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Within Five Years


KarateKate

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My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years. I knew pretty early on that we would be together long-term, but he's just now coming around to my way of thinking.

 

I would love to get engaged, and I have been thinking about engagement for awhile. He started talking about our future in a really positive way, and he started making comments that made me think a proposal was on it's way. When we talked about a promise ring (NOT my idea), he said it would be "for now." He assured me that we would be engaged in a reasonable amount of time and that he was getting closer. Then there was his comment that he'd be proposing in the near future.

 

This is already a touchy subject for us. We've had some problems with him being dishonest about what he really wanted for the relationship.

 

However, this really felt different, and I really felt like we were connecting like never before, and I trusted him. I didn't want a time frame this time-I wanted to be surprised, but he told me that he wanted to get engaged within the next five years.

 

I freaked out. According to him, five years IS a "reasonable amount of time" to accomplish everything we want to accomplish. Mind you, we've never talked about what we wanted to accomplish before getting engaged, so I have no idea where that came from. He has talked about what he wants to accomplish, but the "we" part is a mystery to me. We argued for quite some time, and he still maintains that within five years is, in fact, in the near future, and that he said nothing to lead me on.

 

I'm so hurt. He really got my hopes up, and I feel like what he did was kind of cruel. He's very angry at me for being upset, but I feel like I have a right to be. On what planet does "in the near future" mean IN FIVE YEARS!? How could HE be angry at ME? I've been extra careful not to nag or pressure him in any way. I'm just stunned.

 

If he wouldn't have gotten my hopes up, I would have been able to handle it. I might have been excited, who knows? Why on earth was he acting like he was getting ready to propose when it's actually so far away? I'm not even positive I'm willing to wait five years.

 

Am I overreacting? Is five years "reasonable" and "near?" I've never been in such a serious relationship, and I'm always wondering if I'm getting upset over nothing.

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Have you got a heavy bag handy? Now would be a good time to practice your jumping spinning crescent kick.

 

You were mislead due to lack of communication. Don't assume anything and if the other person is reluctant to discuss the things that are important to you, leave them because it won't get better.

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It's going to depend on how old you two are first of all. If you're late teens or early 20's then 5 years (even though it sounds like a long time) is probably a very wise decision because people tend to do a lot of changing in that time.

 

On the other hand, even if you're into your late 20's or older, people these days are not is such a hurry to get married as they once were. Long, drawn out commonlaw relationships are commonplace. Some people are choosing to stay together and never get married.

 

So I suppose I don't think his '5 year plan' is a big deal really. I think it's a wise choice. But I do think that if that was what he was thinking, then he shouldn't have made it sound like it was imminent.

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What does an engagement mean to you? To him? Clearly you both have different thoughts. To him, an engagement = marriage. To you, it's a ring? A symbol that he wants to marry you some day?

 

If he's not ready for marriage for 5-6 years, I can see why he wouldn't be into an engagement ring.

 

You need to figure out what's important to you. If you want more from this relationship, realize it won't be happening for many years. And you need to decide if you can wait, if he's worth waiting or you need that ring really badly.

 

It comes down to communication and figuring out goals, priorities and relationship views. If you're on different paths, you need to figure it out together by communicating.

 

If he's young, I'm sure for him..a few years is SOON ENOUGH. You both have different perceptions of when SOON is.

I've been told SOON as well, but I know what SOON means to him. And its along the lines of what your boyfriend is saying. [not 5 years..but years ago it was]

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No, five years is not the "near future." I am baffled as to why your bf would keep defending that comment. He would be better off admitting that he misspoke and apologizing for giving you the wrong impression.

 

Five years may be a great timeline for you as a couple. But it is not the "near future," by any reasonable definition and he should not have ever said that. He should have said "Sorry I said that...I meant within five years." Two completely different things.

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Mind you, we've never talked about what we wanted to accomplish before getting engaged, so I have no idea where that came from. He has talked about what he wants to accomplish, but the "we" part is a mystery to me. We argued for quite some time, and he still maintains that within five years is, in fact, in the near future, and that he said nothing to lead me on.

 

Well, then now that the cat is out of the bag, it's time to start talking about this stuff. You both need to breathe and calm down from the argument and then talk about these things.

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I guess for most people I'm not expressing myself clearly. I'm not agitated about his desire to wait up to five years. Well I am, but that is a separate, and much less heated, issue. The problem is that he used the words "in the near future," and other phrases to lead me to believe he would be proposing in a much shorter time. Then, instead of apologizing, he became angry and insisted that five years IS the near future, that I'm a * * * * * , and blah blah blah.

 

I would love to believe it was just a misunderstanding, but he knows I would like to get engaged much sooner than five years from now. I think that's exactly why instead of saying five years, he used other misleading phrases.

 

Later on, he said he "was talking and trying to make me happy," and shortly before he went to bed he sarcastically apologized for trying to make me happy. After that, I feel like he DID know that what he was saying wasn't completely true, but he knew it sounded good.

 

Now I just feel like he avoided being truthful on purpose.

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I think you are definitely right that five years is not the near future. It sounds though like he is convinced that he is right even though what he is saying is ridiculous. Sorry, but it sounds like he is set in believing that his version makes sense.

 

My suggestion is to drop the near future/five years argument (it really doesn't sound like you are going to agree on this so I suggest you agree to disagree) and focus on defining what your goals are as individuals and as a couple and coming to an agreement about a timeline that makes sense for both of you. This is going to take you both doing some thinking on your own about what you want to accomplish as unmarried individuals before you tie the knot.

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I don't consider 5 years to be in the near future - it is a long period of time -- does he consider your two years together to be equivalent to a few minutes? My parents dated for one year and then were engaged for four years while my dad finished grad school in another city- they married when she was 21 and he was 23 so they were quite young. In that case I would understand waiting but that still wouldn't be "in the near future".

 

I agree that it depends whether you are looking for an official engagement - a ring and a wedding date - or just an engagement ring to feel more secure.

 

Bottom line -you two need to communicate more clearly.

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It doesn't matter how anyone else defines the near future. It matters how the two of you define it and in this case you two have different definitions. But it doesn't necessarily mean that he misled you because his definition is different from yours or what other people think. So getting angry and resentful with him isn't going to solve anything.

 

What really matters is how long you are prepared to wait for marriage - and that means you are going to have to set a time line and tell him what it is - because anything other than something fairly specific will only lead to more misunderstanding and resentment.

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It doesn't matter how anyone else defines the near future. It matters how the two of you define it and in this case you two have different definitions. But it doesn't necessarily mean that he misled you because his definition is different from yours or what other people think. So getting angry and resentful with him isn't going to solve anything.

 

What really matters is how long you are prepared to wait for marriage - and that means you are going to have to set a time line and tell him what it is - because anything other than something fairly specific will only lead to more misunderstanding and resentment.

 

I think he did mislead her. There are differences of opinion and there are just unreasonable lines of thinking. I really can't see how anyone can genuinely believe that five years is "the near future." I really just don't buy it. I don't. I think he said the wrong thing, regretted it and then instead of doing the honorable thing by apologizing, he tried to save face.

 

That said, I don't think them continuing that argument is really going to be productive. I think you are right that she needs to let go of the resentment and anger. And so does he. And they do need to communicate better about their expectations, wants, and needs for the future of their relationship.

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For him the near future could be within five years when he expects to marry and start a family, the middle future would be fifteen to thirty years when he is in mid-career and the children are teenagers, the far future thirty to fifty when he is capping a successful career with an enjoyable retirement until the close of his life. Taken in that context, five years as the near future is logical.

 

His mistake was not being specific and hers was not asking him to be.

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My opinion, and of course it's just an opinion, is that he knows very well what his gf would think "near future" meant. He made a mistake saying that and he tried to save face. I don't buy the explanation that he really believes five years is in the near future.

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But not buying it isn't solving anything. All it does is continue and to feed resentment over something that isn't properly defined. It's like arguing how long is a piece of string. So to say he did it deliberately when no one knows whether he did or not is to assume that we know what he was thinking - and we don't.

 

If there is one thing we do know it is that in human interaction it can be very difficult to communicate what people are thinking unless clear and precise terms are used. To then assume that someone was wrong and deliberately misleading when they aren't clear and precise isn't wise or fair - in my opinion - it just perpetuates bad feeling instead of trying to mitigate it.

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But not buying it isn't solving anything. All it does is continue and to feed resentment over something that isn't properly defined. It's like arguing how long is a piece of string. So to say he did it deliberately when no one knows whether he did or not is to assume that we know what he was thinking - and we don't.

 

If there is one thing we do know it is that in human interaction it can be very difficult to communicate what people are thinking unless clear and precise terms are used. To then assume that someone was wrong and deliberately misleading when they aren't clear and precise isn't wise or fair - in my opinion - it just perpetuates bad feeling instead of trying to mitigate it.

 

Well, if you look back over my other posts, you'll see that I said that while I think she is right there is no point arguing because her bf has convinced himself that he is right and refuses to see reason. I already said that they should move on from this argument.

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The point I am trying to make is that the Op also needs to see things from another perspective rather than insisting, supported by others, that she is the only one is right and seeing reason. It rarely helps in a relationship conflict to insist on being right when the issue at hand is so fuzzy and that includes insisting in one's own mind.

 

If he has said "I will marry you within one year" and reneged - he would be wrong.

 

But 'near future' is capable of different constructions and thereforee no one is right or wrong.

 

And i think it is as important to drop the issue of right and wrong in the OP's own mind as it is to drop it in conversation, because if she doesn't this will taint the relationship even if they do stay together and marry at some point.

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The point I am trying to make is that the Op also needs to see things from another perspective rather than insisting, supported by others, that she is the only one is right and seeing reason. It rarely helps in a relationship conflict to insist on being right when the issue at hand is so fuzzy and that includes insisting in one's own mind.

 

If he has said "I will marry you within one year" and reneged - he would be wrong.

 

But 'near future' is capable of different constructions and thereforee no one is right or wrong.

 

And i think it is as important to drop the issue of right and wrong in the OP's own mind as it is to drop it in conversation, because if she doesn't this will taint the relationship even if they do stay together and marry at some point.

 

I agree with most of that. Sorry, I still don't buy that "near future" = five years and I never will. It is nonsense to me and I think that he is well aware of that and is being stubborn. I'll agree to disagree with you on that one. Anyway, it's irrelevant because he is set in his version of the story and them arguing over it won't cause him to change his mind.

 

I think that your point about dropping the issue altogether is the best way forward is correct and that is what I've been saying all along back when I posted the following and I'll just repost it in case the OP missed it cause I think it's likely that it got lost in the shuffle: drop the near future/five years argument (it really doesn't sound like you are going to agree on this so I suggest you agree to disagree) and focus on defining what your goals are as individuals and as a couple and coming to an agreement about a timeline that makes sense for both of you. This is going to take you both doing some thinking on your own about what you want to accomplish as unmarried individuals before you tie the knot.

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Have you actually met this man?

 

DN, I simply do not agree with you. I agree to disagree on that. Why the need for sarcasm? I have a right to my opinion which is that five years is not a reasonable interpretation of "near future." I see no point in continuing this debate. I have given constructive advise to the OP on how I think she may want to proceed.

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Hey thanks to everyone for their advice!

 

I would just like to say, since someone mentioned this, that he did actually tell me he would propose within two years about a year and a half ago. Obviously, it turned out not to be true. After that he wanted to get engaged sometime in 2009. Then, a few months ago, he wanted to get engaged within two years. At that point I became very agitated and we completely stopped mentioning it.

 

I guess I should have mentioned that. I mean after discussing a two year waiting period, how was I supposed to think that in the near future would mean within the next five years?

 

At this point, I don't even know if the relationship can continue, but I definitely appreciate all the advice! Thanks so much!

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Hey thanks to everyone for their advice!

 

I would just like to say, since someone mentioned this, that he did actually tell me he would propose within two years about a year and a half ago. Obviously, it turned out not to be true. After that he wanted to get engaged sometime in 2009. Then, a few months ago, he wanted to get engaged within two years. At that point I became very agitated and we completely stopped mentioning it.

 

I guess I should have mentioned that. I mean after discussing a two year waiting period, how was I supposed to think that in the near future would mean within the next five years?

 

At this point, I don't even know if the relationship can continue, but I definitely appreciate all the advice! Thanks so much!

Well, that is being much more specific and he is being misleading.

 

I think you should tell him that, unless he can commit to marrying you within a time-frame that works for you, you are going to end the relationship and look for someone who wants the same things that you do.

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I think there are bigger issues going on here then, if he's playing this game for quite some time now.

 

He clearly isn't ready for an engagement, and is telling you things he knows you WANT to hear, but isn't what he wants. And thats not right..that speaks quite loudly to me in terms of what is going on. He can't make the commitment you want, atleast not yet and not for several years. He knows what you want, but it's not what he wants, and he's probably afraid of it, so he tells you what you want to hear.

 

You two need to sit down and figure this out. You both want different things, and both have different expectations. He's telling you lies so that you are happy, but you're not happy when you discover that he's been lying and doesn't want the same things.

 

Figure out what's going on, set up a time line for yourself, and what you WANT. If he can't give it, move along. He isn't anywhere near ready for an engagement, so leave it be and let it happen when it's meant to, or move on and find someone else who wants the same things in the same time line.

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