Q: I've been with my boyfriend for three years. I'm in my early 30s, he's in his mid-30's. When we first started dating, we both knew this was it. We talked about marriage pretty early on and moved in together after six months of dating (it was a first for both of us). We both agreed that we don't want to wait too long to get married because we both want children fairly soon, considering our ages. I know that a lot of people are fine with having children later in life, but we're not.
Fast forward a few years later, and I'm still waiting for a ring. He claims it's his finances -- he's been "saving for the ring." But every time he seems to get larger sums of money (i.e. bonuses, tax returns), he spends it in other ways. Generally it's going toward paying off any debts, so it's not a bad thing. But he hardly has any debts (no student loans, car is paid off), so I don't understand why he feels the need to pay off his credit card in its entirety instead of continuing monthly payments.
The main thing that bothers me about this is I feel like he's putting himself first instead of our relationship. Instead of planning for our future together, he's taking care of himself. I just so happen to be coming into a large inheritance and it's already been decided that I would like to put it towards a down payment on our first house (which I will NOT do unless we're married). But that goes to show how different we are. He gets money and it goes toward his debts, I get money and it goes toward our future.
Can you please give me some advice on either being more patient regarding getting engaged or tell me how I should present this argument to him so he doesn't see me as being crazy? It's starting to bother me more and more.
– Patiently Waiting, Boston
A: You could tell him that you don't need a ring, PW. I mean, if this whole argument revolves around a piece of jewelry, you might as well take it out of the equation. Would you be content with some small, inexpensive token to symbolize your commitment? Would you be open to starting with a simple ring that maybe gets replaced or reset over the years? If so, make that known.
You're not crazy to want a timeline. You guys decided that you want to start a family soon, so yeah ... it makes sense that you're wondering when all of this will begin.
Have a talk and ask him when he really wants to start having kids. Then work backwards and fill in the steps in between.
For the record, I'm not so sure that it's selfish of him to pay off credit card debt. Doesn't that help you too? When you have the talk, don't accuse him of slighting you by paying his bills. Just focus on the timeline and work around the kids.
Readers? Is he being selfish? Should she forget the ring? If they've decided to have kids soon, is it so wrong for her to ask about a timeline? What should she do? Help.
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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.