Okay, so a few things surfaced during therapy last night:
First of all, he managed to clarify to me that although the concept of marriage was still frightening to him, that he does want to marry me. He told me that I was the only person he could ever see himself being with for the rest of his life, and that he agreed that marriage was the logical next step, especially if we wanted to have kids. I managed to articullate the fact that his hyperbole was what had thrown me the most about our previous conversation, and he explained that that was something he did when he felt threatened and apologized for it.
I told him that when I brought up marriage and he immediately brought up divorce, it made me suspicious that there was something about our relationship that was making him afraid that we were more likely to split up. He got this look on his face, and after a while he said that it was ironic, because the way I talked about marriage had recently made him feel as though we were in trouble. I was shocked and hurt by this, of course, but I asked him to tell me why, specifically. He said that recently it had begun to feel like I was wrapped up in wedding culture and that I seemed edgy all the time, that I had become distant. He said that the way I talked to him about marriage madeit sound as if it was something we had to do, rather than something I wanted to do (some of you bees picked up on that too). He said he was afraid that I just wanted a husband at this point, but that nothing I did made me feel like I wanted him in particular.
I was stunned, because this is so not the way I feel. I told him that, and that my anxiety came from the fact that I was afraid that his reluctance meant that he wasn’t committed to me, that he was tired of me by now, that we were stuck in adolesence. I could tell that he hated me saying this, but I had to make sure he heard it. The therapist asked me what I needed to feel secure in the relationship, and I straight up told them that recieving some symbol signifying our intention to get legally married (a ring) within the year would mean a lot to me at this point, but that I didn’t want it to be an empty promise, I wanted a strong verbal agreement that we could hold each other accountable for.
The therapist asked my boyfriend if that was something he would feel comfortable giving, and he said something along the lines of yes, if I could give him some kind of assurance that I wanted a ring because I wanted to marry him, not because I wanted to prove something to my sister. I asked him what this had to do with my sister specifically, and that’s when he told me. Apparently, she has been texting him almost daily, “REMINDING” him to propose to me soon or he’ll lose me. Recently it’s just been the ring emoji over and over again. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? On top of that, literally every time we’ve gone over for dinner, my mom has taken him aside and dropped little “hints” (my mother is about as subtle as chainsaw). Needless to say we will be having a family chat about this. I am furious with them.
So I told my boyfriend that my concern for what my family thinks is eroding by the minute, and that while I still need to work on separating their opinions from mine, I am fully capable of making my own decisions. I asked him if my assurance was enough for him, and he said that it was. He seemed really relieved.
When we got home he suddenly asked me whether I needed a year specifically, or if I would be comfortable with getting engaged sooner. I was kind of taken aback and asked him if he was sure he wanted to speed up the timeline. He said he wasn’t sure he believed in timelines, that after this many years together it seemed kind of silly, and that he didn’t see the point in waiting if it was something we both wanted (!).
So that’s where we’ve left it for now :).