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SO needs more time. What do I do?


Getting Married Cold feet to pre-marital stressors--the place to discuss all the issues that come with saying "I do."

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Old 4th June 2017, 2:41 AM   #1
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SO needs more time. What do I do?

Hi all, long time lurker, first time poster. English is not my first language, so apologies in advance if I make many mistakes - and sorry as this is SO long!

SO (M/37) and I (F/29) have been in a relationship for about 4 years. It's been rocky since the beginning - we broke up 3 times, pretty much fought constantly (jealousy, external inputs, context, general incompatibility, two incredibly strong personality etc.) for the last 3.5 years. We should have called it quits a long time ago but we both stuck with it. Earlier this year we tried one last resort - therapy.

In February we started seeing a counsellor. Things started to improve dramatically - we both recognise that. We started to communicate more effectively and our fights scaled down to almost 0. We still have issues to work out (intact our therapy path is not over yet), but in general we both know the therapy has been very fruitful. I know it sounds silly but for some reason I feel like "we love each other more".

I guess for some biological reason, I am going down that spiral of thoughts like "everyone is getting married, everyone is engaged, I will be too old for kids". We have discussed marriage, however, he feels like 4 years of a very difficult and draining relationship cannot magically disappear, that he is resentful for how exhausting these years have been (next time we see the counsellor I am going to bring this up), and that things have only been going well for a couple of months, and it's not enough to make the call on what the next step should be. I asked if he has a timeline, he said he doesn't, he just needs to feel it right. I said I won't be around forever, and that I need to know by December this year whether next step will be engagement. He acknowledged my timeline and we left it there. This was the first discussion we had, maybe a month ago.

Apparently though, during that first discussion he didn't get it straight: 2 nights ago we discussed again, and he said he didn't understand December was the cut off line - he told me that he thought of proposing before we move for work to another country (which should be March/April next year). I said I am not fine with it as I feel like everything is under his control and it's like he just keeps pushing the timeline back, and I said this is not fair because it's also my life. He replied that he hates ultimatums, and that I should give myself an internal walk date: in his mind I should go to him on that date and say "you know what, today is my walk-off line. What do we do?".

In the end the discussion went a big rough and I ended it saying that I shouldn't be begging him, and that there's no deadline - I will just walk away when I decide it's too much for me.

Here's my question: what do I do? Do I set an internal timeline? Do I discuss this with him again in front of the counsellor? Do I really walk away if he doesn't propose by December? This guy is not a commitment phobic - he gave me a sapphire ring for my birthday last year, and reminded me two days ago that it wasn't just a birthday gift, it was a ring, therefore it had a specific meaning. He moved across countries to follow me, he takes care of me, we live together, he treats me with the same care a good husband would do, doesn't even plan anything, without checking in with me first). He is a very meticulous and precise person, always carefully weights pros and cons, and his logical part definitely wins over the emotional part.

His bottom line is that if he proposes he is not taking it back, so he needs to be sure that our issues are solved in therapy (as I said, we still have some things we need to work on), and then he wants to be sure that our improvements are not just temporary and that this will also work in the very long term. In the meantime, he keeps planning family gatherings, trips abroad, and constantly talks about what we're doing in 1,2 or 3 years, where our children will go to school and stuff like that.

Would be nice to have some external perspective, thanks in advance.
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Old 4th June 2017, 2:53 AM   #2
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You already gave your timeline of December. He knows.

Keep your word... leave in December if he's not ready to marry you since that's your priority.

It could realistically take him ten more years to get ready. Since you want the next level don't wait past December if he doesn't plan the wedding by then.


Are you capable of supporting yourself on your own? Start planning for that in case you need to support yourself next year.
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Old 4th June 2017, 3:01 AM   #3
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I am fully independent - I have a very well paying job in a rising field and I have savings that could allow me to be unemployed for one whole year - no problems there.

I am second guessing myself now - December might indeed be to soon. And know, he doesn't know because at the end of the argument I told him I was calling the deadline off, and that I would just leave when I think enough is enough.
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Old 4th June 2017, 3:19 AM   #4
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But he knows you wish to get married and he's stated he's not ready.

If you want to get married and he doesn't then this isn't a good match.

You shouldn't move your goals to suit someone else. And do t ever beg someone to love you (or even marry you).

I hope you two can grow even further individually and together through counseling.
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Old 4th June 2017, 6:28 AM   #5
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I dont think the future is too bright with someone his age who states he's not ready to get married, and you want to. Look at it from his perspective. What will marriage do for him that he doesnt already have? A lot of guys look at marriage as a noose around the neck. A lot of guys dont, a lot of guys really want to get married, and are happy to do it.

Doesnt sound like this guy does. You can wait around and see if he changes his mind (not likely, but not impossible) or give yourself a timeline, and if your not married by then (not a proposal, married), then leave him.

Remember talk is cheap. Men have been telling their girlfriends...okay, we'll get married later on....for eons. Easy to say, easy to fall for.
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Old 4th June 2017, 6:52 AM   #6
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4 years is long enough...

4 years is long enough... stick with December.

Let me ask some questions. Has he ever been married? Does he seem like a perpetual bachelor? Why did you stay 4 years if it was such a rough relationship?

If you guys continue to improve, it is past time to get married. And if he is not ready, I think you should walk.
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Old 4th June 2017, 8:09 AM   #7
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You can't marry this man because your biological clock is ticking. You acknowledge that your relationship is rocky. You broke up 3 times in 4 years & have been in couples counseling since February. While counseling has improved things I do not see it has having fixed everything yet. But you gave a deadline of December. I don't think should should have even been talking about marriage until at least 6 months after you finished therapy. I can see why your SO is reluctant. You now pushing a deadline made things worse. You added artificial pressure.

Since you gave the deadline, now you have to stick to it because if you don't he will forever know you are someone whose word can't be trusted.
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Old 4th June 2017, 8:10 AM   #8
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I think you are forcing this.

He is not 30, he is 37. He has managed to avoid marriage up till now and seems in no hurry to get married. I am not sure why you do not think he is a commitment phobe?
He gave you a "non engagement" ring for your birthday, I guess to pacify you and kick the can further down the road for a while. He may indeed be a commitment phobe and is perfectly happy with things as they are.

BUT saying all that, you two have been in a nightmare relationship for 3.5 years, you cannot erase that.
3.5 years of entrenched warfare which ends up in a truce and onging therapy does not sound like a match made in heaven to me.
I am not surprised he is wary and resentful and exhausted and NOW you want to tie him down to something that is permanent...?
He, I am sure does not want to commit to a woman who has shown him nothing like real "wife material" and who for 3.5 years he has fought tooth and nail with. How would that work? Why do you want to take such a big risk?

You are also going to be moving countries soon which will involve a lot of stress which will no doubt test your "truce" to the limits.
If he is intelligent, he is not going to sign himself up for anything before your relationship navigates those potential stormy waters.

Your relationship has basically been reset to zero - day one in effect, so pressing for marriage now is ludicrous IMO.

I do not know if he is a commitment phobe and will keep stringing you along, or he is just war weary.
I do think you should be very careful here.
"jealousy, external inputs, context, general incompatibility, two incredibly strong personality etc." - are not things to be taken lightly as if it all just doesn't matter in light of the therapy.
You may be experiencing a bit of a truce just now, but I am sure all of that negative stuff has not just disappeared.
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Old 4th June 2017, 5:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whodatdog View Post
I dont think the future is too bright with someone his age who states he's not ready to get married, and you want to. Look at it from his perspective. What will marriage do for him that he doesnt already have?
Ah, that's plain and simple, and he knows: when we're sure that things are better for real and this is just not the temporary good outcome of therapy, if he still stays in the position, I'll go. So yeah, this is what marriage will do for him: me.
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Old 4th June 2017, 5:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BluesPower View Post
4 years is long enough... stick with December.

Let me ask some questions. Has he ever been married? Does he seem like a perpetual bachelor? Why did you stay 4 years if it was such a rough relationship?

If you guys continue to improve, it is past time to get married. And if he is not ready, I think you should walk.
No, he's never been married. Before me, he was in a 9 year relationship (last 2 years long distance). They were very very compatible and they were talking about marriage I think - but their long term goals were, not even different, completely opposite. So the relationship slowly went sour and he broke up with her. Before his recent ex, he was in a relationship with another girl (3 years) during high school. So he always had long term relationships.
Why did I stay 4 years - good question. I think that under the surface I've always seen that with time and work this could have been IT. He told me he thought the same and that's why after breaking up he always came back to me. Last time we broke up was 2.5 years ago.
I agree 100% with your last sentence. My doubt is: when? We continue to improve how long for? Some are saying December is too close, some say it's more than enough. At this stage I am more confused than ever.
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Old 4th June 2017, 6:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by d0nnivain View Post
You can't marry this man because your biological clock is ticking. You acknowledge that your relationship is rocky. You broke up 3 times in 4 years & have been in couples counseling since February. While counseling has improved things I do not see it has having fixed everything yet. But you gave a deadline of December. I don't think should should have even been talking about marriage until at least 6 months after you finished therapy. I can see why your SO is reluctant. You now pushing a deadline made things worse. You added artificial pressure.
I think this is the post I agree most with. That's right, I can't marry this man for my biological clock - however when I mentioned that I was trying to explain why I am suddenly in a rush. I was trying to explain where the urge comes from, not saying it's a good thing.

Also agree that counselling hasn't fixed everything yet - the therapy path isn't finished yet (although during the most recent session, the therapist told us we can go from 1 every 2 weeks to once a month, as she stated that our interactions had a 180 degrees turn. We also saw this at home - but of course we need a longer time to evaluate this.

And finally yes, yes, yes. I should have waited to finish therapy and THEN mention it and start talking timelines. You are absolutely right. How do I recover from this, now?
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Old 4th June 2017, 6:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by elaine567 View Post
I think you are forcing this.

He is not 30, he is 37. He has managed to avoid marriage up till now and seems in no hurry to get married. I am not sure why you do not think he is a commitment phobe?
He gave you a "non engagement" ring for your birthday, I guess to pacify you and kick the can further down the road for a while. He may indeed be a commitment phobe and is perfectly happy with things as they are.

BUT saying all that, you two have been in a nightmare relationship for 3.5 years, you cannot erase that.
3.5 years of entrenched warfare which ends up in a truce and onging therapy does not sound like a match made in heaven to me.
I am not surprised he is wary and resentful and exhausted and NOW you want to tie him down to something that is permanent...?
He, I am sure does not want to commit to a woman who has shown him nothing like real "wife material" and who for 3.5 years he has fought tooth and nail with. How would that work? Why do you want to take such a big risk?

You are also going to be moving countries soon which will involve a lot of stress which will no doubt test your "truce" to the limits.
If he is intelligent, he is not going to sign himself up for anything before your relationship navigates those potential stormy waters.

Your relationship has basically been reset to zero - day one in effect, so pressing for marriage now is ludicrous IMO.

I do not know if he is a commitment phobe and will keep stringing you along, or he is just war weary.
I do think you should be very careful here.
"jealousy, external inputs, context, general incompatibility, two incredibly strong personality etc." - are not things to be taken lightly as if it all just doesn't matter in light of the therapy.
You may be experiencing a bit of a truce just now, but I am sure all of that negative stuff has not just disappeared.
Gosh, I obviously don't know how to quote multiple posts, I am so sorry. Just a few clarifications: he told me that if our relationship hadn't been this rocky, we would have been married now. And he wants kids - he told me that if at some point I change my mind, that's his deal breaker. Yeah, he is in no hurry to get married as things stand now. He said he'd rather take a longer time to get there, making sure things are right.

The ring: when he gave me the ring we didn't had the marriage discussion yet - so I am not 100% sure it was to pacify me. I

I actually don't think he'd be happy forever as things are now: he recently told me that we either get engaged in the near future (I asked what's near future: for him 6 to 12 months is reasonable in terms of evaluating whether therapy has been effective) or we shouldn't be a couple anymore if our interactions go back to the old ways, especially after therapy.

I don't agree on the term "Marriage material", I actually hate it - but yeah, I do understand that he is weary of the interactions we've had for such a long time, so he's rightly being extra cautious.

And finally: the move. We already moved countries for my job, and we navigated through it as a couple going through all the challenges it takes (even his unemployment after he quit his job to come with me). I am actually the one trying to pull the brake on it this time, he is the one planning , as he just knows our couple is strong when we have to face this kind of challenges. That's where our non day-to-day compatibility kicks in - we moved countries (and life) quite easily with each other's support.
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Old 4th June 2017, 9:08 PM   #13
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Don't be confused...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ellafitzgerald View Post
No, he's never been married. Before me, he was in a 9 year relationship (last 2 years long distance). They were very very compatible and they were talking about marriage I think - but their long term goals were, not even different, completely opposite. So the relationship slowly went sour and he broke up with her. Before his recent ex, he was in a relationship with another girl (3 years) during high school. So he always had long term relationships.
Why did I stay 4 years - good question. I think that under the surface I've always seen that with time and work this could have been IT. He told me he thought the same and that's why after breaking up he always came back to me. Last time we broke up was 2.5 years ago.
I agree 100% with your last sentence. My doubt is: when? We continue to improve how long for? Some are saying December is too close, some say it's more than enough. At this stage I am more confused than ever.
Don't be confused... He does not, and I will bet 100 dollars, that he will not marry you or any other woman.

And dear, I mean is the sex just that great for you to stay in a crap relationship with a man that will not marry you? I mean it must be the best ever or something else is going on.

You are young, so you have some time. But let me explain something to you. You think things are tough now in your relationship now, wait until you have kids.

I raised 3, alone for the most part, long story, and if I was not 26 when I started I could not have done it. And I am 53 now. I just spent the entire day cooking, and chasing around my 3 YO grandson and my GF's 2 YO. I am beat...

So you don't have forever. Why not look for a man that has father potential instead of this guy who does not?

I could go on forever, but suffice to say, this guy may never be a father with you or anyone else...
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Old 4th June 2017, 11:21 PM   #14
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Your boyfriend is doing the smart thing.

Some people (myself included) view everything before marriage as an interview for marriage. You should date for a fairly long time (~3 years ideally) so that the honeymoon period has plenty of time to wear off and so that you can see what your relationship and partner are really like. It's not foolproof, but it gives you the best shot of going into a marriage with open eyes.

Your relationship was bad for 3.5 years. It's only just now become stable since you started therapy in February. You are essentially back in a honeymoon period and these changes could be very temporary, as you've said. In my mind, you are not in a 4 year relationship. You are in a 4 MONTH relationship. It would be a seriously stupid move to commit to marriage at this point. If I were your boyfriend, I would have straight up laughed at a December deadline. Even next April/May is moving fast, IMO, considering the problems you have had.
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Old 18th July 2017, 5:02 PM   #15
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I want my OH to propose to me because its what he wants to do rather than having a deadline at the back of his mind to be honest.
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