Post # 1
(I accidentally posted this in Relationships and realized Waiting was probably more appropriate…)
I need help! I have been with my boyfriend for just over 2.5 years, and we’re in our late twenties/early thirties. For the last year or so I had been very transparent about my hope that our relationship would lead to marriage. I don’t think he started to really think about that seriously until our 2 year anniversary, and things came to a boiling point over the holidays and, well, we decided to “take a break” from each other for a few weeks to give him some space to think about things.
His reason for hesitating about engagement is brutally honest, and hard to hear, as he’s told me that he’s just not sure if I’m the one – but he’s also not sure I’m not the one. He can’t make up his mind either way, which at times has made me angry, sad, and impatient. Aside from these moments, our relationship has been very strong, with a lot of respect, passion, and genuinely good times together.
Things have been further complicated the last few months because we both relocated to different cities about 2 hours apart. I know as long distance relationships go this is pretty close, but it’s been putting a strain on us to try to squeeze in time together every weekend, not to mention the normal stress of relocating and trying to start life in a new city without the usual network of friends or family.
So…I really don’t know where this is all going. I feel like this break could lead to a break-up, which in some ways would be a relief because right now I really feel like I’m in limbo. In terms of my career I’m at a launching point and can either stay at my job next year or try to find a position closer to him – which I’d have to start looking for very soon. He will also likely be relocating in another year, so everything just feels very unsteady.
This is also a really hard part, but I’m starting to think about what it would be like to date other people. I feel like being single can be fun, and I’ve enjoyed getting positive attention from guys since we’ve been on this break. Has anyone been in a relationship where it took him a couple years to figure out that you were “the one” but he got there eventually?
Post # 3
Sorry I know that was long – thank you to anyone who made it through the whole thing.
Post # 4
I think that rather than concentrating on where your relationship is going, just focus on yourself right now. What do you want? If your career may be in flux, figure out where you want to be that will be best for YOU and your career not soley your relationship. Make friends and hang out with old ones, do thing that interest you.
I sometimes feel like concentrating on ourselves makes us more appealing to our SO’s. They see this amazing person who is happy in her life and busy doing things. In some cases, that helps a guy (or girl) figure out what they want. And, if not, in the meantime you are still enjoying your life and making a plan for yourself that is not totally dependent on a realtionship in flux.
I do think it’s possible for guys to take time to figure out you are “the one,” but I don’t think that you can put faith in that happening. For some people, they will be together for 8 or more years before a proposal, and for some it will never come whereas for others it will happen sooner. You have to be truly honest with yourself about what you want, and whether you can be happy in your relationship knowing that your SO may not commit to the level you want in the time frame you’d like(if ever).
Relationships are so complicated. I’m sure that things will work themselves out for the best, even if it doesn’t seem like it’s the best right now, or you are confused.
Post # 5
I would leave him— based on what you said, especially since he doesn’t know if you are the one or not, I wouldn’t plan any future choices, such as employment, around him. The positive attention from other guys may lead into someone who DOES know you are the one and then you will be tell this guy “Thank you” for letting you go.
Post # 6
This is a toughie. I don’t know what I would do to be honest. I don’t feel great about him not being sure. I can understand that if you had been dating a year or less. But 2.5 years, one should know if one is with the person they intend to spend the rest of their life with. Now, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily READY to get engaged right now! But, at least KNOW this is their person for life.
I definitely wouldn’t move for him at this point – by any stretch of the imagination.
So you’re in the “break” right now, yes? I would just back off a little (not completely) just to see if he reacts. I hate to tell anyone to play games, but what do you have to lose.
Enjoy the attention from other guys…. and try to concentrate on you. I know that’s easier said than done.
Post # 7
I totally agree with @CurlyDreamer:. Try to make as many decisions as possible based on what YOU want; be your own best friend. If you are happy and draw people into your life, then you’re irresistible. If you are unhappy and force people into your life because you need/want them, you are actually pushing people away. No one wants to feel they are responsible for another’s happiness (unless it’s their child).
Post # 8
I am in a very similar boat as you (but have never taken a break).
Yes, my SO too has taken many years to decide if I’m “the one”. I think, deep down, I probably am, but he constantly says he’s “pretty sure” and “just wants to make sure”, etc., indicating to me that he hasn’t made that realization to himself yet. So I can’t tell you what he’ll eventually decide, but I can tell you that, yes, you’re not the first to be in this boat.
First, do not plan your life around him at this juncture. You are lucky that you still have a life separate from him at this point, so embrace that. If he decides you’re the one, then you can reorganize life at that time. But until he makes that decision, you need to be your own person and develop your own life in your new town.
Secondly, clearly communicate to him that you love him, you want to be with him, you want to marry him. Take out all the guess work for him. Try to be patient with him, but in my opinion (although others may disagree), I think you need to make a decision to move forward with life….and it’s his decision as to whether you move forward with or without him.
I’m kind of in a place right now where I have decided to move forward with life. I had set an “ultimatum” date for him in July 2011, but I had a realization last week that, he’s not going to figure out anything about me or us in 6 months that he can’t figure out in 2. I’ve communicated with him until I’m blue in the face about how this waiting is driving me nuts, that whenever he says “just want to make sure” that it is hurtful to me, that if he wants 3 kids he needs to GET ON IT b/c i’m not getting any younger and having kids after 40 is dangerous, that he needs to make a decision yay or nay b/c just staying with me for the sake of the fact that it’s easier than breaking up is a waste of my time. But this morning, as I left to go to work and he was in bed for MLK Day, I said to him, “please take the time today to think about what you want…whether you want to marry me or not. this waiting is killing me and i don’t think i can do it much longer.” I think you need to give men small manageable tasks (homework, if you will) so they don’t get overwhelmed. Maybe you need to tell your SO the same thing…..to take 20 minutes to sit down and think about what he really wants….to be married to you or not….because you can’t do this status quo limbo anymore.
Post # 9
Really sounds like you should focus on yourself. If you want to stay at your current job then don’t simply leave and relocate because of him. You have already give him 2.5yrs of your life, if he’s still not sure, I’d say it might be time to move on. You sound very intune to your wants and needs…I say focus on that and see what happens 🙂
Post # 10
Th real question to ask yourself is “Are you sure that he’s the one?” From the tone of your post, it is hard to tell. If I were in your situation, I would completely ignore him and focus on myself and what I want. Love your job and want to stay and maybe go for a big promotion in a year? Great. Want to go out with your friends and have a blast? Do it? Want to flirt and date new guys? Go for it. A break is a break. There is no real reason why you should be bending like a pretzel to fit your life around his needs and wants. Yours should come first.
Post # 11
I am totally on board with the struggle about waiting for X amount of time when really, at this point, what is more time going to add?
You ladies have given me some great things to think about and are helping me to feel less guilty about contemplating moving on myself. I do love him, very dearly, and he knows that and I’ve been very clear that I need to know whether or not he wants to be a part of my life. I’m watching the Dr. Phil show right now and this was probably a bad choice, because it’s just stirring up all sorts of feelings of regret, hope, sadness, and disappointment.
I think I am going to try not to imagine the possibility of us getting married. It feels safer, emotionally, to start bracing myself for a breakup. It feels awful even to type that, but this limbo had really been taking a toll on my self esteem. The past couple weeks on my own I’ve been making a lot of self improvements, like cleaning house, buying new clothes, going to yoga again… but in all honesty, gals, it’s still so, so tough.
Post # 12
I like what @LoveMyDogs: said about nudging your man with homework. I kind of did that in retrospect last summer when we had a 2 hour discussion about marriage in general/to me/in a perfect world (AKA a discussion about EVERYTHING EVER POSSIBLE). I said something along the lines of “when are your thoughts ever going to change unless you actually think about it? I can’t wait for you for ever, not even for 5 more years.” Apparently it worked because he’s told me twice in the last month in marriage “discussions” that he’s been thinking more about marriage in a positive direction. Granted I gave him homework very generally and back in July 2010, but it still worked.
Post # 13
@In a Tizzy: It is wonderful that you’re doing more things for you.
I agree with the other posters. He may not be ready but he should know after 2.5 years, especially since you’re not so young as someone that is college aged. Another thing to consider is whether or not you want children. You can’t wait forever for that.
I would say continue to do feel good activities, and if he doesn’t want to be a part of your life, then you should explore new opportunities.
Post # 14
The baby thing kills me. One of the things that makes me so wistful about getting married to him is thinking about having children together. It’s heartbreaking to think that might not happen.
Post # 15
Hey it may not happen- with him! Don’t ever think it won’t happen… unfortunately some of the hardest things to do if to let go of someone you love because you do not want the same things- what is ever worse is to force them into something they do not want to do.
It is TOUGH- breaking up and leaving someone you care about is never easy. But you must love yourself first— if you aren’t happy with how your relationship is going, you are faking a happy relationship in general and that isn’t healthy nor fair to either of you.