If I kicked him out, where would he go?

What are your dating/relationship/marriage/single problems? I'm ready to read them this weekend. Email [email protected] or send your letter here.

I am a 52-year-old woman who has been dating a gentleman for six years, living together for five. My last relationship, prior to this one, was abusive and ended more than 20 years ago. Being a single mother, I had decided not to date until my child was grown.

I had been out of the scene for quite a long time, and I wonder if I just don't understand relationships anymore. Fast forward to six years ago and I met this lovely man through a dating app. He was going through a divorce and had not lived with his wife for three years prior to us meeting. Well, he is still not divorced and I have been pushing him to do so for over a year now. He and his ex (kinda?) definitely aren't together, and I have no concerns about that. They just aren't moving forward with dissolving their marriage. She has mental health issues and I believe he is just being lazy.

I had wanted to get married to this man, and he even refers to me as his wife in public. But any time I bring it up the idea of marriage or, at least, getting divorced, he gets mad. I just don't know how much more time I should give him. As an aside, I don't know how easily we can break up. I own the house we live in and he no longer has family in the area that could help him. With housing being so expensive, I don't know where he would go.

– Am I being too nice?

You can break up with this man if you want to. He'll work to find a place, even if it's in another area. Please know that you don't have to stay with someone who makes you unhappy.

My assumption here, though, is that you don't want to break up. It sounds like you'd rather stay with him and have him pursue that divorce. See if you can figure out why, specifically, he's not taking next steps. Maybe it is laziness, but are you sure? Is money part of the issue? Would it be more expensive for one of them to get health insurance if the marriage were to end?

I know he'll get mad if you ask about this, which is why I'm going to suggest email and/or counseling. The email idea is that you send him a note that explains how upset you've become about the issue. Say, in the note, that you know this topic makes him upset, so you wrote it down to give him space to consider your thoughts before responding. Ask whatever questions you want answered. Give him the option of writing back after he's taken some time with it. He might hit delete – that would be its own answer – but maybe he'll sit with the email and respond.

The counseling idea is another way to make this topic easier to talk about. A third party can help you discuss what's happening here. If he says no to getting help, it's a good time to consider what kind of partner he might be in the future.

That's a question you can talk about in therapy on your own. Has his behavior affected your desire to get married? Maybe the first goal can be the divorce. If that happens, you don't have to jump to the next step. There should be more trust – and a plan – before you sign that kind of contract.

– Meredith

Readers? Is a breakup impossible? Is this about laziness?