Post # 1
- Wedding: October 2015 - Hakone Gardens, Saratoga
I moved in with my boyfriend six months ago, after having a mostly long distance relationship for two years (I was still in school, but stayed with my parents during breaks). After a few months of living together I started talking more about getting married. I’m 22 and so I’m still very young, but he’s 31 and we’ve attended a few wedding of his friends together. Plus, I’ve graduated and have a great job and lots of savings for someone my age.
I don’t expect to get engaged right away by any means, but I was starting to wonder why he didn’t seem very responsive. Eventually he told me that he didn’t think *I* was ready for marriage. He said I didn’t know how to take care of myself and wasn’t really an adult yet, so how would I be able to take care of someone else in marriage? Kids? It’s not like I’m a slob or don’t even know how to peel a carrot, by the way. We are pretty compatible with regards to living together: we both don’t collect much clutter and keep things pretty neat. He is cleaner than me though, and at school I never had to clean bathrooms or worry about others very much.
His comments that I’m not ready and I don’t take care of him really hurt, but since then I worked harder to ‘grow up’ faster. I learned about investing money and gave myself a set budget for discretionary spending. I started doing more chores around the house. I started buying fruit and cutting it for us in the evenings. And I started cooking at least once a week for us (my work provides three meals a day so for a while he just cooked for himself and we went out on the weekend, but he wasn’t happy with that situation). I probably still need to pitch in more around the house and gradually cook a bit more than once a week, but I’m improving (with some hiccups of laziness on the homefront).
So I’m doing okay, but then every once in a while I feel really self-conscious and depressed. I feel like he’ll only love me when I’m finally the perfect roommate/semi-housewife, like his love is conditional on that, and it doesn’t feel good. It feels like I have to earn his love, instead of like I’m helping him around the house because I love him or because we love each other and we’re a team. I feel like I’m auditioning to be his wife someday and I’m failing. I mean when I’m happy, then I do think it makes sense that I should do more of these practical things, especially since he does do a lot at home. But when I’m down, I feel awful about myself and unappreciated at the same time. The other day one of his friends asked me if I cook for him, and I said I cooked at least once a week, and the friend told me I should cook for him more than that. It was all said in a lighthearted manner, but I felt like I had to defend myself by talking about all the other things I do for him besides cooking/cleaning, and my boyfriend didn’t defend me at all and I felt like an awful girlfriend and like I’m not good enough for him. And then I get all emotional at him about it, even though most of the time I think he appreciates what I’m doing.
Anyway, these emotions keep springing up and I don’t know what to do to feel better about it.
Post # 3
@Nocturne: I hate to say this, OP, but it sounds to me like your guy is just fine having a younger girlfriend, but can’t imagine himself having a younger wife.
Post # 4
Bahhhhh. There is nothing worse than someone telling you how YOU feel or what you ARE. Only you can decide if *you* are ready for marriage. It sounds like you’re putting forth serious, mature efforts – if he’s not taking that to heart, then I’m sorry to tell you, but he may be stringing you along. I’d take a really long, hard look at what you get from him and what you want for yourself. He is right on one hand: you are young, and there’s a lot of growing up to be done in the early twenties. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t commit to marriage if you’re serious about the partnership.
Post # 5
@Asia: That was my thought as well.
Post # 6
Grain of salt:
I don’t know. I’m torn. It doesn’t sound like you are an equal partner. Bfd, you cut up fruit, what does that have to do with anything? This really sounds like a parent child type relationship… I could be 100% wrong though. He may just like you as a young gf. I’m not saying at all that you need to do 50% of the cooking and cleaning because not every relationship is like that, but it seems like he expects more than what your currently doing.
Have you every lived 100% on your own? Might have been a better idea to live on your own after graduating, and be your own person.
Post # 7
- Wedding: October 2015 - Hakone Gardens, Saratoga
@Captain013: What is your definition of an equal partnership? I went to college far away and have lived abroad on my own; not sure if that counts as “100% on my own” to you. Also, why do you think it’s a parent-child type relationship? Lots of people have issues with getting their husband to put the toilet seat down, nevermind pick up after themselves! 😛
I guess “cutting fruit” sounds kind of weird, but it just ties into taking care of him or others…somehow…I don’t know, maybe it’s an Asian thing but it makes sense to me.
Post # 8
Sounds to me like he’s really the one that is not quite ready and was just thinking of an excuse. I would just wait until you have been living together a bit longer. A few months is a pretty short time and you will find your routine together. Just make sure you both communicate what you want.
Having said all that, if marriage is what you really want, find out if it’s on the cards in the longterm. You do have a large age gap (find by me) so I would just be sure he sees it for the future so you don’t end up with disapointment years down the line.
Post # 9
@Nocturne: Yeeeaah I think it is a little weird for him to be informing you of what you are and are not ready for. Also, did he indicate that he would want to marry you when he feels you are ready? Why does he get to be the one to decide exactly when that is?
Aaalso, why is he dating someone he feels is unready for marriage in the first place? That seems really weird, and like he just enjoys your physical youth but entered a relationship without any real plans of it going all that far in terms of seriousness. Now that you are looking for what women tend to, he is trying to figure out legit sounding excuses to keep you around without having to commit to you. It’s a perfect plan. For the next five years, seven, ten years he’ll have you striving toward being ready, always asking him if you are, and he can always be like, “Hmmm, not just yet!”
I’d take a long look at whether this is really the guy you want to be with. He sounds condescending and parental. Ugh. Plus I’m not convinced he has any intention of marrying you, when it comes right down to it.
Post # 10
@Nocturne: OP, you shouldn’t feel like you have to catch up to someone to be worthy of them. You’re young. Don’t try to change that. You deserve your twenties. Should you be responsible and mature? Absolutely. But don’t start conforming to his view of what a wife should be (or a wife in training as it seems…). You marry someone for who they are. If he doesn’t want to marry who you are now, that’s fair enough. But don’t change yourself to suit his tastes.
Do what you think is right. Give equally in your relationship, and demand equality in return. Do I think you should have to cook for him half the time when you get meals from work? No. Of course not. That’s wasteful. If occassionally you want to cook as a sort of gift, I think that’d be sweet. But you can’t be forced into something like that. For him to insinuate that you aren’t “wifey” enough for him is mysogynistic and icky (and condescending…)
Anyway, be who you are OP, and go at your own pace. Do so with or without him. But don’t change yourself for him.
Post # 11
@Nocturne: I don’t think he is treating you appropriately. He doesn’t appreciate you for who you are at this very moment, & that’s a recipe for disaster. He is hinging his love conditionally on what you can offer him, not who you are. Nobody can truly thrive as a person or in a relationship when they don’t feel unconditional love; plenty of research has said as much in the psychology field.
Either there is a serious misunderstanding here that needs to be worked out, or you just flat out deserve better. I’m right around your age (21, still in school, but my FI and I are the same age & we are entirely self-sufficient) & today I actually told a client of mine at work who is in her early 40’s that I don’t cook & can’t sew and I shit you not, she gave me the most intense look of collective shock, disgust, and pity. It might be a age issue with your FI, because 10yrs, at our age, is a bigger deal than it would be if one of you was 40 & the other 50..
Post # 12
No offense, but it sounds like he wants you to take care of him, and be a good little housewife. Doing household chores does not make you good marriage material. Your 22, your an adult and you can live however you want to live. Sure you’re young, but that doesn’t necessarily make you immature. I know several people in their mid-30s who are less mature than I was at 19.
Really, it comes down to this, if you never want to pick up a pan again, you shouldn’t have to. Your partners love should not be conditioned on how much you cook for him. My SO thinks I’m a messy pig, but he loves me anyway. Him telling you that your not marriage material or ready for marriage because of your housekeeping is offensive.
Post # 13
OP, you’ve got a lot going for you and it sounds like you’re making every effort to appease him.
Are you okay with his expectations for you? Maybe once your “roles” or “chores/duties” are more clearly defined, things will be easier. I RARELY cook for my FI, and that just has to do with out work schedules. Would he like it if I cooked more often? Sure, he’d LOVE it. But that would never be something that would come up as a reason for me not being ready for marraige.
I know nothing about investing money and I’m turning 27 this year. That doesn’t mean I’m not ready for marraige. That means that I better not invest my own money because I don’t know what I’m doing lol.
Post # 14
@Nocturne: being a wife does not automatically equal cooking and cleaning – YOU get to decide what kind of wife, no, what kind of person you want to be. maybe you could give a crap about cooking, there are plenty of wives who’s husbands cook, get meal delivery part time or whatever. being a wife in my opinion necessarily means trust, honesty, commitment – there is no necessary pie baking component.
my parents have had cleaning ladies for probably 15 years – that does not make my mother less of a wife, it makes her more of a lawyer, friend, mother, etc. so decide what’s important to you and your future with him, and then commit to that. don’t torture yourself into some mr clean meets martha stewart person that’s disingenuine and likely to make you resentful.
there is more than one way to be a ‘wife’ and it sounds like your SO could use a good reminder of that.
Post # 15
How do you handle finances? If he’s in a better place to cover most of the financial burdens then maybe he expects that your contribution to cover most of the household chores.
If you’re eating 3 meals somewhere else maybe part of the issue is he wants to spend time together over an evening meal.
Maybe your expectations about what you want in relationships is different. Nothing wrong with that, but maybe it just isn’t a good fit. Or, maybe with time you’ll both grow into a place that will work.
Post # 16
@peonyinlove: +1. For my parents, being a wife meant working hard (military) caring for and about your fmaily, and providing for them with your sweat and blood. Being a husband meant cooking a ballanced dinner every day, doing the grocery shopping, making sure your spouse takes their medication (and looking after them when they are ill). It meant two partners who each did everything that they could for each other and their children. It meant time and heartache. And a lot of the time, it meant being broke. My parents didn’t fall into traditional family roles. But that didn’t make either of them less of a husband or wife. The intensity with which they protected one another (and us kids) and tried to give everything they had for each other made them MORE of a loving couple than it seems your guy is willing to strive for.