Let me start by saying I understand how you feel, I really do. I was with a man for over 5 years, not on and off. We were together throughout that whole time. He was my first crush, first boyfriend, and first love.
Was he a good boyfriend? Yes. He called me every day, texted me good morning daily when we were not living together, took care of all bills when I was broke, took off work and spent days taking care of me when I broke my leg, spent 2 days driving me to an out-of-state interview when my car was broke, bought me a puppy, supported me to go back for my masters etc… Did he love me? Yes, I never doubted that. Was he loyal and supportive? Always.
The only problem was that he did not want to marry me. As a matter of fact he does not want to get married, ever. He made it very clear. He told me early on but I was too young to see that as a problem. When I realized it was a problem, I was already four years into the relationship. We had countless arguments and he kindof agreed we should get married. In his own words, “I suppose that is the most logical thing to do.” I was all excited and I thought he was going to propose on our 5 year anniversary. I was ecstatic when he produced a jewelry box that evening. When I opened it, I saw a ruby NECKLACE, not a ring. I froze for what felt like a century and my tears started pouring down my face uncontrollably. That was the moment I realized I couldn’t change his mind over something so fundamental to life. He wanted no commitment, and I wanted commitment. There is no middle ground. I broke it off with him 2 days later and moved out. That freaked him out obviously. Five months later, he invited me over to his 4th of July family party and he hinted that it would be “the start of our life together.” His sister told me he bought a ring. But by then, I already moved on and I was dating someone else. I did not want someone who “kindof” wants to marry me, I want someone who is sure he wants me as his wife. I was 28 then.
Fastforward 2 years, I am now in a committed relationship with an amazing man. We have the same goals and values in life and we have had many discussions about our future, when to get married, where the wedding is going to be, and how many children to have. I have not once felt uncertain or that I needed to persuade him to marry me. I think he may be proposing soon because he asked my parents for permission to marry me in August (I learned about this “by accident” 🙂
I think what I am trying to say is that no one can tell you what to do with your life. This is your life and you have to make your own decision and you have to live through the consequences of your decision. But at the same time, you can’t force anyone to want something they don’t want. Is it worth it to place your future and happiness on a possibility he would change his mind? Can you live with it if he never changes his mind? Is being with him more important that your desire for marriage and children? Can you be happy if he takes 20 years to figure out what he wants? If yes, then by all means! If not, act now. My grandmother always says the definition of a foolish move is to keep doing the same thing and expect different results.