Too soon to propose?
I’m 48 and my late wife and I met when we were 22 and go married when we were 27. We had an ok marriage and she was a good wife and mother but there wasn’t much love between us. Intimacy died pretty quickly as did affection. I loved her as a person but wasn’t in love with her for a long time. We had kids and she was the best mother to them. Honestly, if I could have picked my mom, I would have picked someone like her. She was a nice person, a good wife, but there were never an sparks or chemistry between us. She was a great friend. I stuck by her and never ever let her know how I felt about our marriage or that I wasn’t in love with her. I stood by her side three years ago when she got sick and died two years ago. Took months off work to help take care of her. She eventually l passed away and mourned the loss of a friend but especially the mother of my children. Even though I hadn’t been in love with her I never stopped doing things to make her feel like I was. I think she died thinking I was still in love with her - and that’s ok. She never knew I wasn’t and I don’t feel bad because she never knew any different.
About ten years ago I got a job in a new ER (I’m a nurse). One of my coworkers and I became very close friends (this isn’t a story of adultery, calm down). She had a boyfriend and we talked about our relationships, problems, and how to fix them. Shes a great girl - beautiful, kind, funny, smart, and very sweet. We considered each other close friends, but she always send signals she was interested in me - spending down time with me, asking me to come chat with her whenever I’d walk by, finding little excuses to touch me, give me deep looks, her eyes would light up when I’d walk into work, etc... I ignored them but slowly began to fall for her - this was long after my romantic feelings for my wife had faded.
I kept these feelings bottled up, never told anyone. Never changed how I treated or took care of my wife. Took care of my family. My friend married her boyfriend, but we still remained close. We never did anything romantic, just talked, the four of us hung out as a couple once in a while. Her and I never hung out alone outside of work. Sometimes we’d have our lunch breaks together but they were spent in the break room. Even when she was married she never changed how she interacted with me. I was sad for myself but very happy for her. She’s Indian and married her boyfriend because she has been with him for a few years and “had to.” She always complained about him - stupid little things that I didn’t feel were worth complaining about and I’d call her out on it and try to help her. When my wife died, she comforted me more than anyone else other than my kids did. Like I said, she was always a very good friend.
About a year and a half ago she called me upset because she had caught her husband with someone else. Apparently he had only married her because he was expected to - like I said they’re both Indian and didn’t want to disappoint their respective families. She filed for divorce and I was there for her like she had been for me.
My kids are older (teenagers) so childcare was different than when they were younger. I have some time to be able to reconnect with friends, etc... About a year ago, my coworker and I began to hang out more often. We’d go hiking, to movies, to the beach, etc... More often than not, we’d just hang out at my house talking or watching a movie - nothing ever happened. A few months ago we were talking and I got incredibly quiet and sad. She asked me what was wrong. I showed her a poem by Rumi (I Choose to Love You In Silence). She looked confused and asked if that was how I felt about her. I couldn’t speak and just nodded my head “yes.”
She sat silently for a few minutes then began to cry. She started telling me she’d been in love with me for years, since a few months after we met but that she had kept it in because I was married and she had a boyfriend. She had no idea I’d felt the same way - I told her even if she had nothing would have happened and likely our friendship would have ended because I didn’t want an affair. We ended up talking for a few hours that night and eventually just decided that it had been too long and too painful and we should just give a relationship a shot.
We’ve been together a few months now. My kids and her get along quite well. They’ve asked me if we’re going to get married and I told them we had talked about it and that in all likelihood we would be. They were happy about that. In April her and I are going away for a few nights to Hawaii. It’s our first trip together. She’s never been and I’ve been there a few times. I’ve booked us a private catamaran dinner cruise and plan to propose to her on the cruise. She knows I plan on proposing but doesn’t know when and thinks it’s still a year away.
In terms of my kids, they both know about my plan to propose. They are both supportive and like her very much.
The kids are 16 and 17. The days of my actively raising them are coming to an end. They've been raised to be independent and take care of themselves. They work, get good grades and will be going away to college - one plans on following in my footsteps to become a nurse, the other is joining the Navy to become a medic with the eventual goal of becoming a doctor.
I’m so happy. I don’t consider myself overly emotional but I’ve caught myself tearing up a few times about how happy I am. I’ve found someone who I feel is my other half. Someone who instinctually knows me and how I feel without me saying anything. I’m the same way in terms of her I can instantly tell if something is bothering her.
My question is, since we've only been together a few months, is it too soon to propose? Knowing her, she wouldn't think it was too soon. I'm not having any doubts about the relationship, just about the timing of the proposal.