Post # 1
My boyfriend and I have been together for 3.5 years and living together for 6 months. I am 27 and he is 30. We initially began discussing marriage exactly one year ago and anticipated a 2019 wedding. In fact, this past summer we even began looking at venues, made our tentative guest list, he showed me a few rings he liked and I showed him some I liked. We even almost locked down a beautiful venue, but cancelled last minute because we felt it was way too expensive (Chicago prices!) and would rather put that money towards an awesome honeymoon or down payment on a house. While I didn’t have a ring yet, we were both on the same page and certain he would propose by the end of the year.
He is now, for the past few months “not ready” to get married anymore. He loves me, says he eventually wants to marry but is unsure when. He can’t even say why he is hesitant all of a sudden – he is working through whether he fears marriage, fears change, or just needs more time. He tells me he cannot imagine living without me, wants me to eventually be his wife, mother of his kids, etc. Furthermore, he cannot give me a timeline. I have continually become discouraged, frustrated, and emotional. My boyfriend and I are grateful to be able to have difficult and honest conversations with each other, in a calm manner, so he knows I am feeling this way and vice versa.
About a month ago, I essentially issued an ultimatum in that if we are not engaged in six months (by May/June 2019) I will walk away. I feel I have already compromised enough by pushing our hypothetical union off until 2020. I love him and truly can’t imagine a future without him, but marriage and starting a family is something I deeply want and need to live the fulfilling life I want for myself.
In the past week, I told him I’m not sure I can even wait another 3 months as he revealed to me he is feeling no differently.
I guess what I am seriously contemplating now is when do I decide enough is enough? I feel like every day that passes that he doesn’t “feel ready” and I end up getting emotional I want to run away, but I want to make sure that I don’t make that decision abruptly without full consideration. I just truly feel that after 3.5 years, there is nothing he doesn’t know about me and should either jump in to marriage or jump out of my life so I can find marriaged and love. He has talked to his friends and his dad, some of whom – particularly his dad – were also “not ready” when they ended up getting married but told him that it was the best decision they ever made. He is adamant that he is NOT going to get married until he is 100% sure he is ready.
Post # 2
Honestly OP, if he isn’t ready to get married after 3.5 years together, I don’t think he will change his mind by the walk date you’ve set. You don’t want to strong arm someone into marriage and if he does end up proposing by x date you will most probably always feel like it was by force and not a genuine desire.
Honestly I’d save yourself the six months of heartbreak and despair and leave because I don’t think he will change his mind in the intervening 25 weeks…
Post # 3
xoxo1988 : I agree with cmsgirl :
I would not remain at this point. Maybe he will suddenly realize he can’t live without you or .. he won’t. However you will have taken back control of your own future and stop living with his rejection. Because that’s what this is, a carefully crafted rejection, designed to keep you on the hook without further commitment on his part! You’ve proposed/asked him to marry you and he is essentially answering you: “maybe later”. You’re worth more than that after 3.5 years from this 30yr old man. Talk is cheap, his actions speak volumes. Let your actions speak for you, move out!
Post # 4
A man will stay in a relationship even when they know it’s not going anywhere (marriage). He is in love, his needs are being met. He feels appreciated in the relationship with no complaints (other than marriage). He’s comfortable in the relationship and there’s nothing inspiring him to make a change (even marriage). He is waiting for either things to change in the relationship for the better (need to find out what his issue is). He could be waiting for someone to come along that will inspire him to leave the relationship. The relationship could be at a point where it’s not bad enough to leave the relationship, as he enjoys spending time with you. It could be he isn’t happy enough in the relationship to commit to the rest of his life. He could be the type of guy that needs to be inspired into a big decision like getting married. He may not have proposed because deep down he’s not happy in the relationship. He may not have figured that out yet. You may be happy but that doesn’t mean he is. He may just be comfortable. If he isn’t happy then he may not propose. It doesn’t mean that he will change to make it better. He may be staying in the relationship because he doesn’t know if he’ll find a better match. You really need to find out what his issue is. I think that you need to make up in your mind if you are willing to stay in this or move on. He doesn’t sound like he wants to marry you. Be specific when you ask him questions. After 3 years he should be ready for marriage. Even if the wedding doesn’t happen for another year. It just sounds like he has doubts about you and the relationship. He doesnt’ want to rock the boat.
Post # 5
I think it would be wise to take a step back at this point Bee. At least move out, take some space and some independence back. As PP said, maybe he’ll finally realise what he’s missing, maybe he won’t – but at this rate that is a chance you owe to yourself.
You will have no control or say in how your relationship progresses so long as he sings to the “not ready” hymn sheet.. So you need to take back some control for yourself. At least then you’ll find out how he really feels about you if he is happy to let you walk or because you dont want the same thing, or you are able to move forward in alignment.
Either way, you deserve to get married if thats what you need, but you dont want someone to marry you under duress, nor should someone who doenst want to get married do so out of pressure etc.
You need to put this relationship to the test now, Bee.
Post # 6
The way I see it, there are two scenarios here:
1. You wait six months, he doesn’t propose, and you’ve wasted your time.
2. You wait six months, he does propose, but you have to live with knowing he proposed because you gave him an ultimatum.
Neither of these are favourable outcomes in my opinion. I think you should start looking for a new place and end the relationship. I’m sorry you’re going through this, bee.
Post # 7
For me, the deciding factor between staying and going is whether there are any concrete measures of “being ready” and they are actually taking steps toward them.
I’m not ready because I want to live with someone for one year and be out of the honeymoon or growing pains period.
I’m not ready because I want to finish my degree first before marrying.
I’m not ready because I have debt that needs to be paid off first and I don’t want to enter marriage with this baggage.
I’m not ready because my job is a temporary contract and I want to be in a more secure position before moving to the next step.
I’m not ready because my dad died and I’m feeling overwhelmed and need a few more months to process this.
And so on and so forth. But if it’s just this nebulous “feeling” with no benchmark or indication of what ready looks like, then no. Not unless you are 100% okay with how things are at this precise moment and the fact that it may not change. If you’re happy with your life as is and indifferent about marriage as long as you know your relationship is secure (plenty of successful long term couples never marry), then stay. But if you aren’t okay with the present long term and he’s not ready and can’t give you concrete reasons or timeframes, then it may be time to accept you are at different stages of your life or want different things and are not compatible.
Post # 8
The point from his dad about not feeling 100% ready but jumping in anyway and it working out for the best is interesting. I’ve heard a lot of people say that about having kids – some people have known since they were little themselves that they want to be a parent, while others take a leap of faith and they’re usually happy they did. But something is still stopping him from taking that leap.
I think you shouldn’t be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you. As soon as an ultimatum comes into play I think that’s not a great sign. But maybe the idea of a lifetime committment is just a little scary to him and he’ll come around? At least you guys have an open line of communication going. I think it’s worth another big conversation. But if it starts looking like he won’t be feeling differently at the end of the ultimatum period, maybe you should start mentally and logistically preparing for what you will want to do then.
Post # 9
Totally agree with everything Annabananabee said!
a vague feeling of being “not ready” after nearly booking a venue and ring shopping? Sounds like he is scared but doesn’t have any insight as to how he can get rid of that fear.
so he plans to (and wants you to) wait for a while and “see how he feels”
doesnt sound like he is motivated to resolve this and this feeling of being unready could linger for a long time.
I know it’s hard, but I would move on now. See what some distance does to those feelings. Maybe he will realize you are the one and make the moves to get engaged and married. Or maybe he won’t, but then you won’t waste another day of your life and will be free to go meet someone who wants the things you want.
Post # 10
I could not be in any serious relationship with someone who was not all in, enthusiastic, and confident about a future with me. You were essentially engaged and be broke it off. No formal proposal or ring is necessary to agree to be married and start planning a wedding. I would not indulge his behavior or give him the luxury of the status quo and would not need another few weeks to tell him so.
Post # 11
annabananabee : You are spot freakin’ on! This needs to be copy and pasted into every waiting thread where he’s ‘not ready!’
Post # 12
I can’t add anything to what’s been said. You already know it’s futile. Take a break. Move out. Take steps to get out of this dead end. He might step up but if not you won yourself 6 months.
Post # 13
I think it’s totally fine that he’s not ready. That doesn’t make him a bad person, but it does make him not the right partner for you. He’s allowed to be “not ready” for marriage, but he’s NOT allowed to drag you along with him and see how it goes. That isn’t fair, and you’re already feeling the resentment and I honestly don’t see it getting better. In your situation I probably wouldn’t bother waiting a few more months.
Post # 14
I really think you should walk.
I cant imagine how hurtful it is to have a guy date you for 3.5 years and say he loves you but not know he wants to marry you. The reality is that he should know by now. I really believe there isn’t anything you can do when a man keeps being not ready and just doesn’t know. Because it’s all feelings based. Like falling in love, it happens for some but not others and you never really know why or how it happens it just does. It either is there or it isn’t. So in this case there really isn’t anything you can do to figure out when he will be ready, or help him get there. The only thing you can do is wait around for maybe or leave.
And if I was in your shoes I wouldn’t want to be with someone who didn’t know after sharing 3.5 years together. After all the fun times you have had and vacations and holidays, and romantic moments, and conversations about the future all he is left with is being not sure about you. Frankly that would make me so angry. He has all the information he would need and he can’t decide. That tells me he doesn’t and won’t ever have those marriage feelings about this relationship. I don’t think he will ever know why but his gut is saying no.
Everyone should be with someone who sees the other person has a hell yes! Anything less is settling. You deserve to be with a man whose heart and mind knows he wants you forever, is excited for marriage with you. I think even if somehow this resolved itself and you did marry him, that doubt would always hang in the air and would be awful to live with.
Dont give him 6 months. Give him 3 max. Then walk. And don’t be tempted to feel bad about it whatsoever. He had plenty of time and warning. And tell that fear to Fuck off. Because the fear that there won’t be someone right around the corner for you who is wonderful is a lie. There is someone around that corner for you, who is even more amazing and right for you. I have personally experienced that. The truth is love isn’t in limited supply. You can’t lose out on love.
Post # 15
Thank you, everyone for the replies. Albeit difficult to read what the vast majority of you are suggesting.
What is difficult to explain is that he does WANT to marry me, make me happy, have kids with me, etc. It’s that his fear is consuming him and he is struggling to get to the root of that fear.
He wants to work through things, but I told him that I’m not willing to do so much longer. This needs to be resolved and soon.