My boyfriend of 2 years the other night told me how he worries a lot about his best friend who struggles with degenerative health issues, and talked about how ideally would want all 3 of us to live together. Seems he at some point promised to support her and care for her when she has health issues. But he NEVER mentioned this EVER to me when we’ve discussed our future plans. I feel so blindsided. I didn’t want to come off as insensitive so I didn’t pry just that I was very surprised. Then he said “well of course your opinion matters. All I know is I am in love with you and want to grow old with you.” I just feel like no matter what I say, it will seem insensitive to Mary and her health issues and his commitment to help her. But at the same time, this is a big commitment on his part and doesn’t seem compatible with the relationship plans we’ve talked about. I know I need to have another talk but want to be delicate and not seem insensitive to Mary. Please see below for more context on the friendship and more details that may help/impact your feedback. Thank you in advance for your help and guidance!

*More background
I am 34 and have been dating my boyfriend Matt (42 years old) for 2 years. Before dating, we met in grad school in Boston and were best friends for 4 years. His other best friend was a young woman, Mary (31 years old), who he lived with in Kansas. She was the one that urged Matt for years to tell me how he felt, and was so happy when we finally started dating. I knew she struggled with some health issues and was on immune-suppressing medicine to deal with it (degenerative issues that affect her joints and some chronic pain issues). A couple years ago, Mary broke up with her boyfriend so she decided to take a travel work contract and move to the East Coast, a few hours away from Matt and I. Matt would visit about one weekend a month and often I’d tag along. For the 1.5 years of our relationship, Matt and I lived in Boston in our separate apartments and did usual relationship things like traveling, meeting each other’s families and planning our future together. Then COVID happened…our city announced there would be a lockdown. Mary had just broken up with her longterm boyfriend, so Matt left Boston to go stay with Mary (in case she got sick, this way she wouldn’t be by herself in case got COVID). After a few weeks, I left to join Mary and Matt and have been here ever since. It has been very difficult being a couple, and living with a third person (the apartment is small, and have little privacy). But I always felt very grateful to be here and to Mary for welcoming me. I also took a lot of comfort in the fact this was a temporary situation and Matt and I soon would get our own place.

The other night Matt got emotional about how scared he was about COVID because he knew if Mary contracted it she likely would get very sick and potentially could be fatal coupled with her other health issues. He said he wants to “always make sure she’s okay and not alone and struggling.” I probed to ask what he meant by that logistically, and he said he was happy with the current living situation with all 3 of us. And ideally we’d find a place with her, or at the least she’d live closeby. It seemed he had made a commitment to Mary and be her caretaker when her health gets bad.

But he’s NEVER mentioned this to me EVER, and we’ve had a lot of conversations about the future. And a surprise because before COVID, she seemed fine living independently, with only a 1x month visit from Matt. She also moved far away from her hometown, friends and family to this travel work position, so she only has Matt as potential support geographically close by.

It’s noble he’s made a promise to help a friend, but this feels like it goes WAY above and beyond the usual. And the type of living situation and caretaking he’s talking about with Mary is incompatible with what I want for us. I just don’t know what to do next. Thank you for your help

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Laurabeth -

Pretend you haven't dated your boyfriend for 2 years...

If you just met him today,
and he told you what his life situation was,
and about his female friend who was in poor health and needed a lot of care,
and that he was looking for a girlfriend who would join and be a threesome to take care of the friend,

would you sign up?

That's your answer to your "I just don’t know what to do next."

If you wouldn't sign up for that today, then you shouldn't sign up for tomorrow, and the next day, and next week, and the next 10-20 years.

Tell him what you want for YOUR life doesn't match with what he wants for HIS life, so you two/three should part ways, and you wish him/them well.
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BurntCaregiver Mar 2021
Excellent and sound advice, polarbear.
"...talked about how ideally would want all 3 of us to live together." This is a hard no. He is unrealistic, doesn't know boundaries and is making a promise he most likely won't be able to keep to the degree he is romanticizing it. You'll never feel like his priority. How old is this "friend"?

All his close friends seem to be women. Weird. Has he no close males friends?

It is ok for him to be concerned about her. It is ok for him to want to "help" her in realistic ways, but he's a "Rescuer", which is not healthy. My BIL married a woman he "rescued". They didn't really get married for healthy reasons and their marriage has been rocky almost it's entire duration. IMHO this is not the guy to make a future with, and I would move on.
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Sounds like you're already "the other woman" in his mind.

Cut and run.

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MAYDAY Mar 2021
plain and writing..
hope you can do this... QUICKLY...

you can give him "support" by saying I am praying for you two...
just know you do not have to be the caretaker of a woman, that a man you like ,wants to or thinks he needs to care for...
they are not your issue....
I would not want to live with a man who is "taking" care of a woman who is NOT a real mom, grandma, sister, aunt, cousin, or anyone with a "grand" or Great-Grand" in the title.
For some reason, he needs to take care of her.... That is good. YOU do NOT need to take care of THEM... Unless you want to..
Good Luck... I wish all 3 of you the best.
Oh good Lord.
He's not ready for marriage.
Or at least marriage to you, unless you allow this strange relationship to go on with him acting as a husband/brother proxy to her, which is why he's testing the waters.
Certainly he doesn't sound very mature or that he's given much thought to what ''growing old with you'' entails, or the level of commitment required.
Mary needs to be responsible for herself.
There's no reason he should have gone to go live with her if she was healthy when she broke up with her boyfriend-what would his presence possibly do to prevent her from getting covid? I think that was an excuse. If this was another male friend of yours who did same thing, what reason would you think he was doing it for? If you hadn't followed him, where do you think your relationship would be right now? Broken up because he decided to stay playing house with her full time over you?
So there's your answer.
It's nice he wants to take care of his friend. Weird that he's put you at the level of a roomie rather than life partner when deciding to commit himself this way. He may want to grow old with you, but do you want to grow old with Mary and her health issues?
He's 42. Too old to be so foolish.

Throw him back.
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LauraBeth, my gut feeling feeling is to pack and run, run as fast as you can. Unless you want to do the work of 3 shifts of caregiving each day later down the road, plus being chief cook and bottle washer.... while Matt and Mary enjoy whatever life has for them.

Something just doesn't sound right here.
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Slightly different , but kinda the same... One of my BFs has a medical issue, and every so often she mentions that she "always knows she can come and live with hubs and I" Uhh.. NO! I finally had to tell her that now that Mom is passed, Hubs and I are getting our feet back under us and have agreed that we are done with caregiving in our house. I will always support her feelings, and help her with her finances and making plans,, but no one else will live with us!
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JoAnn29 Mar 2021
Why would a BF even think that is OK. Moving in with her friend and husband to care for her. I have had 2 BFs for 60+ years and I doubt if they even thought this.
I think you said it all when you said this type of caregiving is not compatible with what you want for your relationship. It’s just not what you want or need for your life. And it was kept from you - it’s wasn’t as if he was already in a caregiving situation, or transparent about his “promise” whether it was a parent, child or friend - male or female. You were not part of this promise nor were you asked. And he sprung it on you after you moved in and gave up your apartment with Covid as some sort of excuse. Don’t let anyone make you feel as if you are being insensitive. He’s the jerk here! As someone who is happily married, I would never make big life decisions without discussing things with with my spouse. And prior to getting married we laid everything on the table. If you were my daughter I would tell you move on from this situation as soon as possible. Like yesterday.

Oh and P.S., there is no need to be delicate in your next discussion. Just say, “this won’t work for me.” No delicate explanation needed.
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Your boyfriend is enmeshed with Mary. Maybe not romantically, but too enmeshed for him to be available to you to marry. At 34, you have what hopefully is a long life ahead of yourself.

"...the type of living situation and caretaking he’s talking about with Mary is incompatible with what I want for us..." What you want for your life is what matters. You should not make decisions based on what your boyfriend or Mary wants. If it's not what you want then it's not going to work.

Life is too short to settle for less than what you want. It isn't fair to you, your boyfriend or your roommate Mary for you to be less than honest about what you want for yourself and your future. Start making arrangements for yourself to find your own place, move on with your career and do the things you enjoy doing. In time you will meet new people and new relationships can blossom.
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You know what they say, date for a year at least because people can't cover up their true selves for long. It sometimes takes longer. As soon as he started going to her house one weekend out of the month, I would have started wondering what kind of relationship did they really have. TG you have only been in this 3some for 6 months. I think you are seeing your future if you stay. You deserve more than this man can give you. You should be his #1. There should be no commitment to another woman. Really, if you go out is he going to take "friend" along because he feels guilty leaving her. You need your alone time. I would not want to start a marriage this way. I wouldn't like this kind of relationship. There will be a third wheel and it will probably be you.

You have gotten some good responses. Please think seriously about this. I think you already are questioning this relationship. Most of us are Seniors. We have grandchildren. We have been there.
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Hi LauraBeth,
I am a patient with Early Onset ALZ, diagnosed almost 5yrs ago. I got married way to young at the age of 20. Agreed to move from the Midwest, back to the East Coast. Once we moved back East, all hell broke loose. My so called wife had more boyfriends than the 14 yrs of our fake marriage. Over the 14 yrs, like you little issues kept popping up affairs by my fake wife, her cross addiction to alcohol and drugs. I kicked her out the door and told her I'd had enough.
I went out and met a woman who shared my faith and practiced it. We were friends for two years when I asked her if she'd like to go out on a date. On our first date, I asked her where she'd like to go on our Honeymoon. She immediately answered Australia. We dated for 2 yrs. Life does get in the way, I changed jobs about 9 mos., before we got married and didn't have enough time off to be able to go to Australia. We did have a great honeymoon. coming up in June my DW and I will be married 25yrs, include dating time 27yrs. Three kids.
Please stop and think about how third person seems to be taking first place in your boyfriends life. Now, if you all agree that this third person belongs in your lives, well, that is your decision and no one else's. Please stop and think about what is the best thing for you to do, then don't look back.
I am now in my early 60's. Divorcing the fake wife was the best thing I ever did. In spite of my diagnosis 5 yrs ago, we are very happy, never had a fight. We still hope to get to Australia, while I can still travel. My DW and these three children are the greatest gift I've ever known. My hope is that you are able to come up with the right answer for yourself and have a happy life.
God Bless you,
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AlvaDeer Mar 2021
JF, I love how you put that "please stop and think about how third person is taking first place in your boyfriends heart". That is BEAUTIFULLY put. And it sure says it all.
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