State: New York
Question: So, I love my boyfriend, but we’re from two completely different backgrounds. I’m biracial and from a single-mother family and I know how to hustle. He’s from a nuclear, anglo-saxon family and is pursuing his passion of being a freelance/business-owner of his recording engineer studio.
I wouldn’t dare break up with him A) not because I fear being alone or B) because I’m annoyed/over it/out of love, but I’m having a hard time communicating my need to propel things forward. I don’t even believe in marriage, but in terms of moving in together, etc. He always seems like my urgency to talk about it is unwarranted and I don’t want to rush into anything at all, but if we’ve been together for 3 years (I’m 24 and he’s going to be 26 in June), when is it obvious that two people can’t communicate/work together/don’t have the same views and goals in life?
I think some people need to mark the progress of a relationship via gestures and milestones. Moving in together is a tangible thing you can point to so you can tell yourself that things are headed in a certain direction. I’m old school about living together. For me, living together means we plan on being together for a very, very long time. Maybe even permanently. Do you see that kind of future with this guy you’re dating? If not, then why be in such a rush?
You sound like you want the grand gesture just so you can prove to yourself (and probably some of your friends and family) that the relationship is going places and he’s not taking you for granted. At the same time you appear to be conflicted about you actually feel about him and the relationship.
I know a guy who, at 31, has already lived with 3 or 4 different women. (FYI? He cheated on his last two girlfriends a mere month or two after moving in with them.) For as long as I have known him he has always hopped from relationship to relationship, barely having a month or two of actually being single. He moves in with them at pretty much the same point in the relationship: around the 8 month mark. A couple of years ago he broke up with his GF of about 3 years, that he lived with for 2, and started dating someone 3 months later . She was almost 10 years younger than him and mere weeks out of her teens. A year later they were engaged. Now, everything about this situation seems like one collective red flag to me. That’s only because I know certain details. To the outside world, I bet people look at that and think it’s romantic and wonderful and wish those two kids all the luck in the world. Me? I see a guy who can’t be alone and who has a pretty flexible definition of commitment who was in a rush to lock something down before the girl matured and learned to know better.
If he is unwilling to have these conversations with you, then you either need to change your approach or accept that he does not feel the same urgency you do. Now, does that mean he doesn’t love you? Not necessarily. Not everybody feels the need to make it official, so to speak. It sounds to me like you do. My first suggestion is to really be honest with yourself about what you want and why. Do you need to prove something to yourself? Do you actually see long-term potential in this relationship? Despite what you say, do you fear being alone?
Signs of incompatibility having to do with goals and values and communication styles usually crop up pretty early on in a relationship. If this is the first time you’re actually noticing the potential incompatibility then it sounds like you and he have out grown each other. In that scenario I mentioned above, I honestly believe the reason why he proposed to that girl when she was barely 21 was because he feared she’d eventually out-grow him. You started dating this guy when you were 21 or so. Now you’re approaching your mid-twenties. What worked at 21 maybe doesn’t work at 24. What is it that you really want out of this relationship? More importantly…what do you want out of life? Does a relationship fit into that picture? These are the questions you need to ask yourself.
Sometimes it’s as simple as you and your partner are no longer compatible. Isn’t it better to determine this before you live together than after? Maybe you were on the same page once. Time has a way of changing things and changing people.