I admit it. I’m the marrying kind. I was engaged at 22, married at 24, and widowed at 44. At the time I lost my husband, I had been with him for half of my life. And when he died in March, we just missed our 20th wedding anniversary by a mere 2 months.
Fast forward to today and I’m now 56 and single. Two years ago, I walked into a coffee shop and met a man who changed my life for the better. Our online conversation just got better in person and we have been together ever since that day. It surprised both of us that with all of the crooked roads it took to finally meet, we are very much kindred spirits. We click in so many ways and to say that he makes me happy is a vast understatement. And yet, for all of the similarities that make us who we are as a couple, there is one area where we don’t see eye-to-eye and I know we never will. I’m referring to the M word — marriage.
I haven’t quite come to terms with this issue and quite truthfully, it does tear at me at times. For all of the frogs that I have dated since my husband’s death, I’ve finally found my prince of a guy who tells me that he loves me, adores me, but doesn’t want to marry me. Ouch. He tells me that it’s not personal and that he’s no longer the marrying kind, but his reassurances don’t make me feel better. Hearing “I don’t want to get married” stings. Period.
So, when a non-marrying kind of person meets a marrying kind of person can the relationship endure? I’m trying to figure this one out as I think about our histories. When my husband became so terribly sick, our bond grew even tighter. I almost had this kind of “us against the world” mentality as we lived through months of doctor visits and hospital stays. Toward the end of his life, I saw us as the team that would hopefully beat cancer into a bloody pulp. We didn’t win that battle, and our married life ended far too quickly. I walked into the hospital on a Friday morning a married woman and walked out as a widow the next day.
His marriage history is a 180 degree turn from mine. He has been divorced twice, and while I don’t know a lot about these marriages, I do know one thing with absolute clarity — the similarities between the ex-wives and me is almost non-existent. Would a marriage to me be better than the last two? I believe so. Yet, he doesn’t want to commit to something that he doesn’t believe will work. Does it bother me? Of course. But I would never want to enter into a marriage when I felt that I had forced someone’s hand.
I’ve got a good thing going, and I know it. In my heart, I know that we would make a terrific married couple. And for all I know, he might, too. Whatever it is that’s holding him back, it’s something that he keeps to himself. He might share it with me one day and then again, he might not. He has only told me that he feels he’s not good marriage material and that’s the extent of our conversation.
If my ultimate goal is to get married, then he’s not my man. But if my ultimate goal is to be with someone who loves me and energizes me, then, yes, I’ve met my man. He’s definitely not looking for a wife, but I did have an earlier experience with a man who was on a “wife quest.”
About 5 years ago, I went to a Christmas party and was approached by an older gentleman. During our conversation, I found out that his wife had died only a few months earlier in September. Ths gentleman called me a few days later — the hostess had given him my number — and asked me out for New Year’s Eve. I knew that I didn’t want to go and told him that I had plans. And I did. He never called me again, and truth be told, I was vastly relieved. He was nice guy, but one in desperate need of a wife. “If only I could find a partner, life would be good,” he told me. I knew right then and there that this was not the man for me. Desperation oozed out of that phone line, and I knew that I didn’t want to be Wife Number 2. He eventually did succeed in finding a wife. And I have met her at — you guessed it — my friend’s annual Christmas party.
So, am I on a “husband quest”? Yes and no. Yes, because I want that ultimate commitment of love, which in my book spells marriage. But on the flip side, I’d say no. I want a specialness with someone, and I’ve found it with this man. If he doesn’t want to get married, then I don’t want to walk away from something wonderful.
Don’t worry, dear Vibrant Nation readers, I won’t leave my guy. I’m working through an issue, which is not easy at times. I loved so many things about being married, and I realize that a way of life that was so important to my well-being is now a distant memory. Yes, I could walk away, take that risk, and see if there is another man out there . Yet, walking away from someone whom you love with all your heart and knowing that life is really on a pretty solid track does not seem like a wise decision.
I’m smart enough to know that life can be wonderful even if it isn’t perfect.