Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
When does it stop being 'early days'?(28 Posts)
I've been with my boyfriend eight months now. We're both in our 40s, we both have a child each. We get on great, see each other as much as we can but I'd like to have some idea on what he thinks the future holds.
He's said he reckons we'll be together this time next year. However - I haven't met his parents because they're apparently interfering (they live quite a drive away so no chance of ever bumping into them or them interfering tbh). Even though I don't think it's time to meet each other's kids, there's been no talk about it ever even possibly happening. He hasn't said he loves me - which is fair enough, some people have a harder time saying it and I'm judging him on how he acts, which is loving.
I don't know if eight months is time to talk about this stuff or is it still too early? I feel like I tiptoe around these issues in case I scare him off but are we getting to the point where it's ok to have these conversations? I haven't dated in many years so I don't know what's normal.
Maybe use Christmas /New Year as an excuse to discuss plans for 2018 and see if you are both on the same page.
I'd be impatient to know. I think I'd bring it up because at least then you'd know if he was for real or not. If he gets scared away then you know what you're dealing with. It comes across more assertive too. Never be afraid to say what your own expectations are. Never mind what's supposedly normal.
How long is it since last relationships ended?
I think it's fair to have a conversation about each other's thoughts on the future..not are we getting married but do you share common goals? I think you need to know if he wants a serious relationship, if you want one.
I'm just divorcing but can't see me ever wanting to get past the boyfriend stage..the idea of living with another man or sharing finances is off the table for me.
If you haven't naturally met his friends or family by a year I suspect you might remain in girlfriend territory.Great if that works for you.I think meeting each other's children is reasonable after a year so that would need some discussion around that.
My last relationship was like this OP. I loved how relaxed it was. Turned out his heart actually wasn’t in it at all. I thought we were absolutely fine and going strong. He gave no inkling at all that he didn’t feel the same. He dumped me totally out of the blue in an absolutely hideous way. Be very careful here. Taking things slowly is healthy and good but try to find out if you’re on the same page. I thought we were and we weren’t at all. I didn’t have the conversation as I didn’t think I needed to. I was wrong.
I have brought it up before - that's how I know his parents are supposedly 'interfering'! But he seems to think it's still 'early days' and that things will come good and that everything's great and he's very happy.
I'm about nine months out of a marriage - that was dead for a few years before it ended. He's about three years out of his relationship with his ex who continues to cause him some anguish because she's slightly nuts. I have met lots of his friends already. He's not hiding me away from anyone except his family, it seems.
Justbooked - he did actually mention going to a concert in June 2018 recently and he does seem to think we'll be together by then.
It's just the other stuff like his parents, his inability to express any feeling other than 'you're great, I'm very happy' and the fact that seeing each other is quite difficult sometimes because of childcare commitments that I would like to think could some day be shared.
Aminuts123 - sorry to hear that. That's my fear too. I don't think he's thinking of dumping me but he's a master at avoiding the conversation and is so laid-back he's practically horizontal.
The only context in which I would ask "where do you see this going" is if I wanted to have kids and time was ticking.
Even then, I wish women in particular would understand that answers to questions like these should not be taken as anything even approaching a guarantee. Women seek our reassurance from men that they're not planning to end the relationship... Men often give that reassurance... But then women take that as an eternal assurance and seem to forget that minds and hearts change constantly. Then when the relationship does end (which all relationships do! No relationship is permanent) the woman tends to say things like, but he told me this was serious/long term! He's betrayed me etc.
If it's going to last, it will last whether you ask the question or not.
If it's not going to last, it will end, no matter how he answers the question.
Why ask? The answer means nothing. All you have is here and now. Love and enjoy each other because nothing is permanent.
You can't inoculate yourself against the pain of losing a partner, everyone loses their partner eventually. Loving someone is always a gamble and it's better to face that with stoicism than rely on words (which are so cheap) to give you a false sense of security
OP thanks. Mine suggested a holiday abroad, a few weeks before we went he wanted to extend it so we could stay longer. He dumped me on our last night abroad, said his heart hadn’t been in it for a while and he assumed I KNEW we were going away just as friends. This from a guy I thought was relaxed, easy going and generally nice. I’d have the conversation now. You might save yourself a lot of heartache or you might be fine. For me it was the absolute shock of it that got me. Needless to say we no longer communicate at all. The holiday cost me a bloody fortune too
I could be serious about wanting it to work out with somebody and also serious about hoping that my parents never met him. [not the waltons]
God amInuts123, what a prick. I suppose sex was completely off the table for the entire holiday then, if you were only there as 'friends'.
beesandknees - I know it's good to live in the moment and we've agreed we won't be having a child together. But at the moment, there's a lot of time we can't spend together and if we're to change that that means that we have to consider issues like meeting families and each other's children. I believe that we're great together and that we can make each other happy. He says he believes this too, it's just he doesn't broach how we can ever move past the 'I've got Child A this week, see you in seven days' to 'I've got Child A this week, let's do something together'.
It's the practicalities I want to talk about. Not for now because it's too soon but can't we start even thinking about them? Will I ever meet his parents? Will he ever even tell them I exist? A declaration of undying love would be nice too but I'm not holding my breath.
Wh1stles - he gets on fine with his parents and they seem like decent people. His ex was extremely rude to them apparently so maybe that worries him. I've had to remind him a number of times that I'm nothing like his ex.
My now dh put off my meeting his dps. He was thinking of me!! He may be doing the same for you!!
I wouldn't worry at all about the parents. They are fairly irrelevant at this stage. I would be wanting to start the process of meeting the respective dcs. In the future if you would like to live together then that's another conversation again.
Keep them all separate. Don't make issues where there are none. Concentrate on the one which impacts your relationship with dp.
You need to ask him, not us. If he loved you, he would say so. He hasn't said it so to my mind, he doesn't love you. He obviously enjoys the convenience of a relationship but isn't ready to take it to the next level.
You clearly do want to take it to the next level so you need to tell him this, but bear in mind you do run the risk of frightening him off if he doesn't want to commit to anything more right now.
Eight months is nothing. What's the rush?
He's probably still not over the stress of what came out of commitment with his ex and probably still worried that the same could happen again. It sounds like he is still battling wanting commitment, and thinking that things are quite good on a boyfriend/girlfriend basis. It might require a bit of a gentle ultimatum to get him to take the next step.
TwitterQueen1 - I have asked him! He says it takes him a long time to know if he loves someone. He acts like he does, though. That's my question - is eight months nothing? Am I in too much of a rush?
swingofthings - He does seem quite traumatised by his previous relationship. I was thinking of a gentle ultimatum, just not sure how to phrase it.
ferrier - I just feel weird about his parents not knowing about me. My mum is dead but I'm pretty sure she would have met him by now. Or at least heard of him!
He's given you your answer so I don't understand why you are asking the question tbh. He doesn't love you yet. He's still making his mind up. You're trying to make him move at a pace that he is not comfortable with. Yes, you are rushing things.
Why do you want to give him an ultimatum? What do you think that will achieve when he's told you he's not ready yet? If I were in his situation, feeling as he does, I would end things.
I actually do think 8 months is nothing. Gentle unltimatum seems a bit harsh here but I would start a convo about meeting children so you can see each other more. That's all you can realistically expect at this stage I think. I think with children in the mix the best/only speed is 'very slow' that's just my personal opinion.
I've been in a relationship for erm, over 18 months. We've met and spend time with each other's kids but our kids have only met each other fleetingly. We've only just started talking long term.
At your stage I was enjoying the moment (still am tbh).
Ok, I probably am rushing things and I have form for this so I'll back off. The last time I dated I didn't have a kid nor did any of my boyfriends so things tended to move much much faster.
Whenever I ask questions about him, he always comes out as the reasonable one. The last thing I want is to scare him off.
I think it depends a bit on ages of dc, tbh, and how much he can just 'compartmentalise' his life.
It's not unreasonable to start having conversations about it. You don't have to be introduces as "potential step mother", you could simply be ........."This is Ozzy, a friend I'm off to the theatre / football match / art exhibition / rally / quiz night / insert other occasion, with" and gradually be someone he likes spending time with, without it being anymore than on a 'mates' basis.
However, I would want - without pressure - to be thinking about things like booking a holiday for next Summer at some point after Christmas - I would want to have conversations about whether we were going somewhere together or not, and if so if just the two of us, or asking him what plans were around holidays and children, etc.
As others say, there is no rush, and I wouldn't worry too much about his parents, but I think starting conversations about starting to get to know each other's dc a bit more, is not unreasonable by now.
Again just a point you might want to consider... You cant cajole someone into feeling something by giving them an ultimatum.
You CAN easily cajole someone into telling you want you want to hear. By giving them an ultimatum.
You can also encourage someone to end a relationship by giving them an ultimatum.
So - if you wish to engineer confrontations with a person, or, if you would like them to lie to you, then by all means use ultimatums.
But I suspect what you actually want is genuine reassurance because you feel anxious and insecure in a relationship. I gently suggest that the better way to manage your anxiety is to work on your own coping mechanisms. Do not demand that someone else do things to make your anxiety go away - that way madness lies. I'd also urge you to read up on adult attachment theory. It is extremely clear that you have anxious attachment, and it sounds like your bf is on the avoidant attachment side. Typically relationships of this combination end in tears because the anxious one cannot manage their own emotions and they drive the avoidant one completely batty.
Seriously, read up on attachment and you might spare yourself a lot of pain...
BackForGood - thanks. We're both too broke to book holidays but maybe one weekend away might be nice.
beesandknees - yep, anxious and insecure describes me to a T. This is why I now post on message boards asking sensible people for advice before I go and torch what is a pretty great relationship. I'll certainly look up attachment theory, thanks.
Take a deep breath & hold your nerve. First 2-3 years are early days. Think no further ahead than your next date & live for the now.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.