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Will he ever commit?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  May 23, 2012 08:04 AM

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Q: My whole dating life has been filled with long-term relationships. Even my attempt at a one night stand didn't end for a year. But here I am in another long-term relationship, and for the first time in a long time I'm confused.

I started dating this wonderful guy (with commitment issues) about three years ago. Things have been great and we both knew going into this that we would have to be patient with each other to make this work. Right from the start I let him know what I want in life: a family, a house in a nice town, stability, etc. I knew there was a chance that I would drive him away if I brought up the topic, but it didn't. After our first discussion he told me I was worth it to try to see if he could want that as well ... eventually.

The pro of our relationship: He loves me and will do just about anything for me. The con: His inability/inexperience with long-term relationships, which at times can have me feeling as though I need to battle to have my feelings matter to him as much as his own. And no, not just during the trivial fights.

So, here I am three years later and something just isn't clicking and I'm not sure if it will eventually click or if I'm waiting for something that will never happen. Having his family joke at the thought of him getting married doesn't help my confidence in "us." But then again his family has also told me that if he’s going to take the plunge they can see that happening with me.

Unfortunately he lives too much in the moment and his long-term planning skills are terrible, but he says he does see a future with me in it. I guess I'm not sure if that’s a forever-future.

My friends are split about 50/50. Some think that I need to be patient, but I think I have been patient for three years. Others think I need to walk away, but it really isn't that easy because our relationship is great day-to-day.

So I guess my questions are: Am I finding a problem in a relationship that seems to be working? Or am I justified in constantly doubting the extent of our future.

– What Does the Future Hold, Boston

A: Is your relationship really that great on a daily basis, WDTFH? You mention having to fight to make your feelings matter. You imply that you're living on his schedule. I'm not convinced that this partnership is so rosy.

My advice is to be 100 percent honest with him about what you want -- and to be as specific as possible about your timeline. If you want to be engaged within the next year, tell him. If you want a baby in two years, make that known as well.

I'm all for living in the moment, but not at the expense of another person's sanity. There's no game to play here. There can't be any more waiting for answers to the big questions. It's been three years.

You say that something "just isn’t clicking." I want you to trust your gut on that, no matter what 50 percent of your friends think -- and what his parents say about the "plunge." (Hate that word.)

I get the sense that you're his first girlfriend. Ask him if he wants you to be his last. He should have an easy answer for that one.

Readers? Is it even worth asking these questions? Has she been clear about her needs? Does he just need more time? What should people know after three years? Is her dating history relevant? Discuss.

– Meredith

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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