DEAR DEIDRE: I WANT to propose to my partner and start a family, but worry she still has feelings for her ex who is dragging his heels over their divorce.
We have been together for three years and are very much in love, but her ex’s shadow still looms over her – and us.
It has been two years since she filed for divorce and four years since they split.
Yet he still hasn’t signed the paperwork.
When prompted he says he will get around to it but never does.
She isn’t pushing him and it’s stalling the progress of our relationship.
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They have a seven-year-old daughter together, who is lovely, but he kicks off whenever I have anything to do with her.
I am 43, she is 39 and her ex is 45. This is totally unrealistic as I often spend time with her; picking her up from school, helping with homework or putting her to bed.
But he says he doesn’t want me getting involved and again my girlfriend doesn’t stand up to him.
This makes me lose hope that we can ever live together.
We’re in love, but I’m beginning to have doubts.
Whenever we’re out she regularly mentions him and doesn’t hold back to tell me about the places we have visited or things we have done that remind her of him.
We have amazing sex and she says she wants to have more children with me, but I noticed that she continues to take contraception.
I want to take this relationship to the next level, but he is making it difficult for us and I question if it will be as special for her second time round?
I’ve already bought the ring and I don’t want to push her away with my frustration.
But I’m starting to think neither of them really wants to divorce — so where does that leave me?
Am I being taken for a fool?
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DEIDRE SAYS: You are having doubts, so it would be wise to postpone any proposal until you feel sure – ideally after the divorce is finalised.
It’s important you find a quiet moment to lay your cards on the table and tell your partner how you feel.
Ask her what she wants and what’s stopping her from pursuing a divorce.
She may well be concerned about maintaining a good relationship for the sake of her daughter as it’s clear her ex is a difficult man.
She may need help to establish healthy boundaries regarding parenting her daughter with her ex and Family Lives (familylives.org.uk) can help with this.
But it is possible to finalise a divorce without the agreement of both parties.
She can get legal advice through Rights Of Women (rightsofwomen.org.uk, 020 7251 6577).
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