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How long do you wait for your partner to be ready for the next step???


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Here is my situation,


I have been with my partner for almost 2 years, and we have been living together for over a year. Myself and my partner are in a very hard situation, because we really are in love and happybut on 2 different pages. I want nothing more then to be with this guy forever, however, he can not say that back to me. I have told him, that I am ready for the next step whenever he is. Yet, he has a hard time seeing the future with me. He wants to see it, but is struggling at getting to the next step. He wants nothing more then to stay were we are at right now, living together having a great relationship but.. Why change anything right?.. He has been completely honest with me about his feelings, and telling me he is not ready for the next step, however to hear from your partner, he can not see right now a future with you is hurtful. I feel I am stuck, do I wait, and hope that he is ready in time, or do I leave, because who knows if he will ever be ready? Why must i put all my wants in life, on hold because even after two years he still can't see a future with me, and is confused.

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welcome to ENA.


you should read the books by John Gray, especially "Mars and Venus on a date." And especially the chapter "when the clock is ticking and he isn't wearing a watch." what you describe is pretty common. right now - you have all of the downsides of marriage without the perks. He basically says you should say to him what you've said to us - you love him and want to spend your life with him, but you feel upset when he says he doesn't know if the wants that. and that as a result, you might have to take a step back. ie, that can mean moving out, but continuing to date him.


i don't know how old you are, but if you are 25, i might be patient and give him some more time. if you are over 25, i might seriously start to wonder if this relationship is going to make it.

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I wouldn't stick around unless he could tell you concretely why he is not ready, what it would take for him to be ready and when he feels he would be ready for the next step - is it two more year? one? five? I would not be content with "we're happy now, why change things" because it sounds like the basis for your relationship is to see if you two can progress to taking marital vows. It's based on "changing things" - changing the level of commitment. And you're not happy with staying with the status quo.


Answer this -if you knew he would never want to marry you how long would you stay?


I think it's important to live in the present and be happy with what you have because who knows what tomorrow brings. It's perfectly consistent with "live in the moment" to have future plans as a couple -you decide that you're going to be totally grateful and happy about what you have now together and part of that happiness comes from having future goals in common. How is a couple supposed to plan their marriage and plan a family (if they want one) if to them "living in the moment" means making no plans. Certainly most people who want a profession or career would never obtain that by refusing to make future plans because "I live in the moment".

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I agree with you batya but I wouldn't push the issue too hard unless he gives you a concrete answer that he may never marry the OP or isn't even a thought. You can otherwise ruin a potentially good relationship due to anxiety if you act too harshly.


I think that's why john gray recommends taking 1 step back at a time, not breaking things off all the way.

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It is funny, that you asked about my age, I am 25 aswell as my boyfriend is aswell. he doesnt get it 25 is the time you really should be looking at your future, its okay to be 17 and date someone for 5-8 years, but not at the age of 25, is that wrong of me to say??? I am happy, forsure, and i do love him, but after all this talking, and being completley shocked by this whole converstation with him, because, at the beginning, he wanted to marry me and we talked about it, now that time has passed he's not so sure.... and to be honest i really thought he was saving for a ring this whole time.... So waiting is alot harder then it sounds, when you talked about marriage, you thought it was coming soon, then all of sudden your partner tells you he's not ready..

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Also, we live away from family, if i were to move out, i would move home.... and that would be it.. we would be living in different cities, and i dont see that working.. i dont understand why men are soo scared to take the next step with someone they are totally in love with, and tell you that you are the perfect partner... its very frusterating and hurtfull

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well, the fact is that women who want to have children should do so sooner rather than later. that's just a biological fact. now at 25, you aren't in danger, but of course, if you are with him for 5 more years and he decides he doesn't want to marry you, then you have to 'start all over again' at 30. meet, date a guy for a few years, get married, etc.... so.... i think you can wait a little for your bf, but not forever. i

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yeah, you forsure nailed that one.. the feeling at 30 and having to start over scares, me however i know i would'nt wait that long. I am new to the city, and don't know anyone... this entire situation is so very hard. THANK YOU, for your response, i feel better that waiting.. is okay... but for only a short while.

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Hi uniformgirl,


Essentially I agree with Annie and Batya. Whilst I wouldn't head for the hills just yet, I would be writing a long e-mail essentially saying,


"I respect where you are at Bob. I get it. Why don't we give it 6-9 months and if we are essentially in the same position then perhaps we need to take things back a step or two. By this I mean a trial run, living seperately.


I don't want to split up, it's not what I'm suggesting yet, but if we aren't moving forward then perhaps we need to re-trace our steps. See if this the right relationship for both of us.


I don't think it is fair to resent you because you don't want the same things as me. Equally I do not think it's fair for me to indefinitely deny what I really want from a relationship. A joint future, joint home and a situation which is moving forward towards marriage."


A very difficult decision I know, Uniform, in your postion in a new city - but you have hopes and dreams for your future that will not materialise if the status quo and living arrangements remains the same. He has said as much and that is his right.


Currently, he comforts himself that you are just nagging, but essentially content with the situation. If you continue to live in the same house after the one year mark, I'm afraid, it will be seen as agreement by default.


Over the next year you will need to decide if you're going in the same direction. Be confident that whatever happens when you move out, is meant to be.


There is little to be gained by endlessly living in the present, whilst giving up on your fundemental dreams for the future.


They do count. They are important. You are entitled to them. Let's not deny that.




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I agree with this but would not do it in an email -write it out if it helps you but read it to him out loud.


While I don't recommend starting to try to have a family in your early 40s, it's what I did -I ended a 7 year tumultuous relationship when I was 38, got back together with my previous ex 6 months later (we had broken up 8 years earlier!) and 3 years later we were engaged and expecting a baby. We've been married almost 3 years. If I had had my preference I would have gotten my act together a lot sooner because it was extra stressful (emotionally) to be pregnant for the first time as a woman of "advanced maternal age" but of course then I wouldn't have my little boy!! So, don't worry so much about the clock but what I would focus on is not overstaying in this relationship because the longer you stay where there's no change and you're upset the longer it may take you to heal and trust again. Nothing to do with gender by the way -I was the runaway bride for quite awhile.....

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