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I want a life partner, he wants a girlfriend


lacrimosa

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For background, we are both 28, live together, have been together for 2.5 years but have known each other since we were kids.

 

The conflict that continuously haunts me in our otherwise healthy relationship roots from the fact that I want to get married. We discussed marriage early on, and he has gone from open to it to unsure.

 

Around Christmas, I bluntly stated that I want to get married and think about kids around age 30. To summarize his response, he loves me but is unsure about both kids and marriage. We ended the discussion with that we would keep talking about it, and that I need to know what he wants sometime soon as it is unfair to me.

 

I appreciate that he was honest with me, but i am having a hard time not feeling rejected and insecure in the relationship.

 

Has anyone else experienced this? I would like to learn from your stories.

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I have not personally experienced this because I watched enough of my friends waste their time and youth on these guys. If you have lived with him for 2-1/2 years and he can't figure out what he wants then it is doubtless time to break up, move out and move on. You deserve someone who wants the same things in life you do, and talking him into it is not something that will happen or that you actually want. If you want to get married and have children go find a man who also wants that, there are plenty of them. It is hard to break up, it is harder never to get what you want.

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I appreciate that he was honest with me, but i am having a hard time not feeling rejected and insecure in the relationship.

 

then don't give all the power to decide your relationship to him. You are just as involved as he is. You need to decide if you want to wait for him on a maybe, or actively move towards the children/marriage.

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My opinion is you have two options: 1) Accept you are not having kids or getting married to this guy 2) Move on and find someone who does want to get married.

 

He is being honest with you and will not change his mind. All you have to do is make a choice, accept or move on.

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Has anyone else experienced this? I would like to learn from your stories.
Yes I told him that I was going to have children by the time I was 30 and that he didn't have to be the father.

 

We have a grown daughter, he's the father and we've been married for 36 years. Know what you want and do it. If he can't deliver then time to get out now so that you can reach your goal. By waffling along with him, you enable him to not have to make a concrete decision.

 

I'll add that it appears that the worst thing you can do to enable a waffler of marriage and children is to move in with them thus enabling them not to have to decide on either.

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Do you know why he doesn't want to get married or have children?

 

If it's because he's scared of the commitment that comes with that then it might be ultimatum time. If it's because he just wants to experience a bit more of what youth has to offer before he settles down then maybe there's a way you can work through it together. You could create a list of crazy experiences you want to have before your 30 and start working through it together.

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I can clearly see how you're stuck between a rock and a hard spot, and you have a legitimate concern that needs to be addressed. That said, I would make it clear that you're not on the same page, and you're having doubts as to how much longer this relationship can survive.

 

You gave it your all, now the ball is in his court.

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This is why I recommend not living together if you want to have marriage and kids, unless you are engaged with a wedding date planned. Because it is too easy to fall into a co-habitation situation where one person is happy 'as is' and is getting all the perks of a relationship such as a regular partner, shared finances, etc., but without the legal obligations and commitment. And if their goals are different than yours, you end up all enmeshed with them, only to discover when push comes to shove that the relationship isn't going to grow any farther than a live in situation where the live in (you) probably gets cycled out for someone new every 4-5 years.

 

So you know where he stands. If he has already told you he doesn't want marriage and kids, and you do, don't waste any more time with this, just move out. He needs to feel your ABSENCE to really help clarify for him whether he wants/needs you enough to commit to you and marry you or not. And if you just keep living there, he's getting everything he wants from the deal and you are not, so there is nothing in that for you but wasting your time.

 

I think there are lots of men who see a woman as 'good enough for now', but either have lingering doubts as to whether they want to 'lock themselves down' with her, or about marriage and kids in general. So they will move in with you at the drop of a hat, but you mention marriage or kids and they start backpeddling and claiming they don't want to marry. these are the same men that WILL marry when they meet someone else they don't have those reservations about.

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btw, I think once you are at prime 'marrying' age (i.e., 26-30+) and have been together for a couple years, each person should be able to say whether they want to get married or not, and he should be willing to get engaged and plan a wedding within the next year or two at most. If he isn't, then he isn't serious about you and doesn't want marriage. Waiting around won't fix that.

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Agree with Lavenderdove. Answer this question for yourself -how long would you stay if you knew he was never going to marry you? That is the drop dead date. Don't tell him that, but when it gets to that date, you tell him that you need to know either way and make sure you've already made the appropriate arrangements to be able to move out ASAP. I am sorry you're going through this.

 

You might want to look at a new book by Tanya Selvaratnam called The Big Lie -about the deadlines in which to have a biological child. I just heard her interviewed last night -very interesting.

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Ditto Lav ^^ and…

 

For me; the first minute of the decision process went something like this.

- She’s nice looking, funny, easy to talk to and I like her family… I think I'll ask her to marry me.

 

Minute two:

- What if she says yes? Does it mean I have to buy a ring now? Where would I buy it? What if she says no, that would suck but what would I do with the ring? This is hard!

 

There you have it… the deep, inner workings of an average man's brain.

 

 

I was watching a wolf on a nature show a few weeks back trying to get a buffalo. The chase came to a fast moving rivers edge. The buffalo crossed but most of the pack, except one, turned around and went back. The one remaining wolf stood pondering for a few minutes and then jumped in and eventually got the buffalo.

 

The above is how a man, (at least me), thinks about vows.

 

Your pop-culture, live together wisdom kept him fed and on the river bank.

Time to stop feeding him! If he doesn't jump, move on and never do it again.

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If you want kids by 30, then you're with the wrong man. If he isn't convinced that putting a ring on your finger and making babies with you is what he wants, then you need to understand that he doesn't want to marry you or have children with you. The question is: do you have 5 to 15 years to wait on him getting around to it? You are not going to make your "kids by 30" deadline unless you have an "oopsy" pregnancy and I strongly do not recommend you take that route. Children deserve TWO parents who want them more than their next breath.

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I am in the same situation as you. Lavenderdove is so spot on with her advice and has been very kind with her words. It is so difficult. You've told your partner as clear as anything what you want and he still isn't delivering. I can't tell you to leave as I haven't yet left my partner.

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To add a little more - when we first started dating, I did not want to have birth kids. I was more interested in adopting in the future (and still am). A little over a year ago, my mind changed about having birth kids. I guess my biological clock started ticking.

 

He saw my past thoughts on kids as being adamantly against kids and he thinks I came out of nowhere saying I want kids. This confused me because we have had discussions about kids, raising them, names, etc. He says this was hypothetical to him.

 

When we talked over Christmas, he said he is unsure because he had a rocky childhood and sometimes thinks he should have never been born. He sees marriage as being interconnected with having kids (I agree) so he can't make one choice without knowing the other.

 

I feel for him on that, I really do, but I can't put my feelings to the side. It is causing too much inequality in the relationship.

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It doesn't really matter if he doesn't want kids at all, or he doesn't want them with you. Its still a clash of goals for you two.

You cant make him want one if he doesn't, and having a baby anyhow will only bring pain. A child should be wanted by both parents and conceived in love, not in fear and doubt.

He can be a good fellow for sure, but its like wanting to move abroad. You can`t stay there with him, just because its better then to move on alone.

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All that doesn't matter.

 

The relationship is at an impasse because you two want completely different things out of life.

 

This isn't the man for your future. The sooner you stop wrestling against that and accept that if you want kids by your 30's, then you're going to have to look elsewhere for a man who wants kids on your timeline, the sooner you will find the guy who wants kids on your timeline.

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I would like to put things into perspective for you and perhaps a shade different than what other posters have responded with. Bare with me.

 

You get together, great relationship and everything is cake & ice cream. But as soon as you move in together and you start living up under each other feelings sometimes change. I say that not to be disrespectful but to ask if you as a girlfriend are in fact living up to your end of the relationship? That can definitely play a huge role sometimes in why men get cold feet about going forward with marriage and family. How strong are you as a couple? Are you finances together? Do you have the same views on a lot of things: Kids, religion, intimacy, intellectually etc.

 

I apologize in advance for this... But some women unfortunately are just so hell bent on getting married and settling down that they forget the very important things that are needed for a relationship/marriage to prosper. In your eyes everything may be great but what about in his eyes? Do you both talk frequently about the relationship? Men are very hardwired sometime about committing to marriage. They're not as dumb about that as some women may believe. They understand the seriousness and committment it takes to go through with it. Some men I understand just don't want that responsibility, but a lot do also but are just uncertain about progressing forward because of the problems that exist.

 

I was in a very similiar situation 7 years ago. There were several talks about marriage and moving forward. She was determined that we would see our wedding day. Honestly, I was afraid, not of the committment but because of the problems I knew existed in the relationship and her turning a "blind-eye" toward them. My concerns about our lack of communication and intimacy and her inability to recognize those as significant problems. What will our household become with children and two parents at each others throats? I'm just saying that sometimes when you think that everything is smooth-sailing it may not be and you need to be sure of it. Fortunately, we did not marry although it hurt to let the relationship go I knew it was the right thing to do. I don't say that to be cynical, but to give you another perspective. It's a problem when one person thinks the relationship is heaven-sent and the other thinks their in hell. And she was a good woman, but overall I didn't feel she was a good lifelong companion for me.

 

These are things you cannot always help but to discover once you start living with one another. This is really the true test of whether or not a relationship can go all the way. Because once you're living together after a while you start to get in each other's way. Your space becomes her space or vice versa. Then of course you start to see all the little things; toilet seat up, dirty dishes after you just washed them, dog throwup on the floor, dog poop on the floor, dog pee on the floor, tv too loud when you're trying to sleep, clothes left behind in the dryer, dirty bathroom, easily annoyed, easily angry, won't cook, won't clean, no intimacy, being roommates with children almost etc... whatever the case may be because we've all got flaws to some extent. These are real fears about moving forward with marriage that people have. So I'm just saying before you critcize your boyfriend about not wanting to move forward you need to make sure everything is in place. And if so and he still doesn't want to move forward, then yes he probably is not ready yet in his life for such a huge committment. At that point you have a decision to make, to stay or to leave.

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Thanks, 2 sided, your reply was very helpful.

 

We had two long talks about this. He loves the life we have built together and wants a future with me, but is still unsure if he wants kids. There was no compromise since it's not a compromisable issue. At the same time, neither of us want to break up.

 

We decided to start working toward some smaller goals together. The biggest is that we are both in debt (student, car, house). While this is definitely not a solution, it is an attempt to improve ourselves individually and as a couple.

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Sounds more like he's convinced you to sweep the issue under the rug for a while.

 

I agree with this to an extent.

 

I personally would not live with a bf unless we were engaged with a wedding date on the horizon. Otherwise you create a situation where he is comfortable. Why marry when he gets all the benefits without further pressure for more responsibilities like kids?

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Sounds to me like you've set the clock counting down against someone who just hadn't considered it yet. A couple months, he'll either come around or you'll be gone.

 

Living together or not really doesn't mean anything one way or another, at least when it comes to being a long term couple. It's better to be living together before marriage, at least it prevents you and him from getting married due to one person making a huge mistake for all the wrong reasons, similar to how the "no sex before marriage" leads to a marriage again for all the wrong reasons.

 

With everything that has been thrown at him in the last month [and to be honest, if before these discussions he thought you were ADAMENTLY against having children, then this is a HUGE development in your relationship] I honestly do believe you WANT to give him a couple months, yes, MONTHS to figure out how this development works into his life plan. He is sitting at a great crossroads right now where the place he thought he was no longer exists behind him, and moving forward he either has a life with you or a life alone. If he does decide to stick by you, you don't want him to feel like he was coerced or forced to move his hand in your direction. He has realistic concerns to address with a question he thought he had answered, only now it's not as answered as he thought it was.

 

I don't think a couple months would be unreasonable, I personally quite frankly would be extremely concerned if I had told my woman "we're not having babies" and she was ok with the decision and then I told her "we're having babies" and she said "Ok." Whatever you do, don't start moping or acting negative - that could sour the relationship on it's own, or it could make him "forcibly" make himself agree to your terms.

 

 

There's another distinction to think about - do you want kids, in general, or do you want HIS kids, in specific? And if you want HIS kids, in specific, when you must answer, Why do you want HIS kids?

 

There's also this question of how romantic he is. If I was a man in his position and you suddenly pop this notion on me, you're looking at a world of logistics to consider if I say Yes. I'd have to find a decent engagement ring, the appropriate setting, the proper timing; Depending on the man and woman, sometimes it's a matter of a huge ordeal, while other times it's a matter of "here's a ring."

 

So with all that being said...

 

End of March, start planning on moving out. End of March, If he hasn't proposed, then propose - being very clear that by being married, you want HIS babies. Anything less than a sure decision, move out April First. It's a wonderful day for a great think... Aha, ok, maybe not So Soon! But it's some food for thought.

 

You're not horribly old yet, you have another decade to get someone else if he doesn't work out. The dating world is quite brutal right now, so if you have something here invested and you really like what you're holding, 3-6 more months is a drop in the bucket compared to what you already have in. I dare say you may want to just space it out to your anniversary, at which point you will be very emotionally ready to check out of the relationship and tell him "goodbye" if he hasn't proposed by then. Anniversaries are one of those key moments when such events are appropriate.

 

One can't turn an ocean liner on a dime. That being said, you can't be out at sea forever, either.

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Thanks, 2 sided, your reply was very helpful.

 

We had two long talks about this. He loves the life we have built together and wants a future with me, but is still unsure if he wants kids. There was no compromise since it's not a compromisable issue. At the same time, neither of us want to break up.

 

We decided to start working toward some smaller goals together. The biggest is that we are both in debt (student, car, house). While this is definitely not a solution, it is an attempt to improve ourselves individually and as a couple.

 

Here's my suggestion -that's great that you came up with those goals -those are great goals for you to work towards individually and great to have a reminder that you need to do that. If you see yourself having children in the future and you stay with this man then you have to be 100% honest with yourself - being with this man is more important than having children, ever or not being alone is more important to you than having children, ever. There is no in between here because even though you still have time on the biological clock just be honest with yourself about your priorities because later when you're bemoaning the fact that you feel pressured to meet the guy and conceive a child you have to remind yourself and be responsible for your choice of this guy over being parent and building a family with someone.

 

I wish I could write 100 examples about what you're missing out on. I don't know I'll give it a shot. My son is 4, almost 5. He got into bed with us this morning at 7am (I know, so early but he knows that is the earliest he can come in) and the very first sentence he uttered to me was "Mama, do you feel better?" (which is what he said yesterday because he knows I have a cold).

 

Look you might still not be able to conceive -we can't know, I didn't know. But if you have someone who 110% wants children (as it should be IMO) you have so many other options -fertility treatment, adoption, surrogacy -if he's ambivalent you try to convince him to take measures beyond the "natural way". Good luck.

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