Post # 1
Hi all, just hoping to vent a little bit because I don’t really have anyone to talk to in detail about this stuff. I’m sorry if this is long just giving some background.
Me (24F) and my partner (33M) have been together for coming up to 2 years now. We have been living together for over a year and bought a house together in January. We have 2 dogs together. We talked about marriage and kids when we first started dating, he is a very logical person so doesn’t think about the emotional reasons of marriage and said that in general he doesn’t see many positives in marriage (as in you can be just as committed to someone without a piece of paper) and things along that line but also saying it is a possibility he will get married at some point if it was important to the person he was with. Kids he says he knows he would be a good dad if he has them but would be fine if he never got to have them. This came to a head about 6 months into our relationship with me stating how important marriage and kids are to me and that I wouldn’t be happy if I never got those things. This ended with him saying he loved me and nothing was ever off the table.
The topic hasn’t really come up too much since then other than me mentioning I would like to be thinking about/trying for my first baby around 27. And him saying on a few occasions that he knows I want kids in the next few years. I told him that was true but that I didn’t want them until I was married.
Recently though a friend of mine at work got engaged and I wasn’t a big fan of her ring so I mentioned to him what I didn’t like about it and what sort of thing I would prefer myself just really casually not thinking too much about it . The next weekend I jokingly tried on some rings while shopping with my mum. And told him when I got home. He talked about how unethical the diamond trade is and how he would prefer to get a man-made diamond and a custom ring instead of a store bought ring as that would be more sentimental etc. so we both were looking at rings online for about an hour that night. After this I really started to think well he seemed very receptive to the idea and wouldn’t be looking up rings with me if it wasn’t something he was thinking about. This was a few weeks ago and since then I have made a few little ring and marriage jokes since I thought it wasn’t a big deal anymore. Last night I said I liked poking fun about it because I’m excited for our future and he said you’re not poking fun, you’re pressuring me. To which my response was to say nothing as I was a bit shocked cause I didn’t think it was such a big deal.
So after reading many of the posts from ladies on this site I decided to sit down and have an adult conversation with him about it all instead of letting my mind overthink everything. So we talked about it all today and I tried to establish some timelines etc. said I hoped we would be engaged by our 3 year anniversary. He said it is a possibility but also it might not happen. His point was that he doesn’t know, he’s not a planner and he doesn’t like having timeline for things. He said he doesn’t see why we can’t let things progress naturally rather than me getting upset over an imaginary timeline. Life rarely works out to plan so why try to plan it? As of right now he said he isn’t there yet. And that it feels too soon to talk about it when we aren’t quite at 2 years yet. He doesn’t really know when he will feel ready (it could be a week, a month, a year, or a few years). And doesn’t want to agree to a timeline because if he knew he would be ready next year for example there would be no point in waiting till then because he would already know. He said not to worry cause we are obviously heading along that path so far but that are other possible outcomes for the future and he can’t predict what will happen. I told him that if after however many years he doesn’t give me those things then he will lose me. He said he knows that and that once he makes a decision either way he would tell me and not string me along if he had decided against marriage. I stated that I’m worried he will just be ‘unsure’ forever and I don’t want to wait for something that’s never going to happen. Then he pretty much said again that nothing is off the table. And when I said does he see me as his wife one day, he said yes but that he need to get there first. And I need to wait for him to get there and just enjoy our lives now without stressing about the future cause he loves me and wouldn’t have bought a house with me or moved interstate for me away from him family and friends if he wasn’t fully committed to me. That I just need to not think about it so much, let everything happen naturally and not pressure him essentially.
Again I’m not sure what I’m getting out of posting this. I’m just trying to process what he’s saying. I really love this guy and I can’t see a future without him in it. I guess it’s understandable that he needs more time before we decide to get married . I am his first serious relationship other than short flings less than 6 months. And it took him a long time to even say he loved me for the first time and even longer to introduce me to his family. And we really are in such a good place in our relationship right now. That why I got so excited at the idea of looking at rings. I don’t want to be told to break up with him because I don’t think it’s at that point. But I wouldn’t mind know what some of you girls things about this situation. Has anyone else’s partner been a bit unsure but come around eventually? How can I chill out and let things happen naturally and push marriage/engagement thoughts out of my head for a while? I don’t like feeling so powerless in this situation.
Post # 2
Hi bee! Welcome!! So, he’s 33 and you’re his first serious relationship that has lasted more than 6 months? That’s not a great sign. Also, saying what you want in a relationship is not ‘pressure’ like he said – it’s healthy communication. Ugh, I don’t want to give harsh advice but I will say this: you’re 24. Which is young. I don’t think you need to be in such a rush to be married at this age. However, I don’t think you should be strung along in a relationship either. If he knows he wants to marry you, then why is he feeling pressured? That doesn’t make sense. And if it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true.
Post # 3
At less than two years together, I think it’s understandable to not be ready to get engaged. At 33, yeah, you might hope (or even expect) him to be a bit more fast streamed, but not necessarily; everyone is an individual. What is MOST important is that he continues to communicate with you with honestly – no refusing to talk about it (as long as you’re not expecting him to talk about it too frequently), no palming you off with promises that never happen. I also don’t agree with committing to a timeline to engagement, unless both people are fully ready for engagement – it’s not realistic or fair to put a timeline on someone’s readiness. I would shelve it for a year and see what happens. If there is no progress then I would be ready to leave the relationship.
Post # 4
I can understand why it might seem strange that he hasn’t been in a long term relationship prior to me. But he lived in a small town for the 10 years prior to meeting me, mostly with old retired couples so there wasn’t a lot of people his age. I met him in that small town when doing a rural placement as a student. Also I am not in a rush to get married, I am quite happy for us to not do so for a while. It was more about the fact I wanted to know it wasn’t already something he had completely ruled out and would never want.
Post # 5
thank you for your reply. I do agree with you. I think I was hoping he may be ready to move a bit quicker due to his age. But I think I was getting too caught up in the excitement of a possible engagement. I think shelving it for a year is a good idea. I am definitely not in any rush. I just didn’t like thinking it was something he may never be ready for. But time will tell I’m sure!
Post # 6
it’s hard being in limbo, I really feel for you. This what I mean about honesty though. If he’s never been in a marriage-minded relationship before then it’s understandable that he may need a little more time, however, at 33yrs old he should know his own mind enough to make his choice without years and years of deliberation and also should be mature enough to talk to you openly about your combined futures.
Post # 7
First, I hope you have a legal agreement in place regarding how you would handle sale or buy-out of the co-owned house if you do not stay together. If you don’t, take care of that pronto. This agreement should include how you handle decisions and costs of repairs and how you determine the value if one party buys out the other’s share.
He doesn’t have to agree to a timeline, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set a date for yourself if marriage is a deal-breaker for you. A year seems reasonable. Since he isn’t ruling out marriage he’s basically telling you he’s just not yet certain he wants to marry you. You are not powerless–you may leave at any time. It’s a red flag that he feels discussing a married future as ‘pressure’. Two adults seeking a future together should feel comfortable discussing what they hope that future looks like, even while acknowledging we sometimes have to adjust our plans due to what life throws at us.
Post # 8
In your case, I’d set a walk deadline, even if you keep it to yourself. No more than a year. In fairness to him, he’s never been marriage minded. However, it’s not fair to you to be left in perpetual limbo. The man is 33. He can plan for a house and a move, but not marriage? Have you considered that he moved away from his tiny town not just for you, but because he didn’t like that town?
I agree you need a legal exit plan for your house, while things are amicable. Otherwise you’re stuck on a 30 year mortgage with no way to force a sale or get yourself off.
I’m not saying you should start packing your bags now, but also don’t start planning a wedding.
Post # 9
I’m not saying that his lack of relationship experience is his fault, but it does mean that he’s not experienced. So, he may be 33 in age but he’s not necessarily any more experienced in relationships than you at age 24. Also, he’s not sure about marrying you. That’s why he keeps saying you’re pressuring him. If he was sure that you were his future wife, a conversation about marriage would be seen as open communication and not “pressure.” Still, you’re young. I wouldn’t necessarily walk away since you’re young and he’s inexperienced. But, I would definitely ask him why he feels like conversations about planning for a future together is pressure? See what he says..and REALLY listen.
Post # 11
I hate that men are so often deferred to and called logical and women are so often shrugged off as being emotional, because all choices have both a logical and and emotional component and he’s being entirely emotional and not at all logical in this. There is nothing more logical than having a plan for your life, and adjusting that plan as you go in order to accommodate the changes in life that you encounter along the way. His stance on marriage is also illogical, as marriage provides many legal protections that you don’t have if you aren’t married. Him feeling pressured isn’t actually coming from you, you were able to joke with him openly about it because you’re fine with it being not right now, it’s because he’s conflating you with the social perceptions of women being marriage-crazy and obsessed with getting married.
Now, of course it’s okay for him to not be ready yet, he’s entitled to his emotions and as someone who never saw the point in marriage, it makes sense that it might take him a little longer than you expect to come around to the idea, but not even being able to discuss potential timelines seriously and not as a joke without him getting defensive? Illogical, emotional nonsense. He’s an adult, he should be able to discuss a plan for his life with the person he intends to spend it with. If he’s genuinely uncomfortable with the jokes and feels pressured by them, fine, but he should be able to sit you down and have a conversation with you about them and ask you to stop making them without being dismissive and saying not to “expect” anything as if it’s only his decision, because at the end of the day, it’s not just his life. It’s a partnership, he’s not in charge.
Post # 11
“I’m just trying to process what he’s saying.
” — This part is easy. He’s saying the exact same thing he’s been saying all along. He doesn’t want to get married. He’s being wishy-washy about it because he likes having a girlfriend and he knows if he says it flat out, you might leave. But it IS what he’s saying. You are choosing to cling to the wishy-washy parts, and make excuses like “he’s logical” and “he never had a serious relationship because small town.” You’ve never met a married engineer? You think it’s typical for people in small towns to make it to mid-adulthood without having a bf/gf for more than 6 months? (it’s not)
You will be back here in a year, 2 years, 5 years telling us the same story. The house, the dogs, him not spontaneously combusting when you mention rings — none of this means he wants to get married.
“I don’t want to be told to break up with him” — Ok. You’re wasting some pretty prime years though. You could get a better-suited guy, you can’t get this time back.
Post # 12
You’re relatively young and it’s been less than 2 years. I agree with PP and give it another year. Personally I’d tell him he has a year and if he hasn’t asked then you will. He’s allowed to say he doesn’t like timelines, just like you’re allowed to give him one. However do NOT give him one, let it lapse, and do nothing about it. This is just as much your life as it is his.
Also, he didn’t move just for you. He wanted to move and going with you made it easier and a bonus. He didn’t buy a house and make a 30 year commitment with you, he made it with the bank. If he had done these things ‘just for you’ IMO he would have no problems marrying you.
Post # 13
I think you need to stop joking around rings as this seems like you’re beating around the bush for the serious conversation you want and need to have. Sit down and tell him that he has mentioned in the past that he does ‘see the possibility of marriage if it was important to the person he was with,’ and that it is in fact, extremely important to you because of x, y,z and that you see yourself getting married to him and you need this commitment by x time with plans for getting pregnant by your late 20’s. This is not to ‘pressure’ him but you taking charge of your life and future- you need to remember you also need to accept the proposal, your future is not only up to him. Also, you are two adults in a serious relationship that needs to have open communication, and the other person actively listening and not dismissing feelings. If he is receptive during this talk, tell him you will send him rings and he has a year to make up his mind and that you will now enjoy the relationship. Really listen to what he says! He might give you bullshit excuses.
If he responds by saying ‘you are pressuring me,’ simply say that you are clearly stating your desires and if he feels pressured it means he deep down does not want to marry you- people feel pressured when they don’t want to do something and that if that is the case he needs to be able to let you go so you can find what you deserve. It doesn’t sound like you set a timeline, I’d be upfront about this, I didn’t do a hard timeline with my last relationship and I should’ve! I also got the ‘ I don’t see why we can’t let things progress naturally…’ I think you can allow this natural progression if you give it a year with a set timeline as you are also very young. I would say this though, please have a little breakup plan ready in the back of your mind in case he doesn’t propose in a year, write down why you deserve better and that it was a gift really to let you go so you can find your husband. You need to sort out the house paperwork now! Just prep yourself- you don’t need to feel powerless in this situation!!
Post # 14
“let things progress naturally?” What does that even mean? Sorry, but grown adults deciding to make big life changes like marriage and children don’t just happen naturally. What he really said was “don’t force me into something I’m not ready to do”. He’s 33 and you’re 24 which when you’re dating isn’t a big deal, but you are in the prime of your life, and women are different than men and actually have a biological timeline for having children. You are completely in the right to check him on his feelings regarding marrying you and having kids together.
Btw did buying the house together just “progress naturally” like you woke up one day and said we’re buying a house today? NO. These are big decisions and need planning and open communication.
Post # 15
At 33 years old, two years together, living together for a year and buying a house together, not being sure is a decided “no” or it would be for me. All of his excuses and your justifications on his behalf add up to only one thing. He’s told you loud and clear that he’s not sure about you and does not know if he’ll ever be. I would put much greater value on yourself than that and hold out for someone who is excited about you and at 33, knows his own mind no matter where he’s lived. Please.
Do you really see a happy future with someone who after that length of time is so unsure about you and does not like to plan ahead? It’s probably no mistake he chose to date someone your age. Which, for a woman, while young, is not necessarily too young or immature.
By the way, he managed to plan ahead and commit just fine to buy a home. I agree with PPs that you need to protect your interest in the house. I would never have agreed to that and wouldn’t even give him a year now.