Author Topic: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!  (Read 13445 times)

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blarg314

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2011, 09:33:54 PM »

I think the 2 year rule works well in both directions.

If you've been dating someone seriously for two years, and one of you honestly doesn't know if you see it as a relationship that's on the long term track, then it probably isn't, and hanging around waiting for another four or five years isn't going to help.

On the flip side, 2 years is about the point where strong infatuation/lust tends to wear off. So if you fall strongly head over heels for someone, it can be very wise to not get married until you figure out if you actually like and can live with the person, rather than realizing after you've married and had a kid that the main thing holding you together was infatuation.

That doesn't mean that after 2 years you need to be engaged, though, or even that a relationship has to lead to a commitment, just that by two years you're generally either on the same page, or heading to heartbreak. 

A couple of pieces of advice. When you have a conversation about your future, be very careful to listen to both what he says and how he says it.  "Yeah, we'll get married, someday.  Maybe when we're 30?  35?" technically says he's interested, but the way it's said implies "Marriage?  That's not even on my radar right now!"

Secondly, when you're in a holding pattern relationship like this, be very careful not to get too entangled.  If marriage is important to you, settling for 'marriage lite' is likely to leave you unhappy in the long run.  So don't move in together to 'save rent', secretly seeing it as the next step on the path to marriage.   Keep your finances separate.  And definitely, definitely, make really sure you don't get pregnant.  Getting married and having kids are not things that make a shaky or uncertain relationship better - instead they'll simply make the flaws bigger.

Third, ultimatums are most useful when they're internal. Saying to yourself "If this relationship hasn't moved anywhere in the next year, I'm going to move on with my life" can be very useful to you.  Saying to your BF "If I'm not wearing a ring in 12 months I'm leaving" can have unintended consequences - first, if it doesn't happen and you really didn't plan to leave, and second, if you've got your ring, but it comes from someone who feels trapped. A friend of mine tried the "I need a ring or else" approach with her BF of several years, and he dumped her by text message not long afterwards.  :-\

Finally, live your life as if it's happening now. If you concentrate on what will happen in the future when you get engaged/married/have kids/move in together, it's easy to lose track of the fact that your life is happening already, not in the future some time.

HorseFreak

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2011, 10:08:35 PM »
I agree with the PP, but my deadlines tend to be a bit longer so you have to adjust to suit your needs and personality. As a disclaimer, I'm childfree, so I have absolutely no biological imperative/deadline to get married. I have found over the last 10 years or so that I need to seriously date someone and make it happily to three years still wanting to marry this person to get engaged. It hasn't happened yet. My last breakup wasn't dramatic or awful, I just realized that around 2.5-3 years that the thought of getting engaged as the next step scared me more than made me happy. There was nothing particularly bad about the relationship, but when he told me he wanted to get engaged as soon as he found a job and came to visit next (we were temporarily 1000 miles apart) I broke up with him.

I thought for sure that I would marry him for the first two years. Maybe it was us being in different places in our lives with me finishing prolonged education, him being well- and then unemployed for a long period, maybe we grew apart, maybe it's both. I just think at a certain point after the honeymoon period is over your chances for making that commitment start dropping precipitously. Whether you're OK with that possibility or not is up to you.

Another important thing I've found is the end of my relationships/loss of interest was preceded by a decline in communication. I see the lack of desire on his part to talk about these plans very concerning. My ex and I starting speaking more and more seriously about marriage from year one on, but when we got lazy and started ignoring what the other wanted and making independent plans without really talking it out everything nosedived. He refused to consider that I would need to move for my career when that had been something we agreed on previously, and I kind of sprung my huge, non-negotiable move south on him. He thought that I would move back home and live there indefinitely and I buried my head in the sand assuming we would move to a western location once my contract was up. If you can't talk about it, it falls apart.

*Hugs* and good luck. It's not a position I enjoyed being in.

blarg314

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2011, 03:48:37 AM »
[quote author=horsphreak link=topic=99756.msg2450446#msg2450446 date=1312682915. I just think at a certain point after the honeymoon period is over your chances for making that commitment start dropping precipitously.
[/quote]

I think that's the key. When it's not the right relationship, after the honeymoon phase is over you get bored or irritated with each other, and start drifting apart.  The fact that they are bad at money, or always late, or not as keen on having kids as you are can be ignored during that honeymoon phase, because your in loooove.  When it wears off, you can gradually realize that you really can't see yourself with this person in the long haul.

When it is the right person and the right time, you keep getting closer with time; you consider the other person automatically when it comes to major life decisions, you become more comfortable with each other rather than less.  You find that over all, your faults and strengths complement each other, rather than conflicting and causing drama.  Your build a solid enough relationship that you can weather the stressful times, or the low libido times, or the times when you're apart.

Age and experience can help that process - you can learn to pay attention to the big compatibilities, rather than the little ones (we both spend money the same way vs we both like jazz) - and over-ride the infatuation with the knowledge that this person isn't going to work for you.

When you're in your early twenties and have only one serious relationship it's  a lot harder to calibrate it, though.

weeblewobble

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2011, 08:38:41 AM »
After several years of dating, it is not unreasonable to talk about marriage and kids. It is unreasonable for him to respond like a you're trying to trap him every time you bring up long-term commitment. If a man doesn't know if he wants to marry you after being together for years, he doesn't want to marry you.  And putting in more time, when you could be out looking for someone who sees how awesome you are, is not going to change that.

I think you need to ask yourself, if in "5 to 8 years" we're still together and he's still not ready for marriage, will I be grateful that I stayed with him and had such a wonderful time, or will I be resentful for wasting good years on someone who was never going to commit?

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2011, 10:50:32 AM »
You asked for advice. I am telling you things I have told my own daughters.
You say this is your first and only boyfriend. Frankly, I think you need to start dating other people, and the sooner the better.
All kinds of studies and statistics report that finances are one of the biggest areas of argument in marriages and a big reason why people divorce. I have known friends who had huge blots on their financial records because of mistakes an ex-husband made. When you legally become entangled by marriage, or purchasing a house together, or some other big financial committment, your partner's financial habits WILL affect you.

The DH and I were very frank and open about finances prior to marriage. What debts we had, what assets, what our goals were for the future, how fast we could meet them, and a plan for that. NEITHER OF US WOULD HAVE MARRIED ANYONE WHO DID NOT SHARE THAT INFORMATION. My oldest DD had been dating a guy, and the feelings were serious, but - his financial habits were a big concern. She asked me what to do. I advised her to have a serious talk with him, about dollars and cents, and to be very specific, and talk about financial goals. And, if they could not come to some kind of understanding or compromise, to break up with him. Oldest DD's BF is very sensible and knows what a wonderful girlfriend he has, and they did come up with an agreement and a plan. People can change their behavior, especially when that change ultimately benefits them. (DD helped BF come up with plan that does help him a lot.)

If you do not want to break up with him, then you do need to have a serious talk and give him a timeline where you want your life to be at what point. And if he does not share your vision, then you really need to amicably say that your goals are different, you are at different points in your lives, and you wish him well but you need to see what else is out there.
AND - NO WAY should you sign any kind of purchase agreement for a house or any other big investment with this guy, as long as he cannot change his financial habits.

Best wishes! Decide what is best for YOU, and do it.

Larrabee

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2011, 10:55:05 AM »
Blarg is wise, listen to Blarg.

sarahj21

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2011, 11:38:48 AM »
I think you need to ask yourself, if in "5 to 8 years" we're still together and he's still not ready for marriage, will I be grateful that I stayed with him and had such a wonderful time, or will I be resentful for wasting good years on someone who was never going to commit?

I've done a lot of thinking over the last two days and everyone's replies have been really helpful. To weeblewobble and others who asked if 5-8 years is realistic - no. No no no. I shouldn't have said that time frame because if we haven't moved to the next step in a year, we're so done. This thread made me realise that I have to put these timeframes in my mind, even though I'm not saying anything to BF.

I also spoke to BF. I tried to press him to say whether he would be ready to buy a house and get married in the next year. We've always been open to each other about finances and goals and everything so it was strange to have to pin him down for a straight answer. He kept saying "we'll see what happens" but he had this cheeky grin like he was planning something. He's amazing at surprises and keeping a secret so I have no idea what's going to happen but he seemed happy. :) He is not going to buy a house with his friend, apparently my questions convinced him it would be a stupid idea. I also helped him set up a savings account like mine, where you put in how much you want to save and it takes the money out of your account each week to keep you on track. So I'm pleased with his effort to save. I said that he seems to buy whatever he wants without taking time to think. He said he's working on it and is very anxious to save and buy his own place because his parents' house is too small for all three of them (figuratively).

My main worry is what PPs have posted. I've stopped my idle chatter. I'm never going to stop talking about kids with my sister because she's a teacher and always has a new story about misbehaved children. Otherwise, I'm just going to talk about "my" house, which I will have saved up a deposit for in 2 years. :) I guess I don't need to talk about my potential future kids until I'm married. And to blarg314 re: pregnancy, nonono. No. I would rather never have kids than trap BF like that. My two cousins were teenage mothers and 10 years later, they (and their kids) are still a drain on their parents. I hate drama in my personal life and couldn't do that.

JoyinVirginia, when I first met BF I considered other options. At one point a friend said he'd like to go out with me if I ever break up with BF. I just don't see other guys that way. It's strange but I'm just not really interested in other guys - not sure if that's because I'm in a rel@tionship or I'm just really picky. I have not given BF a timeline though, just had a chat about his timeline/thoughts. So I will probably write something down to show him when I see him next.

tiger_splash

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2011, 01:30:09 PM »
I think you should really back up and read your own posts.  They don't lead the average person to see a working, functional relationship.

No agreement at all on finances is HUGE.  It's the biggest cause of relationship stress.  And you don't have to be the same type of money people (I'm the spender, he's a saver), but you do both need to come to terms with how your finances will work as a combined couple.  In fact, for us the opposites work -- but we have to talk EVERYTHING over.  I'll go buy the latest shiny if it's marketed correctly, and he won't update anything until the duct tape and rust can't be repaired. The key is, we talk it out and discuss it plainly and openly.  Even before we were moved in together was started bouncing financial decision off of each other.  If after years you are both handling your money separately from each other, it doesn't bode well.

The house issue is a HUGE RED FLAG.  Even someone that sucks with money knows it's a huge commitment and not something you just do for fun one afternoon.  The fact he WAS considering that with type of commitment means he is thinking forward and you weren't part of it.

And please, for the love all deities, don't let him out of talking about your future with a cheeky grin and an answer you're not sure about.  He doesn't have to propose to you (and you can clarify that) but you seriously need to make the the future you have is aligned with his.  Kids and marriage and finances are things that should be open and on the table after dating for a few years.

SisJackson

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2011, 02:01:06 PM »
He kept saying "we'll see what happens" but he had this cheeky grin like he was planning something. He's amazing at surprises and keeping a secret so I have no idea what's going to happen but he seemed happy.

No.  Just no.

Can you actually have a serious conversation where he contributes with his actual feelings, misgivings, hopes, fears, trepidations, and desires?

In all your posts, I haven't seen a single sentence from your SO that says how he actually feels.  He seems to just want to avoid the hard discussions - he doesn't want to talk about when a wedding might take place, he doesn't have answers for you when you ask tough questions - it sounds like he's only interested in maintaining the status quo and doesn't want to get into talk about the future where he has to consider how things might change.

"We'll see what happens" sounds like an avoidance technique, even if it's accompanied by a wink and a smile.  Yes, you will see what happens.  If, like you say, you will leave if there is no forward progress in a year, then if what happens is "nothing" then you can move on yourself.  Maybe he is planning something, but the fact that he seems wholly unable to discuss your shared future with any seriousness and sincerity would set off my internal alarm bells.

guihong

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2011, 02:40:38 PM »
He gave you a non-answer to get you off his back and put you off.  It's unacceptable to me and to a lot of others, frankly.

It's one thing to be cute and coy about proposing after you've had the difficult (or not difficult) talks about where you are going as a couple, money, etc.  He won't do that.  Instead, he actually had the idea of buying a house with a friend.  A guy who wants to marry you will fall all over himself doing so, not going off on tangents.  Did you catch that he said "his own place"? Not "our place".

He may not be a bad guy, not at all.  He just sounds like he's in a different place in life and/or doesn't want to marry you.  Only you can decide whether you can put up with this for even a year, which may not change anything.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2011, 02:43:24 PM by guihong »



virgo

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2011, 08:07:46 PM »
I agree with the others who said he is putting you off because he really doesn't want to get married.  To be frank, why should he?  He is getting all his needs met without responsibility or commitment.  He can buy all the toys he wants without being accountable to anybody else.  You are a convenience to him.  A wise person once said, "Men wouldn't act this way if women wouldn't let them get away with it!"

And it's a really bad idea to wait until marriage to mention kids! ::)  This is a subject that needs to be discussed BEFORE the engagement, along with financial decisions, etc. 

 You are young, why not think about meeting a man with whom you have a lot in common, rather than trying to change this one into the one you want.  Do not make the mistake of thinking that he will change after you're married! :(  He won't!

I'm afraid I was blunt, but I don't want you to settle for less than you deserve.  There are plenty of men out there who would be a much better match for you.


blarg314

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2011, 10:34:51 PM »
He kept saying "we'll see what happens" but he had this cheeky grin like he was planning something. He's amazing at surprises and keeping a secret so I have no idea what's going to happen but he seemed happy.

No.  Just no.

Can you actually have a serious conversation where he contributes with his actual feelings, misgivings, hopes, fears, trepidations, and desires?


POD to this.

A romantic, over the top, surprise proposal lasts an evening. A marriage can last 30 years or more. After a few years of arguing about finances, or covering when he spends too much, or not being able to discuss important things, or getting the brush off when you have legitimate concerns, or realizing that his "someday" for kids is likely to be well after you're no longer fertile, you'll forget about it completely.

When you decide to marry someone, you have to ask yourself "Would I be happy spending the rest of my life with this person, just the way they are at this moment, warts and all."  If the answer isn't a clear yes, you shouldn't marry them.

Because getting married doesn't make someone more committed, or easier to talk to, or more considerate, or more communicative, or better with money, or more romantic, or more enthusiastic about children. They will still be exactly who they are now.

Danika

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #42 on: August 07, 2011, 11:56:43 PM »
And it's a really bad idea to wait until marriage to mention kids! ::)  This is a subject that needs to be discussed BEFORE the engagement, along with financial decisions, etc. 

POD. For example, my best friend always wanted tons of kids. I don't think her DH cared one way or the other if they had any. I remember sitting at her dinner table one night after they had their first child and she made some casual comment about how when they had 5 children, bla bla bla, and her DH's mouth just dropped. That was the first time he'd heard how many kids she wanted to have and apparently that was not a number he was comfortable with. That discussion is something they should have had way before they got married. Now, they have three kids, and he only wanted two. She "accidentally" got pregnant with a third, and he resents having that may kids. Anyway, my point is that virgo is right. It's something couples should discuss before they get married.

Look at your situation objectively. If you were a Cadillac at the car dealership and your boyfriend had just taken a test drive, the dealer would say "Are you interested? Or aren't you? When will you know?" The dealer would not be satisfied by a cute wink and smile and response of "we'll see." The dealer might say "OK, but I can hold the car for you for 24 hours. After that, I need to put the car back on the market." I'm not trying to equate you to a car. You're human and the comparison is not fair. But I'm trying to say that even with something as unimportant as a car sale or a home sale, there's discussion, compromise and a plan set in place.

Ask yourself "what's my timetable? what am I ok with?" Just like the car dealer. How long are you willing to keep the high quality item off the market in order to save it for this one person? And then when do you think you should be free and single again to meet others if this man is not interested and just stringing you along?

blarg314

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #43 on: August 08, 2011, 02:37:01 AM »

I've been thinking about this thread, and to be blunt, I don't think either of you are thinking of marriage in a constructive, adult way.

In your BF's case, he's flat out avoiding serious discussion of any sort regarding your future - marriage, house, kids, any of it. His response to direct inquiries is to smile coyly and say "we'll see", which means absolutely nothing.  He's also bad with finances, and by the sounds of it rather cavalier about major life decisions - buying a house is probably the biggest financial decision you will ever make. Thinking about casually buying a house with a friend when you're already paying off other debts is not the behaviour of a responsible adult.

In your case, you're basing your plans for the future on little more than hope.  You hope your BF has the same goals, interest and long term plans as you do when it comes to marriage and kids. You hope that he sees a future with you. You hope that he'll learn to be good with money. You hope that he will, at some point, be willing and able to have a serious conversation about your future. You're wildly over interpreting what he actually says and does to give you the best possible interpretation for what you want, in spite of the fact that, by what you've written, he's given no real indication of actually wanting marriage and kids.

In your first post, you say that you're both still living at home.  Combined with the rest of the description, that sends up a big red flag, if neither of you have much experience with living on your own and managing everything yourself. Even if you're responsible and contribute to the household, and have a lot of independence, living on your own is a very different experience than living with your parents.

For example, have you discussed your ideas and expectations regarding gender roles and household chores?  Do you have concrete evidence that your BF is competent at household tasks (cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, maintenance, managing bills) and is able to do so on his own initiative, without being reminded or nagged?  Or is he still in the phase where he thinks magic pixies do it? 

When you have kids,  how will you handle that?  Will you both continue to work, or will one of you stay home, and if so, how long?  Will he change diapers and be an equal partner, or expect you to manage the kid stuff?  Are you interested in home schooling?   Do you plan to raise kids with a religious background or not? What are your views on discipline and child rearing (permissive vs strict, etc)? Do you plan to stay in your home town indefinitely, or does one of you have a job or training that would require relocating at some point?

These are all things that will make a big difference in whether you have a generally contented, co-operative marriage, or a constant source of stress and arguments. And these are all things that you need to discuss and be clear on, from both sides, before you agree to marry someone.

Winterlight

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Re: Is it not okay to talk about our possible future together? Long post!
« Reply #44 on: August 08, 2011, 10:07:34 AM »
I think you need to block out time, sit down and have an honest straightforward discussion with no evading or wiggling. No cute answers, either.
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