Post # 1
I hope I’ll find a few women here who understand my feelings and can help me to stay patient.
My boyfriend (42) and I (36) have been dating for almost 3 years and living together for more than 2 years. Our story is kind of unconventional: I met him while I was still married but in the process of breaking up. My ex and I are still friends, we just didn’t work out as a couple. Anyway, this situation made things a little complicated and undefined in the beginning but I knew what I wanted from the very first day and he fell deeply in love with me, too.
His longest relationship was 3 years when he was 25 and his last really serious relationship (1.5 years) before meeting me was 10 years ago. Ever since he was dating people and trying to find the right person. So I think he needed more time to really build trust, feel comfortable and get used to “couple’s life”. I’m more like a go getter and not afraid of shouting out my feeeings. I was always faster than him and he felt pushed. I talked about commitment too soon, was too clingy etc.
Part of the reason might be that I have my career figured out (so no energy needed in this area), I don’t have a lot of friends and I LOVE to spend as much time as possible with my partner. He had a lot of issues with his health and career and we had many arguments and discussions because of misunderstandings and hurt feelings. We always knew we love each other but our communication was totally off. We just didn’t get each other and we both felt offended and hurt. Then he decided to quit is stressfull job without having another one lined up and things got really messy. He got more and more depressed, I went through my own rollercoaster and after 4 months of job searching he decided that he wants to break up and move back to the state where he grew up. He said I’m not his answer and he needs to get his life back together and he can’t do it with me. He was ready to run. But somehow things turned around, he agreed to couple’s therapy and found a job. We moved to a new place, learned how to communicate and then finally finished our therapy six weeks ago. We are talking about the future all the time and after all that we went through I feel even more like we are meant to be together.
A few days ago I mentioned that I sometimes feel sad that we aren’t married and I guess I shouldn’t have said that. He asked me “Are you asking me why I haven’t proposed to you yet?” I said no (because I sort of know the answer and I was afraid to make him angry). He told me that I’m putting him in an awkward postion and that he knows that I would have alread said yes and that I have always been faster than him. And that he feels bad now. And that he thought that we are traveling this path together and that he wants to make sure he can be there for me in a way that I need him and also making sure that he feels 100% comfortable. And that we wouldn’t even have the money for a wedding now. This is not true, because I HAVE SAVING (he is almost broke and searching for a new job again) but I just said I’m sorry and I understand and I didn’t mean to make him feel bad.
Maybe I should add that we both wouldn’t want a big wedding – I really don’t care about the ceremony and a big party. I would be fine with a private beach wedding (we live near the beach) but I assume he would want to invite his family and pay for their hotel and airfare. Anyway, long story short: I’m sad and can’t stop thinking about a proposal. Maybe I am too impatient after all we went through. Maybe it’s ok to give it more time to recover from all that. But my heart is broken just thinking about the fact that he wants more time evaluating me (that is how it feels).
And I don’t really get it that he wants to improve his financial situation first. Sure, he needs to finally figure out what he wants and also start making some money but that has nothing to do getting married! We are not in our 20s anymore, don’t want kids and I’m doing well financially.
I don’t want to be sad or sensitive about the topic and I don’t want him to sense my disappointment because that will just make it worse. I assume he needs to feel that I understand or that he’s worth the wait and that I allow him to catch up. I get it. But my self worth is horrible right now and I feel even more horrible and stupid that I’m upset about not being proposed to. Where is my self-worth?
Thanks for reading and I’m looking forward tohearing what you think. I feel so alone with this.
Post # 2
Oh, darling. I don’t know if it’s how you wrote it out (ya know, trying to come across as a caring and good person) but this really gave me the sense that you’re a bit of a doormat walking around on egg shells so as to not offend/upset/disappoint him. And I suppose I’m not even just sensing this, there are facts:
“I was afraid to make him angry”
“Don’t want him to sense my disappointment because that will make I worse”
I know this isn’t the answer you wanted but I couldn’t help it, I feel like I have to bring your attention to this. Relationships should be uplifting, supportive. You should be able to ask why you aren’t engaged yet. You should be able to show your disappointment. And he should be able to answer why he hasn’t proposed and reassure you when you feel disappointed. No one should have to keep quiet about their feelings just so their other half doesn’t get mad. That’s so not loving.
You ask where has your self esteem gone? I think it’s got something to do with this relationship. I’d re-evaluate it sweet heart.
Post # 3
I’m sorry, I don’t think you are ready to be done with therapy if you can’t even have a conversation about your future without worrying about making him angry.
I’m also wondering about his lack of financial security and inability to keep a job at 42. Is this really the person you want to spend the rest of your life with?
Post # 4
Thanks for your replies. Well, regarding the lack of financial security… I don’t care about that too much. I trust that he will figure it out.
About “not being able t talk about my disappointment” – yeah, there’s truth in that but I think that is MY problem 🙁 I didn’t dig into it because I KNOW his answers. He feels like we’re getting there but he just needs more time.
He talks about our future all the time and there are no questions or doubts. But after all we went through he seems to need time with being ready to talk about marriage. He told me more than once “don’t worry, we’ll get there”. I feel like that’s ok for now but I’m afraid it will too long and part of me just wants his commitment so badly. But then I’m like “why isn’t it enough for now that we are living a life together, decorating our apartment, planning trips, talking about the future and our dream to own a house some day? Why do I care so much about getting married?
He just told me this morning (another topic but anyway) that it feels good when I say I trust him and don’t have any anxiety or paranoia that he doesn’t love me. I used to be really anxious and needed reassurance every day. He always said he is happy to help but it’s too much and he wants me to know and FEEL that I can trust him without him having to prove himself every day.
Post # 5
From past experience, and one nasty marriage before I think you know your answer deep down. It took 7 yrs to get engaged with mine mainly because his ex was fighting the divorce but, he knew I wasn’t in this relationship to date him. Yes, it’s does change people and he is still concerned with that still but, we are like sooooo awesome together in everything including the bed. I know he’s the one I want to spend my earthly life with and hope to pass into the next.
If if you can’t talk to him about it then maybe you need to reevaluate your worth as a woman.
Post # 6
Well, I can talk to him but I know deep inside he wants me to just trust him. SO if I start to talk about my “concerns” I will hurt him.
So I really don’t know if I should talk about it again (just to hear that he needs time – which I understand but it also hurts) or just wait a while 🙁
Post # 7
If you can’t talk about very important life events and your feelings about them without being fearful of his anger, you two are not ready to get married. Since you’ve been married, you must know that a successful marriage requires being able to talk about really hard, uncomfortable things sometimes.
And it’s one thing to feel confident and comfortable that he loves you and a totally different thing to want the same things in life. He can love you all he wants, but if making him feel good means not discussing the fact that you would like to be married that’s just not healthy.
Post # 8
And that’s where I am stuck. We do have the same goals. He wants to be married, too. But apparently, I am rushing it and he is not ready. So I really don’t know how to handle this because I feel like I AM the problem because I have no patience.
Post # 9
I think what everyone is keying in on here is that you are seeking a solution for this problem from a “how to help HIM” standpoint, not a “how to help mySELF” standpoint. You are focusing all of your energy on how he feels – if he will want to marry you, when he will be ready, if he’s upset with you or happy with you, etc.
I think you may benefit from trying to shift your focus back to yourself.
– “Am *I* happy right now?”
– “Is HE the cause of any unhappiness?”
– “What can *I* do to ease my OWN anxiety and make myself more content and happier?” (Journal, meditate, hobbies, etc)
– And in general, just set boudnaries/standards for yourself instead of valuing yourself in relation to him and his moods. For instance, decide that you will wait _____months to see him start to move you guys forward. If he hasn’t moved you forward any by then, have a frank discussion. Don’t have it emotionally, don’t blame, etc, but you definitely should feel like you can discuss your future without making him upset.
For my part, I am suspicious of the fact he’s only really had 1-2 long-term relationships at his age, and they were so long ago. For me, that’s a red flag that maybe he has some sort of patterned behavior that makes women leave (that you’re missing because you’re so hung up on the chase.) Or he’s commitmentphobic and winds up leaving them…
I know you keep responding “but I just don’t want to bring it up so that I don’t upset him,” as if that’s a perfectly natural way of thinking, but it’s really not. Think about it. Do you want to marry someone who responds negatively to your anxieties? They aren’t going to go away any time soon, right? This is just how you are, right? So this is a foundational, major incompatability if his reaction to you being anxious is to get upset and make you feel guilty for having upset him. (tip: YOU can’t make him feel upset – HE controls whether he gets upset or not, so him blaming you for his emotional state is a slippery slope to a very unhealthy dynamic.)
Post # 10
And to speak to the face of the matter… at your ages, I don’t care WHAT his sob story is, 3 years is plenty of time to know you want to marry someone. And if he TRULY knows he wants to marry you, and cares about you, he would attempt to help ease your anxiety by giving you ANYTHING to go on. Even if it was, “honey, I don’t think I’ll be ready to take that step for at least another year or two,” it would be SOMETHING. His refusal to give you ANYthing makes me very suspicious that he’s settling in to string you along.
Post # 11
Thank you so much!!
I definitly know that I have to shift the focus back to myself. And maybe part of that is to stop being afraid and stand up for my feelings. I’m thinking about talking to him again and I feel like it takes a lot of courage. I’m so afraid that he will say things like “Don’t you know that we are on the same page?”, “Why do you have questions?”, “Why are you pushing me?”.
Sigh. I don’t even know what I want to hear. I don’t even have a REAL question. Everything is going well and we are understanding each other better and better. But I feel like marriage is a hot button topic. And that scares me because I want to be able to talk about EVERYTHING.
He’s a very analytic and solution-oriented person so I have to be clear about what I want from him. And I guess I don’t even know that myself.
Post # 12
All these fears are kicking in. What if he tells me he doesn’t know yet if he wants to marry me? I don’t want to screw things up by being impatient 🙁
Post # 13
I guess my post was a perfect example how we sometimes create something in our minds. We are trapped in assumptions, fears, thoughts of the past…
I’m grateful for all the answers I got because it helped me to refocus and finally talk to him HONESTLY.
And you what? That was the BEST decision. He told me that he doesn’t want me to hold ANYTHING in because that is unhealthy and I should feel 100% comfortable being myself. He said the way I brought it up (on the way to the store and with anger) just made him freeze and confused. And he said it sounded like I want him to propose NOW. I told him that I’m fine not getting married now and that I just want to be able to talk about everything. He said we just got out of therapy and the first step is to let things settle and enjoy happiness together. And that I shouldn’t have any fears because we are on the same page. Then he asked “Do you really think I will never propose to you?” I said that I trust him and that it just made me feel really uncomfortable getting the vibe that he doesn’t want to talk about marriage at all. Then he asked me again if I’m unhappy and if would want to get married right now. I said no and that I just needed to feel that it’s going to happen and that I can be myself and don’t have to be afraid to feel whatever I feel.
He hugged me and told me that he is very sorry that I felt this way and that I don’t have to have any concerns. Then he smiled and that to himself… Well I guess I also have to understand that this is not uncommon. Woman are different than men. Haha
I AM SO GLAD I TALKED TO HIM! Thanks again everybody.