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.