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Unsure about the future with my boyfriend


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Hello, my boyfriend and I have been together for 1 1/2 years now and have been living together for most of this time. We have both met one anothers families and we all got along quite well. Recently, however, my boyfriend has been pushing the idea of getting married, planning for the future (and on occasion introducing me as his fiancee) and I don't know how to feel about it. I like him and he is very sweet, caring, positive, optimistic, determined, creative and strong-willed. He is very considerate and takes my opion into consideration (most of the time, sometimes he makes decisions without me and only tells me about them after). The more we talk about the future though, the more I realize we want different things and have different values. We also have our issues as we've changed for one another and made compromises but he's also lied on certain occasions and will sometimes to revert to his bad habits when we fight. We've also both stoped spending as much time with our friends to spend more time with one another and because we don't get along with one another's friends group. I have begun to wonder if the relationship would work in the future since we are so different and seem to want different things. We also have quite different education levels, he's 28 and is just now graduating with a general degree, and I'm scared that that will make it hard for him to find a job and stay in the country (he recently switched from a student visa to a working visa) and I'm 21 and will be graduating in a few months with a Bachelor's Degree and might study abroad to complete a graduate degree. I've been having a hard time explaining why I'm still in a relationship with my boyfriend to my friends, not being able to find any specific reason why I'm with him over someone else. All of this mixed with my anxiety, depression and tendency to overthink things, along with the pressure to consider marriage, has made me question the relationship and I'm wondering if I'm just overthinking things and getting overly worked up etc.?

So, I've been wondering what to do, if anyone's had a similar situation and what you did about it or if anyone has any advice?

Thank you!

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Many questions to get some context before I give further thoughts:

 

What sorts of changes have you both made for each other, and what has he lied about?

 

What do you mean when you say he reverts back to his old habits when you fight?

 

Why don't you get along with each other's friends?

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It's a red flag since he sometimes makes decisions without you and only tells you about them later.

 

You should never feel pressured to get married. I'm married and I didn't feel pressured. Both my husband and I wanted to get married. This is the difference. Both of us were on the same page and you and your boyfriend are definitely NOT on the same page! Also, we were ready. Our education was finished, our jobs were set, we were financially stable, the future looked bright and we're in lockstep. My husband is a very honorable, decent human being, respectful and conscientious man. Therefore, it was a no-brainer to marry him.

 

You and your boyfriend have far too many differences. No, you're not over thinking nor getting overly worked up. You're thinking intelligently and listening to your gut instincts and intuition. Plus, you're very aware of the facts which are telling you that you and your boyfriend will not have a harmonious marriage and future together.

 

Tell your boyfriend the truth. Be completely honest with him. Tell him what your wrote. Tell him in person; not via text, email, messenger nor voicemail. In person is best. Make sure your in depth conversation with him is quite thorough minus all distractions. Make sure you have his undivided attention.

 

Tell him that he shouldn't introduce you as his fiancee because you're not engaged to marry him and he is being presumptuous. Tell him about your different values, he has lied to you which makes it difficult for you to trust him, reverts to his bad habits, both of you fight, don't get along with one anothers friends group, want different things, at 21 you're graduating in a few months (congratulations!), might study abroad to complete a graduate degree, he is 28, has just now graduated with a general degree, will have difficulty attaining gainful employment and stay in the country. This is a very long list of negatives.

 

Don't marry him because it goes against your better judgment. Be wise. Think of your future. Use your brain because it's always right. My advice would be to use common sense.

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What made you decide to live together immediately?

 

Please don't marry him out of guilt or obligation. All you'd get out of that is a short, unhappy marriage and then a divorce. Only marry when you truly want to, not because someone else wants you to.

 

BTW, is he still smoking pot and cigarettes?

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Don't enter a sham marriage for the sake of a visa and hanging onto him. It appears you are incompatible on many levels. Rethink things and take time to reflect on what you want.

-my boyfriend has been pushing the idea of getting married

 

-I'm scared that that will make it hard for him to find a job and stay in the country (he recently switched from a student visa to a working visa)

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I think you should answer your friends questions (but just to yourself) as to why you are still with him. I see no reason that you should since you are so incompatible, you are not wanting to spend the rest of your life with him, you moved in with him far too soon into your relationship (was that for financial reasons?) and you don't even appear to love him.

 

So: What DOES keep you there with him?

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the more I realize we want different things and have different values.

 

These are major things that should be a dealbreaker for you. The same life goals and similar values should be must-haves for a longterm, successful relationship. No matter his good traits, if you move on with him, you're settling. And you don't NEED any man in your life right now, just because you're used to having a bf and many of your friends do. Do your graduate work free from distractions. You have plenty of time in the future to venture into a new romance when the time is right.

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I think there are quite a few trust issues in the relationship. That you refer to liking him rather than loving him is in itself a bit telling that you shouldn't be settling or marrying this person. He's just not the man for you. I'm unsure where you see yourselves differ on the educational level. You both haven't graduated from your first degrees yet - why so quick to judge? You haven't even confirmed your grad school either. Is it the age difference that makes you judge him more harshly for where he is in his life? While I think you're entitled to do that regardless, that kind of attitude isn't going to help in a relationship (where you're looking down on one person because of xyz reasons). I think you're insecure about your position and your ability to support yourself or succeed in your chosen path and this is causing you to be a little less generous or understanding regarding his chosen path.

 

If you feel that you are not sharing equal weight in the relationship and one person isn't taking enough responsibility in other areas, I think you should be truthful with yourself also.

 

Try not to go into your marriage half-heartedly.

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The main changes he made was that he quite smoking, which is what he lied about during the first few months (although this hasn’t been an issue in the past year) and my main reason to distrust him. He has also reduced the amount of THC he takes. I have also given up socially drinking and cut ties with some of my friends for him. We don’t get along with each other’s friends because most of his friends have drug/alcohol issues or smoke and my friends disapprove of him and find his lifestyle and personality too different (they also have issues with the age difference). When we fight (although we haven’t fought in the past year) the first thing he does is go out and get a smoke. I have talked to him about this and told him how I don’t like it when he does that and that I would rather he talks to me. Also, when I first found out he smoked I told him I didn’t like it although I didn’t want to force him to quit (but that if he wanted to smoke he should consider dating someone else).

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I love him but recently (around the time of his graduation) he started behaving differently and being more distant. He stopped talking to me as much about his plans and would simply tell me about them (even the ones involving me, like dinner plans with his friends/work connections) and expecting me to follow along with it. Because of this my feelings have started to change and I am no longer sure if I love him or strongly like him. Another issue is that he had to go abroad and will be away for a few months. This time alone has given me time to reflect on the relationship and made me question my feelings.

We started staying over at one another’s places after the first few months of the relationship and we got along quite well and our lifestyles seemed quite compatible (with a few exceptions) and we decided to officially move in together after a year (so having basically lived together for 1/2 year- 1 year I guess we thought we knew each other at least to a certain degree and wanted to get to know one another more). His ‘bad ways’ are how when we fight he just leaves and goes to smoke even when he told me he would completely quit (although this hasn’t been an issue for a while, but is the cause of some trust issues). He has also hid many THC related items throughout the house when I told him I was uncomfortable with it and didn’t want to date someone who is high 24/7 (luckily this also hasn’t been much of an issue recently).

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I love him but recently my feeling have started to decrease with the time apart, the recent changes in her personality (wanting to become a strong man who doesn’t show any weakness or emotion and does not share his feelings, and also making plans (some of which involved me) without telling me in advance) and the differences we seem to have. He hasn’t ever given much thought to what he wants for the future and doesn’t know where he sees himself in a few months or a few years. I have talked to him and expressed that I am not ready to marry him as we still have many issues to work out and also since he doesn’t have a clear idea of what he wants it is hard to compare our individual wants and needs. He however keeps mentioning how he is planning on getting an engagement ring once he has a stable job and has been telling his parents friends and coworkers that I am his fiancée. The main reason why I say we have different education levels is because we are unable to have conversations about in depth topics or discuss things, the fact that he continuously tells me that he hates studying or reading and how he has been expelled from over 5 schools. The other reason is that he has been studying for over 8 years for a general degree which would normally take 8 months to complete (most jobs also do not consider this as a qualification, he also doesn’t have any previous work experience which I think will make it difficult for him to find a job). He recently graduated and I am waiting for my graduation ceremony from a 4 year program which I completed in 3 years due to fast tracking. I have a full time job and plan on continuing that until the following year when I will apply to grad school to advance my career. I hopefully haven’t been to hasty in my ‘judgements’ and I don’t look down on him as he has many redeeming qualities and has shown that he can put a lot of effort into things he is passionate about, he is also very extroverted and personable which makes it easy for him to make connections and do things many people can’t.

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You are wise to reconsider this situation. He sounds like trouble and as though you are a convenience, thus strings you along. Is he married or scheduled to have an arranged marriage in his country? Why does he have to "go abroad for months"? While he is gone, put his things in storage. Remove all the drugs, smoking paraphernalia and whatnot from your place. If you "don't want to date someone who's high 24/7" why are you with him and allowing drugs in your place?

 

Start a self improvement and self confidence building program. Get to a doctor for a check up. Get in shape. Improve your image. New clothes, hair etc. Start taking some courses and classes and join some groups, clubs and sports. Revise and reset all your social media. Delete and block all his drug using people. You're a fool to have drugs in the home, unless of course you use them from time to time as well..

 

Start reaching out more to friends, family, etc. Reconnect to your friends. Consider this the perfect time to break up. Simply pack up and store his things and hold them or bring them to one of his druggie friends to hold on to and change the locks. Tell him it's over and free yourself from this. He does not respect or care about you and prefers to be high, lies and jerk you around. Why are you doing this?

- my feelings have started to change and I am no longer sure if I love him or strongly like him.

-he had to go abroad and will be away for a few months.

-His ‘bad ways’ are how when we fight he just leaves and goes to smoke even when he told me he would completely quit

-He has also hid many THC related items throughout the house

-didn’t want to date someone who is high 24/7 (luckily this also hasn’t been much of an issue recently).

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He is not married or arranged to be married. He needed to go back home for a family emergency which he openly discusses with me as it has been very tough on him. He luckily does not do any hardcore drugs (only THC) and is very against taking it himself (as am I). He has reduced his TCH intake and gets high less than once a month (also I know this won’t be much of an issue while he is away because there are very strict laws against it, unlike here where it is legalized). I have stayed because I have seen the improvements he has made and the positive changes he is taking in his life. I also believe that he does care about me (even if he sometimes makes rash decisions) but he has taken a lot of my feelings into consideration and has been trying to make this relationship work (as have I). I’m just not sure if this is enough anymore or whether it will work out in the long run.

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It's never necessary to build a 'case' against staying with anyone. The problem is that you live with him, and that creates a barrier to walking away freely if you want to. So I'd start with creating the mental safety net of having a plan for where you would live if you weren't living with him. If you can come up with that, then it doesn't need to be a weight on your decision.

 

Nobody else is living our love life FOR us, so nobody else gets a vote in what we want for ourselves. There are no judges or juries, and you don't need to convince anyone but yourself that you are making the best choice for YOU.

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Jaki, maybe this person was the light of your life at one point but I think you've both outgrown each other. I say this kindly because I've been in your place too (as I'm sure many others have been too). There's a lot of emotions still even though we realize one person isn't meant to be in our life. Eventually you'll have to expand and grow in other ways. Both of you should be able to grow in your own way.

 

You can either have a heart to heart and really work on the relationship together or end it completely with no loose ends and just work on your future. I think you're wasting a lot of time and energy at this critical time before applications to grad school. Start thinking of solutions for the relationship or making peace or learn to move on without him. Are there any long term prospects at your current full time job? Is it in your field of study? Start branching out and building yourself. Think creatively and proactively about your career and shift those energies (spread/diversify your strengths and start making connections/finding others like you in your field or your study). I hope things are a bit smoother for you.

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I have also given up socially drinking and cut ties with some of my friends for him. We don’t get along with each other’s friends because most of his friends have drug/alcohol issues or smoke and my friends disapprove of him and find his lifestyle and personality too different

 

That's a good reason not to get along with someone's friends.

I think that you should break up, and next time don't live with a guy. Study abroad like you want to, etc, and don't feel obligated to marry a drug user for a VISA.

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The main changes he made was that he quite smoking, which is what he lied about during the first few months (although this hasn’t been an issue in the past year) and my main reason to distrust him. He has also reduced the amount of THC he takes. I have also given up socially drinking and cut ties with some of my friends for him. We don’t get along with each other’s friends because most of his friends have drug/alcohol issues or smoke and my friends disapprove of him and find his lifestyle and personality too different (they also have issues with the age difference). When we fight (although we haven’t fought in the past year) the first thing he does is go out and get a smoke. I have talked to him about this and told him how I don’t like it when he does that and that I would rather he talks to me. Also, when I first found out he smoked I told him I didn’t like it although I didn’t want to force him to quit (but that if he wanted to smoke he should consider dating someone else).

 

What is the point of having "deal breakers" like no dating a smoker because you don't like it, if you're just going to tear down that boundary/deal breaker to stay with them?

 

Honour your own rules and dump him. He's a smoker, you don't like it. That alone is enough for you to have left him way before you moved in with him.

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