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I want him to grow up

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  December 5, 2013 08:39 AM

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Q: Hi Meredith:

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost four years and living together for a little more than a year. We are in our early 30s. We have known each other for a very long time. We love each other a lot and he is the most loyal guy I have dated. My problem is that he won't grow up. I am ready to get married and he apparently isn't. When I bring up marriage/the future, he changes the subject or tells me I'm bringing it up at a bad time.

He always has a reason why it isn't a good time to get engaged or married. Last night he told me that he wants to marry me but "needs to get things in order first." He said that he needs his finances to be squared away. He has no debt and we share bills. He has been saying this since we started dating. I have a family ring and don't care about weddings. He said that he needs at least another year to get "things" in order. I don't see what his finances or other things have to do with setting a date, and I feel like this is just yet another excuse to delay.

He also sometimes acts and lives like a 16-year-old. He smokes pot from the moment he wakes up until bedtime. He often plays video games with his office door closed. Every night I come home from work to a dark house with the office door closed. I feel like I'm interrupting my teenage son sometimes when I go in. I don't mind pot or video games, but it's excessive behavior; I'm talking constant. I feel like he is stunted.

I'm not looking to change who he is, but I want him to grow up. I just don't know if he will ever grow out of this behavior or if this is it. Whenever I bring up the pot or video games, I get a response like, "Do you know how many thousands of people unwind this way!?" Fine, but his life seems to almost revolve around it. I'm looking for a straight answer about the future after almost four years together, but I never get one. He says yes to marriage but can't commit to when. I am just asking for a time frame but he can't even do that.

I love him and want a family together eventually. He says he wants the same but his behavior says otherwise.

Do you think he will ever grow up or is he just delaying a breakup?

– Should I Stay or Should I Go


A: You need to decide whether you can put up with him as is. If your boyfriend doesn't see the pot/video games thing as a problem, then it's not something he'll work to fix. His behavior is more important than the marriage stuff right now. You don't sound like someone who's ready to sign on to this relationship forever.

This is one of those letters that omits the good stuff about the relationship. I have to assume that there are plenty of positives that you simply forgot to share. Are the good things good enough to keep you happy for decades? And do you know whether he's happy with the way things are now?

You're supposed to want to marry what you have, not what you think you might get down the road. Don't push for a commitment if you're not sure that he's what you want.

Readers? Should she stay or go? Is he delaying a breakup? Will his behavior change? Have they lived together long enough to know if this works? Help.

– 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.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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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