Having a boyfriend who has been married before is not uncommon. Around 50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, reports the American Psychological Association. However, divorce does lead to a certain amount of baggage, which may affect a man's ability or desire to commit to a new partner.
Identify the Problem
Before you can get your divorced boyfriend to commit, you need to figure out what's stopping him from doing so. Perhaps he hasn't worked through the issues from his marriage breakdown and subsequent divorce. Beware of warning signs that he's incapable of commitment, advises relationship coach Janet Ong Zimmerman in the YourTango article "Are Divorced Men Capable of Commitment?" If he doesn't want to talk about why his marriage didn't work out, harbors bitter feelings toward his ex-wife, is estranged from his children or is unwilling to meet or get close to your kids, he is unlikely to be able to commit to you until he works through his issues.
Make Your Position Clear
If you have concerns about your boyfriend's ability to commit, the only way to move forward is to talk to him about it. Ask him where he sees the relationship going and whether he wants to get married again someday. If he expresses concerns about making a commitment or openly admits that he is scared of getting married again, encourage him to share his emotions. Honest communication will allow you to identify his issues and work out how you can resolve them together. You should be equally honest about your position. Tell your boyfriend what you want from him and by what date. For example, you may say something like, "I would like us to be living together by this time next year," "I want to get married before I'm 40" or "I want to create a stable family home for my children."
Give Him Time
If your boyfriend is recently divorced, it may be too soon for him to make a commitment. After divorce, a man is very cautious about commitment, reveals twice-divorced Ed Housewright, founder of SingleDadHouse.com, in the article "Why Can't Divorced Men Commit? I'll Tell You" for the Huffington Post. Your boyfriend may want to make absolutely sure you are the right one before he commits to you, says Housewright. After all, he got it wrong before. Trying to rush your boyfriend into making a commitment is likely to end in tears.
Be Prepared to Walk Away
Nothing is stopping you from leaving your boyfriend if he won't give you the commitment you want or is unable or unwilling to give you a reasonable time frame within which he will do so. It is up to you to decide whether you are willing to put up with a his lack of commitment. If you are not, you need to be ready to leave him, says psychologist Diana Kirschner in the article "What to Do When He/She Won't Commit" for YourTango. The prospect of losing you may be enough to force your boyfriend to address his commitment issues, deal with the emotional fallout from his divorce or rethink his views on marriage. Make sure you follow through and don't make idle threats, warns Kirschner, who suggests backing away from your boyfriend, telling him that you think you should be seeing other people and putting an end to physical intimacy as ways of showing that him you mean what you say.
C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."