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Mid-life marriage expectations. Author and columnist Tom Blake's dating information and advice for widowers, widows, divorced men, divorced women, middle-aged singles and senior singles who are dating again and hope to meet a mate. See bottom of this page to sign up for Tom's free weekly e-mailed column.

Mid-life marriage expectations

Marriage expectations can doom the marriage.

Mid-life Marriages and relationships end for many reasons. Burl, 57, Mission Viejo, feels that expectations are among the culprits.

Burl says, "I think people expect too much from marriage. One of the reasons my ex left was because she couldn't buy everything she wanted."

In relationships, people have different marriage expectations and intentions, that's only natural. Couples who plan to be together benefit when they discuss those differences before they commit to each other. Not everyone does. It takes mature people to do that.

People don't discuss marriage expectations for a variety of reasons. Love and infatuation can get in the way. Neither person wants to upset the other by revealing what they honestly want from the relationship. When one seeks a career in the city, and the other wants to meditate in the mountains, for example, problems are going to emerge.

Some don't discuss mid-life marriage expectations because they think naively that love conquers all. "Being with her is the only thing that matters, she's beautiful, I love her," a man might think, "I can handle anything that arises."

In my mid-life marriage, I was guilty of that reasoning. I expected raising the children from my wives' former marriages would be easy. A little discipline here, some soccer coaching there, piece of cake, I thought. I underestimated the challenge.

When life with the kids didn't go as I had expected, I resented it. "Blood is thicker than water," one wife said, standing up for her kids-as a mother should-which led to tension between us. Single parents often expect too much from a replacement spouse when it comes to their children.

Other people disguise their intentions, knowing, if they disclose them, they will chase their mate away, so they don't reveal them.

Over time, as the novelty of the relationship wears off, the hidden marriage expectations emerge, and become a problem.

Perhaps, that was the case in Burl's situation. All along, his ex-wife may have wanted to buy more, but kept those desires hidden during the courtship stage. I'm speculating, I didn't talk to her. Maybe, when her expectations turned into actions, marital problems followed because Burl couldn't, or didn't want to, provide the items she wanted to buy.

Men disguise their marriage expectations as well. Jackie found that out when she married a man with three children. She had four of her own. Her husband's kids lived with his ex-wife.

Her husband worked Friday nights, Saturdays, and holidays. Jackie felt he should pick up his children on Sundays, when he wasn't working, and spend personal time with them.

Instead, he picked them up on Friday afternoons, plus,whenever his ex-wife wanted to ship them over, and then went to work. He figured, since Jackie already had four to look after, what's another three? Jackie's week-ends and holidays were filled with baby sitting the magnificent seven. Hardly what she had expected from the marriage. That arrangement didn't last long.

Burl leaves us with his thoughts on marriage expectations: "A woman should become a wife, not a princess," he said.

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