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SAHM of 3 rolls her eyes at boyfriend's proposal, 'it took 25 years of begging.' AITA? UPDATED 2X

SAHM of 3 rolls her eyes at boyfriend's proposal, 'it took 25 years of begging.' AITA? UPDATED 2X

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

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 onwards, I had been making clear my deep desire to marry, and was consistently dismissed, given empty promises, gaslit.

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.

And 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's what top commenters had to say about this one:

President__Pug said:

And you didn’t leave earlier because???????

Hot_Ad892 said:

Wowza. What did he expect? What did you expect? Like seriously you wanted a marriage but you stayed half your life with someone so set on making you the bad guy for wanting that until recently? Why would you stay with someone like that? Why would you reproduce with someone like that? Several times?

It’s just disappointing for your kids to suffer that much bullying for this. Like all for nothing. Idk who the ahole is. But unfortunately for him he kinda missed his chance. And unfortunately for you, you put yourself in a box.

tamij1313 said:

So you have not had your own career? Being an unmarried stay at home mom might have put you in serious financial jeopardy.

You have no retirement or social security benefits of your own. It sounds like your name is not on the house documents and you are probably not listed on his retirement account either. There is a lot of important missing information regarding your own financial situation here that should be investigated prior to you making any further changes or decisions.

Consult a divorce lawyer asap to find out where you currently stand and whether or not the 25 years you have invested in this relationship have entitled you to any assets or financial support.

They can advise you on your best next steps. If you are serious about ending this relationship, make sure you go about it in the best possible manner. You might need to briefly marry him. Good luck!

alkalinebrine said:

NTA for rolling your eyes. YTA (ESH) - for enabling him to do you dirty for 25 years. Get all of the privileges of being a husband without ever being your husband. You begged someone to marry you, a value you have, he didn’t and you proceeded to have several children with him. Like girl STAND UP PLEASE. He wasted your whole life and now he’s playing in your face.

PandaMime_421 said:

NTA. There was a reason that he refused to marry you while he was working and a reason that he's willing to now. I would get to the bottom of that before I agreed to anything with this man.

HoshiJones said:

He called you a gold digger? You've been with him for a quarter century without ownership in anything, and he called you a gold digger? ESH.

Him for not committing to you but having 4 kids with you; and you for staying with him and having 4 kids with him. Marry him at least so you get equity in your home. He should have put your name on the deed.

elainegeorge said:

YTA TO YOURSELF. Marriage does protect one another in case something happens to one of you. Now that he’s of retirement age, and doesn’t really have much to offer, he wants to marry? Does he have cancer or something?

UPDATE:

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's what top commenters had to say about the update:

ConvivialKat said:

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.

eleanorlikesvodka said:

You got played, OP. You raised his children and took care of his home for 25 years and what do you have to show for it? I sure hope he gets his comeuppance because he sounds like a selfish prick, but man, you got played good.

Dry-Measurement-8425 said:

Girlllllllllllll, leave you can do better. This screams Sunk Cost Fallacy. Basically its the fear of starting over because you have already invested so much so you just keep investing but never get anywhere.

There is nothing wrong with getting out and starting over. Even in yours 50s. You can and should do better! You deserve someone who will respect the 1/4 century of loyalty you have given this man.

thedarkestbeer said:

For what it’s worth, his reaction tells me that he wasn’t going to follow through with the proposal. The minute you did something he didn’t like, he was going to retract it, which is what happened. So try not to beat yourself up for not jumping on that right away.

PLEASE talk to a lawyer. Look for free or low-cost legal aid services near you. Morally and ethically, he owes you. Let’s see if there’s any legal recourse to back that up.

DataNerdsCanBeCool said:

I'd love to be sympathetic but honestly you both sound toxic AF. For his part, the proposal out of nowhere that became an ultimatum is really sh%tty. This should have been a conversation that was built over the course of months, not something to spring on you.

You too bear responsibility though. You stayed in this relationship without a ring because it was the easy thing to do. You don't want to phrase it that way but that's what it was. You subsumed your own desires because you felt that it was simpler than the alternative.

Candidly, your BF isn't wrong, you may have stayed in part due to love but it was also because you liked the money and the lifestyle and you thought it would be harder without those things.

You might have been right honestly but you've now spent two posts trying to justify your decision in any other way. You made this choice, now you have to make another one.

There's no reason you can't change your mind now and move on. Life may be harder on the short run but at least you'll be pursuing your own happiness. Or you can keep settling if you want. But you shouldn't blame your BF for your choices.

anotherdumbname82 said:

A lot of people are giving advice like you own a time machine. You're in this spot now. In my opinion, if there is some semblance of a relationship, I think you should stay. Get a remote job, go travel, whatever. Maybe in time you can get married and re-evaluate your options.

If you leave now, the chances of you getting any kind of meaningful career or relationship are pretty low. You're in your 50s. Yeah, if life is unbearable, then it would make sense, but it sounds more like you're having a mid-life crisis and regretting your decisions for the last 25 years.

Your BF is controlling, but you've obviously agreed to that and handed him the wheel, so to speak. Leaving now will most likely have a way higher negative impact on you. That's my two cents.

SECOND UPDATE:

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's what top commenters had to say after the second update:

r-r-rocket88 said:

Do not be ashamed to apply for snap. Nowadays you just get a little debit card and no one in line even knows you are using it except maybe the cashier in some stores where they process it slightly differently but no one can tell. You just can't buy alcohol or cigarettes.

Some fancy stores won't accept snap but they usually have a sign you can notice before you get in line. I'm pretty sure whole foods and every other chain store I'm aware of takes it easily.

They will reload the card automatically weekly or monthly. Good luck to you and sorry your SO is a complete AH. Do you have family there or in another state? It may be time to move on.

MandeeLess said:

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.

Time_Tennis1848 said:

OP you need an attorney NOW. Calling one person is NOT ENOUGH. Reach out to lawyers like it's your goddamn job. You are about to be homeless, this is serious. You cannot just ignore eviction proceedings and pretend it will all go away if you don't think about it.

jecrmosp said:

You literally allowed that man to waste 30 years of your life? And now you are gonna allow him to waste the rest of your days dragging his feet on the same damn subject for a couple more decades?

What you need is professional help to discover self love and self respect lady. Cause 30 years waiting for someone to do something they don’t want to do as if that is supposed to be a damn favor to you ISN’T IT!

Armyman125 said:

This should be a cautionary tale for stay at home parents. Once your kids are in school you should get a job. Staying at home forever and then trying to get your first job in your 40s and 50s can be brutal. Don't be totally dependent on your partner.

The opinions were fairly divided for this one throughout, but most people were on OP's side. What's your advice for this situation?

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