Post # 1
My boyfriend and I have been together for two years and we live together (which he sees as a commitment). We have a nice life – a nice home, lots of stuff that we co-own, shared friends etc.
I’m not sure whether the relationship will ever move towards marriage. We’ve broadly discussed it and he said that just living together won’t be enough for him in the long term. But there’s no timeline in place, although I’ve made it clear that I’m no spring chicken, so 3.5 years (just over a year from now) is the longest I’ll stay without a proposal. I don’t know whether he thinks I’m serious or not. He certainly think it’s ridiculous that I’d set a cut-off date based on an article I read which said the odds of a couple ever marrying plummet after 3.5 years of dating.
I think he will eventually want to marry, but perhaps not on my timeline. He once said that he isn’t in a rush and he’d be happy if we lived together for five years, or were engaged for ten years, or if we had a baby before we got married. I totally freaked out about waiting that long and being a first-time bride at 40, and I especially freaked out about being an unwed mother (no disrespect, it just isn’t for me). He back-pedaled furiously but the whole conversation has left doubts in my mind.
I daren’t raise the subject of marriage again when it’s only a few months since he made a sort-of commitment by moving in. He was a bit resistant to living together and is still getting used to it, so he’d probably freak out if I started piling on the pressure about marriage this soon. He’s still a bit resistant to the idea of proper commitment and still has groups of friends who he keeps separate and refuses to involve me with. He often doesn’t keep me updated on what he’s planning or when he’ll be home. He tends to make his own decisions without involving me or really considering my opinion, and doesn’t reconsider if I’m hurt or disagree with his decision.
He really is a nice guy despite how this sounds, I’m only mentioning the bad bits but 99% of the time he’s really nice and considerate. It just seems like he’s sometimes thoughtless and selfish, and is trying to have too much autonomy and maintain his own personal space separate from the relationship. I’m being patient and giving him time to get used to everything, in the hope that he’ll feel more comfortable about being closer, and will learn how to compromise more.
Anyway, that’s my situation. Any suggestions for how to move forward are welcome.
Post # 3
@Gorjuss: Hi, there! Welcome to the Bee!
I just have to say that I’m a big fan of you, just based on the fact that you used the word daren’t! 🙂
I’m in a similar situation so I don’t really have any advice but I did want to welcome you to the board.
Post # 4
Welcome to the boards!
I’m sorry to hear all these negative things about your SO. It seems like he has some issues incorporating you fully into his life. I don’t know exactly what advice I’d give you. I’m a very blunt and open person. If it means I scare off my SO, that means we’re not meant for each other, imo. So I would flat out say “you can’t exclude me from certain friends” and “you can’t not tell me what your plans on.” I would just reiterate how you guys are a TEAM, a PARTNERSHIP, and in this TOGETHER. But it seems like he might not even be thinking on that level yet.
Moving in together is a step in the right direction, it seems. 2 1/2 years seems to be a long time to be together without discussing marriage. Honestly, I don’t remember where I learned this, but in one of my Psych classes they said that on average people know if they want to marry each other within 2 years.
I wouldn’t bring anything up now and I don’t know if I would put a “cut off date” necessarily. But maybe in a few months once it seems like he’s more comfortable, I would have a serious talk about the relationship and where he sees things headed.
Honestly, I’ve been w/ my FI 2 1/2 years and there aren’t any friends I haven’t met, we have a joint savings account, we live together, we talk about marriage and the future. I don’t think it’s normal to be together for that long a time and not talk about it at all unless you’re very, very young. Otherwise, it makes it seem like marriage isn’t a priority to him and if it is to you, then he should make it a priority of his, or else you two are just not on the same page.
Post # 5
We have discussed marriage. I know it’s something he wants at some point, but I don’t know if he’s decided to do it with me. He sees moving in together as a fairly big commitment which (I think) he expects to lead to marriage, and he’s said that he wouldn’t have moved in if he didn’t see the relationship going anywhere. But he still says “if we get married” rather than “when”.
When I say he doesn’t tell me his plans, it’s stuff like not telling me he’s going out, so the dinner I made goes to waste. Or not telling me he’s made plans for the weekend, so I make plans assuming he’s available, and then it turns out he isn’t. I complain and ask that he tells me what his plans are, and he says he shouldn’t have to ask for my permission. I can’t get him to understand that keeping your partner updated and checking that they’re ok with something is different from asking permission! Sometimes I disagree with his plans and he does it anyway, which I think is unfair.
I have met all of his friends, but some of them aren’t the most friendly people. He goes out with them and I’m not invited, and when I complain he says I’m not invited because they don’t like me (for no reason I can think of, because his other friends say how much they love me). So why is he being friendly with people who openly dislike his girlfriend! I think he should bring me and encourage them to get to know me, or even invite them to our house, but he just makes plans with them and I’m never invited. I’m still not sure how I feel about the situation. I don’t know if they genuinely dislike me for no reason or whether he just says that because he doesn’t want to invite me. But it does seem like he has this group of friends who are separate from our relationship and he doesn’t want them to be mutual friends. My sister says he needs to keep part of himself out of the relationship because it’s all too much for him… she thinks having these friends is like him trying to cling onto being single and keep one foot out of the relationship.
Post # 6
Wow. I’m really sorry, but after two years he should be letting you know what his plans are. I mean, it’s not like you’re roommates.
Also, the whole friends don’t like you thing to me is a big red flag. Did you ask him why they don’t like you? What did he say? I dated a guy once whose friends didn’t like me, and guess what? He brought me around anyway because he wanted to be with me, and to him the relationship was the most important thing, and he was going to be with me for the long haul so the sooner his friends got used to that the better. He ended up proposing later on.
I don’t see how a loving, committed relationship can be “too much” for a guy. If it’s too much for him to have a woman who wants to be with him and wants to know his friends and cares about where he is, are you sure you want to be with him? Because it sounds like he isn’t sure he wants to be with you.
If you want to consider yourself waiting, that’s fine, but this does NOT sound like a man who’s going to propose anytime soon. I hope that isn’t overly harsh, but i think it does people more good to call it as I see it. I think you need to be with someone who values you more, not who sounds like he’s constantly trying to struggle against the idea of getting in deeper with you. Nonetheless, I wish you the best of luck, and hopefully things will improve.
You sound like an EXCELLENT candidate for Mr. Bee’s Plan.
Post # 7
@Gorjuss: I think you’re doing the right thing by having your own timeline. It’s not an ultimatum – it’s choosing what’s right for you. And honestly, I think you were more generous with him than I would have been! I’d definitely expect consideration of my feelings/opinions on big decisions.
Perhaps after 3-6 more months of living together, you can revisit the ‘marriage’ topic with him, or in the meantime, you can personally re-evaluate whether he’s including you more fully in his plans / his friends /etc. I’m not sure that I’d give him a full year of living together if things don’t show improvement in the next few months. I’m not sure how old you are, but I’m almost 30, so I definitely highly prioritize my time! But I’m sure you’ll do what feels right for you – good luck!
Edited to add: Having read your response, I am also seeing some bigger red flags in how he still hangs out with friends that dislike you. At this stage of my relationship (dating 1 year), I would not hang out with any friend who was unwelcoming to my SO. Yikes! That, and his feeling like telling you his plans would be “asking permission” tells me that he’s not ready for commitment – he might need counseling in order to get to that point, or just several more years of maturing. I’m sorry to say it!
Post # 8
He does often let me know his plans, it’s mostly just him being inconsiderate sometimes. For example, I wait for him to finish work at 5pm and come home so I can make us both dinner, and he turns up at 8pm. It turns out that his brother called and asked him to drop in and help fix the car – which is fine, but why didn’t he call at 5pm and say “Honey, I need to drop by to help Ryan with the car, just make your own dinner and I’ll have something later”? Instead I’ve sat there being hungry for three hours waiting for him to show up! He’s often thoughtless like that.
I actually think he’s finding it really hard to adjust to being in a relationship and not just doing whatever he wants. He can be very selfish sometimes. For example, if we have plans and something that’s more important to him comes up, he drops me. He left our weekly photography club (which we went to together) because he was asked to join a football team which plays on the same night, which meant I also had to leave photography club because I had no transport, because we only have one car and he took it to football practice.
I don’t know why his friends don’t like me. He says them and me have nothing in common, and I say there are lots of people who have nothing in common with me, but they still manage to be civil and friendly.
…and now I’m making him sound like a real loser, and he isn’t that bad. He’s a good guy – honest, decent, hard working, “forgets” to ask for money I owe him when I’m broke, takes me (and my mother) out for dinner, cleans and cooks. He just has difficulty acting like a team and incorporating me into all aspects of his life… he’s never been in a serious live-in relationship before and I think he’s afraid of losing his independence. He does want marriage and has taken a step towards it by living together, has asked me about rings and stuff, so I’m prepared to give it some time and see what happens.
Post # 9
@Gorjuss: Could you please PM where you found that article about likelihood of getting married after 3.5 years of dating? My SO and I have been dating 3 years and 3 months so I would REALLY like to be able to bring that up causally to him.
I think that some guys need a little push in order to make to plunge. I don’t really know why that is. I agree about implementing Mr. Bee’s plan. He knows where you stand now so continuing to bring it up won’t change anything. Best of luck to you!
Post # 10
@Sweetheartchic: I’ve seen this stat in Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others, but it’s a book, not an article.
Post # 11
@Gorjuss: No advice, just WELCOME!
Post # 12
I’ve read that statistic in a few places, though they’re probably all just different versions of the same article, taken from the book “Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others.
You can read a sample of the book here: http://books.google.com/books?id=dz6atMPZtTcC&printsec=frontcover
and a summary of the book here: http://bookoutlines.pbworks.com/w/page/14422733/Why%20Men%20Marry%20Some%20Women%20And%20Not%20Others
-Most men propose after going out with a woman for 18 months.
-If at the end of 22 months, a man has not proposed, the chances that he will start to diminish.
-For 3.5 years, the chances diminish gradually. After that, it plunges. After 7 years, your chances are virtually zero.
I read this and set my cut-off date for the relationship at 3.5 years, as there’s cold hard data indicating that if he hasn’t married me by then, he likely never will. My SO thinks it’s totally nuts to put an expiration date on our relationship.
Post # 13
@Gorjuss: Thank you for the link. I definately brought this statistic up to my SO yesterday…. Didn’t go over great. Oh well.
@EffieTrinket: Thank you!
Post # 14
@Gorjuss: Sweety.. this guy sounds just like my ex. And he’s my ex for that reason. It was really hard for me to see the guy who set up some of the most romantic dates for me, do things for my family, be really sweet, etc.. also do the things that your guy is doing to you. And I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Ultimately, I ended the relationship because I realized that he just wasn’t ready for a serious relationship and I was. Now, I’m dating someone who is on the same page as I am and I’m MUCH happier.
Here’s an example of something that would happen w/ my ex. He would work until 8pm. I would know what time he would get home and I would drive to his house and wait for him. But, on days he was off and I worked until 5pm, he wouldn’t give me the same effort. He would go out with his friends and not show up until 8 or 9pm. And we didn’t have many days off at the same time because his schedule rotated every week and mine was M-F so he didn’t always have weekends off. Another example, he would have “guy nights” and never invite me. He never said his friends didn’t like me, but he said he couldn’t afford both of us. Which is funny considering I never asked him to always pay for me.
All these things just show that he’s not ready for a real, serious commitment. My ex and I broke up nearly 3 years ago and he only just now got into a new relationship (I think he dated, but nothing serious, until now). I was his first relationship where he told the girl he loved her and that lasted more than 3 months. I just think it was too soon for him and he didn’t know how to act and he wasn’t ready for it. Which is fine – I wasn’t going to wait 5 years for him to be ready. Maybe I just wasn’t the girl he was going to be ready for, yanno?
But it just reminds me of your relationship. Sweet guy, just not ready for a commitment. And if you’re not both on the same page, then it’s unfair to one or both of you.
Post # 15
He’s aware of my 3.5 year timeline and he knows I’m serious. If he hasn’t proposed by 3.5 years, he probably never will… and I won’t beg him to marry me (because he should want to), I’ll just leave the relationship because it has no future.
So I guess there is sort of a timeline in place; he knows that within the next year and a bit he has to either propose or admit that he never will (resulting in us breaking up). The fact that he’s been given a firm timeline means he’s at least thinking seriously about whether he wants to marry me or not.
It’s MY timeline though, not his/ours. And it’s a timeline for the maximum time I’m willing to wait, not a timeline for the date by which he’ll propose. When other couples talk about having a timeline, they mean there’ll definitely be a proposal and they’re setting a time by which it’ll happen. In my case, a proposal isn’t guaranteed; there’s still a possibility that he could decide NOT to marry me and the relationship will end. All that’s guaranteed is that by a certain date a decision will be made one way or the other. This doesn’t make me feel very secure but I don’t see what else I can do.