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Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I need help with problem solving techniques and an honest opinion.

Customer Question

I need help with problem solving techniques and an honest opinion. My boyfriend and I are pregnant. He wanted me to move in his house (sell my house) but I refused without a commitment. I already have been divorced and have a 5 and 3 year old. I would like your opinion on the exchange of emails. Is there something I should have done better? He wants to stay together and make it work but I feel he has some passive aggressive behaviors. He said I am emotionally abusive. Please give me your opinion and advice. Was I being out of line and harsh? Was he avoiding solving our problems? He did call after and say he still wants to make things work. Thanks!

Me: "I've been thinking about our conversation. I have been listening to you for almost a year going on and on how you want to be married and now you go back/forth. It seems you don't know what you want. That is fine but I can't put my kids future and my future in the hands of someone that doesn't know what he wants. In my opinion couples work harder to get through problems when they know they have a future together. Given our conversation last night I won't put my house on the market. I will not jump from this house to an apartment to your house while being at the mercy of your "decision." That is utter and complete nonsense, not to mention bad for the kids. What happens if I move in and you decide you don't want us to live there? I will have no property and no where to go. I will be trapped and have less rights by being unmarried. On the other hand you should not feel pressured into a proposal that you don't want. I desire stability and can have that by staying in my house. We can become co parenting friends if I feel our relationship isn't progressing. Then I'll be freed up to find a man that wants to commit for life. What I want is a loving, passionate, devoted, fun life long relationship with my soulmate that doesn't change his mind about the relationship every other week. ;) You'll get all the perks of having a wife without making me your wife. I'm not doing that. I am just hurting myself and kids that way. I want to be a better example to my kids. I love you and hope you can understand where I am coming from. I know what is important to me and good for my children. I have a vision of what I want to do with my life the next 40-50 a happy life with my kids and soulmate, help others and constantly learn/grow.

Him: "Why do you do this to me… If this isn’t an ultimatum, I don’t know what is. This is part of the reason I started to pull away. I can’t just all of a sudden say “OK, now you’re pregnant so we have to get married & move in together right away”. It has been 6 days that we have known you are having my child, just give me some time to adjust to this new reality in my life. Of course engagement & marriage are things that are on my mind & goals that I have for us now more than ever before. A proposal like that should come naturally & be something we both want & can’t live without. I still totally think it can happen. I'm just unsure because we have had some conflicts lately. I've never conflicted a few times a week over a couple months with anyone. Did you fight with your ex like that? I don't think you should be making that decision about not selling your house. You can't afford it anyway and will need my place to live."

Me: "Why do I do this to you? Are you kidding me? Sweetheart, it is not an ultimatium at all. It is a "me" timatum. I need to do what is best for me and the kids. To be honest with you, you are the one that should feel lucky that I would even consider marrying you to begin with. Look at our history and how many issues you have brought to the relationship that I had to "accept" or get over. You lied to me about being married and then kept changing the dates as to when you were leaving your wife. I stopped seeing you because you wanted to continue living a lie. I have tried to overlook the past and hope we could make it ok. Up until this point I didn't want any other man but you. However, all this hesitation crap is just BS and I'm tired of the indecisivness. Conflicts happen and are normal. It is how things are handled that matters. Yes I can afford my own house and have since I've been on my own for almost a year since Ludo left. I'm just standing up for myself."

Him: "You are unrealistic beyond all belief. The type of fighting we have in our relationship is not in any way NORMAL. If this is how you have perceived a NORMAL relationship, I assume that is because you have never been part of one or seen how “happy” people go about their lives. This is not all your fault, but I know what a good relationship is. I have had many very good ones in my life. I do not think I could ever be truly happy in a relationship with you. You do not help bring out the best in me."

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


How long have you and your boyfriend been together?


Thank you!


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We were friends for a couple years (met through work/similar careers). We've been bf/gf for a year.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information.


It sounds like from your conversation that you are interested in a serious commitment that would provide stability if you are going to be living with your boyfriend. You are concerned for your status as well as stability for your children. You are telling your boyfriend that in order to be together, this is what you need.


On the other hand, your boyfriend seems to be looking at this from his perspective and what he wants. He is interested in a relationship, but he seems to want it on his terms. He does not sound like he is interested in being married as much as he wants things to go his way. He says that he feels what you say is an ultimatum, which indicates that he is feeling forced into marriage. He says he needs time to get used to the idea of having a baby. That may mean that he does not yet feel ready to accept responsibility.


His message to you also seems to say that at the sign of any conflicts, he questions the relationship. That may mean that he does not feel the relationship can handle much conflict, or at least he may not feel he can handle conflict. He indicates that he has not had conflicts in past with anyone (how that is possible with an ex in his background I'm not sure) and immediately puts it on you, indicating that he sees your requests as attacks and part of a behavior issue you have (did you fight with your ex like that?). This may be a sign that he sees your feelings as a problem rather than something that is legitimate and worthy to consider.


Overall, his reaction to your concerns indicate that there may be some maturity problems which lead to commitment issues. He seems to feel his feelings are more important, at least in this situation.


You can try to approach him in a different way. It may take being less confrontive with him because of his reaction. The trick is to get him to hear what you are saying without putting up his defenses.


It may benefit you both to see a counselor or pastor over this conflict. That way, there is someone who can show him that your feelings are just as important as his. And you can have your concerns heard.

I hope this has helped,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I appreciate your input. Do you think it is healthy that I'm uncomfortable moving in with him without a commitment? I am really concerned about uprooting my kids after they have been through a divorce just to have him change his mind and then me looking for another place to live. He just wants me to trust him and let everything happen on its own. However, I am wary of that approach.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

No your request is not unhealthy at all. It is very realistic. You need stability for your unborn child as well as your other children. Like you said to him, marriage provides you with a guarantee of a father for your children through commitment. A man who is not willing to commit now shows you that he will probably not be there in the long run. Asking you to just trust him is a little narcisstic on his part. He shows he is not considering your feelings in this but only his. It also shows that he feels your feelings and rights are not as important.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm trying really hard to work on my internal locus of control. I've been pretty good at not letting the outside environment effect me overall. However in this relationship I'm feeling bad when he is mad at me. I start feeling insecure when he goes back and forth on our future. I start feeling little and guilty when he blames all our fights on me. It took me a lot of strength to leave my previous husband who was bipolar and abusive. I always tried harder to please him to no avail. With my boyfriend I feel out of control with my feelings and it scares me because with other relationships (family/friends) I do not react the same way.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

It sounds like he may be emotionally abusive. If he is blaming you for all the arguments and you feel bad when he is angry with you, that is a sure sign.


It might help you a lot to talk to someone about how you feel. If you are feeling guilty and fearful in your relationship there could be an underlying issue that is attracting you to men who abuse. And it is an easy pattern to fall into once you are abused once. It affects your self esteem and ability to see yourself as worthy.



TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for all your help! I was in therapy through my divorce and it helped. I probably should go back and talk to someone about my current relationship and the baby on the way. Once again, thanks!
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

You're welcome! I am happy to help.


It is a good idea to talk with someone about this. I'm glad you have sought help before. It is a sign that you are very healthy. You will get through this. The support of therapy will help.


If you ever need to talk again, let me know. I would like to help.


Take care,