Advicereality check

Reality Check

My boyfriend and I are having problems. We have been together for, like, 10 years, and every once in a while we talk about getting married. We usually decide not to because we don’t have any money, but I think it’s really important. I have a daughter from a previous marriage. She is a teenager and she likes my boyfriend more than she likes her dad because he has been more of a dad to her anyway. We have all lived together for the last nine years, and we get along pretty good.

So, lately, for some reason, I have had marriage on my mind and I keep bringing it up, and he keeps saying we can’t afford a wedding. I said we could do something small and put it on a credit card and pay it off in a few months. My mom said she would chip in, too. I want my daughter to see us as a good example, and if anything happens to me I don’t want her to have to go to her dad or his family because they’re crazy. If my boyfriend and I were married he could adopt her and then at least I wouldn’t have to worry. For some reason, he seems dead set that we can’t do this. I don’t think he is unhappy with me otherwise, or that he is cheating or anything, but he is starting to get mad whenever I bring this up now.

What should I do? Am I being crazy thinking that this is a good idea?

Need to Be Sure

If this is really about money, then tell him you don’t need a wedding reception. There is no reason why you can’t just go down to the courthouse and sign the papers and do it. Perhaps it isn’t the most romantic way to do it, but if money is the only issue, then that would be a solution. You should also find out, by the way, if that would make him your daughter’s legal guardian in case anything happens to you. It might not. If there is something else going on, then you need to talk about it. Don’t be angry or accusing and don’t nag him about it. Just ask him straight up what the issue is. Does he know your reasons for wanting to make it official? Maybe he doesn’t want the responsibility of raising your daughter if anything happens. Maybe he’s happy the way things are and doesn’t want to risk it. Find out. And don’t worry too much about a piece of paper setting the example for your daughter. Y’all are doing that yourselves every day.

I am dating a girl that is way out of my league. Don’t get me wrong: I am thrilled. She is beautiful, smart, funny and a great person. I love being with her. It’s just that there is a major part of me that wonders when she is going to figure out how off balance we are. I am a decent-looking guy, and I am relatively smart. I got good grades in school and I can hold my own in conversation about plenty of things. The thing is, she is a FUCKING GENIUS. I mean, a literal, off the charts, skipped-grades-in-school-and-graduated-early kind of genius. Plus she has travelled all over, and she does volunteer work, and she has great fashion sense. All of my friends are blown away by her. I have dated attractive and smart women before, but not like this. Also, my parents love her. It was almost embarrassing how much they fawned over her (“What a find!â€). They practically proposed for me. Guys I don’t know will come up to me and go, “How did you do it?†And I’m like, “I have no idea.â€

On top of all of this, she doesn’t seem at all fazed by her own awesomeness. She thinks I’m great. I am in grad school, studying something that will never make me any real money, because it’s what I’m interested in. I have no ambition to be wealthy, or travel the world, or save the children. It’s not that I don’t think these things would be good, fun or honorable, it’s just that I don’t tend to think that big. She has plans. She always has plans. She is going to Europe next January and she invited me to come along. Of course, I want to go, but I am not sure I can save the money. When it comes up and I mention that I’m worried about finances, she just says “We’ll figure it out! Save a little at a time; it’s not that expensive. We’ll get there!†I just don’t have that kind of confidence. In fact, I’m starting to feel like I don’t really have any confidence anymore. Which I am well aware is stupid and ridiculous. Why am I so intimidated by my awesome girlfriend? I am so afraid I am going to ruin this thing just by crumbling under the weight of it. Help!

Man, you have got to relax. Think of it this way: she is smarter than you, right? And she thinks you’re great, so clearly you must be. Just go with it. Next time she mentions Europe, ask specific questions. Find out exactly how much you need to save and then figure out how much that is per week and just start doing it. You don’t have to be super ambitious or super wealthy to have a good life. Maybe she likes you because you don’t care that you will never make a lot of money but you’re still pursuing what really interests you. Don’t overanalyze it and don’t put her on a pedestal. Did it occur to you that she might be crushed under the weight of everyone’s opinion of her? Or their expectations? Just be the guy you are, the guy she clearly likes, and be good to her. Have fun and see what happens. Maybe she’ll turn you into a better person by osmosis.