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Would love advice on what to do in a situation where I’ve been a long term relationship with someone for over 20 years and separated by a border. I don’t think either of us knew it would last this long. It’s complicated: First off, we live in different countries (Can/US). We have kids, separately (all are now grown and out of the house). Family is important to us both and while mine has accepted him (from the beginning), his parents still refuse to meet me and want nothing to do with me. He feels helpless. They have a strained relationship and often don’t speak to him or include him in family activities. It is hurtful, but he is very concerned about their health and has to force himself into the picture even when his mother continues to shun him. Never wants to rock the boat.

 

After years compromising, arguing, understanding and feeling insecure and not worthy, I questioned him, wanting confirmation of where this was going. I bugged him about a ring, especially since he had trust issues when I travelled out of town for work. He asked me to look into stones and ring designs. After finding the perfect stone (which he purchased), I had someone close to me create and finish the ring. When it was ready for delivery, I asked if he’d prefer to wait till he was in town so he could give it me. His response was “no, go ahead and wear it if you want.” So much for a romantic proposal, right? So, now I have a lovely ring, and no wedding in sight. I suspect he doesn’t want to even talk about marriage until his parents pass away, since they are not accepting of the relationship. Please know he is a loving person and is sensitive about his parents and family situation.

 

To complicate things, I am building a house and the long term plan is for him to move in. I am paying for everything, and have suggested he contribute to the expenses since he will be also be living there. His thoughts are he is also keeping his house and would never ask me to help with that. So sounds like there is no real plans to merge...what is the point of getting married, if that even happens at all? When I try to talk about issues like this, we argue and it escalates to the point that we stop talking to each other. It’s been over a week since we’ve last talked. I think in his mind, it is to preserve the relationship instead of causing more damage. What to do?

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Honestly I'd move on from him. Even if covid disappears tomorrow I bet he will not leave his country to move in with you, and that his parents are the main reason why. He sounds like he's unable to cut the apron strings from mom and dad and it's just easier to stay at his own place.

 

You've already bought and paid for your own ring, and you are wearing it with no actual proposal and I doubt you will ever get one. You are paying for your own new house and he won't help you with the cost. What kind of relationship is this? What kind of future is this? Even when mom and dad die what's to say he'll actually move to be with you? I think you are being taken for a ride.

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Are you sure his parents even know about you? Have you wondered whether your long-distance boyfriend also has someone local, who his parents have met, and that's why they've "refused"? I doubt there are many LDRs out there that have gone on for 20 years. The arrangement keeps you at arm's length and he seems to prefer it that way. The ring thing is just awful and shows he really doesn't care too much. Don't waste any more years of your life on this man. Find someone local who would love to share your life, share the expenses and love you like you deserve.

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20 years.

 

That is an awfully long time to not have progressed in your relationship.

 

Have you met other members of his family? His children? I feel like the answer should be obvious after 2 decades, but your post leaves me wondering just how excluded you are from his life.

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He has no intention to live with you full time in the foreseeable future. His priorities are to his aging parents and staying in his current home. This means that you either remain in the long distance situation you are in right now or you end this relationship and move on to something more fulfilling.

 

Trust your gut instincts about things when they don't seem right. You may not understand the full picture or you may take some time to process things. Slow it down, way down. Put the ring aside somewhere safe. I wouldn't wear it purely because of what it represents. It would be giving in to a fantasy world that you've been addicted to for awhile or have been telling yourself is real but isn't. The idea of living together or getting married is not real. Those are things that you have tried to work towards but it takes two. Get yourself other jewelry. You don't need a partner to wear pretty things.

 

Give yourself some time to think about where you see yourself in the future with your new home (congratulations and good for you, by the way). It's exciting to build a home - incredibly stressful too. I'm sure you have a lot on your plate. Your ideas about having someone to share it with you is a bit skewed right now. This person is being very clear he's not open to full time living with you and his family comes first. Take everything he says with a grain of salt from now onwards (all the lovey dovey things) and try and manage those expectations about marriage and living together. It may not be now or ever. What you do have however is your health and your home and all the things you're doing for yourself. Don't lose heart so easily over one man.

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He has no intention to live with you full time in the foreseeable future. His priorities are to his aging parents and staying in his current home. This means that you either remain in the long distance situation you are in right now or you end this relationship and move on to something more fulfilling.

 

Trust your gut instincts about things when they don't seem right. You may not understand the full picture or you may take some time to process things. Slow it down, way down. Put the ring aside somewhere safe. I wouldn't wear it purely because of what it represents. It would be giving in to a fantasy world that you've been addicted to for awhile or have been telling yourself is real but isn't. The idea of living together or getting married is not real. Those are things that you have tried to work towards but it takes two. Get yourself other jewelry. You don't need a partner to wear pretty things.

 

Give yourself some time to think about where you see yourself in the future with your new home (congratulations and good for you, by the way). It's exciting to build a home - incredibly stressful too. I'm sure you have a lot on your plate. Your ideas about having someone to share it with you is a bit skewed right now. This person is being very clear he's not open to full time living with you and his family comes first. Take everything he says with a grain of salt from now onwards (all the lovey dovey things) and try and manage those expectations about marriage and living together. It may not be now or ever. What you do have however is your health and your home and all the things you're doing for yourself. Don't lose heart so easily over one man.

 

 

Thank you. I really appreciate your feedback and suggestions. :)

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20 years.

 

That is an awfully long time to not have progressed in your relationship.

 

Have you met other members of his family? His children? I feel like the answer should be obvious after 2 decades, but your post leaves me wondering just how excluded you are from his life.

 

Yes, I have met his kids and his sister. We have taken our kids on multiple camping and family trips over the years. I’ve met his sister and even his ex wife. His parents are just old school and will never be open to accepting me or his choice to get divorced.

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Not quite understanding all this OP.

 

"I suspect he doesn’t want to even talk about marriage until his parents pass away, since they are not accepting of the relationship"

 

Well the family don't seem to like HIM much either, if this is anything to go by.

 

"They have a strained relationship and often don’t speak to him or include him in family activities. It is hurtful, but he is very concerned about their health and has to force himself into the picture even when his mother continues to shun him. Never wants to rock the boat.

"

 

I am appalled that you have wasted twenty years of your life on this hopeless situation. U

You remark you feel " feeling insecure and not worthy" "Never wants to rock the boat" aka "sits on the fence" and knows you will trail along anyhow. This is dreadful OP. And long distance into the bargain. In what way is he a "loving person" if he has strung you along for two decades?

 

Btw what exactly is it about you that the parents find so unacceptable? Were you by any chance in the picture when he separated from his wife? Just wondering.

 

You are receiving good advice here OP. So, what are you going to do?

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