Do I stay or do I go....

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from ohboy100. Show ohboy100's posts

    Do I stay or do I go....

    So I could use a little advice.... 

    Without making this too long, I've been living with my boyfriend for over two years now and dated him for one before that. When we decided to live together I told him I wouldn't move in with someone unless I was planning on marrying them, and that I wouldn't live with him for more than 2 years without getting engaged. 

    Fast forward to 2 plus years later and we are still not engaged. I love him, we have a good relationship, and I couldn't imagine making a life with anyone else. I'm in my late 20's and ready to be married, settled down, and thinking about kids in the next couple of years. When I talked to him about this recently I found out that he is no where near being ready to get married. He says he hasn't decided what he wants to do with himself and can't make that commitment right now. He also said that he feels like marriage is just a piece of paper, and he wasn't sure he believes in it. 

    I was a little shocked since he had never said this before, and I thought had been saving up for a ring. What am I supposed to do now? I want to be with him for the rest of my life, and I love him very much and in my head, I know that being with him should be all that matters. But I still very much want a marriage commitment, and I've explained this to him. And for everyone who thinks I just want a wedding, I've actually told him more than once that I would be happy to go down to a court house with him tomorrow if he decided thats what he wanted to do. 

    My question is do I stick around and wait and see if he changes his mind? Or do I move on now? I love him, and I don't want to walk away from him at all, but I also know that I'm in a different place right now. I'm ready to settle down and I really don't think he is. 
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from diamondgirl. Show diamondgirl's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    ohboy, this is a tough one.  :(

    If you and he are in different places, which it seems you are pretty sure of, I would not want you to keep dangling around hoping he will change his mind.  Remember; when people tell you how they feel - listen.  I hate to say this, but it sounds like you and he do not want the same thing. 

    You may have to pull your socks up and leave him.

    Either he will realize what a total, utter idiot he is being, and start having serious discussions about why he feels marriage is not for you two, or he won't follow you, in which case you will have clearly made the right move.


    :(  Good luck.  Anyone else?  Should ohboy start packing? 



     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from -Cariokie. Show -Cariokie's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    Ohboy, DG took the words right off of my keyboard. Please concentrate on what you need-- right now, that's what's doing the best for your own self. Separate from him and get on with your life. He may figure out that he does want you, marriage and the whole package. Or maybe not... you will have moved on to better things. Do not wait for hom 'to come around' because he may never... don't waste time waiting on him...
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from BannedAgainBoston. Show BannedAgainBoston's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    If you hang around, waiting for nothing to happen, you will resent him.

    If you manipulate him, into doing what you want, he will resent you.

    Ultimatums can be dangerous, but I think it's that time...
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from TwoCentDonation. Show TwoCentDonation's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    This is a tough one :(

    I sounds like his not being ready is tied to his career, or lack of one.  I've been told that for men, this is a HUGE thing.  They really need to feel that they have their professional lives in order before getting married.  That doesn't mean they have to be successful, but at least have an idea of what they are going to do.

    It'd be one thing if he just didn't feel like getting married, but his reason, if i'm reading correctly, is important.

    It's a shame he couldn't have told you this two years ago, but to be fair, it was two years ago.  He may very well not have known he'd be like this then.

    I guess it boils down to what you want: Being married or being with him.

    I'm not suggesting that you've got weddingitis, or marriageitis, just that for you getting married is important.  It means something larger to you than just living together in a committed relationship.  So if you stay with him you could end up feeling like you're shortchanging yourself.

    However, he's important to you, and you want to be with him.  If he's the one you want, and the two of you are good for each other, then why end it now?

    Also, do you feel like you have to stick to your original deadline or lose face?  I can understand that, but I think you need to put that aside.  This isn't about you setting a deadline and then sticking to it.  This is about where your relationship is going.  Sure, two years ago it may have seemed like by now you'd be ready to the tie the knot.  But, let's say instead of your boyfriend feeling like he still needs "grow up" before marrying he discovers he was really adopted and his birth parents have found him.  Or he gets mugged and is traumatized by the experience.  Or anything else that can be emotionall upsetting.  Would you expect him to be ready to pop the question, or would understand and be willing to wait while he gets his emotionally life back on even ground?

    Granted, feeling like you need to figure out what you want to do with your life isn't the same as getting mugged, but I do think both have to do with feeling settled enough with your life to be able to focus on making a lifetime commitment to someone.

    I would continue to talk with him about this, but DO NOT PRESSURE HIM!!!!  Try really hard to understand why he doesn't feel ready, and be willing to accept his reasons.  Ask if he sees a future with you - if he does, then that's good.  Ask if he'd be willing to move for you career, as a hypothetical.  If he says yes, then that's good, too.


    Basically, try to get a sense of how committed he is to you NOW, without the piece of paper and social and legal recognition.


    I can't really give much more than that.  It's a hard call, and you're the only one who can make it.  But, please, make sure it's YOU making the decision, not your friends ;)

    Or, you could just ignore everything I said and ask yourself what Ann Landers (or was it her sister?) would suggest: Are you better off with him or without him?

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from ohboy100. Show ohboy100's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    Thanks for all your thoughts. Lily, no, things haven't been strained, save for the few times we've sat down to talk about this. Things are still very good, and we both make each other happy. He does actually talk about being together in the future and marriage generally. Were both close with each other's families and friends and I know he loves me. 

    TwoCent, I suppose your right, I don't have to stick to a timeline. Part of me is really frustrated not only with him, but myself. I made it very clear that I wouldn't just live with him indefinetly, and here I still am. I think I'm just ready to move forward now and he isn't yet. I'm also afraid that after 3 + years if he hasn't proposed, he isn't going to. I think I'm trying to decide if I can live with just being with him and not having that commitment. 
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from ohboy100. Show ohboy100's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    Oh, and I should probably mention that until recently both our families have been pressuring him to propose. I asked them to stop because I know how uncomfortable it makes him, so the last few weeks the pressure has been off. 
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from TwoCentDonation. Show TwoCentDonation's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    Hmm....  If you're willing, I'd wait a bit longer.  Sure, no one was pressuring him for the last few weeks, but he's still going to feel it, especially if both families have been pressuring him for years.  I think it would take a while of not pressure for him to stop feeling any pressure.  Did that make sense?

    Or, you could broach the subject one last time before going on marriage talk hiatus.  You could say, "I know you've been feeling pressured, and I know you need some time to figure things out.  I want you to know that I love you and I want to spend my life with you.  I can wait, but I can't wait forever."  And then have your talk, but at the end, tell him you won't mention it for a while.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from ItDoesntMatterWhatIThink. Show ItDoesntMatterWhatIThink's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    I disagree. I don't necessarily think 3 years is "too long..." I think it's actually barely sufficient time to get to know someone. This marriage thing is supposed to be forever, and you're clearly still learning things about each other. Why the rush?

    Are you sure you want a marriage and not a wedding?

    I only ask because you are capable of having children and a future with this man, who like most other men these days seems completely hesitant to commit, without getting married.

    I would stick it out since you love him and you say it's good. When the future concerns you, make it about your actual concerns. Talk to him about wanting to have children while you're still this side of 40 (or whatever) and see how he reacts to that.

    If he's gun shy about everything... well then, perhaps it is time to find your own apartment.

     
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  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from thirtysomething. Show thirtysomething's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    He sounds pretty clear about it to me...  "He also said that he feels like marriage is just a piece of paper, and he wasn't sure he believes in it."

    Maybe he changes his mind when he sees you packing to leave and realizes that commitment is a two-way street.  Maybe he changes his mind in a few more years when he grows up, even if you do nothing.  Maybe he never changes his mind.

    Why do YOU want to get married?  (Not trying to talk you out of it, as I believe in marriage myself, but you need to have a clear explanation to give him.)  Do you absolutely want a family?  Do you believe that being married is important to the kids?  Do you desire that extra security and commitment that comes from a vow that is difficult to back out of?  If you can put it in clear words why marriage is important to YOU, then perhaps he will understand and accept it.

    I forget who brought up the line, "Same bed, different dreams."  Seems to apply here.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from ohboy100. Show ohboy100's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    @thirtysomething - I want to be married for all those reasons and more. He isn't clear about believing in marriage, but it is something I wholeheartedly believe in and want to be a part of. I want the security and bond of that promise with him. That commitment is important to me before I have kids. I've tried to explain how important it is and why, but maybe I just haven't done a good enough job of that. 

    @Itdoesntmatter - I could really care less about the wedding part. Sure I'd love to have a nice wedding, but if he said the only way I'll marry you is at City Hall with no one there I'd jump at it. 

    I'm willing to give him some more time, I just don't know how much more is a good idea. 
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from two-sheds. Show two-sheds's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    I've had a few friends and relatives who lived together a long time before getting married.  Although I don't really know why they did this (I certainly never asked, "Why aren't you married, yet?"), they did eventually get married and have kids shortly there after.  I assume this wasn't a coincidence, and the thing that made them decide to tie the knot was the desire to have kids.

    I think thirtysomethig's advice is on target.  Ask yourself why you want to get married.  Don't worry about timelines, but do worry about shared goals.  If he's telling you he doesn't believe in marriage, but you do, this is a big problem.  If he doesn't want to have kids soon (or at all) and you do, this is also a big problem.  If he wants the same things you do, but he needs a little more time to be secure in his career (and the relationship), then you can probably wait.  I think you have a right to be concerned about waiting forever, though.  Perhaps, ask him if he has an idea how long you should wait?
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from diamondgirl. Show diamondgirl's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    I feel like ohboy already decided how long she wanted to wait.  Havign a 'timeline' is not exactly the same as having an amount of time you personally feel you can hang around waiting for what you feel you need.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from thirtysomething. Show thirtysomething's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    ohboy, you should probably try one more time to explain to him why marriage is important TO YOU.  And make sure to emphasize that last part, as it is an assertion of personal feelings that he really can't debate.  (If he tries, assure him that you aren't making a sweeping value judgment, you aren't criticizing him, you are simply expressing your own needs.)

    You aren't saying that he should marry you because there is something wrong with him.  You aren't saying that he should marry you at all.  You are saying that you want a future for YOUR life that involves marriage.

    Then give him some time to process...  Maybe a few months or half a year?  That time frame depends on you.  But ultimately he needs to make a choice.  He either acknowledges and respects your needs (and it sounds like this is a core need which you will never happily compromise) or he needs to free you to find somebody who will.

    Best of luck either way, and I hope we will eventually hear of a happy resolution.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    If you want to be married and have a family, and your boyfriend doesn't know if he'll EVER want this, it's heartbreaking but it is definitely time to go.

    It's not an ultimatum - it's just recognizing that you want different things at this time.  That you're ready and he's not. 

    You could wait around for another two or three years and hope he'll change his mind, but in three years, you could be in the same sitch with older eggs.

    My BF and I broke up after 5 years because he wanted to have children and I didn't.  I had made this clear from the beginning, but he assumed I'd change my mind!  It was so sad because we loved each other but it's something that there isn't a compromise for.

    And, sorry It Doesn't Matter, but why would she want to have a child with a man who doesn't want to marry her?  He can't commit to her, but he can commit to the physical, emotional, and financial responsibilities of a child for the next 20+ years/rest of his life.  Bull-loney!

    Best wishes, LW.  Life is hard sometimes, but you seem like a wonderful young woman with a great future ahead of you! 

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ItDoesntMatterWhatIThink. Show ItDoesntMatterWhatIThink's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    In Response to Re: Do I stay or do I go....:
    And, sorry It Doesn't Matter, but why would she want to have a child with a man who doesn't want to marry her?  He can't commit to her, but he can commit to the physical, emotional, and financial responsibilities of a child for the next 20+ years/rest of his life. 
    Posted by cosmogirl


    Because his desire to not get married is just as valid as her desire to get married.

    I asked her to think about it because, to me, it's silly to throw away someone who is otherwise perfect because of a legal contract. And when you're thinking about whether the man of your dreams is around for good, it is important to understand the idea of compromise. If it's a dealbreaker for her, that's her business. I was just asking her to be sure that she believes a wedding band is more important than a life partner.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from TwoCentDonation. Show TwoCentDonation's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    I'm not sure she's thinking wedding band > life partner.  It could be more subtle than that.  She may be thinking that wedding band = life partner.  To some, that may be silly, but to others the two may be so closely tied that we cannot separate them.

    Those who are fine without marriage may think, "It's just a piece of paper."  But, the question to that is, "If it's just a piece of paper why would it bother you so much to get it?"

    This is a tough debate, since each side can claim the other is just getting hung up on semantics.

    Perhaps it would better to put the question this way, "Would you be willing to stand up before all our family and friends (and before God if you're religious) and swear that you will forsake all others and commit to building a life with me?"  If the answer to that is "yes," then he really shouldn't sweat the paperwork.  If the answer is "no," then she has her answer.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from LifeLessonsLearned. Show LifeLessonsLearned's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    Sounds like you have an irreconcilable difference here.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Panney. Show Panney's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    Back to the old saw: People tell you who they are.  You've been thinking marriage all along, and he hasn't.  At least he's being straighforward and fair.

    A dear friend married a man who very clearly stated, prior to the wedding, that he DID NOT WANT CHILDREN.  She did. But she married him anyway.  After a couple of years of apparenly wedded bliss, she sat him down to convince him to have a child.  He was just a wee bit annoyed; understandably, as he was completely upfront about it before the wedding.

    Not a happy ending by any means.  She continued to badge him and then became extremely angry that he wouldn't back down. They divorced. She is still angry and it is 20 years later.

    If you really want to get married, sounds like you must give up this particular man who may be a living doll, but he DOESN"T want to get married.

    Please don't even consider having a child without the wedding ceremony - the legal ramifications get awfully sticky.  I've known too many people who have suffered from that choice.

    He's been fair and stated his case.  The decision is entirely up to you  - stay or go when you become comfortable with the fact that he really doesn't want to be married. You make your decision based on that fact.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    Ohboy, i went through a very similar situation.  I stayed for 5 years.  I knew the whole final year that I was pretty much done with the situation, but I'm actually glad I waited that extra year - we went to therapy, we talked and talked, and I ended up giving an ultimatum (something I never wanted to do)... and when he still couldn't give me an answer I knew it had to be over for me.  I left and didn't look back, and 8 months later met my husband - 8 months after that we were engaged, and another 8 months and we were married (don't know what's with all the 8's).  And the relationship is MUCH healthier than my last one.

    The thing is, I never stopped loving my ex.  I still love him.  But can't be WITH him.  And don't want to be with him.  I love my husband MORE, in so many more ways, and want to be with him.  But it wasn't until I realized, with my ex, "I love him, but I don't want to be in this situation any more" that I could start to think about leaving.

    Listen to your heart AND your head.  Pay attention if the unhappiness starts to outweigh the happiness.  Because you may NEVER feel TOTALLY unhappy, and those moments of happiness can convince you everything's ok, which is a slippery slope.  Good luck to you. 
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from SoxFanInIL. Show SoxFanInIL's posts

    Re: Do I stay or do I go....

    People who use the expression "it's just a piece of paper" are interesting because while they try to minimize the lifetime commitment that piece of paper represents, they are displaying the greatest fear of that piece of paper than anyone. Its not a piece of paper; its a wedding vow, and a major, life-altering step.

    The Boyfriend, when he calls it a piece of paper does this.  Acts like it's nothing.  In reality, he's afraid of it like its a life-sucking piece of kryptonite.

    He's the one who should break this off.  I dont blame the Girlfriend for knowing what she wants.  Late 20s, 3 years together... she does NOT need to "give it more time."  She wants to be married.  Thats OK.

    He absolutely does not.  Nor will he want to.  And I would be very rude and nasty to family members who dared "pressure me" on a personal life-altering decision.  They wouldnt do it twice.

    He needs to go.  She needs to find a man on the same page as her.
     
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