Ask Amy: She Wants Marriage, He Wants a Clean Shave

By Amy Dickinson | July 15th, 2020

When a couple can't agree on their future, is it worth continuing at all?


Couple cannot agree about marriage Image

Dear Amy: I have been in a relationship with a man for 10 years.

He is 71 and lives in another state (50 miles away), and I am 70. I am divorced and he has never been married.

We both own our homes.

When I had a job in another state, I would come home on weekends, and he would come to my house on Friday and leave on Sunday.

We spent most weekends and holidays together and went on vacations (all at my expense because he lives on a low fixed income, and I make much more money than he does).

Since I retired in October, he is perfectly content to keep our previous arrangement intact.

He does not stay any longer than Sunday unless we have special plans for Sunday night, or go on vacation together.

I want to spend more time with him, but on Sundays he seems anxious to return to his hometown.

He is retired, and when he gets home, he spends his time hanging out at barbershops with his friends. Then he comes back to my house most Fridays.

When we are together, he seems content with our relationship, and we talk on the phone often.

I recently learned from a confidential reliable source that he was asked when he and I are going to marry. He replied, “Never. I have loved only one woman in my life, and if I didn’t marry her, I will never marry.”

I was devastated to hear this because he knows I want to marry him.

Should I confront him with what I have learned, or keep quiet as if I don’t know what he has said?

Anonymous Woman

Dear Anonymous: Let’s recap: You have been in this relationship for 10 years. Ten. Years. A decade.

You sound like a successful, smart, independent woman. Logic would tell you that a never-married man who reaches the age of 70 without marrying (and spending 10 years with you without marrying) would remain unmarried. And that a man who loves his own home and Monday-Friday barbershop hang-time would either invite you to join him, or would continue to enjoy this arrangement alone, because it works for him.

You have now heard that your guy has loved only one woman in his life – and presumably that woman is not you.

You seem to have surrendered your own rights in this relationship. I’m talking about the right to use your voice, the right to ask questions, the right to state – out loud – what you want, and the right to leave a relationship if it doesn’t serve your needs.


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In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2020 by Amy Dickinson

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