Dear Margo: Practicality vs. Love

Should I marry a man I don’t love? Margo Howard’s advice

Practicality Versus Love

Dear Margo: I’m in my early 20s, a university student and mother to a lovely little boy. I had a boyfriend some years ago, and although things didn’t work out, we kept in touch and remained good friends. He went on a world tour recently and made the effort to visit me in another country, and told me he’d never forgotten me and still loved me. We got engaged, and our families were thrilled. But I can’t shake the feeling I’m doing the wrong thing.

He’s a lovely, kind man, generous to a fault, highly educated, intelligent — and he thinks the world of my little boy. He wants to move halfway across the world to marry me and be a father to my son. But I’m not in love with him. I appreciate all his qualities and know many women would think I’m nuts — but there are problems. He’s extremely sentimental, for example, and effeminate in his mannerisms. I know it sounds terrible to say, but I find him so unattractive that I can’t bear the thought of intimacy with him. I feel that there has to be some sort of attraction for a marriage to work, no?

He tells me it doesn’t matter that I’m not ‘in love’ with him, that he wouldn’t even mind my ‘settling’ for him! I don’t know what to do. Part of me wants to marry him and give my son a traditional family and a father figure. (I live with my parents, and I’m acutely aware of being a burden to them.) But I don’t think I’d be happy. Am I just being silly and shallow? Should I look at the bigger picture and appreciate what I have and try to be a good wife to him? –Wavering

Dear Wave: If you marry this man, it will be a business transaction. Because you are in your 20s, I would not recommend either “settling” or pushing yourself into a marriage for the sake of unburdening your parents and providing a father figure for your son. The fact that you find him effeminate and he has said being in love with him is not important suggest that he might be homosexual. You might want to discuss this with him, which would certainly put things in a different light. (When you were boyfriend and girlfriend, did these issues not come up?) Although the man you describe has admirable qualities, you would in no way be going into this marriage with a full heart, and I recommend not “settling.” –Margo, realistically

Crystal Balls R (Not) Us

Dear Margo: Almost everything about my relationship is perfect. There is one thing, however, that’s not. And I can’t decide whether or not it’s a big deal. My fella’s older and already has a child — who has kids of her own. I’ve never had baby fever, but I think about it more lately than I ever have. How do I know if I’ll regret not having a child of my own? –Stumped

Dear Stump: Unfortunately, I dropped my crystal ball last week so I’m unable to predict whether you will have regrets about not being a mother. You don’t mention this man’s preferences. Some older men know that fathering “new” children comes with younger-woman territory. Others do not wish to be thought to be the grandfather at the playground.

Assuming the decision is yours, I would suggest making a mental balance sheet with pros and cons. I would give this careful thought because, biologically, prime time does not last forever. In your particular situation, the grandchildren already in the picture might offer you the experience — without the hassle. Good luck doping this out. –Margo, pensively

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow

Click here to follow Margo on Twitter

52 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Amy says:

    What in Sam Hill is wrong with being an effeminate man? I’m dating the most wonderful, caring, sensitive, romantic man in the world. Sure, he obsesses over his hair and loves to go shopping with me, but he also studies kung fu, has the body of a greek god and is a stallion in the bedroom. And he is just as head over heels crazy in love with me as I am with him. Just because a boy has a soft side doesn’t mean he’s instantly gay, Margo. This is 2011, I think it’s due time you checked your 1950’s mindset at the door.

    As for the “settling” business, people who are desperate do desperate things. I’ve been there. I think most of us have, although regrettably. Closeted gay men probably wouldn’t move halfway across the globe and offer to rear someone else’s son because they felt like keeping up a charade.

    • avatar RL says:

      The point I got from the reader is that she finds does not find an effeminate man attractive. What’s wrong with that? Nothing. Personally, I find men who are a little overweight attractive and I find the 6-pack look repulsive. Some women don’t and I’m not offended by that because to each their own. Also, I think the man in question is gay too because he said he doesn’t mind if she is not in love with him. To me, that’s a classic giveaway that he’s gay and in the closet. If her country is ultra conservative or his is or it’s a case where he’s ashamed (not that I’m saying he should be), I can see why he would want to marry a woman to maintain some kind of “cover”. The thing is that isn’t right or fair to everyone involved.

      • avatar Amy says:

        I completely agree, it’s not fair to either party. But I still fail to see why he’s “obviously gay”. Haven’t you ever loved someone so much that you became hopelessly attached, willing to give up anything for them even if they didn’t feel the same way toward you? Also remember that both of these people are terribly young, about the same age we all make stupid, life-altering mistakes in the name of love. Even if the man DOES comes from a conservative background, it’s a stretch to think he’d go through the long, difficult, expensive process of immigrating to another continent (for all we know) just to keep his homosexuality under wraps. To quote Claude the Cat, “It just don’t add up!”

        • avatar Katie themick says:

          I doubt his perceived effeminateness is the problem. If you’re not attracted to someone, you might focus on one little thing, but the big truth is it’s NOT that little thing, it’s just, like I said, something to focus your disgust on.
          To each their own. I will say this, though: I hate shopping and don’t care about hair; I would rather get eaten by a pack of dingos than date someone who obsessed about either thing, but I also don’t think liking that sort of thing makes a person effeminate, and I resent that being perceived as “feminine” is considered a bad thing in the first place. Anyway, I bet not everyone wants to date a sports nut, or a jazz aficionado, or a guy who’s obsessed with playing online bridge. I think most people want to date someone they’re attracted to and with whom they share some of their interests, whatever they are. If you both like shopping — fun times! I like to watch sports and debate about politics with my man friends. There’s a lid for all the pots.
          PS not all gay men are “feminine” (HELLO, bears? leatherdaddies?) and not everyone who wants you to settle for them is secretly gay. Maybe he’s controlling and you thinking you owe him will let him control you — he’s doing a pretty good job of murdering your self esteem so far if you think he’s your last hope and you feel like a burden to everyone and like you’re damaged goods just because you have a child. RUN AWAY.

        • avatar Jon T says:

          I don’t believe Margo was suggesting it was a given that he was gay simply because he was effeminate.  To be honest I was also thinking that he might be gay, and not solely because he’s effeminate.  It could be he wants a family of his own, and what better way to achieve that than to have an “instant family” without having to adopt or procreate?  I found it odd that a straight man is willing to marry a woman with a child knowing she’s not attracted to him sexually or even in love with him.
          And let’s be honest here.  Of course effeminate doesn’t automatically equal gay, any more than studying Kung Fu makes one straight (also kind of a stereotype, no?).  And certainly not all gay men are effeminate.  but it’s not a leap or an insult to say that more often than not gay men tend to have an effeminate quality.  I’m not suggesting that it’s a bad thing or that your husband is gay, just making an observation as a gay man myself.

    • avatar A R says:

      Amy, from my perspective, she didn’t suggest that the effeminate qualites alone might indicate homosexuality. Margo suggested rather that his lack of concern about her being in love with him coupled with his overt femininity might indicate the need for clarification. Your boyfriend on the other hand sounds like a “metrosexual”–that metropolitan breed of man who loves clothes, spas, and clean cuticles as much as many of his female counterparts.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      An effeminate man and a metrosexual are two entirely different things. Plus, you have the issue that he’s overtly willing to be her “second best” option when it comes to intimacy—I think any counselor would tell you that there’s something else going on in his thinking, which appears to be: “I’ll get married to you, and you (and therefore, I) can find someone else to sleep with.”
      And you’d be surprised what a closeted gay man will do in order to keep up a charade—say, like putting a whole side of their life on hold or under wraps in order to keep up appearances for Grandma at Thanksgiving. One of my friends finally just came out to his family—despite the fact that he’s 37 and it’s 2011.

    • avatar chuck alien says:

      caring about his hair and loving shopping are not the definition of “effeminate.”
      nor does having a “soft side.”
      you have a sensitive guy.  that’s great.  but “effeminate” he’s not (from your description)
      is he “not manly in appearance or manner?”  

      again, just liking his hair and shopping is NOT “unmanly.”

    • avatar Diagoras says:

      What’s wrong with an effeminate man is that this particular woman isn’t sexually attracted to them. And you can’t really control what you find hot and what you don’t. If you are right and this man is straight, chances are he’s going to expect sex with his wife. And therein lies the problem. If she’s not attracted to him, it doesn’t matter how much she cares about him, she’s not in love and should not marry him.

  2. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    Perhaps I have a 50’s mindset  but when LW1 mentioned that the man is effeminate, I thought *maybe he is gay* too.  But I don’t think that is the issue at hand.  The woman says she cannot bear the thought of having sex with him (and I wonder if she has told him this or just that she is not *in love* with him…he might change his mind if he knew there would be little, if any sex in the marriage).  She should say no for herself and for him.  He is entitled to have someone commit to him body and mind and heart.  To marry him knowing she doesn’t love him is selfish, cruel, and will bring misery to both of them and when the marriage doesn’t work out, to her son.

    LW2 leaves out the most important part of the letter.  Has her man said he doesn’t want any more children?  If so, she has a decision to make and live with.  Foisting a family upon a man who doesn’t want one is asking for trouble in the marriage and more likely than not,  eventual single parenthood.   The person she should be talking to about this is her man, not Margo (with all due respect to Margo).  


    • avatar A R says:

      The letter writer doesn’t suggest that intimacy happened last time, but rather that the possibility of it was a concern. If they dated with no intimacy before, that’s more reason to wonder if this effiminate, unconcerned about loving man is gay. Nothing wrong with having that conversation.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      “He tells me it doesn’t matter that I’m not ‘in love’ with him, that he wouldn’t even mind my ‘settling’ for him!”
      Let’s just cut to the chase—both of these people have screwed up priorities. She wants a sugar daddy, and he wants a beard. The whole “I love him but I’m not IN LOVE with him” line doesn’t fly—she knows exactly what she’s doing and why she’s doing it, and all she’s looking for is some justification. It also sounds like the man has an extremely low self-worth, if he’s willing to actually marry someone who is “willing to settle” for him and not actually be in love. Either he has someone on the side already, or he knows that he can find someone to get the same outlet for intimacy that our Miss Chatterly will be looking for soon enough. And if that’s the case, why bother—because it’s all going to fall apart eventually.
      As for LW2: I’ve yet to meet a woman who didn’t stop obsessing about having a baby once they started, until they had one. I’m assuming from what’s been left unsaid that the partner isn’t interested in having children at this point, or that she’s assuming he isn’t interested. Otherwise I think the letter would have a completely different tone and slant (“should I have a baby with someone significantly older?” as opposed to “will I grow out of wanting to have a baby with someone older?”). If she’s hellbent on having one (and he’s opposed to it), perhaps the approach is to tell him that she’s going to go through the process of either in vitro, or adoption—by herself. And if that’s the end of things between them, so be it. If the relationship is indeed as perfect as she thinks it is, he’ll very likely change his mind and come on board.

      • avatar olivepoetry says:

        I wish there was a like button. Your comment “She wants a sugar daddy and he wants a beard” made me spit my coffee out.

  3. avatar ar60 says:

    LW1 says she is in her early 20’s and that she went out with that man some years ago?  How many years ago could have that been and how long did it last then.  Contrary to some of the comments there seem to be even today, in the enlightened post 50s world, a lot of gay guys try to force themselves into a “straight” life pattern probably because they feel it is easier for both their social and professional llives to do so.  So LW1 should really try to find out whether that is indeed the case and whether SHE can live with this.  Some women don’t mind but years and years of living a sort of “lie” might well take a toll on her and her self estime. And in any case, while settling is not necessarely a bad thing and can sometimes be condusive to a more stable marriage, it requires at least some level of “tolerance” for intimacy. Otherwise it will become unbearable for all 3 participants , especially the child. Or is LW1’s country attractive in some way to the young man so that he actually has another motive to enter that kind of relationship?
    If LW1 is in her early 20s and already in a university, why not finish her degree, get a job and learn how to live on her own 2 feet before deciding on “settling”.

  4. avatar Karen Ferguson says:

    I agree that Margo never said anything close to his being “obviously gay.” –The fact that you find him effeminate and he has said being in love with him is not important suggest that he might be homosexual.

    “Suggests” and “might be.”  I too once knew a young man who went beyond being effeminate; even his hand gestures and tone of voice were more elaborate than any woman’s I know.  My friends and I all adored him.  I was stunned when he didn’t ask me to marry him — he assumed that I would, simply because I along with everyone else liked him so much.  Intimacy with him would be out of the question.  When I look back, I really, really regret losing a friend –but marrying him just to be married to a nice person who made a good living would have squandered away my life.

  5. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: Don’t do it. You don’t love him…that’s it. That’s enough. You’re too young to look back 20 years from now regretting a loveless marriage for the sake of a child who might grow up to be ungrateful anyway.

    L #2:  If you truly want a baby and he’s willing, let it be solely and entirely from the heart.

  6. avatar marywells says:

    LW#1 – The point is not really whether he is gay or not. The letter gave me the impression that they never had sexual intimacy. Or did they, and she found out she cannot stand it? Anyway, it’s a strong sign that she should not marry him. Talking to him about his sexuality might be good if he is open-minded enough about it. If he is conservative, he will be deeply offended, even if he IS gay. And being a burden to parents… well, she’s young, doing college and has a son! I wouldn’t mind being supportive to a sibling in such situation. Until she gets her degree and a nice job, that is. Marrying to relieve her guilty feelings would be a mistake, a bad one.
    LW#2- Margo is right: be near your partner’s grandkids and observe. See what really means to be a mom, minus the media image of perenially clean, sweet, well-behaved pretty babes. Did your hubby mention any desire NOT to have them when you two got together? If so and if you really want children, you should have a serious talk to him  It’s a tough decision and I wish you good luck.

  7. avatar wendyblueeyes says:

    Let’s recap. She hears from a long ago ex-bf, she has a child, so she’s no longer a virgin, and she’s never slept with the guy, because she imagines she couldn’t get hot for him under any circumstance. That doesn’t seem to bother him in the least. He’s GAY and you’d better run. You will trade happiness for security, and always there’s the spector of HIV hanging over your head. Don’t do it.

    • avatar sc72 says:

      um, wendyblueeyes – along the lines of wake-up-it’s-2011, HIV is not a “gay” disease.

      • avatar Anais P says:

        Not JUST a gay disease. I know of a bisexual man who contracted AIDS and did not tell his new young wife. He then gave her the disease, of which he died after she nursed him in his final months. She then died of AIDS. This was a few years ago, and people are living much longer with HIV and AIDS. But this young woman and her hopes for a long marriage with children died because her husband married her to conceal his true sexuality. Marrying someone just for the sake of having a father figure for a young child is just not good enough and has the potential to be even more fraught with problems if the man in question does turn out to be gay. Regardless of his sexuality, the LW will eventually regret it and wonder why she “settled.” 

        • avatar sc72 says:

          um, once again – HIV is a disease, period.  if ya think straight people engaging in high-risk behavior are any less likely to contract it than anyone else, then clearly you’ve been living in a cave for the last 3 decades.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      “here’s the spector of HIV hanging over your head.”
      This has to be one of the most obnoxious things I’ve ever read on this board. You should be ashamed of yourself. If we’re going to jump on the morality bandwagon, she’s the one who is having children out of wedlock and pondering whether or not to enter into sham marriages.

    • avatar Lyndia Terry says:

      Seriously, in 2011 gay=HIV/AIDS? Where have you been living? Not in my shoes… My husband passed away last year from this horrific disease. No symptoms until it was too late. Was he gay? Not by a long shot! 5 kids and 2 marriages (1st marriage ended in divorce due to ireconcilable differences; she was from the northeast and he was from the south and they didn’t have enough patience to work through the cultural differences).

    • avatar D C says:

      You didn’t just say that!  Seriously?  I think I hear 1983 calling….

    • avatar Jon T says:

      Specter of HIV hanging over her head?  Just so we’re clear, unlike Margo’s point THAT actually is an unfounded, stereotypical and offensive assumption.  Perhaps you should be more concerned about going through life with the specter of ill-informed ignorance hanging over your head.

  8. avatar Barbara says:

    LW#1 Whether he’s gay or not, the question is why marry if you are repulsed by the thought of intimacy.  It may seem like a splendid idea to both now, but it seems that at some point one or both of you are going to yearn for more in the relationship.  I would recommend against this union.
    LW#2 You need to ask a couple of questions.  Does your prospective husband want a child with you?  If so, are you prepared to be a single parent at some point since he is significantly older so odds are that you will be left alone.  If not, are you content that at some point you will potentially be his care giver or that you will be left alone, probably at an age that it is much harder to find a partner.  May-December romances are wonderful at the moment but often create problems when the younger woman (or man for that matter) reaches her prime as the older reaches the problems of old age.  Just create the mental picture:  I’m 25/he’s 50 now.  I’m 40, he’s 65 and retired.  I’m 50, he’s 75 and had a stroke.  It may work out and you’ll be wonderfully happy.  It may not be the rosy future you dreamed of.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      “It may not be the rosy future you dreamed of.”
      True enough—but second-guessing every decision isn’t much of a life either. If she’s already in a relationship with someone significantly older, that would seem to indicate that both are a little more open-minded when it comes to being unconventional.

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      Love the May-December reference! I do genealogy & first heard of such a connotation recently when reading my 3rd great grandparent’s marriage news write up. He was 56 (wealthy) & she was 18 & the county fair queen. Tragically & ironically, they died within a year of each other from tuberculosis. They left behind two tweens…

  9. avatar Victoria Gibson says:

    Here’s a thought from the other side of the fence. My husband and I have been married 7 years. We knew each other for 8 months and did not love each other when we got married. We married to be there for each other’s daughters (we have sinced done step-parent adoptions for both). It’s not been easy, but so worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I married for “love” the first time and it brought me nothing but heartache. If he’s willing to enter into the marriage as is, then go for it. Most of the western world think marriages should be love matches, when in the rest of the world, that is just not the case. And before anyone asks, I live in America, and am white, and raised by white parents. Most marriages in the rest of the world are arranged marriages, or marriages of convience. As long as they both know what is to be expected going into it, what is the harm? And yes, I was 21 when we got married. We’ve since added 3 more kids, for a total of 5 now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • avatar John Lee says:

      Well said Victoria.  Our culture’s blind obsession with romantic love is a tremendous reason why men and women (in particularly women) made horrible decisions with regards to their husbands and boyfriends.

      I would venture to guess that at least 90% of American marriages were made based mainly on the idea that the spouses are in love.  Of course, at least 50% of them fail and end in divorces.  Why?  Because it’s not hard to fall in and out of love.

      Love of all types can be cultivated in a husband-wife relationship, especially one that is based on respect and commitment.  You do not need to start with romantic love as a requirement.

      However, that said, LW#1 obviously doesn’t feel the least bit of commitment to the relationshp and her statement that she “finds him so unattractive that she can’t bear the thought of intimacy with him” is enough to recommend no way on the marriage.  They’re not even starting from zero, they’re starting from like negative 10.

      I am marrying for love, respect, financial sense, goodness of heart and many other reasons.  My ex, who I was very much in love with for a long time and almost married had very few of those qualities that my current fiance has.  It would have almost guaranteed heartache and divorce if I had married my ex.

    • avatar D C says:

      I thought of that too Victoria — although I’m not inclined to personally make that kind of choice.  I know it’s the norm in other cultures. 

    • avatar Diagoras says:

      Even in arranged marriages, there is sex. She’s not sexually attracted to him. She describes him as “effeminate” and not someone she’d want to have sex with. You don’t see that as a problem?! You may not have been in love with your husband but I’d be willing to bet you didn’t find him sexually repulsive either.

  10. avatar marywells says:

    Dear Victoria Gibson, I understand and appreciate your insight. Of course there are cases when the “settling” marriage works wonderfully. And there are many, many cases of “loving” marriages sliding downhill to full disaster after a few years.
    The thing is, when you got married, you were willing to do it. You might not have been in love with this good partner of yours, but you assessed the pros and cons and considered it worth a try. At least, that is what I gathered from your letter. God bless you and your family.
    The fact that in many foreign cultures marriage is not a question of love but of convenience does not guarantee happiness for anyone. In fact, the best metaphor I know for marriage is “lottery”. You may get the prize or not; love, common interests and goodwill may help a lot but won’t make it sure.
    But this young woman does not seem to wish marrying her fiancé. She seems to feel compelled to do ir because he is nice and considerate, to give her son a father figure and to relieve her parents of the “burden”. These are not good reasons for a marriage if she feels it’s the wrong thing to do and if she has any other prospects, such as getting her degree in a few years and supporting herself and her child.

  11. avatar Paul Smith says:

    Is the gay guy wealthy ?  He is clearly gay, as she seemed to describe a young Quinten Crisp. (The second paragraph reads like a character out of an E. Lynn Harris novel.)

  12. avatar Lila says:

    For LW2 – If uncertain, DON’T have kids.  It’s better to regret never having had them, than to regret that they are there.

  13. avatar D L says:

    LW#1 – oh yeesh! The main point of the whole post is not whether the man is gay or not. Since Wavering IS wavering, I think its irrelevant. The issue is that this woman does not love this man, plain and simple.
    I can understand how it would be tempting to marry him. A young woman with a child (whom this man adores), still in school and living her parents. LW doesn’t mention if this man is rich but I can assume he lives comfortably, being that he travels the world and is willing to move to another country. I agree with what 1 poster mentioned, that she is using the “effeminate” angle to say what she already knows: she doesn’t love him, period.

    LW – whether this man is gay or not, in this instance, is irrelevant. How YOU feel is what’s important. If you’re just marrying him b/c he would be good to both you and your son is not fair to either of you. Perhaps he’s hoping you will grow to love him over time but there is not guarantee of that. Plus would you really want to teach your child that marrying someone you don’t love is acceptable? I know many people do this for various reasons but in the long run, it hurts you both. Whose to say you won’t end up resenting him later on? If you accept this proposal, you could be missing out on many new and wonderful life experiences, including finding the man of your dreams. Is it really worth it? And yes intimacy is a HUGE part of marriage. If you find him so unattractive now, after having known him as long as you do, do you honestly think that will change over time? Can you really give up sexual intimacy just to have security?

    I’m glad you asking this questions now before marriage. Do yourself and your child a favor: tell him you will always care about him but b/c you care about him, you cannot marry him b/c you do not love him. Let him know that he is better than just “settling” for and that you hope he finds someone who will love him heart and soul, as you do not.

  14. avatar donnaj says:

    No one has mentioned this so far….but I feel that the LW should be careful for her child’s sake. She says the man who wants to marry her “thinks the world about her little boy”, and doesn’t mind “settling” for a less than normal, passionate relationship. What if the guy is a pedophile? I knew a man who seemed like a normal, nice fellow, and married a young woman with a small child. One year later she found out he was molesting her child. So….maybe the guy’s not gay. Maybe the guy’s not a child molester. Maybe he’s just saying he’ll settle for a less than passionate marriage because he really loves her and will say anything. Who knows? “Wavering” should waver longer, and figure things out before she marries to keep from being a burden to her parents. There are worse things.

  15. avatar Tiffany says:

    Having had a good amount of experience interacting with gay men (and women) I will add to buoy Margo’s point that the one thing a lot of gay people have trouble letting go of is the idea of having a “traditional” family.  I am not passing judgment in any way on gay couples adopting or doing IVF, etc., I’m simply saying that if they had a good home life with mom and dad and the wife getting pregnant, etc., it can be hard to look at the paths their lives are on and realize they’ll never do that in quite the same way.  So part of the reason LW#1’s ex might be so eager to be with her is because she already brings to the table a little family for him (since she has a child), without him having to go through the unpleasantness of working through his physical intimacy issues with a future wife or girlfriend (assuming he chose to stay in the closet).

  16. avatar Lym BO says:

    Lots of good points on here regarding LW1. Is she truly feels marriage is a lifetime commitment then she shouldn’t do it. Sure, you will grow to love this man, but if he is not attractive sexually to you that likely will not come.  Could… And even if he is okay with that eventually, one, or both of you, will likely fall in love & bail. 
    I also have concerns whether he is homosexual, a pedophile, immigrant. Exploring those ideas/motives are important. But also important is whether you believe things won’t get better in your current situation. While not a proponent of single parenthood, plenty of people are doing it & plenty will find a mate.  Given you referred to “university” I would gather you are not likely living in the States where that would be more acceptable. I think that missing piece of information would possibly sway advice. If a marriage would majorly save face for all & you are okay with trading that in for true love then that should be considered. That being said, I would reiterate the need to go into this marriage completely knowledgeable about his sexual orientation and all expectations. Think of it this way- you are essentially committing to nunhood-unless you both plan to have an “open” relationship. 
    There is also the possibility he is crazy about you & is confident time will yield love. Stranger things have happened. Good luck.

  17. avatar Lym BO says:

    LW2: If you always pictured yourself as a mother then don’t sell yourself short.  An old adage says: if you don’t know if your are finished having children then you aren’t. Same would hold true for not being sure if you want any-especially in your case because I sense you are tampering down your true desires because you are crazy about this guy… 

    I dated an older, wealthy gentleman. At first, he wanted more children (his were young).  Then after a few months he decided not. That was a deal breaker for me as much as it killed my heart at the time.  Now I am married to the best guy ever. 4 kids. 2 adopted. That was at 24, guy was 39. At the time, I thought so we’ll be 41 & 57-how’s that different? (LOL! now)  Now I think how it would be today if I were married to Mr. 57, retired, cranky guy. And I would be a grandmother before 40. I often wonder if he didn’t say this to “release” me. One of his worries is I was athletic, adventuresome & he was boring (and acted older than his age). He worried he would be prohibiting me from doing things & missing out.  At any rate, he was right & I am glad he pulled out the baby card whether is was the truth or not. 🙂

  18. avatar wlaccma says:

    I told my children “if you don’t feel passion for this person, get out and run fast.”  You will never be happy with someone you don’t have passion for.  It has nothing to do with him being feminine.  He is not for you and you don’t love him.  Stop seeing him immediately.  This is a train wreck waiting to happen.

  19. avatar Rita@ Goldivas says:

    I don’t know what country she is from, or where he is from, but – could it be that he is anxious to marry her so that he can automatically become a U.S. citizen?

  20. avatar Anne Whitacre says:

    I think the issue here (with LW 1) is that she isn’t attracted to him, and doesn’t think that’s going to change.  I married in my early 20’s (a long time ago) to someone I liked (not loved) and thought that it would be “okay”.  I had been warned many times that “being in love isn’t enough”.  Well… for me, not being in love and not attracted meant that I simply had no interest in working out the problems that we had. 
    I understand that someone young may not have gained enough personal insight to understand whether she will find enough joy in this relationship or whether she will give up, but if she feels like she’s settling now — when she should be crazy in love and excited — then it may not get any better.  Both parties deserve better than that.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      “Well… for me, not being in love and not attracted meant that I simply had no interest in working out the problems that we had. ”
      One of the more profound statements I’ve read on this board.

  21. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Regarding LW1, I do find it interesting that so many comments lingered on the possible negatives surrounding the man in question…he might be gay, and seeking either A) a beard, or B) a traditional nuclear family; he’s trying to marry to acquire citizenship somewhere; he’ll cheat and infect her with HIV/AIDs; he’s a pedophile (men can dearly love a child without being sexually attracted to him, you know…even if the child is not biologically their own)…etc..
    I do find one thing extremely peculiar, and wonder if I am the only person who caught this. The LW clearly stated that the man just got back from a world tour. Usually, this refers to someone who is in the music business, though it can refer to a stage actor…although not many theatrical productions tour worldwide. Those who go on world tours frequently are quite popular, and this might indicate that he is a well-known figure to many. If he is gay, I suspect that there are plenty of rumors to that effect, or that he is already out…especially if he is in the music business (where anyone got that he was conservative…the LW never gives a single indication that he is. She is the one who uses the term “traditional family”).
    I have a different take on the situation altogether. If this is a man who goes on world tours, she is not looking at quite a “traditional marriage”. Yes, he said he’d move half-way across the world to live with her…but how much time would he be actually spending at that home? There is no indication given that he will be giving up his career. Furthermore, how convenient for her should he marry her, provide for her son, whom he adores, and make few if any demands upon her…and also be absent from home a good deal of the time.
    She also said that she found his mannerisms effeminate, but does not elaborate further. Does he talk with his hands? Have a flair for the dramatic? Cry when he is emotionally touched? None of these things are inherently effeminate. Is he slight, or somewhat frail…or does he lisp, roll his eyes, have a limp wrist and sashay when he walks? I’ve known some Goth and Emo boys who have the latter habits down to a science…and are confidently heterosexual (with the sighing, wifty trail of moony-eyed girls to prove it). What it gets down to, I think, is that she finds him physically and sexually intolerable, and perhaps even repulsive…and that she has no emotional feelings for him whatsoever (I found the bit about him being sentimental very telling…I have heard both men and women say that with contempt about a would-be partner…and it generally conveys a feeling that they have no practical use for a person who believes in such nonsense as love, cuddling, pillow-talk, sweet-nothings, etc. Relationships are business arrangements…nothing more or less).
    I think the one who will be cheated in the end should she decide to marry him is her fiance…not the LW. She is willing to make a business arrangement…I didn’t get that there was anything about this that smacked of her doing the right thing on a cultural/societal basis (she already has a child out of wedlock…and I am a bit dubious about the “burden to my parents” bit, it seemed like an afterthought thrown in as a justification for a potentially unethical decision). Both sets of parents may well be thrilled…his, because their son will be happy…and hers quite possibly because their daughter is marrying someone who (may be, given the world tour aspect) quite wealthy and famous. She will never love, or even care about this man…but he will give her the opportunity to live the good life, love her son, and potentially be absent for long stretches of time…in which she may be able to do exactly as she pleases. After all, his expectations of her are few indeed…although he might want to be tested every so often. HIV/AIDs is a disease that affects everyone.
    Do him a favor, dear. Let all those women who would think you are crazy have a go at him (I wonder if they would have a good reason for thinking that way…perhaps he is very popular with the ladies while on tour…not the fellows at all), and let him find someone who is not quite so mercenary. I know marriage simply for love doesn’t always work, but neither do “arrangements”.

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      Interesting take, Briana. The chance of the fame part would be rather slim. On the same note, I would guess he likely comes from a wealthy family who do frequently send their children on world tours during their youth/post-college. I would also guess he & she come from a strong ethnic/cultural background, which dictates they marry within (including economic status). She doesn’t say he came back home to see her, but that he came to visit her in her country which leads me to beiieve she is not where she initially lived when they previously dated.      
      At any rate, I totally agree she should set this guy free as it seems nothing good will come of it for him. ANd I still contend he is hoping she falls for him & that he is not gay/pedo/or whatever.  🙂

  22. avatar crystalclear says:

    I don’t believe anyone has mentioned the child.   Why in the world would she marry a man that she will end of divorcing when she DOES meet someone she loves?   That would be very hard on the child.    No one knows if this man is gay or not but the signs seem to be pointing in that direction.    The best thing she could do for all three of them is “just say no.”   She’s young and she is in a safe environment living with her parents who are no doubt helping with the raising of their grandson.

    Letter 2:   Crystal Clear doesn’t have a Crystal Ball either.

  23. avatar Paula says:

    I’m going to put a different spin on the first letter.

    Has anyone considered the possibility that this young man is feeling pressure from his family to get married, and perhaps he is not ready, for whatever reason, and sees marrying a “good friend” as a way to keep everybody happy?  Indeed it does sound like both the LW and the young man are young, with plenty of years left during which they can choose life mates, and marrying because somebody else THINKS they should is the wrong reason entirely!!!! 

    It certainly sounds like SHE is not ready to get married (to him or to anyone else), and I believe the same can be said of him.  If they’ve remained good friends since their dating years earlier, to me it would be much smarter to let things stay that way – good friends, let him spend time with her son (provided there is no reason to believe donnaj’s suggestion could be true – that the young man might be a child molester!), and enjoy their friendship for what it is.

    Could he be gay, bisexual, a potential pedophile, or anything else mentioned or not mentioned as a possibility?  Could his family be telling him it’s time for him to get married?  Could it be that all/most of his male friends are now married and he feels like the odd man out?  Maybe so.  Regardless of the reason(s) why, it doesn’t sound to me like either of them is ready for marriage, therefore, it’s the wrong step to take at this point.

  24. avatar idahoprincess says:

    How old is your lovely little boy?  This young mother should carefully consider this mans possible intentions toward her son.  Sorry, it’s common as grass, the boy may be considered part of the package to the ex who doesn’t mind marrying a woman who doesn’t love him.