Hi, Mrs. Fleming, My girlfriend recently broke up with me and this is why: I am just under two years on finishing paying for property I bought four years ago. She asked if I would sign over half to her. I said, No. She has since labeled me as having a trust problem and told me I need to seek counseling. Is she correct or did I have just cause for telling her no? Keep in mind we were at the time just dating. Not engaged or any thing further. Just boyfriend and girlfriend. I am going to get in touch with my parish priest to receive a face to face discussion about this issue. Thanks for your time and help in this matter.
Dear Trust Problem,
I don’t hear anything in the situation you described as labeling you with a trust problem. It is simply good common sense (and financial sense) to not sign over property, bank accounts, homes, cars, pets, etc. with someone if you are not legally married. Engaged does not count. It sounds like your girlfriend was possibly as interested in your property as she was in you.
Now here is the other side of the coin. Have you been dating for quite a long time without a commitment? Did your girlfriend see this property as a representation of your true intent to marry her? If so, then the property may indicate a deeper emotional issue that was going on between the two of you. Only you would know, do you believe you have issues with commitment?
Commitment and trust are two different things. You can be completely trustworthy, meaning honest, authentic, and real, but still not want to marry someone. If you were honest but still had a commitment issue, then the right thing to do would be to search your heart for a reason why you are not ready to marry, and share that reason with your girlfriend. Don’t have a reason? That’s ok too, just share the fact that marriage is not in your immediate future. This way, she can decide to stay or go, without having to pressure you for “signs” of your commitment.
I know an amazing Catholic man who would make a great husband and father. But, I wouldn’t introduce any of my single friends to him because his actions show that he is not ready to marry. In fact, I don’t know if he will ever marry. He is honest with the women he dates, and he has had very healthy relationships. You just have to take the time to really figure out how you feel.
Do you want to be married one day but don’t know why you can’t move to the next step? Then that may be the topic for a discussion with a therapist. If there is a block preventing you from having what you want in life, then counseling can help.
At the same time, you may just not be ready. And that’s ok too. God may be calling you to complete some work He needs done on His earthly kingdom, and you are the guy He is tapping for the job. The “work” may be internally, spiritual or emotional growth for you to complete in union with Him, or it may be externally, in service to others. We never know the “why” we are single for sure, be we can turn to our Lord to help us find purpose and clarity in the process.
Hope you found this helpful. You are a smart man not to sign over property, don’t question yourself about your decision. I think you may be fearing that you do have other issues with commitment or trust. Then I encourage you to start taking the steps to learn about the person you will spend the rest of your life living with: you.
Michele Fleming, M.A.