- 2 years ago
Boyfriend or Best Friend and I are both 27. We’ve been dating for 7.5 years, living together for almost 3.
Starting around year 3, we started to discuss marriage in general terms. Do you want to get married someday? Do you want children? House in the suburbs or keep living downtown? We agreed on the answers to all of these, but acting on any of them was firmly in the “someday” territory.
About 1.5 years ago I started to feel like I was ready to say yes if he proposed, but wasn’t really seeing it as urgent. After a few months of that I brought it up with him, just saying “no pressure, but I’m ready to start talking about getting engaged whenever you are.” He just sort of noted it but we didn’t really discuss much at that point.
Since then every month or so I’ll bring up the topic. “I’m ready. What are you thinking?” There are always a few excuses. The biggest is that he’s just not sure we’re “connected” enough as a couple. It’s the classic he likes shooter video games and I prefer trashy reality tv. Not a big deal to me, he cares not quite enough to break up.
Another thing to note is that we’ve been living on one income for the entire 3 years of living together (I was unemployed for a while, now he’s playing the startup game), so money is tight. It’s a convenient excuse, but he knows that I’d be totally ok with eloping at City Hall. Another one is that he thinks once we get married, I’ll demand a house and baby right away and we can’t afford that. I’m seriously not bad with money or impulsive like that – I budget to a degree that he finds obsessive, which is how we been getting by on one income for so long.
I told him in earlier conversations that a lot of our friends would be getting engaged in the next year or so, and that’s proving accurate. It really hurts every time I see a happy engagement post on social media, even more so because wanting this so bad makes me feel like “one of those” girls who nags for a wedding just to keep up with the Joneses. It also makes it hard because I feel like we need to wait for a respectable period of time after any close friends get engaged/ married to do so ourselves, but maybe I should let that go.
I’ve been accepted to a graduate degree several thousand kms away, in an area where he’s unlikely to be willing to move. The way I see it, it’s stupid to sacrifice graduate school for a boyfriend, but ok to trade it off for a marriage and family. I feel like leverage from that angle could work. It’s not that I’ve arbitrarily chosen a timeline and insisted that he adhere to it, but that staying with him now requires an explicit compromise that I’m not willing to make for a boyfriend. Is that manipulative or fair game?