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I don’t understand timing. Is getting married just luck or could I help along the process?

(84 Posts)
PuertoVallarta Tue 23-Feb-21 02:02:07

I find myself a few months into a new relationship, a-bloody-gain, and as usual the specialness of me seems to have worn off. I’m not a game-player, I’m always very honest and I think I am a nice person. I can honestly say all my exes still love me a lot, but they are not IN LOVE with me...and perhaps not a single one of them ever were.

I find all my relationships stall eventually. I’ve had a lot of relationships! They seem to peak at around six months in, and then we will just ride the plateau with lots of happy times for another year or two, when they tell me they just aren’t feeling it and move on to someone else they will marry rather quickly.

I just want to be married. It’s too late to have children, but I want a family even if it’s just two people. I come from a good working class family. I do have the skill set for a happy family life.

I just severely lack the skill set for getting to the point where I’m someone’s family; for getting to the point where they see me as the woman they want to be a family with.

I have been seeing someone absolutely lovely. But I can’t tell anymore if we’re moving forward. Is this once-a-week thing good enough for him? I never push for commitment. But I also do not hide my desire for one.

I don’t want to waste another two years with someone who isn’t moving the relationship toward marriage. But on the other hand, I wonder if somehow I’m supposed to be the one who’s moving it toward that, only I just don’t know how? I absolutely know how to be committed and loyal. I’ve spent so much money and time and emotional energy on men. I don’t regret it. But I’m at an age where suddenly I will resent it if I get years down the line with someone and then find out he didn’t consider me good enough to spend they rest of his life with.

So what should I do? Put my cards on the table? How soon is too soon? I’ve said I wanted stability and he agreed. Is that enough for now? Or am I supposed to do something to make him think about me as more than a really cool girlfriend? Does there need to be some element of fear of losing me?

I’m calm and I do live life happily day to day. I don’t stress about this in public.

I don’t want to mess it all up. Is it just luck and I have to keep being patient, loving, open, generous? Do I continue to wait for the stars to align and the man I live to look at me one day and see his whole future? Or is that not enough action on my part? And how do you take it slow to figure out if it’s right, without setting the tone that what’s good enough for now will be good enough forever?

(I suppose I should add that I was married in my early 20s. It didn’t last long and I wouldn’t call it a real marriage. I don’t know what I did differently to make him want to commit to me for life, other than perhaps the fact that he was also young and didn’t understand what commitment was so he didn’t mind making it.

I should also add that I was drawn to my current boyfriend because he had been married for over two decades and I though he might be able to move things forward since he clearly like being married. However, I cannot tell if he is just comfortable with me and taking his time, or if I am a placeholder. I do t want to be a psycho because it’s only been five months. But I also don’t want to waste a single second being a placeholder.)


OP’s posts: |
Caramelwhispers Tue 23-Feb-21 02:18:41

I'm looking at it from a different angle, it's a bit like getting lots of job interviews but not getting any job offers. Then finally when you do get one, the new job turns out to be not quite what you wanted.

Take it back to the beginning, what attracts you to these people in the first place? Are you going for guys just on looks and characteristics etc? Do you share similar values and outlook to life? Do you get a strong feeling about these guys or do you date them to see how it develops? Sorry for asking lots of questions.

RantyAnty Tue 23-Feb-21 03:23:14

You mentioned: "I absolutely know how to be committed and loyal. I’ve spent so much money and time and emotional energy on men."

Do you feel that you give too much and are invested more than they are?

What happens with the once-a-week meeting? Who goes to whose house and what do you do?

PuertoVallarta Tue 23-Feb-21 03:30:23

That’s okay. The questions help.

I choose men I respect, who seem able to take care of themselves and treat me as an equal. I do strongly consider whether our values and backgrounds are well matched.

I’m quite picky. I can say I don’t regret any of my past relationships. I don’t think they regret me.

I like your job interview analogy but I feel like I’m very good stuff passing the interviews bit then I just keep getting passed over for the promotion.

I’ve had so many crying jags over the last twenty years about this. I don’t want to have any more. I want to figure out what I should be doing that I’m not doing.

OP’s posts: |
LunarCatAndDaffodils Tue 23-Feb-21 03:35:59

I really think that often people don’t always marry the person they’ve loved the most, they marry the person who is around and fits the bill pretty well at the point why are ready to get married.

It’s an extension of realising that how most people are is more to do with them, their life experiences to date and what’s going on in their life at that point. A bit of how they are relates to you but mostly it’s about them.

So don’t worry so much about your skill set/attributes etc. Think about where the other person is in their life.

So it can be things like:
Well established and secure in career
Wants to have children soon
Lost a significant person in their life within the last couple of years (e.g.parent)
Finished education
Started education/moved out of home
Just got on property ladder

It’s a bit like flagging down a taxi, you’ve more chance with the ones with their light on

PuertoVallarta Tue 23-Feb-21 03:37:21

@RantyAnty Maybe I give more than they do, but not much. Although I am not a high earner I always find myself paying more most of the time. I insist on paying forcefully though I do wish they'd push back just as hard more often.

I don’t know how when to give and when to withhold, so I err on the side of giving. Because I want to model the kind of behavior I expect from a partner.

I’m not a doormat. I have boundaries. I am just curious about how others make the transition from meeting to dating to marriage. I can’t navigate the transitions or how long to stay at each stage.

OP’s posts: |
PuertoVallarta Tue 23-Feb-21 03:44:07

Thank you, @LunarCatAndDaffodils. That is perfect.

So is it just luck then, being in the right place at the right time to meet someone who’s ready to settle down? I honestly feel I could build a happy life with just about anyone who was really committed to doing so. I never seem to meet anyone on that level.

So I date and love and give because everyone says to take it slow and see what happens. And then two years later I’m back at square zero.

I wish I had an arranged marriage. I could make it work.

OP’s posts: |
LunarCatAndDaffodils Tue 23-Feb-21 04:14:42

I think you can make your own luck with that one to be honest. You can maximise your chances.

If you take it slow with someone who doesn’t have any real inclination to get married and you’re off the market for a couple of years, well you could miss out on a lot of opportunities in that time.

A bit like getting in a bus going in the wrong direction, slowly, whilst you’re trying to hail a cab.

Be clear what you want and in what time frame, be open about that, meet a lot of people, don’t spend a long time with someone when it’s not going anywhere, prioritise finding out about where they are in life and listen to what your gut says about their answers to the latter over what their words say.

And also, a lot of people, men especially, think that if someone keeps giving in a relationship, everything is going fine and it’s all ticking over well worth wh level of input they are currently giving.

So yes, model giving behaviour, but don’t be a tap that’s stuck on full flow either. Reciprocity is important.

Tureen Tue 23-Feb-21 05:08:48

OP, I wonder, given what you say about ‘modellling’ being patient, loving, open, generous etc, and insisting ‘forcefully’ on paying for more than your share while secretly wishing they would insist even more forcefully, whether you aren’t setting yourself up for being taken for granted somewhat, because you’re being, as you say, ‘committed and loyal’ and investing a lot of time, money and emotional energy from the outset.

I don’t think the alternative is some kind of ‘Rules’/‘Why Men Love Bitches’-style game-playing either, but your post reminds me a bit of the regular posts on here making similar complaints about not transitioning from acquaintance to friendship, or friendships regularly petering out, even though here posters also say they’re doing all the right things — they’re kind, friendly, loyal, a good listener etc etc.

Basically, are you making yourself ‘invisible’ in the relationship by modelling the behaviour you are? What would happen if you stopped that? If you either accepted this relationship was temporary fun, or had a time machine that enabled you to see it did in fact end in marriage, how would you behave differently?

Also, just in case you’re dating a Midlands-based academic who’s not yet divorced, had a lengthy marriage and is originally from a differently part of the UK, don’t expect any moves — he’s an incredibly passive person with a history of wanting to preserve the status quo in any given situation!

PuertoVallarta Tue 23-Feb-21 05:55:50

@Tureen ^ Also, just in case you’re dating a Midlands-based academic who’s not yet divorced, had a lengthy marriage and is originally from a differently part of the UK, don’t expect any moves — he’s an incredibly passive person with a history of wanting to preserve the status quo in any given situation! ^


He is rather passive, so one out of five

OP’s posts: |
Tureen Tue 23-Feb-21 06:01:29

Oh, I’m glad it’s not him! He’s a friend of whom I am very fond, but having been around for much of his marriage (proposed to by ex-wife after eight years of an LDR he was happy to continue indefinitely, and then sort of went along with wedding and two children — his after another lengthy LDR that pooled along for nearly a decade), I think he could easily be the kind of person who stalls at five months...

Tureen Tue 23-Feb-21 06:03:46

Sorry, should have read ‘THIS after’. He had a lengthy LDR, she finally dumped him when it was obvious he was happy for it to go on indefinitely, then a second equally long one, after which she proposed because he clearly wasn’t going to...

Graciebobcat Tue 23-Feb-21 06:07:01

If you don't want to have children why not just remain independent, have a boyfriend but your own home, money and space? Marriage often isn't a good deal for women. Save yourself from a lifetime of wifework.

tribpot Tue 23-Feb-21 06:09:36

I agree with @Tureen OP, you seem to be giving far more than you're getting and I suspect coming off as a bit too needy.

I’ve spent so much money and time and emotional energy on men.

I have to keep being patient, loving, open, generous

Although I am not a high earner I always find myself paying more most of the time

It sounds like you're emotionally and financially spent from giving so much.

This seems particularly worrying: I wish I had an arranged marriage. I could make it work. You want to be married more than you want to be in a relationship with one particular person? If that's the vibe you're giving off, you can see why it might be off-putting.

Saying you want to be someone's family makes me think you don't feel like someone's family now. What is your family life like? Do you feel fulfilled and supported in your relationships with family and friends?

I'm not sure why you thought someone (just?) out of a twenty year marriage would be a good bet, surely he'd be much more likely to be looking for something fun and low-commitment? All you've told him is you want stability, which could be interpreted in a lot of different ways.

I think you do need to take control of the situation more; obviously you don't want to announce on a first date that you're looking for marriage but quite quickly at the start of a relationship I would make this clear. If they bolt - well, you've not wasted time investing in them emotionally or financially.

I think it's time to stop being patient and start being clear about what kind of relationship you're looking for.

PollyPocket245 Tue 23-Feb-21 06:33:38

I could have missed this, but the thing that really strikes me about your post is you talk heavily about wanting to be married and moving forward but not about love, and how they make you feel.

Personally I wouldn’t care drastically about being married if I was in a living relationship with someone I loved and felt secure with. I know we are all different but do you think you could be so fixated on the idea of marriage that your overlooking your needs in the relationship?

I don’t often comment on posts like this but I saw a lot of myself (or how I used to be) in your post and didn’t want to read and run. Your needs need to be met first x

Lampan Tue 23-Feb-21 07:05:21

Forgive me if I have the wrong impression from your posts but it sounds a bit like you’re putting more emphasis on getting married than on finding one great person to spend the rest of your life with. As if you would have married any of your past relationships if they had proposed. There are plenty of ‘nice’ men out there but have you ever dated anyone who you though was amazing (though they are rare!). Relationships can fizzle out after marriage too so I think maybe you need to shift the emphasis from finding someone OK and making it work, to finding someone who you are so happy with that getting married is hopefully an option but not a priority.

RantyAnty Tue 23-Feb-21 07:13:30

It may seem silly and old-fashioned, but I do think men still like to woo a woman. There is such a thing as being too nice. Men still wanted to feel needed and somewhat the hero.

I've found paying for men makes them feel less than.

It wouldn't hurt to experiment a bit. Hold back and let your new guy take the lead. Don't be such a sure thing. Express what you want and then let him step up to meet that. Let him plan the date. Don't offer to pay. Don't always pick up the phone when he calls.

I guess I'm saying be more about yourself and let him fit into your life. It wouldn't hurt to try. If he remains passive, cut him loose.

Jobsharenightmare Tue 23-Feb-21 07:22:44

In my experience if a man really enjoys your company he'll want to be spending more and more time with you, not stall and plateau after 6 months. Especially if neither have children, which inevitably slow down the process of merging lives.

There shouldn't be any games, he should want to call to speak to you and you should be able to answer every time you want. There's no need to forcefully pay. What's that about?

I wonder if you are missing the signs that the men you date are not really that interested and carrying on because of how much you want marriage?

PurplePansy05 Tue 23-Feb-21 07:23:11

I do think quite a number of people are in happy relationships and end up getting married because they want kids/more financial security, for example when it comes to the mortgage/peer pressure/everyone considering it's a thing to do in your late 20s and 30s. I am now mid 30s and my perception on marriage has changed. I am glad I married DH but if I met him now instead, when I'm established professionally, older and pretty self sufficient I'm not so sure whether marriage would be high up on my list at all. The older I get, the less pressure I feel about it, it's more so about being happy and committed. I strongly suspect if I had been single till now, I'd really value my independence and may not want to get married at all.

What is it that makes you so drawn to thr concept of marriage? It isn't a guarantee that a man will stay with you for longerbor forever as you know. It's not a measure of your value as a woman. Why do you feel the need for it?

Are you projecting this urge on the men you are with? Subconsciously? Or maybe are you not assertive enough and hiding it which makes them think you aren't into it and they leave? Lack of assertiveness at certain age in particular isn't attractive and you come across to me just from your posts as lacking self confidence. I wonder what you're like IRL.

category12 Tue 23-Feb-21 07:24:27

I don't know, it just sounds like these men are interchangeable and like you're not that bothered who they are as long as you get past the finishing line of a wedding.

PurplePansy05 Tue 23-Feb-21 07:35:24

Yep, I'm not sure a marriage would work tbh, you can't go into it thinking yes, now I've made haven't made it at all, it's the beginning of hard work if anything! It's vital to be with a man that is right for you and then you can both think of formalising it or not. It doesn't sound like any of these men so far would be the right fit for you and yet you're dragging these relationships on in hope of having a ring on your finger. Big mistake sorry, and this would end up in tears anyway! Also re your current partner, personally I wouldn't want to marry again after a 20 year marriage. But you clearly need to have a think about what you really want and why and then speak openly to him to find out what his outlook is.

hellywelly3 Tue 23-Feb-21 07:35:30

You mention once a week thing, I would never want to be with someone who was happy to see me once a week. When I met my husband we just want to spend all our time together. Not just in bed but everything. We were a couple who were happy doing the everyday things together. Pretty much from the second date.

Changeychange1 Tue 23-Feb-21 07:59:58

I’ve named changed to give you this controversial advice OP grin

At baseline, men are programmed to hunt, and protect. They are also very visual. In my view you need to look really good (they like to be able to have admiration about their attractive partner), they need to feel feel that they have ‘hunted’ or chosen you and won. They need to feel needed, to protect you - read about the hero instinct. I think a little bit of jealousy goes a long way, they need to be worried about losing you.

I know that this will be a highly criticised post, which is why I’ve name changed. Good luck grin

NotAgainNoMore Tue 23-Feb-21 09:25:59

Read Why Men Love Bitches - it really isn't as nasty/trashy as it sounds. It gives a bit of insight of how some men think and also good comparisons between a placid/always available woman and an independent woman with strong boundaries. It is not a bible/script to be followed obviously but a few things stuck with me. Anything is worth a shot!
Personally, I think you're focussing on marriage far too much. If he's only recently out of a 20yr marriage, I can't see why he'd be in a rush to enter a new one. Also, 5 mths in is far too soon to be thinking that way. I'd reassess how things are at 9/12mths and if things haven't progressed (seeing each other more, meeting family/friends etc) then I'd move on.

ThisTooShallBeFantastic Tue 23-Feb-21 09:27:22

Stop looking for marriage and start looking for passion - in yourself first and foremost. It sounds like you’re trundling through life in a totally vanilla way, keeping everything in check in order to secure the Holy Grail, marriage. Fuck that. Live each day being authentically you, doing what you feel passion for. Be a firecracker.

Only accept a man in to your life if you are crazy about him, otherwise what is the bloody point?

And only accept a man in your life who is crazy about you, forget these interchangeable placemarkers where everything is nice but there’s no passion.

Where there is mutual fire and passion in a relationship there’s is a chance that a marriage, with all its compromises, will work. Possibly. Don’t count on it.

Can’t be bothered to criticise @Changeychange1’s post, or is that @cowardcowardy?

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