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Thread: How much space do I give my boyfriend after an argument concerning marriage?

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    How much space do I give my boyfriend after an argument concerning marriage?

    Hi everyone. Im sorry if I come across as a mess right now, I feel like a part of my soul is slowly dying.

    Last Friday, my boyfriend of 3 years and I had a huge argument. While nothing nasty was said nor done to one another, we did end up drunkenly fighting over our values concerning marriage. Long story short, we are (were) planning on moving in with one another, but I wanted to know before then if he ever saw himself marrying me. He said he would not know unless we lived with each other despite us having a pretty solid relationship all this time. Like I said, we werent exactly sober, so that answer instantly put me in my feelings and caused a bit of fear to well up inside of me. I've never lived with a man before (Im 24 and he is 30 btw), and I have always wanted to know that a relationship with my partner was at least building towards marriage before doing so. (I am Christian and these are simply my values, I know that they may not make the most sense in the present day, but they are something I have prayed heavily about and feel confident in).

    Since that argument, my bf said he has felt taken advantage of and that I do not value the love and compromises he has made in our relationship (For example, he was even reluctant to move in with me, so for him taking that step is a huge compromise). I apologized for making him feel that way, and told him that I do appreciate everything he has done for me, and that being with him is the happiest I have ever been in a relationship. Before this fight, our communication has been pretty good. We laughed so much together and in general our relationship felt light and fun. Are huge arguments tend to surround the topic of marriage, but otherwise, I love speaning time with him. Despite my desire for marriage, I was still willing to communicate in hopes to find a compromise.

    However, since that day in which I apologized (Saturday), he has been cold and distant. He called me on Sunday but he still seemed upset, I then didn't hear from him at all yesterday so I called him late afternoon. I asked if he had wanted space and he said no, just that he was trying to focus on positive things (work, excercise etc.) for now. While he told me that he still loves me, my intuition (or maybe horrible anxiety) feels that something is still amiss. (for example, there have been no usual goodnight/good morning texts, no checking in on each other, and in general the communication of our feelings and intent is gone). He even said that he packed up some of my books so that they would be ready for the move, but I still feel his emotional distance from me and I am worried that he will no longer contact me unless I contact him first.

    So I have resolved to give him space today (I will not contact him at all until he is ready to talk). Im scared that this is the end, but I know I can't keep badgering him to assuage my fears and anxieties. So I want to be proactive. If this is the end, I want to prepare myself as best as I can. This will 100% be the hardest break up I will have ever had to go through. I don't want this relationship to end, but I can't force anyone to stay with me either.

    Should I continue to give him space, or is my BF playing the slow fade in hopes that I break up with him? I just don't know what to do anymore. Without communication from him I feel as if I'm in limbo. Although the conversation we had on Friday was hard, I still want to work through our differences. I love him that much. But maybe he is realizing though that our values are truly too different, and now no longer wants to be a part of this relationship.

    Does anyone have any advice on this sort of disconnect within a relationship? Is the emotional distance justified and should I continue to give it to him? I am reluctant to say that he is stonewalling/ignoring me, as he does answer my calls, but he hasnt not initiated them himself and I am scared that he no longer wants to communicate with me freely.

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    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    How does he generally feel about marriage?

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    Originally Posted by ~Seraphim ~
    How does he generally feel about marriage?
    We have had blow ups about this before. He doesn't see the benefit to marriage in general, but has been warming up to the idea. For instance, he will ponder about what sort of song our first dance will be too, or what type of alcohol we'd serve our guest. (his sister is getting married in August so maybe thats why he has been asking these questions). However, whenever I ask if he sees himself marrying ME, he says he does not know. Either because we havent been together long enough (This was the first time I asked him 1.5 years into the relationship), we havent lived with each other yet (This most recent time I've asked), or because he doesnt think we share the same values. (I value building a partnership that builds towards a marriage, while he values dating and being in a relationship in the moment and focusing on new experiences with his partner).

    I have never got a clear answer from him regarding his feelings to be honest. Maybe he just doesnt want to marry ME. But then, why stay in the relationship and ask to move in.

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    Gold Member leseine7's Avatar
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    You are certainly not ready to discuss marriage together, let alone moving in together, if you are panicked that he's "slow fading you" in the hopes you'll break up with him over this argument.

    While none of us knows the exact words said in this fight, you've outlined it as a fight because you want to know where this relationship is heading after three years. He has answered for you - he's not ready to discuss marriage or what he sees in the future, to the extent that he's even accused you of taking advantage of him. That is a pretty huge way of saying that he does not see this as heading to marriage.

    I also have to warn you that this relationship is clearly all about what he wants, with little concern for what you want. Are you willing to move in with him and then have to back down from anything "more" you might want because he did you this ENORMOUS FAVOR moving in with you to begin with? Since you explain that he didn't want to move in with you, and he seems to be incapable at his much older age of 30 of discussing important adult things like how compatible you are longterm without somehow spinning that as you "taking advantage of him," I would say that this is only going to get much, MUCH worse once you move in together.

    You are clearly in a position of weakness here, terrified of losing him rather than focusing on what you want. You only wanted to move in if you felt that it was heading towards marriage, no? Why are you even moving in with him if he cant answer that question for you?

    While it's totally fine for many couples to be together for years without getting married, and to move in together without that as the end result, it's not fine when one person in the relationship wants a solid future commitment in the form of marriage and the other doesn't. That is simply a recipe for disaster and heartbreak. I have to say, from what you state in your post, it doesn't sound like you are taking advantage at all - it sounds like HE knows that you want him bad enough that he can sulk and pull away and you will rescind your request for more commitment from him and give up what you want for what he wants. And I hate to say it but, judging from your post, that's exactly what you are doing.

    If I were in your shoes, I would - yes - give him space, but also address his reaction saying, "While I love you and want a future for us, your reactions indicate that you are not ready to commit further, and I don't feel comfortable moving in with you until we are more on the same page. I'm sorry for my negative reactions in our argument, but I hope you can understand and respect that I'm not willing to change my personal values around this important step for anyone, and while I hope you can be the one to take this next step with me I completely understand if you are not."

    Frankly, if he views taking a next step in commitment with you as some kind of favour he is reluctantly granting you, rather than an exciting step forward in his relationship with an awesome girl he loves, then he is just not that into you.

    I waited until I met my current husband to move in with someone. I was 32 when we moved in together. I was in a relationship with a guy whom your boyfriend sounds very similar to for about 4 years before figuring out that he was never going to want to commit. We used to have fights like the ones you are describing - it was always me "screwing up" and bringing up marriage only to be ghosted for days after those arguments and frantically apologising and saying I didn't actually need marriage, just kidding, I just wanted to be with him even if he wasn't ready and blah blah blah. Long story short: because I had so little respect for myself and what I truly wanted, so did he. We had a horrible, miserable break up. When I met my husband, he was the one eager to move in together - I never even had to have the uncomfortable conversation where I asked him where we were heading. It was clear from the start that we were on the same page about what we wanted.

    Find yourself something like that. Stop worrying about your boyfriend dumping you. Ask for what you want and have the courage to stand by that.

    And in the future - do whatever you can to avoid "drunken fights." Nothing wrong with having a drink from time to time (as long as you are doing so in a healthy way and not as a way to self-medicate during a stressful time, etc. etc.), but there's nothing worse than knowing you should have waited to have a conversation that was scary to have when you were sober, and it probably would have gone a heck of a lot better.

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    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    my bf said he has felt taken advantage of and that I do not value the love and compromises he has made in our relationship (For example, he was even reluctant to move in with me, so for him taking that step is a huge compromise)

    Why is he reluctant to move in with you? After 3 years together, you would likely know all the important things about each other, and at your ages, it'd be a natural progression to move in together or to get married. Have you spent extended periods of time at each others places, like spending the night for 2 or 3 days? If so, how did that go? Did you ask what his worries were, of what he might find out about living together that he doesn't already know now? Why were you two drunk? Is that something you do together regularly?

    If a guy told me it was a "huge compromise" to move in with me after 3 years together, I'd back out on the offer since instead of it being a happy occasion and the hope of building a beautiful life together, he was doing it begrudgingly and why would I want to live with someone with that sour attitude?

    What do your friends think of him? Is your love for him clouding your judgement?

    This watershed moment might have made him face his true feelings. Perhaps he feels like you're not "the one," or perhaps nobody is the one because he's not ready for that type of seriousness yet.

    Don't let other people make your decisions for you, even a partner. You're driving the bus of your life, so if how he's behaving isn't how you'd expect a lifetime partner to act, perhaps use your brain instead of solely your heart to decide if you want to continue on with him or not.

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    Gold Member leseine7's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=felurian;7144595]We have had blow ups about this before. He doesn't see the benefit to marriage in general, but has been warming up to the idea. For instance, he will ponder about what sort of song our first dance will be too, or what type of alcohol we'd serve our guest. (his sister is getting married in August so maybe thats why he has been asking these questions). However, whenever I ask if he sees himself marrying ME, he says he does not know. Either because we havent been together long enough (This was the first time I asked him 1.5 years into the relationship), we havent lived with each other yet (This most recent time I've asked), or because he doesnt think we share the same values. (I value building a partnership that builds towards a marriage, while he values dating and being in a relationship in the moment and focusing on new experiences with his partner).


    Ooooof. Girlfriend, he is definitely not the guy for you, I'm sorry.

    I normally don't make blanket statements like that on this forum because there are two sides to every story, but this just all sounds like bad news for you and I wouldn't be surprised if after you moved in together things deteriorated pretty rapidly with you feeling sad that you still don't know if he's ever going to fully "warm up to the idea," and him feeling trapped with someone he doesn't see that future with (if he sees it ever). Please save yourself the heartache and hold off on any further steps like moving in together until you have a really good reason to think you're on the same page.

    "Why stay in the relationship and move in" if he isn't into marrying you? You probably know this. Because it's way easier to stay in a relationship than it is to break it off after 3 years. Since he's not the one worried about "where this is heading," (since he isn't really all that concerned about getting married one day to begin with), why break off an otherwise decent relationship? He gets the physical stuff and the ego boost from someone who adores him while he doesn't really have to do much else.

    I'm sure he's not a horrible guy, but he knows you want to get married one day and he's certainly not giving you any reason to think it's going to be him. He knows where you stand on that re: moving in, yet he's still going ahead with it and totally leading you on. I'm not sure he even really loves you based on this info alone - I sure as hell wouldn't want to move in with a guy who told me he wanted it to = a marriage ultimately if I didn't know I wanted to marry him.

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    And in the future - do whatever you can to avoid "drunken fights." Nothing wrong with having a drink from time to time (as long as you are doing so in a healthy way and not as a way to self-medicate during a stressful time, etc. etc.), but there's nothing worse than knowing you should have waited to have a conversation that was scary to have when you were sober, and it probably would have gone a heck of a lot better.
    I 100% agree. We were celebrating his sister and her fiances engagement with his family and I guess I got caught up in the moment and asked the question at a horribly wrong time under the wrong conditions. Not trying to justify my actions by any means, but I felt like I asked the question very light heartedly (Since before the blow up we were having a great day). It was when he gave his response that I got upset and withdrew from the party. He followed me to check up, and from there I tried to explain why his words hurt. I guess that frustrated him (He was also drunk) because he then stormed off, triggering my insecurity even more. Eventually, he came back and apologized but I was still upset, which led to a back and forth in which I tried to get him to understand why commitment before cohabitation was important to me. I kept telling him that his way of proceeding in relationships is valid, so I never invalided him, but I never felt understood or like he wanted to compromise (For example, even him saying something along the lines of, "While I don't see marriage now, if we live with eachother successfully for a year, I would be more than happy to propose" would have made me feel a lot more secure).

    This conversation went on until late at night, in whcih he fell asleep while I was still upset. We woke up the next morning in silence and only briefly discussed the incident on the way home. We both agreed during that car ride that we should not have attempted to have the conversation drunk. But again, he did mention that he felt taken advantage of and that while he still loved me, was shaken by the whole lot of the argument.

    So while I agree wholeheartedly with your post, I can't help but wonder if his dissolution towards our partnership is because I stupidly brought up such a heavy conversation at the wrong time. Then again, I've been witholding my fears and reservations of moving in with him, so while I'm upset it came out the way that it did, it was a conversation that needed to happen regardless. I just wodner if his response would have been the same...

    Regardless, I agree that I have been bending over backwards to try to make this work. And I remember telling him that I never thought a relationship would feel like pulling teeth. I always thought my partner would be just as jazzed as I am to take these steps together and I am moreso hurt that he doesn't seem to be feeling the same way. I do suffer from feelings of abandonment which make it hard for me to end relationships I know are no good for me. I've suspected he has an avoidant attachment style in which our relationship works well when there isnt the looming thought of a greater commitment, but as soon as that thought is introduced, he distances himself and witholds his usual affections for me. (Triggering the anxiety even more, vicious vicous cycle).

    Btw, I want to thank you for allowing me space to ramble. Actually speaking on the situation is helping my anxiety a bit even if I am still upset and hurting.

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    Originally Posted by Andrina
    my bf said he has felt taken advantage of and that I do not value the love and compromises he has made in our relationship (For example, he was even reluctant to move in with me, so for him taking that step is a huge compromise)

    Why is he reluctant to move in with you? After 3 years together, you would likely know all the important things about each other, and at your ages, it'd be a natural progression to move in together or to get married. Have you spent extended periods of time at each others places, like spending the night for 2 or 3 days? If so, how did that go? Did you ask what his worries were, of what he might find out about living together that he doesn't already know now? Why were you two drunk? Is that something you do together regularly?

    If a guy told me it was a "huge compromise" to move in with me after 3 years together, I'd back out on the offer since instead of it being a happy occasion and the hope of building a beautiful life together, he was doing it begrudgingly and why would I want to live with someone with that sour attitude?

    What do your friends think of him? Is your love for him clouding your judgement?

    This watershed moment might have made him face his true feelings. Perhaps he feels like you're not "the one," or perhaps nobody is the one because he's not ready for that type of seriousness yet.

    Don't let other people make your decisions for you, even a partner. You're driving the bus of your life, so if how he's behaving isn't how you'd expect a lifetime partner to act, perhaps use your brain instead of solely your heart to decide if you want to continue on with him or not.

    We have spent many extended stays together. The latest being a 7 day road trip around Canada. Our extended trips are always a lot of fun and even manage to bring us closer together (at least thats how I feel). I know from everything I am sharing it seems like he is not in love with me, but I know deep down he is. He has paid for my trips with him when I am unable to do so (Im in grad school right now, he works full time). He has made an effort to meet/get to know my parents. He ecourages me to better myself and before this fight, has been nothing short of affectionate, patient and kind towards me. It's simply whenever this issue is raised does he start to withdraw and honestly, it probably is because he just has no desire for marriage/greater commitment to me.

    My friends don't dislike him, but they don't really know him either. He doesn't hang out with them much.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Wise words above.

    Rather than frame this moment as how much space to give him, or really even spinning into a panic about whether he is fading, I'd use it as one to take advantage of some space yourself—to check in with your own thoughts and feelings about this relationship, since it sounds like there are quite a few critical places where you don't see eye to eye.

    I may very well be wrong, but I can't help but get the impression that you're both approaching this relationship from drastically different angles, have been for a long time, and this moment of tension is a symptom of that larger disconnect—the thing you both try to ignore rising to the surface, the blinders sliding off and stinging the eyes (and heart) a bit.

    He was 27 when you met, you were 21. I suspect what he liked is that things didn't have to be so serious, so marriage-minded from the get-go, as things would have been (in his mind) with someone closer to his age. He could be more in the moment, rather than aiming toward the future, and so on. Three years later he's still trying to live that story with you.

    Except that's not actually you, not how you operate, not what you want. You (before even meeting him) wanted it locked in and locked down—to date with marriage and forever in mind, which is to say date someone with that shared mindset. Perhaps he seemed more serious, or a better prospect for that, because he was older and, in ways, more mature than 21-year-old dudes. Or perhaps you told yourself the story that a 27-year-old dude would probably be ready for marriage by 29, or 30, or once you moved in, or....you get the picture. And three years in you're still trying to will that story into reality.

    It kind of seems that both of your stories are crumbling, in short, or at least clashing more than complimenting. You have to push and push to get him on your page. He might move an inch ("Alright, we can move in") but then he pushes back to get you on his page. As a result, neither of you really feel that you're on the same page. There's that little itch, always there, which gets really itchy from time to time—some booze, an engagement, and boom.

    Speaking frankly, it's very hard for me to read the above and see that either of you are genuinely into the other person so much as into a hope about the other person. From his perspective, it's a hope that you'll chill out a bit on the marriage stuff and live in the moment (and maybe moving in will finally allow for that); from yours, it's a hope that he'll step up and get serious about the marriage stuff (ditto). Ugh. Sometimes nursing those hopes is soothing, and sometimes nursing them feels like pulling teeth.

    Remove those hopes and what you may have is incompatibility, two people living in a opposite stories alongside each other. Not great for either party. Wanting someone who is marriage-minded isn't too much to ask, but that is not this man, and it's not this man after three years. Just like, for him, wanting someone who is more moment-minded isn't too much to ask, but that's not you.

    I'd really think about all that.

    When you can allow those thoughts to be entertained these moments are less panic-stricken. Speaking for myself, whenever I have a clash with someone I make my only goal to present my most authentic self—not to "keep her" or "stay together," but to "stay true." Because if I can't be my true self in a relationship, and vise versa, there is no point. But that, in part, is my own value system: staying true, to me, is far more important than staying together, being someone's husband, calling someone my wife. If I make that choice, it's because I'd learned in my bones that I'd found someone I could be true alongside.

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    If you are marriage minded and he is not don’t bother waiting for him to “ change his mind” that is a divorce waiting to happen. You are wasting your time.

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