Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless

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ItalianGirl89 Posts : 5 Registered: 6/12/11
Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 12, 2011 6:15 PM

Feeling pretty down tonight about my relationship situation. Marriage is very important to me and something I've always wanted, even though I'm very young in society's eyes. I've been with the same boy since I was 15. Good friends growing up, close families, and high school sweathearts. Went to different colleges and survived the long distance happily, mainly because of our maturity level compared to our peers. Now I'm 21 and he's 22. We talk about marriage and our future plans all the time, but we're still not engaged :-(

This past September, I pursued my dream to do my Masters abroad in Italy. In my head, I always assumed that he would ask me before I went away to make it official. Who wants their girlfriend to live in Europe without any form of commitment? Well I got on the plane, and no ring. I was devastated. I know life is not a movie, but it just seemed like the perfect time to show me that he was supporting my decision for my education and would stand by my side through it.

He then came to visit me that November. We went to Venice and I planned all these special things for him (concert of a band he liked that was touring, gondola ride, special dinner). Nothing happened.

I went home for Christmas for 2 weeks. Nothing. You get the picture....

So my question is: As I sit here tonight feeling pretty down about all this. Being away, sacrificing parts of my experience abroad in order to be true to him (and I know he has been true to me)....without any sign from him that he means it. Call me old fashion, but if you love a girl and plan to marry her, you ask her after 6 years...

I know commitment is about love, and a ring is just a symbol. I've seen plenty of marriages fail to understand that the ring isn't the important part.

But as I sit here in doubt, I can't help but wonder tonight, 5000 miles away from him, if maybe I'm a fool being strung along by an immature young man. Harsh maybe. At what point do you stop being patient and start making deadlines in your head? Everything else in my life is moving at lightening speed...but my relationship has been stagnant since high school. Don't get me wrong, there's love, passion, trust, fun....but always the same level of commitment. Is something wrong with me?

Help ladies :-( Feeling pretty down tonight

P.S. he'll be here shortly for a 6 week summer trip (not getting my hopes up), and then I have another year abroad. So as I have June 2012....I have no idea where I'll be since I don't know where we'll stand.

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 12, 2011 7:07 PM Go to message in response to: ItalianGirl89

Dear IG,

"At what point do you stop being patient and start making deadlines in your head?"

You start making deadlines in your head as soon as you decide one of your own personal life goals is to be married.

Personally, I would have made that deadline the day I left for Italy. Why should you decline the opportunity to have a great time in Italy with nice Italian men if Boyfriend can't get off his butt and nail you down with an engagement? I'd say the deadline is long past.

You don't want to give him an ultimatum. That's immature. What you DO want to do is live your life. Enjoy being 21. Enjoy Italy. (I was there last year, and had a blast!!! Oh, the food. Oh, the art. Oh, the clothes.)

Young women come to this message board all the time and ask the same question you are asking: "When have I waited enough?". I give them the same answer. Make a deadline in the privacy of your own mind. If you are not engaged or married by that point in time, bail.

In your case, I'd say the deadline has already expired. You are a young, attractive, educated, nice young woman. Plenty of men would love to go out with you. Why decline those kinds of experiences because Boyfriend Back Home can't get his act together?

Write him some kind of email that says "I really thought we would be engaged by now. I can see that your priorities are elsewhere. Thus, since marriage is a priority for me, I have decided to make myself available to marriage-minded men and have a great life for myself. I sincerely wish you the best."

Two things can happen:

1. He's on the next flight to Rome with a ring in his pocket, begging you to marry him.

2. He replies with "I've been thinking we need to see other people and continue on as friends. Besides, there's this other girl I've wanted to date and...".

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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 13, 2011 3:24 PM Go to message in response to: ItalianGirl89

Does he know you'd like to be engaged now instead of later?

I think AOTB has given good advice except for one caveat -- I don't think the deadline has come and gone, not at age 22. I think it's normal for a male 22 year old to think he's still got some time before he has to pop the question. Hell, a 22 year old hasn't even had the time to really save some $$ for the ring -- he's barely been working (assuming he's been in college!)

Unless, of course, you've made it clear that you want to be married soon. In that case you guys aren't on the same page. But for me, I'd want to make sure that he knows how I'm feeling, that I'd like to have a commitment while I'm far away, and that he needs to step up. And if he can't, then at least you know.

It's so sad to hear someone so bummed in Italy. It's Italy, for heaven's sake!!!

Good luck.

__________________________________________

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 13, 2011 5:11 PM Go to message in response to: MsDenuninani

Dear MsD,

"I don't think the deadline has come and gone"

The deadline has come and gone because the OP is asking about a deadline.

If she's asking herself those kinds of questions, it's high time to write the "Dear John" email and then go and grab some Italian male body parts.


(HANDS. I'm referring to HANDS. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

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WellWisher Posts : 175 Registered: 1/2/10
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 13, 2011 5:31 PM Go to message in response to: Aunt

I don't know about HANDS, Aunt! They pinch butts as a compliment over there! :)

I think it's time to have "a conversation" with the boyfriend back home. 6 years of a mature (as you have described it), serious relationship at least deserves an explanation. As far as we know he may be hunky dory with the way things are right now and not even be thinking about taking the next step. I think it is fair to ask in a calm voice and attitude when he expects the relationship to move onto the next step-engagement. This isn't an ultimatum, but simply so you won't have to second-guess yourself all the time. Because second-guessing yourself is a sucky way to live.

Then, once you know his "game plan" you can explore whether you see yourself fitting into that plan. If he says, "Hey babe, marriage? That's just some social jail that people feed into to," then you know to shut the door on your way out!

I'll also add a disclaimer that hardly anything goes according to plan. Life is full of surprises and there are many twists and turns along the way. That being said if he doesn't want to marry you or doesn't believe in marriage, I wouldn't try to change his mind. You sound like a wonderful young woman and men from all over the world would be happy to date and marry you!

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ItalianGirl89 Posts : 5 Registered: 6/12/11
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 13, 2011 5:57 PM Go to message in response to: Aunt

Thank you all for your responses. It means a lot to have opinions from people who are not involved and biased.

Yes, he knows that this is what I want. We plan on getting married when I return, probably 2013. Maybe it's the idea of the long-engagement that's part of the problem? I don't know how young men think, but maybe engagement in his head means you have to get married a few months later. Regardless, I've communicated to him that this isn't the case. I would never want to jeopardize our education and it makes sense to leave a little time to figure out jobs-finances, etc.

I can also see your point of view about only being 22. Trust me, I know I sound crazy. It just doesn't feel like we're that age. When you've been with someone for so long, been through sickness, family problems, long distance....you know everything about them. We already act like an old married couple! lol

So yes, maybe he's waiting for the right time when he feels comfortable with his life. Maybe it's selfish to want things to be on my time-schedule? I don't know. My only justification to my selfishness is: when is it really the "right" time for these kind of things? Life isn't perfect, there's ups and downs, stress. If people waiting for perfect timing, they're would be no marriages or kids. That's how I feel anyway.

Do you think it's wise to wait until the end of the summer? See how the trip goes when he comes to Italy and then if nothing happens, bring it up?

Edited by: ItalianGirl89 on Jun 13, 2011 5:58 PM

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 13, 2011 6:31 PM Go to message in response to: ItalianGirl89

Dear IG,

"Maybe it's selfish to want things to be on my time-schedule?"

Not selfish at all. You live your LIFE on your schedule. After all, you are now in Italy on your schedule.

Do you think it's "selfish" of him to want things to be on his time schedule?

Something has to change, one way or the other. You seem to be thinking that when you see him this summer will be your private deadline. If he proposes marriage, and if you are still so inclined, accept, great, and be engaged.

If he does not propose, then towards the end of his stay, have The Talk with him and see where his head is at.

A good way to initiate The Talk is with something like "Where do you see yourself in another five years? Another ten years? Where do you see yourself at this time next year?".

It's either that, or drive yourself nuts.

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LadyEllaDee Posts : 3 Registered: 6/13/11
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 13, 2011 7:30 PM Go to message in response to: ItalianGirl89

"... engagement in his head means you have to get married a few months later. Regardless, I've communicated to him that this isn't the case."

My man and I have these mindsets. BTW, we are ten years older.

Never break up with someone over time frame of engagement! If he wants to marry you someday and he is the one, then he is the one, period.

I think you just need to talk with him more about your feelings here. Remember the fact that you are talking about the actual wedding date is far more important than when you are engaged.

Perhaps tell him you need a lot of time to be engaged so you may relax & enjoy yourself and set up a complicated budget before you plan.

I think if a woman has a timeline, after it passes, she should consider proposing to him herself, but never breaking up over such a stupid thing. If you want to be with him forever, why break up over this short term issue? Doesn't make sense.

All that said, I am bummed waiting for engagement because my live-in "boyfriend" has always wanted to pass his professional license exam before getting engaged, but the results of that are a year away. It's torture for me. Thing is, the pressure is hard on him, so it's even harder on him.

Sometimes I get antsy or bummed, but I have to try to show support and not pressure, that's our situation anyway. I came here looking for a supportive group of people in the "waiting" situation, too. ... Hi!

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 13, 2011 10:55 PM Go to message in response to: LadyEllaDee

Dear Ella,

"Never break up with someone over time frame of engagement! If he wants to marry you someday and he is the one, then he is the one, period. "

I totally disagree.

You are 32, I am 57. I have seen many people go through YEARS, DECADES of waiting for the other to become "ready". In the meantime, they submerge their own personal life goal of a happy marriage into perpetual waiting.

There comes a point where you have to either fish or cut bait. Each person has to decide, for themselves, when that point has been reached.

If you don't have a personal goal of getting married, great, live with another person who similarly does not have a personal goal of getting married. Fine by me.

However, young women come to this message board all the time with "I've been with my boyfriend X years. When do you think he 'should' propose to me?"

My answer is always the same: Make a private deadline in your head. Decide that you will move on if that private deadline comes and goes without any movement on his part. If he proposes, great, start planning the wedding and move on with your life. If not, then have a talk as outlined above: "Our life goals do not seem to be in similar directions... It's time for me to become available to men who have life goals similar to my own..."

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ItalianGirl89 Posts : 5 Registered: 6/12/11
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 4:44 AM Go to message in response to: Aunt

I'm going to wait until the end of the summer then. If nothing happens or we don't have a serious conversation about it, then I will reevaluate the situation, and let him know that I need to know where he stands for this to continue.

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 10:35 AM Go to message in response to: ItalianGirl89

Dear IG,

That is enpowering, even of itself.

Make that promise to yourself and stick with it.

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ColonialWed Posts : 3 Registered: 3/23/11
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Jun 22, 2011 4:17 PM Go to message in response to: Aunt

I agree with a lot of the comments left on this post, and I think there is a fine line between waiting and moving on. I certainly don't think that you should wait forever, especially if you know that this is what you really want and want to start a family, etc. I also don't think that you should necessarily end a very important and committed relationship just because one date you put in your head has come and gone. You should definitely talk to him about it all though. It would be good to set a deadline in your head and say if it doesn't happen by this date we need to have a serious conversation about this. Then if the conversation reveals that things are not going to end up the way you want, you move on with your life. Sometimes he may have some reasoning in his head that you never though about.

For instance, I have been in a similar situation. I have been with my boyfriend now for almost 7 years. I am 26 now and a lot of my friends are getting married. We have talked about marriage a lot and know that it is what we both want. I decided last year to move to a different city to get my master's degree. I really really wanted to be engaged before I left, because I wanted that commitment while we were apart. It didn't happen, I was really hurt, so I asked him about it. He said that he didn't want to have a long distance engagement. When we get engaged he wants to be together and celebrate and enjoy that period of time while we get ready for the rest of our lives. It was something that I hadn't thought of, but I definitely understand what he is saying. I find it very touching actually. This is something that I was able to accept and understand, and I am happy to wait another year or so for the reasons he explained.

Not everyone would feel the same way I do about waiting a little while longer. For some it might be too long and they would need to move on with their lives and that's fine. For me, I am content with our relationship and I know we will get married sometime soon. That has to be a personal decision. I just encourage you to talk to him about it, so that you can both explain your points of view. Then you can make an informed decision.

And either way enjoy Italia! I studied abroad in Florence in college and loved it. I was with the same guy then and we were long distance and it was hard, but I would never let it dampen my experience. Let it be a time to explore who you are like I did.

Ciao!

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ItalianGirl89 Posts : 5 Registered: 6/12/11
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:30 PM Go to message in response to: ColonialWed

The summer has come and past....and no ring. Disappointed yet again. The next time we'll see each other is Christmas, and then at the end of the following summer when I'm done with my Masters here. Besides the emotional disappointment and being hurt, this now raises logistical issues such as: I don't know where I'm going to live, what jobs to look for, and what stage of life I will be in less than a years time. I feel like that is not fair :-/

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 2:42 PM Go to message in response to: ItalianGirl89

Dear IG,

Oh, dear.

I'd say it's time to move on. He had his chance, he muffed it and now you need to move on.

Declare yourself to be single, grab those Italian body parts and have a good time.

Maybe, later, you'll get back together. Don't worry about that now.

I am very serious. Don't spend your youth waiting on some man. Spend your youth being YOUNG and FREE.

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ItalianGirl89 Posts : 5 Registered: 6/12/11
Re: Young and dating for 6 years...feeling hopeless
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 5:56 PM Go to message in response to: Aunt

Easier said than done when you love someone :-/ I have to add, we did talk about it at the end of the summer, and he said that he wants that to, but it has to be on his time, blah blah, etc. I don't even know what that means: "his time"? I'm so frustrated and this distance only adds to my insecurity.

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