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Late twenties panic about life(31 Posts)
I am 26, 27 in Summer of this year. My partner is nearly 28.
I have been with my boyfriend for 2.5 years. We have lived together in this time, but currently live apart due to work commitments. I am doing a graduate scheme which will end in 2016. When this finishes, I will be able to move back to where my DP lives.
I see my DP on Friday to Sunday. He visits me each week because my working day is longer so it makes sense for him to travel on a Friday to maximise our tome together.
Neither of us own property, as we are saving for our own home for when I finish this graduate scheme, and can realistically move back to where we want to be in the longer-term. Since we moved apart, I have felt me and my partner have regressed. The nature of my partner's job means he is able to work abroad quite frequently. He enjoys this and often I will not see him for 3/4 weeks at a time. I have found this even harder now we don't even share the same home.
While I enjoy my job and worked very hard to get into the line of work I am in, I feel my ambition has subsided somewhat as I have got older. My partner on the other hand loves his job and therefore seeks out opportunity to travel with work etc etc. The majority of my friends have bought houses, had babies and are very settled. I resent living in a rented flat with none of my own furniture and no real security. I hate it more and more each day, and despite my friends and family being very supportive and telling me 'I've done so well to have achieved what I have,'...I feel sad and lonely. The career does not make up for the way I have to live my life right now, with massess of uncertainity and no real home (which is very important to me).
I feel as if I am a failure, and way, way behind my peers who are living the adult life I can only dream of right now.
The reason I have come on here today is because recently I have been pressuring my partner a bit to think about the future.
- I ask about starting a family, send him potential homes to buy, spend ages looking at sofas etc..My partner is happy to talk about all this and tells me he wants these things, too, be he is massiely more chilled out about it than me.
- I also want to move back in and have us both commute to work...he says this is silly because we would both be commuting over an hour and not get in until gone 7pm each night. Again, this makes me resent him because I so want to have that life again where we lived together and felt like we were progressing as a 'real' couple.
My partner says we should enjoy this age and not worry about homes, families, marriage etc. He says now is the time for him to travel, while we are not 'settled.' He says moving back in would be silly when in 2016 we will buy our home anyway.
I am resenting my job for essentially causing this regression, and I also feel frustrated and worried that my DP is ok with it all and even seems to enjoy the situation. I feel jealous of friends who can go home to their DP or husbands and babies and enjoy their settled life. I feel like everythig is so temporary, and after having moved around so much with uni, I wanted to be thinking about what colour to decorate my child's bedroom and where to put my sofa. I feel so ready for all that, that I am worried my DP just isnt't...and when we lived together it felt like everything was a lot more certain.
Am I being unfair/irrational/something else not so good here?
Sorry this is so long!!
Firstly you are closer to mid 20's than late 20's.
I can see both sides of the argument and believe me having a baby is not all a bundle of fun you know!
However I think this stems from the fact you got closer to your ambition by living together and now you feel it's further away. To be honest lots of people do an hours commute and get in after 7. That's life isn't it?
Sounds to me like he would be happy with things the way they are for some time to come and if that is going to make you unhappy then you need to reassess and make a decision!
There is no guarantee that a new partner would be any keener though, especially at that age.
Thanks for your response.
I am not saying I want a baby right now, and I do want to establish my career for a while first... but the fact we used to live together and now dont..and I am watching my friends go ahead and do all these things has made it harder.
I think if there was just something in my life that I felt was going well in that respect, then I would be happy. Ie I never thought much about starting a family when we shared a home..whereas now I panic it will never happen because I live alone and therefore feel very alone.
Everyone says my career is the progressio and the positive here...but I just cant see it, and I actually feel quite naieve to have thought it was so important in the past.
Maybe the grass is alwas greener.
I can understand your feelings regarding renting because I know people who rent privately and they just see it as money down the toilet; it leaves them with little money to save or use as deposit for mortgage. Also, sometimes you can't decorate or have your own furniture so I do sympathise with you feeling that it's all temporary; which sometimes it is if the landlord wants you out after 6 months.
Yeah it's just everything seems so temporary. Even if I wanted to buy now, I couldn't, becaus eonce the scheme finishes I will start again somewhere. It's just made worse by the fact I also cant live with DP..so everything feel stagnated and rubbish first world problems, hey?
I'm in a similar position, late 20's, can't afford to buy, rented for ages in completely awful flats and now living back with inlaws! It is frustrating but I think a lot of people are in the same position
I think him not wanting to commute to be with you and the fact he is happy to go without seeing you for 3/4 weeks at a time suggests you are maybe a bit more into the relationship than he is.
I'm the same age as you OP and understand what you mean about uncertainty with the future. Remember any plan can fall apart, at any time. It's great to aim for something but I think setting something in stone only leads to disappointment when things go wrong (cynical I know). Why not start with some small things you can achieve this year? Set yourself a plan about managing to save X amount each towards a deposit and furnishings. That way you can focus on the future and be doing something proactive towards it, without the stress of looking at what you can't afford. Hold off looking at houses until you have the money saved and you are in a position with work etc to actually know where you want to be. It's awkward but these things can't be rushed. Even if you had the money now remember it would be a real shame to have settled and made a home, only to have to possibly uproot in 2016. This will sound a touch old fashioned but "bottom drawer" stuff helped me before I moved where I am now, buying things for the house that I liked and storing them in the shed/garage at my grandmothers house where I lived. Small things but also antique furniture I picked up cheaply, throws, bedding etc. It made it feel not so far away working to get bits like that together.
overslept - thank you so much for your response. i will try and focus on doing that and try to stay positive. i feel that without my concerns here, i would be very happy with DP, so it is frustrating i cant seem to get hold of myself and put it all in perspective.
I agree with sickoffrozen to be honest.
It sounds like you are looking for some kind of proof of commitment (which isn't a bad thing), especially since you have gone from living together to living apart, which often feels like a regression.
So you want to put down some kind of roots in the relationship (whether living together, or home, or engagement sometime in the future). Isn't it basically about wanting to feel secure in the relationship and to know it's going somewhere? Vague promises about "2016" won't help much with that.
Meanwhile, for your partner it sounds like he just wants to enjoy being free. Living apart doesn't bother him. He loves travelling for weeks at a time, and is probably more interested in spending money on enjoying himself than saving for a deposit.
To be honest, brutally honest, it does sound like you are more invested in the relationship than he is.
It's all well and good making grand promises about the future, but his behaviour isn't matching up to that.
That's probably why you are feeling nervous.
If it makes you feel any better, I've had to put my career on hold in order to progress my relationship, due to complicated reasons. Whilst some of my single friends, or friends in less...advanced (???) relationships (seriously couldn't think of a better way to put that, sorry, hopefully you know what I mean), might be a bit jealous (or might not, what do I know????) that I am living with my partner, getting married and trying for children, I am jealous that they have all advanced in their careers and I am left behind.
Even if, in the future years it all balances out, I think people do tend to envy what they don't have whilst side lining what they do.
thansk for your response.
a close friend has also said this - that i just dot feel secure int he relationship and if i did i wouldnt be so unhappy with my life as it is now. i think that is sadly true, although i dont like to admit it.
when i have mentioned this to my DP, and i am very upfront and honest, he will simply say that he does want these things and would do it now if it fitted to our lifestyles... and re assures me that he loves and wants me and cant wait to buy our home in the next year and a bit.
i still cant bring myself to fully believe him... he seems to be brilliant at talking about things but never acting on it.
how are you supposed to potentially end a relationship when you dont know for sure that it will work out in the end? wouldnt i be silly to do that and not wait and see? having said that, every say i feel sick with nerves or soemthing...not sure what... but a huge feeling of uuncertainty that i cant shka,e no matter how much i talk to DP about it.
I really feel for you. I felt like this in my early 20s and was lucky enough to be setting up home and having children by 25. I can really imagine I'd have felt similar to you by your age.
I was going to recommend that you seriously think about putting your career on hold and starting a family. However, I'd be concerned that your partner wouldn't feel the same. Do you think he'd compromise if he knew your strength of feeling, or have you already had this conversation and he's made clear otherwise?
When does your graduate scheme come to an end? 12 months or more like 24?
OP I actually think you need to realise that living apart and working long hours, strains and has ended even the most perfect of relationships. You are both doing incredibly well actually, it would be more of a shame to falter now you are only just over a year away from getting there! You both have clear goals you agree on and that is more than a lot of couples our age. Stay strong because it won't be forever.
Ah OP, your last post could have been written by me! I really feel for you - I'm mid/late 20s too, part way through a PhD and over 2014 did a lot of those 'settling down' things with DP - bought/started renovating a house, got engaged, got pregnant.
I still have periods of feeling uncertain - I sometimes step back and ask myself if I have compromised too much to achieve the 'settled' life, I worry my research has taken a back foot and sometimes fantasise about what my life would be like if I were living near my uni (we're in a city 100 miles away!) 'free' to concentrate on my research, take up more career opportunities and just having more 'me' time (I used to do regular 'pampering' evenings with manicures, pedicures and facemasks for myself before for me and DP moved in together 3 years ago - it's hard to do that will a lolloping great boy all round the place!)
I suppose what I'm saying is, that nervy fear of uncertainty, that you're somehow messing up, or committing to something unthinkingly, might not be linked to circumstances - I've got a sinking feeling it's just life. Urgh.
Bring back the early 20s and the partying, I say
Practically - I think you're amazing for making the long distance thing work, and for putting up with the temporary-ness of rented places. I'd say stick it out as is until the end of your grad placement, but if your DP is still making 'oh yeah, one day' noises, I'd maybe re-evaluate then... Also, indulge in facemasks or whatever while you can! - sounds naff, but maybe treat yourself to some scented candles/nice lamps/whatever little luxuries float your boat to make your flat feel more like 'home'?
First, none of my friends had kids by the time they were 26 and the women I knew who did - it was generally an accident. I don't think your circle is necessarily representative of other mid20somethings.
Secondly, I don't think this is a 20s crisis I think it's simply a relationship crisis. You're a cool gf who he can see when he's around, he's happy not to live with, whom he placates with the carrot of a perfect future.
I think it's highly unlikely that your bf's travel bug will change - guys who set up this working pattern in their 20s will still be doing it in their 40s, they just settle down with women who accept it. That kind of lifestyle has its own appeal, and it's hard to give up.
So I would accept that a) he's not as into you as you are into him and b) he's not likely to stop working abroad.
If you're going to split up you may as well split now while you're really young, rather than leave it to 30 when it becomes clear that everything he promised was a pipe dream, and your biological clock is ticking.
You'll have plenty of time now to look around for a life partner who wants the same things as you, without the stopwatch.
I would say calm down a bit. You are only 26 and he is only 28. If you believe he is the one for you then give him time.
I met my DH when I was 26 and he was 28. He was the sort of man who needed time to make decisions and we dated for over 12 months before he would commit to even being called my BF (both military, both spending ridiculous amounts of time away from each other and he was uber sensible and didnt want to rush anything - and it took him 18 months to say I love you - no doubt he meant it when he said it - probably didnt help that due to the nature of his career, I was his first proper GF). I knew he was special and so I was patient. Our relationship has grown into one of the strongest I know (large amounts of time spent apart have helped us with this). He proposed 4 years after we met. Fast forward to now and are happily married and I am 8 months pregnant. I am nearly 32 he is now 33.
My point here is that you can't rush men into doing things that they are not ready to do. He will do it when he is ready. Rush it and you might regret it later on. Please remember the average age to buy a property these days is about 30. And my friends have only just started having babies. None of my friends had babies at 26.
I don't think people should be encouraging you to split up with him. If you love him then just be patient. I am not saying be a door mat but a 28 yr old man probably does want to enjoy his youth with little commitments. I don't see anything wrong with that. Soon enough you will have a mortgage and a wedding to pay for and children and you may wish you had just enjoyed yourselves while you are still young.
Sorry I rambled on!
You are about 2 months younger than me OP, although I do not have any friends of our age who have babies and only one who is married.
I think PPs are right to suggest that you are unhappy because you DP is happy in the situation; his travel and contentment at living apart makes you feel more insecure about your future together. This is exacerbated by you having friends who have settled down pretty young.
You're in an excellent position being in a grad-scheme with the ability to buy next year and you are both VERY young. I live with my DP (33) and we are fortunate to have both bought in London before we met and now rent out one property and live in the other together. We are not even considering buying one together or having children for a few years, despite being as sure as anyone can be that we will grow old together. I think your DP is quite right that your mid-late 20s are an ideal time to travel and enjoy the freedom that not having children brings, but then you are not happy with things as they stand so that doesn't help your situation...
My advice would be to try to see things as your DP does - that you are still young and you have so much time in the future. If you are unhappy then change things but please do not wish your time away just so you can live with a man. He might not even be the one you marry so try to enjoy the good aspects of your life.
Hope this helps in some way!
Wow, would people on here stop suggesting he isn't that in to this? Everybody has to work. Long hours and distance are obstacles that destroy couples, without adding paranoia that he might not be "that in to the relationship". It actually sounds like 2 sensible people are planning a sensible future where work, biding time and making plans pays off for a better future.
If he isn't that in to her (which i doubt) then after the changes in 2016 things will show, until then she should not be giving up with the career commitment she has made. She wants a stable life to bring a child in to, and by the sound of it so does he! She is a responsible person. Even if she ditches him thinking he "isn't that in to it", do you think she should settle down, make babies, and forget the idea or owning a home and her career, with some random man she meets in that time? Life is complex, relationships are complex, she should finish what she is doing and then, if things do not change evaluate the situation. There is no point pissing on a good thing that is going through a difficult time. Their relationship is showing much more consideration, hard work, love and commitment than a lot on here, and those are the building blocks of an amazing future together.
The OP has said she's 'sad and lonely'.
She also says that having lived together previously, her bf doesn't want to move back in together because it will make a commute of 'over an hour'. If you live in a leafy suburb of London an hour is the standard amount of time it takes to get to work. It's not a 'commute'. And they wouldn't get home until -shock- after seven. I don't recall ever getting home before 8 in my 20s and it was often much later.
If you really love someone, don't see them for 3 to 4 weeks at a time, then your priority is to be with them as much as you can. Most people in that situation would prioritise the relationship over the commute, as the OP would.
Equally, the OP makes clear that he is actively 'seeking out' opportunities to travel because he likes it, so he is prioritising work and travel over her.
He's happy to see her only at weekends and not to see her for 3 or 4 weeks at a time. She's not.
She doesn't feel like they're 'progressing' as a couple, she feels they've taken a step back and she's right.
Twinkle hits the nail perfectly on the head. Also OP, perhaps you should back off a bit and stop sending him potential houses to buy (together), pictures of sofas etc as this will add to the pressure he may be feeling from you and certainly won't "encourage" him to commit. Focus on yourself, buy somewhere on your own if you can afford to and get yourself settled if that's what you want. You cannot rely on him for your own happiness, that comes from within.
You still have plenty of time, please try not to rush into being "settled" with 2.2 kids (or whatever) etc - in 20 years time you may be asking, is this it?? And please try not to compare yourself to others, their lives are no more perfect than yours, just different. Take your time, go with the flow and enjoy your 20s whilst you can...
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