TVs Steph and Dom Parker, 52 and 54, draw on their 21-year marriage to solve your relationship problems. . .
Q. I'm in such a & # 39; n dilemma. I am 58 years old and have a relationship with a sweet man for over a year.
Before that I was single for more than ten years, after a painful divorce. I earned more than he, as a lawyer, and lost a lot of money – and time – in the split. We are divorced on bad terms.
That really detracted me from the whole idea of marriage. I vowed that I would never get through it again.
An anonymous reader asked TV & # 39; s Steph and Dom Parker for advice on what to do about being scared to remarry (stock image)
Then I met my new partner, out of the blue, at a friend's party. I'm so in love. He is wonderful and I was happy with things until he asked me to marry him.
I know I have to be in the clouds. My other single friends think I'm crazy! But I just couldn't say yes. I said I had to think about it because I'm terrified. I worry that it will ruin everything. What should I do?
You have my full sympathy and admiration. You have experienced a nasty divorce – one of the most powerless and painful experiences in life – and it has marked you heavily and with the conviction that marriage must be avoided.
It is a complete tragedy that women who are strong and powerful, women like you, can be reduced to rubble by bitter divorce. I understand why you feel so shy.
One of the first things I recommend is to investigate exactly why you feel that way. Look at what caused so much damage in your marriage, and also at the parts when you were satisfied.
Steph said she has full sympathy and admiration for the woman she had both written and credited her for coming through the divorce (stock image)
You write that you were single for more than ten years after your divorce. I assume you mean that you were alone, as opposed to in relationships, but unmarried, in which case there must be deep scars.
You clearly shut yourself off emotionally after your divorce and decide that you no longer have anything to do with love. Although that is perfectly understandable, a decade has now passed and you have decided that it is time to move on. That is a huge leap of faith and I think it is vital for your personal healing that you acknowledge that step forward.
To have your guard dropped so far, your new man must be Mr. Completely And Utterly Fantastic Pants. You deserve to love him and be loved again. Dare to embrace love for yourself. It is the most precious gift.
Get out of your shoulder pads, be brave!
It is clear to me that this guy surprised you and you are scared and in conflict. It is normal and OK to be scared. I suppose your new husband is too!
So here's the plan: you need to know that you are in control of this relationship and that it will always be. The next step is to share your fear with your friend. He must know the creepy, painful ugliness of your marriage and the end of it, warts and so on, if he wants to spend the rest of his life with you.
It is no shame to break your heart. Sharing your pain is not a weakness. It is the opposite. You own your truth and you choose to reveal it to a very special man.
If you told him, ask him to help you structure a future together so that you can remain somewhat independent. Take the issue of marriage off the table and start living together.
You are a trained lawyer. You are a smart, strong woman, so dig out your shoulder pads and power pack and channel your inner Joan Collins. You have experienced and survived so much – now it is time for you to thrive.
Well, congratulations on finding someone new. It's always nice to hear that people find love when they might not have expected it at their age.
You weren't looking for such a committed relationship, but here it is, and also with such a great sounding man. What a pity that it all becomes so stressful.
Dom (photo) congratulates the woman on finding someone new and says it's always nice to hear this
However, I understand the principle of being bitten once, twice shy, really. As a child I witnessed the annoying divorce of my parents and lived with the bloodbath left behind.
As a younger man, I was not fond of it at all. A bad end to a relationship, complete with all the financial woes you describe, often leaves deep wounds behind and it's hard to get past that.
While your heart says yes, your head brakes wisely and in the wee hours of the morning your thoughts go round and round to the point of exhaustion. You are terrified of being wounded so badly again and losing even more of your hard-earned money. Why the hell would you risk it? I get it.
The problem is that you let him dangle. Men are not stupid. He doesn't mind that you have taken the time to think about it, but the longer you leave it, the more offense you are likely to cause.
Say yes – but I would insist on a pre-nup
The fact that you did not jump into his arms and shouted: & # 39; Yes! & # 39; The moment he got on his bent knee, he would have given him a great clue about your feelings. But now you have to explain yourself completely as quickly as possible.
Sit down and explain why you are so scared. If he is a remotely kind and loving man, he will understand.
Do you really have to formalize your relationship at the end of the 1950s with a ring on your finger and a piece of paper?
Today's realistic answer is no. If he wants a big party with all your friends, you can propose a ceremony that is not legally or financially binding, but functions as a public declaration of love.
Or, if that's not good enough and he wants the legal pieces, what about both signing a prenuptial agreement; not very romantic, but sensibly and carefully prepared, it should take away all your money fears.
The point is, you love this man. And the fact that your friends think you're crazy because you don't say yes is strangely a positive sign. They must think he is a catch.
I can't tell you if you will live happily ever after with him, but I do know that if you really love him, you have to negotiate a solution. Do it fast and don't lose it!
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