Dear Bossip: I Want To Get Married, But He’s Taking Care Of His Elderly Mother and Disabled Brother

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Categories: Love and Relationships, News, Sex and Relationships

Black woman frowning

Dear Bossip,

I have been with this guy for 6 years. We don’t live together. He lives with his mother. He takes care of her, and his disabled blind brother.

The mother also has a man who resides there as well. He has heart troubles. We are both 43-years old. I have my own place, which is about 10 minutes away. It’s within walking distance.

Now, he is not working, and has no income at all. He is looking for a job. I am working, and going to school for my B.S. I graduate in April. I want him to move in and I want to get married. He says, “What about my mom and brother, I can’t leave them.” I said to him, “You are not leaving them. You can still take care of them and come home to me after you finish doing the things you need to.” He still tells me he can’t leave his mom.

I can’t understand why he is so content there. Why is he so comfortable there? I am not asking him to leave his family, but I want to be part of his family. I want us to build a life together of our own. We don’t have kids of our own. My son is in away at college. His son graduates this year and lives with his mom. People tell me he is in a bad situation, like he feels guilty if he leaves his mom. But, what about me, us? What do I do just keep dating him?

I love him so much, and this is making us argue every day. It is destroying us. Should I wait, and trust in God and let him handle it? Or, should I just let him go, and do me? We’ve been knowing each other since elementary school, and we’re from the same neighborhood. I thought we were going to be married by now. I don’t know what to do? – Want To Get Married

Dear Ms. Want To Get Married,

Your man has no job, and no income. He is taking care of his mother and disabled blind brother. You’ve offered to have him move in with you so that you can work toward getting married, and to start your own family. He’s reluctant to leave his mother and brother alone. But, you’ve reaffirmed to him that he can always go home and continue to care for his mother and brother, but come home to you at night.

Let’s look at something you said, “I want him to move in and I want to get married.” Ma’am, it’s you who wants him to move in. It’s you who wants to get married. Did he come to you ask to move in with you? Did he ask you to marry him? Have you two discussed this issue around his family and what to do in an emergency if he does move in with you? Did you offer to assist or help him in some capacity by caring for his mother and brother? Or, are you arguing with him over what you want, and why he can’t seem to understand that you want and need him?

Now, you didn’t mention if he asked for your hand in marriage, or if he has brought it up. But, this situation seems to be about what YOU want. You want him to move in with you. You want to get married. You want him to be a part of his family. You want to build a life together. You’re concerned about how this is affecting you. You don’t understand why he is not thinking of you and what you want. Besides, I’m sure the position you’re putting him in is making him feel that he has to choose between you and his family. And, each time he is going to choose his family.

And, therein lies your problem. He is probably interpreting everything you’re doing and wondering how come you don’t see what he’s dealing with. His mother is elderly, and he’s taking care of his blind disabled brother. His family means the world to him, and they have a bond that you probably don’t understand. Perhaps they have grown reliant upon him, and they depend on him to run errands, cook, clean, take them to appointments, and take care of the bills, and other household issues. And, if he’s been doing this for years, then, perhaps he may feel guilty in leaving them alone. Yes, he is only 10 minutes away, but he is not in the home. What if something happens when he’s not there? He will feel guilty that he wasn’t there to fix it, or handle the situation. But, he feels that you don’t understand this. You’re so worried about what you want, and making him choose that he is shutting down, and uses his family as his excuse to stay where he is.

And, ma’am, don’t get me wrong. I understand that you want to be with him, and you love him. Also, you’ve given him options in that he may still go home and help with his family during the day, but come home at night. And, even, mentioning that you want to be included in his family. However, if he is not thinking of marriage, or committing to you seriously, and his focus is his family and their welfare, then perhaps you may have to take a step back, be supportive from a distance, and do you in the meantime. His mind is not on being in a relationship. He’s wondering how he is going to make it to the next day caring for his family. And, I’m sure it’s a toll on him.

When you mention you want to be included in his family, are you offering to help him care for his mother and brother? Or, are you offering that he moves in with you, marries you, and you become a family and start your own life, but he handles and deals with his mother and brother? If you want to really be included in his family, then you have to know when you marry him, you are taking on what he’s dealing with his family. You inherit all of this, so, you can’t pick and choose what you will deal and what you won’t. His family is coming with him. And, probably doesn’t feel that you are on board and willing to take him with his family.

Yes, it’s hard. You really want to be with him, but you think he is content. I don’t think he’s content. I think there is something bigger at issue, and you are not privy to know what this may be. And, I also think he doesn’t feel supported by you. I suggest that you two sit down and have a conversation about his family, what he’s feeling, how he feels, and if he feels supported by you. Ask him if he thinks you’re trying to take him away from his family. Ask him if he wants to get married. Ask him what would he like for you to do, or if there is anything you can do to help. And, then you let him know what you desire, what you need, and what you are hopeful for. If you are not on the same page, then you will know what you need to do.

I also suggest that you offer him a trial run by staying a few nights a week with you. This will help him ease into being away from the home, and knowing that they will be okay while he’s gone at night. Then, ask him to consider getting a nurse aide to help with assisting his mother and brother. I’m sure they have insurance which will pay for this. That way, it will alleviate some of the pressures he has, and he can spend more time with you. I understand your impatience, but you have a choice. Either you stay, wait, and be of assistance and be supportive, or you walk away, be supportive from a distance, and simply do you. – Terrance Dean

Hey Bossip Fam, what do you think? Share your opinions and thoughts below!

Also, e-mail all your questions Terrance Dean: loveandrelationships@bossip.com

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author terrance dean

Make sure to order my books Mogul: A Novel (Atria Books – June 2011; $15); Hiding In Hip Hop (Atria Books – June 2008); and Straight From Your Gay Best Friend – The Straight Up Truth About Relationships, Love, And Having A Fabulous Life (Agate/Bolden Books – November 2010; $15). They are available in bookstores everywhere, and on Amazon, click HERE!
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