I know he’ll propose soon, but we have problems

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I've known my boyfriend for over 35 years. We were childhood best friends, but grew apart when his family moved away. (We lived next door to each other).

He was always in love with me, but I only saw him as my best friend. We came into contact with each other again and have been in a serious relationship for two years. We are both divorced now. I know for a fact that he is going to propose to me very soon. I have several issues with this. First, he lives about two hours away from me. I live with my 81-year-old mother who can't live on her own due to health problems. He cab't move near me (where all of his family is too) because he has joint custody of his two young daughters.

Second, he can, at times, have anger issues (never been physical with me). I think it has a lot to do with his father abandoning him and his siblings when they were young (I remember that). I not only have my best friend back, but he is my other half. I want to be with him and his daughters, but I don’t know how to deal with these obstacles!

– Obstacles


I don't see why you have to change the status quo right now. You both have responsibilities that aren't going to change for a while. Sure, you can accept a proposal and make a promise to combine homes when it's less complicated, but for now, there are limits to your togetherness. And that's OK. It’s frustrating, but this is how caretaking and family responsibilities work.

The greater concern seems to be your second point. Has he been verbally abusive to you? Has he been physically abusive with others? You can try to diagnose the why of it all, but he has to work this out on his own. He has to acknowledge his behavior and take it seriously.

Before you make decisions that tie you to this man, tell him what you want, which is for him to get help, work on this pattern, and create an environment where you can feel safe when the two of you can be together. This is the major obstacle, and it's the one he can work on by himself. You can also get help, by the way. Leaning how to deal with this – even in a group setting – would be a good thing.

Don't race toward marriage until you know how he's addressing his temper. Don't underestimate the issue because once you live together, it'll be harder to avoid. This is the time to talk about concerns and the life you want. You win nothing by avoiding difficult conversations.

– Meredith

Readers? What's the obstacle here? Should marriage be on the table?