@Lillianna: I have not read all the replies but…
My SO and I have had quite a few arguments because other people who are younger and/or have dated for less time than us have got engaged. I’m 33, I’ve been with my SO for almost 3 years and he still isn’t seriously considering marriage.
Last year we had huge arguments because his cousin (9 years younger) got engaged, and then our friends got engaged after dating for 1 year, and then our other friends (who’d been dating for 2 years) got engaged at Christmas. A few months ago we had an even bigger argument because my friend got engaged to his girlfriend of 14 months. This weekend my close girlfriend got engaged after 10 months. I’m happy for her, but it hurts that her SO has decided to spend the rest of his life with her after only 10 months together while my SO has been with me for 3 years and still hasn’t decided whether he loves me enough to stay with me.
Marriage is not a race to the altar. It is not about “time in”. It is about being ready for marriage (if that is what you both choose). I will say though that after three years, and at this age, if he “has not decided whether he loves you to stay” it is time for you to walk. Has he actually said that to you, or are you assuming that?
My SO is indecisive at the best of times but it shouldn’t take so long for him to decide whether he loves me and wants to be with me or not. He knows that the clock is ticking because I’m 33 but he doesn’t love me he enough to do anything about it. Since my friend got engaged yesterday I just feel really resentful towards my SO because he doesn’t love me as much as her SO loves her.
It alarms me that you actually seem to have stayed this long with someone who has not decided if he loves you or not, or wants to be with you. I am very curious as to how you ended up living together if you are not even sure he loves you or wants to be with you! Honestly, if you don’t feel this relationship is providing the love you want, you should walk, and it has nothing to do with your Girlfriend being loved more by her SO.
I’ll also add that he does not owe you because your clock is ticking, but if your timelines, or level of commitment do not match, the last thing you want is him to commit under that pressure.
I will say that being loved does not automatically mean marriage. I know plenty of people deeply in love who just do not believe in marriage, and have been together happily and very committed for decades. I know others who have pretty shallow views of love and get married anyway and certainly don’t continue to act very loving. Why do you want to marry a man who you don’t even think loves you – I really AM curious because that to me is not a life to sign up for. Even if he were to marry you today he is not going to suddenly tomorrow be more committed than he is today.
My SO says that marriage is something he wants in his lifetime but that’s as much as I can get out of him. He’s said a few times that we won’t be getting married, for stupid reasons like I don’t clean the bathroom often enough, and I don’t want to take his surname, and my cat leaves hair on the couch which sticks to his clothes, and I keep borrowing his jackets. But I don’t think those things should be important if he loves me – he’s just making excuses.
So, maybe those things ARE important to him in a mate, however, I think it is pretty clear that while he may want marriage in his lifetime, he does not see you as being his partner in that. I once dated (and lived) with a man who once told a friend, when asked with me nearby, if he could see getting married, and he said that he did want that one day. But, I knew, after nearly four years together, I was not included in that. By that point I was kind of done anyway so did not take it personally, but the point is just because he is staying with you and has not broken it off does not mean he sees you as part of his future.
If a man says he won’t be marrying you…LISTEN TO HIM! It does not matter if YOU think his reasons should not be important, it just does not, and you can’t convince him otherwise. They are important to him, even if their importance is to only justify why he won’t marry you.
It also alarms me you have such terrible communication and he won’t talk to you – again, why do YOU want to marry this man? Having “time in” is not a good reason, neither is fear of being on your own or feeling you want to have children soon.
Tonight I confided in my sister that I don’t think my SO will ever marry me. I think he’s comfortable because we live together, and he takes me for granted and sees no need to make a proper commitment to me. Actually I don’t think he has it in him to man up and make a proper commitment. I think I’ll end up leaving him because he wasn’t man enough to make a decision and commit to me in a reasonable time frame. It’s becoming very difficult for me to make an effort in this relationship because the more time that passes without a proposal, the more I feel that he doesn’t really love me and won’t ever propose. So I’m feeling very upset and unloved right now 🙁
I don’t think this has anything to do with “manning up”. Marriage, at least to me, is not about “manning up” or proving a point, or winning a game, or anything of that sort. Couples choose to marry when they are both ready, and both feel marriage is important to them. That’s it. I am sure that rhetoric feels good since it places the blame on him not being “man enough” for you but it is kind of counterproductive in the long run. I also do not think this is about living together. If he wanted to marry you, it would not matter if you were living together or not, at least in my experience.
I am not sure how much of your post is coming from your own anger (like saying he does not even love you) or how much is direct from him (like that he has said he does not love you). However, I will again say if a man has said he does not see you in his future, listen to him. Assuming he is around your age, after three years I can guarantee he DOES know whether he sees you in his future or not and if he DID, he would make very sure you knew it even if he was not ready to get married yet. That he says “I don’t know” to me is more like “I know, but I don’t want to deal with how you are going to react so I will just pretend I don’t”.