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Question
Posted by: Blue | 2003/03/12

Engaged for 2 weeks

My boyfriend is 27, I am 23. We have been together for 6 years. He recently proposed to me but decided two weeks later he wasnt ready for that type of commitment. Who knows what changed his mind, it was his decision in the 1st place. I am extremely hurt & offended by his decision. He says maybe in 5 or 6 years time he will be ready.
Should I be understanding & sympathetic to his decision and hope that it wont take 5 years to get over his fears, if at all?
or should I tell him to find someone who is willing to wait cos I certainly aint, even though I love him more than anything?
What is so fearful about marridge anyway? I see it as a start to a beautiful life. He sees it as a scary change. What the heck do I do now?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Blue,
A good queston with no ready easy answer. It's a puzzle why far more men seem to find the prospect of long-term committment within mariage to be so daunting, while many women see it as welcome. Maybe much has to do with social conditioning. I often hear parents ( moms and dads ) talking to their daughters about "when they get married", and encouraging toys and games that include the idea of such bonding --- it's far rarer to hear similar chat about litle boys being expected to get married. Except, perhaps, when an exasperated parent, faced with rebellious and naughty kids, says : "Aah, I look forward to the day when You're married and have kids --- and you find oput what a pain in the neck childen can be ! "
It does sound od for him to swtich from proposing one week, to deciding in a couple of weeks that it'll take him 8 years to get ready. Marriage isn't exactly an Olympic Event that needs years of carefully programmed training ( though, on second thoughts, maybe it wouldn't be so bad an idea if there were a bit of training involved ! ) and it isn't a Medical or similar degree where one can predict that the course will take 7 years.
Wherever his wild guess as to how long it'll take comes from, what he probably has realized is that he's far from grown up enough to manage to be responsibly committed to someone else. Now, at 27, he's had plenty of time to grow up --- waiting till 33, if he hasn't managed to achieve adult attitudes by 27, doesn't sound very encouraging !
And to expect you to simply st down and wait for another half a decade, on the off-chance that he may manage it by then, is hardly reasonable.
Surely, you both need to sit down, calmly, and discuss this whole issue, like adults, and seek to better understand each other's point of view. One might even consider pre-marital counselling, to get the benefit of some expert advice. At least this event has confirmed that there's more that you don't know about him, that perhaps you realized. If he's adamant that he needs at least a 12-year engagement, maybe it is reasonable to suggest he can send you a postcard when he thinks he's ready, but in the meantime you could feel justified in getting on with the rest of your own life ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: Wondering | 2003/03/12

It looks like he wants the benefit of a relationship without the commitment. If he now thinks that he is not ready, even after six years together he never will be. It seems that he is still very immature for someone of 27 or he just don't want to give up his single status. Some of us men are like that. I know I was like that until I met my special friend. I have been asking her to marry me for the past seven years and I think she is now ready to accept. I have hurt her and she has made some mistakes in the past, but as we really love each other we have forgiven each other and put all of that in the past. We are now looking forward and we are trying to work things out from this point on.
All the best and hopefully he will realise what he has before it is too late. So often we only realise what we had after we lost it and too often we can never get it back. At least my friend and I could start again and who knows maybe you can also.

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