Boyfriend's career effecting readiness for marriage

posted 3 years ago in Waiting
Post # 17
7905 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

So if he never progresses professionally, he’ll never marry you? There’s no timeline. I’m very driven, so this definitely wouldn’t fly with me. 

Post # 18
488 posts
Helper bee

Agree with PP that his plan to get there is important. If he says for example that he has started a budget to help him save, and has calculated it will take six months to pay off his car, that sounds reasonable. If he says “yeah one day I might get a better job, who knows” then I think its an excuse.

My ex had $50k of credit card debt and would say we couldn’t move in together until he had paid it off. Seems reasonable, but he never even started to try to pay it off, even though he had a high paying job. He instead got in to more debt and I started feeling like he was subconciously doing it on purpose, as an excuse. Years passed but it went up instead of down – to $100K. How could we move in together now, he said. I sometimes reflect on the fact that a man who professed to love me would incur a 100k debt to avoid moving in with me. I feel very confused and sad about it. 

Post # 19
1256 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

My Darling Husband was verbatim your bf a couple years ago. He would talk vaguely about marriage and kids and wanting all that but as soon as I pushed for timeline specifics he would squirm and get all evasive. We were 28 at the time and all I could get from him when pushing about marriage and kids was “I dunno…early thirties?” His reasoning was the same as your Boyfriend or Best Friend, wanted to be further along in his career, wanted us to have a more settled life (we had been moving a lot), blah blah.

Now I’m not a discrete person nor am I a “go with the flow” type. I am a Type A planner who speaks my mind and he knew this from day 1. So I laid it out for him. I said OK, you want a kid at 32. I need to be pregnant at 31. You want a couple years of marriage without kids to set ourselves up financially, that makes marriage at 29. We both agree we want a summer wedding, so that means we’re looking at a wedding in 11-14 months. I need a year to plan the wedding, so that means you have 3 months maximum to propose. Now I did not set an ultimatum. 

There were 2 things going on for him. THe first is that he had never actually worked backwards. Like other PPs have said, it’s like he thought that at 32 we could just snap our fingers and instantaneously have everything at once. SNAP married with a baby. So convenient not to have to plan the wedding or be pregnant for 9 months! *eye roll* So laying out that timeline made him realize that I wasn’t just demanding marriage out of the blue, I was planning around HIS stated wants & needs.

Second thing was a much deeper problem. He didn’t feel like he was where he’d be in life when he had imagined marriage and steps toward starting a family. We all imagine our futures and have excectations and real life was just much messier than his imaginings. He had always imagined everything as beingnicely linear: undergrad, grad school, entry level job, nice management job, financially comfortable, marriage, house, children, — all in a nice linear trajectory. He was struggling with the non-linear realities of life and feelings of “falling behind”. Most of those feelings were rooted in his career and our financial situation (not unhealthy, but we weren’t and still aren’t “rolling in dough”). 

For him the vague “early  thirties”  and hesitation to commit to a deadline were stalling tactics, but he wasn’t stalling because he was unsure in anyway about our relationship or wanting to marry me. He was stalling because he was trying to get his life to what he always imagined it would be like before marrying. I made it clear that we’d get life to that point together, as a married couple, and that life doesn’t stop progressing as soon as you say your “I dos”. Now it’s not like this was totally new information for him — but obviously all these thoughts were emotional responses not logical thought processes for him. Talking through all the logic helped him come to term with these emotions and he overcame his hesitations.


ETA: Clarity 

Post # 20
333 posts
Helper bee

this sounds like my ex bf… 

He was alot older than me and he was ” READY” to get married when he first met me. I didn’t want to get married right away, but he was always talking about how his mom is pressuring him and he wants us to head there. Blah blah balh, half a year into the relationship , I think he was not happy with his career ( bar-tending full time ) I had no problems with it. I was originally heading off to law school, I told him it is okay if I am the main provider, there is no pressure ( he knew this before dating we talked about it and he was totally cool) He suddenly went off in the opposite direction. He told me he will never want to have kids or get married unless he can make enough to buy them anything in the world. He also told me I had to be a house wife LOL????!!!!! not if i want to be but I HAD to be. I am suddenly siting here like wtf?  He did nothing but sleep , drink and go out with friends for the next year. Nothing to improve his career basically… I knew he will never achieve his finical safety net for marriage , and due to personality differences I decided to leave. 


The following year I started to date my husband and he proposed pretty quickly, he was my best friend for a while. He lived in Sf and I lived in nyc so dating casually was out of the question, it had to be marriage bond or else we wanted to go separate ways. We never tried before because of the distance, he had to do his publication research while working in Sf and I had school left in nyc. When we did try, he had to sell everything and move to nyc, it was amazing. I never had to aks him once. After moving in one and half year later, fedex delivered my engagement ring. However we are waiting for my husband’s career to advance before we want to have our first child =/ 


Post # 21
1362 posts
Bumble bee

I think it sounds more like he’s balking at the idea of kids in the next 2-4 years and is stalling marriage as a way of putting it off. 

Post # 22
7002 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

TravelingBride31 :  This. All of this.

jennifer1989 :  People are often quick to jump on the “he’s stalling” train, but that’s not always the cast. I think a huge part of it, at least from my experience, is that a lot of men just don’t understand how long things take. It’s not until you REALLY map out things that a lightbulb goes off.

My Darling Husband was very similar when it came time to TTC. Like a typical man he had in his head that the second we decided to TTC we’d be pregnant and a baby would be here. Logically he knows that it takes 9 months but really guys don’t think like we do. It took *two* conversations really explaining the process to him before he really understood it. He really thought you had sex and…..BOOM….pregnant. It took explaining that there’s really a small window each month where it’s even biologically possible, and even then it doesn’t happen right away….and once you do it’s still 9 months from that. Once I took the time to explain to him exactly how long of a process it is, he realized “oh man it really doesn’t happen that quick”. Here we are almost 12 months into TTC still not pregnant and now he’s wishing we’d started a little earlier than we did.

Marriage is much the same way. Just because you get engaged doesn’t mean the date is set ASAP. It could take a few months to find a venue and date that works, and then you still need to plan, etc. I think you really need to sit down and have a serious conversation with him. Lay it all on the table and say “this isn’t some sort of required timeline but you need to visually see just how long of a process this is”. You aren’t just engaged and married on the same day (unless you elope…ha!).

Post # 23
5916 posts
Bee Keeper

Marriage is a partnership so I’m not understanding why he’s throwing up roadblocks to getting engaged and married because he’s worried about future finances when you have children- isn’t that something you could be building toward together as a married couple? Sorry Bee, sounds like excuses and it’s concerning that he won’t even discuss a timeline with you. I wouldn’t move in with him without engagement and a firm wedding date. And if my biological clock was ticking, I wouldn’t waste time on someone who won’t even discuss the reality of this with me in concrete terms. So unfair of him to leave you in the dark on where he stands on pretty much anything. 

Post # 25
688 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I understand this frustration. My Fiance and I dated for almost four years before he proposed and we never really had a concrete discussion about marriage until we were engaged, because I knew I was ready before he did (he’s a slow decision maker and once he makes a decision, he’s all-in, so I knew getting engaged would follow that same pattern) and because we were in grad school for half of our pre-engagement relationship and spent the next two years getting a bit more secure in building our careers. One thing that helped me was that we work in the same place and I had a good sense of what concrete, specific career achievements were a good sign of stability—I used that knowledge to help me be patient, because I could remember: “Okay, he’s going to be way too busy with work stuff to worry about a wedding until XYZ happens, so I’m just going to focus on enjoying our relationship and continuing to make it strong!” That really helped me. Maybe y’all can have a more concrete discussion about what career stability would look like for him, so you can have a clearer picture of how far along in his mental process he is?

Post # 26
4253 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

The thing is that to be married you don’t necessarily need to be in a good financial position.  My husband proposed when he was still in school.  He is still working temp jobs right now; he has not found a full time long term position yet.  He was unemployed for 8 months last year, which was dreadful, but we became stronger because of that.  We work together and we are better and stronger together.

If you waited until things were “perfect” you would never get married.  There will always one more thing.  One more goal.  One more financial timetable.  For example: I hated bringing debt into our marriage, but my husband and I tackled it together and now it’s almost gone.  If I had waited until my debt was paid off we still wouldn’t be married, and probably wouldn’t be for another few years.  That is also the beauty of our marriage too — we build each other up and help each other accomplish our life goals, and financial goals.

Post # 27
88 posts
Worker bee

I haven’t read all the comments but it just baffles me that people think they’ll land the job of their dreams and then everything in life will be all fine and dandy.


What would happen if your So did get a promotion but then realised it wasn’t for him I.e. Stress, mental health or if the company went bust or if he got laid off? 


I worked hard throughout my 20’s in order to get a good career I was very capable in my skills, qualications had an envious salary but it turned out I wasn’t good with stress at a certain level which then began to affect my career and I got the sack. 


This caused a lot of unexpected financial issues as I thought I was set for life, although I since started a business which is very successful I may add. My partner was given the job of his dreams only for the company to go bust,  an uncle of mine had a very successful business for many years but due to the recession he went bust.


The moral of the story is that nothing in life is concrete,  Yes certain factors help you get off to a good start but you sound like you are off to a good start so what is stopping your SO from taking the next step in your relationship and still building his career when you are engaged or married?  Life doesn’t come to a standstill once you get married or have kids.

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