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Thread: Dating for 1 year - Boyfriend is unsure about me/marriage/future

  1. #1

    Dating for 1 year - Boyfriend is unsure about me/marriage/future

    Hey guys, so I normally post these kinds of things to reddit, but he is on there quite frequently.

    I thank you in advance for reading this.

    So my boyfriend and I have been dating since last July, coming up on a year now and I have never been happier. We moved rather quickly at first, I moved in with him less than 2 months into dating (we were basically together every spare minute anyways, it just made sense.) I had a roommate at the time who after I moved in with him, decided to move away because there was nothing for her in the city anymore (she's a lone traveler and we met in a different shared home previously) just to give you and idea of my commitment to him.

    Everything has been amazing, he is the sweetest, kindest, most considerate man I've ever met and I am absolutely head over heels in love with him.

    Here's the issue:

    The other night we were chatting and something came up about how he always talks about how amazing I am to his coworkers, and the women at work always ask when we are getting married. I asked what his reply was, and he said he always tells them how big of a commitment marriage is, I was quiet for a few minutes because obviously when you're in a long-term relationship that's not what you want to hear. He noticed I was upset and asked me if it was because of what he said and I told him that yes, I didn't know he felt that way, and I actually feel the complete opposite, and would marry him in a second.

    Just for the record, I DO Not expect him to drop everything right now and marry me this second, I understand it takes time, trust, and years of work to build a strong, healthy relationship, and marriage comes after that. The ONLY reason I am upset is because I thought we were both sure about each other up until now.

    We kind of left it at that, I was a little distant but we let it go for the most part, or I tried to.
    The next evening (last night) I was folding clothes and just kept thinking about what he said and why he would say it. (It was my understanding that we've already had a conversation about our future, discussed having kids, buying a home and getting married, etc. And while there was no rush on WHEN, the point was that I THOUGHT we already mutually decided we were going to stick together no matter what in the future because that's how we felt about each other..)

    So I sat him down (I'm a huge advocate for communication in these scenarios), and told him exactly how I felt, and that I wasn't angry at all or anything, just confused why he would say that.

    And holy crap was I in for a wake-up call.. He told me that we had never discussed the future indefinitely, and I guess the conversations we did have were all in speculation and he couldn't believe I took the conversation we'd had about kids to be real. (looking back I see his point, we decided that if we ever were rich enough to afford kids then we would have them, but in the moment I honestly thought that it was a no-brainer that we both agreed we would be together no matter what.)

    I now realize that I have much stronger faith and feelings in our relationship than he does, and it hurts, badly. He said that he doesn't know what the future holds, and he loves being in a relationship with me now, and he really does love me, but he can't say anything is for sure in regards to our future since we need to live together for a while first. (We just moved into our own apartment together) Which I COMPLETELY understand, it's just the coming to terms with the fact that all my certainty about us has been taken away, and realizing that his feelings are not as strong as mine.. I guess I just keep thinking that maybe he's holding out to find someone better, which is ridiculous and it's my insecurity talking.

    I think since he's my first love, that is why it's much more intense for me, and there's no reason for me to doubt us, but this is tough.

    After speaking last night I kind of broke down and cried for a while, and even though he literally can't do a thing about how he feels, it still hurts.

    He is really such a sweetheart, he consoled me for an hour yesterday, and kept telling me that he does love me, he just loves me differently, and that we'll be OK. I know there's not really any reason to be upset, I just need to tell someone because my heart is heavy. I'm not looking for options of what to do, I know I need to get over it, I just want advice on how.

    Thank you so much for reading this far. I appreciate it.

    EDIT : Just added for clarification - he is 34 and I am 26, which I think might contribute to the fact that he gets asked about marriage so often, and that he is so hesitant. Because things can change over time and he is older.
    Last edited by kamurj; 07-17-2019 at 11:37 AM.

  2. #2
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    I think partly this is on you - you did not have a clear conversation with him about your future goals in general about marriage and later, specifically, with him. I see your side of it too -you thought you were being clear despite the lighthearted joking, etc. But he did not. And I can see where so early on that kind of specific talk wasn't taken that seriously. I can't relate to his view that living together will give him more information about marriage - but he is entitled to that view. He obviously sees living together as part of a decision to see what the future holds but only part - obviously since he's not sure he wants to marry you he also sees it as about convenience, maybe a financial component, that it's fun to share living space- while you see it as a step towards marriage much more than he does.

    Love and commitment can be two different things. You can love someone and not want to be in a committed relationship with them. He might have strong feelings and not ready to express those strong feelings by planning a future.

    You do not need to get over it. Decide right now -if you knew he was never going to marry you how long would you stay? You say you are a huge advocate for communication but here's the thing -it's much simpler. When two people want to be together in the same way the "communication" is like this: "I see us getting married in the not too distant future". "Me too!". "Communication" which involves at all trying to convince someone to feel or act differently about marriage is either worthless or potentially harmful. Talking about doubts and fears can be helpful to a very limited extent but likely should be addressed with a trusted friend, privately since the partner is too biased and can't really help if he/she wants something different than the partner.

    So - once you decide how long you would stay if he was never going to marry you stay that long. At the end of that time, tell him that you love him too but "differently" than he said he does- you want to express that love by getting married (and indicate when you would like that to be - next month? next year?) - and if he doesn't want marriage you completely understand but then it's time to part ways. Tell him that if he changes his mind and wants to marry you he can contact you (and if you want, he can contact you in a true emergency, etc). Not an ultimatum - I don't see it that way because you are a package deal - being with you means having the goal of marriage.

    If you decide to settle for a vague promise that he might want to marry you after he lives with you for "awhile" then own that. Then you should be a "strong advocate for communication" -with yourself. Communicate clearly with yourself to make sure you are ok with settling or that you've now decided you are happy with him whether or not you ever marry. But be very clear with yourself so that you don't blame him for not wanting to marry you at this time.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this. Unfortunately you're not on the same page. You are over-investing in this way too much. You need to pull back more. Stop playing housewife, that will never endear anyone to you or secure a commitment. At this point you are roommates with benefits. Start being out of the house more. Take courses, classes, join clubs, groups, go out with your own friends and visit family.

    Sadly you need to accept that he is content coasting along, playing house and just living together. Talking or being upset won't change things or make him take notice. You'll just get more double talk and lip service. Living your own life and realizing you are just roommates will help clear your head and decide what you want. Make the best of the lease duration and treat him as a roommate.

    Keep in mind living together is not a prelude to marriage. It is usually seen as a test-drive or simply a convenience for sex, shared costs and household work. Begin severing any and all financial entanglements. Each pays his own costs. Do no more than 50% of household responsibilities. He thinks of you as a roommate, not a fiance, so act like it.
    Originally Posted by somuchlove19
    I now realize that I have much stronger faith and feelings in our relationship than he does, and it hurts, badly. He said that he doesn't know what the future holds, and he loves being in a relationship with me now, and he really does love me, but he can't say anything is for sure in regards to our future since we need to live together for a while first.
    Last edited by Wiseman2; 07-16-2019 at 02:49 PM.

  4. #4
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    Are you aching to get married and have children? If so, you might want to rethink him as your mate.

    However, you should kind of honor what he says. If he asked you to move in with him, he is most likely pretty serious. That is not a small step! He loves you. Let him love you. Love him back. Enjoy this time in which you are both learning each other's habit and tendencies. THEN see where you are.

    Just because he said he doesn't know what the future holds doesn't mean he does not want to marry you. Marriage is a HUGE commitment. Has he been married before? Has he been in long term relationships before? Could this be a cause of him wanting more time?

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I don't feel good reading your post and I'm responding specifically to the way he responded to you in shock and surprise regarding marriage. His reasoning is also a bit slipshod and full of holes and poses more questions than it offers answers. I'm responding to the way he describes his feelings and love for you as "different". Take a cue, is my suggestion, and don't stick around for this person.

    I've met a lot of confused people in my time and this person is very confused about himself and about where he sees himself (as an adult) or what he wants out of life or a relationship. If you're expecting to date a man in his thirties, this person is a young child in his teens. You might also want to ask yourself why he readily agreed to living with a person approx 10 years his junior only to feign surprise at the topic of marriage. He might not be able to get away with those kinds of behaviours with older women because he just doesn't add up.

    My advice is to take this with a pinch of salt, take the experience for what it is and don't hold a grudge against this person but he is not the one for you. His reasoning or behaviour would never fly with me. I'm sorry. Move on forwards and count this as a blessing (you've dodged a bullet).

  7. #6
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    Originally Posted by somuchlove19

    He is really such a sweetheart, he consoled me for an hour yesterday, and kept telling me that he does love me, he just loves me differently, and that we'll be OK. I know there's not really any reason to be upset, I just need to tell someone because my heart is heavy. I'm not looking for options of what to do, I know I need to get over it, I just want advice on how.
    I have so many thoughts about this.

    Firstly, his comment to his co-workers that he views marriage as a big commitment. I am wondering why this upset you, it IS a big commitment, a huge commitment, and for many people it would take a lot longer than one year together to know for certain that your partner is the person you want to marry.

    So in that sense I wouldn't make any sort of assumption that his comment meant he never wants to marry you, like many people, he just needs more time to know for certain.

    That said, I am wondering what he meant by the above quote - that he loves you "differently." Differently from what? How you love him?

    He said he does love you very much, so I suppose he means what that love represents? Marriage, children, forever.

    He's not there yet; I have a good friend whose boyfriend wasn't ready to marry her for five years!

    After the fourth year, she left him alone about it (accepting that it may not happen but was in love and very happy with him regardless), which took the pressure off and allowed him the mental and emotional "space" to become certain, and after five years, he got down on one knee and proposed.

    They are now happily married and buying their first home.

    So it's really up to you. You can end the relationship and look for another man, who may or not be ready to make that big of a commitment so soon (or as soon as you are), OR you accept the status quo, not knowing what the future holds and have faith and trust in your love and connection and allow it to play out the way the universe intends it to.

    Given how strongly you feel about marriage, a lot to consider I realize this, best of luck whatever path you choose.

    [EDIT]: Also wanted to add, he should not have to "console" you about this. No boyfriend should have to do this, it's not their job to soothe your anxieties or manage your emotions, that is your job.

    So my advice moving forward is to find ways to manage your emotions on your own, cause trust me, him needing to console you and you allowing it, or even needing to give you reassurance, is only going to place more pressure on the entire situation and may even eventually turn him off.
    Last edited by katrina1980; 07-16-2019 at 03:15 PM.

  8. #7
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    I don't think asking someone to live together necessarily has anything to do with plans for a future commitment. It depends on what the couple sees it as. It could be partly that, or not at all that, for convenience, fun, because the person wants to tell themselves they are playing house and "mature".

    In our specific case we did not live together. And it wouldn't have helped with any adjustment to marriage because less than three months after we married we were blessed with a baby. In my 550 square foot apartment my husband had by then moved into. And all of our newborn's stuff. And little sleep. So if we'd lived together pre-baby I am 100% sure it likely would have made it harder to adjust to living together with an adorable, angelic, 24.7 bundle of joy.

    I agree with Rose and Loyal and particularly like how Rose described the situation.

  9. #8
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    Originally Posted by loyal

    If he asked you to move in with him, he is most likely pretty serious. That is not a small step! He loves you. Let him love you. Love him back. Enjoy this time in which you are both learning each other's habit and tendencies. THEN see where you are.

    Just because he said he doesn't know what the future holds doesn't mean he does not want to marry you. Marriage is a HUGE commitment.
    I agree very much with what loyal said here^.

    Spot on and if I were in this situation, it is exactly what I would do.

    Again, it's only been one year, which in the grand scheme of the rest of your life, is not very long.

  10. #9
    Originally Posted by katrina1980
    I have so many thoughts about this.

    Firstly, his comment to his co-workers that he views marriage as a big commitment. I am wondering why this upset you, it IS a big commitment, a huge commitment, and for many people it would take a lot longer than one year together to know for certain that your partner is the person you want to marry.

    So in that sense I wouldn't make any sort of assumption that his comment meant he never wants to marry you, like many people, he just needs more time to know for certain.

    That said, I am wondering what he meant by the above quote - that he loves you "differently." Differently from what? How you love him?

    He said he does love you very much, so I suppose he means what that love represents? Marriage, children, forever.

    He's not there yet; I have a good friend whose boyfriend wasn't ready to marry her for five years!

    After the fourth year, she left him alone about it (accepting that it may not happen but was in love and very happy with him regardless), which took the pressure off and allowed him the mental and emotional "space" to become certain, and after five years, he got down on one knee and proposed.

    They are now happily married and buying their first home.

    So it's really up to you. You can end the relationship and look for another man, who may or not be ready to make that big of a commitment so soon (or as soon as you are), OR you accept the status quo, not knowing what the future holds and have faith and trust in your love and connection and allow it to play out the way the universe intends it to.

    Given how strongly you feel about marriage, a lot to consider I realize this, best of luck whatever path you choose.

    [EDIT]: Also wanted to add, he should not have to "console" you about this. No boyfriend should have to do this, it's not their job to soothe your anxieties or manage your emotions, that is your job.

    So my advice moving forward is to find ways to manage your emotions on your own, cause trust me, him needing to console you and you allowing it, or even needing to give you reassurance, is only going to place more pressure on the entire situation and may even eventually turn him off.
    Hey, thank you very much for your reply.

    To add more context to his answer, it was after I told him that I had never loved anybody as much as him, and with him it was a crazy whirlwind of first love, and he went "ahh yes I remember that", and so he told me that he loves me, just differently than that.

    That will probably make more sense as to the strange reply, sorry I didn't add that in, I was already making an essay on a short time limit.

    Hope that helps !

    Thanks again.

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by katrina1980
    He's not there yet; I have a good friend whose boyfriend wasn't ready to marry her for five years!
    Five years is not long. 5 and above is long. I know in the US people tend to get married quite fast but come on, 1-2 years is nothing when it comes to such a serious commitment. At least five when we are talking about marriage.

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