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Woman's dismissive response to BF's proposal after 25 years leaves her penniless. Updated 4X

Woman's dismissive response to BF's proposal after 25 years leaves her penniless. Updated 4X

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AITA for rolling my eyes at my boyfriend's proposal because it took 25 years of me begging?

Throwawayproposalfin

Yesterday after dinner my (52F) boyfriend of 30 years (53M) proposed to me. He just walked towards me holding a box and said to open it. It was a ring and I had pictured this moment a million different times but never thought I'd be so apathetic.

My boyfriend then said that he was retired now and wants to kick back and enjoy life with me, and would love to do it all with me as his wife. A nice speech and all but from the 5 year mark of our relationship onward, I had been making clear my deep desire to marry, and was consistently dismissed, given empty promises, gas lit.

We had been through the gamut with therapy and one counselor implied that me telling him we needed to go to therapy and getting his butt on the couch still means nothing if his mind has been made up. I was in denial about the fact he was just giving me the false illusion of progress to stall.

My boyfriend and I have 4 kids. The oldest 3 are adults, while the youngest is 15F ( was sleeping over elsewhere when this all went down). All of our kids went to a private school filled with typical Southern soccer parents.

I had to endure PTA moms' jabs about me not sharing a last name with my kids. Preteen years were hell because the other kids would taunt my kids by saying "Your dad would rather sin and go to hell than marry your mom!" My BF's mom would tell him marriage would be selfish on my part; it is just a piece of paper.

My BF ended up rising up the ranks until he became an executive. I was a SAHM so I felt like there was always a power imbalance, exasperated by the fact I could be tossed any time. I partly did stay because I wanted my kids to have the best life and because I felt lucky and proud to be partnered with such an intelligent, successful man, but also because I loved him.

These past few years my boyfriend's career has taken a downturn. He will never be poor, but the company he was part of took a nosedive during 2020 and he had made enemies out of associates/ board members.

He decided to step back from his role and take the generous severance agreed upon. Now he is living off his investments and wants to relax. I did not like how his career ended and how he treated people and had been deciding whether I wanted to leave and find somebody else after our youngest turns 18.

So the proposal was a shock because I should hope that he noticed I have avoided conversations about the future as of late. He rattles on about downsizing "our" house so we can travel and also cutting back on our other expenses, but we're not married so it's all his money/ house anyway.

He did notice my eye roll and was offended. He asked what's wrong and I said that suddenly now that he's downsizing I'm good enough to marry. He got mad and said that now that he's downsizing and no longer an executive, I suddenly think our relationship is disrespectful.

He started implying I was a gold digger. I was so angry I walked out and said I might just go out looking for a respectful relationship because I don't know what respect is anymore. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's initial post:

DeliciousMud7291

If you were "begging" for him to propose, why did you stay for 25 yrs?

The OP responded here:

Throwawayproposalfin

Because I was a SAHM of many kids and he was this big executive so I felt if I offended him in any way, he'd use his influence to screw me in a custody battle or otherwise make my life miserable.

drwhogirl_97

He has noticed that you’ve been pulling away from him, that’s why he’s chosen to propose now. If he wanted to marry you he’d have done it years ago, this is just an attempt to make you stay by giving you what you wanted. The retirement is just a convenient excuse.

MarsyRetro

Some studies seem to indicate that as men experience a drop in testosterone, they suddenly start to value relationships a lot more (with both their kids and their partners). Depending on just how poorly they've treated everyone, they may find they've burned those bridges (leaving them no choice but to get a new wife and start a whole new family at 50).

(I'm sort of kidding about that last bit, but it's why I'm not sure what I make of the studies -- they provide convenient cover for do-over families instead of putting in the work to atone for the harm one has caused.)

All of that to say, it's theoretically possible that now that his career has failed he realized just how much he does in fact want OP to be his permanent partner. But it's still shitty of him to think just because his mind has finally changed, she should be happy and in her shoes, I'd walk.

A few days later, the OP returned with an update.

UPDATE- AITA for rolling my eyes at my boyfriend's proposal because it took 25 years of me begging?

Throwawayproposalfin

At the time of my original post, my boyfriend and I had not spoken since the engagement fight. I've been with him long enough to know that when he goes and closes the bedroom door before I get in that's a signal that I should sleep in one of the guest rooms so I did that.

However this morning I broke the ice. I told him about how dismissed I felt over the years. I also said that we are both in our 50s and these last few years have taught us that people at work who kiss the ground you walk on one day can easily turn on you the next.

And true partners in life are valuable and hard to find, so I wished he'd treat me like I'm valued. Instead he treats me like he thinks prettier, better, and just as loving is always around the corner. I apologized for the eye roll but told him that if he wants marriage, I want a quick committed timeline and genuine happiness from him to be marrying me. I don't need a big party.

He listened to me and finally asked if this was about the money/ security. He told me that being an executive's girlfriend required things of me, but if I wanted to work I could have. He said he doesn't think I'm grateful enough for the position in society I was in due to his career.

But that he's not mad about the eye roll- he said he didn't succeed by being that sensitive. He went on to say I was not his prisoner so I can leave at any time. But to remember he won't tolerate being made my prisoner either via manipulation.

He said that for what it's worth, the engagement ring is mine and I could do whatever I wanted with it. He will also not be accused of not providing for his daughter so be assured he won't shirk child support. But that he felt what I said before was emotional blackmail.

So he no longer wants to go forward with marrying but says if I'd like to travel with him that's fine. Him traveling is non negotiable and so if I wanted to get a job it would have to be a remote job. It was a sad conversation and I spent a few hours alone after that.

I felt I had nothing to lose so I just asked him if he would support me getting an associate's, but that most associate's for technical careers were in person. He then dropped the bombshell that if I wasn't traveling with him he wasn't going to go those periods without intimacy.

I was astounded by his callousness because he's back to take it or leave it. We fought again with me saying we're all feeling the effects of age, I've supported him through health issues, and if he thinks he can just find somebody who has that loyalty I've shown him, he's wrong.

At this point I'm looking for ways out. I can't say I haven't been tempted to say I'll travel with him and try to get a remote job but also realize how resentful I am that he continues to need to have the power in the relationship. I don't think I'll ever know my value truly, but something telling me there has to be better out there, at least in a partner.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's update:

ConvivialKat

YTA - to yourself. I'm an old (65+) lady, and I have seen this scenario happen so many, many times. And it has never been a good thing for the woman involved. In fact, it has been an outright tragic disaster. Poverty is knocking on your door, OP, and it wants in.

You have screwed yourself over in so many ways. The biggest of which was not to work over the last 30 years. You have no investments, no social security units earned, no 401(k) retirement, and no property.

You made another huge mistake by not just grabbing that ring and immediately marrying your BF, thereby cementing your ability to share in some of his investments, social security, etc. I don't care how "unappreciated" you felt. It was a moment in time, and now it's gone. A good lawyer may help, depending on where you live, but it is in no way guaranteed.

If you had immediately married, when he proposed, and he lived at least 10 more years, you would have been able to get widows benefits. But, not now. Now you get nothing.

Do you have any money at all? Your own bank accounts or credit of any kind?? At your age, it is a cruel world without credit or money. You had better hope that one or more of your adult children will take you in, or you could quickly find yourself homeless.

I'm sorry to be so brutal, but I don't think you have any clue how terrible things can get for you unless you can find a way to make an actual living. Even if you do, don't expect to ever retire. You (as many women are) will be working until you die. I'm so very sorry.

mango-affair

This is the most brutal, eye opening response I am reading as a 32 year old woman who was on the fence about considering marriage. Holy moley.

CoconutxKitten

People try to say marriage is just a piece of paper but it’s a whole bunch of legal protections.

glowdirt

And social acceptance too. There's a reason LGBT folks fought (and still fight) so hard for legal and equal recognition of their unions, their children and their families both in law and in name.

A month later, the OP again returned with an update.

SECOND UPDATE- AITA for rolling my eyes at my boyfriend's proposal because it took 25 years of me begging?

Throwawayproposalfin

It's been over a month since I last posted and my life has changed drastically. For those who didn't see my previous posts, my boyfriend of 30 years proposed after I had begged him for 25 years and I had rolled my eyes because it took 25 years and him not being an executive anymore. In response, he retracted the proposal. I really wish this update could have been positive.

But I'm not doing well. But what remains is hope. Hope in the kindness of others- my grown kids, employers, courts, even my kids' dad. Hope in the value of love that I've given so freely to my kids' dad. Because I was raised to believe even those who don't appreciate the love I've given them will eventually self actualize and pay it back.

Here's what has happened since. Since my kids' dad accused me of trying to keep him an emotional prisoner- I tried to show him I valued his freedom. I gave him his space and showed that I could live life without trapping him.

I started doing that right after our discussion. His reaction was anger. After our talk he started glaring and picking fights over everything- the speed at which I did housework, my spending ( within his allowance), and cut it to nearly 0. Asked for the ring back during an argument.

I took the comments to my posts to heart. In particular, advice telling me that if badgered I should refuse to leave the house. Just a few days after our conversation about the engagement he picked a fight and accused me of ignoring him.

He said he wanted me out. I said no- I deserved to be here. He responded by having a lawyer send me a notice telling me to vacate that day. I happened so quickly I was too shocked to react.

My kids were torn between " dad's bluffing" and " try to leave." But now he's filed to evict. It's up to the courts now. I tried looking for legal aid, but the person I talked to was cold and implied that my status as a mom and partner won't protect me from eviction.

I've tried sending out applications for office jobs. But was told by friends to be kind to myself because if one rejection comes, something better will be along. My adult kids suggested I apply for SNAP ( food stamps and I haven't out of shame. They said if I do and "dad" and I no longer live together the government will help me collect child support.

My grown kids said they can't risk upsetting "dad". My oldest told me a gas station was hiring night shift. And he'd try to help once he graduated. Just when I decided to just be grateful for the job, they rejected me after an interview where I feel I spoke well. That hurt.

But I keep having hope because every day there are new remote and non remote jobs posted, saying they'll train the right candidate. I am applying to every corporation it seems.

With hope that one of them will take a chance on me, give me an interview that I will ace. See me for somebody pulling herself up. I know my boyfriend wants me to beg. But I don't know if that would make him drop the suit. I just don't know anymore.

I am in my corner of the house trying to keep things normal and applying like it's a job. I don't know what else to say but that ends my update for now. I maintain hope and dignity.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's update:

Introvertedtravelgrl

OP: For opportunities

Temp agencies: Manpower, Robert Half international, Randstad. You don't need experience for some very entry level date entry and they also place in day labor jobs.

Online if you have your own laptop and wifi and a quiet place to work. Cambly tutoring. No degree or cert required. I'm sorry this is happening to you. Do you have family? Sister, parents, brother, BFFs to lean on? I'm sorry I didn't see the original post to know if you answered this.

94thee

Amazon will literally hire anyone (that’s not a dig at you btw) so if you need a job and don’t mind warehouse work and can get there you just have to pass a drug test. I’ve had some terrible worker and interview friends apply and get the job.

Plenty of warehouse workers are like 50+ so even age isn’t a problem (idk how old you are, just covering grounds) I think starting pay was like $17-$19 an hour depending on where you are at, I’m assuming that’s more than a gas station? I could be wrong tho, I haven’t applied to a gas station job before. Wishing you all the luck!

MandeeLess

OP I’m sorry this is happening to you. Please consult with a lawyer asap. I’m sure after 25 years of being in a common law relationship, you’re owed something. NTA but your ex certainly is.

Almost two months later, the OP again returned.

Third Update- AITA for rolling my eyes at my boyfriend's proposal because it took 25 years of me begging?

Throwawayproposalfin

The unconscionable happened: a judge is letting my ex boyfriend evict me. A judge who is supposed to uphold the laws of fairness, morality, and for years I assumed kindness found "in favor" of my ex boyfriend.

My head is spinning. I have not found a job yet. And I did everything right. I applied to hundreds upon hundreds of marketing jobs online. I've gotten 3 responses but those responses ask me to download communication apps to do the interview and their instructions are so hard to understand.

I don't do well with non concrete directions so I got too aggravated to respond. However at this point, I'm desperate enough to interview even there. I have taken the advice to apply to non marketing jobs.

My older daughter wrote me a resume for an office assistant job for a church that ONLY offered 8-10 hours a week at $2 over minimum wage. I got called for an interview. And the PASTOR of all people seemed disappointed after seeing me, and greeted me with a different tone than he greeted the next applicant who came in (a woman in her mid 20s).

Horrible behavior from a mid 30s man- he even called me " ma'am" in this apprehensive tone. I did not get the job, but I feel bad for whoever does. I only have a few days before a sheriff arrives. I called my kids for help.

My legal aid attorney predicted I'd only get visitation until I have a stable place. And child support would likely be enough to only partially pay for motel living, so I needed to quickly get a job.

How can the world treat a mom like this? My adult kids arranged to meet me and told me there's a reason even their grandma called my ex an alley cat. They offered to sneak food from dining halls when I visit and lend me clothes for interviews.

But they said their dad laid down the law with regards to sending money and they will not be sending me any money. And that when they get jobs of their own, they will also be prioritizing their own savings, and I should not expect any money.

And that it's not my fault but at some point the shows of fickle affection they've seen during their childhood, where they faced bullying and watched people like me who are kind be scorned jaded them.

And in all that instability, accomplishments and money were the only constants, and that has made them emotionally apathetic. But that it's hard to fix because it goes hand in hand with the overactive having sense of self preservation they've acquired. They blame it on watching how self preservation got their dad far, and the lack of it crushed others.

I was able to sell the few things that my ex did not bother to claw away from me. I have enough to book a room at a motel for about a week, but then I don't know. I asked my newly 16 year old if she'd want to stay with me when I get a motel room, she started crying and begging her dad to let me stay.

I will fight for custody with every ounce of strength I have. But I'm guessing her siblings are telling her to enlist self preservation and stay with her dad. I understand- I do. But she still needs her mom. I'm in contact with a shelter. Hopefully I can find somebody who will fight for me to get housing. But I don't know what my future holds.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the latest update from the OP:

Top_Put1541

Never have I wanted to read the adult kids' version of events as much as I do now.

Viperbunny

It instantly makes me not trust the OP. I left my parents who are narcissistic abusers. Everything is always everyone else's fault, nothing is fair, etc. I have to say those alarm bells are ringing like crazy.

EmpressPear

You want a six figure job but can’t manage to download an app for an interview. Make it make sense. It sounds like your kids are probably making very little in the way of income if they’re attending school full time. It’s kind of crazy for you to expect them to somehow come up with the money to support you. That’s not their job.

10 days later the OP returned with another update.

Fourth Update- AITA for rolling my eyes at my boyfriend's proposal because it took 25 years of me begging?

Throwawayproposalfin

I want to apologize to everybody I have offended with my 3rd update- it's not my intention to look down on anybody, but I wish there was more understanding about how I had absolutely NOBODY to talk to. Nobody who responded to anything I had to say in my life- nothing to say when I cried, pleaded, and explained. But I understand- it's over now. All I have ever known.

I have left my ex's house- I left a day before the sheriff was supposed to come. I could not stand my ex's taunts anymore. Saying goodbye to my daughter nearly broke me but i am committed to finding a way to see her regularly.

I spent two nights in a motel. I took advice about using the library as my safe place to apply for jobs during the day. I also paid some money to an online resume service, where they said they had expertise in making homemakers' resumes employable.

I also applied to retail jobs and heard back from one- I have an interview soon but am scared because it only pays 50 cents above minimum wage and just the cost of motels scares me.

I am in the process of applying for SNAP. From my years in my former social circle, a lot of the wives were on boards for food banks and such. I know my money from selling the few things my ex didn't snatch away could have been stretched better, but the stress of leaving my daughter there made me buy " comfort food" and I admit, also a drink to calm my nerves.

My friends from that circle were mostly not communicating with me, but when it was known I was about to be homeless, suddenly they seemed to have renewed interest in me all at once, but not in the way of giving me any sort of assistance or emotional support. I asked one of the women about the food bank she used to host fundraisers for and the availability. She replied back with the availability.

I went there but was humiliated that me telling her when I was going to go resulted in her and 3 others from that circle being around (claiming to be volunteering when they only hosted fundraisers, never volunteered on site) when I arrived and making a show out of asking a lot of probing questions.

Yet they started prattling on about party things, complaining about upcoming trips they knew I could now not be a part of. I left so downtrodden and will never go back. I have just spent my second night in a shelter after needing to save the little I have left.

I know I will be torn to pieces for saying this, but it was hard to be grateful to be there due to the pests, lack of cleanliness of others in the shelter, going to sleep with somebody next to me crying, somebody throwing up.

I can only maintain hope that eventually things will look up, that I won't continue to be punished with grief and fear for wanting better. I hope I get the job I'm interviewing for.

I shake at the thought of going back to the shelter again (they make us leave at a certain morning time). I am not this "do nothing" leech- I just made the mistake of loving a man and hoping he'd value that.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's latest update:

Throwawaycocoutra

OP- I am sorry that the comments on your posts have grown increasingly harsh but you have to understand that it’s very hard to try to explain things and suggest things to somebody who at the time both refused to listen and seemed to look down on the people trying to help.

I am sorry to hear that your friends’ reaction to you hitting rock bottom was to gloat- just get a clean break from them. Continue utilizing SNAP and other forms of assistance. I know many churches in the south hold soup kitchens about once a week, so don’t be shy to get in touch.

Good luck on your job interview- it sounds like a Walmart or grocery job of sorts- just tell them you are committed to working hard, showing up on time, respecting the team and customers.

Once you have a bit of money squirreled away you can look into getting roommates. But please utilize all the resources out there for women to see if you can be put on some sort of housing list.

Interesting-File-557

Crazy how fast he went from wanting to spend his retirement traveling the word with you to being a total stranger. Nothing to say but good luck moving forward, i guess.

JanetInSpain

Maybe you could write a book titled "Dear Women: Never Do This" and recount your entire life story. You've made poor decision after poor decision and still don't seem to get the position you are in.

Get a fast food job. Get ANY job. Stop thinking your SAHM skills mean a damn thing. They don't. Go back to the shelter until you can save money to go elsewhere. Suck it up. It's better than the street. Go back to the food bank. Who cares about those rich biddies. Take care of yourself -- they can get lost. Update me!

So, who knows if we will get another update. Hopefully we do. But, if you could say anything to the OP right now, what would you tell them?

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