Dear Carolyn: I have been with my boyfriend for seven years. We began dating because I asked him out. I was the first to say, “I love you.” I was the one, after two years, who brought up moving in together. In seven years, I seem to have been the only one making decisions about our future.
So I refuse to bring up marriage. I wanted it to come from him, I needed him to want it, and I waited very patiently.
I do not want to break up my family. I want to be in a relationship knowing the other intends to spend the rest of his life with me. We split expenses. He has a financial cushion, I struggle paycheck to paycheck. I was a single young mother and struggled. He lived with his mother for the majority of his life and has invested and saved.
It is not about the money, though I do feel as if we are two separate islands. I feel so very lonely. – T.
I get why you’re miserable and why you pinpoint your boyfriend’s failure to merge your “separate islands” as the source of your misery.
But I can also argue that you’ve brought misery upon yourself.
You say your boyfriend didn’t put any moves on you, didn’t volunteer I-love-you’s, didn’t pine to live with you, and (theatrical throat-clearing here) didn’t even leave his mother’s nest to go out and feather his own.
So how, exactly, did he become someone in your mind who would ever initiate anything?
He is who he is. Expecting him to transform into a man of pro-action seems about as realistic as expecting him to sprout feathers and quack the national anthem.
Before you implode with bitterness – and with the help of good counseling if that’s what it takes – please consider accepting your boyfriend for who he is. He may not love you the way you want, but apparently he’ll live the way you want, provided you spell it all out.