My boyfriend treats me wonderfully, like I'm the most important thing on the planet. Now, we are taking our first steps down a very quick path towards Full Lifetime Committment: moving-in, with the understanding that marriage and kids will follow shortly. (Why the speed? I'm 37 with some history of ladytroubles that require maximum time to try and get pregnant.) I was feeling very ready for all this 2-3 months ago, but now am having doubts. Help! Are these standard cold feet, or do you spot any red flags here?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Well, gosh. Aren't I lucky? I have an absolute dream job, and a super supportive boyfriend who adores me and tells me how lucky he is to be with me every day. Although he is a few years younger, he understands I'm on a faster timeline for children biologically — and is ready to do that together, as soon as we need to. We've been dating a little over a year and a half, and started talking about Big Life Plans about six months in. We've met each other's families, made some big purchases/commitments together, and I'm moving in with him soon.
I should be excited, I know, but the last few weeks I've been experiencing some emotional flatlining and I don't know how to interpret it — cold feet? skittishness from being hurt in the past? red flags I shouldn't move forward with this man?
Here are my feelings:
* Emotionally, he's off-the-charts-amazing. I am not going to find a better candidate for a father. He is loving, considerate, caring, generous, hardworking at home and totally supportive. He makes me feel safe, trusting, calm, easy, comfortable and totally accepted. He loves doing household tasks for me, much of the cooking, grocery shopping and even cleaning. He gives me frequent compliments and never fails to tell me what a lucky man he feels like for being with me. The sex is amazing, too.
* Practically and financially, I'm in much better shape than him. Granted, I'm a little older but my career, finances, and ability to practically get by in the world are a lot stronger than his. I'm not the kind of woman who cares very much what kind of salary her partner makes, but he doesn't have much professional ambition, and that bothers me somewhat more. I worry I might lose respect for him over time if he stays ambivalent about his career (he says he wants more, but it's very halfhearted. His past is an indication that he has struggled getting any traction at all in his career). But hey — maybe this is a great thing? Maybe he'll be the stay-at-home dad? I can easily support us both, but I'm starting to think he sees our relationship as the sole successful thing in his life but worry about that becoming a strain over time.
* I love him, but I've never felt insanely crushy about him. I am typically attracted to super intellectual guys (who treat me like crap) so this relationship has been a bit of an experiment for me. I sometimes feel intellectually alone in the relationship. I have felt bored in his company from time to time (this feels like a big red flag, yes?) and have problems with occasional bursts of ignorance of basic American history or inadvertently bigoted comments (which I lovingly correct, and he honestly works to end). But I miss having serious conversations. I miss reading together. I miss feeling intellectually challenged, and heard. I worry I won't end up in this life as smart as I might if I was with someone who challenged me everyday. But I don't want to go back into the crazy/hot/crushy/problematic relationships of my past, so maybe a little boring is a good thing for me? Or is it? This dynamic feels so new and I don't trust it at all. Gah.
* My last serious relationship before this was with an abusive alcoholic who wasted many good years of my fertility stringing me along with promises he never meant to keep (but hey, a challenging intellectual! And an ass!). He cheated and walked out very suddenly with no explanation a few years ago. I was deeply scarred by that. After lots of therapy, alone time, and active dating I found this wonderful, sincere, loving man. This relationship feels solid and safe, but I worry: am I'm simply taking shelter in it after my years of being treated so badly by someone I loved with a super-hot intensity? Could this all be — gasp — just a very slow-motion rebound, after a very long-running nightmare? Or did I learn something fundamental about what makes a healthy relationship, forgoing the flash of intellectual spark for the heartfelt substance of real supportiveness?
Other basic facts: I definitely want to have a baby, and I want to have my own. I don't want to be a single mom, adopt, do in-vitro, or spend the $8-12K it costs to take the risk of egg freezing (which doesn't have very high success rates to begin with). I feel like I should be trying to get pregnant in the next 12-18 months if I want a good chance at doing so.
If I were 27, instead of 37, I would probably slow this whole thing down another year or three before we headed down Committment Road. But at 37, the whole decision matrix feels really different now. My single friends my age are all dating divorced dads in their 50s. My older women friends lean into me hard and whisper: "marry this man!" — then, they lean in a little harder to whisper, "get off the birth control NOW."
But in the last two weeks I have looked at my boyfriend and felt very flat, a little bored, and we've had more little spats than usual, which I think has been my fault. He loves me more than ever, and it feels like we're hurtling towards a whole big life together and wish I felt 100% behind it. But I feel shaky — more like 68% behind it. I sincerely worry if I don't take this opportunity to build a life with him, I may wind up in another crappy relationship with an asshole, or childless.
Are these cold feet or legitimate concerns? What say you, AskMe?