- 4 years ago
Hi all, long time lurker, first time poster. English is not my first language, so apologies in advance if I make many mistakes – and sorry as this is SO long!
SO (M/37) and I (F/29) have been in a relationship for about 4 years. It’s been rocky since the beginning – we broke up 3 times, pretty much fought constantly (jealousy, external inputs, context, general incompatibility, two incredibly strong personality etc.) for the last 3.5 years. We should have called it quits a long time ago but we both stuck with it. Earlier this year we tried one last resort – therapy.
In February we started seeing a counsellor. Things started to improve dramatically – we both recognise that. We started to communicate more effectively and our fights scaled down to almost 0. We still have issues to work out (intact our therapy path is not over yet), but in general we both know the therapy has been very fruitful. I know it sounds silly but for some reason I feel like “we love each other more”.
I guess for some biological reason, I am going down that spiral of thoughts like “everyone is getting married, everyone is engaged, I will be too old for kids”. We have discussed marriage, however, he feels like 4 years of a very difficult and draining relationship cannot magically disappear, that he is resentful for how exhausting these years have been (next time we see the counsellor I am going to bring this up), and that things have only been going well for a couple of months, and it’s not enough to make the call on what the next step should be. I asked if he has a timeline, he said he doesn’t, he just needs to feel it right. I said I won’t be around forever, and that I need to know by December this year whether next step will be engagement. He acknowledged my timeline and we left it there. This was the first discussion we had, maybe a month ago.
Apparently though, during that first discussion he didn’t get it straight: 2 nights ago we discussed again, and he said he didn’t understand December was the cut off line – he told me that he thought of proposing before we move for work to another country (which should be March/April next year). I said I am not fine with it as I feel like everything is under his control and it’s like he just keeps pushing the timeline back, and I said this is not fair because it’s also my life. He replied that he hates ultimatums, and that I should give myself an internal walk date: in his mind I should go to him on that date and say “you know what, today is my walk-off line. What do we do?”.
In the end the discussion went a big rough and I ended it saying that I shouldn’t be begging him, and that there’s no deadline – I will just walk away when I decide it’s too much for me.
Here’s my question: what do I do? Do I set an internal timeline? Do I discuss this with him again in front of the counsellor? Do I really walk away if he doesn’t propose by December? This guy is not a commitment phobic – he gave me a sapphire ring for my birthday last year, and reminded me two days ago that it wasn’t just a birthday gift, it was a ring, therefore it had a specific meaning. He moved across countries to follow me, he takes care of me, we live together, he treats me with the same care a good husband would do, doesn’t even plan anything, without checking in with me first). He is a very meticulous and precise person, always carefully weights pros and cons, and his logical part definitely wins over the emotional part.
His bottom line is that if he proposes he is not taking it back, so he needs to be sure that our issues are solved in therapy (as I said, we still have some things we need to work on), and then he wants to be sure that our improvements are not just temporary and that this will also work in the very long term. In the meantime, he keeps planning family gatherings, trips abroad, and constantly talks about what we’re doing in 1,2 or 3 years, where our children will go to school and stuff like that.
Would be nice to have some external perspective, thanks in advance.