Post # 16
I went through the same thing with my guy. Waited and waited and was at the point of just giving up. It was very difficult for me to watch other couples that had been together FAR less time than we had been get engaged, married, have babies. It seemed like everyone was moving forward but I was stuck running in place.
I was in the same spot as you, I loved him with all my heart and didn’t want to lose him. I knew that he would do it, but the delays had me frustrated and resentful, and there was a point in time when I did not know if I could wait and remain a sane person. I did though, and he finally proposed, and it was perfect. It truly was like all of the resentment and bad feelings that I was harboring vanished, and I am very happily planning my wedding with a man who is very excited about it.
So, do you think it’s possible that you’re just having a moment and feeling really frustrated? Do you think that if he proposed within the next year like he says, your feelings will change?
Not all that much changes when you get married, but if you’re planning on having kids at some point, would you rather be married? Or, are you okay with just being together?
Don’t let feelings from the past dictate your future.
Post # 17
My father got his Ph.D when he was in his 20s, married with 2 kids. I don’t understand the need to complete multiple events in your life before marriage – at the expense of hurting the one you supposedly love. It’s great to wait until you’re entirely self-sufficient, but beyond that the reality is you’re gambling with your fertility, assuming you want children and that you want to be married before having them.
waitingtoolongbee : Right now I would just stop thinking about engagement and stop discussing it. You’ve discussed it ad nauseum at this point. Tell him that you’ll talk about it when he proposes and the fact is he has not proposed yet. Why worry about something he hasn’t even done? He very well may be the type of man who enjoys talking about something more than actually doing it.
Post # 18
If you’re fine with or without marriage by had longed for it before when he wasn’t ready, and he is now ready and wanting marriage, why not just get married? You don’t have to have a big to-do. There are benefits to marriage, especially before having children, and you’ve already said he’s 100% the one you want for your lifelong partner. I think at this point you’re biting off your nose to spite your face.
Post # 19
Is he always incapable of understanding or recognizing your feelings even when you explain them? That could be something to work on in couples therapy.
I agree with the PP’s who think you have bottled up your resentment all these years, and it’s become a hill you can’t climb anymore to see to the other side. It might be that, now he’s talking about engagement, you feel more in control of the situation, rather than being left waiting around for him to complete all his goals before making marriage to YOU his goal, so you feel mentally more free to say how you really feel. It’s really difficult to get past a boatload of resentment if he can’t acknowledge that his behavior contributed to it. But so does yours. You’ve kept quiet about it until now, so he might be feeling blind-sided that you’ve been building resentment each day that he put your future on hold and you had no say in it.
Post # 20
My take is slightly different. I think you’re protecting yourself by not wanting marriage anymore, because you know the relationship can’t recover if after all these years you let yourself be excited about it again and then you get let down again. I think at this point you’re going to need to feel 10000% secure that he will definitely propose before you’ll let yourself warm to the idea.
I’m also going to chime in and say I’m also in a challenging PhD program and I got married during it. I planned my wedding with little assistance during an extremely busy period of my program, and it was fine. In fact, I think it helped me keep my priorities in focus. Heck, if RBG could be at the top of her class in law school and be on the Harvard law review while raising small kids and taking care of her husband, no one else really has an excuse.
Post # 21
This is such a great problem to have. He doesn’t get why you might not want to be married because he’s a little emotionally stunted and you don’t know if you want marriage because you don’t want anything to change. If you go to counsellingtogether about this, he’ll finally have a script to understand your feelings on this. Then he might not make a similar mistake again in the future. the two of you might also try to find ways to change your negative associations with marriage with a counsellors help and either get married or decide that your relationship will be fine without! And because you know you want to be with him and marriage isn’t a dealbreaker, you’ll be setting up the ideal situation for the both of you either way. Unless of course, he decides that marriage is a dealbreaker for him and you’re still very against it.
Post # 22
I probably didn’t explain myself well. You’ve been waiting for years for a proposal that hasn’t come. Now your boyfriend has finished his Ph.D and you’re understandably concerned that he’s nit going to propose. So you tell youraelf that you don’t care anymore about marriage. This way when/if he doesn’t propose you will be insulated from the hurt.
Well it doesn’t work that way. I don’t believe for one minute that you are not sure you want to get married – and neither do you, deep down. Be honest with yourself.
Post # 23
I am looking into short-term counseling to unpack this more.
Some of you may be right that I might be afraid that my boyfriend isn’t going to follow through on things. I don’t really feel the whole “revenge” or “make him feel my pain” thing that some posters mentioned.
Post # 24
Update approx 8 months later:
Hi everyone, I wanted to just post a brief update. I did end up going to see a counselor, and we talked a lot of my feelings through. I think that someone on this thread had suggested that some of my feelings may come from my focus on the relationship while my boyfriend was free to focus on his career, and that is something that has hit home for me. I haven’t been focusing on my career and personal development enough, and luckily my boyfriend is extremely supportive and we were able to have that conversation together. He is fully supportive of whatever I choose to do (ranging from being in a demanding career to choosing to stay at home) as long as I’m doing something that excites me, and my current career field and trajectory does not do that for me and hasn’t done that for me for a very long time.
Another thing my counselor and I talked about is the fact that, just like there is nothing wrong with someone deciding that they don’t want kids, there is nothing wrong with me deciding that I don’t necessarily need to get married. That feeling didn’t really seem to come from frustration, but moreso my realizing that my boyfriend and I are already living our lives together and that marriage really wouldn’t change much for us. My boyfriend still wants to get married to me, and I still want to stay with him but am not sure that I need/want to get married. Above everything, our relationship is the most important thing to us, so we are going to stay together no matter what. Luckily for me, my boyfriend is very understanding of my viewpoint, and he also feels like there isn’t necessarily pressure to get married (even though he wants to) but that it may make sense to do it for logistical reasons down the line, such as closer to when we plan on having children. I don’t necessarily disagree with that, because I do think that there are can be certain simplifications/benefits to marriage at that point.
Overall, we’re still happy together, and I’m going to focus more on my career and personal development. I might even go back to school…we’ll see.
Post # 25
Thanks for the update, Bee. Glad you are at peace with your decision.
If you do decide against marriage, but your partner continues to push the benefits of marriage, you could probably draft a cohabitation agreement that would guarantee you the same rights as a married couple (or close to).
Post # 26
‘s suggestion is a good halfway point. Also domestic partnership, depending on where you are. And if your boyfriend’s need for marriage becomes more urgent down the line (probably repeating what some bees have said earlier), a marriage doesn’t have to equal a wedding. It can just be a fun field trip to the courthouse followed by cocktails 🙂 .
Glad you’ve gotten to the bottom of some things and that you’re doing what’s right for you!