Please help me sort out my long-term thinking about my very good but maybe not perfect relationship?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (23 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I adore my boyfriend. He is funny, kind, hard-working, trustworthy, just such a good man all around. We love each other's families, we have great adventures, we laugh a lot, we help and support each other in our big dreams and in difficulties. But I am starting to think we're not going to make it long-term, and need some help thinking this through.
I'm 30, he's 33. We've both been in plenty of relationships before, both serious and casual. We've been together not quite two years, lived together for not quite one. We were good friends first and share many mutual friends. We both work full time; I have a demanding and well-paid career; he's a successful creative freelancer.
- Sex. I would prefer we had sex at least several times a week; to me it's an important part of relationship hygiene and also, like, I want it. I am very attracted to him. He has a much lower drive. We had frequent sex the first year of our relationship but it's fallen off to once a month, maybe. I initiate; he says he is too distracted and too tired. We've talked about it; I've told him the fact that he's NEVER in the mood makes me feel rejected and undesired and like being intimate with me is the last thing on his priority list. Usually we have sex after a talk like this and then go another few weeks (last time it was 8!) until I get frustrated and start the talk again.
I don't know how to figure out what's really going on with the situation if he won't tell me. If we can't figure out something that works for both of us, it might be a long-term dealbreaker for me.
- Timing. I've realized over the last few years that getting married and having a family are important things for me (I'm sort of surprised about it myself). I'm ready to do that now-ish, or at least to make plans about it. He wants the same things for himself, someday, but doesn't necessarily want them right now; he has other stuff he wants to figure out first (career stuff, money stuff, etc.). I want to buy a house, he maybe wants to live abroad or in another city for a couple of years. I'm sure about him being the one I want to settle down with, if I press him, he can't say that he's sure about me.
- Mismatched levels of commitment/interest. He's the top priority in my life. He says I am his, but looking at actions, work is his top priority (then his family, then his friends, then maybe me). He is thoughtful and caring when I ask him for something directly, but in general I feel like I work really hard to make a nice home for us, I plan fun little surprises, I try to make our life together nice, and he just kind of...doesn't notice or reciprocate unless I ask him to directly. There's very little spontaneous non-sex touching any more. We still have a lot of fun together and talk all the time about everything, but at this point I feel like I am a close friend of his rather than a partner.
So that's a lot of stuff. I feel so sad when I see it laid out like this. We've talked about all this stuff, and frequently—he assures me that he wants me, wants to be with me, wants a future with me, but never does anything to change the current situation (which makes me feel like he doesn't particularly want me or want to be with me or want a future with me, i'm just convenient to have around for now).
It seems stupid to break up when what we have is pretty good, really. But I feel like ultimately it's not going to be enough for me, and I'm starting to feel like it's also stupid to wait around. But I don't just want marriage and kids, I want marriage and kids with him. On the other hand, I don't want that with someone who doesn't want it with me.
I feel very conflicted and don't know what to do. I was going to wait till the two-year mark (the end of the summer) and make a decision then, but that seems kind of mean and wasteful if I'm thinking all these things now. Can you think help me through this and do you have any advice, either on specific parts of our relationship or on what I should do now? I would especially appreciate advice around how to have productive conversations about this stuff (particularly the sex and timing problems) - our big talks mostly seem to be me explaining my perspective on something, him explaining his, us retiring to our separate corners without having come to any new understanding or actionable solutions.