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Long-term boyfriend and I not on the same page with settling down

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  • #199997
    dreaming715
    Participant

    I’m a 29-year-old female and my close friends are all either 1) engaged 2) married or 3) have kids. I’ve been with my 32-year-old boyfriend for about 2 years now and we moved in together a couple of months ago. Everything is going well, but I don’t feel like we’re quite on the same page of life yet.

    He said he is committed to a future with me and wants to get married, but not yet. He wants to enjoy our new apartment together and just live life for awhile. I know he is not in the mindset to get married yet. He has summer plans to go to music festivals, do a camping/road trip with his friends, etc…

    With my friends it’s the complete opposite and I can’t get them to do anything anymore. It literally takes weeks to just plan to get dinner. I asked two close girlfriends today if they wanted to go to this music festival and one said she couldn’t because it would be too soon after getting back from her honeymoon and another said she “didn’t feel comfortable going to music festivals anymore.”

    To be honest, now that I’m going to be turning 30, I don’t really feel the need to have raging weekends all the time. It’s great to go out and have fun, but my social circles have really settled down and their priorities have shifted to marriage and family. I’d actually kind of like that too.

    I asked my boyfriend about getting a dog together and he said he would like that, but again not quite yet. We came to a compromise and decided we would not get a dog this spring/summer and instead consider it for the fall/early winter.

    I love my boyfriend, I just feel like I’m going to have to wait out his desire for constant weekend partying, festival-going, etc… We’ve both been out of college for over a decade now. I’ve done all of that stuff for years and years now. I’m ready to settle down :(.

    #200029
    Eagle
    Participant

    Hi Dreaming715,
    As a 29 female myself I related to your post and wanted to share my opinion. I think that you see getting married as a solution to your problems, but I would like to share a different perspective. You are very lucky to have a boyfriend who loves you and you just recently moved in together. I think its the time to enjoy that and not to push him into getting married too soon. Maybe he wants to see that he can still do his own things when you live together. Maybe you should too find some hobbies you would like to do in your free time. I understand that your friends dont have that much time, I have sometimes the same problem with my friends, but I tryto find things  I can do on my own and learn to enjoy my own company. I´m in a different situation then you, I recently broke up wiht my long term boyfriend, but in that relationship I relaised that I am the only one responsible for making my days interesting and fun, I cant expect someone else to fill all of my time. I dont know if this is helpful or maybe  I misunderstood your problem,  but I think you should just let things be for a while and let them unfold at their own pace. Enjoy what is and other things will come, and you maybe happier when they come and you didnt force them to happen.

    #200043
    anita
    Participant

    Dear dreaming715:

    You wrote about your boyfriend: “He has summer plans to go to music festivals, do a camping/road trip with his friends, etc…”-

    no such plans that include you?

    anita

    #200145
    Courtney
    Participant

    Maybe just focus on the present moment with him?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Courtney.
    #200151
    dreaming715
    Participant

    Eagle: Thank you for your response. I’ve done a lot of thinking about some of the things you said, particularly: “I think that you see getting married as a solution to your problems.” On one hand, I think there’s some truth to this, but I think it also goes a little deeper than that. I see marriage as the deepest level of commitment. There have been varying degrees of commitment throughout our whole relationship. First we were merely dating, then we started dating exclusively, then we met each other’s families, and then we committed to moving in together (signed a lease and agreed on who would pay for what). Each level requires a different level of investment in the relationship. I do believe that for my boyfriend and I marriage would be the final level of investment for us, thus the deepest level of commitment, etc… I understand people who get married separate or divorce often and marriage doesn’t guarantee that won’t happen, but I do think making the decision to marry someone is almost like a different state of mind and a different state of valuing your partner. This is just my opinion and what I feel is most accurate for us in our culture.

    Does that mean I don’t think he is committed to our relationship and values me right now? No, I think he does, I just think it’s different. He did state that he “wasn’t ready to get married yet,” I think some guys have to emotionally wrap their mind around that level of commitment, particularly the duration of the commitment (I assume most people get married because they would like it to be their last relationship). If you live to be the average age of 78-years-old (I had to google that lol), that’s 46 years with the same person. I think for some people that thought would be understandably daunting. This probably sounds crazy, but for me I think, “that’s it??”

    There’s so much I want to accomplish in 40-something years with the person I love. There’s so much of the world to see, so much to experience. I mean it’s really limitless.

    Maybe I need to change my perspective. If we theoretically only have 40-something years together, I would rather them all be amazing years than me griping and having a pity party about not being married and pressuring him into all of this stuff.

    This quote really sums up how I feel: “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

    Anita: Thanks for your response, I should’ve been a little more fair with that statement. My boyfriend does have plans with me for this summer. I was just trying to highlight that he also has plans with his friends (some plans include me and some do not).

    Courtney: I agree I should focus more on the present moment with him.

    If you’ve read this far, thank you for taking the time to read!

    #200235
    anita
    Participant

    Dear dreaming715:

    Your last post is such a sensible, wise essay on commitment and marriage, worthy of being published, I believe, that it in itself is evidence to me that your relationship with this man is a good, healthy, loving relationship.

    The writer of the essay above (you) is in a good state of mind, clear and understanding, a state of mind possible when one is in a good relationship.

    anita

    #200367
    Eliana
    Participant

    Hi dreaming715,

    I really admire you. You have alot more emotional maturity and stability then I did at your age. I was alot like your boyfriend. In my early 30’s, I really was not too sure what it really was I wanted. On one hand, I wanted love, being in love, the giddyness. Like you, my friends had pretty much settled down, had kids, husband, houses, etc..while I had a few friends who like me still were into the club scene, dating, going to concerts, comedy clubs, internet dating, beach bonfire parties, staying out till the bars closed then going to a diner afterwards for breakfast and staying there till 4am.

    I had been engaged to my first love when I was only 19. We moved in together after only six months together, deeply in love. At 19, way too soon. Had no idea what I wanted. After I moved in with him..it seemed we became “roommates” gone were the cute and romantic things he did for me. Gone were the roses he always sent to me, the “surprise” weekend getaways” everything. He just changed into someone I did not know. After I moved in, I guess he knew he “had me” and so why did he have to put in any effort anymore? But Again, I was too emotionally immature, wanting to party, do the club scene, beach parties, community college parties, etc. He was the one wanting to settle down. Because he stopped putting effort in, I would play “games” and try to “win” his attention by making him jealous, as he was a very jealous person..little did I know at my age it was a toxic relationship. He also cheated on me, yet I forgave him. I would ask him to join my friends and I, but he declined. He would then make plans with his friends, and never include me. We were basically roommates. The same thing happened when I moved in with a man I was very much in love with. Six or seven month into the relationship He asked me to move in. I did, and I made the same mistake I did when I was 19. Moved in with a man without having a wedding ring on my finger. Him saying, he wanted to just live together, see how it worked it, and that someday, he saw a bright future with me. Again, the roses stopped, the cute, romantic cards stopped, being taken out for romantic dinners, being cooked for, or having candlelit dinners together. After I loved in, he would work very long hours at the office. I would cook us dinner, and sit and watch the food getting cold, the bottle of wine in the ice bucket getting warm, the candles dripping wax. At 10:30pm. I called him at work. Said he was “just finishing up”..I just said thanks, your dinner is on table and hang up on him. Then go to bed and pretend I was asleep when he got home. So, the reason I shared all of this with you, is that research has shown that couples who move in together before marriage have a higher separation and divorce rate, than couples who wait until they are married before moving in together.

    From the sound of your post, him going out to festivals, etc with his friends and not including you, and giving you a vague “wait and see” usually does not work. I have been there. I would give it a time limit, or he will settle in with “living with girlfriend with benefits”. You will be waiting and waiting for a ring, which may never come. If no ring within a year, talk to him, and tell him it is time to deepen the commitment, you did not move in to be his roommate. Don’t play the “waiting” game, as you will grow more and more frustrated and resentful. I hope it all works out. x

    #200537
    Eagle
    Participant

    Hello again dreamgirl,
    Reading your response it seems that you two have a good relationship where you can openly talk about things and I can understand that marrige is a deepest level of commitment to you, but does he see it the same way? I think it is beautiful to promise each other that you will be together forever and get merried, but life doesnt start with marrige. Your life together has already started and will probably lead to marrige, but you can still enjoy what is and what you have. I am not an expert of relationships and it is just my opinion, but maybe you can give him some time to get used to living with you and enjohy your life together and let the marrige proposal come at its own time.

    #200545
    Mark
    Participant

    dreaming715,

    As a man who married at 28 after living with my wife beforehand, I learned several things…

    1. I would not live with someone before marriage again.  Living together is a half commitment.  Marriage is a full commitment.

    2. There has to be an alignment of lifestyle and life goals.  Being married does not change that.

    It looks like your lifestyle is different.  You have not talked about your life goals like kids.  You mentioned about so much of the world to experience and see.  What are those things?  I assume that your boyfriend is not interested in those same things?

    Mark

    #201843
    dreaming715
    Participant

    Anita: Thank you for the kind response! This quote from you made me want to shed some (happy) tears! “Your last post is such a sensible, wise essay on commitment and marriage, worthy of being published.”
    Eliana: Thank you for sharing your story. I do hope we won’t be one of the couples that moves in together and does not get married.
    Eagle: You asked “marrige is a deepest level of commitment to you, but does he see it the same way?” I believe he does. He said he does want to get married, but not “yet.” He said there’s a big financial aspect to getting married (he does work as a Financial Analyst) and he wants to feel comfortable financially before purchasing a ring, wedding expenses, etc. This does kind of make sense since we just moved in to a slightly more expensive apartment and furnished it together.
    Mark: You asked, “You have not talked about your life goals like kids. You mentioned about so much of the world to experience and see. What are those things?” I maybe should have been more clear. We do actually have similar life goals. We both want to get married eventually. We both want to move to a warmer climate. And we both want to have 1-2 kids. I’m just a little ready to get started on these things sooner than later, while he’s content with taking time.

    #201849
    Mark
    Participant

    dreaming715,

    It sounds like you two are not on the same timetable and same lifestyle.

    The question is what is your timetable?   When do you want children?  I see that as the most important in being in agreement for you since you have that biological time clock ticking.

    Have you communicated that with him?  There are good economic/legal/psychological reasons to have children in a marriage rather than out of wedlock.

    https://www.city-journal.org/html/why-marriage-good-you-12002.html

    Are you willing to walk away if he does not commit to settling down?  Those questions you need to answer within yourself and use as a basis of discussion with your partner.  It is good to have a bottom line even it seems like you are giving him an ultimatum.  This is your life.  Otherwise you are living your life for him rather than for yourself.

    Mark

    #201851
    Eliana
    Participant

    It sounds very positive and you are doing the right things. Men move alot slower than we do..so I know it’s hard, but just do, what you are doing and take it slow. I need to take my own advice. Started a romance with a man I met on a health forum..I got pretty excited. All the therapy I have had, went right out the door..immediately..the high, unrealistic expectations set in..scared him off..said he “felt an instant bond with me” but things were moving to fast even for his standards, then he “thanked me” for showing him how to show emotions, laugh, how to live and be loved, then sent a mixed signal saying “girl, you move too fast”.. So..it’s back for more maintenance therapy in this issue and back to the drawing board. When will I ever learn. Glad things are doing better for you. x

    #201853
    dreaming715
    Participant

    Eliana – I hear you! I’m sorry you experienced some mixed signals. That can be very confusing. I can relate with doing maintenance therapy… I feel like my therapist is a huge guide in my life right now and I don’t know what I’d do without our sessions!

    #201855
    dreaming715
    Participant

    Mark: Thank you for your response and the link! You asked, “Are you willing to walk away if he does not commit to settling down?” The hard answer is yes. After talking to my therapist about this we agreed that I would have an open conversation with my boyfriend about how biologically I’m interested in having kids in the somewhat near future and I would love to share my future with him. I will give us some time to just “be together,” but around January 2019 (start of the new year), I’d like to revisit where we are in our relationship. If for some reason he would definitively say he was not interested in getting married, then that would be my queue to move on.

    #201861
    Mark
    Participant

    You are welcome dreaming715.

    You need to be explicitly direct with your boyfriend.  No hinting.  No reading between the lines.  No open ended “deadlines.”

    Guys are dense and need to be hit over the head when it comes to communicating.

    When you say you “like to revisit where we are in our relationship” “around January 2019” what you really mean is that you want a ring and a date for your wedding for the purposes of a legally committed marriage and to have children.  If you make it nebulous and open ended like that then you will continue to have the same thing as before.

    I suggest you two make a specific date for the wedding and have him give you a ring to signify the engagement.  Plus you have already communicated with him that the consequence of not committing to that is that you will leave the relationship by XXX date sometime before January 2019 so this won’t come as a surprise that you are serious about this

    Mark

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