Post # 1
So I posted back in August here: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/we-arent-going-to-make-our-timeline-and-i-dont-know-what-to-do/
Long story short, my boyfriend and I talked. He wasn’t ready. I agreed to give him a little more time, but I told him that if we were going to stay together, I really needed to know this year. In retrospect, I probably should have ended it, but I just couldn’t. He worked out an extension to his lease, and things have been pretty much the same since then, with one big exception.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about two weeks after we had that talk.
It’s not terminal. They caught it early, and her prognosis is good. But the next year is going to be really hard, with months of chemo, then surgery and radiation. My extended family has had a rough year, with my grandmother passing away over the summer and one of my uncles in hospice. My mom is going to need a lot of support, but so am I. And I just don’t know if it’s fair to rely on my boyfriend for that support. I want to turn to him and let him comfort me, and I know that’s what he wants, too, but I feel like I can’t lean on him and then suddenly have him not be there any more. I feel so selfish for worrying about any of this with what my family is going through, but I can’t stop worrying about it.
It’s not just that I don’t want to be alone during this process, either. I know that I want him to be the one I turn to for support. I just don’t know if I can do that and then be strong enough to break up with him if I have to. Has anyone had a similar experience? How do you handle waiting uncertainty when a parent is ill?
Post # 2
Have you talked to him about this? It sounds like you feel it would be better if you broke up if you weren’t going to be in it for the long haul.
Post # 3
theonlywayisorange: Very sorry to hear of all your family troubles – happy healthy thoughts to you.
Here’s what I think…have you seen ‘He’s just not that in to you’? You sound like Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck. You want him to be there, he wants to be there for you, but for some reason because you don’t have a ring you don’t feel like you can lean on him?
If this is the man you want to be with forever, forever is forever. I hated waiting, but I never gave Darling Husband an ultimatum because I knew I wouldn’t leave, I love him way too much, as much as I wanted to be married, I wanted to be with him more.
I waited 8.5 years, he proposed for my 30th birthday. We got married just after my 31st. We’ve been together 10 years this coming halloween. The only thing that changed because of my ring(s) is my name.
Post # 4
theonlywayisorange: “I want to turn to him and let him comfort me, and I know that’s what he wants, too, but I feel like I can’t lean on him and then suddenly have him not be there any more.”
You’re being very smart. Being THE person you rely on in times of need is a privilege. Don’t give all your trust and vulnerability to someone who hasn’t earned that privilege. Don’t commit your whole self to somebody who isn’t ready to reciprocate.
I think you need to spread your trust around. Some to your boyfriend, some to your friends, some to family members, some to internet/IRL cancer support groups. But if he wants to be that ONE person you turn to – he knows what he needs to do.
Post # 5
There are many problems with “waiting” for me the biggest problem that I know now is that not every story of sticking it out and waiting leads to a proposal. My waiting story ended with longterm Boyfriend or Best Friend finally telling me he wasn’t proposing because he didn’t want to marry ME, not even just didn’t want to get married ever, blah, blah – I was not the one. I’m okay now with not being the one for him but do have some regrets about the time and emotion I invested in that relationship.
Sometimes tragedy brings other decisions that have to be made to the forefront as well. I would suggest that you need an internal timeline of how long you are willing to wait for him to decide he wants to marry you. And in the meantime yes, expand your circle, don’t focus all your need for support on him. Branch out in case your relationship with him is not forever.
Post # 6
theonlywayisorange: hello! im also waiting for the elusive engagement, so i have no useful advice about that however i wanted to just chip in.
i am terribly sorry about your mum, my mum had the exact same cancer and treatment, except found at a slightly later stage which led to secondary cancer. she is now in recovery. i wish your mum all the best and i will pray for her full recovery.
with regards to wondering why you are so worried about marriage now of all times, i will just tell you – and it sounds ridiculous now – but when my mum was going through this, i suddenly found myself extremely concerned about my appearance, in particular, my hair. which hadnt really changed. like literally not leaving the house except to visit her in hospital because i felt such a massive anxiety about it. but the benefit of counselling and hindsight allows me to see that worrying over a smaller issue helped me to deal with the very real possibility that i might lose my mum. that was my way of coping, by masking that huge worry with a much smaller, manageable issue. is it possible that your feelings, although valid, have intensified under this kind of pressure?
Post # 7
peanuts27: Thanks so much for this. I am glad to hear your mom is doing well.
My boyfriend and I actually talked about this last night after one of my aunts made a rather insensitive comment about my sister having her husband to turn to for support and me only having a boyfriend. I have a lot of anxiety around being the center of attention, and after she made that comment I felt like all eyes were on our relationship. I think you’re right that I am putting a lot of pressure on my relationship with my boyfriend because worrying about my mom is too scary.
I don’t think a lot of clarity came out of the conversation my boyfriend and I had last night, but I do feel better having admitted that that’s not really what I’m worried about, and more comfortable being honest with him about how I’m feeling.
Post # 8
I’m so sorry that you are going through this. I went through this almost exactly 2 years ago, except my mother’s BC was very advanced. Fortunately they watch her like a hawk and there have been no signs of the beast since her chemo/surgery/radiation. I was living with my ex at the time of diagnosis and he also wasn’t ready. What I found out about 6 months after my mom’s diagnosis was that he would never be ready.
That said, he was there for me a little. He made life more difficult in many ways, but at least there was someone there when I was particularly sad or lonely. I just don’t think he did empathy very well. I can’t blame him. He was just not the warm, fuzzy type.
Fast forward a year and a half from the ex telling me he’d never be ready and I’m engaged to a warm, fuzzy teddy bear who held me when I was scared waiting for the results of my mom’s first post-treatment blood work and exam. I had been with this man for 6 weeks at the time and he held me and listened to me cry and be scared. 6 weeks and I could count on this man more than I could have counted on my ex of 3 years.
My advice is that this might be time to explore whether or not this guy is the one for you. I much prefer the warm, fuzzy, strong man who makes me feel that everything will be OK no matter what happens with my mom. I’m just not sure I knew that I deserved it when I was with my ex who didn’t meet my needs.