- 4 years ago
Hi! I am here to seek support and gain insight from those who are/have been in the same boat as me. I am confused, hurt, resentful, angry, depressed, you name it.
I apologize for the length of this post, but I want to get everything out there in hopes that you all will better understand my situation.
I have been with a great guy since our senior year of college. Come November of this year, we will have been together for 4 years. A few months into dating him, I knew he was the one. He admits the same, and he actually says he admired me from afar from our first year of college and it took him years to get the balls to even ask me out.
Following our graduation, I continued at our college in a graduate program while he searched for a job, which he found in the same area and ended up moving in with me. As I completed my program, he applied and was accepted into his own graduate program in a city about an hour away, which would begin when mine ended.
I decided to job search in the city he would be attending grad school, and I ended up being offered one. I had some reservations – it would put me farther from my friends and even farther from my family than I already was. But I hadn’t been offered any other jobs, I worried that if I stayed and he left that we wouldn’t see eachother much (his work assistanship for school would require him to work on weekends), and I wanted to live with him prior to getting married. Even though we had already been living together, it was really more of “my” place and it was a transtional period. I decided to take the job, which was in fact very appealing and a good career move, and move with him. Note that during this time, marriage was in fact something that came up from time to time and we were both on the same page about. He would often make comments like “I can’t wait to wife you up!”
After we moved, we both agreed that living in this city would be a temporary thing until he finished his degree. We both loved the city we went to college in and definitely wanted to move back there. At this point, we were coming up on 2 years of dating. I told him that after his program finished in 2 years, I would be reluctant to move with him again without a commitment. I asked him if he thought that was reasonable, and he did. I made a point not to bring that up again or nag, and I didn’t have to. He would reference it from time to time jokingly as his “deadline to lock me up.”
During that 2 year period, I fell into a period of mild depression and moderate anxiety. My job was stressful. I was nearly 4 hours from family (farther than I was used to), I wasn’t able to see my friends as often (they were in graduate school or moving farther away or starting demanding jobs), and my boyfriend was working 2 jobs on top of graduate school. I hadn’t made any friends, most of the women I worked with were older, and I was feeling lonely and sad. I was crying all the time. I felt needy, and I was always anxious. Not to mention, friends around us were beginning to get engaged and married – people who had been together even less time than we had. It was a hard time on both of us. My SO initially felt very empathetic. He acknowledged that I had made a sacrifice to move there with him and that he wanted to be there for me. As time went on, he became less empathetic and more annoyed with me. We were arguing all the time. I finally started seeing a therapist, which helped. It became clear that I needed to move back to somewhere that would make me happy. His 2 year program was drawing to a close, and I made sure he knew that I was going to be moving back to our college city (closer to family, closer to friends, better environment). That was earlier this year.
Come this past April, it dawned on us that our lease would be ending soon (June/July) and it was time to figure things out. A couple months prior I had reminded him about the “deal” we had made about me not moving without a commitment, and he told me not to worry, that he remembered. So when April rolled around, I finally sat him down and asked him what the deal was. It had been almost 2 years living there, and about 3.5 years dating, and he had yet to propose. He told me it was about money. He told me he had saved up a TON of money for a ring – way more than he ever thought possible – but he was having a hard time finally using it for a ring. I asked him if there was anything else, and he told me that his entire life has always been about him, and that at times he can be selfish. The idea of making decisions based around someone else was intimidating to him. I asked him if he felt like this was something he could work around, and he said yes. I even asked him if he felt premarital counseling would be helpful for him, and he agreed that maybe speaking to a “professional” would help him reaffirm that his feelings were normal and that it was okay. He told me not to worry – that it was going to happen. He had just been overwhelmed with school and finals and trying to find a job, and the uncertainty of his job situation also made him more anxious about dropping money on a ring.
Come June, we started talking about places to look to live. I had secured a job in the city we wanted to move to, and so had he. He still had not proposed. One night, he broke the news to me that he would not be proposing by the “deadline.” He said that he had gone to jewelry stores and hadn’t found anything he wanted. He knew I’d be wearing this ring for the rest of my life and wanted something that we would both be proud of. He told me he was having a ring designed for me, and that it was taking longer than expected, and would not be ready by the time we moved. He told me that if I wanted to find a place on my own, he understood. My initial reaction was disappointment, anger, and resentment. I felt like this was a result of his procrastination, and that if he wanted to make it happen on time, he would have. I was having a crisis over it, and when I consulted my friends they helped me realize that he was being honest, he was having a ring made, and that it was a result of him wanting to make it special. My mom also confided in me (to pacify me) that he had asked my father for permission the month prior. So all in all, I decided to go back on my “ultimatum” and move in with him in trusting his word that a ring was being made.
It is now the end of September. I have yet to be proposed to, nor do I have any suspicions it is coming soon. I am becoming more and more of a wreck. I spoke to my mother, who told me that he has been keeping her in the loop with the ring design, and I’m pretty certain he has already picked up the ring. It’s becoming more and more annoying for me as time goes by.
As we have been settlin in to our new place, he has been wanting to get a dog. I do not. I am willing to compromise if he will choose a more manageable breed (right now he wants a large dog). The other night, he got very firm with me and told me that he was going to get a dog, because he really wanted one and it’s his place too and he’s going to just do it. He might have been testing the waters, but it irritated me and I lashed out at him. He lashed out too, and told me: “you make me do things I don’t want to do, so I’m going to finally do something I want to do, and I’m going to get a dog.” When I asked him what I was making him do, he said: “marry you.” I ended up bursting into tears and walking away to call my mom.
When I returned, he immediately apologized and told me that he is just “bitter” about having to spend so much money so soon. He told me that we were always going to get married, and he wants to get married, but that I gave him a push to buy the ring before he was ready, because he went through the process before he had a job and salary totally secured. I told him that I don’t want to marry someone who thinks I am making him do it. He tried to back track by telling me that while I might have pushed him to buy the ring before he was ready, I’m not MAKING him propose – he’ll propose when he is ready. He told me he is not ready to get married because he feels like his freedom to be selfish and make decisions solely for himself will be over. I asked if he wanted time or space to figure that out, and he got upset and told me if I was thinking about “backing out” that I had better be up front with him because he just paid off the jeweler and would need to get his check back.
I’m to the point where I am just torn. He tells me he can’t do any better than me, that I’m beautiful and smart and kind and successful and that he loves me. He had a ring designed for me and has been excitedly keeping my mom in the loop about it. He tells me “we both know we’re going to get married someday.” But then he tells me things like “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or “marriage is the next big step in YOUR life but not mine” or “I’m the one who has to do all the work to propose, not you” or “if you are coming up with deadlines or ultimatums in your head or thinking about backing out you better tell me now” or that he “doesn’t know” how much time he needs, he’ll just do it when he’s ready.
Everything is starting to contradict itself. I told him I am starting to take it personally, and he told me it’s not about me “anymore” – he told me my period of depression scared him a little, but now that things have been so much better since we moved, he said it doesn’t have to do with me and isn’t personal at all…. but how can I NOT take it personally? I have spoken to a couple of married men I know, and they have told me that his concerns of money and freedom and next steps in his life are all valid – they assured me they had the same fears too. But…. how long am I supposed to wait around for him to suddenly decide he’s never going to be ready? His perspective on this is that if we both love each other and want to be together and spend forever together, what difference does it make when it happens?
I’m lost, sad, confused, resentful, hurt, anxious… we have a couple’s counseling appointment scheduled next Wednesday. He’s going because he loves me and wants to make me happy, not because he feels particularly enthusiastic about it. I’m hoping it will help us work out the kinks and get him to communicate with me about this more clearly and to sort through his feelings and issues.