pushes daughter into that role. Men don’t easily succumb to an outsider’s pressure into their territory. Partner also blames her and competition arises between the partners. Men don’t lose such battles and retain their self-respect. Even if he agrees and marries her, he’s likely bound up in regret, internal resistance, or even some bitterness. She will likely pay a big price someday, someway.
Option 3. Daughter tries to talk partner into marriage with sweetness and psychic need. Failing to get her way, she likely and eventually feels desperate and turns to threats—probably to depart their living arrangement. Unless he is so devoted to her and marriage that he wants to immediately make her feel better and assuage her negatives without regard for the price he pays, he will probably fight back. She has initiated competition to directly tell him how to live rather than use the indirect technique by which women successfully get their man to fulfill womanly wishes.
Men are highly unwilling to compete with their woman. They can fear losing to her more than actually losing her. Men so adroitly and clearly avoid competition with a woman; fear of losing exists in the male nature.
If he takes her pressure as competition, she will probably lose in the end. Most likely, he will resist while awaiting arguments to put against hers, resent her as she more assertively pushes forward on her agenda, and retaliate against any threats she puts in his face. Or, perhaps he might propose, marry her, and then hold it against her for however long they remain together. It’s another way that men avoid losing. If apparently forced to give in today, men plan to recover or retaliate later if not sooner.
Option 4. The couple continues with their present shack up arrangement and agreements. She spends her days in disappointment both to herself and her father. If anxiety attacks are caused by super disappointments already in her heart, they will probably worsen. Depression will likely set in if not already existing. Action cures depression, but by making no changes in their arrangement, she takes no action and opens the door for depression.
Option 5. Daughter changes her life by adopting a new set of values, standards, and expectations. She needs no one’s permission, only her determination to do what’s right for her.
Not married, she lives in sin, and it’s no longer acceptable. She goes celibate. She withdraws from sexual relations. She does not move out but practices virtual virginity while still living with him, and her reasons are multiple.
She revises her lifestyle to live up to higher quality expectations for herself. She seeks to feel better about herself, to respect herself more, to amplify her life with values that earn greater self-respect, self-admiration, self-importance, and self-gratitude for who she is and can become as a wife. She expects to also satisfy the less earthy and more respectable expectations of herself, parents, God, morality, and biblical teachings. IOW, she makes herself a better woman according to the proclamations and expectations of herself amid those she respects as more wonderful than herself. Good wifeing requires a stronger mind and heart.
Nothing against her partner, it’s all about her. If he finds fault, it is hers. If he condemns her—he has the shack up privilege if not the marital right—but it’s her life. If he considers her unqualified for his life, so be it. If he can live without her in his life, then they are not compatible enough anyway.
She releases him. The choice is his to do with his life whatever appeals to him. She decides that she would rather be true to herself as a good wifely prospect, than live in sin with an old friend such as he and even amid all the blessings she inherits living with him.
He’s a very good man for her, but she has to become a better woman. If she can’t live with herself, she can’t do what she expects to do with whatever husband with whom she ends up.
If he wishes to start over and win her for himself, she’s not against it. However, she’s smart if she doesn’t tell him, but lets him figure out by himself just exactly how he should proceed.
If he proposes, she wins. If he doesn’t, he was never good enough, and she wins by wasting no more time trying to morph him into Mr. Right.