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Author Topic: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!  (Read 21211 times)

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So, it's been a few years now for me and BF. We both live at home and we've been studying/training for most of our rel@tionship (we're now mid-20s, he's a few years older than me). He has a small amount of debt but a great new job so he's paying it off fast. I have savings but I'm transitioning from study to a full-time job so my current part-time job isn't putting me on the fast-track to home ownership or anything. I'm a saver by nature and doing okay though. :)

A few years ago, some of BF's friends had a rough time with unplanned pregnancies. Both friends are guys and from what I hear, feel like they were tricked by girls who wanted babies, so now one pays child support for a kid he never sees and the other ended up getting back together with the girlfriend. I'm not close enough to say anything further on the situation. The point is that BF seems to see having kids as a far-away thing, more of a burden than anything. In the past he's told me that he does want kids in the future. Lately he doesn't like me talking about kids, even though I told him I can wait up to 10 years for us to be ready. There's no pressure if it doesn't happen at all. Right now, his young cousins give me all the kid-time I need. :)

Meanwhile, his older sister is getting married soon. Two years ago, at a family gathering when they announced the engagement, BF's mother commented "I wonder who will be next?" and looked at BF and I! So we're not a new couple, I'm not a crazy GF who automatically thinks that a rel@tionship = an engagement. BF has stated, in the past, that he wants to get married one day. Recently, I casually mentioned that I was seeing my three best friends, and how it would be nice to see all three together because it probably won't happen again for a few years, possibly when they come to town to be my bridesmaids. And I'm talking 5-8 years in the future here - one is my sister but the other two live overseas. I specifically stated 5-8 years. I said "when I'm 30 or so." And he said stop talking about getting married like it's going to happen that soon!!

Anyway, on to the last incident. I mentioned something about my future wedding, I think it was about registries because we were in a department store. I used the phrase "when I marry you, or whoever I trick into proposing to me," and he was confused. I told him straight out that the way he talks, it sounds like he doesn't want to marry me. It wasn't the place for a further discussion but he never brought it up again.

And finally, my questions:
1. Given how long we've been together, and that we both believe in marriage, and (probably) want kids, is it wrong/rude to talk about distant-future theoretical plans?
2. Does it seem to you that he's having cold feet about the rel@tionship, or just the thought of marriage? The latter I can work with but the former, well, he needs to figure that out for himself.

Now on to the bonus round. BF says he's thinking about buying a house with his friend. BF is paying off his debt and then saving for a house. His friend apparently has savings but not enough income to make a full mortgage payment each week. So they had briefly spoken about buying a house together. In the past, BF and I were going to buy a house together. I also have savings and half a mortgage payment weekly but he seems to think going in with his friend is a good idea. I asked the hard questions - what if one of you looses your job? What if one of you wants/needs to move? What about when it's paid off, and one of you marries or has a kid, who will move out? The housing market is rough here, it's hard to afford anything decent. By the time a house is paid off, it's worth much more than the purchase price. So they would have to sell it and split the money to be fair rather than one finding a ton of money to buy the other out. And it will take a minimum of 15 years to pay off so he's stuck living with this friend, or whoever the friend leases his share to, in that time.

Further background, BF isn't great at forward-thinking when it comes to money. He bought an expensive car that he's still paying off, and it's a fancy thing with a low resale value except to a collector/enthusiast. He bought an entertainment system for his room, well two while we've been together but one on a credit card that he's still paying off two years later. I hate shopping with him because he'll buy things like clothes, shoes, DVDs, whatever he likes when he should put that money towards his debt. He has a bunch of gaming systems, computers, all sorts of things. IMHO he has no idea how to live within his means. He thinks that if he wants something, he should be able to have it. His parents didn't have much when he was growing up but now they seem to replace things at will - they recently replaced all their small kitchen appliances because they wanted to get ones that matched the new kitchen colour scheme. Meanwhile my parents have made their own money (not coming from money themselves) and I've been brought up to live comfortably but to never take on debt if I can help it (I've never even had a credit card). For example, my parents have and would wait for appliances to break before replacing them to match a new style in the kitchen.

3. Am I wrong to ask the hard questions about this house purchase? If I marry BF I also marry his financial decisions so that's part of my concern.
4. How do I keep my annoying little nose out of BF's finances?? He's told me how much he owes (I didn't ask) and how his new job pays. I just need to find a way to disconnect myself from his money.

And my final comment. Recently I have considered that BF is sending me signals that he doesn't think our rel@tionship is going anywhere. Well he's been my only ever BF so I have no idea how these things go. We don't have much in common but we like hanging out together. We have been on a few weekend trips and more recently I lived overseas for 6 months and he came and travelled with me for 2 months, which was stressful (we covered a lot of distance in those 2 months, more than most travellers would cover in 3-4 months) but we both look back on it fondly. Our initial attraction was that (professions changed) he's a builder and I'm a civil engineer. So we can talk about work and understand each other.

This has been a hard post for me to write and I welcome all comments. Thank you.


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2011, 11:36:42 AM »
I would definitely see his wanting to purchase a home with another guy as a huge red flag, especially if you are willing and able to purchase a home with him.

I agree that he seems to be giving you some pretty clear messages.  Have you considered couple's counselling?  You're still very young, but 8-10 years is a long long time to wait for a marriage proposal.  I have a friend who was in your situation.  She waited, and waited, and waited, and in the end she was left hanging.  Her boyfriend strung her along for 9 years with promises of a future together, but when it came time to actually make good on his promises, he wouldn't go through with it. She wasted 9 years of her life on this guy.  I'm hoping that's not how it turns out for you.


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2011, 11:37:33 AM »
I think that it is reasonable to sound him out about how both of you see the future of your relationship. If you are both OK about the idea of not making any decisions now about making big future plans, then that is fine, and you don't need to bother having the discussion- just carry on as you are.

If you want to get married and have children, then a few years into a relationship is certainly not too soon to be having the discussion. You both need to take a good long hard look at what you both want out of the relationship, what you can compromise on, and what would be dealbreakers.
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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2011, 11:42:10 AM »
I agree with both PP.  of you have already invested years in this and he thinks that a wedding 5-8 more years down the road is sounding too soon but he is willing yo commit to home ownership with a friend - you want to have a discussion now.


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2011, 11:45:11 AM »
Quite honestly, it seems that your rel@tionship may have run its course. 

His finances are not your business unless you in some way tie yourself to him, either through marriage or some type of major joint purchase.  It seems you have some problems with how he handles financial issues and if you do end up marrying him, this is something you would have to discuss prior to marriage.

Buying a house with a friend is, I agree, a huge red flag.  You are both just out of college and starting your careers, which is an exciting time for both of you and a time of great personal change.  I applaud your decision to not want to get married for several years.

He does seems to be making some noises that indicate your relationship is not what is used to be.  It is probably a good idea to sit down and have a long talk with him about where you both see it going.


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 11:55:39 AM »
If he thinks that 5-8 years down the road is "too soon" and he's going in halves for a 15-year commitment with his buddy, I'm sorry to say I don't think there is anything to discuss.  He may be stringing you along and there is no future in this relationship.  Dial way back on this relationship and start exploring other options.  If he sees that you are going on with your life and not waiting around for him, he may realize that he is going to lose you.

Also, if he is that irresponsible with money now, he will probably always be irresponsible.  Are you willing to have to scrimp and save to make the mortgage and bills while he buys fancy toys, then begrudges you new underwear?  That might be your future life with him (don't ask me how I know).


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2011, 11:58:03 AM »
Not only is it okay to talk about the future, but I think it's necessary.  I would force the issue.  Make him understand what you want, and make him tell you what he wants.  If you don't want the same things, it's time to make some decisions. 
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

-The Car Talk Guys


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2011, 12:02:25 PM »
While I cannot comment on everything, I do see it as a red flag that you cannot discuss your future after how long you've been together.  My now-husband and I started talking about plans after being together a mere 6 months.  Not out of pressure or anything, but because we both wanted to make sure we were on the same page. 

The ability to communicate is a necessity in a long-term commitment.

I will say this about the house-buying: 
I have four friends who bought a house together as an "investment".  The market changed.  One friend got married after the deal was done.  All four of them regret buying the house together.  They have been trying to sell it for the last year with no luck.  They will probably lose money on the deal.  None of them would ever recommend buying a house as a friend unless you are really certain that your circumstances won't change.

I would see it as a red flag that he will buy a house with a friend but not buy one with you.  In your shoes, my feelings would be hurt.


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2011, 12:17:28 PM »
Several things.  To answer your questions directly.

1.  Given how long you've been together, talking about your future, theoretical or otherwise, is not wrong.  It's necessary.  I wouldn't advocate talking about marriage and kids after a few months, but after years?  Sure.  And talking about something that is 5-8 years down the road shouldn't be too soon.

It sounds like your BF and you either have different expectations about where the relationship is going, different ideas about where in your relationship you are, or the relationship is no longer moving forward.  relationships progress.  They have to.  Even after marriage.  (and marriage isn't really necessary in a progressive relationship). And it sounds like your BF is either wanting to cool off or at the least, not wanting to move forward. 

Now, it's also possible that your BF is taking the marriage and kids talk as hints that you are wanting him to propose now.  Even if you make it clear that your talking about something way in the future, he may, for some reason, feel that you're hinting at doing it now.  And being fresh out of school, he isn't ready for that.  I think that you need to have a serious talk with him about it.  "BF, I've noticed that you get jumpy when I say anything about weddings and kids.  I'm not looking to get married today and don't feel that we're ready, but I also don't like running into a brick wall everytime I say anything about it.  Do you feel that I'm pressuring you or is this something that you never see doing?"

2.  It's hard to say whether or not the cold feet is about getting married or about your relationship.  Like I said above, it could be either.  Part of keeping a relationship together, is having the same goals and general timelines for meeting those goals.  And it honestly doesn't sound like you guys are on the same track.  He's giving you pretty clear signals that a wedding and kids is not something he's overly excited about doing.  Could it be that he's not overly excited about doing those things with your or in general?  It's hard to say.  But I do know this.  After several years together, he shouldn't be so touchy talking to you about it.  I would assume that you have (or should have) developed a pretty tight emotional bond.  At the least, he should feel comfortable enough to say "This makes me uncomfortable.  I'm not ready for marriage and kids and I like the way things are now."  Communication is pretty important in relationships, and if you two can't communicate about something as simple as where your relationship might go 10 years down the line, you have a problem.

3.  Buying a house with his friend, is, IMO, a huge red flag.  I'm a strong believer in not purchasing property (or making large investments) with anyone I'm not legally tied to and can't protect myself from.  You're not wrong for asking him hard questions about this decision.  He needs to understand what he's getting himself into and the possible ramifications for that in the future.  And as your BF of several years, I would hope that you guys can have a decent conversation about it without either of you getting hurt and defensive.   

4.  His finances are none of your business now.  You are not married or engaged.  However, how he handles his finances and how his ideals line up with yours is very important.  It seems like you can guage pretty well by now that the way he spends and saves money makes you uncomfortable.  While you have little right to get into his business with it, you do have the responsibility to yourself to understand where your differences are.  If you do end up marrying him someday, his finances will be your finances.  To talk to him about it, though, you need to have the opening.  I don't think you can sit him down and demand he tell you everything about how much he makes/saves/owes, but I do think that when he does start talking about these things, or asks your opinion on his new purchase, you can start talking about this.  If he shuts down and is unwilling to even hear you out, that's another red flag.

Basically, it sounds like your BF is shutting down a bit and he's also a bit immature, both in how he handles his relationship with you and his finances.  He's giving you some big clues that, at least for the moment, he's not willing to plan or even think about any future with you.  And it obviously bothers you as you're still on the path of progressing the relationship.  I would just point blank tell him how you feel and ask him if you guys can pull back on the relationship.  It might end up being a permanent breakup, or it might just be some time for each of you to get your thoughts organized and come back together stronger than ever.

But a healthy relationship isn't that difficult.  Talking about the future isn't a scary subject.  Asking questions and having your thoughts heard are second nature.    You deserve to be in a relationship that doesn't make you uneasy.  I know it's hard after being with someone from so long and seeing things stagnate is hurtful.  But I bet you've learned a lot about what you want.  So decide what you really want and then decide if your BF is giving that to you.  If he's not, then free yourself up to find someone who will.  It' the least you can do for yourself.  Good luck!
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 12:26:45 PM by bah12 »


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2011, 12:20:14 PM »
I've been on the other end of the deal. With my ex, he wanted to discuss marriage after we'd been together for a few years, but every time he brought it up I felt really uncomfortable and pressured, and changed the subject. The difference is, I actually took the time to think why I was reacting this way, realized there were many things that made us incompatible in the long term, and then came clean with him rather than leaving him hanging.

If your BF is unwilling to talk about maybe getting married 7-8 years from now it's possible that, on some level, even if he doesn't want to admit it to himself, he's not happy in this relationship. I would definitely suggest hashing this out and setting it once and for all, one way or another.


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2011, 12:35:35 PM »
As with the others, I agree that if your BF doesn't want to talk about marriage at this stage but is in favour of marriage in general, he does not want to marry you.

Talking about the future does NOT scare off men. Talking about the future 4 dates in or talking about the future with someone who doesn't want to be with you does.

Sorry, but between that and him buying a house with his friend I think he is sending a very clear message.

(And I got married 13 years into a relationship so I think a long lead time is totally fine)


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2011, 12:51:44 PM »
Thank you all! I will talk to him this weekend.

Earlier this week I was flicking throught jewellery catalogs and thinking "BF is never going to go for one of these expensive rings." In the past, I always had to choose my own gift and point it out to BF. He's bought me one necklace by himself and he has excellent taste but it seems like he's shying away from all shiny items. I think that's an indication of things to come. Thanks again for the advice.


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2011, 12:57:16 PM »
The house is, to me, the biggest flag, especially since you'd previously discussed buying one together. Have you asked him directly why his mind changed on house buying generally, and why he wants to buy with friend and not with you? This is a huge point of discussion.

I went though similar relationship doubt as you, although my BF (now DF) didn't shut down at possible marriage talk, he just spoke with a lack of specificity and concreteness about timeline. I think had the subject been one we couldn't discuss, we wouldn't have continued. Also, we did purchase a house together before engagement (and that was something he would point to on the few times before engagement that I expressed concern about what the lack of engagement said about his committment). So his apparently not wanting to buy a house with you, his alleged partner, and that actively shys away from ANY mention of engagement, to the point where he dissuades you after you've caveated your statements, seems troublesome. And I agree with Bah that it's his emotional reaction to any hint of discussion that is more concerning that the fact that he may not be ready to commit. You should absolutely be able to talk about these things, and hesitance to talk is a far bigger issue than the two of you being at different stages is.

To your recent post, I'm glad you're going to talk to him. You probably weren't planning too but just in case, I suggest not mentioning the presents aspect you noted, as he might glom onto that (an easier conversation) in a effort to avoid the larger, harder topic. His hesitance to have further financial ties with you in the moment and reluctance to discuss the future are what I'd suggest you focus on.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 01:13:31 PM by cbcb »


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2011, 01:00:12 PM »
I just want to say that I'm sorry again.

It may help to realise that you have a choice between two options:

1) Stay with a BF who doesn't envision a long term future with you.
2) Leave a BF who doesn't envision a long term future with you.

The option you want

3) Stay with a BF who wants a long term future with you.

just isn't in the clouds right now. The conversation will likely consist of vague denials on his part, but if you come out of the conversation with anything more substantive, I would be a bit suprised.

I also want to add that option 1 is a fine option. Not all relationships need to lead to long term futures. But you both need to know that.


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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2011, 01:01:02 PM »
I dated someone very seriously for 5 years who said all the things your boyfriend said - marriage, babies, house, SOMEDAY.  We had names picked out, we had chatted with his family about when it was happening, etc.

When it came down to it, he couldn't do it.  Not because he didn't love me, but because he didn't love me and the idea of commitment enough to change where he was and where he wanted to go.  When push came to shove he just wasn't grown up enough to even fathom REALLY making those kind of commitments.

It was a horrible period in my life when things ended, because he was my best friend.  You may not want to walk away from it because of something similar.  You mentioned that you have fun hanging out together but you don't have much in common.  Not having much in common is okay if your main life goals/priorities line up, because you can work around things.  If they don't (like how you are a saver vs him being a spender) you're in for a world of hurt when the issues really come to light.  You will be fighting about those impulse purchases vs saving for things.  And if you can't communicate well now it only gets harder.  However, you need to decide what you want, seriously, in the future.  Yes, he may be taking you talking about the future as "hint".  You say they truly aren't, but in my experience, when it's brought up that much, it most likely is.  You should examine if your intentions are 'fuzzy' you ever get frustrated and upset when you think about why you can't even communicate about the future?  It may be coming across in your tone when you make the comments (unheard in your tone, but perceived in his ears).

In my opinion (and several of my guy friends actually), the two year rule comes into play.  If you don't know you want to end up married to someone after two years, seriously know that they are the ONE, then you should walk away from it.  Especially since you mentioned you are in your mid twenties (I am as well).  Having a long engagement is fine for financial/other personal reasons.  But being able to communicate and get to that point with your bf of 2+ years is key.  It's a red flag to me that he doesn't even want to talk about it/gets upset when you do.  And to him, I bet it feels like you're beating a dead horse when you bring it up, which is why he probably gets defensive about it, but honestly, if you've been together that long, you should be able to communicate about the BIG things coming up in your future - together. 

A couple posters posted while I was typing.  Deetee had a VERY good point.  Talking about the future does NOT scare off men.  Think about the things they plan for - where they want their jobs to be, what kind of car they want to have next, huge financial investments.  It's a red flag that you've been together this long and he doesn't want to talk about the future with you.