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Not ready to commit?(87 Posts)
I have namechanged for this due to obvious reasons.
DP and I have been going out for 6 years. We met quite young but we have been living together for years and are in our mid twenties.
I am working full time and supporting us completely as he has decided to go back to university. So far so good.
Recently I have been thinking about marriage more and we have talked about it as a couple. He seems to be reluctant to get engaged and married. He says he is too young and he doesn't see the rush as it's no big deal. It is a big deal to me. I also feel like we are making huge decisions based on us staying together so why not formalise it? We are living together, we have joint finances, I will support him through his university degree which means we need to live on a tiny budget. I have moved away from my family and for a variety of reasons us staying together will mean that it will be almost impossible to ever move back close to them. So I feel like I am compromising, taking him into account when making decisions and so on. On the other hand it doesn't feel like he is willing to compromise on something that is very important to me.
I know marriage doesn't offer complete security but it does offer a bit. I also feel like we are committing to each other so much, why not do it properly? I just can't see his point if view.
I have explained this to him in a non-confrontational way and he seemed to agree with me, making big promises. But this morning I used his computer and found search history about things like "She wants to get married, I am too young" (just an example). I probably shouldn't have looked but there we go, he obviously is not on the same sheet as me.
While I know marriage might not be important to some people it is to me and I am very disappointed today after finding out that he is lying to my face while googling the above. I am not some nutter who talks about marriage and babies every day but considering everything we have been going through, the years we have been together and the choices we are currently facing in life I don't feel unjustified in asking where he sees us in future and to think about marriage. It's making me feel insecure in my relationship despite everything else going well.
Not sure anyone can actually help me, but it feels good to write it down. Any advice about what to do? My open and frank chat obviously didn't work.
I forgot to add: he is pretty good otherwise. Supportive of my career, doing more than his fair share around the house etc.
If he's not on the same page as you, it's VERY unwise for you to be supporting him through university. You should be putting that money aside for YOUR OWN FUTURE.
So you think it's worth it throwing away a relationship and asking him to leave over this issue? Because I am really happy otherwise. I am just wondering what he is so scared off...
mid-twenties is still quite young though. I think most men don't consider marriage until they are nearing or in their 30s. Me and my partner have only just got married and we are 30 and 31 years old.
Also, how can you even afford to get married now if you are living on a single income and he doesn't have a job?
I really wouldn't overthink it - just because he isn't on your page yet that doesn't mean he won't be in a few years time when you are both more financially secure and he will feel ready to make that next step.
You have been together for 6 years so he obviously loves you - I really wouldn't let this affect your relationship. If another 2 years or so passes and he still feels no closer to considering marriage only then I would start questioning your future with him....
How will you feel if you support him through uni and then he decides to leave you?
Tbh I think you want the commitment because you want to protect the investment you are making into what you see as a forever relationship. I'm not sure he sees it as a forever relationship and so if you are going to support him through uni then you need to do that with no expectation he will want to be with you long term.
He's telling you that you don't want the same things. Listen to what he's saying rather than pursuing some single-handed dream.
He is only saying he feels too young to get married - what is wrong with that?? It isn't like he is 35 and using it as a crap excuse, he is only mid-twenties. I would have considered myself too young for marriage at that age too.
And like I said, you may not be in the best financial positi9on to get married anyway so it isn't like you can run out and do it now anyway is it?
Rather than ask him if he wants marriage now you should be asking him if he sees it in the future. If he says no then you have your answer, but to write everything off just because he feels too young to get married now is ludicrous in my eyes.
There is nothing wrong with it in itself but I think it is dubious of him to use the op to get himself through uni if he doesn't feel the same way about their relationship.
And what's all this about "financial position". You need money if you fancy having a massive wedding, a marriage doesn't need to cost very much at all, unlike putting a partner through uni.
That's why she should clarify what he sees in their future, not just focus on what he is or isn't ready for at this exact point of his life.
She's being expected to make the financial contribution now though.
And I don't believe "too young to get married".
He doesn't mind her investing financially in his long term future. I think it would be massively hypocritical of him to take that support if he feels too young or scared of a return commitment.
Marriage is a huge thing - not something you do just to 'return the favour'
Personally then I would withdraw financial support of his education. Although I would not have supported him in the first place. Harsh but then I think people can be far too trusting when it comes to money. It always pays to protect yourself financially.
He sounds like he is using you. I think he does love you, but he is having his cake and eating it; why would he want to change that?
Mixed answers, exactly how I'm feeling. I don't want a wedding, I'd love for us to be married. So that argument doesn't stand at all. And I don't believe into too young to be married either. So some people don't feel ready till their mid thirties. Should I wait ten years and then realise we're still not on the same page? After making loads of compromises? I'm just worried about waiting too long, you read it on here a lot.
But I don't want to push him into something he doesn't want either and I certainly don't want him I do me a favour. But I do wonder why he is so reluctant. He isn't reluctant to live with me, share money, investments etc. I'm just not sure where I'm standing. But I do love him and am
Happy with him.
For the love: We calculated whether we could afford for him to go back and made that decision together. He didn't ask me if that makes sense. I always thought I'm supporting him now, I might need him to support me one day... Just how relationships work.
Have you asked him if he sees marriage in your future?
Obviously it isn't something you do to return the favour but the op is investing in his education because she sees the relationship as a forever relationship. Why is that so hard to understand?!
He doesn't see it that way, so I am advising not paying for him to go to uni unless she will be fine with him dumping her at some point, not that he necessarily will but that's what he is saying, he doesn't see the relationship as a marriage and he isn't prepared to commit.
I always thought I'm supporting him now, I might need him to support me one day... Just how relationships work
I actually think it sounds like you have something really positive. I certainly don't think he is 'using you at all'.
I think that some men view marriage as the step you take before starting a family. It may just be that as children are not on the agenda then marriage can wait until they are? That's what happened with me and my husband anyway. We spoke about marriage during our relationship and we both knew it was something we both wanted but until we were ready for the next 'stage of life' we were in no rush for it. We got married when we were 30 and started trying for a baby straight away.
Ask him how he sees your future - please don't throw it all away just because he doesn't see a need to get married right now.
So blackmail him : I'm not going to support you through university unless you agree to marry me.
That sounds romantic.
Him saying he is not ready for marriage yet is definitely NOT the same as saying he doesn't want it in their future.
I'm not saying she should throw away the relationship. I'm saying she should reconsider her level of commitment because he is not committed. The idea of supporting him because she might need it one day is precisely what I mean. He doesn't want to commit to that level. He is not prepared to commit to supporting the op in that future time when she might need it so there is an inequality of commitment and therefore and inequality of investment in their relationship. I think she should bring the commitment level down to the level he is at.
It is worrying that he isn't being completely honest about what he feels.
He is afraid he will loose his 'uni funding', I suspect...
As said upthread invest in you money in yourself.
No, not blackmail him.
What are you suggesting she pay for him through uni so he can meet someone else on his course, waltz off and marry her?
Still sounds like blackmail to me.
entering marriage should be about both people wanting to do it of free-will - not something that has 'conditions' attached to it.
Do you really think that her withdrawing her financial support (because he won't agree to marry her now) which would likely mean that he'd have to drop out of university is going to help their relationship??
Why are you assuming he is going to waltz off and meet someone else???
There's no such thing as an adult who is too young to get married. Maybe you need to find out what he means by that exactly.
I'm not saying blackmail him at all. But if he doesn't see this a permanent relationship then the op is foolish to support him.
It's your money, but if the relationship doesn't work out then think how much out of pocket you could be. If you are ok with that, then fine.
And don't patronise me by telling me that's how relationships work. I am trying to open your eyes to the fact that he has the potential to walk away after his education has finished and he wouldn't owe you a penny.
If he is a single person, and wants to be a single person for now, he needs to support himself as a single person and get a student loan imo.
If you are a real partnership, you need to thrash out the basis of a partnership. Maybe I am unromantic, but you are either a joint household or you are not.
Amazingly, he wants it both ways doesn't he?
In your situation I would think twice about supporting him through university in view of his decision he can't commit. In that case you shouldn't commit yourself financially to supporting him for three or four years. Of course nobody should be blackmailed into marriage. But I wouldn't support somebody for four yeas if they couldn't 'commit'.
So unless he marries her now it means he doesn't see it as permanent?
Because people who aren't committed enough to marry a gf they have been with for 6 years, especially from a young age, often do leave for someone else.
It isn't particularly criminal. However I think the op is in a vulnerable position here because she is more committed than he and he is planning to live off her with her thinking the relationship is for forever and he'll be there for her when she needs it.
Marriage is nothing to do with it. One person doesn't want to marry, you don't marry, conversation over, forget about marriage.
This is about commitment. The op is viewing this as a long term partnership which is why she is investing so much. Whereas I'd say after 6 years a "too young" excuse for not wanting to give the op some financial protection for her investment and them having got together really young leaves me thinking he will meet someone at uni and waltz off.
Plenty of people manage to support themselves through uni. If the op doesn't do it then I think he could do it himself.
Fact is he wants marriage level of commitment from her but doesn't feel it himself. Not saying he is a bad guy, think the op needs to protect herself financially.
What Itcouldbeworse said.
He wants to be single (ie not married) so he should be supporting himself.
I do think often men and women are at different points in their lives in their mid twenties. He's going back to university and his life could change a hell of a lot over the next five years. I think he's right not to marry, to be honest.
I'm not suggesting you finish with him, but I do think you'd be better off living with friends rather than him and keeping your finances separate.
Listen to what he's telling you.
It sounds like he has no plans to commit, looks at the comments around his internet history searches?
Or support him through uni with eyes open and the understanding that he may not be there to support you when you need it in return.
YY to what Imperial said
Plus he has made an assumption re support from OP, not a discussion. Totally taking her for granted. That is not what you expect from a girlfriend - which is what OP is.
But why is everyone assuming he doesn't want to get married to her in the future??
Maybe I'm a silly romantic or something but I feel a bit sorry for the OP's boyfriend and all the not-very-nice assumptions that are being made about him or how he views his relationship.
Loads of answers, I am in and out all day so sorry if my responses are slow.
ForTheLove: I am sorry you felt I was patronising you, it wasn't meant like that. I just wanted to explain my way of thinking when we made this joint decision. I understand what you are saying about being in a vulnerable position and I am having my own worries about this, hence why I am on here asking for a variety of opinions.
AWarm: The not being honest also worries me a lot. Why say he can see my point of view and agree and then so obviously...not.
Maybe he does think it's the next step before having a family-I don't know. For me it is not and I have made that very clear.
I just feel quite vulnerable right now as I have made the decision to move away from family, live with him, work my bum off to support us. And then he can't seem to see my point of view at all which hurts. And it makes me wonder whether I should take a step back, but I know that a step back would probably mean a break up to be honest.
On reflection, stuff him. Move to wear it suits you - near your family if that suits you.
ATM he choses where you live so it suits him, he choses the level of commitment, he choses to go to uni, he choses for you to work to support him!
I may be in a bad mood, but not seeing much 'partnership' here
It sounds like he is using you. Surely you love him more than he loves you. You are putting your money where your mouth is and him... he doesn't care one bit about how you feel. You invest in him now and another woman will reap the return. He has to prove otherwise by at least organising his own funding.
When I said 'h didn't ask me' I meant he didn't ask or expect me to pay. We made a joint decision that, in the long term, him going back to uni would be the best decision. Sorry if that caused confusion.
There is no such thing as wanting to get married in the future. That is utter bullshit. Either you want to get married to someone or you don't.
The OP's boyfriend should support himself through Uni. Why should she support him. He's not a child. I think she's being led up the garden path. No wonder people are let down when they walk into this type of arrangment.
You feel vulnerable right now, becuase you are vulnerable.
You are a single woman, you should sort out your priorities and plan your life. Don't let him do it for you.
Agreeing with ITCouldBeWorse I'm afraid.
OP you're doing everything here, making all the sacrifices, including making a very insecure financial investment. I think your boyfriend should be supporting himself through university, using student loans. You should be concentrating on developing your career and building your own financial security. If you're still together at the end of his course you'll have a good financial cushion to get started with and he can fairly painlessly begin paying back his student loan through salary deductions. This makes far better sense for you as it splits the financial burden between you if you stick together and won't leave you with nothing if you split.
It's ok aimlessly, I just can't stand it when people take advantage, you sound mature yet he isn't coming across like that at all.
IT could have hit the nail on the head. It does come across as he has manipulated you.
I am very cynical when it comes to money. I've seen friends and family screwed over. I didn't amalgamate my finances with my previous DP, even though it meant I paid all of my mortgage and he only paid his half towards the bills. I didn't have joint finances until after I had my DD with my now DH. Yes he now pays in more and I work part time. This means I contribute less, but he is able to further his career while mine has come to a standstill. One of us needs to be there for DD and DC#2, and would both prefer that to be me.
I don't mind
well sometimes I'm jealous but I get to spend more time with DD. Plus I am still working so once the family are growing up I will re start my career.
I hope you get the clarity you need to work out exactly what's going on
I was about to say what vivienne and hellon have, why can't he support himself through uni like most people with loans and part-time jobs!? Sounds like he wants an easy ride and you are providing that.
I wouldn't invest so heavily financially if not married and I don't believe in being too young to get married either.
Some people have asked about loans. He is doing a postgraduate degree so no student finance. He could take a loan but the fees are so high not sure he could get more than that (he is borrowing money for fees).
Out now, will check back later.
I wouldn't go so far as to say I think he is manipulating you. Although he may be, I think it would just be sensible to think through whether you are happy to support him through uni even if he backs out of the relationship at the end.
Post grad degrees normally have their own funding system.
Of course you can feel too young to be married. I had been with my now husband for a couple of years by my mid twenties but didn't feel ready to get married and neither did he!A few years later we were ready, so we got married. Were still happily married 17 years later, after 22 years together. If he doesn't want to get married, he may change his mind in time, or he may not. I wouldn't be making financial sacrifices like that in an uncommitted relationship though, and I wouldn't have expected someone else to make them for me either.
I would be hugely wary of such a big financial commitment if he feels that way. If he doesn't want that level of commitment he should support himself through uni. Why are you making all the sacrifices?
So does he have no other means of financial support apart from you. In which case this is a huge commitment from you. Or is he getting some funding for his post-grad studies. Most people can't afford to do postgrads that aren't funded.
No not really, unless he gets himself another job on top of what he's doing.
MAs don't tend to, Offred. Everyone I know with an MA has had to fund it themselves.
OP, think about it. If a couple are committed to a future together then yes, they should give and take and support etc, but if one half of the couple isn't committed to a future together, the other person would be very foolish to spend a lot of money helping that person achieve their goals, knowing that there's a high risk of them swanning off afterwards, job done.
It's a horrible situation to be in, but the fact is you are the one making financial and emotional sacrifices, moving away from home and spending your money on his future, when he's not certain you're part of his future.
You really, really, need to look out for yourself here.
I think someone asked this already but have you asked him if he sees marrying you as part of his future? And if he sees you together forever, with kids and all that?
Everyone I know has had a bursary for their ma tbh. It is possible but you have to apply for lots.
Because people who aren't committed enough to marry a gf they have been with for 6 years, especially from a young age, often do leave for someone else.
This. A thousand times this. It is so, so common. So often people say they're not "ready for marriage" because they just don't want to marry the person they're with, and this withering out of starter relationships is incredibly common.
That said, mid-20s is young to get married so you can't hold it against him. But that has to balance against the fact that you've been together six years. Most people I know who did meet "the one" young also married them young. Those who strung it out ended up breaking up.
You need to find out how he sees your future. At the moment I think you're putting yourself in a reckless position by supporting him financally. If you were a partnership it would be fine. But you're not.
And ignore posters who say you cannot get married on a low budget. Of course you can, as long as you're not a Disney princess.
Really, offred? Even for arts subjects? I didn't realise there were any available. My son's going for an MA next Autumn so I'll tell him to start looking now!
I know people who have had Mphil funding (as a lot of taught MAs aren't eligible for funding), but most people I know who have done MAs have been self-funded.
'I just feel quite vulnerable right now as I have made the decision to move away from family, live with him, work my bum off to support us. And then he can't seem to see my point of view at all which hurts. And it makes me wonder whether I should take a step back, but I know that a step back would probably mean a break up to be honest.'
If there is one thing I've learned, it is to always listen to and go with your gut, and yours is sounding a klaxon as loud as a mill bummer.
It's always been about him, from the sound of it, you never being able to move near your family because of him, you supporting him whilst he does what he wants, you blah blah blah for him because of him.
You only get one life, OP, and the only thing you can throw away is your own self-respect and future. Or not. That choice is always yours.
There's no such thing as 'throwing away' a relationship, if it doesn't make you so happy you have no niggling doubts like this, no alarm bells saying, 'Hold on here! Something's not right' and then getting a response like you have in answer to bringing that up and finding stuff like this in history or whatever then all you are throwing away is your own chance at future happiness on your terms and with someone who has those terms, too.
Nothing wrong with wanting marriage, or not. But everything wrong when one person wants it and the other doesn't.
Hes in his mid twenties which is pretty old. I think he is making excuses, and I definitely wouldnt want to be supporting him through university.
The people I know are doing history subjects, don't know anyone doing arts.
Either way, lots of people work their way through post grad quals.
Maybe that is a compromise? That he could work to support himself?
If he's too young to get married, then he's too young to have a girlfriend supporting him through his masters.
He can't have it both ways.
You are WAY TOO YOUNG to be working your arse off to support a BOYFRIEND through his masters just because he can't afford it otherwise.
If he can't afford it without you paying for it, he can't afford it.
"I always thought I'm supporting him now, I might need him to support me one day... Just how relationships work."
No, that's how MARRIAGES work.
This guy is not your husband, he has made no promises to be with you long term.
He's your boyfriend.
And he's using you.
You have given so much to this man, moved for him, supported him. If he had wanted to marry you then he would have done so by now. As things are presently, he does not want to marry you. You could be wasting your time if marriage is what you want. Generally when a man loves you he cant wait to make you his and put a ring on your finger.
Offred's posts make the most sense. The level of commitment is not the same. By accepting funding from her he should be committed enough to get married or simply should not accept it, it's so clearly wrong.
JoinYourPlayFellows you just said it better than me.
Completely agree with JoinYourPlayfellows. You should not be financially responsible for this person. I can't think of one reason why you should be. Please don't do this.
I'm not saying this will definitely happen- but how would you feel if after his degree he met someone else, committed to her, and they would naturally both go on to enjoy the fruits of your investment. Stranger things have happened. Don't be romantic.
This is not good. If he is not prepared to be committed, you should not be investing in him, or even subsidising his bed and board.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Very well said JoinYourPlayfellows
This is the heart of the issue: If he's too young to get married, then he's too young to have a girlfriend supporting him through his masters
Thank you very much everyone, I read all your answers again last night. Someone asked whether I had asked him about marriage in the future. I obviously have and he agreed to it, but looking at his google history I just can't be sure whether he means any of it can I?
I will have to have a big chat today after work.
I really hope your support has only been free place to stay, food, bills and not actual payment for the course. What Joined said. This guy is your boyfriend.
No, you can't be sure.
Be careful about the chat, though. I'm not saying he's with you for mercenary reasons - I'm sure he's not - but if you suggest withdrawing funding you might find he's willing to, say, get engaged.
Surely you want someone to be desperate to be with you, who decides for himself to marry you, rather than having it forced out of him in an argument?
What do you think your life would be like if you went off and did your own thing now? Where would you like to live? What would you like to be doing?
I think you need to withdraw whatever "funding" you are supplying to him.
But not as a bargaining chip.
Just as a done deal.
He doesn't want to marry you (yet?), and that's fine.
But you don't OWE him his masters. You don't owe him living in this place you didn't want to move to.
You are young too and you owe YOURSELF doing whatever it is will make YOUR life the happiest, most successful, most exciting life you can have.
Spend that money you're earning on your own dreams, on your own future.
If this is true love, then you don't need to be following him around the country and subsidising his studies in order to keep him.
Do you have any money in the bank, OP? I think in your position now would be a great time to end the relationship and spend a year travelling and working abroad. If you end the relationship and stay in the same place then for one thing it's not a place you've chosen to live and for another you'd have to see him around. If you went back to where you were living, you said you'd find that difficult.
Have you ever fancied travelling? Getting a long way away from the situation and having a few adventures would be a fantastic way of spending the next year or two rather than spending it funding someone to a better life whilst suffering yourself.
I did my masters while working full time and having 2 DC.
It never even crossed my mind to expect my family to take a financial hit for something that was for my benefit alone.
I've been married for 20 years.
Why can't he work and fund himself?
I would not be funding a boyfriend through university unless there was more commitment there eg owning a house together / having a child / engagement imminent
You could end up royally screwed, no matter how good the relationship is now. You see it as a forever relationship, but it's not clear that he does. As previous posters have said, he can't have it both ways and is unreasonable to expect you to pay for his uni but refuses to commit after six years together.
The only reason people feel "too young" to get married is because deep down they want to keep their options open. If you are sure, you are sure. Sorry.
Me too, Katie. My daughter's doing hers now while working 30 hours pw. There's no reason why the OP's boyfriend can't support himself.
I agree with Offred when she says "There is no such thing as wanting to get married in the future. That is utter bullshit. Either you want to get married to someone or you don't."
If he is not anti marriage then he's had plenty of time with you to decide if you are his Miss Right, someone he can be with long term. If you are his Miss Right, long term partner, then IMO there is nothing stopping him commiting now. So I see his "I'm too young to get married" as actually meaning he doesn't want to commit to YOU, that he is keeping his options open by remaining single.
If you have been together for 6 years then to put it bluntly, it's time for him to shit or get off the pot.
There is nothing wrong with not wanting to get married - lots of people don't want to, for perfectly valid reasons. However that's what's missing from this discussion - a perfectly valid reason not to.
He's not too young for you to move away from your family, live with him and commit to him in all but name - is he? He's not too young to make a joint financial decision with you which has quite a significant effect on you right now - is he? He isn't too young to accept you supporting him - is he?
The best advice I have ever read on here is when a man tells you what he is, then listen to him
This man is telling you what he is - he doesn't want to marry you. He hasn't said why. He hasn't suggested that its because the timing isn't right - financially or whatever. He's just said no
Offred's already made a very good point about starter relationships - it is very, very common. You are obviously a bright and intelligent woman - apply some of that to your situation now and protect yourself, financially as well as emotionally.
And be prepared for some bullshit when you challenge him - he might not want to commit but he certainly won't want to lose his source of funding for his education.
Why is the financial burden all on you anyway? I know and have known postgrad students work PT whilst they study. It's hard, but it is do-able.
You can apply for Student Finance at any point during a degree, AFAIK.
I would be sending off for the forms for him, he sounds like a bit of a liability. Too much investment for too uncertain an outcome.
If he thinks he's too young to get married, what he's really saying is he wants to play the field, imho.
When I did my MA not all universities offered financial support and, to qualify, you had to have a First from your BA. But that was a few years back so the rules may have changed though!
I got support from my parents (in the form of a loan that will be paid back) and worked alongside. For my subject there were very few classes so it was fine working quite a bit alongside.
On the commitment issue - someone I know once described relationships in terms of cooked breakfasts. In a relationship you are either a chicken or a pig. The chicken was involved in the breakfast by laying an egg, but fundamentally the chicken isn't tied to the breakfast. It is free to wander off and get involved with however many other breakfasts it feels like.
The pig, on the other hand, is completely sacrificed to the breakfast. It can't go off and be involved with anything else as it is sliced up on a plate already! Fundamentally a relationship between a chicken and a pig is totally uneven and unbalanced.
This is all a roundabout way of saying that you are "all in" in this relationship. You're the bacon. You have moved and done all this other incredibly committed stuff - for someone who doesn't appear to have shown any willingness to do the same for you.
How did your chat go yesterday?
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