The Hamilton Spectator
Demand action to validate proposal
Q My boyfriend of two years has proposed to me and I’m very happy. There’s only one problem — he’s still married to his wife. Is this a red flag?
A It’s more like a screaming banner alerting you to reality. He may hope and intend to marry you, but not yet … if he doesn’t want to commit the crime of polygamy (also called bigamy).
In Canada, it’s against the law to be married to more than one person at a time. It’s also against the law to marry someone in Canada if one of you is already married.
So consider any likely reasons for his proposing while still married, such as not wanting to pay his wife for what would be her legal share of their joint marital assets.
It could also mean he likes convenience, i.e. two commitments to marriage. Perhaps he felt the proposal would reassure you of his long-range intentions, so he can still enjoy you accompanying him on exciting “business trips” … away from his same-old first marriage.
While I clearly distrust his motives, I do have true sympathy for your situation. You love this man and his proposal has meant a lot to you.
But you need much more substantial news from him about when he’s going to be divorced so that you two can start a marriage without potential dramas from his current wife. Or his own stalling. I strongly advise you to ask him directly exactly when he’ll move forward on starting his divorce action, and to set a timeline with you, to validate his proposal.
Q We’re four sisters all married with jobs and families. One of us and her husband don’t earn as much as the rest of us. Our dad always pays for trips and extras for them and their children.
He funds her family of four to join everyone for Christmas and summer vacations together, while the rest of us must pay our own way.
This is unfair. Although we earn more money at our jobs, we also have mortgages, loans and children’s education and activities to pay for. So it’s still a big expense for us to join the rest of the family on vacations. We get together at least twice a year and sometimes meet overseas so it adds up.
It makes me mad that her family gets a free ride.
A What a lucky family. You all get the assured benefit of a Christmas and summer vacation together. Your children spend time with their grandfather, close relatives, and especially their cousins. And granddad has purposefully made this happen so nobody’s left out.
He can afford to help out the one daughter whose family wouldn’t be able to join this tradition which means so much to him.
While your sense of unfairness has some validity, I question how your father would feel if one daughter, children, etc., had to always remain back home.
There is a way that some generous grandparents with multiple adult children respond to differences of lower incomes. In this one sister’s case, for example, he could state in his will that since she benefitted from extra monetary gifts, her share of his estate will be less than what the others receive. But your father sees three other families dealing very well with their various needs and wants, while earning beyond one sister’s situation. Actually, life isn’t “unfair” to either you or her.
Feedback Regarding the letter by “Closest Friend” (Jan.17):
Reader “The letter-writer should tell her friend that the husband’s behaviour during his illness does not reflect her ability to judge his character. Rather, it more likely reveals the ravages of his illness.
“Depending on the diagnosis, his illness could’ve caused changes within his brain or been his body’s response to chronic pain. His verbal abuse was possibly a symptom of his illness, but not of his character.
“The widow should take time to recover, then trust herself moving forward. Especially since they’d enjoyed almost 20 wonderful years together.”
Ellie’s Tip of the Day Be grateful for the good you have in your life. Period.