Redditor orneryoracle0 has a relationship issue that we can all relate to... wanting someone to want us forever but, many of us have learned that trying to force movement in love can backfire. We also know that if you have to force it, that might be a warning you want to heed. She posted... Should I [25F] give boyfriend [25M] of 8 years an ultimatum about getting engaged?
Just a warning, this is long.
We are high school sweethearts who have been dating for 8 years, like the title says. We are not yet engaged, and to be honest I'm not really sure why. It's getting to a point where I think we should be moving on with the next step in our relationship, but it feels like we're stuck in the same mindset as when we were teenagers.
There's a couple reason's I'm even considering an ultimatum. Obviously, most high school sweethearts don't get engaged straight out of school, and for good reason. We were very responsible in this way, we're both level-headed people and realized we needed to get our lives in order before considering a wedding.
In the 8 years since we started dating, we went to junior college, both worked various jobs while still living with our parents, moved to state college together (lived in separate apartments), received bachelor's degrees' last year and moved back home before FINALLY getting our own place together in the Fall of 2017.
I felt like things were finally going to start falling into place one we moved in together. We both were able to get "adult" jobs and start saving money for the future. Up until this point, I had not really bothered seriously mentioning engagement considering we were not financially stable in any way. When I did begin to mention engagement, it was met with the same kind of immaturity as if we were 17 again and talking about a wedding. I would like to consider myself a pretty understanding person, especially because I have seen how pushy some girls can get when mentioning marriage. I am not like that. I will do things like talk with him about styles of rings I enjoy, rings that he likes, wedding ideas, etc. and every single time, he acts like I am absolutely so far off in mentioning marriage.
He makes a decent salary at his job, and I know for a fact he could be saving money, but is not. I've told him before I do not need an expensive ring, I don't even want a real diamond. I couldn't care less if the main stone was cut glass for God's sake. I've told him most jewelry stores will accommodate a payment plan if he does not feel comfortable paying up front (which he totally could), and yet he does nothing. He gets extremely annoyed when I mention anything about this, as if I am absolutely unjustified in even bringing it up. His brother (who is married) has mentioned to him that before he got engaged to his now wife (who he was only dating for 6 months), they casually went into jewelry stores to just try on rings to see what they liked. My boyfriend is not even willing to do that.
Another aspect of this is children. We both want at least 2, but we've both agreed that we'd even try for up to 4. I've told him before that if we plan on trying for kids, I'm not waiting until I'm 30. If he wants multiple children, he knows I would rather start trying before 27 at the latest. I have a mild autoimmune disorder, so I feel like I'm somewhat justified in not wanting to wait until my 30's to attempt to conceive a child. He doesn't seem to understand this or take this as a serious consideration.
Our relationship HAS been good since moving in together, but recently within the past couple months has taken a pretty large hit due to some other problems that have arose. I'm not even going to lie, I feel like most of my rooting frustration with him these days lies with the fact that my resentment of this issue is only continuing to grow. I think I began to mentally check out when he drunkenly LOST it on me one night after telling him about feeling as if his family sometimes walks all over me/is dismissive of me. Specifically his younger sister who in his eyes can do no wrong (I have to mention, I love his family to death and he knows this. With every family, sometimes there are just frustrations). Well apparently that night he was not having any of it, broke our rule of not swearing/calling each other names while screaming at the top of his lungs that "I would never mean as much to him as his family does. Now, 5 months from now, 10 years from now, they will ALWAYS come before you. I will ALWAYS choose them over you." Yeah. That stung a little, considering the fact that I never asked him to be more important than his family, and I would NEVER ask him to choose between me or his family. I was taken aback with his abusive tone, as he usually never acts like that. I didn't say anything besides "why are you talking to me like this" as I was shaking through tears. He proceeded to mock me, so I just went inside to cry some more and slept on the couch the rest of the night. The next day he apologized, saying he was wrong for that and that he "didn't meant it" and just said it out of spite because he was angry. I told him his words really affected me. He said he didn't know what else to do besides apologize. I haven't felt the same about him since them.
Even if it's something little I ask him to do/remember, I feel like he doesn't take me seriously. He also has substance abuse issues (alcohol) that has caused pretty large rifts in our relationship that he refuses to address, no matter how many times I've begged with him to just try to get it under better control. Most recently, I picked up a 2nd job as a waitress to bring in some extra money to start saving more for a wedding/house (again, I'm the only one who even considers planning for these future events) so that we can MOVE FORWARD. I have been working basically all weekend the past 2 weeks, which has been hard on us spending time together, which I have been apologetic about. I didn't think this would bother him that much because he always complains about how he doesn't get to see his friends much anymore, I knew if I was working it'd be easy for him to find a friend or his brother to hang out with. I have been getting home from serving around 10:30pm, where I'll find him drunk and unable to really spend any quality time with.
Every night I come home and find him drunk, he's been really stand-offish about that fact that I was working. It was REALLY bad last night, and asked him why he's making me feel guilty about trying to make some extra money even though he was on board with me picking up a 2nd job. He told me (drunkenly) that he knows he shouldn't do that and he doesn't mean to (???) but that he misses me. I told him clearly I missed him too, but that doesn't mean he has to treat me like I just came home at 1am from a night out with 10 dudes (which is exactly the vibe I get from the accusatory mood he's in when I get home). After that, he went out for a cigarette and then said he was going to bed.
Generally, I just don't feel like he is interested at all in talking about planning our future together, which is so bizarre to me. He's not really a "planner" in general, but frankly I am getting pretty sick of waiting. It's hard not to be bitter when we are seeing many of our friends/acquaintances who have not even been dating as long begin the rest of their lives together. It was funny when we were 18-20 and people asked when we were getting engaged, but now it's almost humiliating the way people look at me/react when I tell them how long we've been together.
I know giving someone an ultimatum sounds rather shallow, but honestly I'm at my wit's end. When we moved in together we were supposed to kick start the future of our relationship... not regress in it, which I feel like is what we're doing. It feels like we're really at a make or break point in our relationship, and I'm just not sure what to say to him. If you want to marry me, start taking the initiative to make it happen or just forget about it altogether? I feel like we've been together so long that getting married to him at this point is just a chore, not something he truly is excited for/desires to do.
Am I totally wrong in considering giving him an ultimatum about our future together? Has anyone else been in a situation like this? Tips in general on how to proceed?
Ain't love grand?!
No girl. No.
No. No, because you shouldn't want to marry an alcoholic who screams at you about he'll never put you before his family, who actively does not want to talk about marriage, let alone save for a wedding.
I think if you want to have children before you're 30 and to be married before you have children, you need to go find someone who also wants marriage and children on that timeline.
I'm sorry, but this guy does not want that. And he's not even nice to you.
I think OP should very heartily thank him for not wanting to get married and have kids on that timeline... because, those poor kids! Now, she has time to move on and find someone who is actually fit to be a father to her children.
You're sooo behind!
You are 6-8 years behind a conversation.
You have huge red flags that you are avoiding. Be thankful you don't have children yet.
- He also has substance abuse issues (alcohol)
- You are out working, while he is out getting drunk?!
- So all this money you make is really just going out to beer
- "Every night" I come home and find him drunk
- vibe I get from the accusatory mood (Doesn't even appreciate the effort. In fact resentful)
- "I would never mean as much to him as his family does."
These are huge relationship issues that you discuss early to ensure that you are on the same paths in life.
When I did begin to mention engagement, it was met with the same kind of immaturity as if we were 17 again and talking about a wedding.
I'm the only one who even considers planning for these future events) so that we can MOVE FORWARD
he acts like I am absolutely so far off in mentioning marriage.
This is your answer. He will never marry you (and you are so lucky to avoid having that trainwreck end up in divorce).
Why do you want to chain yourself to this disaster? Do you want to depend on this man? You think this behavior is a healthy role model for your future children? This will never get better but it will get worse.
When will you start to say, I deserve a quality mate? One that doesn't have substance abuse and works hard? One that appreciates me and my hard work? Stop focusing on marriage. Start focusing on getting a quality BF. Marriage fixes NOTHING!! And add poor children into this and they will suffer even more!
Am I totally wrong in considering giving him an ultimatum about our future together?
how to proceed?
- Make a plan to exit and find a place to live
- Break up
- Get therapy because you have accepted this for 8 years and couldn't see why this was so unhealthy.
It hurts to hear but you are on a path to severe emotional pain if you don't get off.
I'm not even gonna read the rest of the comments I think this summarizes exactly how I feel too. I'd just like to add that if you have to force him with an ultimatum that's a horrible start to a marriage anyway. Move on. It could be a wake up call if he got too comfortable (but don't count on it, just follow through) or you will move on to someone who shares your goals and also works toward them.
Plus all the other red flags you're not considering that were mentioned. Do yourself a favor don't marriage someone that abuses alcohol and is leeching off you. You deserve better.
Follow an example...
I had a very similar situation with my ex-husband. We started dating when we were in high school (I was 14). We lived together for 5 years before marriage, and dated for ELEVEN total years before we were married. I saw the same sad looks from friends and family, and yes, eventually they did quit asking about "when was I getting married." So I finally did give the ultimatum - "we need to get married or I won't be signing the lease again when it comes due." The lease was up in February and he asked me to marry him in early December. We were married for 12 years and most of it was not good. We were very different people, and we both wanted very different things. We were great as friends, but not good AT ALL as married partners. Getting married didn't fix the issues we had when we were dating - if anything, things got WORSE and WORSE as life stressors were added as we got older with more responsibilities. We completely grew apart, and I realized that I couldn't stand the treatment I was receiving any more. I filed for divorce and ended an almost 23 year relationship.
Looking back on it, I should have never given the ultimatum. We should have never gotten married. He gave me his real, honest answer every day that passed without asking me to marry him. He didn't want to get married and he didn't want a wife. I wasted MANY years of my life with him, and I wish I could do it all again - but with a much different outcome this time. I have to tell you, but divorce is BAD. It would have been SO much easier to break up while we were just dating and/or living together. Divorce nearly killed me - emotionally, psychologically, and financially.
I know I sound like "doom and gloom" - but I only share my experience to keep you from making the same mistakes I did. I wish someone had stopped me when I was your age...I wish you luck and the best of life there is - however you choose to proceed.
No Change! No Surprise!
I dated an alcoholic for 2 years, when I was in my late teens, early 20's, and it was pure hell. I finally left him and found my wonderful husband just one year later. That was almost 30 years ago. I looked up my ex a few years ago on line, and guess what? He NEVER CHANGED! I found him because he had mug shots from domestic violence and DUI's, SURPRISE! Leave while you're still young and have you're whole life ahead of you! Good luck!
I can share this from experience OP - if the question presented to you is "get married or break up" - the answer is *always* "break up."
You should *never* push someone to marry you with an ultimatum - you should only get married if your partner is as committed to the idea of a pursuing compatible lifelong commitment as you are. You are clearly reacting to the clock ticking, which means you need to move on NOW so you can find someone who is a good partner and wants the same things you do.
If he only agrees to marry you because you give him an ultimatum, he's agreeing to marry you for some reason *other* than he wants to spend his life with you.
P.S. And I'm sharing this despite his aggression and alcohol issues, even if you were with the mellowest dude in the world, if the only reason that dude would marry you is because you gave him an ultimatum, I would recommend you move on and find someone who wants you as much as you want them.
His actions are deafening!
He's telling you everything - he doesn't want to get married.
A more important issue is why you would intentionally sign up to marry a guy with obvious alcohol problems. Do you want to be married to an alcoholic? Have your children's father be an alcoholic? Because it will not magically get better after you're married.
More details please...
I read every single bit of your post. I'm not a counselor. I don't know his side of things. I only know your perspective and where you're coming from and your impression of him and his issues. Trust me when I say that if you force an ultimatum it would not go well either way. How would you feel if he proposed after this ultimatum? Like he did it genuinely and out of his love for you or that he did it because it's just going through the motions? Or the ultimatum just led to a big break up. It doesn't end well with either solution. I personally think you have been together for so long that you don't know any different. You say nothing about your sex life, history, etc. like do you trust him? Does he trust you? Are things good as a whole? It doesn't sound like they're good. At this point it sounds like you're just wanting to go through the motions. After you get married the alcohol issue will still be there. His immaturity will still be there. But stop comparing yourselves to other couples/adults/etc. that you see. We are all just faking it 'til we make it. I'm pretty sure of that. You can't be the one taking all the responsibility whether it's to buy a house or pay for a wedding. Don't you want someone who wants the same things as you and does something about it? Eight years is a long time and your goals could be completely different. Evaluate what you are willing to be a part of. I feel like at this point I'm just rambling but you will figure it all out! Good luck!
You listed every reason NOT to give him an ultimatum but instead pack your bags and move on. Why would you even want to marry someone who is emotionally abusive and admitted to never placing you first in anything?