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Unfair Marriage Proposal?

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A guy I’ve been dating on and off for one year has made what I believe is an unfair marriage proposal. He requests that I foreclose on my house (I have a high mortgage on a house that has been seriously devalued due to the housing crisis (still I make all of my payments myself and ontime) and move in with him. He has two rental properties and the home he lives in is paid off. He has three children from the woman he dated for ten years, who also lived in his present home and whom he’s never married. His proposal is that after I move in with him and cook and clean for his children then at some unspecified time we will get married. He’s a great guy and has great children but they are all extremely untidy. He has said that he will not move in with me despite my having a much bigger home because he refuses to undertake mortgage payments. But that if I move in with him we can pool our money and buy more rental properties together. He says every woman would love the opportunity to move in with him and pay no mortgage note and take care of him and his children. He would of course expect me to maintain my present high salary but cut back on the demanding hours so as to have more time with him and his kids. I’ve visited and done a lot of cleaning and right before my eyes its all untidied again. I am also very active. I like to go out and offer to take the children to the zoo and museums, etc. The children enjoy me tremendously and they want to do the things I suggest but he is not active at all and has always prevented us from going. I believe that moving in with him unmarried would be inappropriate for his children and unfair to me. He is very excited about my high salary and I believe that, because so many people rely on him (parents, relatives, kids and ex-girlfriend) for financial support he is looking for someone to lean upon. I have a lot of family obligations as well and would certainly love to share the financial burden with a partner. We also enjoy each other’s company but we break up often because whenever he gets upset he does not communicate with me for days. I told him this is also another reason why I would not want to move in with him unmarried. If we have a fight and he decides to not speak to me, I could find myself homeless. Basically I feel like his offer is very hurtful. He wants me to help undertake his obligations (his children) but he does not want to help me with mine (my mortgage). I am very attractive and kind and I don’t mind working hard both in my home or at the office I and feel like this may be my last offer to ever be married… I’d appreciate any suggestions you may have that will help me explain that his offer is not only unfair and unreasonable…but insulting. Please respond. Thanks.

Unfair Marriage Proposal?

Answered by on -

A.

I agree with you that his offer is unfair and unreasonable. Below I will explain why that is the case. Let’s look at his offer logically.

Currently, you are living independently. You are single, young and attractive, have no children, have a good job, earn a high salary and can afford to make mortgage payments on a house. You are free and independent. If you decide to accept the offer made to you by your boyfriend, you stand to lose all of your independence and maybe much more.

He is essentially requesting that you become completely dependent on him.

If you foreclose on your home it could ruin your credit. If you damage your credit you may not be able to purchase a house or any other large-scale investment items in the future. A home foreclosure could be financially devastating. Bad credit could cause you serious financial problems for years.

In addition to damaging your credit, foreclosure means that you would no longer have a home that belongs to you. As you mentioned, when the two of you have an argument he stops all interaction with you. His “cold shoulder” behavior is a sign of an unhealthy person. Also, you might find yourself homeless after a fight, something you fear could happen.

The next part of his offer is that you move in with him and care for his children. There are many possible problems with this scenario. Part of his agreement is that after you move in the two of you will get married at some unspecified time. That means maybe he will propose. But is also means maybe he won’t. There is no guarantee that he’ll marry you and based on his history, it’s not likely. The last woman he lived with he never married and she is the mother of his children.

As for caring for his children, that is nice and kind of you to do but do you want a “ready-made” family? What if, in the future, you wanted your own children? Would he allow that? Or would he believe that the three he has are enough for him and thus “should” be sufficient for you too? Also, it seems as if he is requesting that you move in so you can essentially be a maid for him and his children. As you wrote, you clean and soon thereafter it’s untidy again. That does not seem fair.

You said when you try to take the children out for different activities such as the zoo or the museum he steps in and insists that no one goes. Does that mean because he does not want to go no one can go? If that is the case, it’s unclear why he’d behave in such an irrational manner.

You said that he likes the fact that you earn a high salary. That’s because he’s spending his money on his relatives and ex-girlfriend and could use the extra funds. This arrangement should not be okay with you. If he borrows money from you because he has spent all of his on his family, you in essence become the financial supporter of his relatives. You should not be expected to do this.

The truth is that he is basically asking that you give up all of your independence and become completely reliant on him. He is attempting to take away all of your freedom. If you accept his offer, realize that he will have the power to affect almost every aspect of your life including (but not limited to): when and if you get married, where you will live and if you have a place to live, how much money you will have, how many hours you can work, how much money he expects you to contribute to support his relatives, when you will cook, clean and feed his children, when and if you can take the children to the mall or a museum, etc. And those are just the items you listed in your letter.

You wrote something very telling in your letter. You are considering his unreasonable offer because you think it might be your last opportunity to get married. I suspect this fear is what is driving you to consider his offer.

The truth is that you do not “need” to be married. Some women in the American culture mistakenly believe that they “have to” be married. It seems they spend their entire lives devoted to finding “the one.” How many movies are devoted to this very topic? Thousands!

As some women age, it seems that they becomes less choosy about who they will marry. The closer some women get to the age of 35 (30 for some) it seems that they will “settle” for almost anyone who will agree to marry them. Some women will do almost anything to be married. Perhaps it’s because they fear being an “old maid.” Maybe they believe that not being married means that they are worthless. It might also be a fear of being alone. There may be many other reasons why woman incorrectly believe they “should” be married that I did not mention. But what’s important for you is not to be guided by fear. Don’t let fear blind you to the truth in this situation.

Logically, by accepting his offer, you may be losing everything you worked your entire life to gain. This is not a sacrifice you should be willing to make. Love often involves sacrifice but he is asking too much.

I would recommend that you do not accept this offer. You should not accept an offer from someone who is asking you to surrender your freedom and to give up your independence. I can assure you that no psychologically healthy woman “would love [this] opportunity.” I hope this helps you to understand why you should categorically reject his offer.

Unfair Marriage Proposal?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Unfair Marriage Proposal?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/12/22/unfair-marriage-proposal/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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