- 9 years ago
My boyfriend and I are near the 2-year mark (one month away!), and he just hit another rough period of work. (He’s trying to transition from his current employer to owning his own company. Even though the transition hasn’t hit his wallet, it has hit his patience and puts him under many a stressed and sleepless night.) Anyway, here’s the scoop: We’re both 28, own our own homes about a 10 minute drive from each other, and have successful, fulfilling lives both with and apart from each other. I’ve met all of his friends and family (the good, bad, and ugly), and he’s met all of mine. We’ve gone on several vacations together, survived a few heated arguments, and consider each other our best confidants and friends.
At the time of our first anniversary, we hit a rough patch because of some miscommunication over where the relationship was going. I was about to move out of my parents’ house (again) after graduate school, and he said he didn’t want to live with anyone unless he was already engaged or married. He’d had a 4 and 1/2 year relationship with another woman in his early twenties that went nowhere, so I was a little concerned that an unwillingness to live with a partner before marriage was a red flag or wall he was putting between himself and marriage. But it was also his first year being a new homeowner, so I kind of understood. I explained that I would respect that decision and find a place of my own. However, I also explained my ideal timeline for progress of the relationship. I considered 2 years a good time––especially in our late twenties––to begin some serious discussions and plans towards marriage, if not have a proposal. If the three year anniversary (and my 30th birthday) appeared without any wedding plans, I’d probably question if the relationship was one the right one for me. He seemed to understand. He said that he loved me and could see himself marrying me, but also said he wasn’t ready yet then at one year.
Now that we’re at the 2-year mark, I feel like we’ve both made a lot of progress in the relationship, yet come to a brick wall. Although he’s talked recently about what kind of home we’d need if we moved in together and even gone so far as to say he helps me around my house with Mr. Fix-It stuff because he “wants [me] to see him as husband material,” no other move toward marriage, engagement, or moving in together has been made. We haven’t looked at wedding rings, there have been no concrete plans for when that will happen, and he even recently said to me in one of his work-turmoil periods that he still didn’t think he was ready for marriage. I honestly don’t know if this was the stress talking or if this man is genuinely stalling without an intent to marry.
I’ve made it clear to him what I would like, and I’ve sat back and patiently supported him while he tries to start his own company, but I am far from babying him by any means. I’ve been successful in my own business and life, and I own my own home now, too. I don’t consider this a “why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free” kind of relationship. But I am wondering why he’s still dragging his feet. Is not living together a stalling tactic? Is this work transition a stall? I feel like I’m being asked to offer a certain level of patience and support and familiarity about his life that would be equivalent to a wife, all while still having no guarantees. I was thinking of bringing this up again when his work settles back down, possibly just before or after our anniversary. But I don’t know if I should just remind him of what we’d discussed at the one year mark, give him an ultimatum, or anticipate that this might not work out. Has anyone been through this before and could offer advice as to how to approach him and what exactly I should be expecting from him at this point in our relationship?