- 2 weeks ago
Hi everybody. I’m making an account to ask for advice here because I’m at a loss of what to do.
My boyfriend and I are both 21 about to graduate from college. We’re each other’s first romantic partner and have been together since we were 17 (I’m aware this is probably the first red flag lol). We both share similar aspirations, enjoy similar things, and have really compatible senses of humor. He’s a good guy, and I never had any doubts about his ability to treat me well until now.
He bought me a promise ring when we were 18 because by that point in our relationship, we had decided we wanted to get married. We talk about our future together/being married all the time. In previous conversations, he always seemed enthused about the prospect. He also constantly talks about wanting to have kids with me. Every time we see or encounter a cute kid, he makes a comment about wanting to have kids with me.
In 2018, we set a timeline that he would propose to me in our senior year of college (around this time) so we could get married the year after we graduate. We did this because we both wanted to give ourselves ample time to find jobs after college and save up a little money before moving in together.
However, there was a day in early 2020 when I said something to him about the engagement getting closer and he got really tense and quiet. I thought it was weird because usually, he’s really excited to discuss our future together. I felt hurt and confused and asked him if he has changed his mind about wanting to marry me. At first, he said that nothing was wrong and he was just feeling a little tired, but I knew that wasn’t true. He wears his heart on his sleeve and can’t lie to save himself. So, I asked him to be honest with me.
He grew up in a family that has a lot of financial instability, and he initially said that he was afraid of paying for a wedding because he thought it would cost too much money. I assured him that we wouldn’t have to spend tons of money on our wedding. Then, he switched gears and said that he was afraid of the “beaurocracy of marriage.” I was confused about what he meant, but he said that he was afraid that our relationship would change when we were married. His parents fight a lot, and he said he was afraid that we would fall into a similar dynamic. I assured him that we would still have the same relationship and there’s no reason to assume that being married would fundamentally change us.
He then said that he wanted to have $5000 in savings before he proposed to me so he wanted to push the timeline back. I asked him where all these different conditions and anxiety was coming from because he has literally never told me about any of it before, and it seemed like he was coming up with reasons to stall getting married.
He got angry and told me that he felt like I was attacking him. I told him that I had no issue with his conditions, but the manner in which he was letting me know about them made me feel like he was coming up with things on the spot. He said he didn’t feel like he had the option to come to me earlier with these things.
He’s really reluctant to open up because his parents are emotionally abusive and will literally scream at him for hours on end just for expressing his (completely harmless) thoughts on anything if they’re in the wrong mood. I still didn’t understand why he had never brought it up before. This turned into a huge argument that lasted for 2 days. He kept accusing me of attacking him and of being insecure in our relationship.
He admitted that in the past, when we had talked about marriage, he saw it as an abstract concept that was really far in the future, not something tangible and when he realized how close we were to it, it freaked him out. That honestly hurt me a lot because I thought we were on the same page, but I was glad that we had clarified things. He said he was working towards not feeling anxious about our marriage looking anything like his parents’, we and went back to our regular state of just having fun with each other.
Now, we’re set to graduate this June. He told me a few months back that he was planning on proposing in October or November since fall is my favorite season. He got a job offer and is set to start soon after graduation, so he was planning on spending the next few months saving up to buy the ring.
On Easter, we went to brunch with his parents and dinner with mine. At both events, our moms hunted toward him buying a ring and he grinned and said he was in the process of looking.
Yesterday, I started talking to him about rings. He immediately got the same tense attitude that he has from that one day last year. I asked what was wrong and he said he was looking around, but was having a hard time. He said, “I need a list of things you want in a ring.”
I immediately knew he was lying about looking because I had given him a list back in 2019. I even typed it for him in the notes app in his phone and we’ve referenced it plenty of times.
I said, “You have the list in your phone.”
He said, “Yeah, I know but…I need a list of things that you…um…I need a list of rings. Yeah, send me a list of rings that you like.”
I was filled with dread bc I knew he definitely hadn’t been looking for rings at all. I asked when he’d been looking for rings, and he said he was looking on and off for the last two weeks. I said I’d pick out rings for him. We got inside and things were awkward.
I mentioned picking out some rings together and he got physically stressed out. He then said, “Okay, truth time. I haven’t been looking at any rings. I’m sorry.”
He said he was sorry for lying to me and that it was his fault for not following through on his word. He said he hurt me and that hurting me was the worst feeling in the world.
I asked him why he’d lied about it. He said he thought I’d be mad because he hadn’t been looking. I said, “So instead of just looking at rings, you lied to me about it? And you did that because you thought I’d be mad otherwise?” He said he knew it didn’t make any sense.
I asked him why he wasn’t looking at any rings. I told him, “I’m excited to be married so I’ve been looking at apartments nonstop. I even toured one. And you aren’t even looking at rings after you said you were? You say you’re excited to marry you but you aren’t taking any steps to show initiative.”
He said, “You’re right. One of my biggest problems is showing initiative.”
I said, “You show initiative when you’re doing other things that you want to do.”
He asked “Like what?”
I said, “You show initiative when you want to buy video games and watch anime.”
He said “You’re right.”
I started asking him something else and he said, “Just stop fucking talking. I cant think.”
I felt like crying at that point. I asked why he was cussing at me and why he was angry at me if he was the one who identified that he messed up and hurt me. He was visibly angry and accused me of asking him “every other day” if he wanted to marry me (which definitely isn’t true). He said that it’s obnoxious and annoying. He also told me I’m emotionally suffocating.
I asked him where all this was coming from and told him he was like a totally different person when we talk seriously about marriage (which is an unfair characterization on my part because like I said, we DO talk a lot about marriage).
I ended up leaving after assuring him that I love him and want to support him through his anxiety. I have been feeling so distraught over this all morning. I don’t know what to do. Part of me says that if this was happening to a friend, I would’ve told her to leave already. On one hand, I feel like I’m using the sunk cost fallacy to justify staying in this position. On the other hand, he genuinely is a good partner to me outside of what happened last night and last year. He supports me, he understands me, and he helps me identify feelings that are hard for me to understand. I cant emphasize enough how much of an outlier events like last night’s argument are. This has only happened twice, but it’s shaken me to the point that I feel like I can’t trust him to be honest about our relationship and whether he genuinely wants to marry me or not.
That was very long winded and I’m sorry for that.
TLDR; Otherwise loving, supportive boyfriend shuts down when atempting to have serious discussions about getting married next year/refuses to follow through on taking next steps to get married by that timeline.