- 4 months ago
I’m in a terrible dilemma and need some advice. My partner (43) and I (35) been together for five years on and off, we live together, we have a dog together, we’ve even worked together in the past, he desperately wants kids (I do too, but I also would be happy without them), so clearly it’s time for us to commit to this, or move on!
A few months ago, after my boyfriend failed to deliver on a proposal within the timeline we last discussed, so I put a deposit on an apartment, feeling like I’d hit a dead end. He claimed we misunderstood each other about the timeline and he begged for me to give up the apartment and give him more time, and then back in December, he committed to proposing on or before my birthday, which is at the end of Feburary. I agreed to stay under the condition that he was committed to proposing, and would spend the time planning. I was explicitly clear that I wasn’t giving him any more time to just think about it or mull over things. We’ve been together five years; there’s no new data to accumulate!
Leading up to my birthday, I’ve been checking in with him maybe once a week or so, trying to have a discussion about our future, but every time I’ve been met with avoidance. Finally, last, week he admitted to me that he hasn’t been spending the time he begged for planning, or otherwise being open to discussing plans with me, but instead has just continued to mull and fret and spin out about his fear and indecision. He said he was sorry but as much as he loves me and wants to spend his life with me, he just can’t wrap his head around marriage. Then he will cite random marriage traditions that he doesn’t feel any identification with, which I’ve never said I wanted, but because he’s so avoidant of discussing it with me he holds onto these things random thing like a shield protecting him from having to commit.
Even though he still has two weeks left before my birthday rolls around, I feel like I’ve heard enough, and so again I started an apartment search. Which, again, triggers him to start spouting out all the reasons why I shouldn’t go. Why what we have is so great. He loves me, he wants a family with me, he loves what we’ve built together etc. etc.
These broken promises are part of a longstanding pattern of his where he will promise something big, not even something I ask for necessarily, often it’s gifts he promises, but overtime these things never materialize, become these scary obligations in his head, and then overtime he comes to resent me for not having forgotten what he promised. In the end the promises do tend to show up, but years later, and not without a ton of fighting–it’s never clean.
This week things have really just become intolerable to me. One moment he’s telling me that he wants us to work on the relationship before he can feel ready to commit to it. (To which I say: Sorry dude! we’ve had five years and we’re in therapy, there’s been no shortage of time and opportunity!) And then the next minute he suddenly wants to talk about ring designs, and a wedding cermony that would feel right to us as a couple, and guest lists, and locations etc. Basically all the things I’ve been trying to discuss for months if not years.
His only attemtping these conversations when I’ve got one foot out of the door makes me think it’s just some sloppy desperate last ditch effort to string me along yet again. Even though, when we finally do have the conversation, we’re very much in alignment with what we want, I just don’t know if I can forgive this long history of being yanked around. I just don’t even feel respected, and frankly I’m starting to lose respect for and trust in him.
Here’s the thing though. I’m about to be 36. I’m still successful, smart, funny, tall, thin, attractive, interesting and all of that, but I’m 36!! Part of me thinks if I do want a family the best course of action is to stick it out with my partner, work through this in therapy, and maybe, just maybe, he and I will get on the same page in time to have a kid. We both are in total agreement about what our issues are and what needs to change (frankly most of it lies in his court because he’s very very slow to work through his part of things, whereas I’m pretty agressive about self improvement). IF, and that’s a very big if, we could work through our issues we would have an incredible relationship that I want very much. I just have so little faith in him at this point, even though he claims he wants it as much as me. If he somehow got it together and proposed before my birthday, there’s just so much trust to rebulid… I don’t know that I would even accept!
But another part of me is just tired of feeling held back, and wants to move on. I found another great apartment, I have a lease even, but I just haven’t mustered the courage to sign the lease and make it official…
I feel like I just really need some encouragement in one direction or the other. I suffer from too much optimism sometimes, and tend to always see problems as solvable instead of seeing what might just be dead ends.
Thanks in advance for any feedback you ladies can offer.