- 5 years ago
I don’t even really know how to frame this, other than that I have been feeling like a crazy person lately! Why? Because in my heart I *really* want to be engaged/ married to my SO, but my brain is telling me that now is not the right time, and we should wait. I feel like because of this, I am giving my SO mixed messages, which is really unfair to him, and never going to make me happy. I guess I just want some other opinions.
Here’s the sitation we are in. I am 25; he is 34. We have been together for a little less than 2.5 years, and we’ve been living together since 7 months into the relationship. 1 year ago, we bought a house together. His first gf pressured him into an engagement, they moved forward with beginning to plan a wedding, and they ended up having a really ugly breakup. Because of that, I know he does not want to be pressured into proposing, and that he also takes an engagement VERY seriously. He does not want a long engagement, so the day we get engaged is the day we start planning a wedding. And I know if I were reading someone else saying this, I’d be wondering why he agreed to become engaged when he wasn’t positive he was ready for marriage, and I’d be wondering if this pointed to a comittment issue; the short answer is no, no comittment issues. They were both very young. He loved her and wanted to make her happy, but did not have the experience to understand that love isn’t enough, and they wouldn’t be able to make a marriage work. Unfortunately, he’d already led her on before he figured it out. I 100% do not believe that he is avoiding engagement because of this, or that he would make the same mistake again. In fact, I honestly don’t know if he would have proposed before now or not had I not spoken up (more on this later…); I’m just including this information to let you know that an extended engagement (probably anything longer than 1.5 years) isn’t an option; he’s told me that when he gets engaged this time around, it is not going to be to please the person he is with, or to act as a kind of “extreme dating plus” level of a relationship, it is going to be because he is publicly declaring that he intends to plan a wedding.
Like I said, we bought a house together 1 year ago with help from his parents. Yay! It has been a really great experience. We have really enjoyed living together and both appreciate the fact that we have our own little “family” between us and our cats. About nine months into the relationship, we both agreed that this relationship was it for us, and that we fully expected to marry one another (barring a serious incident) at some point in the future, so comitting to buying a house together was not a problem. We discussed our intentions again when the opportunity to buy a house together fell into our laps, and agreed that this was a wonderful start to our future together. The timing for the house was right and it was sort of a take it or leave it situation; if we hadn’t taken the plunge, we would have been renting indefinitely, so the fact that we didn’t take a more traditional route of engagement ->marriage-> house wasn’t really an issue. We knew we wanted to marry one another eventually, and I was happy to let that wait until the timing was right, and to take the steps towards the house since that seemed to be kismet.
My SO tells me all the time (bringing it up himself) that he wants to marry me, and that he wants to be able to call me his wife. I assure him I want these things, too. And I do! That is not a question in my mind. Like some people say, when you know, you know; and we know. Last night I made the mistake of saying “if we get married” and he freaked out and said “Wait!? You mean when, right!?” I teased him a little and then reassured him, but it is nice to know that he notices things like that; in his mind, it is an eventuality that we have already agreed to, despite not being formally engaged. We talk about what we want our wedding to be like, and he comes up with ideas, too.
So, what’s the problem? Well, remember how I told you that I know he doesn’t want a long engagement…? I just don’t feel like we are in a financial position to get married in a year’s time. I don’t know when we’ll be in a position to get married. We had a heated conversation with my dad a couple of months ago (who actually likes him very much, despite our awkward conversation), and my SO declared his intentions to marry me. On the car ride home, my SO asked if it scared me that he’d told my dad that he wants to marry me, and I said no. After that, he started telling me that he wants to marry me more often than usual. Finally, I asked him when he saw this happening; he got really shy about being put on the spot and said he didn’t know… I got the impression that he wanted me to tell him what my expectations were (can you tell I am the planner in this relationship?). So I told him that while I did want that, I didn’t think we were in a financial position to do so. He’s been in the process of starting his own business and is still not getting many clients right now, and I am in grad school with student debt. I still get financial help from my dad; I can’t be someone’s wife and still have my dad helping me out with bills, and he’s definitely not making enough to support both of us (and I don’t expect him to support me, even though I know if he could he would; he already helps me out financially as much as he can). Those seem like really logical reasons for putting off an engagement until we could actually afford to get married, right?
But now I am thinking about how much I want to be engaged and married. I daydream about it a lot, and it drives me crazy to have this just be an “eventually” thing with no solid timeline on it. We’ve been sharing a home together for a year now, and I don’t want this relationship to get stagnant. Emotionally, I feel like it’s time to be engaged and actively moving towards a marriage, but logically, I feel like we absolutely cannot justify getting married until we are financially solvent as a couple. I also know that my dad is very traditional and thinks it is a husband’s job to financially support his wife (my mom was a stay at home mom), even though I’m clearly trying to get an education and move towards supporting myself… I can’t imagine telling him that we were planning on getting married, and asking him to continue helping me financially, even though he is fine with that for the time being and we are living together.
I’m sorry this is so long… But I guess I just need a couple of outside opinions. Am I doing the right thing by saying we need to wait for an engagement? How do I justify this to myself emotionally, even though I would really like the public comittment of a marriage sooner (in the next year or two) rather than later? I am afraid that because I am the one who has spoken up about the need to wait, that it’s now on my shoulders to let my SO know when I am ready for us to move forward. I know he wants to marry me, but it’s a lot of pressure to feel like I need to decide what my expectations are, tell him, and then wait for an engagement (or, I guess in this case… wait for it to not happen until we are more financially stable) to find out whether or not he agrees. I don’t want to resent the fact that he doesn’t decide to be a romantic and plan an elaborate proposal despite me saying that I don’t think the timing is right (that daydream also involves us magically being able to afford a wedding and me being able to pay off my student loans, etc…), but I also know deep down that we just can’t get married until his business is more stable and until I graduate and get a job myself.
Am I being silly by putting these restrictions on us, or am I being mature? Has anyone else had to make this kind of a compromise between their hearts and their heads, and how did you manage not driving yourself mad?