Dear Lucia,

I recently caught my boyfriend of 6 years cheating when I found a receipt from a short stay hotel. I believe it is the same woman he was seeing when we were having problems in the past. We obviously worked things out and he said he wasn’t dating her anymore but did speak to her from time to time. When I recently found the receipt I said its over and he cried and begged. I love him so I accepted and stayed.

I am 34 and he is 38. I want to eventually get married, have kids and buy a home. His goals are to move up in his field, buy a home, have kids and get married. We are working on getting a place to rent so we can split bills in order to save money for a home. We’ve discussed marriage in the past and he stated he eventually wants to marry me. He hasn’t proposed yet but says he fears losing me.

I love him and panic at the thought of things not going well but his cheating has lowered my self esteem. Shelby

couple

Dear Shelby,

You said you worked things out, but apparently you didn’t.  If he’s messing around before marriage, when he’s supposed to be putting his best foot forward so that you’ll accept a proposal, how will he behave after you’re married?

When a man wants to marry a woman, he will usually propose within 2 years or less.  You’ve been with him for 6 years without a proposal and he still doesn’t know when he wants to get married, or so he says.

It’s interesting how you listed your priorities.  You wrote that you want marriage, kids and a home.  You also wrote that he wants to move up in his field, buy a home, have kids and get married.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you put the two priorities in that order.  It would appear you’re not on the same page.

Moving in with him would be one of the biggest mistakes of your life. Living together is a convenience, marriage is a commitment. Do you want a convenience or a commitment? Studies show that couples that move in together before marriage have a higher divorce rate than couples that don’t. On top of that, his goals are the exact opposite of yours. His priority is his career and he’s willing to have kids before marriage. How do you know that he would even marry you if you had a child together?

If you still want him, you need to do the following:

1) Get to the truth as to why he cheated. If necessary, go to counseling.

2) When you are certain that the cheating issue has been dealt with sufficiently, tell him that you “love him and want to be his wife and if you don’t receive a proposal and a ring within 3-6 months (you choose the length), you will move on.” Yes, this is an ultimatum. Though not generally recommended, you’ve already wasted enough time with him. You must be mentally and emotionally prepared to follow through.

3) Actions speak louder than words. If he doesn’t propose, stop seeing him. Don’t accept any excuses. When he calls you, keep the conversations light and short. Tell him you’re busy and have to run after 5 minutes.

4) If he wants to see you, it has to be because he has a ring for you. If not, there’s no point.

I know you won’t want to do this, but I believe you have no other choice. Let’s see how much he really fears losing you. Staying with a man who cheats and doesn’t want to get married would lower any woman’s self esteem.

The only way to have high self esteem is to impress yourself with the courage to make the right decision, even when it’s the most difficult thing in the world to do.