- 5 years ago
He says he doesn’t feel 100% sure about marriage.
After five years together and you’re both in your mid-30s, that’s all you need to know.
You’re 100% sure you’re ready, and he’s not.
You have three choices:
1) Continue living with him while nagging and dropping hints. Keep your fingers crossed that eventually you’ll make a dent and he’ll see the light, and in the meantime freeze your eggs.
2) Resign yourself to being a live-in girlfriend indefinitely. Kiss your dreams of marriage and babies good-bye and make peace with it in your heart.
3) Thank him for five wonderful years and start packing your bags.
As sad as it is, I would choose #3. If you do leave him, be prepared for the possibility that once you’re gone and he sits in an empty house listening to the clock ticking, he will have a sudden change of heart and miraculously realize that he’s ready to commit to you after all.
You said you wouldn’t want a proposal based on an ultimatum, but personally I don’t see it that way. An ultimatum is when you make threats and have a meltdown. Standing up for yourself and gently/nicely/lovingly saying “I can’t stay in this relationship indefinitely without a commitment” — and then following through with that and taking steps to move out — is not an ultimatum. It’s called having a backbone and healthy self esteem because you value your happiness and believe in your dreams. If that’s what it takes to get his attention, then so be it. In the real world, romance doesn’t always play out like a Harlequin novel or a Lifetime movie. There is more than one road to a happy ending.
The reality is — as you said — these are your “baby years” and your time is short. If you want to find out if this man (or someone else out there you haven’t yet met) was meant to be the father of your childen, you’re going to have to shake things up. Your SO is clearly in no hurry.
If he really loves you and it was really meant to be, he won’t let you slip away. In my opinion, there is nothing more romantic than that. And if he does let you get away, then you’ll know he never loved you enough in the first place.
OP, I’m so sorry you’re going through this! (((hugs))))
You need to discuss with him that you are in your “baby years” and ready to take the next step. At his age he should be ready, or at least thinking about it, but if he isn’t then you have your choices: either stay, wait, and possibly not get married or have children or leave him.
Is there any kind of compromise you can come to, like him going to therapy?
Sorry you are in this situation, OP – I was in a similar situation but we kind of came to a compromise and somehow I just stopped caring as much recently, probably because I don’t have much time to focus on waiting anymore. And also because my SO has done so much recently to show me he loves me, and is trying his very best, and that he is getting there, and willing to put effort into being ready, and that’s fine for me right now. It wasn’t earlier, but somehow I’ve calmed down and am not really upset or stressed about waiting anymore, though my change in mood has only happened in the last 3 weeks or so and who knows how long it will last, haha.
Anyway, you can look through my old posts to see what a basket case I was, and know that some kind of calm descends if you get to a place of compromise. And I hope you find that place for the two of you!
@LG1997: Awww I am so sorry you are going through this, hugs to you! My first instinct is to say if he doesn’t know after 5 1/2 years, when will he know?! But maybe, he just isn’t aware of how life without you would be. Or he doesn’t think he needs to Necessarily get married to be with you for the rest of your lives. Does he know that you want to have kids? I feel like some men truly don’t understand the timeline to have kids, i.e. how long it actually takes to get preganant and have a baby. I agree that you don’t want to nag him about getting married, b/c nobody wants a proposal out of that. But, I would sit down and have a very real talk about how this is important to you and what exactly is making him “not ready” I agree with @BelliniChic and her plan and that if you do leave, be prepared for him to come back. One of the other Bees bumped this last week and I think this might be good for you. It might work on your SO since he claims he is not ready. I have read a lot about men saying they are not ready and women going off and doing their own thing and BOOM, now he’s ready. I’ve also known a few people that this has worked for. Ultimately you have to decide what is most important to you. You can’t live a life of resentment because you missed out on things you wanted but your SO didn’t, that’s simply not fair to you.
Check out this post, it might help you. Goo Luck!!
yeah – at 35 and 5 years in, i hate to say it but ‘i’m not sure’ IS the answer. and it would not be good enough for me.
again, hate to say it but if you were to conceive right this second you would likely give birth at 35 which is a threshold for all sorts of sorta scary pregnancy stuff, not to mention massive fertility decline. so i say, invest in YOU and take care of yourself, because at this point for whatever reason, he isn’t ready to.
freeze your eggs, think about adoption (if you stay with him and it still takes 2 years and you can’t conceive – what are your other options?) any chance him stalling is because he doesn’t want kids?
imagine you have a daughter, best friend etc. she tells you this exact story and you ask ‘well what does he say?’ and she says ‘that he’s not sure’ – what would you tell them? you deserve someone who is SURE about you.
Is he not sure he wants marriage “in general” or is he not sure he wants to be married to you? As there is a difference, in my opinion. Someone can want the lifelong commitment, the family, and not marriage. Of course, that may not work for you and then you have to make some decisions as well if you are not comfortable with that arrangement. But if he is open to marriage in general but does not want to be married to YOU, that is a much bigger problem, and a very good answer to what your future with him holds.
Does he want children/children with you?
Your fertility does not just “massively decline” on your 35th birthday, from the day before. And yes, while there are additional risks, there is also additional screening and under 35’s are not exactly immune to these risks either! So, I would not panic. Also, no one else is “eating” your self-described baby years. You ARE choosing to stay. You may be choosing to stay as you are not sure what he wants, or you fear leaving, but you are making that choice. Do not get resentful at him if he is being honest about not wanting to get married, because if that is not acceptable to you then it really IS your choice to stay. Better he say that, then say he does want to marry you and just not follow through, time and time again.
I tend to agree with LG1997. I have thought long and hard about this myslef, in terms of my own relationship and have imposed my own personal walk date. I would love to be able to say that in the long run, I still get to be with the man of my dreams, but I know the lack of formal committment and children would leave me unfulfilled and bitter.
He gets the whole package, or none of the package…and I won’t wait forever for him to decide
I feel your pain, I’m also in my mid-30s, so I’m so sorry you’re going through this too. I know how rough this situation feels.
I’m with BelliniChic, it’s time to assess the situation and maybe stand up for your needs.
And I would like to thank RayKay for the note about fertility, it’s tough to read everything on the Internet and not think your ovaries turn into Death Stars when the clock strikes midnight when you turn 35! But it doesn’t! But you still have to keep in mind that the years are drifting away….
If he is not yet OK with marriage, is he OK with kids? What would be his reaction if you asked to start trying for a baby now? I mean, maybe that isn’t the exact scenario you had envisioned, but if becoming a mother is a priority for you, it might make sense to start trying now. I think, if it were me, that’s how I would communicate to him my seriousness about wanting a family. You may be able to elicit a more helpful response from him when you state it in those terms, which will help you to make the difficult decision of whether to leave or not.
I definitely second the egg freezing recommendation as well.
This would not be enough for me. I’d walk.
You aren’t getting any younger, and IMO it’s time for you to take charge of your own fertility. If I were in your situation, I’d get my own place, and start looking into sperm donors, provided I had enough income on my own to raise a child. You have your entire life ahead of you to meet the right man. I was reading a book the other day (The Myths of Happiness, by Sonja Lyubomirsky) and it was talking about the fact that a lot of people think parenting is harder than they thought it was going to be, but almost no one regrets becoming a parent. A lot of people, however, regret NOT having kids.
If you want kids, go get them. You don’t need this guy. You need to be looking out for your own dreams and aspirations, and not waiting for him to decide you are what he wants.
I feel *every* ounce of your pain. About two years ago (which was only 2 yrs into our relationship) I began feeling the same way. “Why hasn;t he asked me to marry him yet?” I did the same things you have – I picked apart myself, our relationship, him – his past…my past…you get the idea. I too had my breakdowns and we had our serious disagreements. I even went sao far as to mentally leave the relationship for about 6 monthes because I felt that I fell out of love with him. He wounded me deeply because he had once told me he ‘wasn’t sure I was the one’. (tghis was three yrs in). I had spent three yrs of my precious life with a guy who now…wasn’t even sure?!? It was rough. I looked at other apartments, kept all of my stuff in neat little areas for a quick escape and I became so distant that I barely even talked to him (and submersed myself in side-projects and work instead). But I also felt like I didn’t want an ultimatum for the same reasons as you said and I also couldn’t leave. Not yet.
The change came with me. I had all of these escape routes and ejection plans but I was never able to pull the trigger so one day I tried to analyze why. It came down to about three things; (1) my age and how many attempts at disasterous relationships I had previously, (2) the cost of living alone/or the thought of living with my parents/roommate again, and (3) I couldn’t leave the relationship because I was obviously still hopelessly in love with this guy no matter what.
Once I realized this I tried to think about ‘why’ I loved him. We were compatible, he was sweet, he wasn’t a show-off/chauvanistic/abusive/unrealistic, we could communicate (no matter how enraged we were it never turned into a screaming match), we agreed on money/future decisions, he was affectionate, I loved his family and he loved mine…and so on and so on. Basically, when I analyzed it the ‘pro’ list was rediculously long and the ‘con’ list included ‘hasn’t put a ring on it’ and leaves his socks on the bedroom floor. This added with the fact that I had never met one man with the same grouping of positive qualities in the last 30 yrs and wasn’t sure if I would ever find them again…
This reevaluation of his positive points vs. negative points of being single/starting over really made me think twice about how much a ‘ring’ mattered. I had cried and had my share of breakdowns as well as running to my mom, sisters. girlfriends and random strangers in the mall (kidding.) for ideas on what I should do about it. (NOTE: Only look for advice from women who have been happily married for forty+ years and not your peers who are single/divorced/unhappily married). I had convinced myself it was because he wanted something else in a relationship or someone else – a prettier, more domestic, cheerleader type. But none of that was true, because in every decision on the past he had proved that he had a hard time making big decisions. Buying a house was horrible for him and his truck buying experiance was just as wretched. I even realized that I disliked grocery shopping with him because he would spend five minutes deciding on which butter would make the cart. Making decisions like this were some type of torture. Once I found this out I decided that this particular decision was torture because he wasn’t forced to think about it all the time; at least not like I was everytime I met with an old girlfriend, Grandmother, random stranger in the mall and they inquire “So, when’s the big day?”. (PS if you do this to another woman you are evil).
I began to encourage the conversation, bring it up randomly while we were driving somewhere or over dinner. At first he would be a little baffled, like, ‘are we doing this here,’ was actually a comment more then once. But I persisted. I brought up what I thought about rings, or asked him what he thought were good proposal ideas he had heard of before. I told him things that I would like, such as asking my Father and to make sure I wasn’t in my p.j.’s on the couch when ‘it’ happened. I told him countless times that if he ever needed help with logistics that he could call my sisters and they would help with anything he needed. It was even helpful for me because I could finally talk about this one thing that I had been thinking about non-stop for two years and I could do it with my best friend. It felt so good to say the things I had been thinking to the one person who I loved and felt the most comfortable with. I also encouraged him to say something to his friends – to get them talking about it with him as well (it barely happened, but it did happen). His mom even began to ask him unintrusive questions here and there about his ideas.
It was all just about talking about it from every angle and getting every question he would have about it out in the open. Such as ‘when you get scared of getting married, what are the three biggest fears?’ Once they were on the table we could discuss them. I even made it a point to let him know that I wasn’t in a competition with other women, my ring size wasn’t an issue and that however he decided to propose would be special because it would be “our own special moment.” I wasn’t trying to win “best engagement of the world” I just wanted to know that he thought we could last for forever just as much as I did.
I won’t go into details on the proposal, but I can tell you this worked. Women are barraged from all angles of society about how and when they should be married. We deal with almost daily reminders that we are not married and our lives are slowly shriveling up before our eyes if we don’t have a ring on our finger. It’s the worst possible feeling. I hope I never feel that low in my life ever again. (Again, if you do this to other women you are evil).
If you feel like you guys can work this out – then stop treating it like its your dirty secret. Talk about it. Bring it up all the time. even if he’s uncomfortable with it at first he’ll warm up to you speaking about it. Plus, being able to talk about it makes you feel less like you are some nagging $%^& (sounds odd but its true). If you guys do have a good relationship – then why shouldn’t you be able to talk about this major thing in your life with your best friend?
And in the end – if he still can’t handle it – or never warms up to the idea then it will be time to move on (unless your ok with 5 1/2 more years of this). I won’t tell you there’s ‘plenty of fish’ because I remember how much that pissed me off. What I will say is that at 34-ish you are old enough to know what you are made of and that you deserve more then to feel like your not enough to be this man’s wife and being single is better then feeling like that. I wish you the best and hope there is a light shining somewhere in this for you.
Sorry – I re-read my story and realized I should’ve spell-checked. I promise I am not a middle-school-aged miscreant. I apologize to my fellow Bees and vow to use spell-check from now on.
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