My boyfriend of almost five years is handsome, kind, an introvert, reserved, with good core values.
I'm 37, he's 33. He approached me at a common friend’s gathering. I knew it wasn’t the best timing as his dad had passed away a few months before we started dating.
But I liked him in many ways and I was young, believing in time, hope and love.
The past few years have been full of ups and downs, good and bad moments.
Three years ago, when we were each renting different places, I shared with him that I may need to consider buying a place to stay.
He suggested I wait, but he gave no more details and I felt shy to ask for any. I decided to take time to see if we can share a future and a place together.
Last year, he said he's been pre-approved for a mortgage. I tried to suggest he wait till we both can contribute.
He got frustrated and said he'd already started the process and when he gets his place, I can keep some of my belongings there. I didn't like the idea.
A few weeks later, he got mad at me as I met a guy over coffee to ask for professional advice re: changing my current job.
I’d informed my boyfriend about the context and my line of thinking. He cut contact with me for some time but returned after four months, apologizing for overreacting asking to get together again.
We started again. Once, he shared his excitement that he's moved to a new place and he'd like to share the key with me (he didn't, and I didn't plan to take it).
I visited him once with a gift for his new place. I found out indirectly that he purchased the bachelor unit on a two-year mortgage plan. He didn't bring it up and tried not to discuss it.
He periodically shared his excitement about buying new stuff for his place.
I understand he has his own life. But, to me, considering the duration of dating and my age, if he had any plan to have a family with me, he’d have given us a chance to find a proper place together given that we’re both professionals with decent salaries.
My close friend thinks my boyfriend may need more time to be confident about any shared future. But to me, it’s a red flag that I haven't been included in his decision.
Am I being selfish, materialistic or unreasonable? Was I not assertive enough? Did I get myself stuck in a co-dependency?
Of course, you’re unsure about a future with this guy. The reason is that during five years of dating, you two haven’t developed a pattern of straightforward, open communication.
You talk of “sharing” a thought that could affect your future together as if it’s a very occasional occurrence.
He’s an adult, capable of arranging and affording a place to live, who didn’t consider you in his plans.
For your part, you speak of “liking” him, but not of love.
Since you’ve mentioned your age and potential desire for a family, I suggest you speak directly to him – and soon - about your interests and feelings.
This approach is NOT selfish, materialistic or unreasonable. It’s about you looking after your near-future needs, which requires being clear that he must decide and inform you of his feelings.
Being assertive is necessary, now, or you’ll regret spending more time in limbo with him.
FEEDBACK Regarding the “older woman” whose 11-years-younger boyfriend suddenly announced he’s marrying someone else. She wondered how to tell her son that he’s moving out of their life (December 28):
Reader – “I just finished reading your column and wanted to say what a good person the woman who sent in the question seems to be.
“She's a very special lady. That young man who enjoyed her friendship over the past two years is very lucky indeed.”
Reader #2 – “I think this lady missed an opportunity that she may never get again. Doors open and doors close. We have to choose which ones we go through.
“Sounds to me they could’ve had something.”
Ellie – I also felt, from what she wrote, that they’d had a unique and loving friendship.
I wrote, “You were both good for each other during a certain time period. But he’s ready, partly through your influence, to move into a different phase.”
Tip of the day:
Long-term dating without discussion of the future grows stale with regrets.