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Feeling very alone in my situation (long, sorry)

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ImGonnaEatChooo

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
3
Hi, as I long-time lurker here, I decided to come out and actually ask for some advice from you ladies. I have been feeling incredibly alone in my situation and I am just at my wits end.

BG: SO and I are both 26 and we are both grad students on opposite sides of the continental US. We''ve been dating for just about 5 years now, and it has been long distance this whole time. It has, overall, been a great relationship. Sure, we''ve had our ups and downs, but its been amazing for a normal relationship, not to mention a long distance one.

About 2 years into our relationship, we had a conversation about getting married in the future. Very general, like "Id be down with marrying you!" kind of conversation. He told me that his parents got married at 28-29, and that''s what his timeline has kind of been. But he wasn''t opposed to getting married/engaged before that. Mine has always been around 26-28, so it wasn''t too big of a difference at the time. Both of us want kids, and both of us wanted the same things in the future.

Fast forward 1.5 more years, and we had a discussion about the whole thing. He told me at that point that he really hadn''t thought about it very much, since we were both in school, and still had a LONG way to go before we were anywhere near being in the same place or really settling down. At the time, I agreed. I was disappointed, but he had a point...we were still fairly young and just starting grad school...etc.

The reason why I brought the topic up again is that within the next 2 years, we''ll both be graduating. But before graduation, we both have to apply for a post-graduate position that requires some forethought and planning. We''ve always talked vaguely about ending up in the same place after graduation, but I really think its time for us to put down some concrete plans about what we are doing. This way, a)we have a goal to shoot for when we are thinking about where we would like to go, so that I can talk to my advisors...etc...and formally plan; and b) so that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that we aren''t just blindly moving towards something.

Basically, I don''t necessarily need a ring on my finger, but I need to know what he''s thinking for the next 2 years and beyond, so that Im not banking my future, and my career choices, on "girlfriend" status forever.

So at 5 years, I asked him what he was thinking for the future. He ho-ed and hummed his way through the conversation, and all I got was a "I want to be with you in the future and I love you". Great. Wonderful...but concretely, what do you want to do? Engagement? Marriage? What? More ho hums...and he just repeated "I want to be with you in the future and I love you"

So I asked him flat out "Do you see yourself getting married in the next 2-3 years?" "Well...I...dunno...maybe...i...can''t...i think its a possibility...um...why?"

I broke down at that point, and I expressed to him how disappointed I was that he hasn''t really even thought about it... To appease me, he goes "I definitely think it could happen"


I just don''t get it. We''ve been together 5 years, we talk about random stuff like what we''d want to name our kids...and he gets upset if I ever insinuate that we''d NOT be married in the future (by accident once, and he was really sad about it). But when it comes down to the serious "lets figure this out" point, he can''t do it. I feel like im dragging him into it. How romantic of a story would that be for our kids? "Why did you and daddy get married?" "Oh because mommy threatened him and dragged him with a rope around his neck to the chapel"


We kept talking and he blames SO much of this on the fact that we are long distance. He told me "Well, we wouldn''t be having this conversation if we weren''t so far apart. It wouldn''t be so urgent since we''d not be this worried about ending up in the same place" WHAT? We would be having the EXACT same conversation because we''d STILL be trying to go to a program in the same place, AND it STILL would be a 5 year relationship?? How could you think that Id never bring this up???

The kicker? I asked him what did he think we''d be doing if we WERE in the same city? just dating? Living together?? Because I KNOW our parents would not be happy with us living together if we weren''t at least engaged. He goes "Well...we wouldn''t be OFFICIALLY living together!"
So I would still be the unofficial girl that has to hide if his parents ever came over. Just what Id want after 5 years.

Again, i don''t get it. I don''t know if he gets it. I''ve told him over and over again that this is SO important to me. I just don''t think he''s ready. And I''ve told him this. I''ve also told him that I need to know we are on the same page definitely before I make these big decisions that will impact my career...and if he''s not ready to even think about it...then I need to move on with my life. He finds this incredulous...that I would throw away the relationship because he''s not ready to get married. I can''t get it through to him that Im not willing to just hang around and hope he comes around one day, even if he tells me over and over again that im what he wants. I don''t know how to explain it in such a way that it makes sense to him...

And for me, it sucks to feel like your SO of 5 years isn''t ready to marry you. Or even get engaged. or even get to a point of talking about it. It feels like something is wrong with you. I feel like we''re at an impasse...he can''t force himself to be ready, but I can''t force myself to wait around.


So if you ladies have any advice, it would be much appreciated. Just so I don''t feel like im the only girl sitting around, not making a decision.
 

AllieGator

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Messages
316
I''m sorry you are going through this...if I were you, I''d sit him down and tell him exactly how you feel. If he doesn''t feel the same way, and it doesn''t appear he does, you need to tell him that you''re sick of just being the girlfriend. It''s good that you are talking to him about it, but I think you need to tell him exactly how you feel, at one time. If he doesn''t want to commit to anything, I''d consider not being with him. Like you said, you''ve been together for five years, and he should have some idea of where you fit in his future. Best of luck!
 

fieryred33143

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
6,689
Oh Sweetie Pie, I’m sorry you are feeling down.

First off, I think you are both doing the right thing by concentrating on your studies and making sure that you are putting that first. It’ll pay off in the long run.

Second, while I don’t want to be stereotypical men in general just have a different perspective on future talk. I’m one that has our next 5 years of financial planning done. My fiance can’t even figure out what he wants to do with the $50 gift card he got back in December.

Honestly, it sounds to me like while you may be ready for an engagement, the relationship isn’t. You are LD and have been for many years, some men (again not all) may prefer to be a “local” relationship before considering marriage. I know that seems unfair but it’s a logical perspective and it kind of sounds to me like that’s how he feels.

And let’s say he does propose now or within the next year, then what? You wait a few more years before a wedding due to the distance? I think you did the right thing by asking the questions about future plans but perhaps he got the idea that by future plans you really mean now? I would sit down as suggested and tell him exactly how you are feeling. Just put it all out there. A five year relationship can take that sort of talk, you know?
 

Lauren8211

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
11,073
Trust me, you''re not the only one who has been through this. (((((HUGS))))))

After 5 years, you deserve, and you''ve earned, a straight answer about your future. End of story. There should be NO beating around the bush at this point.

If he can''t even discuss the far-off, maybe, in a few years possibility of even getting engaged, that is a red flag, IMO.

I''m not saying if he doesnt run to the altar with you right now that he''s not into you, but he should be able to give you an answer as far as whether or not he''d like to marry you. Not "Well, I''d like to be with you" NO. That''s not what you want. (at least thats what I''ve assumed, that you wouldn''t be happy as life partners without marriage.)

Obviously every story is personal, and I don''t know all applicable details, but I couldn''t imagine waiting around for someone who simply doesn''t even know after five years. That''s certainly asking a lot.

I''m sorry you''re going through this. I wish I had better advice. All I can see is that you deserve what you want out of life. If he can''t provide it, it''s up to you to decide to go after what you really want.
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,167
Date: 3/23/2009 12:15:58 PM
Author: elledizzy5

After 5 years, you deserve, and you''ve earned, a straight answer about your future. End of story. There should be NO beating around the bush at this point.


If he can''t even discuss the far-off, maybe, in a few years possibility of even getting engaged, that is a red flag, IMO.


I''m not saying if he doesnt run to the altar with you right now that he''s not into you, but he should be able to give you an answer as far as whether or not he''d like to marry you. Not ''Well, I''d like to be with you'' NO. That''s not what you want. (at least thats what I''ve assumed, that you wouldn''t be happy as life partners without marriage.)
My thoughts as well.

Best of luck with your postdoc!
 

Bia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
6,181
Firstly, I'm sorry you're feeling down...but you came to a good place
So welcome!


From what I read, it sounds like you have a good guy that loves you. And because you seem to be in a great relationship, I wouldn't lose heart that you may very well marry one another. But I will offer some advice that you may not want to hear:

Because you've spent your entire relationship in a long distance situation, I completely understand why he might not be ready to get engaged. Long distance (when it starts this way, even when it doesn't) is not the same as a see-your-SO-a-lot-of-the-time relationship...it's just not. I started out long distance with my FI, and eventually we had to change that because seeing one another once every month, to two months, just wasn't enough. Not to say that it's impossible (a lot of women here are in great long distance relationships) but it's just harder, IMO.

Also, just because it's been five years is not to say that both people have to be ready (esp at 26 and still pursuing an education). I wasn't ready at five years. He wasn't either. Yea we were young and although we knew we wanted to marry eventually, we had to do certain things first.

In your case, I would concentrate on working out a way for you to move closer, whether that is now or when you finish school. THEN, once you've BOTH determined that it's time, you work on getting engaged. But that's me. If you feel like you can't wait much longer, then tell him, but don't expect that to change him, or pressure him--you wouldn't want to do that, trust me.

I do encourage you to speak with him. If being closer is what you desire (which it sounds like you do because you want to get engaged), then let him know that a long distance situation is not going to work forever, and if that means one person has to move, then that's what will have to happen. If he wants to stay together. If he really is serious and ready to make that commitment, he will gladly, and openly, work with you to try and find a solution.

Best of luck to you!
 

adak

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
Messages
56
Date: 3/23/2009 11:57:12 AM
Author:ImGonnaEatChooo
I broke down at that point, and I expressed to him how disappointed I was that he hasn't really even thought about it... To appease me, he goes 'I definitely think it could happen'
That sounds a lot like what my boyfriend used to say. Like fieryred33143 said, a lot of men have a completely different perspective on things than we, as women, do. My boyfriend has, slowly, warmed up to talking more openly and comfortably about marriage and our pending engagement with me. I think when I initially brought it up, though, it scared him (for lack of a better word). I too think both of you need to sit down and have a heart to heart. Hang in there!
 

CNOS128

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
2,700
Yes, you need to get a straight answer out of him.

And while I don''t advocate ultimatums (ultimata?) -- I don''t think there''s anything wrong with telling him something like, "I see myself getting married sometime before age 32, whether it''s to you or someone else. What about you?" And I don''t think there''s anything wrong with setting a date by which you will end the relationship if it hasn''t progressed to the extent you wanted it to (without letting him know you''ve set this date - because then it''s an ultimatum).

Can you explain the part about the "unofficial girlfriend who has to hide if his parents ever came over?" Do his parents not know you exist?
 

NovemberBride

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
962
This is a very tough situation to be in, and it''s fairly similar to the one I was in. I dated my now DH while we were both in grad school in different states (luckily only about 3 hours away, so we got to see each other most weekends, but LD none the less). I finished before DH did. Prior to meeting DH, I had always planned to move to NYC. At the time I finished, we were not yet ready for marriage (we''d been dating for 2 years and were 25). I knew I would not be happy if I moved to Philly where DH was and we did not end up getting married (it wasn''t a certainty at that point) as I had no real desire to live there other than to be with DH (no friends, family, etc). So off to NYC I went. Fast forward a few years and DH and I decide we need to live in the same place to move our relationship forward and he starts to look for jobs in NYC. I also agree to look for jobs in Philly with the understanding that we will be getting engaged imminently. I ended up getting a great job in Philly, so I moved there. I was not engaged when I moved, but we had an understanding that it was coming imminently and had been ring shoping numerous times. He proposed within 3 months of my moving. I know for me, I would not move somewhere without a commitment, unless it was to a place I would be happy to live in if we broke up. My best friend''s little sister took a residency last year at a hospital that was not her first choice because her then-BF could also get in there, he had no chance at her top choice. They broke up b/c he decided he didn''t want to marry her and now she''s kicking herself. I;d think long and hard before moving without a commitment about how you''ll feel about the decision if you don''t get married, since it doesn''t seem like a sure thing right now.
 

mrscushion

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Messages
3,309
I am sorry you are feeling so alone and that you are not getting the response you are looking for out of your guy. I had to go through this myself and know how it feels. However, I tend to agree with Bia''s response above. I, too, think the next step for you guys probably has to be living in the same place. Once you determine that your relationship works just as well when you are both in the same location, then I think getting engaged quickly would be the next logical move. Unfortunately, that is two years away, but I think the process of getting to that point could be really valuable for your relationship and insightful as to where the relationship is going. Are you both going to work hard to find post-graduate positions near each other -- or is it going to be mostly you who has to make the difficult choices and coordinate with his plans? How well will you guys handle going through this process as a couple? I think that is going to be really telling about how serious he is about being with you long term and how ready your relationship is for engagement and marriage. Fortunately, I think that at 26, time is on your side!
 

somegirl932

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2009
Messages
311
everyone here has such great advice, so i''ll just add my *hugs*...

i hope you guys figure something out. *hugs*
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
Date: 3/23/2009 12:13:32 PM
Author: fieryred33143
Honestly, it sounds to me like while you may be ready for an engagement, the relationship isn’t. You are LD and have been for many years, some men (again not all) may prefer to be a “local” relationship before considering marriage. I know that seems unfair but it’s a logical perspective and it kind of sounds to me like that’s how he feels.

And let’s say he does propose now or within the next year, then what? You wait a few more years before a wedding due to the distance? I think you did the right thing by asking the questions about future plans but perhaps he got the idea that by future plans you really mean now? I would sit down as suggested and tell him exactly how you are feeling. Just put it all out there. A five year relationship can take that sort of talk, you know?
I AGREE with fiery. Sometimes you are ready for something, but the circumstances aren''t ready, and when the circumstances aren''t right - one of the set may not be ready... that and some couples are happy with just plowing along. I mean, you even said it is 2 years away... that is light years for women - and can seem like decades to men. Some people just have a different perspective/outlook on timing. Me- I don''t do long distance relationships. I''d have peaced out 4 years 9 months ago... but that is my sense of timing and inpatience. Good to bring it up - and air it out.

and Welcome! I look forward to getting to know you better!
 

ImGonnaEatChooo

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
3
Thanks ladies for responding so quickly. At least I know im not the crazy one, flipping out over this and such.

FieryRed and Bia and Adak: I totally understand where you are coming from. It IS different in a long distance relationship. I joked to my dad just the other day that, technically, SO and I have only been dating for a year or so, if you put together all the days we''ve actually seen each other. So I get how its different than being in the same city, and going through a relationship like that.

However, we''re both at a point in our career where there''s a good chance that we''ll have to sacrifice things in our future career goals for the relationship or vice-versa. For instance, there are some great programs for me here on the east coast, but if I decide that I need to move to the west coast in order for our relationship to work, i may have to take a lesser position at a lesser program. Id be ultimately willing to do that if I knew we were moving towards a future together, but Im not very willing to do so if he can''t move to that next step with me...know what I mean? I don''t want to make these big decisions...only to move to a new city to continue being someone girlfriend that he unofficially lives with...sometimes...right?

TheBigT: Yea, his parents know about me. They love me and they are wonderful people :razz: But neither of our families would be big on us shacking up without marriage in the works...Its just the thought that we wouldn''t even been able to live together "officially" at this point in our relationship, and he seems ok with that.

NovemberBride: EXACTLY! That''s exactly what Im talking about. I don''t want to make these big life decisions without knowing I have his full committment...which I don''t feel like I have right now. I feel like he''s committed in the general scheme of things, but when it gets to the down and dirty...he''s not all there. And I don''t want to be kicking myself in the future.

And they are big decisions. They basically will shape my career. He''s also willing to do the same...to move somewhere so that we can be together, but he can''t talk about that solidly either because he says "its too far away from where we are now"

Hello?? In a year the application process will really officially begin. Not to mention the research that I have to really put into looking at potential programs... How long do you want to wait until we discuss this? A month before? a day before?

How am I so ready to do this...to get this thing moving...and he''s SO NOT? I mean, im in the same long distance relationship hes in...how is it so inconceivable for him???
 

Bia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Messages
6,181
Date: 3/23/2009 1:17:51 PM
Author: ImGonnaEatChooo

And they are big decisions. They basically will shape my career. He''s also willing to do the same...to move somewhere so that we can be together, but he can''t talk about that solidly either because he says ''its too far away from where we are now''

How am I so ready to do this...to get this thing moving...and he''s SO NOT? I mean, im in the same long distance relationship hes in...how is it so inconceivable for him???
After 5 years, he should be ready to say, "Okay, we need to make moves if we want this to work. It''s time for us to BE together." Not get engaged, not get married. But YES to making a solid commitment, even more so, making an effort!

Definitely talk with him. If he can''t give sacrifice for you, like you are willing to for him, then he is not the man you want to keep investing precious time with.

And I, wholeheartedly, agree that you shouldn''t sacrifice your career if he can''t give you some sort of real commitment. Commitment is the key, not necessarily marriage...not yet anyway, IMO.
 

havernell

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
571
Date: 3/23/2009 12:31:10 PM
Author: Bia


Because you've spent your entire relationship in a long distance situation, I completely understand why he might not be ready to get engaged. Long distance (when it starts this way, even when it doesn't) is not the same as a see-your-SO-a-lot-of-the-time relationship...it's just not.

I wanted to highlight what Bia said here and take it a step farther. How are YOU so sure you want to marry this guy without ever having lived in the same area/had a normal relationship? I agree that a long distance relationship has such different dynamics than a relationship in which you have to go through the ups and downs of sharing a life in the same town every day. I know I'd want to live near my SO for a while before getting engaged, so I can see fully see where your boyfriend is coming from.

Personally, I would do the best you can to end up in the same town after you both graduate from your programs, see how your relationship fares living in close proximity, and then make a decision on getting engaged from there. Now, if your boyfriend shows no willingness to compromise on where you two try to live post-graduation (i.e. if he insists you come to him) that would give me pause. But if he is willing to work together with you to find the best common location for both of you so you can have a non-LDR, I think he's being reasonable.

Now, I know you don't want to fall victim to what NoveberBride's friend did- move to a "lesser" location for you career wise and then have the relationship not work out. But, these are the tough choices we all have to make in life. If your boyfriend is firm that he doesn't want to get engaged before living in the same place, you can't change that. YOu can only decide what's best for you- either take a chance on the relationship and move to a lesser place or move where you want to move and either end the relationship or continue an LDR. No one here can tell you what to do. It's your decision. I know it sucks, but your boyfriends need to not get engaged now is just as valid as your need to get engaged now. So, I would keep talking things out with him and then see what your options are in terms of moving once you get closer to the end of your programs. As for NovermberBride's friend- if her relationship had lasted, moving to a "lesser" place very well may have been the *best* decision she ever made, so it can go either way.

I guess what I'm saying is that I can only see *good* coming out of waiting to get engaged until after you have lived in the same place for a while. After all, you'll probably be married for 50+ years, so waiting another two years to get married is really a drop in the bucket. Good luck with everything!
 

fuzzers

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 15, 2008
Messages
298
Just wanted to offer my support! My SO and I were very long-distance for 2.5 years, and I know how hard that can be. I completely understand you not wanting to make such a big decision after you graduate for a guy who doesn''t have a clear (or at least SOMEWHAT clear) idea of your future together. You deserve a good answer after 5 years. Here''s hoping things turn around quickly!
 

mrscushion

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Messages
3,309
Date: 3/23/2009 1:27:56 PM
Author: Bia
Date: 3/23/2009 1:17:51 PM
Author: ImGonnaEatChooo
And they are big decisions. They basically will shape my career. He''s also willing to do the same...to move somewhere so that we can be together, but he can''t talk about that solidly either because he says ''its too far away from where we are now''
How am I so ready to do this...to get this thing moving...and he''s SO NOT? I mean, im in the same long distance relationship hes in...how is it so inconceivable for him???
After 5 years, he should be ready to say, ''Okay, we need to make moves if we want this to work. It''s time for us to BE together.'' Not get engaged, not get married. But YES to making a solid commitment, even more so, making an effort!
Definitely talk with him. If he can''t give sacrifice for you, like you are willing to for him, then he is not the man you want to keep investing precious time with.
And I, wholeheartedly, agree that you shouldn''t sacrifice your career if he can''t give you some sort of real commitment. Commitment is the key, not necessarily marriage...not yet anyway, IMO.
Completely agree with Bia -- well said.
 

choro72

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
1,867
Here''s my story if you''re interested. FI has a house, I''m in grad school. When we were talking about marriage, my then BF said why don''t we just see what happens, he definitely see us together in the future, what does it have to do with my school, blah blah blah.
I told him my concern was mainly, I can find career opportunities in other parts of the country, but he is more tied the current location with a job, house and all. I will consider local options only for a fiance, but not for a boyfriend. He proposed about 6 months later. If he was still wishy washy about it I would have simply considered that as an opportunity to explore other options.
Funny thing is, now FI is laid off, and his parents are suggesting that they will rent out the house and we should consider moving.
 

FrekeChild

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Messages
19,456
I think you''ve received some great advice, so I just want to give you some (((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))).

I''m sorry you''re going through this...
 

jcarlylew

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
3,899
Date: 3/23/2009 12:13:32 PM
Author: fieryred33143

Oh Sweetie Pie, I’m sorry you are feeling down.

First off, I think you are both doing the right thing by concentrating on your studies and making sure that you are putting that first. It’ll pay off in the long run.

Second, while I don’t want to be stereotypical men in general just have a different perspective on future talk. I’m one that has our next 5 years of financial planning done. My fiance can’t even figure out what he wants to do with the $50 gift card he got back in December.

Honestly, it sounds to me like while you may be ready for an engagement, the relationship isn’t. You are LD and have been for many years, some men (again not all) may prefer to be a “local” relationship before considering marriage. I know that seems unfair but it’s a logical perspective and it kind of sounds to me like that’s how he feels.

And let’s say he does propose now or within the next year, then what? You wait a few more years before a wedding due to the distance? I think you did the right thing by asking the questions about future plans but perhaps he got the idea that by future plans you really mean now? I would sit down as suggested and tell him exactly how you are feeling. Just put it all out there. A five year relationship can take that sort of talk, you know?
spot on.
good luck *hugs*
 

bee*

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2006
Messages
12,170
Date: 3/23/2009 2:42:39 PM
Author: mscushion
Date: 3/23/2009 1:27:56 PM

Author: Bia

Date: 3/23/2009 1:17:51 PM

Author: ImGonnaEatChooo

And they are big decisions. They basically will shape my career. He''s also willing to do the same...to move somewhere so that we can be together, but he can''t talk about that solidly either because he says ''its too far away from where we are now''

How am I so ready to do this...to get this thing moving...and he''s SO NOT? I mean, im in the same long distance relationship hes in...how is it so inconceivable for him???
After 5 years, he should be ready to say, ''Okay, we need to make moves if we want this to work. It''s time for us to BE together.'' Not get engaged, not get married. But YES to making a solid commitment, even more so, making an effort!

Definitely talk with him. If he can''t give sacrifice for you, like you are willing to for him, then he is not the man you want to keep investing precious time with.

And I, wholeheartedly, agree that you shouldn''t sacrifice your career if he can''t give you some sort of real commitment. Commitment is the key, not necessarily marriage...not yet anyway, IMO.
Completely agree with Bia -- well said.
ditto. Bia''s advice is excellent!
 

cara

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
2,202
Sometimes people are just happy to live in the moment and not think about the future. But I think you are right to push him to think about these issues and not take the where-the-wind-blows approach. For your relationship to progress, you need to move to the same place. For you to move to the same place, even in 2 years, you will need to PLAN to move to the same place. That will probably involve some career sacrifice on someone''s part, unless you all get superlucky. I think you need to spell this all out for your boyfriend, because he clearly has been perfectly happy to live in the moment.

You also need to tell him flat out what you need from him to consider sacrificing your career options for this relationship. For some people, they would not do this unless they were engaged. If that is what you need, you should tell your bf this, but he might legitimately need to live in the same place with you before considering engagement or marriage. At the very least, you probably need a ''level-of-commitment'' discussion because, from a practical standpoint, neither you nor he should not make career decisions for a flaky relationship that you don''t know where it''s going. And if he doesn''t think that your relationship is important enough to prioritize in figuring out your next jobs, then you should know that too.

Long distance is really hard and I have seen it go wrong so many ways, but the saddest is the people that go long distance for years and years, and then when they finally end up in the same place discover that they just don''t have *it*, and part of what made them last all those years was just putting off the reckoning or letting the distance distract them from the other issues or missing things in their relationship.

Last, you need to look at how actions and suitability. Does your bf act committed? Apart from the marriage-scared talk, does he seem committed to planning with you as his life partner? Would he be willing to, say, take a less desirable job on the east coast if you got into your ideal program there? Or is he ''keeping his options open'' in all respects - staying with you as long as its convenient? That would be an argument for looking at this as the writing on the wall. After 5 years, maybe its not realistic to expect an engagement without living in the same city, but it is time to step up the commitment or to break up.

Last, a bit on the ''parent''s woln''t want us to live together'' and letting that determine what to do with your life. I don''t know what culture or background you are, but this is a little bit of a red flag for me. If *you* don''t want to live together premarriage, great. But if you are old enough and mature enough to be married, you should also be ready to buck your parent''s approval by moving in together premarriage if it is the right decision for you and your love. There are couples that decide living together (or maybe just telling their parents that they are living together) is just not worth whatever family failout there would be, but this is a decision that should be made forthrightly. Not a decision that you back into because you are still running your life based on what your parents think you should do - that is a kid thing to do.
 

Winks_Elf

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 28, 2008
Messages
1,674
First off, women mature faster than men, and judging by your boyfriend saying something like "I'd be down with marrying you!", he's a very immature 26-year-old. YOU need to decide to be in control. Do you know where you want to be in five years? Does he seem to be headed in the same direction? When do you want to have children?

I'm going to give you the same advice that I've given other ladies in your situation. Decide where you want to be in five years, and if he's not heading in the same direction, cut ties. At 26 you should be thinking more of yourself and what makes you happy. If you can afford to purchase a home for yourself (condo, townhouse, etc.), do it! Don't worry about whether or not your BF would approve because he's already told you that if you were in the same city you'd but "unofficially" living together. Those are NOT the words of a man who loves you. You've been together for five years already, but how much of that 5 years of dating was long distance?

Start doing more things on your own, perhaps like taking a course on something you've always wanted to learn (doesn't matter if it's an English Lit course or latin dancing!), or looking into purchasing your own place so you don't have to rent anymore. Do you like animals? Local animal shelters can always use volunteers to help out, as could hospitals. The point is that when you start doing things that please and empower you, you won't spend as much time worrying about when your boyfriend is going to get around to thinking more seriously about your relationship. You may actually meet someone else who makes you happy and is in the same frame of mind as you. Once you start respecting yourself and your time more, he will too.
 

NewEnglandLady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Messages
6,299
I just want to say that I'm sorry you're in this situation, you both sound like very intelligent, level-headed people who are trying to prioritize two VERY important things in your life: marriage and education.

It's incredibly difficult to squeeze everything into the decade that is your 20's--undergrad, graduate school and post-grad work while juggling a LDR and (hopefully) marriage. I completely understand not wanting to make any sacrifices for a man who cannot commit to marriage and I also understand wanting to make sure the relationship "fits" when not long-distance.

I believe you can be with the right man at the wrong time. I'm afraid this might be an example of that. I wish you nothing but the best, you are being very pragmatic and sensible about the choices you have in front of you and I think that's great.
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
Honestly, it sounds like you have your answer and you know what you need to do. If he can''t even have a conversation about marriage or think about planning your post-graduate careers, I definitely wouldn''t plan your future around him. After 5 years, even long distance, he owes it to you to seriously consider your future. The fact that he won''t even do that is telling.

Good luck in whatever you decide.
 

KimberlyH

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
7,485
IGEC, my husband and I dated long distance for a year before living in the same city. I realize it''s not as long as the two of you have been together, but still it was a significant amount of time. We made an agreement that the topic of marriage was totally off the table until we lived within driving distance of one another. It was one of the best things we could have done for our relationship. The concept of getting married when we''d never had to live a normal life together (grocery shopping, a typical Wednesday night after a long day of work, Saturday chores, etc.) was just too big to tackle. I moved (we opted not to live together, it was right for us but certainly not the right choice for everyone), we spent about 8 or so months adjusting to the day-to-day stuff, we got engaged, then we got married.

I share all of this to say, I totally understand where your boyfriend is coming from. But I do understand your perspective as well. One last time, I would be very honest with him, and calmly tell him it''s time for you to start figuring out your next steps and either he''s ready to do so or he''s not, but you need to move forward. Let him know you don''t expect a proposal, but what you are looking for are some decisions regarding a mutual city you can move to, and if he can''t join you in that decision then you''ll be maknig it alone. Then do it. Start talking to your advisors and making decisions about where you want to end up. Plan your life and let the chips fall where they may. It may land you single again (which isn''t such a bad thing!) or it may make what seems so far away more of a reality to him.

One last thing, you don''t need to decide about living together right now, you do have two more years to discuss that and I would hold off on that discussion until moving day is much closer (3-6 months beforehand). One thing at a time is often the best approach. I know I couldn''t handle more than that when I decided to move near my then boyfriend. The idea of giving up my friends, job, and darling apartment to move in with him was simply too much, I needed a place of my own to make that adjustment.

Best of luck to you.
 

ImGonnaEatChooo

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
3
Thank you ladies SO MUCH for all your insights and your own stories. Its at the VERY least helped me not feel so alone in my thoughts...
 

trillionaire

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2008
Messages
3,881
Dear Boyfriend type person,

I will be spending the next several months planning the things that will be very important in my future. I am very sorry that you do not see yourself as part of that plan. I thank you for your commitment and fidelity over these five years, but I deserve someone who knows unequivocally that they cannot imagine a future without me.

Regards,

ImGonnaxxxxx

***************

That's what ran through my mind as I read your post. I am 26, and my SO just turned 27 (like, last week). We have been dating for 5.5 years, and we are long distance, though not as far as you (4 hours, driving). We've been LDR for about 4.5 years (how in the WORLD did that happen?!?!?!?!), he is working and I am doing graduate work. Now, I was in no rush to get married or talk about it, he was actually ready before me and more able to talk about it, but I did say that after 5 years, it was far too long to BS each other, and we needed to seriously and concretely begin planning our future together, or call it all off. Fortunately, he is very committed, willing to make some real sacrifices and very open to talking about the future, so it has not been an issue, but if he had balked in the least, if he had responded like your BF, I would politely let him know, Thanks, but no thanks. You sound like you have a million things going for you. If he can't see that, he doesn't deserve you. Five years is a lot of time to invest in a relationship, but SEVEN is a lot more. You have your ENTIRE future in front of you. You might want to remind yourself of that. And remind him too.

Also, from a book that my roomie is reading, by a male author:

"Men are driven by who they are, what they do, and how much they make. ... These three things make up the basic DNA of manhood-the three accomplishments every man must achieve before he feels like he's truly fulfilled his destiny as a man..., and until he's achieved his goal in those three areas, the man you're dating, committed to, or married to will be too busy to focus on you"

You may be running into that dynamic... he may not see his future as clear and stable enough to make big commitments, but that doesn't mean he doesn't see you there. It's up to you to decide if you are going to wait around and hope he still wants you, or if you decide to control what you can control and make the best decisions for yourself.

My .02.

Good luck!



ETA: FWIW, when SO and I were applying to grad schools, I would not tell him where I was applying. We were not committed enough to be making those kinds of sacrifices, as we hadn't been dating for very long. If my BF of 5 years could not make a commitment, I would NOT sacrifice career opportunities for him. Do what is best for you, and if he wants you, he will come to you. You are not the one with the commitment problem, after all.
 

gwendolyn

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
6,770
Date: 3/23/2009 1:17:51 PM
Author: ImGonnaEatChooo
NovemberBride: EXACTLY! That's exactly what Im talking about. I don't want to make these big life decisions without knowing I have his full committment...which I don't feel like I have right now. I feel like he's committed in the general scheme of things, but when it gets to the down and dirty...he's not all there. And I don't want to be kicking myself in the future.


And they are big decisions. They basically will shape my career. He's also willing to do the same...to move somewhere so that we can be together, but he can't talk about that solidly either because he says 'its too far away from where we are now'


Hello?? In a year the application process will really officially begin. Not to mention the research that I have to really put into looking at potential programs... How long do you want to wait until we discuss this? A month before? a day before?


How am I so ready to do this...to get this thing moving...and he's SO NOT? I mean, im in the same long distance relationship hes in...how is it so inconceivable for him???
Highlighted a couple of key points that I want to add.

Re: kicking yourself--at this stage, do NOT sacrifice your preferred education to be closer to a guy who can't even TALK about a future together. You might end up not only kicking yourself, but resenting and blaming him for your choice. He may change his mind and be open to talking about your future, but you have to plan as if he won't change.

Re: applications and research on programmes--maybe I'm a weirdo, but I spent a full year researching master's programmes, and then a full year applying to them before attending school last year. Now, I also was applying abroad, and so (at the start, anyway) had universities in a few countries that I was comparing, but even if I hadn't, it would've taken ages. You are very smart to plan ahead, in my opinion.

My past situation was a bit similar to yours in some ways: long-distance (me in the US, him in England) for a few years (about 3.5), grad programme, unsure of whether or not the boyfriend would actually show me he was ready (mine talked the talk but was very sheltered and afraid to leave his comfort zone). I applied to lots of grad programmes, one of which was near where he lived, a few others elsewhere, and one (my dream school) that was still 200 miles from him. Although I didn't want to keep being long-distance, I knew if I got into my dream school, I would have to go there. I got into my dream school, and we carried on being long-distance. Then, he had to make his move or not--he would either move with me to London (where all the jobs are), or I'd go back home and we'd (probably) break up. We couldn't stay in his hometown because there was no work there for either of us, and we both couldn't move back home to the US for immigration reasons. We've been living in London since August.

Since you are the one who is clearly planning ahead for your future, do just that. Plan. Find the best schools for your profession. Tell him where you hope to be, and say that you'd love it if he wanted to join you, but that you're going when you get accepted, with or without him. You have to do what's best for you, especially when years of study and your future are on the line. You can't make him talk about the future, but you can inspire him think seriously about his own if he sees you planning your life with the possibility of him being left out of it.

Best wishes, m'dear. I hope it all goes well for you!
 

supergirl10

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 21, 2008
Messages
315
Hi sweetie i am so sorry that you are feeling this way. It is so difficult as a women to balance your career, relationships and education and i really dont think there is an easy solution.

I hope you don''t mind i thought i might share my situation as it has a lot of similarities to yours. My SO and I were 17hrs drive LD (one end of state to the other) in australia for 2.5 years which i figure would be almost relative to your one side to the other in the states.

Eventually he made the decison to move up to be with me while i was finishing my studies. He is 30 this year and finished his studies over 7 years ago. We went straight from LD to living together which was tough and brought on a lot of ajustments and a few arguments as well. We had been living together for almost 1.5 years and it was comming up to our 4 year aniversary. I had been hinting about engagement for sometime. For some people that might be too soon but i had always felt that after a certain period of time, if there wasn''t commitment then it wasn''t the right relationship for me. Some people thought i was a little tough on him, others not tough enough, after all he had moved up to be with me and had been talking engagement since three months into the relationship. But i was adament, I wanted to marry him after i graduated and it was getting to the point in the relationship where i need to know if he felt the same.

For me personally (and ONLY me) four years was my limit, i didnt'' want to be married that second but i did want to be married within about three years and i need to know if he felt the same. Like i mentioned i had been hinting for some time and nothing had happend. We had discussed it seveal times and he was saying the same things as your SO and not giving me a answer either way. So about 1 month before our four year anniversary i sat him down and told him that we needed to talk.

I told him i was serious about him, that i loved him and wanted to marry him and did he feel the same way. I asked him to take one month to seriously think about what he wanted out of this relationship and that that unfortunetly i would settle for no less than a promise of marrige (within three years). I told him we would talk in a month when he had had time to think about it and that I wanted to be engaged by the time our fifth aniversary came around (roughly) and married in 2011 (it was early 08 when we had this convo). I told him i (again ONLY me personally) thought that four years was long enough to know if you wanted to marry someone and that HE needed to make a decison because he had all the benefits of a wife without the commitment. I told him i didn''t want enagement immediately but by the following year. He was not committing immediately to an engagment and marrige but within a rough timeline. I also told him that if he was not prepared to offer me some form of commitment or timeline that I would end the relationship. He told me he was not ready for marrige at the moment. I assured him we would not be married this second but reiterated that i need that within three years.

He was completely dumbfounded by the whole converstaion because normally i am not assertive or forward at all.

So the month/annivesary roled around. I was very nervous and fully prepared to end the relationship if he didn''t want to commit.

In the end he told me that he loved me and that he wanted to marry me and that he was sorry he had made me wait this long. He told me that he too wanted to get engagaed and commited to an engagement within the year and a marrige within the three years. He proposed three months later


I know some people may think this was an ultimatium but i really don''t think it was. Just wanting to know where i stood in the relationship and whether he was committed or not and i got my answer.

Hope this helps
Supergirl
 
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