Post # 1
(just for some background, SO and i have been dating for two years and living together since the early summer. when we agreed to move in together, i told him that i will only live with him if he is SURE he wants to get married to me and get engaged within a year.)
last night, my SO and i had a total ‘future’ meltdown! we got on the topic of marriage for reasons i cant remember, and he basically told me that he was still unsure about getting engaged because even though he has liked living with me, and loves being with me, he’s uneasy about the fact that we fight every so often. he said he was hoping that it would get better after we moved in together, and that it has, but very slowly. in my opinion, it’s totally normal for two people who live together and spend time together to bicker every so often and rub each other the wrong way. i mean, we don’t really fight about anything concrete. it’s usually more about the way that i say something that could offend him or slight him in some way. i honestly believe that this is no big deal, and i know that in my previous relationships, there were much more salient problems. however, he’s never had another serious girlfriend and he doesn’t really have any ‘real life’ experience to compare to.
i’m just so sick of being told that we have to wait until everything is perfect! i don’t expect perfection from us. i expect a man that wants to work on things with me for the rest of our lives.
also, i feel like i’m totally cornered! when i agreed to move in with him, i agreed to do so because i was 100% sure that this is the man for me, and that this man wants to spend the rest of his life with me. i never in my life planned on living with someone i wasn’t going to marry SOON. he knows this.
i know he’ll never break up with me because he loves me, and i’ll never break up with him either because i’ll never be strong enough to walk away from someone i am SO in love with… but i’m not sure how to convince him that reality is rough and people fight… and thats NORMAL!
Post # 3
I’ve dated guys like that before (never at the point of living together or being engaged) but honestly I’d be wary of someone that freaks out over infrequent, stupid fights. How will he react when you guys have REAL issues and stress to deal with and fight about? Will he just up and leave? Relationships get more complicated and stressful as time goes on, not easier!
I also feel like that type of relationship is potentially unhealthy for you because (in my past experiences) it forces you into feeling you must be “on your best behavior” and “walk on eggshells” so as to not have a fight. That’s no way to live. Healthy relationships are based on open communication, not avoiding communication to avoid confrontation with someone.
Hopefully he can come to his senses. Fighting is inevitable when you’re living with someone – no matter who that person is. Has your bf ever had roommates before?
FWIW, FI and I rarely fight (maybe 2-4 times a year over stupid shit) but we definitely annoy each other! We’ve just learned how to react to each other when we’re annoyed to get us to a good place and not to a fighting place.
Things shouldn’t have to be perfect to get engaged – hell, FI and I had a fight a mere hour or two before he proposed. He definitely said when the fight was happening he was reconsidering proposing, but he didn’t because our fights mean far less to him than the great times we have together the majority of the time.
Post # 4
Sounds like a couple more talks are in order. I know it’s cliche’, but it’s also true: honesty works. Talk to him about why you guys fight. Usually, when SO and I fight one of us is hungry or touchy or emotional about something else that day. It’s a little ritual that after a fight, we’ll break it down, for example:
(He was showing me how to play a videogame and we had words before I just shut down completely.)
SO: “I’m sorry I yelled. I shouldn’t have, I just go so frustrated when you made that wisecrack. I hate that I upset you.”
Me: “I’m sorry too. I made the wisecrack because I felt so stupid that I couldn’t figure out what you were trying to tell me and the pressure of the video game got to me.”
SO: “I felt kinda stupid too. I love you.”
Me: “I love you, too.” *hugs*
I find that dissecting why we fought and trying to understand how my SO saw the conversation going as opposed to how I saw it helps to prevent it in the future.
Post # 5
How often do you actually fight?
Your definition of “every so often” may be “all the time” to him. Is it everyday? Every week? Once a month?
If it’s everyday or a couple times a week, for most people, that’s a lot of bickering. For men, after a long day of work, they don’t want to come home to a volatile home environment. That’s probably where his apprehension comes from, and where your frustration is building.
If you know what triggers these arguments (you mentioned how you speak to him), then perhaps you need to work on the communication factor of your relationship. Of course, no relationship is perfect, and every couple goes through their disagreements, but no one wants to marry into constant arguing. It’s tiring. It’s annoying. It builds resentment.
Resolving your differences is key to any relationship. You’ve told him your needs, now take his needs seriously and compromise to see what you both can do to decrease the amount of fighting you do.
Post # 6
If you feel like his concern is too minor to justify not wanting to get engaged, then maybe you’re right. Maybe he has a different concern he is not sharing with you. Why does he get offended, and feel slighted over minor things? You both need to get premarital counseling; every couple should. Don’t just dismiss his concerns because you want that ring, and marriage, and feel like his worry is too minor to justify delaying an engagement.
The engagement and wedding are not the goal. The goal is to have a long, happy marriage that doesn’t end in divorce. You need to both be ready when you get engaged, and ultimately marry. Any concerns he has are serious and need to be investigated.
Take him seriously, and get some counseling to fix his concern. You’d be surprised how much infrequent bickering can wear you down decade, after decade.
Post # 7
He sounds like one of those guys who needs things to be perfect in his head. Nothing, not you, or your situation with him, or anything else, can give him that but him. It’s a lousy justification for why he’s not willing to take the next step with you.
My last ex was that kind of person. He would keep moving the bar up and around to justify why he’s not-that-into-you. “We can’t get engaged until I know that you can be happy without me” (WTH?!) “We can’t get engaged until you move back here.” (When he was the one who encouraged me to move away)
You deserve someone who really wants to be with you, who will move heaven and earth to be by your side.
On the other hand, three-four months is not that long after a big life change to plan another big life change. I’d start on Mr. Bee’s plan, and give him six months to do whatever figuring out that he needs to do. It might do for you to have one more big conversation with him about this, about what it meant to you for you both to move in together, and how you expected an engagement soon after (as well as your disappointment that he’s obviously not on the same page). Then leave it alone and do your Mr. Bee thing while he lets all that information marinate.
Post # 8
I completely agree with @MrsWBS. Being in a relationship where you may be afraid to “rock the boat” is never healthy, and it is so difficult to not feel that you can be completely open and honest for fear of setting him off. My ex and I had two disagreements in the span of almost a year (which to me seems like nothing), and he had this idea that couples who were meant to be together never fought or had to work on anything. Some guys are just naive about these things, and it sounds like your SO is one of them.
I agree with everyone else that you need to get to the root of the issue. You guys may benefit from couseling too, but a good healthy conversation is in order!
Post # 9
@MrsWBS: so i have tried asking him how big of a deal it is that we bicker. does it make him inherently unhappy? he says no–the good times outweigh the bad. he knows that i’m trying my best to not rub him the wrong way with how i say things, but honestly sometimes i have no idea why what i said is so incredibly inflammatory. and you’re totally right–i feel like i’m constantly trying to watch what i say so as to fight less frequently. i even used that phrase (walking on eggshells) when trying to describe to him what it’s like for me. SO has had one roommate before and they’re close friends. he doesn’t remember fighting with him about stuff like this, but there were things that annoyed him. however, he thinks that it’s different because it’s not his girlfriend…
@SoobySays: yeah we’ve had that conversation a few times. we know exactly why we fight–it’s because i’ll say something that he thinks is crude or obnoxious, or i’ll use a tone that’s obnoxious or something like that. we’ve acknowledged this, and that his reaction to my tone and my particular word choice is sometimes an overreaction, an oversensitivity. we’ve resolved to work on this issue over and over again, but somehow we keep running into it. i’m not sure how to make it better except by just shutting up!
@Torrid: we definitely don’t fight every day, or even every week! both of us work full time, and neither person wants to come home to a volatile environment… i think that we’ve been trying really hard to resolve this issue for a while, but at the end of the day, it’s your choice to be happy. it really is. you can choose to let something slide, or you can choose to pick a fight about it.
i guess what i’m trying to say is that i feel like every fight we have counts against me in some way… every time we bicker he decides that we don’t get along and he doesn’t want to marry me. every time we have a good time, he decides that we do get along and he does want to marry me. he decided that he’d rather marry me than leave me, but that he’d really rather not be married and just live together for a while more so that he can see if it gets better.
Post # 10
@photograbee: Then honestly, if he’s making you feel like you’re on a tally system, I wouldn’t marry him. You need a partner in life when you want to marry, not a parent figure. No one wants to feel like they must be on their best behavior all the time to be loved. That will eventually build a resentment that will overcome the relationship.
Post # 11
@photograbee: “i guess what i’m trying to say is that i feel like every fight we have counts against me in some way… every time we bicker he decides that we don’t get along and he doesn’t want to marry me. every time we have a good time, he decides that we do get along and he does want to marry me. he decided that he’d rather marry me than leave me, but that he’d really rather not be married and just live together for a while more so that he can see if it gets better.”
This sounds like a form of emotional blackmail. I wouldn’t want to be in such a stressful relationship, but good luck no matter what you do.
Post # 12
I went through something so similar with my boyfriend! He had never had a serious, long-term relationship before me and had an expectation that the “honeymoon phase” (before any disagreements, when we were just plain ol’ infatuated) wasn’t a phase at all.
Then, when we moved in together, adopted a puppy, etc…he was shocked when we began to bicker and annoy the crap out of each other occasionally.
He took this as a sign that something was wrong and actually stopped talking about getting engaged as much as he had before…of course I FREAKED OUT because I only agreed to move in with him because we had discussed marriage and we had agreed that “moving in together” meant “we are actively planning and working toward an engagement”.
It’s definitely a challenge when your partner doesn’t have the same experience you do — it was easy for me to say, “Trust me…this is normal.” Where I was comforted because our “disagreements” were normal, even healthy compared to some of my previous relationships, he felt uneasy in new territory.
All I can say is — be patient! I’ve lived with my man for a year now and he just slipped one day recently and said he HAS A RING! It just took him some time in the living together stage (yes, a little longer than I would have liked) for him to realize that waiting for perfection isn’t the point at all!!
Post # 13
you girls are the best 🙂 thanks for ALL of your advice! i think i need to stop trying to convince him that i’m the one, and start having him convince ME that HE’s the one. i’d give him a longer time to think it over, but i just don’t see what’s going to change. if he wants to stay with me, he needs to actively want it and work for it. HE needs to woo ME, not the other way around. he needs to prove to me that he deserves me!
Post # 14
@photograbee: Sounds like my FI! We had actually broken up twice fairly early on during a fight, his longest relationship before me was 3 months so he never experienced a fight with a girlfriend before. He assumed if we were fighting it must mean we weren’t good for eachother. Thankfully, he finally figured out that some fighting is perfectly normal and actually healthy for a relationship.
No two people are ever so perfect for eachother that they never fight or argue, if things seem too perfect to be true, they usually are. The key is always to fight productively.
Does he have any siblings or close cousins that are married? Maybe if he tried talking with them they might be able to make him realize that arguing is normal.
Post # 15
Your situation sounds similar to mine except I don’t live with my SO. He’s older but never been married before or lived with someone and never had relatuonship longer than a year except for ours. He has been concerned about my anxiety about certain things and feeling like nothing he can do is good enough because I brought things up often that needed to change. We are seeing a couples Counselor and working on it. My view of it has been different. I believe we hadn’t fought hardly at all and he thinks I had anxiety and started telling him how unhappy I was over something quite often. It’s getting better slowly but surely. I’m really trying to work on my anxiety and it’s helping but I also asked him if he could also do some things to help too. Our communication is slowly getting better but it’s a process. I believe hes getting more comfortable and closer to asking. But in reality some of the other posters are right. Nothing will ever be perfect and he needs to accept you as you are. You can work on yourself to the point where you want to and feel comfortable but if you feel resentful for doing that, then be yourself. I’ve also told my SO that not everything can be perfect and he does need to accept me as I am. I can work on things to a certain degree but I can’t completely change. He appreciates all the self work I’ve done but he’s also getting better at communicating and trying to compromise with me too. It’s so hard for never married or engaged bachelors who have never lived with someone to adjust to real relationship life. It’s a shocker to them. But they need to do it I’m order to keep one! Good luck! I
Hope things get better. Focusing on you and letting him come around is a good idea. I’m trying to do the same
Post # 16
If any couple expects something to be perfect they are barking up the wrong tree.
Everyone comes from a different family background where different things are expected and communications and emotions are dealt with differently. So the two of you will never “not fight”. It’s just not humanly possible.
But like others have said, if bickering is a big problem, when a real problem happens things will only get out of control.
My FI and I have had our share of fights, the worst was when his car died and we needed a loan on a new one . . . his credit was poopy and mine is great, so I had to take out the loan for HIS car. It really was a tough weekend for our relationship, but in the end he has a vehicle.
But it’s what marriage is all about, you know?
Time to sit down with the boy toy and have a nice talk I think 🙂