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Old 12-27-2005, 11:28 AM   #1
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When is it too long? Help!

I'm apologizing in advance for the novel, and thanking all of you who actually manage to read through the whole thing and offer your help

Okay, I can try to sum up the basics before really diving into my problem - when is the right time to say enough is enough?

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 2.5 years. We've lived together for roughly 8 months. Our only outstanding issue would be how we would find the middle ground to raising children together religiously. It's something we've discussed, and will probably continue discussing to fine tune and figure out if it's possible to come to a compromise or agreement on what we feel is right and respectful of both of our wants and beliefs for our children.

Anyway, we've both spent a great deal of time with eachothers families (I just spent 4 days up at his parents house with him and his brothers/sisters families - nieces and nephews and "inlaws" over Christmas actually), they're all very supportive of our relationship, his nephew wonders if I'm his aunt yet (he's 10), his sister in law and brother are nudgingly wondering when he's going to finally get a move on, and his sister is praying he gets clarity to move forward.

I'm ready. After many trials and tribulations that really don't measure up to a lot of the problems that seem to appear on this board (no infidelity, no drugs, no alcholol problems, very few fights, great communication, just some differences in fundimentals), after thinking very seriously about whether or not I could raise a family with this man and feel that we could compromise and work together through anything - I've realized I am ready. I've wanted it for a long time but never truly thought about the 'can I really do it though?' Aspect.

My desire to marry him has not gone unnoticed or unspoken. We've talked many times about the movement of this relationship and the end desire.

The problem I'm running in to... is that we're in a "poo or get off the pot" scenario ... or at least close to it. He tells me he feels so confident in us, but then says he doesn't see the rush because he's not ready and hasn't fully does his standard issue over-thinking every single possiblity of every end result that could come up strategy yet. He knows he's overly-cautious (which honestly is great you SHOULD really consider and think about it when you want to share your life someone, but you'll never know 100% everything that may or may not come up in the future... he thinks about that constantly and always has a slimmer of hesitation because of the children thing I guess).

My problem is I've known for a long time that after about 3 years, I'm not willing to wait for several more years for "what ifs". Truthfully, and not self-absorbedly, I feel I am a pretty decent catch, I would make a great mom and a very loyal wife. I'm attractive and outgoing, friendly and told I'm fun. He appreciates these things, but is still scared. I know it isn't easy! But I know that I'm not willing to put the things I want in life (specifically a young family) on hold for 10 years while he takes his pretty time figuring it out. I understood the "what's the rush" thoughts after only a year or a year and a half, but I feel now especially after living together for almost a year - we really do know what we're all about.

I don't want to issue an ultimatum, who wants to "force" someone to ask them to marry them? What would be the point in that? I also don't want to blind side him one day by saying "okay sorry, I set this time limit in my head and you didn't make it so as sad as it makes me, I give up and I'm leaving bye!". I don't know a careful way to make it clear to him that it's only realistic that *I* won't wait forever. I know some women are content waiting 4, 5, 10 years for an engagement but it's just not something that I want. I love him. I'd love to marry him, but with no guarantes that he's going to take that step and really build our lives together with a real commitment - well, maybe it sounds crazy, but I don't think it's fair to not consider *MY* timeline in addition to his.

I know at 3 years I'll be at the point of figuring whether or not I will stay. He owns the house we currently live in (he's 33, I'm 25), and it's very small - recently he's mentioned to his family and just casually to friends the idea of upgrading and moving to a larger place late 2006 summer. Truthfully, I feel that if he chose to sell and buy another house on his own and have us move in without an engagement, I would at that time find my own place. If there is no ring on my finger, I'm not moving into a new home with him. I just don't think I can play house without the real commitment forever. Don't get me wrong, I very much felt that I MUST and need to live with my SO before I can decide if I want to marry that person, it was very important to me and I'm very grateful we've done it. But I won't be taken advantage of and though I don't feel that's what he's doing (because he does talk about these things and is very honest about his hesitation)... I just can't make myself willing to wait around outside of boundaries I've set for my own life progress.

I need some advice... help?

 
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Old 12-27-2005, 06:40 PM   #2
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Gosh, I didn't want to see your post get shuffled to the next page, but this is a tough one. I recently heard somewhere that a survey conducted of people comming out of the clerk and recorder's office getting marriage licences showed that a very high percentage of couples involved the woman putting some kind of pressure on the man to make the commitment. But I think you just have to decide what you really want. Do you want to be with this man no matter what, even if it means not having kids, or never getting married, or do you want the ring and the license and the commitment and "real" family and if this guy doesn't want to give it to you, then you want to find someone who will? You're young, but time does slip by faster than we think it does, and you'll be 30, then 35 before you know it. I say decdie what you really, really want in your heart of hearts, and then go get it.

 
Old 12-27-2005, 07:12 PM   #3
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiya
Gosh, I didn't want to see your post get shuffled to the next page, but this is a tough one. I recently heard somewhere that a survey conducted of people comming out of the clerk and recorder's office getting marriage licences showed that a very high percentage of couples involved the woman putting some kind of pressure on the man to make the commitment. But I think you just have to decide what you really want. Do you want to be with this man no matter what, even if it means not having kids, or never getting married, or do you want the ring and the license and the commitment and "real" family and if this guy doesn't want to give it to you, then you want to find someone who will? You're young, but time does slip by faster than we think it does, and you'll be 30, then 35 before you know it. I say decdie what you really, really want in your heart of hearts, and then go get it.
Yes, I thihk that's the best advice. I hesitated to respond because now, at 33 and single, I'm more confused than EVER. I used to be engaged too, aroung your age. But in his heart of hearts, he didn't want to get married. Even though everone said I was a great catch for him! It doesn't work that way, sadly. I think in three years and at his age, he should know. If he doesn't know in the next few months, you may have to break up, as horrible as it sounds. I was close to 27 when I broke up with my ex fiancee of over four years. I wish I had cleared it up sooner. Years tend to go by so fast, especially for a woman. From my perspective, you should mention you would like to get engaged within the next year or so. If he's still not sure after all these years, I seriously think you should probably look elsewhere. Usually, men commit between 1 to 3 years of dating. Afterwards, it becomes much more tricky. Good luck!

Last edited by SophiaM; 12-27-2005 at 07:17 PM.

 
Old 12-27-2005, 07:18 PM   #4
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Your communication sounds good, so talk to him about it. Tell him how you feel and what your expectations are and your wants and needs in relation to this topic. He may have different views, and you must accept that. Then it's time to compromise, just like the issue of the children.

But seriously, I don't think the children issue could be the only reason stopping him from marrying you. He can't have much faith in the relationship if that's all it's about.

Of course there is no rush, but if you are living together and living as man and wife... why not?

I am a firm believer in no ultimatums as well... but sometimes you have to drop a few NOT so subtle hints or give a big shove.
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Old 12-27-2005, 07:26 PM   #5
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by StormGirl
Of course there is no rush, but if you are living together and living as man and wife... why not?
.
The ugly truth is yes, there is a bit of a rush! Mid 20s are the best years to find a permanent partner. It becomes so much more complicated and hard after 30--trust me! I am only speaking from experience. Men want to marry younger women because of fertility issues. I myself look quite a few years younger than my "typical" peers, but it doesn't helpt THAT much. Men know women are most fertile in their 2Os and they will want to marry a younger woman by default, no matter how great you look. NOW is the time to look for a husband, in my opinion, because you don't have to be so desperate at this age, and still have plenty of options to choose from.

 
Old 12-27-2005, 07:30 PM   #6
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SophiaM
The ugly truth is yes, there is a bit of a rush! Mid 20s are the best years to find a permanent partner. It becomes so much more complicated and hard after 30--trust me! I am only speaking from experience. Men want to marry younger women because of fertility issues. I myself look quite a few years younger than my "typical" peers, but it doesn't helpt THAT much. Men know women are most fertile in their 2Os and they will want to marry a younger woman by default, no matter how great you look. NOW is the time to look for a husband, in my opinion, because you don't have to be so desperate at this age, and still have plenty of options to choose from.
I have to agree. It only gets harder. I broke up with someone at 33, and thought I'd have no problem finding someone else, but ha! life had other plans. Now at 40, and still single, I'm looking forward to spinsterhood and growing old alone, with no husband, and worse yet, no children.

Last edited by Hiya; 12-27-2005 at 07:30 PM.

 
Old 12-27-2005, 08:33 PM   #7
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

As seen here marriage is a commitment to 'work through things'. And this is what you are doing at the moment isn't it? And if you are not 'working through things', how can you be ready for marriage?

If he says he is not ready and you feel you are, how can you be ready?

May I suggest 'working through' what you mean by 'being ready'. In particular, what is 'being ready' being ready for?

Last edited by Eath; 12-27-2005 at 08:37 PM.

 
Old 12-28-2005, 07:22 AM   #8
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Appreciate you guys not letting this one slip through. I think the only response that has confused me is the last one - working through what I mean by 'being ready'? I'm ready for a marriage, and working through our differences in timelines is also a compromise that doesn't necessarily have to be 100% MY compromise.

We spoke more on the subject yesterday when I mentioned I was still feeling a little down about our conversation on the drive home from our Christmas visit (when most of this came up) and quite frustrated. He asked me to 'trust in our love'. I told him I could do that as long as I felt able, but I wouldn't be some doting, hopeful 40 year old with out a ring on her finger (I know, sarcastic, he's used to it :P) after a 20 year relationship. He said it wouldn't be 10 or 15 years and that was silly, and I told him what was silly as that he's told me that our timelines are different a million times (I was discussing the path of our relationship over a year ago, so yes I have been ready and patient on some level here - for me anyway ) and yet... I still had no idea what his "timeline" is. And I told him that it'd help if I had some idea to know if we're really that far off. He said we're definitely not. At this point it's just logistics, in his mind he has a little list of certain things he checks off and we're close. Things like "communication", "finances", "compatability for adventure" etc.

What I didn't mention in my post priorly was the rough past 6 months I had. Prior to November I was in a depression funk. Not horrible, constant crying and mopey-ness; but I was blue, and quiet, and distant and had a lot of negativity about me at times. And I think it's fair for him to feel like he's gathering things back up now that we've gone through our down season. I'm sure it was distracting to try to think of the future when a funk is happening. He was still incredibly supportive even though he felt pretty helpless and disconnected (as I did at times) during this period in my life.

I wonder if now that things are once again on the up, and we've seen how we handle a hard time together, it may start to just work itself out. He definitely wants marriage, wants children and is looking for that - he was highly against the idea of living with someone prior to marriage, this was a big issue with us in the very early phase of our relationship (like 6- 8 months into it) because it was important to me. For a while we argued lightly about it but couldn't come to terms. Then after things got better and we stopped discussing it - out of the blue he asked me to move in.

Maybe he just needs to think it was his idea? I do tend to agree with Sophia though - mid 20's for me is ideal to get married so I have a few years before my late 20's to have kids. Granted things don't always work out that way, but why not shoot for ideals if you're in a position to and happy with who you're with right?

I also agree that... for some it may be easy to say "well if he means that much to you you'll be willing to wait forever"... but honestly? I think that's a bunch of hooey. Wait forever? At some point, personally, I'd feel incredibly insulted that someone couldn't know whether or not I was the person they really wanted to be with after a certain amount of time. I do think for me, 3 years is about that time. It gives you time to really learn about eachother, experience highs and lows, discover your communication together, and more importantly gets you out of the "honey moon" phase and into "this is real life, here I am, what do you think?" which is where we have been for the past year or so.

At what point are women supposed to stand up and say "hey you know what? If it's really that hard for you why should I stay? I want to be wanted!". I just wonder when I will reach that threshold. What he said to me yesterday helps, it makes me feel like he's saying while I've been all along on my time table in my head, he's had one of his own that's ideal to him. I think I finally realize he has been listening to mine, possibly adjusting his, and understands that I won't sit around and kill off my 20's if I feel he has no intent to make this happen.

I guess we'll see what happen, we definitely have no lack of discussing this issue, it's just hard to be patient at this point in the game. I'm 6 months from when I told myself a year ago I was willing to wait until - unless something huge changes and I feel more comfortable in waiting longer, which I guess may be possible but... is somewhat unlikely. I'd like to put us first, above my preconceived notions, but I do have myself to consider too!

Sorry... I know I'm a novel poster... you guys do help though, it feels so much better to just let it out in a place where I know people are listening and nodding along.

If I need a reality check, by all means, let me know!

Last edited by Destea; 12-28-2005 at 07:27 AM.

 
Old 12-28-2005, 07:40 AM   #9
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Hey! I totally understand what you are going through. I am in my 20's and have been in a "dating" relationship for almost 5 years. We lived together for over 2 years and finally I got sick of waiting and moved out. We are still dating but I have put my foot down on moving back in until I am engaged to this man. I can't wait forever for someone to make up his mind, we have lasted 5 years so I think that this is a great relationship and the next step would be getting engaged. I have also realized that I have to be paitent to some extent, I want to make sure that he is also ready to commit his life to me. His thing is both of his parents are on their 5th marriage, his brother is on his 2nd marriage. He thinks that this will happen to us if we rush into things. My point is 5 years isn't rushing anything!! I have a time-line in my head that I hope to follow to some extent...let's hope things work out for the both of us

 
Old 12-28-2005, 10:18 AM   #10
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Definitely, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, too!

 
Old 12-28-2005, 11:06 AM   #11
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Destea, I am in the same exact position as you except my boyfriend is even older
I'm 25 and he is 37...
I thought for sure I would be engaged this Christmas, but no... He got me a beautiful diamond necklace, to bad it doesn't fit on my finger...
He told me as he gave me the necklace, "I'm sorry it's not an engagement ring, I do want to marry you, I just want to get my finances in better order so I can give you the life you deserve"...
Yeah, nice thought but how long am I suppose to wait?!?! We are going on 4 years and I am moving in with him this March. I firmly believe also that it is wise to live with someone before marriage. I know people disagree and believe that marriages should not come with "trial" periods...but I think they should!
This is the only thing that is keeping me from loosing it with the whole lack of engagement. We haven't had our "trial" yet. I feel like living together will be the deal breaker. I will not live with him past the summer if there is no ring on my finger by then. Yes I love him, but I KNOW that my love will turn to resentment if I am in the same boat I'm in now, 5 years from now... I can't take that chance. Now I just wonder if I will follow through with what I'm saying.... It's so difficult to walk away from your best friend, but it's also difficult to give of the dreams you've had all your life....
Good luck to you and if you figure out anything that works, please let me know!

 
Old 12-29-2005, 02:41 PM   #12
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Quote:
I think the only response that has confused me is the last one - working through what I mean by 'being ready'? I'm ready for a marriage, and working through our differences in timelines is also a compromise that doesn't necessarily have to be 100% MY compromise.

We spoke more on the subject yesterday when I mentioned I was still feeling a little down about our conversation on the drive home from our Christmas visit (when most of this came up) and quite frustrated. He asked me to 'trust in our love'. I told him I could do that as long as I felt able, but I wouldn't be some doting, hopeful 40 year old with out a ring on her finger (I know, sarcastic, he's used to it :P) after a 20 year relationship. He said it wouldn't be 10 or 15 years and that was silly, and I told him what was silly as that he's told me that our timelines are different a million times (I was discussing the path of our relationship over a year ago, so yes I have been ready and patient on some level here - for me anyway ) and yet... I still had no idea what his "timeline" is. And I told him that it'd help if I had some idea to know if we're really that far off. He said we're definitely not. At this point it's just logistics, in his mind he has a little list of certain things he checks off and we're close. Things like "communication", "finances", "compatability for adventure" etc.
Thank you for the last paragraph above. This is what I meant when I said "May I suggest 'working through' what you mean by 'being ready'. In particular, what is 'being ready' being ready for?"

As seen here being ready is not about you or he being ready, but being ready as a couple, ie, working as a couple. In a sense this may be seen as already being married, being really committed, being committed to the 'working through'. After all, being married is not 'having arrived anywhere' is it? It is simply a continuation of working through things, isn't it?.

Quote:
I still had no idea what his "timeline" is. And I told him that it'd help if I had some idea to know if we're really that far off. He said we're definitely not. At this point it's just logistics, in his mind he has a little list of certain things he checks off and we're close. Things like "communication", "finances", "compatability for adventure" etc.
My guess is that he has no idea what his timeline is either (although he has told you that 10 to 15 years is silly). You say he "checks off" or works through "certain things". Are you involved in this? If not, I wonder why not? If you both worked through these "certain things", this is likely to 'speed up' the timeline isn't it?

 
Old 12-29-2005, 07:58 PM   #13
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

OMG, I'd have to slap someone who had a little mental checklist... that alone would want to make me run a mile!!! I thought I was anal!!!

The definition of 'soon' will always be different to different people. My version of soon is within the next week or month. My bf probably thinks it's within the next year or two!!! So he's said that 10 or 15 years is silly. That's okay, but what about 5 or 7 years. Or even another 2 or 3? Are you prepared to wait that long? It's not really being specific is it? I guess it comes down to whether or not you actually believe him when he says it's coming soon, and whether he is worth waiting for. I know it's important to know you have a strong foundation for marriage, but you never know what life will throw up at you both, so for me his 'checklist' only equals excuses. I mean, does every single little thing have to be perfect? And if so, OMG what sort of life will you have where every little thing has to be just so to his liking.... *sigh*.

I just prefer doers, not sayers. And I've seen too many women fall into the trap of waiting too long (myself for one), on the promise of it coming when .... blah, blah, blah...
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Last edited by StormGirl; 12-29-2005 at 08:00 PM.

 
Old 12-29-2005, 08:12 PM   #14
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Trust me, at 3 years, I will have reached the end of my rope. It's a timeline I set for myself a long time ago, I refuse to be one of those women that does wait for 5, 6, 8, 12 years for someone to get with the program when I have goals in life that I don't want to give up. Ces't la vie eh?

 
Old 12-29-2005, 08:14 PM   #15
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Re: When is it too long? Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by StormGirl
I guess it comes down to whether or not you actually believe him when he says it's coming soon, and whether he is worth waiting for. I know it's important to know you have a strong foundation for marriage, but you never know what life will throw up at you both, so for me his 'checklist' only equals excuses. I mean, does every single little thing have to be perfect? ..
Yeah, that's a good point. I think he wants to buy more time rather than really making sure everything on his "list" is in order. It's true, marriage is not like grocery shopping and it's impossible to prepare for every little scenario. As long as you know the person you plan to marry has a good character and can be counted on, I think it's necessary to take a "leap of faith," to a degree.

 
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