Why Doesn’t He Want To Live Together?

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Name: Anne | | Location: Chicago , IL |Question: My boyfriend of a little over 2 years says he loves me, but is saying and doing some things that make me doubt his commitment to me.  I had a talk with him about 3 months ago and told him that I really think we have long-term potential, and would like things to progress to the point where this becomes a permanent relationship.   I told him that for me to feel secure in a long-term relationship I need steps towards more commitment such as spending holidays together, moving in together and discussing a timeline for when we might want to get engaged/married, and that if he isn’t sure he wants these things with me or isn’t ready for things to progress, he needs to let me know!  He said he hadn’t brought these things up because he wasn’t sure how to, and agreed that he sees a future with me.  However, since our talk he hasn’t really acted on that statement .   His lease will be up soon, and he is looking to buy a house, so I invited him to move in with me while he looks.   He said he doesn’t   feel quite ready to live with me yet.   I don’t really understand why since we have been together a long time, sleep over at each other’s apartments 4-5 nights a week and spend the majority of our free time together.  I feel like we’re not learning any new information about each other that would make him feel more ready at a later date.  He also made a comment while looking for houses and discussing mortgages that his financial situation was not my business.  My gut feeling is that he does not want to commit to me, and was just telling me what I wanted to hear.  I want to break things off, but we are going to his friend’s wedding in Bermuda next weekend, and he paid for both our tickets.  How much longer do you think I need to wait this out?  I don’t want to be in a relationship that goes nowhere, and also don’t want him to feel angry that I went on a romantic and expensive trip with him and then broke up with him shortly after.  We’re both 28, have careers and have been in other serious relationships.  There aren’t reasons as far as I can tell that would prevent him from taking the next step with me other than that he doesn’t think I’m the one. |Age: 28

Okay. You need to back off him a bit, just so you can see if his behavior changes. It’s been three months since you’ve had this conversation. Buying a ring and getting finances in order, etc, doesn’t just happen. You have to give the guy a  chance to get his ducks in a row here. He has said he sees a future with you. For now, that’s going to have to be enough. I’m not saying you should give him another year, but you can’t be up his ass 3 months later.

His lease will be up in November, and he is looking to buy a house, so I invited him to move in with me while he looks.   He said he doesn’t   feel quite ready to live with me yet.   I don’t really understand why since we have been together a long time, sleep over at each other’s apartments 4-5 nights a week and spend the majority of our free time together.

The difference is you aren’t currently merging your finances. Sleeping over at each other’s places is not signing a contract together. It’s not reviewing credit reports and creating joint bank accounts and creating and maintaining  a budget. Living together also doesn’t offer a save haven where he or you can go to be alone. He might not be ready to give that up yet.  Asking someone to surrender their autonomy is big, HUGE to some. You’re all focused on moving in together and getting your commitment…but have you really thought about how this major life change will alter your life? Are you sure you’re ready for this? Because you sound like you’re thinking about things in abstract terms, yet you don’t seem to really have thought through what all of these changes mean and how they will impact your life. Not just his. You should be taking this time to make sure this is really what you want. Once you two sign on the dotted line and have that housewarming party…it’s real life time. Grown up life. Dealing with each other every, single day, no breaks. There’s compatibility and then there’s compatibility. And living together is a whole new level of compatibility. Until you and your boyfriend have consistently spent every night together for a good period of time, you really have no idea if this is the right next step for you two.

So take baby steps. First spend a full week together at the very least. In the same household.

His actions and behavior is telling you he’s not ready for this. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to give it to you, and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for you. But he needs some time to come to this on his own, without prodding and monitoring from you. If you were to pull back on the pressure and just let things unfold, you might see advancements. Right now he knows what you want and he feels you pressuring him. Most men in his shoes are going to dig their heels in the ground and become obstinate.

He also made a comment while looking for houses and discussing mortgages that his financial situation was not my business.  My gut feeling is that he does not want to commit to me, and was just telling me what I wanted to hear.

Okay. My gut feeling is that there’s something up with his finances and he feels ashamed or unsure about discussing them with you. But I don’t think this is the only thing holding him back. I’m not sure why, after 2 years, you’re not spending holidays together. This, to me, would have been the big red flag after a year of dating. So here’s another baby step you need to take. You need to ensure that you and his family get along, and that he and your family get along. Listen, you’re 28, you don’t need your parents approval. But it sure lubricates things when the families are on board. Because if you do marry this man, they then become your family.

You’re going at light speed but you haven’t even covered some minor basics yet. Focus on the smaller steps first. Give him some room to breath, let’s say 3-6 months, and if you don’t see any progress, then you need to have a really honest talk with him. You need to ask him questions that might be difficult for him to answer. Especially about his finances. If he can’t let you in, and you still feel like he’s stonewalling you, then you have to walk.

The weird thing is that despite all the clear signs of hesitation coming from this guy, you’re still imagining a formal and lifelong commitment with him. There’s so much about this that feels off, but yet all you seem to be able to think about is locking this down.  The other thing your letter lacks is any indication that you’ve tried to have a simple conversation with him about why he feels the way he feels. You just keep pushing for the next step to be taken, but you don’t seem to be trying to get to the root of his ambivalence. I think that conversation, as opposed to one about moving in together, will be what brings you guys closer to where you want to be.

Thoughts?

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47 Responses to “Why Doesn’t He Want To Live Together?”

  1. fuzzilla Says:

    **I’m not sure why, after 2 years, you’re not spending holidays together. This, to me, would have been the big red flag after a year of dating.**

    Hmm. Yeah. I can understand being hesitant to share financial commitment, and they’re young enough that her biological clock isn’t loud as Big Ben (as was the case with another letter a couple months ago that stirred up a pretty polarized comment thread. “But he wants to surprise her with his proposal!” “But she needs to get to baby makin’ stat, her doctor said so!”).

    Yeah, invites to see the family simply say, “You’re important to me and I want to include you in my life,” so the lack of them is troubling if you’re looking for long term commitment.

    I second Moxie’s advice on giving it 3-6 more months. Also that maybe she should talk this over with a shrink or friend to get some perspective on what she wants. The vibe I’m getting is that she’s more focused on ticking off “life goal” check boxes than what her relationship actually looks and feels like, how well they communicate, etc.

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  2. jaclyn Says:

    Don’t worry about the expensive weekend. This guy has been dating you for two years, and he isn’t asking you to spend holidays together. If you want to get married and have your own biological children, he might be wasting a lot of your time – time when it is easier to meet a man who will want to commit to you than it will be in a few years. So I wouldn’t worry about the vacation at all. If you can patiently, calmly and supportively wait then you can give the relationship more time. But if you are like me – after a year of dating in my 20s, if there weren’t signs of the relationship going anywhere I became unhappy, cranky and unsupportive and an all around lousy girlfriend since I intuitively knew my exes weren’t going to commit to me (which was always going to be true, since they all married women who were completely different from me). Being an unhappy girlfriend won’t get you anywhere and you should just break up with him if you are going to be miserable because he doesn’t want to commit to you. If every single birthday, holiday, anniversary and vacation are going to be sad events because there is no ring coming, then just leave. If you can still be happy in this relationship then you can stay and try to give it more time.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      **But if you are like me – after a year of dating in my 20s, if there weren’t signs of the relationship going anywhere I became unhappy, cranky and unsupportive and an all around lousy girlfriend since I intuitively knew my exes weren’t going to commit to me… Being an unhappy girlfriend won’t get you anywhere**

      Boy, I sure wish I’d had that attitude in my 20s. I was never super concerned about marriage and kids, but I sure wasted far more time than I should’ve in dead end, unfulfilling relationships. Assuming you’re not married, simply saying “I’m unhappy” is a good enough reason to end things. Especially if you’ve tried and failed multiple times to address what’s bothering you.

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      • fuzzilla Says:

        **Assuming you’re not married, simply saying “I’m unhappy” is a good enough reason to end things. Especially if you’ve tried and failed multiple times to address what’s bothering you.**

        I guess that also fits if you are married, it just won’t be as simple to disengage.

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        • Parenting Says:

          It could be enough but generally isn’t. Once folks commit to a marriage, they usually try to improve the situation for an extended period of time (sometimes for years if they’ve been married long) before throwing in the towel.

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          • fuzzilla Says:

            I dunno why I got all those down votes. People thought I meant, “I’m having a bad day so I’m in a pissy mood – let’s divorce!”?

            My point was that I stayed in bad relationships simply because things weren’t “bad enough,” but I wasn’t happy. I was thinking of DMN’s comment about how there’s no “breakup court” where you have to prove your case. (Okay, yes, there is a divorce court for marriage, and ending a marriage should be considered very, very carefully. But still, sometimes no one’s the bad guy, you’ve just grown apart or were just never a good match and never will be).

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      • jaclyn Says:

        Oh I don’t deserve too much credit – I stayed and waited for the relationships to implode. In hindsight, I’d recommend getting out once you are completely miserable since it really is the only way to save yourself, and possibly the relationship. A guy might mature and realize what he didn’t appreciate once you are gone, but if you were whining and moping at him he’s not going to have any respect for that and won’t miss you when you are gone and won’t ever think about coming back when he’s ready to get married.

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  3. bbdawg Says:

    It looks like her BF is not interested in marrying her based on all the indications AND the 2 years they’ve been together. I’d say the best way to go about this is to ‘take time off’ to decide if you are well-matched. SO many women sit around waiting and waiting…my biggest red flag here is the fact that HE is buying a house and has prob not mentioned anything about you both living there, etc…

    Now in his defense, getting married should NOT be taken as a minor thing and NO ONE should choose to get married for the sake of convention. If you what THAT level of commitment then you might want to try some time off and see what he says, it looks like he is more committed to buying a house than getting married.

    But remember that he is making a passive choice in not choosing to marry you just by staying with you and not proposing while you are making a passive choice in sitting around and “waiting”.

    If *marriage* is a big deal to you, it sucks to say it, but you have to be pro-active and you have actively select men who are looking and open to it. It’s been two years. That’s long enough to make plans and discuss kids and such. Because these days “marriage” in not the default scenario, and well, when you see these red flags, you communicate them, give yourself some time (3 months, say) and then take time off to see if you are both ok with breaking up so that you can pursue someone else who might want what you want.

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    • KK Says:

      I don’t understand how on earth taking time off would help either of them figure out if they are well matched. Being apart doesn’t tell you if you are well-matched, it just lets you know if you are happier with a person than without.

      Anyway, she says in her letter that her gut says she should end this. She should just listen to that. Merging fiances is huge. But the fact that he’s not ready to move in together after 2 years? That is not great. Because a guy who is willing to move in together also doesn’t mean anything – he could be ready for that, but still have no willingness to marry. The fact that he doesn’t want to even move in is not a good sign

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  4. SS Says:

    If you’ve already been together 2 years, you’re not living together, not spending holidays together, he apparently has no plans to propose, AND is making a *major* life decision without any apparent concern about you or your shared future? I’m sorry to say but I’m trusting your gut on this.

    If it were me, I’d tell him he’s an awesome guy and I wished things had been different, but it’s time for me to move on. Then I would end the relationship immediately. For two reasons. He’s not making ANY steps towards your future.. you could be waiting another 8 years for all you know. And absence has a funny way of making the heart grow fonder. Think Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. They broke up for a bit after dating for yeeears and then suddenly they were getting married…

    All that being said, to me the break should ONLY be the time to focus on yourself and not pining for him or waiting for him to get some sense. Making sure you are “all you can be.” I believe there’s great power in being the sort of person you’d want to date.

    In addition, I am hearing a lot about your timelines. But it seems ALL about the timelines. Are you sure he’s really the one? Or are you just in some panicked “I’m about to turn 30 and I had planned to be married with babies by now, you’re the closest, you’ll do!”

    Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’d say a significant percentage of women (and men) do that and it’s one of the predominant reasons for the high divorce rates today.

    Why are you giving him 100% power over your life and your future? Get out there and date. Have fun. Enjoy your female friendships. If he calls you in 6 months begging forgiveness *YOU* will be in a much better place to decide whether that’s even what YOU want.

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    • BTownGirl Says:

      I don’t know, I feel like using a “break” to try and get what she wants is sky-high risky and a little manipulative. If he really cares for her, that’s a lot to put someone through.

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      • SS Says:

        Oh no, I must not have expressed myself the way I thought then.

        “to me the break should ONLY be the time to focus on yourself and not pining for him or waiting for him to get some sense.”

        To reiterate: the break should ONLY be about her moving on. And absolutely not to get a reaction from him.

        Quite frankly I advised a break because if he’s still dragging his heels after 2 years it’s never going to happen. But heck, who knows :)

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        • Parenting Says:

          My guess is that the OP is getting antsy and trying to push the relationship forward because gut level she knows this is going nowhere. Its not looking good. I’d recommend moving on.

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          • ? Says:

            OP has said she wanted to leave, but was afraid of upsetting him because he has paid for the Bermuda wedding cum holiday ? Well, if it is his friend or relative who is getting married (and I’m guessing it is), he can always bring someone else.
            My gut feeling from reading OP’s piece is that the boyfriend has been resisting intimacy for a long time now – maybe one of those avoidant attached people. I think OP knows this and knows he is not likely to change, but just needs more courage and conviction to actually leave.

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            • Parenting Says:

              Its really hard to say. He could definitely be someone who avoids intimacy and may never get married or it could be anything from him being unsure she is the right woman long term to him being not ready to settle down yet (28 for a guy is still pretty young).

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        • BTownGirl Says:

          Totally agree that she shouldn’t let him drag his feet forever (oy vey, no haha!), but the whole “absence makes the heart grow fonder” part can really go either way and a lot of women (not saying the OP would be one of them, but I’ve seen it in action) will do that to try and get the guy to either do things their way or use it to try and get him to “realize” how great they are, ya know?

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      • KK Says:

        Ultimatums are weird. I actually feel like the fact that there is a need for an ultimatum is a sign you need to break up. And yeah, guys feel like ultimatums are super manipulative.

        My brother’s last gf gave him an ultimatum in which she said if he didn’t give her exclusivity, she’d end it. My brother agreed, but he was very resentful (which was strange as he wasn’t sleeping with other girls and had no plans to, he just hated being forced into not having a choice). He broke up with her not too long after.

        I gave an ultimatum in my last relationship, and he felt manipulated. We broke up soon afterword.

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        • Zaire Says:

          Breaking up isnt an ultimatum though. If the man doesn’t want to marry that’s fine, but the woman doesn’t owe it to him to stick around.

          I think SS’s point is its better to move on, focus on self, and eventually find a man who is a good match and ready for marriage. If the old boyfriend comes to conclusion that he wants to marry OP great, she can decide if its worth getting back together. If not, she is putting herself in a better position to get what she wants in the long run.

          There is nothing manipulative about that.

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  5. coffeestop Says:

    He is buying a house on his own and says his financial situation is none of her business, other than loudly proclaiming, ” I do not want to marry you” he is making it super obvious, he just does not have the guts to tell her yet. Ten bucks says when he does buy the house he asks for “time to think” or breaks up with her. I would totally do the Bermuda thing first and do the three month reflection. OP might wig out once she gets home after the wedding given that she does want to get married and start some panic thinking. People who want to get married, get married. I work with a young woman a year younger than the OP who has been dating a guy for five months and he proposed. Seems like they are rushing but these two have been dating two years and he does not want to even live with her? Marriage not happening.

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    • KK Says:

      I doubt he’ll ask for a time out once he buys the house. I have a feeling he is one of those guys who knows what he doesn’t want, and he also doesn’t want to be single. He will stay with her until he meets someone else he wants more and who wants him as well. And then he’ll be engaged in 6 months.

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      • coffeestop Says:

        Sounds very plausible, I think he is too lazy to break up right now and hoping the passive foot dragging with influence her to do it.

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        • Lucy Says:

          The OP doesn’t know whether he has a plan to keep things going for a while until he’s set himself up in a new house and then make a decision about commitment; or he wants to continue seeing her but doesn’t want to live with her yet. It seems like a turning point in the relationship.

          On the holiday front, I am also wondering if they haven’t gone on holiday together just the two of them? Going to Bermuda to his best friend’s wedding sounds lovely but it’s not quite the same as planning a trip purely to spend as a couple. I don’t think she should feel that she owes it to him not to break-up with him just because he paid for the trip. If they talk and aren’t on the same page that’s just it.

          I agree with Moxie that she needs to tease out the reasons for him having those feelings. I’ve found this with men myself. I’m not meaning to say all men are the same but I’ve found in my experience that it’s me who’s been the one to get the guy to express what he’s really thinking rather than him offering up how he feels voluntarily. I hope the OP can be brave and just come out with it and hopefully he will then be forced to tell her more about what’s going on.

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          • KK Says:

            “On the holiday front, I am also wondering if they haven’t gone on holiday together just the two of them?”

            She says she is in Chicago, and said, “spending holidays together,” so I think by “holidays” she meant religious/cultural holidays, not a vacation. I suppose after two years, either type of holiday would be a big deal.

            As for this” “The OP doesn’t know whether he has a plan to keep things going for a while until he’s set himself up in a new house and then make a decision about commitment; or he wants to continue seeing her but doesn’t want to live with her yet.”

            Does either one matter? After two years, he might not know if he wants to marry her, but by this time, he’d know if he wants to live with her. Also, I think for the OP, the issue is she wants to get married. He’s obviously not up for that at this point. And if her instincts are telling her to get out, she should get out

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          • Shadowcat Says:

            I’m not sure if you’re from the UK or or Austraila, but “holiday” is one of those terms we use differently in the US, she meant things like Christmas, etc., not an actual vacation

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  6. ? Says:

    Question to OP : Have you always holidayed separately ? This upcoming Bermuda trip sounds like the joint holiday you should have been having after 1 year of dating. Did the opportunity ever arise ? Do you discuss holidays together but could never agree on where and how ?

    Finances : He says his finances are none of your business, how then have you two negotiated or worked out finances in terms of who pays for what ? Hasn’t a situation arisen that required some discussion about finances ? Surely as part of your discussions about life goals, education, future plans, careers etc the topic of finances would have come up ?

    I find it really strange that you have only brought up the issue of further commitment after two years. What have you guys been talking about anyway, if not your future dreams, hopes and life goals.

    I got a feeling that this is not really a relationship or partnership in the true sense of the word. I think when you two get together, there is no real conversation or any intimate exchanges of heart and mind. Sounds like you two just “hang out” and do your own thing while together. Maybe you just talk about current affairs, the weather and world developments like colleagues or acquaintances, hence his claim that didn’t bring up the issue of long term commitment plans because quote “he didn’t know how to”. Says a lot about the true nature of this relationship, I think.

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    • KK Says:

      Are you British? Is the LW British? I am American, and assumed she was too. I think she meant holidays, as in religious/cultural holidays. Like, they never spent a Christmas together (Or Passover or Eid, etc).

      I feel like that makes more sense – they are going on a vacation together, and it’s not an indication of commitment.

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      • Goldie Says:

        Same here. Everyone’s commenting on how LW said they don’t go on vacations together and I’m like, Pretty sure she meant things like Thanksgiving and Christmas. LW is in Chicago, btw.

        On the subject of vacations though, part of the American reality is that, a lot of times, people don’t *have* vacations to spend together. I can easily see that happening when they’re both in their 20s and just getting their careers started. My last ex and I never went on vacation in the two years we were together, because he was getting his new business off the ground and never took vacation in the entire two years I knew him. As for me, when he and I met, I had a PTO balance of NEGATIVE five days or something like that. (Changed jobs six months before I met him, got no PTO for the first six months, and borrowed from next year to take my son on college visits, college orientation, and such.) So, unless they’ve explicitly stated that they’d been going on vacations separately, I wouldn’t interpret “we haven’t vacationed together” as “this relationship is doomed”.

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  7. D. Says:

    While I agree in general that most relationships progress along fairly common lines (e.g., by 2 years, you’d normally expect people to have done the come-to-my-family’s-holiday-celebration thing), the fact that it hasn’t happened isn’t necessarily fatal. What I think can be more fatal is falling into “scheduled” thinking. E.g. “It’s been XYZ amount of time, so ABC should have happened by now.” Says who? Dear Abby? The collective voices on Teh Intarwebz?

    If you find yourself planning your life out in terms of “We need to get married by X point so that I can be with him for Y years and then we can have kids by the time I’m Z years old” or whatever…I mean, I get the pressure to consider timelines, but you shouldn’t feel yourself to be a slave to them.

    So, in that sense, I agree with Moxie — he’s not behaving on your acceptable timeframe, but that doesn’t mean he won’t end up where you’d like him to be on his own.

    All of the above notwithstanding, if you are genuinely unhappy in this relationship…yeah, bail. I do think it’s odd that you haven’t done joint holiday things yet after 2 years. I don’t know why that would be the case. There could be good reasons, but I don’t know what they’d be. More importantly, though, if you feel genuinely insecure and/or unhappy in the relationship, you can just walk away. That’s part of the beauty of not being married or living together. Not that it’s an ideal thing, but if things do end, it’s a lot easier to walk away and uncouple yourself from their life.

    Even so, I’d take a serious, hard look at what it is you want. It’s really easy to think about “I want XYZ” in the abstract. You want to live together. You want marriage. Maybe you want kids. But have you really, seriously stopped to ask yourself what this would mean on a day-to-day basis? It can be really easy to find yourself thinking in terms of, like, “emotional snapshots.” You envision this or that moment of your relationship in the future, and what it’d be like, and how wonderful it’d be, but those are just…moments. And there are a LOT of moments in between those “snapshot” moments to consider.

    There’s a lot of mundane, humdrum shit that goes into a long-term relationship. It’s not all “emotional snapshots.” I heard a great line the other day that being married is an endless series of texts about “Do we need anything from the store on my way home?” Moxie’s also right that you spend, if not literally every minute, at least the vast, vast majority of your time with this other person. So, it’s worth asking yourself what daily life will be like under those situations, all with the recognition that you really don’t know for sure until you’re there. All you can know is that there’s a lot more to it than the “emotional snapshots.”

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    • mxf Says:

      It doesn’t sound like she isn’t reasonably prepared for the mundane moments of a longterm relationship, though? Like, I don’t hear a lot of hysterical, timeline-oriented undertones to her letter, the kind that sometimes drive people to push for commitments even when it’s inappropriate.

      Two things stuck out for me: “I feel like we’re not learning any new information about each other that would make him feel more ready at a later date.” That’s a pretty important insight. There is a moment where you have all you’re going to get information-wise to take the next step in a relationship, and then all that matters is whether you both want to go ahead with the risk/reward of the next step. It sounds like he verbally agreed that he was in the same place, but isn’t acting as though he is.

      “He also made a comment while looking for houses and discussing mortgages that his financial situation was not my business.” Well… that’s not great. If their conversation had opened up a dialogue about their future, wouldn’t his desire to buy a house be a natural segue into talking about short-term expectations? Are they ever going to live in that house together? Is he going to sell when they do live together? She might not need to see a pay stub and his latest tax return, but general guidelines shouldn’t be withheld as beyond the other person’s business if you agreed that you wanted the same things.

      I dunno. I think her main question is around the trip etiquette – I think if she leaves him within a couple of weeks of getting back, she should offer to reimburse for her ticket. Six months down the road, it’s water under the relationship bridge.

      If I could go back and advise 28-year-old me to break up with the boyfriend I’d had for about 6 years, I would. Not because he was bad or I was restless, but because I should have been asking myself the same questions the OP is, and didn’t start until I was 32, and lost some time in a very pleasant, comfortable dead end.

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      • D. Says:

        To be fair, you’re right. There’s nothing explicitly about timelines, except for the notion that it’s been 2 years and certain things haven’t happened, and it’s been 3 months since they talked, and things still aren’t happening. Or at least, they aren’t happening at the pace she wants. So, I don’t know for certain that she’s “timeline” oriented.

        It does, however, seem to me that she’s much more concerned about her own experience of all of this, and isn’t really thinking about them as a partnership. Granted, they’re only dating, they don’t live together, and aside from a general “Yeah, I wanna move forward at some point” discussion, they aren’t really a partnership. But her concern seems to be that they aren’t moving towards that.

        I guess the way I see it, marriage being a partnership and all, if you aren’t stopping to consider the other person’s frame of mind in all of this…you aren’t really interested in a partnership. You’re interested, instead, in your own idea of what “ought” to be happening. You’re focused on your own experience.

        From what she wrote in, there doesn’t seem to have been any question of why he isn’t moving faster. There’s been no attempt to understand where he’s coming from in this. I mean, sure, it could be that the answer is he’s just telling her whatever to get-along-to-go-along, but he could also have valid reasons for not being ready for what she wants. Maybe this financial thing is about his own issues surrounding that (e.g., he may think he needs to be in a better position financially to be married). Maybe his reluctance is due to some other valid emotional reason on his end. Who knows? Certainly not us, and apparently not the OP, either, because it doesn’t seem like the question’s even been asked.

        Instead, it’s been more about “Here’s what I need,” and an expectation that now that he knows, he’ll hop to. Yet the thing they’re supposed to be moving towards — marriage, namely — is supposed to be based in partnership, meaning it isn’t always about what you want, and you have to — and want to — take the other person’s position into account.

        I mean, in all honesty, it may be that all of this discussion is academic, she’s already made her mind up, and the core question is “So, he didn’t do what I want. Is it cool to bail AFTER the vacay, or should I do it before?” Maybe the die was cast for this well before their discussion 3 months ago. Who knows.

        All I’m saying is, if she’s NOT asking these questions, if she’s NOT thinking in terms of true partnership and instead is basing it solely around her, maybe she’s not as ready for marriage as she thinks. That doesn’t mean she should stay with this guy if she’s unhappy, either. Actually, it has very little to do with him one way or the other. Rather, it’s more about how she relates to the concept of marriage and partnership in general.

        If she’s truly unhappy, then yeah, it probably isn’t gonna improve and she should bail. I say before because she can pay him back for whatever expenses he’s out for having paid for her, and he can drown his sorrows in the probably all-inclusive booze at the resort, and probably get himself laid while he’s at it, it being a wedding where emotions are running high, and all.

        Mostly, though, my point is about how people get fixated on the fantasy of marriage, without really understanding what it means — and without understanding that they don’t understand. They get bent out of shape about “BUT ARE WE ON TRACK?!” without thinking about “On track for what?” They don’t really stop to think about the reality of marriage, just that it is an end goal to be greatly desired, and…that’s about it.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

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        • mxf Says:

          “if you aren’t stopping to consider the other person’s frame of mind in all of this…you aren’t really interested in a partnership.”

          That’s dead on. I see what you mean. It’s not enough to just have a sense of what your own life timeline is when there’s another person involved. i wonder if many guys think that way, though? For better or worse, external pressures often have women thinking of relationship milestones one way or another – do guys of 28 really have that clear a sense of *when* they want certain commitments to happen? I have more than one guy friend who was kind of bullied down the aisle around that age, and they seem perfectly happy to be married now. But to have asked them back then what their timeline was would have resulted in nothing more specific than “not yet.”

          Also… reimbursing the trip AND bowing out so he can get laid… ha. Unlikely.

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          • D. Says:

            Do guys of 28 really have that clear a sense of *when* they want certain commitments to happen? I have more than one guy friend who was kind of bullied down the aisle around that age, and they seem perfectly happy to be married now. But to have asked them back then what their timeline was would have resulted in nothing more specific than “not yet.”

            No, they don’t, really. Well, not most of them. That doesn’t mean they have to be browbeaten down the aisle, but it does mean that their natural state is not necessarily marriage-oriented, partially because, as you say, they face no real external pressure to do so other than a general sense of “It’s what you do at this age.”

            But to me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it’s more likely to produce a marriage where you want to be married to the other person, rather than a marriage because “it was time” or “it was the next step.” That’s not to say that every woman operates on the “it’s time/next step” wavelength, either, but I do have friends who went through “first marriages” that way. Their second marriages were entirely “marriages of choice,” and have (so far) gone much, much better.

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            • mxf Says:

              Yup, it’s no coincidence that I went to about a million weddings from the age of 26-30. It’s probably not likely that every single couple found their perfect match, as opposed to being influenced by the “it’s time” factor.

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        • Parenting Says:

          I don’t know, man. He doesn’t spend the holidays with her, he recoils from the idea of moving in together, he thinks his finances are none of her business and she hasn’t indicated that he in any way has included her in the decisions around the home he is purchasing that the two of them would be living in together at some future date. Where is the partnership here? Sounds to me like he is giving her every indication that she is not going to be part of his future only his present. What more is there for her to contemplate and analyze here?

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          • fuzzilla Says:

            Yeah, at the very least he should be saying, “Hey, assuming all goes well, some day I see us [enjoying XYZ future goals].” Instead he completely stonewalls her when she brings up anything about the future.

            Regardless of what “ought” to be happening, she shouldn’t be walking on eggshells around him and biting her tongue about her own concerns because she wants to be a “Cool Girl.”

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            • D. Says:

              I’m not saying she should walk around eggshells. I’m saying that, after having had that conversation, and not gotten much of a response, if she’s really concerned about partnership long-term, maybe ask the question of “You don’t seem to be all that interested or concerned about this. I’d like to understand why that is.”

              Maybe he doesn’t have a good reason, or at least a reason that satisfies her. In which case, yeah, break it off. Don’t stick out a relationship if you aren’t happy in it. But at the same time, when you’re talking about something as serious as marriage, I wouldn’t necessarily walk away from something without at least trying to understand the other person’s point of view.

              And we can all speculate here til the cows come home about why he does/doesn’t do XYZ based on her letter, but (A) we don’t know the whole story, and (B) we don’t know ANY of the story from his side of things, nor what’s going on in his head. Apparently, neither does she, or if she does, she didn’t find it relevant to post about.

              And if you aren’t in a position to ask “So, where are you coming from on this,” then you probably aren’t really thinking about marriage the way it actually works (or ought to work). That’s fine, of course, but it does mean that maybe you should take a close look at your own notions of marriage and consider why you want this thing so badly, and what, for that matter, it even is that you want. That’s a separate issue from “Bail or stay,” though.

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              • fuzzilla Says:

                Speculation, I guess, but the sense I got was that she did try to ask the questions you bring up, and the response she got was, “Back off! Case closed! None of your business!” Why she would want to be married to someone who treats her that way/makes her feel so unsure is an excellent question to ask.

                Also, I really doubt he doesn’t feel financially ready to get married if he’s buying a house in Chicago at 28.

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                • fuzzilla Says:

                  **Why she would want to be married to someone who treats her that way/makes her feel so unsure is an excellent question to ask.**

                  Although reading the letter again, she sounds pretty frustrated and said she’s ready to leave, and is just wondering about the etiquette of the upcoming trip if they break up, as someone said upthread.

                  It doesn’t so much sound like she’s demanding ABC by XYZ time frame. It sounds like she’s fed up with someone who flat-out said he doesn’t EVER see ABC happening with her.

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    • bbdawg Says:

      One thing that many people forget (I don’t know if you are a man or a woman) is that women WILL be penalized in the dating market. It’s no secret that men of all ages will prefer women in their 20s if they had a choice, so this idea that women should just sort of not be so paranoid about “timelines’ is completely false in the “real world”.

      Men, generally speaking have A LOT of time to choose their partners, and depending on how successful they become later in life, they can choose much younger partners.

      Women don’t have that luxury. Success and/or age does not make them popular with the opposite sex. They have to choose quite early on in most cases so they HAVE to be more careful and calculating f they want families. It’s just a fact. If a woman wants to start a family someday she absolutely cannot be waiting around for someone who has never even verbalized a future together. She has to be careful, diligent about choosing the right person, for the right reasons, and she has to be “on” until she finds and gets long-term commitment from a partner.

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      • mxf Says:

        Christ, this is chilling, but I don’t disagree with it. The “on-ness” part is exhausting, tbh.

        I’d still like to believe that not all men (#notallmen!) want a 20-something partner, in terms of life experiences and true and equal partnership. Maybe just women who are still in the same shape they were in their 20s…

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        • bbdawg Says:

          I’m with you, I don’t think it’s ALWAYS true, but women have bought into the whole “casual” thing for far too long. Wr have to learn to “discard” men quickly when they give consistent signs that they are not going to stick around long term.

          The whole “on” thing is sad, but true. A man is only as good as what he has to offer. It really doesn’t matter if a person is “great” if the “great” person does not see a future with you.

          Women are used to thinking of men in terms of traditional attractiveness (i.e. attractiveness and achievements) but in reality a lot of these men are not really interested in settling down, they are aware of their attractiveness/status and will fuck around as much as possible – they find promiscuity fulfilling. Others just don’t want to settle down with you, don’t like the idea of marriage, etc…it really doesn’t matter the reason, it matters that he has to be dropped as soon as you have a clear understanding that this person has a different idea about the future than you do.

          So if a woman is serious about finding a partner (i.e husband, not “boyfriend”), she HAS to develop a stronger filter and avoid the “FWB”/casual BS/Boyfriend who has said by omission he will not be around in the future.

          This is just a reality of the “marketplace”.

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      • Shadowcat Says:

        Thank You.

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  8. Yvonne Says:

    There are a few red flags here. Not spending holidays together.
    Whether that means that you never have or just don’t spend all holidays together is unclear, but not a great sign. You invited him to move in with you while he looks for his own house to buy? Why do that? You are obviously hoping to get him to commit, but it doesn’t work that way. It’s too big of a step to do on a temporary basis. You spend 4-5 nights a week together and most of your free time? You’re too available, and your boyfriend is getting too comfortable. Your gut feeling tells you he doesn’t want to commit and that he’s telling you what you want to hear? I’m a big believer in trusting your gut.

    Having said all that, you may not need to break up immediately. Take the trip together if you still want to go. But I think it’s time to take a step back and give your boyfriend a lot more space to think and to not have you so readily available. It’ll make it easier for you to evaluate the situation too. If you do break up, you’ll have already started moving on. Shake things up a bit and see how he responds.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Yeah, I kind of read the “take a break” advice as not so much giving him an ultimatum, but more for her benefit to help her move on. My gut says he’s just along for the ride and wouldn’t stand up and fight for the relationship when push came to shove. If that’s the case, find out soon before you waste too much more time.

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  9. bbdawg Says:

    About the “take a break” advice many ppl have commented on: I feel like A LOT of women who write letters to Moxie are afraid that they are going to “lose” the person if they just TELL them what is going on their minds, because they probably already know the answer. The “proposal” is not going to come. The fantasy is pleasant. It is also a lot more expensive on the long run.

    It’s a real danger to sit around and “wait”; this is not an “ultimatum”, it’s about making a decision instead of walking on eggshells over your BF just because you want “a ring”. It’s about taking a more pro-active attitude than “waiting”. Because the reality is, the woman can’t wait for the man if he does not want marriage and she absolutely cannot play the “victim” “oh I was such a great girlfriend and so and so never proposed and I wasted my time…”.

    The reality is, after 2 years, you don’t even spend vacations together, then this person is not a life partner. That means YOU GOTTA LEAVE. Because finding the life partner is the priority.

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  10. Shadowcat Says:

    I think most (obviously not all) men propose within the first two years of dating. I read a study that says if a man has not proposed within four, the chances of him ever proposing go down rapidly with each passing year. I met my S/O at 29, I am now 46. We are not married. We broke up for three years and got back together and at first he seemed to be kind of jazzed about the idea (HE brought it up, but no follow through).

    Now we’ve been living together 5 years, and to make the long story short, I am still single. I often wish I had not wasted so much time when I was young and hot, and had better bait. Maybe I could have found someone who was excited about me.

    That said, If you care about him, give it a little time, back off and see what happens, but not TOO long… Give yourself a cutoff date, start seeing what’s out there. I don’t have much confidence in my ability to replace him, and frankly the letters on this site remind me pretty consistently how lucky I actually am, he has no idea that this site is a lot of the reason I work as hard on this relationship as I do, it’s rough out there! (And I DO love him) I know that sounds cold and calculating, but frankly, 46 years of singledom and the ups and downs that come with relationships and life experience have made me much more pragmatic.

    Do a search on this site on single women over 35 dating, it will be sobering.

    That said, I say go to Bermuda and have fun, but TRUST ME, if you feel this way now, a trip to a romantic island to watch someone else’s wedding is going to raise some issues.

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  11. mary Says:

    He won’t move in with you because he’s just not that into you.
    The word love is used so loosely today; it’s more used as like.
    Lots of people say they love someone back cause it’s too awkward not to, or just said at the height of passion. Or maybe he thought he did.

    He sees a future with you…define future. He is vague for a reason.
    His next step is to move into a new home, most likely without you.

    It’s kind of surprising you’ve gotten to 2 years without any serious commitment or discussions of where it’s going.
    You’ve given him 3 months already and nothing’s changed. He’s not afraid of losing you. I would not invest my time and energy for the Bermuda trip. Your expectations might exceed the outcome.

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