flowerhotmami asks: I am wondering if my boyfriend loves me enough. We have a beautiful daughter, she’s 5 months old now. I found out that he was flirting with other girls back when I was pregnant, and even asked someone on a date. I was asking if he has plans to marry me, but all he would tell me was he wants us to be prepared financially and emotionally. Before I got pregnant we were almost 2 years in a relationship. When I found out about him cheating on me I still gave him another chance, because he asked to and he was sorry he said. And I love him and want my baby to have a complete family. But again, does he love me enough that he will really marry me?
Hi flowerhotmami –
You’re asking a great question. One which I can’t begin to answer – I have no idea what he feels (I’m a very smart dog but I’m not psychic).
But I want to talk about something else. He may very well love you to the moon and back. But he’s not doing a great job of committing.
This is very normal. Long ago I heard of some study that said that the time men are most likely to cheat is when their wives or girlfriends are pregnant. In fact, it’s specifically when the women are in the hospital to have the baby! Just when you’d think a man would feel the most attached and concerned.
And here’s the big point – it is when they’re feeling attached and concerned! The problem is that the feeling – the awareness of oncoming responsibility, the knowledge that nothing will ever be the same again for them, the realization that they might be about to love more deeply than they ever have before – scares them! And yeah, that’s pretty scary when you think about it!
I have a friend named Aria who I’ve written about here before. She’s a very sweet dog, and lives in a wonderful home now but came from a past full of abuse and abandonment. Every day, her human comes home from work and they run to each other and hug and kiss and yowl and just have a great celebration. And then, suddenly, Aria will run, either outdoors or into her crate. Why? Did her human hurt her? Did she suddenly doubt her safety or that she’s loved? No, it’s that her brain explodes, her emotions are too big for her to handle. So she needs to hibernate for a bit.
So if your boyfriend does love you as much as he says, his silly flirting and trying to get a date, my guess is, were just him running into his crate!
(and let’s give BIG thanks and congratulations to whoever that was who told him “No!” Particularly if they said “What?! Are you out of your mind?! Get your butt home to flowerhotmami, fool!”)
Now as you’ve found, asking him if he loves you really doesn’t get you what you need right now. Instead, your job is to help him grow up a little.
The fact is, you’re completely committed to him. You even have a baby with him. You don’t need him to be rich or fully mature, you’re committed to him now. And you need him to show some commitment back.
So a few things he could do would be –
- Get engaged to you. Sure, if you guys would rather wait till you can afford a big fun wedding, there’s no need to rush to that. But engagement will show his intent.
- Get a joint bank account for taking care of the baby
- Talk with you about what emotional issues he’s having that keep him from being ready to marry. Maybe they’re things you could help with (or I could?!)
- Do you two live together? If not, moving in together would be a great step forward (and help you two start working on some issues now – you know, the silly ones like toilet seats and dishes in the sink!)
- If it would help, I’m a big fan of getting pre-marital couple therapy together. Raising a baby is tough (though I know you don’t need me to tell you that!), and so you have a lot of big stressors (like finances and temperament) coming up as well as the silly ones I mentioned above.
- And my favorite of all… GET A DOG TOGETHER!! What a glorious symbol of a relationship, and nothing would do a better job of bringing love into your home and keeping everyone happy.
So again, just to repeat myself, I’m not worrying about how much he loves you. Those romantic feelings come and go over time anyway. Even in the best relationships.
But is he committed to you? And to the baby? And, to the degree he’s not, does he want to be?
Those are the questions that really matter to me. And could make everything better for you.
Please let me know what happens!