(Closed) He is proposing but I am scared – not sure if our life plans can match

posted 4 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
3721 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

You need to share these exact fears with your boyfriend. Your wants and needs are completely legitimate as are his but this is a conversation that needs to happen now rather than after the fact. Those are huge life choices that could cause resentment later on if they aren’t addressed now. 

Post # 3
1837 posts
Buzzing bee

greentomato:  I think you need to tell him that you need more time. 

Post # 4
1200 posts
Bumble bee

A few things:

1. Have you talked to him about your concerns with a timeline with kids? Just because he has a timeline in mind doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about it, get married, and wait until you are both comfortable with the time frame. 

2. Whether or not you should marry this guy is a decision only you can make. Is it worth losing him in your life to preserve your freedom and independence? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but only you know the answer to that. Marriage does mean sacrificing yourself wholly for another person, and that person sacrificing im or herself entirely for you. It is not a trap of any sort, it is not a death sentence, but it does require giving up some control. 

3. You don’t have to be a stay at home mom to have a family. I never plan to stay at home. You don’t even need to have a family ever if you don’t want to, but the important thing is that you and your Boyfriend or Best Friend are communicating about this and can reach an agreement. If you are in two totally different spots regarding family and children, and you can’t reach any resolution, then it might be a deal-breaker, but you owe it to yourselves to try talking it through. 

Post # 5
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Um, yes you CAN ask your Boyfriend or Best Friend to wait longer in response to marriage, and you should because agreeing to marriage with all of your insecurities would not be doing him any favors. 

I’m only going to address the wife and kids part and really only because I was in academia (although humanities–are you in sciences?). You really need to figure out what having kids and taking care of them mean to the both of you. It doesn’t sound like you are committed to being CFBC, but that you are just unsure of how kids will integrate into your life (and perhaps whether you want to integrate them at all). That’s a normal (and healthy) consideration. I can’t tell you where to land on having the kids in general; I CAN tell you that the two of you must, must, must be on the same page in terms of what you envision as your family set-up. That means that if he intends that YOU be the one to take over childcare in a more traditional set-up, I would be concerned. I would STILL be concerned even if he said that he’s okay with you not being a Stay-At-Home Mom, if it’s still his underlying expectation that you would be responsible for managing the household outside of your career. Multiply my concern by 10 if he himself grew up in a more traditional home with a mother who did all the childcare and housework–not becuase he can’t change or think differently, but becuase at the end of the day, that’s would be his template and the one he’d be more likely to want to replicate for himself. Believe me when I tell you that as an academic myself, I’ve encountered couples in which the man never truly expected his own career aspirations to be secondary–to his wife’s, to his homelife, etc. purely becuase that kind of balance/sacrifice was not something he understood. Do not sign up for a situation in which you suspect that your man will continually expect YOU to accommodate the homelife at the expense of your career, but not do the same himself. 

As a woman in academia, I honestly did find the ivory tower more boys’ club than is often realized, even in my more female-dominated field. I ended up having a child and doing so affected my publication output and there wasn’t exactly a whole lot of support for taking leave. It left me at a disadvantage when competing for jobs, one I see reflected in other female academic mothers. Just within my graduate school cohort, out of the women who became mothers and stayed in academia, only two have made tenure–and both of them, perhaps not coincidentally, are married to spouses, one of whom is a Stay-At-Home Dad and the other is some sort of stockbroker who is in private practice and works from home. There are two who are sort of languishing in junior faculty/adjuncting (although I can’t say that’s a direct result of the kids per se), and two who left after having kids (again, that may have been happily, though). It’s definitely NOT impossible to have children and be in academia, but we are talking about a field that for a very long time was occupied by a bunch of straight, white men whose sole purpose was the pursuit of knowledge and didn’t have to worry about laundry and cooking and toilet training, and in a lot of ways, those biases are still a carryover, fyi. 

Now, I grew up with two working, high-powered career parents (attorneys, and one eventually a judge). They simply outsourced–we went to daycare and had babysitters; they had a housekeeper, gardener, etc. My mom did most of the cooking and household management (ie, she was the one who signed us up for t-ball and stuff), but she was not about to scrub tubs and mop floors, and they both did their fair share of soccer games and scouting on weekends. I had a great childhood, and it was a wonderful role model to have a working, career-oriented mother (and father too). But bear in mind, for one, this kind of set-up requires a lot of financial investment–way easier for two attorneys riding out of the economic surplus of the boomer era than two attorneys even in today’s economic climate, let alone two academics. Furthermore, I mention this because it’s sort of how things had to function in order for my mother to be happy nurturing her career. If my dad had been the type to reject spending money on a housekeeper because “the wife” should do it, or balked at the idea of “strangers” raising his kids or something like that, it wouldn’t have worked. My mother traveled a lot for her work and my dad accepted that was how their life was going to be–he didn’t make her feel like she was less of a mom and/or that the household suffered because she did so; they simply called in the babysitters and we got a week of eating pizza and ramen. But again, my dad is the kind of guy who loved my mother FOR her go-getter personality and both of them understood that frankly, being a mom and a wife weren’t her primary roles (they may have been emotionally but not in terms of where she put most of her time). That’s why I cautioned you as I did above. Make sure it’s not just about the kids, but you have that discussion in terms of how you envision setting up your LIFE. 

Post # 6
2866 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

greentomato:  You don’t sound ready at all.  Also if you think of him as “a guy”, you don’t really sound like you are even sure of him.

Post # 7
7764 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

“I can’t ask my bf to wait longer for my response about the marriage, he wants to decide right now.”

You CAN ask him, and you must. It’s nice that he wants to decide right now, but you don’t, so he needs to cool his jets or risk losing you. Definitely do not allow yourself to be pressured into marrying him before you are ready. If he really loves you in a healthy way, he’ll give you time (within reason) to figure it all out.

Post # 8
4252 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

This entire post is full of so many reasons why you and your boyfriend aren’t at all on the same page.  Honestly I don’t know if you will ever get on the same page.  It sounds like he has this vision of what he wants your relationship to be and how he wants it to progress.  Which is fine…but your vision is VASTLY different.  Which is also fine, but NOT if you want to stay together.

It is time to have an open and honest conversation between the two of you to decide if this is going to work.  I honestly think it is time to break it off and find SO’s who are on the same page as you…UNLESS you are both willing to compromise.  This will be a difficult decision and a difficult conversation, but a necessary one.

Post # 9
661 posts
Busy bee

I don’t get why you have to decide now when you guys might not even be in the same state for another two years. It’s not feasible for you to move in the middle of your studies and who knows where postdoc will take him. I also think it is important to live together before deciding on marriage. 

Post # 10
5161 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2010

Ugh, lost my post. In sum:

1. Do not get married under pressure. This cannot be just about what he wants.

2. Do not get married expecting all of this to just work out.

3. Time to have an honest, open, direct talk about future goals, expectations, wants, needs. This all needs tone on the table, and it sounds like to me you are kind of just…letting him twlk about what he wants  and you are not communicating what you want. Ultimately, you might be very incompatible in that respect and will need to go your separate ways. 

4. Marriage does not have to be a trap at all. My husband and I both feel we have a lot of freedom in our marriage, we are still individuals, and we support each others individuality and individual goals. But, if you think you need to push down your own goals and needs, then yeah, it will feel like a trap.

Post # 11
3877 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

RayKay: I absolutely agree. I am very fortunate that my Fiance has always been very supportive of my career ambitions. He moved cities for my job and has never made me feel guilty about it.

OP, I agree with PP that it is so important to speak your mind and not just go along with what your SO wants. If you’re not sure you want the same things or you’re worried that he won’t give you the freedom and support to pursue the career you’ve been working so hard for, then you should talk to him. Figure out what you want and tell him. But please, don’t accept a proposal unless and until you’ve spoken with him about this in depth and are on the same page.

Post # 12
840 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I think you need to get to the same city and live together before you decide. LDR to marriage is a huge jump for anyone, much less someone unsure about married life.

Post # 13
1980 posts
Buzzing bee

Your post is full of deal-breakers. You are not on the same page at all about the future, and you HAVE to have expectations in place before entertaining marriage. Put the brakes on the proposal plan, and talk about your future together. What family means. What raising a family means. What you think marriage will prevent you from doing, soul-searching wise.

If he doesn’t want to wait, if he doesn’t want to give you time to decide, then your decision is made, and the decision is no.

Post # 14
5880 posts
Bee Keeper

Either he has been pushing to have things his way, oblivious to what you want, or you haven’t been clear/honest with him what you want. But a very serious conversation is overdue. It makes a big difference if your timelines are just a little off & compromise is possible (ie he wants kids in one year, you want kids in four or five years) or if they are completely different, incompatible timelines.


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