(Closed) After almost five years- Wait or move on?

posted 4 years ago in Waiting
Post # 16
Member
254 posts
Helper bee

dalia88 :  I was in this exact same situation.  I was 29, dating a 33 year old commitment-phobe who swore up and down he’d wanted to get married soon.  (It was always in a year or two.)  We had been dating for 5 years, and lived together.  After every vacation and major holiday, friends and family would look at my left hand waiting for a ring to appear.  He always had a reason not to get engaged.

Long story short, shortly before my 30th birthday, I broke up with him.  I wanted to get married, and I was very, very angry at him for neither moving the relationship forward or ending it.  He begged me to come back, promised he would propose within 6 months, and swore he loved me.  (Ha ha, he couldn’t even propose right away when he was scrambling to get me back.)  Long story short, we stayed together for two more months before I broke up with him again.  Ultimately, I felt like I had forced his hand.  He just didn’t love me enough to be excited to marry me.  I didn’t want to get married to someone who might not show up for the ceremony.  

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lilylove14 :  You are right.  Leaving is so, so hard.  I loved my ex.  Leaving him was the hardest, most painful decision I ever made.  During the break up, I felt like I would die.  Once I was single again and healing from the break up, I was happier than I had been in years.  Leaving him was the best decision I ever made.

Also, I should note that not too long after I broke up with my ex, I met my current SO.  I love him so much, he makes me feel happy, fulfilled and desired every day.  He is also VERY excited to marry me.  Actually, he was ready to commit well before I was.  Having been on both sides of the “waiting” equation, it is very unkind to make someone wait too long.  A good, loving partner will make a decision to spare the other person’s feeling.  To keep postponing such an important decision just inflicts unnecessary emotion distress on the “waiting” party.    

 

Post # 18
Member
316 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

Well, I find myself agreeing with the other bees. I have been in a similar predicament where not long ago bf was saying not to “rush” things. Just a blurb about “how men are:” They don’t like being “pressured” or “told what to do.” That said, it’s also a load of complete bullshit. No matter how hard a woman presses to get married, if their bf truly doesn’t want to marry her, they aren’t going to propose. Barring any love spells/voodoo magic I firmly believe that men can excercise free will in that capacity!

It sucks to say this, but think of your relationship like a business for a moment. You want to achieve certain levels of growth within a certain timeframe. Biology has its limits, and fertility declines sharply in a woman’s 30s. After 35, miscarriages are common and pregnancy is “high risk.” Even though many women have uneventful pregnancies into their late 30s, consider many of these are the result of costly fertility treatments. It is simply “good sense” to start trying before the clock is running out. I hate it as much as the next woman, believe me, but we have to face the facts.

I’m not sure your friend’s bf is serious about marriage and it pains me to say it. His attitude seems cavalier. If she loves him enough to wait, sure. But she runs the risk of being disappointed and another year older if that proposal doesn’t come. 🙁

Post # 19
Member
903 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

My fiance and I were together 6 1/2 years before the proposal.  

Your friend needs to sit this man down to explain her expectations for the realtionship with him.  If they don’t share the same opinion, and she really wants to be married even if it is not to him, there is the answer.

Timelines are ridiculous.  If she is willing to leave him because he doesn’t meet her time restriction then she should leave him now.  For me, the relationship has always been about being with the man I love, not the title we have.

Post # 20
Member
33 posts
Newbee

Bee, it makes complete sense that your friend is saddened and frustrated by her SO’s behavior. And, I agree with other bees that it’s time to have a level-headed, serious discussion about this. Thus far, your friend has been waiting for her SO to prioritize their engagement/marriage and he has not proposed. However, from your post, I’m not hearing that she has a full understanding of his feelings and beliefs about their marriage beyond questioning why it’s a “rush.” Further, your post doesn’t indicate so, but I’m wondering if he truly knows how she feels and what her plans are. Communication is needed badly, or at least that’s what it appears to me. Your friend is, understandably, burnt out and questioning whether or not she should leave. And, please encourage your friend to mindfully examine that urge to walk (e.g., where is it coming from? Lack of love or fear that he doesn’t want marriage? Fear that fertility will begin to decrease and it will be too late to have as many children as she wants, or any at all? etc.).

Once she has done that without him, I’d encourage her to sit him down and calmly describe the facts first. For example, “I know we’ve discussed our future together several times, and I was thinking more about it. I am 29, we’ve been together for 4.5 years and we have built a life together in this home.” Now, emotions and opinions. This is where that first step (mindful examination) comes in. So for example, in one conversation I had with my SO, I said something like, “I respected your goal to buy a house prior to asking me to marry you, and was grateful that I had a partner who prioritized our future family’s security. And at the same time, I am now 32 and I’m beginning to get anxious that if we don’t move forward soon, we may have issues conceiving. I love you and want very badly to make a family with you.” Make sure your friend owns her feelings. No judgments or assumptions (e.g., “You don’t care at all whether we get married or not.”).

Also, this where I part from other bees:  I don’t believe that ultimatums and demands have a place in committed relationships. I’m going to go ahead and make the assumption that your friend does not want him to propose out of feeling duress to do so, but out of love and a genuine desire to be husband and wife. So instead, say, “I’m beginning to wonder if marriage is something you want, or if you’d just be going through the motions for me” or “you’ve told me you will propose next year, and I find myself wondering why you would delay when we love each other deeply and want a life together.”

Be simultaneously direct and gentle. “You’ve heard what I want for my future; I need to know what you want.”  If he dodges, bring his awareness to that:  “I asked you x and you responded with y, which really didn’t answer my question.” Be a broken record; just keep gently reiterating your question. If your friend remains nonjudgmental, calm, and direct, she will likely get a better sense of what is going on for him through a conversation like this. If he says that he hasn’t wanted to tell her but he never wanted to get married, or something like that and is unwilling to shift, her way forward is pretty clear.

The very best of luck to your friend!

Post # 21
Member
2331 posts
Buzzing bee

I agree with PP that this situation does not seem promising.

– They are of the age where you’d expect them both to “know” within 2-3 years.

– They don’t seem to have open communication around this subject. This tells me that she doesn’t feel emotionally “safe” to just speak her mind on the subject of her OWN future. Could be a problem with her own worldview or with the communication in their relationship. But it IS a glaring problem.

– Not only is he vaguely putting her off, but he’s doing things to get her hopes up (ring shopping), then just dropping the subject entirely. That’s a stalling tactic. And it’s inconsiderate AF.

– Not only is he stonewalling her when she brings up the subject or gently putting her off (which could potentially point to him having something in the works), but he’s turning tables on her, villifying her interest in her own future, which is borderline gaslighting. “What’s the rush” casts the woman’s natural need to know what her future holds as BAD, as nagging, etc. I tbasically makes her feel like she’s doing something wrong in taking an interest in her future. Had my SO used this sort of manipulation tactic with me when the subject came up, I would have been out the door in 2 seconds flat. 

– He’s given a “timeline” of sorts, but not really. This is another stalling tactic. A true timeline talk generally brings about some sort of further future planning. If a proposal is X months away, other things need to happen before that, what do we need to get started on, what conversations do we need to have NOW, etc. 

When SO and I discussed timeline (I asked for his and kept mine to myself), he said he wanted to be engaged within 10 months. We worked backwards from there. The custom ring process takes about 6-8 weeks. And the stone we wanted would take anywhere from 1-3 months to be cut depending on how quickly we found the rough. So we knew we’d start the ring process 5-6 months out, which was around New Year’s.

In preparation for that, he -of his own accord- told his family about our plans over Thanksgiving while we were visiting. And he had started telling our friends at get togethers in October. So basically, our timeline was 10 months away, but he started letting people know our plans 2-3 months after our timeline talk, and we started having wedding planning-type discussions immediately. 

Your friend’s bf is saying “next year” and then not ACTING as if he’s going to follow up on that. He’s coasting. 

Post # 21
Member
33 posts
Newbee

Bee, it makes complete sense that your friend is saddened and frustrated by her SO’s behavior. And, I agree with other bees that it’s time to have a level-headed, serious discussion about this. Thus far, your friend has been waiting for her SO to prioritize their engagement/marriage and he has not proposed. However, from your post, I’m not hearing that she has a full understanding of his feelings and beliefs about their marriage beyond questioning why it’s a “rush.” Further, your post doesn’t indicate so, but I’m wondering if he truly knows how she feels and what her plans are. Communication is needed badly, or at least that’s what it appears to me. Your friend is, understandably, burnt out and questioning whether or not she should leave. And, please encourage your friend to mindfully examine that urge to walk (e.g., where is it coming from? Lack of love or fear that he doesn’t want marriage? Fear that fertility will begin to decrease and it will be too late to have as many children as she wants, or any at all? etc.).

Once she has done that without him, I’d encourage her to sit him down and calmly describe the facts first. For example, “I know we’ve discussed our future together several times, and I was thinking more about it. I am 29, we’ve been together for 4.5 years and we have built a life together in this home.” Now, emotions and opinions. This is where that first step (mindful examinatuon) comes in. So for example, in one conversation I had with my SO, I said something like, “I respected your goal to buy a house prior to asking me to marry you, and was grateful that I had a partner who prioritized our future family’s security. And at the same time, I am now 32 and I’m beginning to get anxious that if we don’t move forward soon, we may have issues conceiving. I love you and want very badly to make a family with you.” Make sure your friend owns her feelings. No judgments or assumptions (e.g., “You don’t care at all whether we get married or not.”).

This is where I part from other bees: I don’t believe that ultimatums and demands have a place in committed relationships. I’m going to go ahead and make the assumption that your friend does not want him to propose out of feeling duress to do so, but out of love and a genuine desire to be husband and wife. So instead, say, “I’m beginning to wonder if marriage is something you want, or if you’d just be going through the motions for me” or “you’ve told me you will propose next year, and I find myself wondering why you would delay when we love each other deeply and want a life together.”

Be simultaneously direct and gentle. “You’ve heard what I want for my future; I need to know what you want.” If he dodges, bring his awareness to that: “I asked you x and you responded with y, which really didn’t answer my question.” Be a broken record; just keep gently reiterating your question. If your friend remains nonjudgmental, calm, and direct, she will likely get a better sense of what’s going on for him through a conversation like this. If he says that he hasn’t wanted to tell her but he never wanted to get married, or something as final as that, she will feel more confident about a decision to walk.

The very best of luck to your friend!

Post # 23
Member
5667 posts
Bee Keeper

I would also like to say to counter ask him. When he says the rush, she should ask him why the hesitation? I mean I moved in with my now husband and I said something too the effect of I’m not going to be just living together forever. By the time we met I was so done with dating and I was quite direct about what I wanted and I expected him to be as well. This level of direct isn’t for everyone, but it sure makes things clear. 

Post # 24
Member
5891 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

Every couple that I know of, that is of that age, that dated that long and still wasn’t married, the guy was waiting to see if something better came along. Some broke up, some got married, most are either now divorced or miserable. 

First you need to have an open clear conversation. If he says “I dont’ want to be pressured”. That means he isn’t willing to talk about your future. Think about it. If you guys were talking about making a big purchase of his most awesome dream item (sports car or boat or insert really expensive thing here), making a plan for how to save, what you were going to sacrifice so he could buy X and the timeline, do you think he would feel presssure? Do you think he would avoid the conversation? No, he would gladly talk about it. The only time you feel “pressure” about something is when you don’t want to do it. 

Post # 25
Member
34 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I agree with the other posters. This isn’t just his life– it’s hers too. My fiance drug his feet a bit too after looking at rings and about 6 months later I made us sit down and have a brutally honest discussion about what we wanted in our lives, when to expect an engagement, etc. I told him then that I was ready and that he had a couple months to think on it, but I wouldn’t wait around forever because he should know after 3 years together. I asked if he wanted to look at rings together again, and he took me up on it. We found the perfect one there and a month or so later he proposed! I think guys just have a stronger tendency to not feel a rush or take the next step– so she needs to make sure he knows this is important and see what he does with that information!

Post # 27
Member
1807 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

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dalia88 :  you can go back and read many posts here on the Bee that are identical. Not to be harsh, but he’s stalling because he doesn’t want to marry her. He took her shopping for rings, that bought him 6 months, she asked about his timeline and he said 2018 – so he’s bought himself another year – next year it will be another excuse (I don’t have the money to buy a ring right now, let me save up, I’m worried about my job- we can’t go wasting money right now, etc…). Next thing she knows she’s 40 years old and wondering where her 30’s went. 

Post # 28
Member
5891 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

That’s great that he gave her a 6 month timeline. But she needs to have a walk date. Don’t tell him about it. Make it 7 months from now. When at 6 months he hasn’t proposed, she needs to start making plans to move on. Again, don’t tell him. He promised her in 6 months he’d do it. So either he does or he talks to her about why there is a delay. If he he doesn’t propose and doesn’t tell her why the deadline has passed, that makes him a liar. 

Once her plans are in place, then she tells him. 

Post # 29
Member
33 posts
Newbee

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dalia88 :  I’m really glad to hear they had that talk and that he was receptive to her feelings. See, this is why it’s so important to avoid assuming what’s going on in another person’s head. I sigh heavily when I see these comments that say what the SO is thinking or feeling or what he is going to do based on other people they’ve known and the limited info given in the OP. Now, time will tell if he follows through, but from your post it sounded like he was pretty sincere. Please update us!

Post # 30
Member
10217 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

View original reply
dalia88 :  

Well I would not be happpy with  this waiting another 6 months. What is he waiting for ? I think he just bought himself a bit more time, and if he really was serious he would have

… told her he loves her and that he understands her point and that she’s right”

followed by   “so will you marry me then-  and let’s look at the weekend for a ring. ”  Not “give me another 6 months” and damn certainly not the pusillanimous  ‘trust me on this”.  

If I were her I would, as pp have said take her own future into her own hands and say something like  ” I love  you and want to marry you and have your children. I think you do love me  too, but the rest is not a prorioty or even  a desire for you , hence the 6 months  and’ trust me’ you just asked for.  Tell me again what exactly the 6 months is for and I’ll tell you whether it’s worth your while to wait it”  

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