He may be moving away geographically, should I be moving away emotionally?
June 23, 2008 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Is my relationship going nowhere? And how might I go about asking him what his intentions are without freaking him out?

Some background: I've been with my current boyfriend for over a year. It's been great, one of the most functional, loving, sexy relationships I've ever had, and I’m crazy about him. He is very responsible about a lot of things, and often acts like the perfect future husband/father figure I’ve always imagined myself being with. BUT-- when he drinks, especially when he’s with his immature college friends, he acts like a frat boy. He still lives in a frat-house like environment, his after-work activities are centered on drinking until wasted, and playing video games. Which I don’t have a real problem with because I’m hoping he’ll outgrow it in years to come, and because when he and I get together we do things that are interesting and adventurous—going on bike rides, hikes, weekend trips, etc. We have a blast together, 90% of the time sober.

Trouble is, he’s 25 and I’m 28, and I am pretty focused on the future. I’m financially independent, and not in any rush to have kids, but I’d like to not waste too many of my child-bearing years with someone who has no intention of long-term plans with me.

I have never brought up the subject of us getting married one day, (two years from now sounds about right) but I have broached the subject of us moving in together, to which he’s replied “it’s too soon.” I also know he broke up with his last serious girlfriend (when he was 22) because she brought up marriage after a year. He never ever mentions our future in terms of more than a few months ahead, but he’s gone to great lengths to introduce me to all his relatives and childhood friends, who love me (and the feeling is reciprocated,) and in every other way treats me like a serious potential mate. He’s told me ours is the most adult relationship he’s ever been in, and I’m the girl he’s been the most invested in.

Here’s the wrench in the cogs—a few weeks ago he found out his roommates are all moving far away, for various reasons, by summer’s end. And rather than moving closer to me (he’s currently a 15 minute drive away) he is considering moving essentially next-door to his office (about an hour drive from me.) The only reason for him to move that far away is because it’s less of a commute to work.

We currently see each other about 4 nights a week, and at least one weekend day. His moving to that location will have a HUGE impact on our relationship, cutting down our time spent together drastically. He says he’s not certain he’ll move away, he’s merely considering it, but he hasn’t looked anywhere in my part of town and has been looking solely at places in the other city. I can’t help thinking that this is a giant step backwards from what I thought laid in store for our future.

Am I overreacting, or should I read into this that he has no plans for us to move forward in our relationship anytime in the next couple years? I asked him how serious he was about me, and he responded by saying I was the best, most important thing in his life, and that I made him extremely happy. But why would you move an hour away from that person? And treat the subject of our future as a complete taboo subject, to be avoided at all costs?

Some perspective would be helpful, or tips on how to talk to him about the long-term stuff without sounding any alarm bells of “RUN, OR SHE’S GOING TO DEMAND A RING ANY DAY NOW!”
Thanks in advance.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (30 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
And rather than moving closer to me (he’s currently a 15 minute drive away) he is considering moving essentially next-door to his office (about an hour drive from me.) The only reason for him to move that far away is because it’s less of a commute to work.

I wouldn't read too much into this... an hour's drive to and from work, five days a week, sounds awful - and really expensive these days. That commute is fixed, whereas time with you can be split (you drive sometimes, he drives sometimes).... you might find that your time together decreases, or you might find that it merely adjusts (whole weekends together, maybe, with less weeknight time). Either way, it's a sensible move and I wouldn't take it as a rejection.

I have never brought up the subject of us getting married one day, (two years from now sounds about right) but I have broached the subject of us moving in together...

Please don't do this. If the two of you get on the same page as to marriage and family, then living together will be a natural result of that decision. But don't say you want to live together because you see it as a stepping stone to commitment. Living together does not necessarily mean anything more than living together, and if you've decided to move on if he doesn't want to plan a future together... then all living together will do is prolong the relationship and make breaking up more difficult and painful.
posted by moxiedoll at 5:49 PM on June 23, 2008


Marrying someone in the hopes they will change is an idea made of epic fail, colloquially referred to as divorce.

He's more committed to his friends than you, he's focused on his partying and may have a drinking problem, and he's apparently unprepared to discuss significant aspects of the future without bolting.

Seriously, look at your post: you want to marry a man in two years who is choosing to move an hour away from you in preference to moving in with you. This is not the man to whom you end up happily married.

Bail. Find someone else more in tune with your life goals. This ain't the guy.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:57 PM on June 23, 2008


Some perspective would be helpful, or tips on how to talk to him about the long-term stuff without sounding any alarm bells of “RUN, OR SHE’S GOING TO DEMAND A RING ANY DAY NOW!”

My perspective is that last part sounds very sad- that and the whole assumption you seem to have that it's your job to sublimate the things you want and feel into whatever he wants from you. He's really great and you're really happy, except that all the signs point to him not wanting to move things forward and you're terrified to talk to him about it. That's not a fair position to put yourself in. That's not real love- not from you to fearfully withhold your true self from him, and not from him to blindly play along with this game. The moving away thing, the partying, the drinking- none of those things necessarily mean he's not invested in you and your relationship (drinking party animals can have happy marriages, too!). But the two of you must be able to communicate- that is an absolute deal-breaker in any relationship worth having.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:04 PM on June 23, 2008 [11 favorites]


Seconding moxiedoll on the moving thing. I have experience with shortening my commute due to a job change... I also have experience with lengthening my commute while I stayed at the same job. It has a huge, huge impact on your quality of life, not to be underestimated.

Even the change from a 45 minute commute at my last job to a 20-22 minute commute at my current job has a drastic effect on my life -- that's 40 minutes every weekday that I'm getting back to myself, and it's very meaningful.

The real problem here is that you don't feel comfortable talking to him about your future. That's where you've got an issue to address. After a full year, if you don't feel comfortable asking him what his thoughts are on the future (even if you make sure to say it's a kind of distant future), then that's a problem with your relationship that you're not admitting is there.

Also, he doesn't exactly sound like as good a boyfriend as your opening statements imply, seeing as so much of his focus is around getting smashed and acting like a frat boy... Are you sure that you're not just physically attracted to him, but in the end you know he wouldn't make that great of a lifetime partner?
posted by twiggy at 6:07 PM on June 23, 2008


Your guy sounds like he needs to get out of his fratboy paradise and figure out what he wants to do for his adult life. That might or might not include long-term plans with you-- and you have to decide if you're OK with letting the relationship remain in its current state, or if you're willing to possibly lose it by pushing for a more concrete change in your relationship status.

The fact that he wants to move closer to work doesn't necessary mean anything-- gas is expensive, like moxiedoll said, and he may want to cut his commute as a result. Heck, he may see this as a financially savvy short-term move that furthers his long-term goals, if he's the sort of guy who can think that far ahead about things.

I'm also dicey about your chances discussing "commitment" with this guy. It's certainly tempting to treat commitment as a sort of magical item that infallibly points the way to getting married. It's not. Commitment is such a vague term that it may not even mean the same thing to your SO that it does to you.

Instead, consider discussing the stuff that creates commitment, like shared future plans, your emotional state, your fears about longterm planning, etc. Commitment doesn't stand alone on the pre-flight checklist for marriage; all the things that build that kind of a relationship are the things you should be looking at as a couple. Start there, not with the abstract concept that is "commitment."
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:09 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


It sounds like this is a great opportunity for him to live independently on his own. Life as a grown-up, an adult, no longer a frat boy. This is what you've been wanting from this guy, right? So embrace it. Celebrate it. By choosing to live closer to work, he is committing to his job, his life as an adult. Committing to work and living independently is a big step toward adulthood, and one that definitely should be taken before one commits to creating a family.

And if distance makes the heart grow fonder, then you can expect your relationship to go forward. And if it has the opposite effect, then it's time for you to also move on.

Good luck.
posted by jujube at 6:10 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


if he currently has an hour's commute to work, i think it's not unreasonable for him to want to move closer to work, even if it means further from you.

i think, though, the greater problem is that he has a lot of growing up to do before he's ready. i'm a big fan of NOT having to raise your own spouse--if you're ready to start thinking of a future with someone, you should probably find someone else who is, too.

ultimately, you're going to have to talk to him. we can't diagnose his behavior, we can't give you more information than he can give you himself. it's time to lay it out there and ask.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:17 PM on June 23, 2008


Hum. On preview, it seems like more information is needed. Is this new place that he is considering work more of the same in terms of the living arrangement? Meaning, is it another frat-house like environment? If that is the case, then ignore what I say above about this being a step forward for him as far as adulthood is concerned. But if he will be living on his own, independently, then his choice to move closer to work has NOTHING to do with whether he is more committed to his friends vs. you. Don't turn it into a big deal.
posted by jujube at 6:19 PM on June 23, 2008


At 22, I was in a relationship with someone four years older. I certainly didn't want to get married with any urgency (and I'm pretty sure she didn't either), but what would have been more worrying for me was if she had wanted something and either hadn't told me about it or was making decisions designed to influence me toward that goal without 'scaring me off'.

If you want to be married in two years, surely it'd be best to be married to someone who you respect, someone who you trust, and someone who you can be honest with (and hopefully they never meet each other!). Why not just be honest with him? Tell him you'd like to live together, ask him what he thinks about the future. If this is too much and he runs away, it will be sad but it will also show you that this was not someone with whom you could have reached your goals with.
posted by twirlypen at 6:33 PM on June 23, 2008


i agree with those who say that if, after a year with him—in what you both consider one of the best relationships you've had—the fact that you can't have this conversation with him means you don't have the relationship either you think you have, would like to have, or should have in order to be truly mature enough to move forward.

also, this guy is 25 and apparently hasn't let go of a lot of immature behaviours (not saying those are bad behaviours in and of themselves…but they're not conducive to really maturing and figuring out both himself and what he wants from life and from relationships). the "frat boy" activities along with his unwillingness to talk concretely about what he wants from you and the relationship seems to indicate that he's just not in a place to think about getting married. as far as i'm concerned, at that age, it's okay and it's natural. you're heading into your 30s and you are thinking of marriage and that's perfectly natural as well. so it could be a matter of the both of you being at different stages in life and that—regardless of how great everything else is—is going to be a big deal. this may be one of those things where the timing is just off.

my girl friends and i operate on a this golden rule about why guys won't/can't commit to great girls/a great relationship: women get serious when they meet the right man; men get serious with whomever they happen to be dating when they're finally ready to settle down.

the only way you are going to find out where your relationship is headed is to ask him. there are ways to do this that are totally non-pressured. not only what he says but how he reacts will give you your answer as to how ready he is to keep moving your relationship forward.
posted by violetk at 6:34 PM on June 23, 2008 [8 favorites]


I also know he broke up with his last serious girlfriend (when he was 22) because she brought up marriage after a year.

So she expressed her desires and needs and he dumped her? No wonder you're terrified.

You can't hide your desire for a committed relationship without building up a huge amount of resentment and, when he doesn't come around and propose to you on Valentine's Day, disappointment.
posted by sondrialiac at 6:53 PM on June 23, 2008


Staying with this guy because you've got it all planned out that in two years you'll be able to groom him into your Perfect Husband is a terrible idea. Life doesn't work like that. People don't work like that. And he doesn't seem inclined to modifying his life to fit your program.

Commitment will happen naturally, as both partners become more comfortable and attached to one another. It happens when you see the other person and the relationship as something you're responsible to--a welcome responsiblity, but a responsibility nonetheless. Before that, you are hanging out for shits, giggles, and fun. It sounds like your relationship is a lot of fun, but he has no interest in the responsibility that comes with commitment.

I feel for you. You seem like a very focused, organized woman who has this future life plan laid out with the house and husband and babies and everything on a set time schedule, and you want this boy to fit into that schedule. But you know, if the guy was the type who was going to fit into your life schedule, he would first need to be the type who seems to actually be interested in a schedule in the first place, and he's definitely not. I know plenty of men out of college who are younger than him and are not doing that frat-boy party-all-night video-games thing. It's not an age thing. It's a him thing.

What I'm trying to say is, look, you need to look at your guy at the way he is now, and ask yourself if he is the same way in two years, do you want to marry him? Because that's what you need to expect. You shouldn't be trying to find someone you can change into the life partner you want. You need to find someone who you like just the way they are.
posted by schroedinger at 7:09 PM on June 23, 2008


Don't base your behavior on your fear that he might react the same way now that he did when he was 22 to the idea of commitment. If he is truly as immature now as he was when he was 22, you should find that out now. But most people mature significantly in the 3 years between 22 and 25. I think that you should take the plunge and ask him what he wants from the future, and specifically from the future of your relationship. Don't issue an ultimatum, and don't make demands. Just ask him what he wants. See what he says. You may be pleasantly surprised. And if it turns out that he freaks out, you've learned something valuable about the relationship: namely, that it's not as mature or strong as you thought.
posted by decathecting at 7:16 PM on June 23, 2008


This is a hard one to answer, but ... based on my own experiences:

What kind of guy is your boyfriend? Is he a planner? (Note: You are a planner, with your "preferably in two years" thoughts in hand. I am also a planner.) You say he only talks in terms of the next few months. Is that just with you, or is it with his housing and his job and stuff like that as well? Does he have a Life Plan? Or is he a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of guy? My guy likes to try things out for a while and see how they go. When he gets a new job and people ask him how it's going, he says, "Well, I'm going to give it a year and see what I think then." He takes a while to get comfortable enough to really start thinking about the long haul. If this is your guy too, then be prepared to get resistance on the "Where Are We Headed" conversation, because he's going to feel like you're backing him into a corner and demanding an answer before he's had time to really see what he thinks yet.

Now, let's say he does feel like you're demanding an answer and balks at this. "But," you will protest, "I just want to talk about it! I'm not trying to pressure you!" Except that this is not entirely true. You actually want him to say, "Oh, now that you mention it, two years from now sounds like a perfect time to get married! How silly of me not to have thought of such a wonderful plan!" This realisation was really key to my talks about this with my partner. It took me a while to realise that I was feeling this way, and once I did, it became easier to calm down and listen to what he was saying instead of jumping in with counter-arguments.

So, set aside all of your goals for him for a moment (including marriage in 2 years, less or no video games, sobriety, etc.), and go learn some stuff about him (not him+you, just him). Does he ever want kids, whether it's with you or someone else? Does he ever want to get married (in general, not to you)? What does he think of his frat-boy atmosphere? Is it something he ever wants to change? What about the video games? Has he thought about how often you'll be able to see each other if he moves closer to work? How does he feel about that aspect of the move? What does he mean that it's too soon to move in together? What would make him feel ready?

And then some questions for you: Can you relinquish the two-year plan and take things as they come? Are you comfortable with his answers? When you have these conversations, frustrating as they may be, do you come away feeling that you're working together to get on the same page, or working against each other?

For me, two years later, we're married. We had to learn a lot about each other and re-examine our thoughts on marriage itself and make something that worked for both of us. They were some of the most difficult and rewarding conversations I've had, and we're still having a lot of fun!
posted by heatherann at 7:17 PM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]



You've got to be upfront with what you want. It's the only shot you've got. Beating around the bush, hoping, cajoling, guilt-tripping, whining, etc. are all surefire ways to disappointment. If you want to move in with him, ask him. If you want to be married to him, ask him.

One of the best assets we've got is our conscience and our own intuition. If you try to hide that or hope for the other person to change, you're sunk.

Without resentment or ultimatum, you have to explain to him what you want, that you love him, but that this (current arrangement) isn't going to do it for you, and whatever your proposal is. If he doesn't agree, walk away (with sadness rather than resentment). You might not be on the same page as him right now. But you have to be true to yourself above everyone else.

Once you decide what you really want, when your timeline for it is, what you're willing to put up with and stop whining about, and when to stand up for yourself -- and THEN being able to walk away or stay with a clear conscience -- you'll feel incredibly free.

Stop hoping, stop trying to read his mind. Start talking to him. Start asking for what you want. No guts, no glory.
posted by Flying Squirrel at 7:22 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


To me, it sounds like you have a whole host of plans for your future that you've only briefly tried to inform him of - and when he makes life plans that don't meet your unspoken expectations you internally judge him for that.

Perhaps you should let him know you'd like him to live closer to you. See what his reaction to that is and judge him, but unless you've already made it clear (and its a guy, I mean Crystal Clear (TM) then the fact he isn't doing things according to your unspoken internal plan is your issue, not his.
posted by Admira at 7:27 PM on June 23, 2008


What he says about commitment matters not at all; what matters is what he does. (As in, "actions speak louder than words" and similar clichés.) And as I think you are well aware, his actions are very, very clear. Just to pick three:

-- choosing to live with buddies, not you;

-- considering moving away from you, not closer;

-- frat boy lifestyle, not your "adventurous" adult options.

None of those are bad things, or make him a bad person. What they do communicate in gigantic flashing neon letters, however, is that he's not ready to commit to you at this time in the way you are wanting.

If you give him time, maybe he'll get there. Or maybe he'll enjoy the sex and fun and the adventure, and then when he's ready to settle down he'll find a cute young thing and impress her with his worldliness and knowledge of mature adventurous activities, I don't know. Unless you ask him, and ask him in a way that gets an honest response (and a response that makes sense in the context of his actions), you won't know either.
posted by Forktine at 7:27 PM on June 23, 2008


The moving away thing, the partying, the drinking- none of those things necessarily mean he's not invested in you and your relationship (drinking party animals can have happy marriages, too!). But the two of you must be able to communicate- that is an absolute deal-breaker in any relationship worth having.

I'm curious to know more about the guy's "frat boy" lifestyle, and why it is a problem with the OP. I think it is normal for 25 year old guys, single or in a relationship, to grab drinks after work, play video games, and be close to his friends.

Is he including you in those activities? Are there a lot of single attractive women hanging around and you worry about faithfulness? Are there drugs involved? Do you think he's an alcoholic? Is he partying so much that he comes to work hungover or it interferes with other responsibilities?
posted by sixcolors at 7:36 PM on June 23, 2008


You need to stop arguing both sides of the argument that you two are not having. He may or may not be thinking some of the things that you are thinking he is thinking. Time to sit down and really think about what you want, what is most important to you and what role you want this guy to play in your life and you in his. Then you need to talk to him about it. Go out to dinner. Say: "Hey, I want to talk about where you're looking for an apartment, I think I'll really miss you if you're so far away. So, what are you thinking about doing? How do you think it will or won't change our relationship?"

That's not so scary, right? And, you two may decide that it is okay for him to move far away but you'll decide that in the course of an open and honest dialogue not by second guessing his intentions and possible reactions. Listen to what he says, be open to compromise and be honest about where you can't compromise. This is the basis of a wonderful long-term relationship.
posted by amanda at 9:14 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


sixcolors, how about his after-work activities are centered on drinking until wasted? That sounds like a little more than just a few drinks after work, assuming her characterization is accurate.

As troubling as the drinking is, the big elephant is the lack of communication. Heatherann's questions are perfect - if he won't even engage with you about his feelings about the future in general, not just with you, that's telling you that he's not in the right space for commitment - not to you, not to anybody or anything.

Maybe he's sad to be moving further away from you, but hates the commute. Maybe he never even thought of you at all. I'm hoping the new place he'll be living is with new roommates, and not the college friends. thinkingwoman's comment about raising your partner comes to mind - do you really want to live with someone whose default cleaning, shopping and decorating standards are clearly so diferent from your own?

The only person you're going to get answers from is him - and I have this awful feeling that you're so scared about "pressuring him about the future" that you've just mutely accepted whatever he's thrown your way, and as some have pointed out, without really letting him know that you are ready to start talking about the future. That's not fair to him, and it's not fair to yourself.

There's so much good advice in this thread, but I just want to repeat the estimable schroedinger's question:
you need to look at your guy at the way he is now, and ask yourself if he is the same way in two years, do you want to marry him?
posted by canine epigram at 9:31 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


You deserve better than to be afraid of *talking* about something. Maybe he's just not at a point in his life where he's mature enough to have that conversation, but you deserve to be in a relationship where you can say "Let's talk about our future" after a year. That conversation doesn't have to end with him proposing, but it should at least take place so that each of you has a clear picture of the other's dreams and goals and how you can each try to accommodate and support the other. If he truly will not even have the discussion, then you're not the most important thing in his life because he's not working to keep you in it. Your plans matter, whether or not they mesh with his. His plans matter, too, so it's not automatically unreasonable for him to move away or socialize as he pleases. But you should be able to talk about those things.

However, you would do well to raise the subject at least once. He might surprise you.
posted by Meg_Murry at 9:45 PM on June 23, 2008


(Here's one way to find out whether this move is about you or about the commute: Suggest finding a place to live together in the area he works in, and see how he feels about it.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:56 PM on June 23, 2008


(Here's one way to find out whether this move is about you or about the commute: Suggest finding a place to live together in the area he works in, and see how he feels about it.)

Seconding this. Moving in is like test driving a marriage-type lifestyle. After more than a year together, it's probably time to see if you can move to that middle ground, if it's mutually convenient & an opportunity arises to share a place. In my experience or observation, reluctance for couples to move in together after the kind of timeframe you're at is almost always a nail in the coffin of the relationship. It indicates cold feet on the part of one or both parties to the relationship.

Or, as my father says, "a Saturday Night Girl has to go one way or the other sooner or later" and at the moment, you sound just like a SNG: somebody to have some fun with, dinner & dates & stuff, but only the recreational things; nothing serious.

my girl friends and i operate on a this golden rule about why guys won't/can't commit to great girls/a great relationship: women get serious when they meet the right man; men get serious with whomever they happen to be dating when they're finally ready to settle down.

Hm, nice & pithy. I'll have to think about that one.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:20 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Trouble is, he’s 25 and I’m 28, and I am pretty focused on the future. [...] I’d like to not waste too many of my child-bearing years with someone who has no intention of long-term plans with me. [...] I also know he broke up with his last serious girlfriend (when he was 22) because she brought up marriage after a year.

Seems to me that if you ask him about marriage and he leaves you, that fulfils not wasting too many of your child-bearing years; and if he doesn't leave you, that's good too.

And rather than moving closer to me (he’s currently a 15 minute drive away) he is considering moving essentially next-door to his office (about an hour drive from me.) The only reason for him to move that far away is because it’s less of a commute to work. [...] His moving to that location will have a HUGE impact on our relationship

See, here's what I don't understand: At the moment it's 15 minutes from your house to his, then 45 minutes from his house to work. So if he gets out of work at 5pm, he gets home at 5:45, and he can get to yours at 6:00.

If he moves to be 1 hour from your house and 0 hours from work, he can leave work at 5pm and get to your house at 6pm just the same. From his point of view, he's driving the same amount every day - if he's driving for an hour, what does it matter if that hour is between his house and work, or his house and yours?
posted by Mike1024 at 12:56 AM on June 24, 2008


It's true that living 15 minutes from work saves time and money and will make his life easier. It's purely logical and that's how he's thinking of it. But a man in love wouldn't put number crunching ahead of building a life with you...the thing of it is, if he wanted to get married, you'd know it by now. When men want to get married, they play easy to get.

I second the folks above who said to tell him you're envisioning marriage in your future. This isn't your first, second or fourth date. You've been together for a year. It's all about mutual respect and he doesn't have to propose right now but if talking about your future with him scares him off, I say scare him off! Get down to getting on the same page or get to moving on with your life.

There is something about this culture that creates women who are ashamed of stating that they want to find a partner as if there is something wrong or desperate about a 28 year old woman wanting to get married. Well there isn't!

As Nita Tucker says in her book "How Not to Stay Single", it is ridiculous to go around hiding the fact that you'd like to settle down. I think she uses the analogy of a job or a car. It was something like: If you were looking for a job and someone offered to set up an interview for you, you wouldn't push your toes in the dirt and say "Well, I don't really need to be set up. I'm not desperate!" Ditto for a car. "Gee, I'd love to have a car and if I happened to find one that'd be great but I'm just enjoying life as it is right now."

In a way, you may need to grow up yourself and become a woman who owns her feelings and isn't afraid to say what she wants. You want a family and that's serious business and frankly a lot of hard work. I'd encourage you to go over this guy with a fine tooth comb and see if he's really someone you want to balance checkbooks and clean up kid and dog poo with.

It might help to read the articles on aish.com. It's very good advice for those who are dating with marriage in mind. (Yeah, yeah, some people want to date around but some of us don't!) I found the advice to be useful whether you are Jewish or not. Their writers have great insight into creating family life.
posted by i_love_squirrels at 8:17 AM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


There is a lot of stuff you mention that doesn't strike me as too important. What is important is that you don't feel comfortable talking to him about serious aspects of your relationship. If you can't talk about marriage after being with someone for a year then maybe your relationship is going nowhere. He may be happy about moving in together, getting married, etc. No one here can tell you that. Only he can. So you should go ask him.
posted by chunking express at 11:32 AM on June 24, 2008


Marriage has to be his idea, or else you'll just end up with a reluctant groom and husband who resents you forever.

When any woman over the age of 25 has been dating someone for longer than a year, I generally give her this advice:

Have a talk. Tell him you're happy with him. You love dating him. Everything has been great. But you want a relationship that is moving forward. Tell him that if he isn't ready to move forward, that's fine, but then YOU MUST MOVE ON without him. Suggest that you might want to slow your relationship down a bit.

Following this talk, you have to deliver on what you said. Be less available to him. Spend less time with him. He has to take you seriously and respect you. He really needs to think that you're NOT going to let him "get away" with dating you for 3 years and never proposing.

Unfortunately, from there on, it's his call. He'll either:
1. Get angry (because you've taken something away from him) and leave forever
2. Get angry and then a few weeks or months later, be sorry and come back (GOOD!)
3. Get angry and then a few weeks or months later realize he HAS to have you and propose (BEST!)

I know this advice sucks, because the buck stops here. You might lose him. But you've got lay your chips on the table and see if he's got the Full House, or if he's just been bluffing all along. IF he was always bluffing it's not like you're losing him just because you make this move. YOU HAD ALREADY LOST HIM A LONG TIME AGO. You've just saving yourself from losing more of your dating years to a dud.
posted by The Fashionopolist at 11:55 AM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Setting aside an eventual desire to marry, it sounds like you can bring up the issue you are having right now with him---you want to start mingling your lives *more* (living closer or living together) and he is not making choices in line with that. After dating for a year and at your respective ages, this sort of talk should not "scare him off." If it does, he is probably the kind of guy who will never be ready---no matter how wonderful you are.

Best of luck :-)
posted by lacedback at 12:23 PM on June 24, 2008


Stories like these scare me with subtle manifestations of grand scheme of manipulation on the guy's side. Aside of all speculation that can be made here (and I am very tempted to), maybe you will want to put this relationship temporarily off to the background until there is more clarity, and do nice things for yourself. Be compassionate to yourself, and grow some thick skin: right now is the best moment. Do not announce you need a break (or break-up), do not have the talk, just shift focus on bettering other areas in your life: temporarily. No drama! Do not fear the cutting in time spent together. If he wants to spend time with you, he will: it's only one hour's drive! And no, there is no way for you to force more clarity to come out from ambivalence that there is currently, so some internal deadline (clarity, or else moving on) is a smart approach - yet requires lots of courage.

In a sense, this will mean moving away emotionally. Yet moving closer to a relationship in levels of maturity, respect, and security that you would be comfortable with. With him, or with someone much better.

I hear that you listen to what he says, and disregard what his actions mean. It should be reverse.

Experience also says that the linguistic programming tactics that guys employ (re. his story about breaking up with his ex because of M word mentioning) is only that: linguistic programming (read: dishonest manipulation) to prevent you from bringing it up.

Next, guy's family and friends doing his job of courting you is a red flag. The truth is, they may love you and they may court you, but under no circumstance they will encourage him to man up and invest himself into relationship with you. Again, only his actions matter.
posted by Jurate at 2:32 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


There is a lot of great and thoughtful advice above. I'd like to offer a sweeping generalization that will hopefully provide a little perspective.

The average beer-drinking, video game playing, young professional 25 year old dude these days is NOT ready for marriage. And the average 25 year old dude who thinks he's ready for marriage is so not, doesn't know it yet, and will make a poor husband in the long run.
(to all the young 20-somethings with successful marriages: good for you, but I'm talking about the average dude here, not you).

If your boyfriend or your relationship was far enough away from the current norm to disprove this statement, he would not be even considering moving farther away.

A 28 year old woman wanting to get closer on the road to marriage after a year is totally reasonable, as is a 25 year old guy not being ready, no matter how wonderful you are or your relationship is. The fact that you feel like you have to tiptoe around your true feelings about this suggests that the communication is not there for a marriage.

Tell him how you feel and what you're looking for. If he waffles at all, or it's not what he wants, you MUST make a clean break. No hard feelings, he's just too young and not ready. Do not let him waste any more of your precious time, life really is too short.

The sooner you can get over him, the sooner you can find a man who is ready for a good woman and a serious relationship that will lead to marriage and kids.
posted by BillBishop at 10:42 PM on June 24, 2008


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