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Selfish or Seen the Light?
March 27, 2007 6:00 AM   Subscribe

How do you know if the time has come to end a 10 year relationship? Given that we both want completely different things out of life- it that grounds for termination? (My apologies in advance for the LONG post inside)

Here is the background:

My boyfriend and I have been together for 10 years- since we were in college. We are both turning 30 this year. For the last couple of years I have made it clear that I want to get married. He doesn’t. He said he doesn’t know if he ever wants to marry anyone. But he will play along with my wedding planning scenarios, so I get mixed messages on the matter.

We both want different things out of life. He wants to be a musician and go on tour. I want a stable job that I can settle down somewhere and have a nice peaceful life. He wishes he could live in California on a beach. I love the east coast and living in the country. He doesn’t know if he wants kids ever. I know I want children with in the next few years.

Last January (06) I laid it all on the line. I told him that he had until October (our 10 year anniversary) to decide if he wanted to marry me. If he still hadn’t figured it out by then, I would start making decisions about where I wanted my life to go without considering what he would want to do. I didn’t bring it up again.

*segue*
I had been unhappy in the industry I was working in, so when my contract was up in July, I decided to take some time off and re-evaluate where I was going. I started realizing I could not see myself in that line of work 10 years down the line. I started toying with the idea of a new career. I evaluated what I enjoyed about the line of work I was in and tried to figure out how to apply that to a different career field. I thought about going back to school. I didn’t say this out loud to anyone, but I let it stew in my mind for a couple of months while doing a lot of research online about my options. I had been unhappy living were I was for a while and was really missing nature- so I didn’t mind moving somewhere else if I did want to go back to school.

Ok, so October came and went with no proposal. That was when I started taking the idea of going back to school seriously. I announced to everyone in November that I was moving and going back to school. The BF was none too pleased and just grunted at the idea.

Christmas came around and he told me he got my xmas present. I like to ask a million questions and he always gives me little hints- it’s just something we have always done. He tells me where the gift came from- he names the jeweler (I know they specialize in diamonds). He tells me it is definitely something I wanted. It is something any girl would love to have. He says he knows I’m going to like it. Now after 10 years and given the current circumstances, I’m thinking that there is no way he is going to just get me a diamond ring that means nothing. I start to get excited. I curb my enthusiasm, just in case it is a ring, but not a diamond ring- just a nice ring. Well it was a diamond ring. But he didn’t propose. He got it because he thought I would like it. I was absolutely heart broken. It’s my own fault for expecting anything more.

So now I have decided to move in July. He doesn’t know if he is coming with me. As of now he says he isn’t; because he doesn’t want me to get my hopes up- and that it just isn’t a place he wants to live- at all. He wants to know why it has to be where I’ve chosen- why can’t I go back to school where we live now. In a previous post I said that he didn’t think there was a music scene for him where I am going.

But do I really want him to go- even assuming he wants to?

He is a wonderful (albeit frustrating) person, and he is part of my family to me at this point. I have tried to talk to him, but he offers no enlightenment- ‘just let it go and we’ll see what happens’- or- that I am being selfish and I make up my mind and just do things without ever considering anyone else’s feelings. If I go and he chooses not to come along, I don’t want to start moving on with my life and have him show up 3 months later and realize that he misses me. I told him that if he does that he better be coming on one knee. And even if he did, what are the chances that the new found appreciation for the relationship would last? On the other hand, I don’t want him to come with me and then resent me for the move. Am I missing something on his side of the argument? Am I really selfish?

Have any of you been through something similar? Know someone who has? I know I may not have a choice in the matter as he may chose not to come- which I am preparing myself for also. This is something I will have to come to terms with either way, but some outside experiences or enlightenment would sure help.

Again sorry for the LONG post…
posted by MayNicholas to Human Relations (58 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow, the ring thing sounds cruel.

I have no idea what you should do about staying in or ending your relationship, but it sure doesn't sound like you all are talking about this very well. You sound frustrated and full of ultimatums; he sounds petulant and hostile. You don't sound much like you're having mature talks about the future. That seems imperative given where things are.

What would it be like to be married (for either or you) to someone who at age 30 couldn't talk about difficult relationship dynamics without resorting to aggressive tactics?
posted by OmieWise at 6:14 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


So many dealbreakers! Location, kids, marriage! If after 10 years he doesn't know whether he wants to marry you, then he will never know. I think you already know this, especially after the diamond ring (What was he thinking?) and your plans.

For him it sounds like he is content with the way things are and would be happy if they never changed. You sound like you need more out of life and have a good plan to get it. You deserve better and you deserve someone who will invest in your future, not just your present circumstances..
posted by Alison at 6:23 AM on March 27, 2007


He is a wonderful (albeit frustrating) person, and he is part of my family to me at this point

This is the only sentence in your entire post that says anything positive about your boyfriend, and even there you qualify the statement with the parenthetical "albeit frustrating." To me, that speaks volumes.

Forgive me for being blunt about this, but I don't see any indication that you actually love this man. Everything in your post says to me that you're staying with him because you've been with him for ten years, and you're nearly 30, and it's easier to stay with him than to find someone else.

Except that it's really not easier, because (taking your description at face value) he's passive-aggressive, and clearly not interested in your feelings about, well, anything. You're better off without him.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:24 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


The two of you hold different opinions of some very deal-breaker topics: moving, kids, living area, lifestyle, job expectations for the partner. Kids is a major difference, and not an issue that anyone should hope will go away or work itself out.

It sounds like he is happy where he is and is not really interested in changing the situation. It certainly does not sound like he wants to get married. And I doubt you want to get married to him either--do you really want to marry someone who is only marrying you because you issued an ultimatum? Because you made them?

[On preview, exactly what previous posters said]
posted by schroedinger at 6:27 AM on March 27, 2007


That business with the Christmas present strikes me as just plain cruel. It sounds like he enjoyed watching you anticipate "the big ring" and then enjoyed watching your disappointment and sadness when you realized it was not what you'd hoped for and what he'd led you to believe it might be. Nice, no? This is the man you want to marry and have children with? And you're pretty quick to take the blame and say it's your fault for expecting more. I think you deserve better.

Where in your post did you say how much you love him? You say he's part of your family but you never said you love him and can't imagine your life without him. Are you still with him because it's grown comfortable? He's said over and over again that he doesn't want to be married. How many times do you need to hear that? Why keep putting yourself through this pain? You two seem to want very different things in just about every way. How do you see yourselves reconciling these very signifigant differences? Your ultimatums have come and gone without any repercussions with you. He's not taking you seriously anymore.

Move on with your life, without him. Don't leave the decision of whether or not he comes with you up to him. Tell him he's not invited. Stop giving him all this power over your life. Make your own decisions based on what you need and want. It sure doesn't sound like he's willing and/or able to give you what you want. If he comes crawling back, too bad. He had his chance. I bet you meet someone great pretty quickly after you dump him and clear your radar - someone who wants the things you want and doesn't enjoy watching you twist in the wind.
posted by Kangaroo at 6:29 AM on March 27, 2007 [6 favorites]


Is getting married that important to you? What do you have now, in a 10 year old relationship that you don't get that you would if you were married? Anyway, I don't know your personal motivations for wanting to wed and in reality, it doesn't seem to matter. You both clearly want different things and it appears that neither of you want to give up on these things to save the relationship. I don't think that's unfair of either of you, even from the tone of the post I can tell that you were drifting apart long before today. You couldn't talk to him about such a life-altering decision as going back to school somewhere else until you realised he wasn't going to propose shows that you were detaching yourself so you could face the inevitable.

All that being said, you've spent 10 years together, you've created history and like you said, he's part of your family. Do you want to lose that? We can't answer that, only you can. Personally, I feel that his unwillingness to compromise or even talk about these big issues is pretty much a deal breaker. He doesn't want to face what's been looming for a while now.
posted by liquorice at 6:30 AM on March 27, 2007


I think what you don't want want to do is to back him into a corner where he's going to marry you just to stay together even if he's not 100%. Do you want to be married to someone who isn't ready to be married?

I don't think either of you are being selfish, you've just come to a fork in the road. You're not seeing eye to eye on a number of things and from my limited perspective on the situation it sounds like he even has a little bit of growing up to do.

You'll probably get a lot of people telling you to end it (you did ask metafilter a relationship question after all), which in this case may be not bad advice. Personally, I think you need to take a break. Make the move you talked about but cut out the ultimatums. Just step back and say, "I'm making this move. I have some stuff I need to figure out and so do you." and leave it at that. If the 10 years meant anything to him he'll wise up over time. If not, he'll continue pretending to be a rockstar and it'll be over. He needs to make that decision on his own though, without pressure from you.

Good luck
posted by saraswati at 6:31 AM on March 27, 2007


On preview, I need to type faster and preview more frequently
posted by saraswati at 6:33 AM on March 27, 2007


You poor sweet thing. That ring thing is cruel. I can't imagine the pain of that. You are totally right to expect a commitment after TEN years together, and if he isn't sure after ten years, then move on. Number one priority is to take care of your heart-- get that new career, move where your heart feels alive, fill your life with things that make your heart happy, and you will attract the kind of person that can't wait to commit to someone as beautiful as you. I'm so very sorry to hear that this guy is taking you for granted so horribly. I'm sure he has great qualities, or you wouldn't have been with him this long. But great qualities are what bring you together; it's time and has been time to commit and grow up together. It's time for you to move on.
posted by orangemiles at 6:35 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


The key to this problem lies in him and his acknowledgement of the sacrifice you are making by staying there. Which is not to say that you are owed something for it-- you are getting this relationship as your reward. But it is a significant sacrifice of (some of) your dreams, and if a person is going to make (and continue to make) such a sacrifice, then that person needs to have something to look forward to in order to feel confident in the path they are traveling, as it is not the one that they had intended to find themself on.

Enter your boyfriend. Any 30 year old man oblivious to the effects of giving a meaningless diamond ring to a 30 year old woman who is vocal about desiring marriage cannot be trusted to provide you with a worthwhile incentive to stay. You struck a fair deal when you said you would stay if he married you. He didn't marry you. You called him on it by announcing your plans to move and go to school. He registered disdain, but even then, when it became clear you were serious. he didn't do anything about it. Enter the bunk ring. Signs don't get any bigger than this.

"Let it go and see what happens" is a philosophy, not a plan. Grownups need a plan. The plan can change, or be replaced, but it needs to exist. What is he waiting for? His life is happening and rolling out from under him. He seems to have it pretty good right now, but isn't interested (or capable), but isn't lifting a finger to protecct even his own happiness, which is troubling. Unless you like the idea of drifting at sea with him like this for years or even decades, you need to jump ship. What may hurt more than anything is the confirmation of your fears that he won't jump after you, but that mustn't keep you from jumping. Let that knowledge drive-- not deter-- your doing what you must do.
posted by hermitosis at 6:41 AM on March 27, 2007


Man, this guy sucks. He's not going to marry you.

Honestly, don't force him to come with you and don't let him come with you. If he does come with you, you're just going to let him stay with you for 2-3 more years before you're going to have to make the same decisions again.

If you want to convince yourself of this, just go ahead and move. If he lets you move, and then regrets it, he'll call you day and night and apologize. Then you can tell him that you don't him moving as long as there is a ring involved...otherwise it's time to move on with your life.

Also, another thing I've learned: The person who makes the ultimatums always loses. I've never heard of someone making an ultimatum that ends out well.
posted by unexpected at 6:42 AM on March 27, 2007


Wow...
Well, I'll offer a story, that you can take as you want. I have a good friend, that fell madly in love and moved to the middle of the country with her (to be closer to her family - we are all on the East Coast). Previous to him leaving, myself and another friend sat him down and made sure he was sure - cost us our friendship for 10yrs, but at the time I though it was the right thing to do before he left, as he had always said he did not want children, but she did.

He moved, and within about a year they were married. By all accounts he was very happy, as was she during the marriage.

Fast forward to this past Thanksgiving - he shows up at the other friend's house as a surprise... we are all glad to see him, and during dinner, he mentions that he is getting divorced. While they both care for each other, as she got older (she was ~20 at the time they were married), the children thing became more pronounced.. it was the only thing they disagreed on.

They decided that in order for her to be happy, she wanted children, and it was not something he would give her, so they parted good friends.


The point, I guess, is that it's very very hard to change ones mind about things like this, if your happiness includes children, then you need to find someone that feels the same way.. or prepare for a problem months or even years down the line...
posted by niteHawk at 6:44 AM on March 27, 2007


In August, I ended a ten-year relationship with someone who wasn't sure he was in love, wasn't sure what he wanted in the long term, etc etc. He is a wonderful, witty, attractive man who smells nice and makes me laugh and all that good stuff, and I was crazy in love with him, but that uncertainty was enough to end our relationship. I have him in my life as a friend now rather than a lover, and that feels good. As you say, he is "part of the family." (I expect a twinge or two once he starts dating other people, but I also expect to get over the twinge.)

As for me, I'm feeling SO much better. All the unresolved sadnesses of those years-- that he'd never feel what I wanted him to feel, and our life together would never be what I wanted it to be-- are healing, replaced by the far-more-manageable short-term sadness of a breakup. I was far more cheerful this past Valentine's Day, as a single woman, than I'd been for any in my life before.

So I would say, if you do decide to end your relationship, try to do it in a way that you can stay on friendly terms with the guy. It may take you some time after the breakup to get to that point (the distance when you move may help too), but it's worth doing if you feel like that's what you want.

That's just my experience, which is bound to be different from yours. But, for what it's worth, there is life on the other side.

Good luck in grad school!
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:46 AM on March 27, 2007


DTMFA. If you marry, you are going to resent the hell out of each other, if you don't already.
posted by desjardins at 6:47 AM on March 27, 2007


Oh, my goodness. You are going to look back at this and say "what the heck took me so long to leave this relationship??" You have been in this situation so long that it has become an "okay" thing for him to not commit to you, but trust me, it's not. He has a right to live his life as he wants and so do you.

Here's an anecdote: I saw one of my girlfriends go through this. He finally gave in and got married to her. However, he held the line on kids. She figured that he would eventually give in on that one too. He got a vasectomy without telling her. By that time, she was forty. She went into a deep, deep depression and they eventually divorced.

You are still young enough to meet guys your age who are still never married and want children. There are lots of guys who want this. You have been able to maintain a loving relationship for ten years, thus you will be able to find another person to commit to and make your future with. It's time to say good bye.
posted by Flakypastry at 6:49 AM on March 27, 2007


I am just putting the marriage issue into a vacuum for a moment, forgetting the ring thing, forgetting the move uncertainty.

Why do you want to get married? Is it a way to get him to say "yes, I am committed to this woman"? Is it the "adult lifeclub" that you will belong to? My (now) husband and I were together for about seven years before we got married. He had been through a divorce (long story) and was really gunshy about moving in together, and then after we got past that, marriage. The moving in together was just a point where I had to say "Look, I know you want your space, but the travelling between my house and your house is enough. I feel like I have no permanent spot, and it is stressing me out. Either we live together, or I won't be here as much -I need to see my space, and my things.". When I sorted out what I really wanted and told him, he was a lot more ok with things. Same thing with marriage. A few years later, after we've bought a house & moved in, I wanted to get married. Why? Well, obviously, I love him, and I want all the nice protections that come with "spouseness". But when I told him that I worried about him, and wanted him to have health insurance (he is self-employed, and hadn't been all too interested in health insurance), and the spouseness factor, his view changed.

You mentioned the music scene, he is a musician? Mine, too. Is he just sticking around because it is the status quo, and taking no action is easier than making a decision? Might be. Try thinking about and articulating the why about your want to change things. If he is worth it, he will listen. If he doesn't, he wasn't worth it.
posted by kellyblah at 7:02 AM on March 27, 2007


I spent two and a half years treating a woman like your boyfriend is treating you (something I'm most definitely not proud of). I resisted everything. It was all about maintaining the status quo. She had to drag me kicking and screaming into every relationship landmark you can think of (meeting friends, parents, moving in together, you name it). She eventually raised marriage, something I didn't even want to think about (I was 24 at the time). I used to say the same thing. "I'm not sure if I ever want to get married." But it wasn't true. I just never pictured myself getting married to her. And it wasn't because I thought poorly of her. It was just that when I went into the relationship, I never thought of it as being my last. And that thought ingrained itself. She got fed up with living with my flatmates, and wanted the two of us to move out together. I refused. She moved out on her own. Eventually she told me that things needed to change, that I had to make more of an effort. And I didn't. The relationship lasted about 2 weeks longer. I had pretty much sabotaged the relationship for a long time, but she loved me, so had continued to accept my behaviour, which was quite frankly, appalling. When I came to my senses (a good 4 months later), it was by then way too late.

I think you need to think of yourself right now. Pursue goals in you life as though he isn't a factor.
posted by kisch mokusch at 7:03 AM on March 27, 2007 [6 favorites]


This is one of those cases where he's getting exactly what he wants, so there's no reason for him to change his behavior or his goals. The ring seems like a pretty cruel gesture- rubbing just enough bait on the hook to keep you around.

The bottom line is, you want to get married, and he doesn't. He'll continue dating and sleeping with you as long as you'll tolerate it, but he's made it plain the relationship only lasts as long as it's on his terms.

I think it's sadly time for you to move on; if I were you, I wouldn't give him the option of coming with you. A good clean break, with lots of distance between you, will make it easy to keep your resolve to pursue the kind of relationship you want and you deserve.

Good luck to you.
posted by headspace at 7:12 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


That guy has to be either borderline mentally retarded or a true Grade-A asshole to give you a "meaningless" diamond ring.

Seriously.

Cut yourself free from this loser TODAY. Not tomorrow. Not next week. TODAY.

Your list of incompatibilities are simply insurmountable. And he's a dick.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:26 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


*Disclaimer: And I say the above as an unrepentant dick for most of my life, only recently (somewhat) recovered. Takes one to know one, I guess.

Seriously, the guy is poison. Run.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:27 AM on March 27, 2007


I've been that guy.

In my early 20s, I was shacking up with a woman. We got along pretty well day-to-day, but our long-term goals (re: kids and career) were very different. Still, it was easier to go along day by day, put off the big decisions, and ignore the big differences.

Eventually I passive-aggressively forced her to break up with me. Not my proudest moment. The ring thing sounds kind of like that to me.

I can say—because I have been that guy—that this guy is wasting your time and holding you back. He's been with you all of his adult life, so all of his life habits are built on the assumption that you are part of the picture. So it's hard to see beyond that, and the possibility that major life goals would interfere seems like an abstract problem to him. Which is why he has never confronted it more directly and instead lets his hindbrain pull stunts like the ring thing.
posted by adamrice at 7:32 AM on March 27, 2007


I'm guessing that he got the diamond ring because he was thinking about proposing, but chickened out in the end and just gave it to you anyway. Not that that really matters.

Even if he DID propose, the fact that you want different things out of life means you should turn him down anyway.

I really think it's a good time for you to move on. You'll be so busy with graduate school meeting so many new people that it will lessen the pain of ending this relationship. And it will enable you to meet someone with similar goals as you. Don't let him waste any more of your precious time.
posted by hazyjane at 7:36 AM on March 27, 2007


Plenty of good stuff above. I have only one thing to add.

If I go and he chooses not to come along, I don’t want to start moving on with my life and have him show up 3 months later and realize that he misses me.

Well, it's nice to want things. But you can't control other people's actions, only your reaction to them and - perhaps more importantly in your case - what you learn from them. If a man you have been with for ten years needs to drag things out that long before working with you to give you what you want then that says something about your relationship. That's not a judgment on you or him, just a commentary on what you seem to be like together.

My reaction is that you seem to be so far apart and have been with little progress for so long that it's hard to imagine it's going to get that much better.
posted by phearlez at 7:37 AM on March 27, 2007


In August, I ended a ten-year relationship with someone who wasn't sure he was in love, wasn't sure what he wanted in the long term, etc etc. He is a wonderful, witty, attractive man who smells nice and makes me laugh and all that good stuff, and I was crazy in love with him, but that uncertainty was enough to end our relationship. I have him in my life as a friend now rather than a lover, and that feels good.

This was me in a nutshell except substitute June for August and five years for ten. I was in a relationship with a guy who was fun to be around and we were nuts about each other but at the end of the day didn't share long term goals. We were both like "yeah marriage isn't something we need to do" but for me it was about being seriously committed but not necessarily going through the paperwork and for him it was... a little looser than that. I don't think he really intended to drag things on when he wasn't serious -- I think he thinks he was serious until he suddenly wasn't -- but I suspect it was more that I wasn't the right person for him and he didn't really grok that until he started meeting other people that might have been more right.

It ended sort of awkwardly and in sort of a stupid way; at some point he just sort of drifted off which I felt did a disservice to the time we'd spent together and the life we'd had togther, but again, I caught myself re-reading a lot of cues where I was thinking at the time "Oh he's just not very emotional" when I think the real read was "he's just not that into this, and he cares about me, but...." I wish we'd had a serious discussion and ended things mutually a little sooner and maybe not had them wind up the way they did. I still think he's a great guy, but much better as a friend than a boyfriend and I think we both feel that we've become more like ourselves, if that makes sense, in our post-relationship lives.

To me, the ring thing sounds more genuinely clueless than aggressively cruel, but you have more details than me.

The rest of my reading is that these points matter, not that there is a right answer, but if you can't approach consensus on them in a two-person relationship, that is sort of a big blip on the radar.

- geography matters
- kid stuff matters, a lot
- stability outlook matters
- marriage plans matter

Selfish has really nothing to do with this in my world. You two have different goals and they're getting more different. If you want what you want, that's okay if you're not being a harpie and demanding that he wants the same thing.

I don’t want to start moving on with my life and have him show up 3 months later and realize that he misses me.


I mean this in the nicest possible way, but if you are a relationship that makes you feel like what you are doing now is not in some way moving on with your life [i.e. if you went someplace new you'd be living in some way differently] that is its own data point. When me and my ex split up we went from living very similar lives, to quite different ones. He moved to a bigger city, got roommates, hung out with friends a lot, wore a suit to work every day. I stayed more or less doing what I was doing because it was what I wanted to be doing in the first place. Optimally I'd be doing it with a partner, but most of the other outlines are the same. I felt a little bad that maybe I had been encouraging him to not move on with his life when he was with me, but good that we both seemed to be doing what was making us happy.

So, this advice is worth what you pay for it, but this is an easier decision to make when you are turning 30 than later, and it's better, imo, to still like the person you've been with then have a long generally good relationship crash and burn because neither of you can accept what you both know to be true in your heart of hearts. Good luck.
posted by jessamyn at 7:46 AM on March 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


Not trying to defend the guy here at all, but - maybe his gesture was more like:

"I care about her enough to buy her a ring that will be the symbol of my affection towards her and similar to a proposal, but won't have to utter the words right now, but maybe latter, since I am not ready yet?".

But yeah, the kids issue and the apathy he seems to display= not good.
posted by Sijeka at 7:58 AM on March 27, 2007


I REALLY feel your pain. You've invested a lot in this relationship, you're scared to start over. But you have some of the most valid reasons for ending a relationship, and you are not being selfish. In fact, I think you're doing the best thing for both of you. Like others here, I'm not hearing much love from you. Maybe you just chose not to include it in your post, but it doesn't sound like you two have a very loving relationship these days.

You need to think about self-preservation at this point. It sounds to me like he has already broken up with you - he did not meet your deadline, knowing that would mean that you were through. Now, this may be because you were not decisive - he may have felt like you wouldn't dump him if he didn't meet your deadline, so why bother - and he was right. But in any case, he ran that risk and that says a lot. I'm not even going to get into that ring thing - that is absurd and cruel. A guy broke up with me once in a similar way (acted like such a jerk I broke up with him, and later admitted that's what he was doing). It hurt like hell, but I eventually moved on and I'm now thrilled not to be with him anymore (even though he was a wonderful guy, in lots of ways.)

I don't really have answers for you, but the one thing I'm sure is true is that you'll rebound, you'll come back to life, you'll be okay and you'll be thrilled you got out. In fact, once you're back on your feet, you will think of every second from now on that you did not break up with him as wasted seconds. In some ways, your life with be richer for having had this experience. You'll be just fine.

Good luck!
posted by Amizu at 8:19 AM on March 27, 2007


There are a lot of great points here, thank you. I want to clarify a couple of things... I do think that the ring thing was genuinely a clueless move on his part- not in any way cruel. He just isn’t the type to be cruel. I spoke to his mom about the whole thing the next morning and she couldn’t understand what he was thinking either.

As for the not being able to discuss long term goals- we have discussed things- many, many times. The problem that I am having is the mixed messages. How much of what he says it true and how much is said just because that is what he feels at the moment. Sometimes he wants kids- other times he says he never wants them because look at all the responsibilities that come along with having them. Why do I want to get married? At this point right now, today I can’t say I do. Since he has made it clear he isn’t ready for that, I have been pulling away as someone said. Why did I want to get married? Because I wanted to know that for the rest of my life I would be part of a team. That no matter what happens there is always someone who has my back and I have theirs. That he would be my life long companion, best friend, lover, and confidant.

As for the not hearing much love in my post- well I just thought of that as a given. If there was no love- I could leave and never look back. I have had to start over in life many times (we moved every couple of years growing up) so I don’t fear it- I welcome it. I know that if we end it I will be fine. I know I will get over it and move on eventually.

Is it possible to take a break? I know one poster suggested that. Is it possible for me to move and give ourselves a year apart to do what we want and figure out if we really truly love one another- or if we are in it for convenience? Or is that just prolonging the pain?
posted by MayNicholas at 8:37 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is a difficult decision, that must be carefully considered.

That said, your post doesn't seem to convey strong love from either side. My (obviously remote) read is that you like each other well enough, probably do some nice things for each other, have some decent sex and it's not bad on a day to day basis.

That said, his reactions are very odd. One of the prime advantages of being a musician is that it's a very portable job. One can go almost anywhere, and do your work. Despite this, he is using the perceived quality of established musicians as a reason for you not to go to college.

The diamond ring thing is just baffling. I cannot imagine how somebody could give a diamond ring as anything other than a proposal.

When you think about this, don't kowtow to all of his desires. There are lots of men in the world, and some of them are likely to hold the same desires as you. That would be wonderful for you.

And the most important reason to ignore his feelings on this, is that if you aren't really happy, you won't be an ideal lover anyway. As such, even if there is some short term pain, he'd likely end up better off in the end.

Just take your time, consider your goals and your dreams, and follow them.
posted by Dump The MotherFucker Already! at 8:46 AM on March 27, 2007


Is it possible to take a break?

The problem with a break is it's essentially just a delay, and nothing else.

If you're single you're going to view that cute guy from grad school, or that nice fellow from the repair shop differently than if you're "on a break".

As such, you will both be continuously forced to decide if you are acting as though you are still a couple, or acting as though you have broken up. If you don't change gears simultaneously, that won't go well.
posted by Dump The MotherFucker Already! at 8:50 AM on March 27, 2007


I really feel for you, because I was in the exact same position some years ago. I threw down an ultimatum and my boyfriend at the time, after hemming and hawing for some time (until I threw down a second ultimatum) agreed to get married. We did get married, and got divorced four years later, because the exact same problems that led to the ultimatums persisted into the marriage.

The long and the short of it is that if after ten years together you're in this spot (unable to honestly and constructively discuss your needs and plans and come to an agreement, and instead are down to ultimatums and passive aggressive games), it WILL NOT get better if you get married. On the contrary, you have a long long history in this relationship and therefore have taken a long long time to build up these unhealthy and destructive ways of interacting. Breaking them will take lots of hard work and determination and will be much harder than just deciding you're going to be together for ever. It will also be absolutely essential if your marriage is going to be viable.

I know how hard it is to break off a ten-year relationship with someone you consider a part of yourself. But as horribly painful and disruptive as it is, it's also very liberating and sounds like it might be important in order for you to be happy. As someone said above, you've gotten USED to being taken for granted and being jerked around and you think it's normal. It isn't. Moving away and starting grad school imposes a nice breaking point--you'll be super busy, meeting new people, and in a new city. Good luck!
posted by agent99 at 8:52 AM on March 27, 2007


Oh, man, poor you. I know this must be a tough place to find yourself, but believe me, as a disinterested stranger reading this post, it pretty much screams "end it and don't take him back even if he comes crawling." You've managed to list reason after reason after reason - a veritable cornucopia of neon lights all flashing "DTMFA" in unison. Please move on with your life, find some other nice guy who knows what he wants - you.
posted by marginaliana at 8:54 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


wow, this was completely and totally me and my x, five years ago... except he was the one who wanted to settle down and nest, and I was the one who didn't want anything to do with it. he wanted kids, i didn't, and don't, ever. he wanted the big house and the whole american dream. me, not so much. i mean with a little gender pronoun trading, he could have been the one to write that whole post up there.

i can only give you what my own experience was, and it in no way indicates what your bf is feeling or thinking... but i'm going to give it to you straight: i was simply being lazy and complacent in my relationship. we were very good friends, and we got along great and were able to communicate well, however i just wasn't 'that into him'. i simply felt that living with him was 'what i was supposed to be doing', or some bullshit like that.

i know, what a terrible way to look at it. looking back, i really wasn't even that attracted to the poor guy. sex was lukewarm, the whole nine yards. we were the absolute picture of a bored married couple (except we weren't married, tho he asked the question many, many times).

the one thing i will say is that in my personal experience, when life goals are this incompatible, there's nothing you can do to 'fix' that. he even tried dragging me to couples therapy, against my better judgement. it would have helped, probably, if he'd not gone at it with the attitude that it was *my* problem that needed fixing. yes, i know, i'm a terrible inhuman person, not to want kids and marriage and family. i know that. i'm also perfectly content with it.

i can't believe, in retrospect, that i was so cruel as to string someone along for ten whole years like i did. he's now married, and they're expecting their first, and to all appearances he's ecstatically happy. it's just the way he always wanted his life to be.

i'm also now engaged to be married to a wonderful man, with whom i have completely parallel life goals, and we both think the sun rises and sets for each other. and here i never thought i was the 'marrying kind'. it helps immensely that he doesn't have a whole checklist of 'it's a wonderful life' expectations for us, but there you are.

i'd urge you to cut your losses and as much as it may hurt, let him go. neither of you is doing each other any favours by trying to fit square pegs into round holes here.
posted by lonefrontranger at 9:08 AM on March 27, 2007


Why did I want to get married? Because I wanted to know that for the rest of my life I would be part of a team. That no matter what happens there is always someone who has my back and I have theirs. That he would be my life long companion, best friend, lover, and confidant.

Ideally, I suppose, one should get married because one knows this to be the case, rather than because one wants it to be so.

But everyone's got their own definition of, and criteria for, and opinions on, marriage. What matters here is that yours aren't being met.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:16 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


He doesn’t know if he wants kids ever. I know I want children with in the next few years.

No need to read any farther than this.
posted by pieoverdone at 9:25 AM on March 27, 2007


Sometimes marriage-phobic guys look at how excited some women get about the ring and the big party and all that stuff, and get the idea that if they can provide those things then their partner will be happy without an actual commitment. They want this to be true so badly that they talk themselves into believing it. Buying a "meaningless" diamond ring is stupid but I think it's a product of desperately trying to resolve two fundamentally incompatible feelings - he really does love you but really does not want to get married.

It looks to me like you need to end this relationship because at this point it seems clear that your differing needs cannot be reconciled. This is not the fault of either of you, it's just the way things are. If anything, the mixed messages indicate to me that he's trying to be the guy you want him to be but he simply can't do it.
posted by teleskiving at 9:30 AM on March 27, 2007


My personal rule of thumb, when caught between mixed messages, is to believe what the person does, and not what they say. I think we all say things we don't necessarily mean, or we might mean, or we'd like to mean, but in general, what we do tells on us.

He says *maybe* he might want kids, but he digs in his heels about getting married, about moving with you, which would be the basic, necessary conditions you need met to start the process of having kids.
posted by headspace at 9:56 AM on March 27, 2007


Sorry about how long this is going to be. Parts of your story remind me so much of a 10-year relationship I ended.

I started dating him at 15 (I'm 32 now). Same community, group of friends and school. Same life. I dreamed of marriage and kids.

Curiously, by the time I was 20 marriage did not cross my mind anymore. I would actually tell my closer friends: "He's an amazing friend, best partner ever, but I'm not going to marry him. We're too different". (Could that be your boyfriend?)

I sounded crazy to my friends. To me it was logical. I enjoyed being with him and planned to stay until I no longer enjoyed it. He never spoke of marriage either, so it was sort of a silent agreement between us. Let's be together as long as it's good to be together. We were too young for lifetime commitments and we knew it.

Plus it was clear that my greatest passions in life were of no interest to him, and vice versa. We shared a lot, don't get me wrong. Dogs, friends, religion, the farm and the beach. We circled the world together. But he never set foot in a museum with me. Didn't even pretend to care about architecture. Just the same, I never joined his gym and couldn't for the life of me be the court-side girlfriend that cheered his every goal. (Does that sound like your relationship?)

As a natural result, we both formed separate groups of friends outside our relationship, which turned out to be a blessing. We had time with our own friends and off from each other in total agreement.

When I was 22 I went away for a 5-week course and when I came back he had lost 20 pounds. He had been unhappy with his weight, even though he was not overweight and I was crazy about his body. I remember seeing him get out of the car and thinking "oh shit". It was like a switch had been turned off and I was no longer physically attracted to him. That’s when I realized I did not want to be with him anymore.

I became dissatisfied and vocal about all the little things I overlooked before. He seemed to listen and we’d try to work stuff out. Nothing pleased me, of course, because the truth was I was just looking for ways of postponing the ultimate decision. Or rather, to postpone telling him the decision I had made but was too afraid and too comfortably settled to act upon. (Sounds like you?)

Feeling that I was becoming more and more unhappy he started pressuring me to take some sort of next step. He spoke a lot of moving in together, kids, what would the house I’d design for us look like. (You?)
I played along at first, but eventually started getting angry when he’d bring this up. How could he talk like that when we were so obviously headed in completely opposite directions? We had simply become too different. (Sounds like something your boyfriend might be thinking?)

Still it took me three years to end it.
I would actually sit down and rationalize about how passion doesn’t last forever and good companionship is more important, so I should just get married already and deal with it. (Could you be pressuring your boyfriend to come to this same conclusion? Do you want that?)
Thank heavens I never had the guts to inflict that upon myself.

So I ended it as softly as I could. He lost it. He went away to Canada. He called me day and night to cry and beg. It took me superhuman strength to keep saying “no, it’s really over”. His family, which had become my family, was appalled at my cruelty.
He "tried" to kill himself, and upon failing immediately called me to tell me the news. That’s when I got really angry.

And that was my breakthrough. I realized that learning to be selfish may be seeing the light.

Am I really selfish?

I hope you are. Sounds like it's about time.
You should think only of yourself while it's still possible. You're not married, you don't have kids. Now is the point in your life where you should tell everyone to go to hell and think only of yourself, your feelings, what's best for you. (And who knows, you may even come to the conclusion that you need to be with him after all!)

Ultimately, I had to embrace the role of heartless, leave-him-at-the-altar bitch. And I was so angry at the emotional blackmail I played that role gladly. It was the most important, reassuring, liberating period of my life, and I kid you not. Maybe you won't have to be so radical, but it is going to be liberating all the same. I guarantee.

You both owe it to yourselves to break some promisses. Embrace the changes you've been through as well as the differences that had always been there and you don't want
to change. You're not obliged to remain the same people forever, but neither to let go of major life plans and dreams. That is a very big deal, and a decision that is best made by too people thinking together.

I'm sorry for being so frank, but marriage sounds like the foundation for future disappointment, either for you, for him, or you both.
The only way for you to stay together is ‘just let it go and see what happens’. And you don't seem to agree with him.
posted by ArchBr at 9:57 AM on March 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


Leave, go live your life and your dreams, and find someone who wants to marry you before you get away from him. Don't be suprised if you hear the old BF has gotten married to someone else. He's with you now because it's comfortable, but I wouldn't expect it to last forever.
posted by yohko at 10:01 AM on March 27, 2007


He is just hanging on and being passive-aggressive to make you end it. He may not even realize he's doing it.

You guys are flat-out incompatible. Too many differences in life goals..and BIG ones. Religion, where to live, stuff like that is workable. Marriage, kids, those are huge. And time is not on your side, as I'm sure you're aware. Guys can figure out they want kids at 50 and still do it, we can't.

If, by 10 years you guys aren't married, it's just isn't going to happen. And if by some miracle it does, it won't be because he wants to, it will be because he wants to make you happy. And that would be the saddest thing in the world to feel on your wedding day.

You're still young. You still have time to meet the right guy and he will WANT to marry you. He will be so excited and happy to say "yes" to the vows (no matter how it's done) and THAT, my friend, is one of the best feelings in the world. You owe yourself that. You only have one life. Don't live someone else's to the exclusion of your own. You will never forgive yourself.

I agree with you on marriage. Marriage DOES matter. It's saying to each other and the world that you're in it for the long haul. You're partners for life. Myself and another friend went through some hard times with our husbands. As she said, there was a good year or so she didn't even like the guy, but she stayed with him because they were married. It was an assumption of permenance that just isn't there with most long-term, non-married relationship. They got through it FINALLY and are happier than they have ever been. Ditto for me. Except it took a good two years for us to come out the other side. But if we were just together and not married, it would have been so much easier to just break up-and most likely we (as well as my friend and her husband) probably wouldn't still be married. And then I would be missing out on these fabulous, amazing, wonderful years of my life with the love of my life.

You deserve to get married and have kids with someone who wants to and wants to do it with YOU. Leave now. You threw down the gauntlet and he didn't respond. You need to follow through.
posted by aacheson at 10:06 AM on March 27, 2007


If you're not scared of starting over, then I think it's quite clear - this isn't worth it. I don't think a break is a good idea - it will just prolong the inevitable and make it easier for him to move on. The fact that the message is mixed says everything. You're not being mixed in your message, are you?
posted by Amizu at 10:06 AM on March 27, 2007


ALL the things you want on the most fundamental levels are at odds and he is clueless and (whether maliciously or not isn't all that important) utterly dismissive of your clearly articulated desires. The not-an-engagement ring is particularly obtuse. If anyone is being selfish he is. The only sensible advice is to break up with him now. Give him that stupid ring back, move out, get on with your life, and in your next relationship be clear that the things you want are not discussion points, they are requirements.

Marriage or not IS a dealbreaker. Kids or not IS a dealbreaker. A settled down life with a house and such versus being a peripatetic beach-dwelling touring musician is SUCH a dealbreaker. I mean come ON. And don't offer him conditions. You did that once already, and his response was clear: let me clear up what his message was, since you seem a little fuzzy on it: if you're going to break up with me, so be it, but I sure as hell am not going to propose to you. Even if he were to agree now to marry you and have kids and settle down it would be under duress and a total blueprint for later disaster. End it unequivocally, move out, start over. Sorry.
posted by nanojath at 10:24 AM on March 27, 2007


I have a great friend going through exactly the same thing as you. She finally dumped his ass last summer after years of ultimata, years of ring shopping (his instigation, though apparently after three years he "couldn't find anything [he] liked"), years of living apart but compulsively discussing how great everything would be when they finally began to live together. First he had to renovate his basement. Then he had to find a renter. Then he had to pay off the renovation. Between them their houses and assets would leave them in the clear by thousands and thousands and have plenty left over to get married. She was offered her dream job in a nearby city - an eight month contract, three hours away - and he basically told her flat out that if she took it then he wouldn't be going ahead with his plan of asking her to marry him at the end of that summer. She didn't take the job. That was three years ago. He never asked her to marry him. She finally broke up with him.

Two days later he had a heart attack. I am not kidding. In the convalescent period they got back together. It seemed they had a new lease and everything was going to move forward - talk about the ultimate wake-up call. But nothing changed - still all talk from him. Then he bought a giant, expensive couch. After the years of being told that money was the obstacle to their engagement, my friend finally woke the hell up. Somehow that couch did it, for her. She broke up with him for sure and walked away.

Then, six months of her, working her tail off to put her life back together. Middle-of-the-night calls from him: "I love you, I'm such an idiot, let's get married this weekend." She kept going. Worked hard. He came over with flowers. He came over with groceries. He invited her out, sent her letters, told her how much he'd changed.

Then, she had a big health scare. Reproductive-related. He was there for her. So was everyone else, but he was there too. She went to him. They're back together. There's been no proposal. She's just glad that she's "back on track". We're all tearing our hair out. It's excruciating to watch her lie to herself. (Putting aside, for the time being, the gigantic SHIT this man is for stringing her along for five years in such elaborate ways, heart attack notwithstanding.) I love my friend but for the LOVE of GOD some people obviously don't want to be happy and get what they want. They just want "familiar", which often comes with "frustrating" and spinning wheels and hoping-people-will-change. Some people do change. Some people make amazing changes. But most people are cowards. Most people do a lot of talking and can't back it up with action in the real world.


Related: I want to raise the fertility angle. At 30, you're not old. But you're no spring chicken, either. The ten years between 20 and 30 are awesome for learning who you are, running around like an idiot, being a slave at entry-level positions, etc. But by 30 most of us have at least an inkling of what we want from life -- and at that point what the hell point is there wasting time NOT going about getting it? If you hang around waiting for this guy, he could waste another three or four years of your life. Ditto if he follows you out to your new school situation and ends up in the way of you meeting new friends/mentors/lovers/future spouses as he goes along in his merry ol' "happy with the status quo" way.

Do you want to be 33 or 34 and suddenly back on the singles market, looking for the father of your children? Not to be a shittypants about the chances of 33 and 34+ year olds finding awesome mates. I'm just saying that for women the stakes are different. Men can have kids any ol' time, even into their 80s and 90s if they can get it up. Not so for us. Do you want to be nearing retirement before your kids get out of high school? Again, not to be a shittypants. I'm just saying that you have to wake up and take a hard look at what you want. It seems from everything you've said that this guy and you have very different priorities. He may be family, and I totally dig that situation, but do you sit around living with your parents or siblings or cousins your whole life? No way, man. You get out into the world on your own and meet up on special occasions.

Give yourself the best gift ever: stop expecting anything from him. Never expect NEW behaviour from someone who has never exhibited it before, & never expect something different from someone who has blatantly and repeatedly stated they are going to toe their own line. He says he doesn't want to get married. Have some respect for yourself and take that at face value. "I don't want to get married" may mean that he is scared on the inside, or has some inner wound that needs healing, or whatever, but probably not - it probably means he doesn't want to marry you. It's not about you, it IS about HIM, but he still doesn't want to marry you. If he wanted to marry you, he'd have asked long ago.

It's a huge loss to face, I realize. But I suggest you stop expecting him to come with you to school, stop expecting him to propose, and stop planning him into your future. Plan to move. Stay together until it's time to go - you'll have a great time for the next few months, and probably lots more sex than you would otherwise. No matter how great it is by the time you leave, pack your stuff. Put it in your car. Wave goodbye. And leave.

Don't call. Don't email. Give yourself at least four months of radio silence. Make new friends. Start your life and career over. Work HARD. Get into counselling to deal with the loss. Treat it like grief -- it is grief to lose someone who was that close for so long.

Choose yourself!
posted by Mrs Hilksom at 10:30 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm going with simple:

You're comfortable.
You're scared of life outside of this relationship.

It's clear you're not happy - but you just are unsure of how bad it could be without him (after all he's family.)

Yet, you choose this pain.

After reading what you wrote, I could equally say "what's wrong with you? Why won't you just accept what he wants?"

But that's the crux isn't it? You won't accept the musician on the beach lifestyle. And if you had known this guy a month (a year, whatever), you wouldn't put up with it.

"But we have shared history...and a past..."

Go out and make a new future for yourself. You already know what the next ten years are like.
posted by filmgeek at 10:31 AM on March 27, 2007


Wow, MayNicholas, I empathize on a lot of levels although there are differences in my story and none of that strangeness about the ring (although yes, it sounds more clueless than cruelty). Feel free to email me (email in the profile) if you need an ear to chat about this stuff. I'm at the 'how do we separate after 10 years' part myself - and I haven't found any good book on how to break up with someone when there's nothing wrong with them other than your compatibility with them. It is bar none the hardest thing to have to do, but something that I have to if I want to still remain 'me'.

It does sound like there are are just too many incompatibilities now to make a good of it in the future with this guy. Having similarities and love for someone is great - but it's not enough for a relationship.

I will say that every once in a while you'll see a remarkable phenomenon on AskMe when it comes to personal relationships post - almost everyone will be in agreement (in this case, that you have to move on). When this hive mind all says one thing, it tends to be the right thing. Trust your gut instinct on this one. Stay strong, and know that you're not alone. You are not being selfish - you are being human, and entirely reasonable. You have a right to be happy - don't ever forget that.
posted by rmm at 10:42 AM on March 27, 2007


He's the one being selfish and immature. You are being reasonable and adult. Thinking. Researching. Planning. He is coasting.

You know the answer to your question. Follow your bliss, and leave him behind.

Good luck!
posted by terrapin at 11:15 AM on March 27, 2007


Let's say he's a good guy, really inept in some ways, and just doing the best he can. Let's say the two of you do love each other. There's no need to paint him as the bad guy in order to make breaking up sound like a better idea. You gave him an ultimatum, and he didn't step up. You're hoping for something in him or in your relationship to change. Or maybe you're hoping you'll change in a way that'll make staying with him okay. None of those things are going to happen.

You're anticipating pain and heartache if you leave him, and it's going to hurt. But it'll also feel like the right thing. You've lost touch with your intuition, but you'll get it back and start feeling like yourself again. Reach for something real, and leave behind what you wish could be.
posted by wryly at 11:58 AM on March 27, 2007


Wow, I don't think I've ever seen 100% agreement on Ask Mefi.
Good luck with whatever you choose, MayNicholas
posted by aacheson at 12:33 PM on March 27, 2007


You need to find a grownup to marry. He ain't one.
posted by konolia at 1:47 PM on March 27, 2007


My ten cents - what they said up there is good. And also, breaking up isn't just because the love is gone. Just about every break up I had, I still loved him. It was that wasn't how I wanted my life to be. You have to be strong, and go through the pain, and afterwards, it will be much better.
posted by b33j at 2:06 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I haven't read all of the replies, but my advice is that you NOT stay with a guy who is not sure. At the end of the day, sometimes indecision is a decision. You have made your wishes clear to him and he's not giving you what you want. (And even if he would give it to you, he's doing an awful lot of heel dragging.) You deserve better than that. The guy you make a life with should be crazy about you and not giving you such mixed signals. Don't you think you deserve a guy who is sure how he feels about you after 10 years? It's not like you rushed him into things; he's had plenty of time to think things over.
posted by mintchip at 3:27 PM on March 27, 2007


It's completely irrellevant whether or not he is 1) selfish, 2) immature, 3) clueless, 4) passive-aggressive, 5) the worst person ever, or 6) whatever else people are saying about your boyfriend.

What matters is that you want to be married and have kids with him, and he doesn't want to have those things with you. That's all that matters. Leave him. If you don't, you will never get the things you want.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:49 PM on March 27, 2007


Yep...time to go. You don't have to make it acrimonious, eventually you may be able to stay in each others lives (I'm still very good friends with my first long-time boyfriend), but he doesn't want what you want, and you SHOULD be selfish, you're the only one who's truly responsible for your life. I don't think he sounds like a monster, I think he just sounds like someone who has a different idea of what his life should be than your idea is about your life. Nobody has to be the villain, but YOU have to be the one to change this (he's got no reason to, he's comfortable with the status quo, and if he hasn't changed his views in 10 years, it ain't gonna happen now - it doesn't mean he doesn't love you, but it does mean you won't ever be happy with him).

Just do it, find that new career, find what you want out of life.
posted by biscotti at 3:56 PM on March 27, 2007


I was in a very similar relationship to yours, but I was in the position of your boyfriend. It lasted almost ten years, and it probably should have ended much, much earlier. I agree with much of the advice above, but I thought I'd add another perspective from someone who was once in the same boat. My relationship was the on again/off again type, although neither of us ever dated anyone else in the off periods. When the relationship finally ended (badly), it was much, much more painful than I expected it to be. Even though I knew breaking up was for the best, and we'd gone through several "off" periods, I wasn't prepared for how much my life and mind had to change to adjust to being single. Like yours, my relationship started when I was very young, which meant that I'd hardly spent any time fully on my own as an adult. I ended up getting counseling to help me through the breakup, and it made a world of difference. There were times that I know I would have been tempted to go back to him without the support of a good counselor, somehow convincing myself that we were supposed to be together. It was so painful to be apart at first, it was hard not to wonder if it was a sign that we were supposed to be together. But once I got over the shock and realized I could manage on my own, I felt so much better than I ever had in the relationship. I moved to another city right after the breakup happened, and that meant I had a delayed reaction to the grief. For about three months, I was caught up in the whirlwind of moving and a new job, and I thought I got over the breakup and was doing great. Once I settled in a bit, however, I started to process what had happened and worked through the grief over what I had lost. I tell you all this so that, if you do decide to breakup and move, you know that the aftermath may not be as simple as you expect it to be. Good luck!
posted by pitseleh at 4:14 PM on March 27, 2007


He's an ass - and a cruel indecisive, passive-agressive and unthinking one at that. DTMFA.
posted by Lucie at 4:28 PM on March 27, 2007


You sound like someone who likes to plan everything out and pick your course before you leap.

This book helped me tremendously when I was trying to figure out whether I should stay or go, whether I was being selfish or not, and whether I could find more happiness on the other side or not... I treated it as a workbook and went through pros and cons of everything.

It walked me through what I already knew -- that I would be happier if I left him and focused on me again. And it was absolutely right, I've been gone for almost 6 months and I've never been happier.

Perhaps it'll help you too.
posted by Nerro at 4:54 PM on March 27, 2007


I really can't thank all of you enough! I can't believe so many people responded- and all with different variations of the same answer. No my BF isn't a monster or a bad guy- we just want different things. You all have let me know that it's ok to let a relationship go because of these things. I never imagined that relationships don’t always end because someone cheated or fought too much. Some of you were right when you said that I had stopped listening to my intuition. A few of you have mentioned counseling- ironically- I'm going back to school for counseling psychology (who knows, maybe I subconsciously chose it so I could help others to make sure they didn’t end up in this situation). I would love to have a chat with the me I’ll be in 10 years. I’ll get that book you mentioned Nerro. I know this is going to be hard either way, but I do feel all of you all have hit a message home that I thought, but couldn’t allow myself to explore. He has always dragged his feet when it comes to any major decision in our relationship. I guess I was hoping it was just a temporary thing (10 years later) and that with age it would change. Thank you all again for your shared stories, insight and well wishes. I’ll let you know what happens…
posted by MayNicholas at 6:54 PM on March 27, 2007


The quickest way for you to get what you want is to go find somebody wants to give it to you. And that person will snatch you up and make sure he's the one, and nobody else, to give it to you...because he just can't let a good thing (you) go!

This guy is just holding you hostage (do you have the kind of time for the pace he's going?!?!). And he's fucking with your head. (whether he means to or not, the bottom line is, your head is being fucked with, and that's not good enough for you!)

And it's perfectly ok to want kids. To want marriage. To want to be cherished. There are at least 1 billion men (gross underestimation) who want the same thing! Why are you wasting your time with ONE GUY who wants exactly, well, not that.

Not only can you do better, but you can be much happier doing it.

I hope all of these posts excite and inspire you to go test drive any 1 of the 1,000,000,000 (is that right?) out there!
posted by iamkimiam at 7:12 PM on March 27, 2007


and also, who gives a flying f* if you're selfish!?! This is your life.

What if we took that one off the table? What if I said "Hey, you're selfish. Case closed." Does that change ANYTHING?

(I don't think you're selfish. You sound really sweet.)
posted by iamkimiam at 7:15 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


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