- 5 years ago
If you’re not in the mood to read a novel, you’re probably not in the mood to read this post.
I have posted a few times about relationship woes with my partner, and also a few times about being really happy. If I’m being honest, there is more happiness in my relationship than gets posted on this site, because it’s easier to talk with friends in person about good things, and easier to go to objective strangers on the internet for bad things. We’ve been together since Nov 2010 (4 years). We’re both 23, and we’re both in school. I’m in a teacher education program, and he’s in the first (out of 2) year of his master’s degree (MA). Everything was glorious, and quite frankly, peachy keene in our relationship until about a year in, my best friend and her boyfriend got engaged. She knew it was coming, he told her at about a year he was going to propose, and did so a year later. He’s older than us though, I think he’s 27 or 28.
Anyway, for another year after my friend’s engagement started (from our 1st anniversary ish to our second) things were still great, I had a tiny nagging at the back of my head about wanting to get engaged, and SO and I talked about the future in a loose way that didn’t actually ask “are we going to get married some day?” but he was very clear in all of our future talk saying things like “when we” and “our kids” and “our house” etc. For our two year anniversary I asked for jewellery of some sort because I was feeling a little left out, all my girl friends who had long term SOs had some piece of jewellery from him they could wear every day and I thought that was really sweet. I didn’t ask for anything specific, and certainly nothing expensive. I got a set of earrings and a necklace that were lab-created white sapphires. They’re gorgeous, and they still get quite a bit of wear two years later. Just before I opened the box he gave me a warning that it wasn’t a ring, and that was ok. But then I started thinking “what if it was, what if it could have been?” and I got kind of obsessed with the idea.
Over the last two years we have had lots of conversations about getting married. Some I’m very proud of for my maturity and understanding, others I’m embarrassed to even think of my behaviour. I guess you win some and you lose some. It has never been my intention to corner him into a proposal, but being a bit of a control freak, some form of structured plan (i.e. before our 5 year anniversary, or by the time I’m done my MA, or before our 8th anniversary- just anything so I could stop wondering so much and come to terms with the length I’d be waiting). But I never get anything like that from him, I get loosy goosy timelines that never hold up. For e.g. he once said “after we’re done school” while we were both in our first degrees. I was really happy because I thought he meant after our first degrees were done, not after my teaching degree and his masters. I spent a few days being extremely excited, then I asked to clarify because I had a gut feeling I was wrong, and I was. Then I thought “what’s two more years?”
A lot of you at this point are probably thinking, just give him more time. Four years is plenty long, but you’re still young, still in school.
Anyway, I made a post at the end of October/beginning of Nov on the Bee. I was really excited. I thought this Christmas might be ours. He started sounding really pro-engagement, and I thought it would finally happen. We were about to spend a month away from each other and I thought, this is great! This will give him any time by himself that he needs, it will assure him that he’s better off with me around, he’ll have time to miss me, etc.
Nope. Apparently it felt awkward and forced a couple of the times that we talked on the phone while we were apart. And apparently he’s been harbouring some concerns about our relationship for a while. And apparently I don’t encourage him to be physically fit enough (as if that’s my problem). Anyway, so he comes to our home town and we’re reunited on a Saturday. The next day we start talking about his cousin (has been with his SO for 7 years, and we all figured they’d be getting engaged this Christmas too, but not so) and one thing leads to another and we get into a conversation about us and our future.
I’ll state for the record that he’s really not great with words, and sometimes he really struggles to make conversation in serious situations and will grasp at straws. So he says he’s just not sure if we have a future together. I was heartbroken, obviously. I was a wreck, and I was in my last week of practice teaching starting the next morning after that spat/fight/whatever. So we went to bed because it was too late to keep talking and I needed rest to go to school. He felt awful about saying it, I asked if I needed to find a new place to live, etc. and he said he didn’t want me to, and he didn’t want to break up, etc. We didn’t really talk about it again until Tuesday. I was very very busy doing my practice teaching, and really stressed out, and we got on the subject again, and I was pretty irate. I asked him how he could possibly not be sure if we had a future together after being together for four years and living together for longer than two years. He blurts out that he’s just not sure if he’s in love with me anymore, but he loves me very much. I excused myself to go take a shower, because I didn’t even know how to deal with that. I needed time to think. Time to think didn’t help. I was up until 3am that night we were talking and both of us were crying.
Over the rest of the week we basically decided that we needed to put everything on hold so that I wouldn’t trash my chances at passing my practice teaching. So I let it go until Friday/Saturday when I was done and had a good night’s sleep. Then we discussed whether or not we were breaking up, the consensus was that we didn’t want to do that, so I asked what was going to happen, because my birthday was in three days, and Christmas was the following week, and were we going to tell our families we were fighting, etc. We decided not to. I told three of my friends who all live out of town, and I told him he was welcome to tell anyone he felt could keep it in confidence.
There was a lot of bickering and fighting and crying over the rest of December as I attemted to hide that we were fighting from my friends and family, and he seemed kind of okay that whole time. That really is his super-power, putting things out of his mind.
Fast forward to now (6 weeks later) and we’re doing okay. For me, things are still weird. I’ve made the decision that I don’t feel up to having sex while things are so uncertain, and he’s said he’s ok with that. So we haven’t had sex in 6 weeks, and we’re just getting back into the school routine. We’ve been doing an at-home workout program (PiYo- which is amazing, you should try, I downloaded the whole thing for free online) but I didn’t do it for him, I did it for me and asked him if he wanted to join. I’ve been trying to get my health back on track. We’ve been focussing on trying to get our relationship onto a new track, and figuring out our feelings. We went dogsledding, to a hockey game, on a double date with friends last week, and worked out together 3-4 times. But I can’t shake the uncertainty of our relationship.
I brought this up to him, and we had a few talks about it on the weekend. He basically hasn’t made any progress but wants to keep working on us. He has no idea what that looks like, and I don’t really really know either. I told him that it can’t be words because I don’t believe the “i’m sorry” and “i’ll try to make it better” anymore, and he said that that’s fair. So now I’m just basically waiting it out. Trying to have fun with my best friend (him) and my room mate (him), and trying not to get too caught up in the romantic side of our relationship to give him time to figure stuff out. I’m not really happy with that forever, but I’m willing to wait it out for a little bit.
Time will tell if he’s ever going to change his tune, or whatever. Basically waht I’m saying is, I almost killed our relationship with pressure. And he almost killed it by not taking concerns seriously and basically biding his time hoping the issues would go away, and we’re both trying to work on it. I don’t want to let the relationship go, I want to fight for it. I love this man even though he drives me crazy, and I’m prepared to keep working on it. Maybe not for “as long as it takes” because maybe nothing will ever change. But I’m still young, I’m only in this town until April anyway, so maybe that will just be my unofficial “appraisal” date. If nothing changed by then, maybe I’ll walk.
tl:dr- My relationship has had some rough patches, we both want to work on them, and we’re trying, even though we’re not clear on how to make it work or if it will.