- 4 months ago
- Wedding: May 2020
Hi all! I apologize and thank you in advance, since I know this is about to be quite the novel (is there a word max? haha!) I asked a wedding/bridesmaid related question a few months back, and ya’ll were so helpful I figured I’d come get an outsider’s perspective on my relationship “decision.”
I’ve been with my boyfriend going on 2 years. In the beginning, it was amazing, as it always is (I won’t bore you with all of the details.) But I honestly felt like I was in high school again, staying up until 4 AM just talking, dancing together on the rooftop deck, just being so ridiculously head over heels in love, etc. I met him on a dating app (which I was against, but my sister made me sign up for it.) I had just broken up with another guy about a month or so prior, when I met my now boyfriend. He was the complete opposite of the other guy I broke it off with, and we fell super hard, super fast.
Now, I’m traditionally a very independent lady, and have an awesome time being single. I don’t really date around a lot, I just like to get up and fly to go see family and friends on a whim, take that beach vacation at the last minute, and peruse the aisles of Target for hours on end without someone blowing up my phone, asking me where I am. However, I DO want to settle down. Badly. I just turned 35 last week, so you can imagine my biological clock has been ticking away for years now. My gyno telling me the other day that if I were to get pregnant, I would be considered “advanced maternal age,” didn’t help matters either. Seriously, doc. WTF? I know I’m no spring chicken, but I also don’t feel like my uterus is full of dust and cobwebs. I know I shouldn’t worry about that (she also said, “Oh but we had a woman just give natural birth to her baby and she’s 44!”) but it’s still on my mind. I want a family. I know I’d make a great mom and wife. But here I am. 35 and spilling my guts to people I don’t even know about my fertility fears.
I just have never wanted to “settle” for anyone – I have quite the roster of ex boyfriends, many of them leading towards the “forever” route but for one reason or another (majority of reasoning being they were absolute assholes) it didn’t work. I’ve broken up with most of my boyfriends, and it’s usually because I start to see past their bull and know I deserve better. I will admit, I DO have a problem choosing partners. I seem to end up with the verbally abusive, lazy, angry at the world types. And I don’t know why – I am honestly one of the most positive and upbeat people you’ll meet. I try to make the best out of every situation, I’m super adaptable and I’m not sure why I keep ending up with men like this! Anyway, I digress…back to my current situation.
As I said, in the beginning, it was so fun with my boyfriend. We’d go out, have a blast, go home and we’d both be counting down the hours to when we could do it again. He was fun! I’m a very social person, and I do love to partake in going out to dinner, hanging out at a local watering hole, going to sporting events or even just inviting friends over for a BBQ. And with my job (which drives me crazy most days) I do like to unwind at the end of the day with a glass (or two) of wine or a cocktail. In the beginning, he seemed to fit into this lifestyle as well. And it’s definitely not an every day thing. But as the years have went on, it’s like a switch went off. He absolutely hates going anywhere, and he just stopped drinking. Now, I know it’s healthier to NOT drink, I get it. And I’m fine with him not drinking, I respect it. But he judges me every time I crack open a bottle of wine. And makes me feel bad, and like I’m an alcoholic. He also says he doesn’t understand why I feel the need to go out all the time (I literally MAYBE go out once every other month with friends, if even that.) We’ve moved in together in a rural part outside of the city, and I’ve basically gotten rid of my social life in order to do so. I do love hanging out at our beautiful house, but I also miss modern conveniences and just being able to socialize a little more. I just feel like he did a complete 180 on me, and changed who he was, mid-relationship. I understand there’s a time to grow up and start focusing on a family, but since we both don’t have those familial obligations yet, and he’s nowhere near proposing (he’s told me) I feel like we can still have a little fun. Geez. Life is short, right??
I know I mentioned that I love to go on trips to see family and friends. I am very close with the loved ones in my life, and we try to make it a point to be a part of big occasions (milestone birthdays, weddings, retirement parties, baby showers, etc.) My boyfriend knew this about me when we first started dating. Now it’s as if I am committing the ultimate sin just because I went to my best friend’s bachelorette party that she’s literally been planning for 5 years. He says he doesn’t get why I feel the need to see my friends and family all the time (I don’t. I live 1,000+ miles away from most of them) and how I choose others over him. Me going away for a weekend trip with my BFF is hardly choosing her over him, especially since we live together. Or am I crazy? He complains I use all of my PTO from work on other people besides him. This is not true. I would gladly use my PTO to go on a trip with him, but we never plan to go anywhere! He’s been to see my family a few times with me, and all of this was agreed upon beforehand. But afterwards, he just complains that we always see my family and never do anything for “us.” Now corona has put a dent in any travel plans lately, but he just doesn’t get that I am open and willing to go on trips with him, we just need to plan them. My family and friends being proactive and planning stuff years in advance has nothing to do with me not wanting to save my time for him. I’m not sure how else to explain it. And maybe I’m being a bitch, but we live together. We have chances every single day to spend quality time together. I know vacations are great, but doesn’t quality time on an every day basis count for something? And now a super bitchy comment – I would love to go on vacation with him, but how much fun would a constant complaining, sober person be? I want my partner and I to go let loose and have fun on vacation. I am afraid of being judged for ordering one too many pina coladas or something. He may be different on a trip, I don’t know that. But the reason I love seeing my family and friends is because we all know how to let loose and have a wonderful time. Sometimes, I’m unsure if he’s capable of that. His nature, maybe? We did go to Tahoe once, which ended in a screaming match and a ton of tears. So who knows?
Speaking of my family…let’s just say he and my sister had a falling out about a month ago. We were visiting my parents one state away, and my sister, brother in law and 5 year old twin nephews came to visit as well. I love my family and I’m very close with them. My nephews are a major part of my life – I helped my sister out a lot during their toddler years (military family) and became sort of a second mom to them for a period of 2 years. Anyway, they’re 5 and rambunctious and many people who aren’t used to being around small children, may get annoyed. I get it. I’m not making excuses for them. They’re kind of little monsters sometimes. I try my best to keep them away from my boyfriend when we’re visiting. This particular day, my boyfriend didn’t like the way my nephew was playing with our dog and snapped at him. Yelled, even. I broke it up and went to scold my nephew in a more constructive way. He listened to me. But at this point, my sister told me that she didn’t want my boyfriend around the kids anymore. So we left. And I was heartbroken. A part of me thought this could blow over, but on the way home, my boyfriend tells me that he wants nothing to do with my nephews, that they’re going to grow up to be terrible humans, he can’t stand my sister, she’s a terrible mom, no discipline, and he never wants to see them again. For me, this is basically unacceptable. I just can’t fathom my sister or nephews not being in my life, and I know how hard it will be for me to try and manage both (stay with my boyfriend and keep a relationship with my sister.) He knows this too, that I won’t be giving up my relationship with my sister. And I think it pisses him off even more.
Now, I already talked to my sister and she profusely apologized for her actions that day. She has always just wanted the best for me, and the natural progression of the conversation turned into “but does he make you happy?” She even told me that her and the boys would have been up to visit me in my new house (we moved in last October) but she’s deathly afraid of bringing them around my boyfriend. She’s felt this way since early on in our relationship, and knows that he snaps. My sister feels uncomfortable coming to see me. Wow. With me being such a family and social person, you can see how these words just broke my heart. I want my house to be welcoming, warm and open to all. I want my family, especially my nephews, to be excited to come see me and to look forward to our family gatherings. However, it’s not just “my” house (I guess it’s not really “my” house at all, in technical terms.) But this comment made me very sad. That’s the opposite of how I want others to feel about my partner.
I honestly can’t answer the “does he make you happy” part right now. He and I have had some pretty bad fights, to where I’m left in a lump on the floor, bawling my eyes out. He has a way of cutting me down and making me feel as if I deserve to be talked to this way. He’s dangled the marriage thing in front of me, saying things like, “why would I want to marry someone who doesn’t care about me?” I’m not sure what I’m doing to show that I don’t care about him. He acts like I do nothing around the house expect make dinner. He doesn’t realize I work a full time job, do all of the grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, dog walking and vet visits, AND am working on my MBA full time. His job allows him to be at home basically all week, give or take a day or two (he’s on call and only goes in when needed.) He’s taking classes too to finish his undergrad, but somehow complains that I’m not supporting him in his school endeavors – apparently, us going to my parents house was not supporting him bc he didn’t get any schoolwork done – I told him he had a free pass to stay home that weekend but he insisted on going. I’m selfish, for wanting to visit friends. I’m a workaholic. And basically an unsupportive partner. And when he says this, I actually start to believe it, although I’m not sure what part of me is being unsupportive. He acts like I should treat him like a husband, when he’s not a husband. His commitment he’s shown me is buying our house (although he likes to say he did it “for me,” I’m sure he had some interest in it too.) He says he has stuck around our city for me, otherwise he would have went overseas and make a TON of money. Now, he wants to go to law school so we can have a future together. He said he actually cares about his life now, and a part of me is feeling like he thinks I should be super grateful for his decision. Of course I’m grateful he doesn’t want to put himself in harms way for a profession. But I also am tired of feeling guilty because of all of his ”sacrifices.”
But on the other hand, he is the first man I’ve ever trusted 100% (as far as cheating goes, he would never.) I know he’d try and help me in any way possible, and he really does care for me. He’s pushed me to go back to school to get my MBA to better myself, he’s also in school to help create a better future for us, he bought the house we’re currently in and shares most of the financial responsibility, etc. Which is just strange that he thinks he can talk to me or my family that way.
He’s never had an issue with my parents, but now of course since this nephew debacle was a catalyst, they’ve started voicing their opinions too. They’ve said they don’t like the way he speaks to me (he’s very sarcastic and likes to poke fun a lot – which I’m never offended but I can see how others would perceive it.) They have also witnessed, at times, when I would be packing the car, unloading groceries, etc. and he would either still be asleep or just not helping.
I guess I should share a little bit of background on him – he’s former military. He grew up in a strict, military household too. He’s very opinionated and is very protective of his views – it’s basically his way or the highway. He has problems sleeping from time to time (actually right now his sleep schedule is opposite of mine – he is up all night and sleeps all day.) I see this being a larger issue, but again, I digress. And of course, once I started asking a few close friends about their honest opinion of our relationship, they too, have said they’ve witnessed the way he talks and treats me, and doesn’t like it either. He was also a major bummer and jerk when my best friend came to visit last year. He snapped at her fiance, who just recently shared this info with me, because he didn’t want to hurt me and wanted to ensure that my friend and I continued to enjoy our time together that weekend. He snapped over a GAME. Like, my friend’s fiance was asking the rules of a particular game, my boyfriend snapped because I guess he was getting frustrated, and my friend’s fiance just walked away. Needless to say, I was disapointed when I found out he treated my visiting friends this way.
If you’re still with me, I love you. I know this is a doozy of a post. But that gets me to my summary. In my heart, I love this man. He means well, and I know he would do anything for me. I want the absolute best for him. We actually have all of these future plans together. He will be applying to law school in the fall. We will be out of our current city in a year, which means I have to find employment wherever he gets accepted, and will have to “carry” us financially for the most part. I have no issue doing that for someone I care about and who is trying to better themself. He is wanting to go to school back in my hometown across the country, which is semi-awesome, but it’s also me thinking “hmm, didn’t I work very hard for 20+ years to get out of this town?” It’s a great place, don’t get me wrong. But I’m a little anxious that moving back there will be a step backwards for me, as far as my career is concerned. I also don’t think he’s interested in getting married or starting a family until he’s done with law school and has his first “real” job. So what’s that…3, 4 years? I’ll be 38, 39? Cool. I appreciate that he’s bettering himself for the greater good of our future together. I do see that and am grateful. I also realize relationships have ups and downs, and take hard work. I don’t want to give up on this just because we have some issues to work through. But I also don’t want to waste my time if there is no sense in trying to make things work if its just not in our destiny, you know?
However, getting along with my family and friends is something he would HAVE to do, and I’m just not sure it’s in the cards. I don’t expect them to be best friends, I’ve never asked for that. But I would want for him to treat them with respect out of love for me. I’ve always treated his family and friends with respect, and wouldn’t think of treating them any differently. I’ve also witnessed the way he speaks with his own parents. He’s very harsh. He’s yelled at his mom, when she was just asking a simple question. He and his dad basically fight nonstop when he comes to visit. Now, me originally being from the south, that’s a show of bad manners and you just don’t do that! Even if my mom pissed me off beyond belief, I would never yell at her like he did, especially when she’s traveled to come visit you. Again…am I crazy? Red flag? I think I know my answer.
And to put the icing on the cake (and you’re probably wanting to scream at me right now, and if you don’t, you will after this) I recently found out he’s technically been married before. I do not care in the slightest that he’s been married before, but I do care that we’ve been dating almost 2 years and I’m just finding out about it. Our mutual friends even knew and I didn’t! Apparently he chose not to share it with me, because it’s when he was in the military and wasn’t even a “real” marriage (he did it for extra money and she did it to get out of living in the barracks?) Again, not sure how bull this story is. As I started to ask more questions, I find out his parents, grandparents, brother…the whole damn family went to this ceremony. He tried to act like it wasn’t a real wedding. UM, that’s what I call a real wedding. He said something about it being dissolved in a matter of months or something, but still…so strange. And he actually got mad at ME about it. Like, why was I so upset over something that happened in his past? I honestly wasn’t upset he was married at all. I’m open to date divorced men, men with kids…it doesn’t matter, we all have a past. I was upset that he made it out to be such a small deal when it was obviously a full-blown wedding. Ok, you can scream at me whenever, lol.
Bottom line is, I’ve been holding on hope that things would return to how they were in the beginning. We’ve talked about marriage and kids, and careers…and we’re on the same page. We share a lot of the same beliefs. And as mentioned before, I’m 35. I’m not getting younger. I know he would be a good provider for his family, and I’m wondering if all of this is just stuff I need to overlook in order to have a family, or if I should choose the unknown? The unknown is scary – a 35 year old woman, single, not sure what her next move is, while everyone else seems to have it all figured out, are having babies, getting married, etc. I am just aware of the stigma, like something is wrong with me. I mean, maybe there is? I just really thought life would be different by this point. I am well aware that I have a lot of offer in a relationship. I am not perfect in any way, and I’m sure my independence deters some men from pursuing a relationship with me. But I have a great, stable career I’ve worked very hard for. I’m financially independent, I stay in shape, I never meet a stranger, I am super close with my family, I have a great circle of friends…I often wonder if I’m just supposed to stay single? I do realize how blessed I am to have all of the above, but I can’t help but yearn for a special person to be by my side as I continue to grow.
Am I holding on because I’m afraid I’m too old and there’s nothing better out there for me? Should I continue to give this relationship a chance, because something is better than nothing? (I know that’s not true, I just want to hear some thoughts.) Has anyone else been in a similar situation whilst at an “advanced maternal age?” lol. I know what my gut is saying. But my heart feels so indifferent. I forgot to mention…we have a dog together. And this dog is my life. We paid for this dog 50/50, but his name is on all of the paperwork. I could also see him reasoning that since I’m the one that wants to leave, he gets to keep the dog. I will be devastated. Sadly, the dog has kept me in the “indifferent” zone for longer than I probably should be, because I can’t bear the thought of losing him. Ok, now I KNOW I’m crazy!
Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate any feedback or comments – just give it to me straight, I admire honesty and most of my friends are brutally honest to the point where it hurts sometimes. Hence, why they are my friends. I also really wanted to share this info with outsiders, in the case that maybe I’m being too harsh, or the a-hole, or indeed, the unsupportive partner. Maybe I can’t see it? Writing all of this out was actually very therapeutic, so if anything, thank you for giving me a forum in order to do this. xoxo