Post # 1
I’m new to boards but as per usual have been doing a fair share of lurking beforehand and it seem like safe place to vent. And find out if I’m over reacting or not.
I’ve been with my SO for a year and a half now and I came to the conclusion he was “the one” a couple months back. Well I figured we might actually be on the same page since he had been making comments about marriage for the past 9 months (Things like “When we get married…”, “My mother thinks I should hurry up and marry you. She can’t wait to have grandchildren to spoil.”). Well when Christmas and New Years came and went and I realized I needed to have the marriage talk with him to even maintain some semblance of sanity. It didn’t go as planned.
I’m still young (21 and SO is 27) so I’m not in a huge hurry and I’m willing to wait to get married but I came out of the whole thing feeling horrible. Not only did I find out all his comments were meant entirely as jokes SO just kept repeating that he didn’t plan to leave me. I tried to explain that I wasn’t expecting him to leave and what I needed to hear was that he planned to be there in the future, he just couldn’t wrap his head around the difference. It got me thinking that if he’s not planning to be in my future I should start planning my future with the expectation that he won’t be there. It’s been two weeks since our talk and I figured I would cool off and leaving him wouldn’t seem like an option anymore but it still does. I keeping coming back to the idea that I’m still in college and its probably the best opportunity I’m ever going to have to find someone to spend the rest of my life with and if SO isn’t willing to step up I should take advantage of it.
I know there are bees that have been with their SO’s for closer to a decade than a year and are still waiting for their proposals but for myself I’ve never believed that love is enough. And for a long time I believed that love and potential for the future was enough. It was maybe two months ago when I realized that I needed a commitment to building that potential future together. I’m considering giving SO 6 more months to make a commitment. I don’t need a proposal but I need a commitment to the long term future (not just next year) or I’m planning to walk away even if it rips my heart out. And no I’m not using an ultimatum just making a plan.
Half of me feels like I’m over reacting (the emotional part that knows I’m in love) and half of me (the part I try to use when making informed decisions) thinks I’m making a good plan to protect myself in the long run. Am I over reacting?
Post # 3
I think it’s not overreacting to needing to know if he plans to be there for the future- that IS a lot different than “I’m not planning on leaving you”
I think an engagement is not realistic to expect at this point (but I don’t think you are). I also don’t think college is the time to meet a future husband. I’m a returning college student (25) and just…no.
Post # 4
@NoOneYouExpect: First, let me start by saying that my intention is not to hurt you in any way with my reply. This is my opinion. You can take it or leave it — totally up to you, of course. But I think you should just focus on having fun in college and doing things you want to do. I had a serious boyfriend my senior year of college and thought for sure we were going to get married. I couldn’t see myself with anyone else. At the time, I thought I was an adult, that I was ready to get married, and I would have been THRILLED if he proposed. But he didn’t. After graduation, he went to law school and I started a job in a city about 5 hours from his law school. And ultimately, it didn’t work out. We broke up. I was super depressed and thought my world was ending. He HAD to be the one. But let me say that I am SO glad it happened and that our relationship ended — even though it was a great relationship. But at 21, I was not ready to get married. I have a hard time believing anyone is at that age because you don’t truly know who you are as a person. You haven’t had the freedom to find out yet. College is not real life. It seems like it is at the time, but once you graduate and move off on your own — especially if you move to a city where you don’t know people, like I did — you really find out who you are. You become so much more independent and self-reliant. You realize what is important to you, what you want out of life…. and it’s hard to figure that out when you’re thinking about “we” instead of “me”.
I think I learned more about myself that first year after college than I did my entire four years at Purdue. Now here I am, 6 years later, and I know I have found the man I want to be with forever. But the 21-year-old version of me would have never believed it.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t marry this guy. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t be so focused on that right now. You have so many amazing opportunities just around the corner. I’d focus on all of the opportunities ahead, not when you’re going to tie the knot. And if this guy is the one for you, it’ll work out in the end.
And for what it’s worth, I went to 6 weddings of friends/sorority sisters the summer after I graduated. Only 2 of those couples are still together. The girls who have gotten divorced have told me that they wish they would have waited because they got married too young and a few years down the road, they started focusing on the things they missed out on, things they still wanted to do…. and that’s a big part of why they wanted out of their marriages. They saw other friends going out, traveling, and doing whatever they wanted — and they were envious.
My advice is to live in the moment. Make your last year of college the best yet. Worry about finals — not when he’s going to propose. Years later, you’ll be glad you did.
Post # 5
I don’t think it matters so much that you’re in college, especially because he isn’t. By now you’d know if he was wanting to commit to you and he doesn’t sound like he is. Sometimes older guys are more ready to settle down and sometimes they’re lifelong bachelors.
I think you’re right to want to move on. You’ll get over this break up much easier now when you have friends, parties, and classes to focus on instead of 5 years down the road when you’ve invested a lot into this relationship.
Post # 6
I agree. I spent years with a man who couldnt commit and I regret wasting that much time. It wasnt that he was a bad guy, it wasnt that he didnt love me, he just couldnt commit and in the end, he just wasnt the one for me. Be careful with setting up extended deadlines… I kept extending the hypothetical deadline for our relationship – choosing to ignore my gut instincts and telling myself that things would change. 6 more months, 3 more months, etc… eventually those months add up and turn into years.
You’re 21 so you have time to find the “right one”. Stay focused on your education, your friends and life’s opportunities. Please dont accept less from life (or from the people in your life) than you deserve.
Post # 7
This is tricky, because while you shouldn’t be in a rush to plan your future in detail (and it doesn’t seem like you are), I think it’s fair to wonder if your relationship has a future in general. I would be beyond frustrated if my guy made jokes like that and couldn’t see the difference between a future vs not leaving. So while I don’t think he should have to know if he plans to marry you yet, it is fair and reasonable to talk about your non-negotiables. For example, if you want to get married in general, have kids, focus on careers, etc. If the key things you want in life don’t match up, I wouldn’t wait for him to change his mind. Same goes if he doesn’t picture you in his life 5 years from now.
I don’t think you’re overreacting, you need to give it a little time and trust your gut. It’s hard to fall in love and then have doubts about your future together. You don’t have to worry about figuring this out to find another guy while in college, you need to focus on you and what will make you the most happy in the long run.
Post # 8
I agree with what others have been saying. On one hand, I think you are really young to be thinking marriage. You will have the rest of your life to be with a man who you are willing to make huge compromises to be with — why start now? I’m so glad I met my boyfriend when I did because it allowed me to get out in the world, travel, go back to get my MA, and find the job I really wanted in the town I wanted to live in before meeting Mr. Right. Now any compromises I make going forward are fair game; I’ve had years to do the things I wanted to do on the timeline I found most appropriate.
On the other hand, I agree that you have a right to know where your relationship is going after a year and a half together. It could be that you just want to see if he is marriage potential later on down the road, and I respect that.
I think sometimes older guys date younger women because they like the idea of taking the fear of long-term commitment off the table. I think most guys expect that women will want to get married in their mid or late 20’s but women in their early 20’s will be a little more negotiable when it comes to marriage. I say this because my 33 year old brother does. He dates younger women because he is not looking to get married, and when the time comes for a commitment to be made, he heads for the hills. Nice guy huh? I think at 27, your boyfriend should know better than to confuse your desire to know if he was going to “leave you” or “marry you.” Those are extremely different situations. It really just sounds like he has a case of being happy in the now and not thinking about the future.
Post # 9
It sounds like you already know what you want to do but your heart is still holding on. I think the college (or college age) part of your life is really when you transform and find out who you are and what you want in life. I dated someone from 18-25 (almost 7 years) and was engaged for a short time to him. I changed a lot and so did he and we eventually grew apart as a couple but are still friends….I guess what I’m saying is to trust your instincts and enjoy your life and do what you need to do for you. You deserve to be with someone who will do anything to make things work and wants what you want!
Post # 10
@NoOneYouExpect: You have no idea how much I related to your story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I felt exactly the same way until two weeks ago. I’ve been with my SO for 2 and a half years, I’m 28 and he’s 27. I want/need to know I’m not wasting my time (as in if it’s not going to lead to marriage then what’s the point – something we agreed to before our first date because we both want kids but not out of wedlock and aren’t getting any younger).
Anyone who has read my posts know that I wanted/needed to know a timeframe for my own sanity because I was having depressive episodes and we were fighting like cat and dog for 4 months or so and finally he started to understand why it was important to me and after a very open and mature talk he said that he thought we’d be engaged within the next 2 years (a year longer than I wanted to wait but at least it’s on the cards).
Anyway, I thought that’d help my moods and insecurities, it didn’t. But do you know what did? Focussing on me – I got a new job, started volunteering, regained hobbies and my social life (not long finished uni so it faded when friends moved away fro jobs) and became more secure within myself, and I feel positive about my future. I don’t feel like it’s so important now.
Just wanted to share that with you, maybe you might relate to it too and try some of the things that worked for me 🙂
Post # 11
Absolutely agree with some of the others…. You’re so young still. Honestly you haveplenty of time…. Get out of college and live your own life for a while (even if you stay together) then worry about getting engaged… You need that chance to get to know yourself. Just my opinion though…
Post # 12
Thanks for your input everyone.
I know I’m young, have time, etc. Though sometimes its hard to hear. I spent 2 years just supporting myself and figuring out life before going to university so now that I’m about half way though my education I’m sort of in “plan for the future/ find an intership” mode and I just don’t like all the uncertainty SO just introduced to my life. I’ll try to distract myself better but 50 hours of homework a week hasn’t managed to do the trick… I must need a new hobby. And to clarify I’m not considering spliting with SO to go hunt down another guy but I’ve turned down some pretty great guys while I’ve been with him.
@Pand0ra: Thanks for the insight about extending dealines. I’ll keep it in mind.
Post # 13
For what its worth, when I was 25 I was with my ex. He would not talk about marriage. He said he wanted to be in a position to support me before we got married (not at all what I wanted, but anyway). Thing is, he never did anything to better himself. He sat at home 24/7 and sat on his arse on the internet. He didnt want to marry me, and he knew it. We broke up after being together for about 5 years. And I am now so glad we did. I am happier then I ever was with him, and in a much better place.
So in my experience, if they aren’t interested in the conversation, there is a reason for it.