Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “My Boyfriend of Six Years Says He Doesn’t Want to Marry Me”

New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), or submit a question for advice.

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I’m in my late 20s and have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for six years now. Last year we moved to a different city together where we knew nobody. He was going to school and I was working. Once the school year ended, we decided to move back to our home city and back in with our respective parents for the summer. In September, he moved back to start dental school and I am still living with my parents, so we are doing a long distance relationship now.

From the start, he always said he was never looking for a girlfriend, but somehow I have stuck around for six years. And he’s said since the beginning that, when he got into dental school, he wouldn’t want a girlfriend. Again, I stuck around. Now we’re doing long distance, and we are wondering when I will move back in with him. He is hesitant because last year when we lived together it didn’t go too well. I was very unhappy with what I was doing for work and was, therefore, depressed for the entire time we lived together. It was straining our relationship. When we moved back to our home city for the summer, our relationship flourished. Now he’s worried that, if we move back in together, it will be a repeat of last year. Although we have discussed what went wrong last year so many times and we’ve discussed what we could do differently to avoid that, he is still worried. He also says that the place he moved into is too small for the both of us to live in together.

He says he can’t commit to marriage with me. He says he’s not looking for a life partner — he’s not ready for it. But I really think he is the one for me. And even though he said all along he didn’t want a girlfriend, he’s been with me for the last six years? So, can I change his mind on marriage, too? Or am I setting myself up for heartbreak? – Contemplating Even Longer Term

***************

Related columns:

“It’s Been Five Years and My Boyfriend STILL Won’t Propose!”

“My Long Distance Foreign Boyfriend Doesn’t Want to Get Married”

“He Doesn’t See a Future with Me”

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

88 comments… add one
  • avatar

    kerrycontrary November 1, 2013, 9:08 am

    I know this is hard to hear but….Listen to people when they tell you who they are and what they want. They aren’t telling you because they want you to change their mind. They aren’t telling you one thing when they mean the complete opposite (“i don’t want to get married” does not equal “i want to get married”). You shouldn’t have to convince or trick someone into a relationship or marriage with you. Don’t you want to be with someone who WANTS to marry you without you having to “convince him” or “change his mind”. He’s telling you that he doesn’t want to live with you OR marry you (he may not want to marry anyone!). He’s not just saying “I’m not ready right now”, he’s saying “I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready”. I’m sure that’s really hard to take in so you’d rather live in denial, but it’s probably time to move on if you want to take some next steps and he can’t see those steps happening anytime in the foreseeable future.

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    • avatar

      tmd260 November 1, 2013, 11:12 am

      I’m sorry if this will sound harsh:
      You need to end this relationship. This man is never going to marry you & he doesn’t even really want to live with you. How much longer are you going to be sitting around waiting for him to somehow change his views? He has told you from day 1 he is not interested in a serious relationship & even after 6 years of you sticking by him, he is STILL telling you the same thing. You truly need to MOA, unless you’re ok with this dynamic for years to come… You mentioned things were bad when you lived together, & pinned all of the blame on yourself. While I’m sure it was a contributing factor, I can’t help but think he may have played a significant part in that as well. I have a feeling your depression wasn’t just based on your job… But then again, I could be wrong… Regardless, the best thing you could do for yourself at this point is end this. Cut your losses & restart your life. Take advantage of your single life to work on you, find things that truly fulfill you. Find someone that will truly fulfill you. He’s not going to change his mind, his excuses for not moving in together again are just that, excuses. Don’t do this to yourself anymore. I’m pretty sure you will not regret it.

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      • avatar

        Tmd260 November 1, 2013, 1:50 pm

        Sorry, I did not intend on having this comment as a reply. I’m on my phone…

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  • avatar

    gwensoul November 1, 2013, 9:10 am

    Whoever started this myth of ”the one” needs to be shot. There is no one person, it’s the right person at the right time.

    That said why do you want to hang on so bad to a guy who doesn’t want to be with you? If you want to marry someone you should look forward to the whole living together thing and be excited about the future. After six years you are either there or you are not.

    I know starting from scratch after 6 years is scary, but it is probably going to be worth it in the end. You have a much better chance of finding someone who wants the same things in life as you and is ready to do that with you than a hanging on to a guy who has told you that is not what he wants.

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  • avatar

    lemongrass November 1, 2013, 9:24 am

    Why do you WANT to be with him? Seriously, have some more respect for yourself. Staying with a guy who straight up tells you that he doesn’t want to marry you, hoping that you can change his mind is sad. Listen to what he is saying. Don’t you want more for yourself? Don’t you want to marry someone who actually wants to marry you? Who is excited about it? There are other men out there that you can fall in love with, that will meet your needs and you will be very happy with. Don’t try to force Mr. Almost Right into a marriage that he already told you he doesn’t want.

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  • GatorGirl

    GatorGirl November 1, 2013, 9:36 am

    Do you really want to marry someone you have to convince to marry you? Really? That’s the best you can do for yourself? A man who has told you over and over and over again that he doesn’t want to be with you?

    MOA. It’s hard to hear, but this relationship is NOT marriage material. This man is not marriage material. No, you can not change his mind on marriage and produce a healthy successful marriage and YES!!!! you are setting yourself up for heartbreak!

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  • avatar

    rachel November 1, 2013, 9:43 am

    How am I supposed to know it’s Friday when there aren’t shortcuts???

    Okay, I’ll go read the letter now.

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    • GatorGirl

      GatorGirl November 1, 2013, 9:48 am

      Omg, you’re right it IS Friday!! Yay!

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    • rosie posie

      rosie posie November 1, 2013, 11:03 am

      I didn’t read the title and after reading the letter I thought it was going to be a short cut!

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    • landygirl

      landygirl November 1, 2013, 12:31 pm

      Amazingly, this letter still brought my palm to my face.

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  • avatar

    bethany November 1, 2013, 9:46 am

    Ummm… You guys really need to break up. He doesn’t want a girlfriend, and doesn’t want to get married. This is harsh, but he’s staying with you because it’s easier than breaking up with you. He’s not staying with you because he wants to marry you and create a life with you. Eventually, he’s going to break up with you. Maybe not for a while, maybe not until you’ve gotten engaged, or maybe not until you’ve been married for a few years (if you can convince him to marry you) but eventually it will happen. You should just MOA and get it over with.

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  • avatar

    rachel November 1, 2013, 9:47 am

    LW, no, you can’t change his mind, and I don’t even know why you would want to. You have stuck around for 6 years because he’s just been happy with the status quo, but you can’t force someone to want what you want.

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  • avatar

    BreezyAM November 1, 2013, 9:49 am

    He is not the guy for you. He`s just the one there. He`s great on paper sure except one thing: He`s not into marriage, and it seems he`s not into YOU frankly.

    The rip will hurt. He will probably insist he cares and try to keep you around. You’re comfortable and familiar after all. And there’s nothing most men hate more than some woman being mad at them. (This is the root of a lot of “let’s be friends” post-breakup crap). Plus you’ve always basically been there trying to show him he needs you and wants you. You know what? Fuck him. He isn’t into what you want. Stop seeing him, calling him, texting him. 100% total no contact for several months at least. Every time you start to think of him, imagine what the real man of your future (not DREAMS, your FUTURE) will be like. Think about the character traits you want in a future partner, a future co-parent if that’s what you want, that sort of thing. And forget this dude.

    If you’re not against pre-marital sex or casual sex, and aren’t the type to get all moo moo over guys you sleep with now and again, I recommend going out dating and getting laid a few times to show yourself there is something else out there. But take your time choosing a potential “cheer up” guy. Don’t pick guys looking for Mrs Right, or guys you secretly would like to turn into Mr Husband. THIS IS NOT GOOD for all people, but for me, it’s an absolutely critical part of the break up process and nothing helps me better for distraction.

    And DO NOT be his “emotional girlfriend” under ANY circumstances during this time! If he has worries hopes fears and stress, fuck him he can call his mother. Let him miss you. I’m not saying he WILL come back, in fact he probably won’t. But a good dose of Life Without You might be the thing that gets his head out of his ass.

    And it might be the thing that wakes you up and makes you think “holy crap, what was I doing with this guy?!”

    Bonne Chance!

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    • avatar

      BreezyAM November 1, 2013, 9:53 am

      Oh. ANd please, please, please read “He’s Just Not That Into You” over and over and over and over again. That book was literally life changing for me. Don’t make excuses about “but but but they don’t understand my guy’s emo drama issue #938493083” while reading either. Because all that crap about “love is worth fighting for”? Yeah no that’s when you two are actually in love and something like a war or fucked up family drama is separating you (this does NOT include him being a cold ass thanks to childhood drama). In the end it doesn’t matter WHY a guy (and frankly most of that book goes in reverse and in LG relationships as well, but it’s written from the perspective of how het men and women are socialized to behave in relationships) is not available; HE’S JUST NOT. So stop wasting time on him. All it does is hurt you and waste time. It’s not noble at all. Don’t get fooled by those romantic stereotypes!

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    • rainbow

      rainbow November 1, 2013, 10:18 am

      “And DO NOT be his “emotional girlfriend” under ANY circumstances during this time! If he has worries hopes fears and stress, fuck him he can call his mother”

      I loved that.

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  • avatar

    Christy November 1, 2013, 9:57 am

    First thought: You set yourself up for heartbreak a long time ago. Just accept that there will be heartbreak. (Read Wendy’s letter from yesterday about taking risks.)
    Second thought: You are dating an asshole who won’t break up with you, even though you both know he isn’t giving you what you want, and he won’t give you what you want in the future. He’s staying in this relationship because it’s easy. It’s so easy to have someone puppy-dog follow you and just love you as much as you clearly love him. It’s easy to have that go-to emotional support and sex from someone who will never leave you. Because you’ve basically proven that you’ll never leave him, even though he’s not giving you what you want.

    Here’s what you have to do: You need to stand up for yourself in your relationship. Is he treating you poorly (by moving to dental school, by getting an apartment that you won’t fit in, by saying he doesn’t want to marry you)? Then dump him. He’s been trying to get you to dump him for a while now. If he wanted you to follow him, he’d’ve moved into an apartment that would fit both of you. For the love of god, take the hint on that one.

    And I know he feels like “the one.” (I don’t believe in “the one” but let’s proceed as if I do.) “The one” will want a girlfriend. “The one” will not try to give an end date (dental school) to this relationship he didn’t want. “The one” will support you through job stress and depression, not let it strain the relationship. “The one” will not move into an apartment too small for two when you are planning on following him on a move. “The one” can commit to marriage. “The one” wants a life partner. “The one” will be ready for a life partner when you’re ready for a life partner. “The one” will think you are the one for him, too.

    It sucks, but you have got to leave “this one” if you ever want to actually find “the one”. Because he isn’t making you happy, and “the one” has to at least make you happy.

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    • avatar

      AliceInDairyland November 1, 2013, 10:22 am

      I dunno, I wouldn’t call him an asshole (which maybe makes me an asshole?). But really, he has been as upfront about this as possible. He does not want to get married to you. He has said this multiple times. He is living his life for himself (aka did not get too big of an apartment, followed his desired career path). If she’s willing/content to have this quasi-relationship (which she’s not, but she’s not taking action against it) then why should he be the one to initiate will inevitably soooo much drama if he broke up with her? I guess I don’t really blame him when he has made his needs/expectations of the “Relationship” loud and clear.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow November 1, 2013, 10:27 am

        I feel the same way. I’m torn. A good person *should* say, “Hey, clearly I can’t give you what you want, so we should probably both move on,” BUT. He has told her over and over that he doesn’t want a girlfriend, doesn’t want to get married, etc. and she has stayed anyway. It’s her responsibility to look out for herself. (Although I can relate to her confusion since he said he didn’t want a girlfriend and yet stayed with her for 6 years, and even lived with her).

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland November 1, 2013, 10:35 am

        I would say a super-empathetic person should say that. But I’ve met quite a few people who aren’t very good at “putting themselves in someone else’s shoes” so to speak. There is the possibility that this guy is like “Well… I told her, like 5 times, that this is what I’m doing. But she keeps sticking around so she must be happy with what’s going on at this level. I like having her around, even though I know it’s temporary, so maybe she feels the same way too even if that’s not what she’s saying.”

        We’re telling HER to believe what HE says, but she’s not. Maybe HE isn’t believing what SHE is saying as well.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow November 1, 2013, 10:41 am

        Yeah. It’s definitely on her to believe what he’s telling her. You’re right. I’ve been swayed!

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM November 1, 2013, 6:50 pm

        I’ve also known people who resent the HELL out of people trying to be good to them, and consider it patronizing “yes I know we want different things/are in different places but I am a grownup and can make my own choices please do not try to be my parent. If you want to break up fine but don’t play like you’re doing me favours.”

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      • avatar

        Christy November 1, 2013, 10:54 am

        It’s true. He’s not an asshole, but he’s not a great guy either. A great guy would say “Look, I’m clearly not giving you what you want in this relationship, and I don’t want what you want, so I’m breaking up with you.”

        I think he’s kind of jerky for not just breaking up with her.

        (I’m also reading a lot into their situation – my bff has been in an on-off relationship for 8 years, in a situation like this. If her girlfriend would have broken up with her in the first place a long time ago, they’d’ve each been a lot happier.)

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow November 1, 2013, 11:16 am

        Yeah, OK, you have swayed me a little bit too. I’ve been in situations where I just know that the other person is either way more into me than I am into them, or they obviously want more out of the relationship than I want. It makes me feel…icky. I can’t imagine letting that go on for 6 years! I would (and have) cut the person loose.

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      • avatar

        starpattern November 1, 2013, 10:55 am

        Replied in the wrong place 🙁

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      • othy

        othy November 1, 2013, 10:59 am

        I think saying “I don’t want a girlfriend” but keeping her as a girlfriend is a pretty dick move. But, at least he hasn’t said “I don’t want a wife” and then married her anyway.

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      • avatar

        MMcG November 1, 2013, 11:16 am

        But how do we know that he keeps her as his gf and is being a dick? For all we know he thinks, and based on his repeated statements and actions he believes, that he is in a casual relationship that may not even be monogamous. I wonder how much of this serious relationship is all in the LW’s head…

        “We are wondering when I may move back in with him” = I am thinking about sticking around some more and he may not even be aware of it.
        “He’s hesitant, he’s worried” = He’s telling me he wants to be alone but I am ignoring the forest and the trees.
        “Have been in a relationship for 6 years” = I’ve been in a committed relationship, while hanging on to bare threads of affection, forcing myself into his life when he thinks of me more of a FWB and doesn’t want me around anymore, but if I keep sticking and he keeps refusing to rip off the bandaid I might win!

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland November 1, 2013, 11:19 am

        You explained this more coherently than I did. I think we also need to remember that most DWers are VERY in-tune with other people’s feelings and thought-processes which not everyone is. If this guy is just looking on the surface, and this girl is not really communicating her needs/wants in a direct way at all they could be on completely separate pages. Shitty pages, but nonetheless different.

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      • avatar

        MMcG November 1, 2013, 11:25 am

        I just can’t go “he’s the terrible one” based on what the LW wrote, because if I take her at her word, he is waving huge neon signs that he doesn’t want to be in a serious relationship, and she’s looking at them like “ohh I didn’t know neon came in blue and yellow… now what about our future together?”

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      • katie

        katie November 1, 2013, 11:42 am

        yep. i think you explained it wonderfully.

        there is a lady i have met casually and i think she is *just* like this, and honestly i didnt even know there were people like this out there. she has been dating the same guy for a long time, probably around 6 or 9 years or whatever, and the entire time he has cheated on her, broken up with her, treated her not so great (not terrible, mind you, but not great either). and apparently, all she ever says is “oh, its ok! you know i will forgive you and i still love you”. so basically he just has this blank check with his “girlfriend” where she will accept anything he does. its the weirdest thing ever. EVER!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson November 1, 2013, 12:13 pm

        Relationships like that make me very sad. But I guess some people have a weird combination of low self esteem and loving drama, so whatever. Hopefully they all just breed with each other.

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      • avatar

        MMcG November 1, 2013, 12:18 pm

        You mean hopefully they won’t breed at all 😉

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson November 1, 2013, 12:28 pm

        Shhhhhhh

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      • GatorGirl

        GatorGirl November 1, 2013, 12:29 pm

        I unfortunately have way too many family members like this. One cousin has been on and off with her BF of like 11 years and is pregnant with baby #3. They have been engaged and broken up more times than I can count, but they finally got married the day before we did (yes literally the DAY before). It sounds rude but I have little expectation they will last more than 5 years. I also have a darling uncle and his gf/fiancé/mother of baby #4 who make me so mad. A few weeks ago the woman called the cops on my drunk uncle (at like 2pm on a Tuesday) because he was being violent towards her and the baby, and by Wednesday she was posting overly mushy things on FB like “I love you to infinity and beyond” and “marriage takes more than love, it takes trust, respect, understanding etc etc”. They make me so mad on so many levels.

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      • othy

        othy November 1, 2013, 1:29 pm

        Fair enough. But, even with him telling her all of this, he keeps stringing her along. Surely he knows that she calls him her boyfriend. And I can’t imagine that he’s not answering her phone calls. While I agree that she’s probably not seeing the forest and the trees, and it’s 90% on her, he’s at least partially culpable for allowing her to continue coming back to him rather than fully cutting her off.

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      • avatar

        MMcG November 1, 2013, 2:31 pm

        But why is it his responsibility to cut her off? He’s seemingly getting what he wants, not making any promises or lying to her about his intentions, and looking out for #1 – isn’t that what we advise most LWers to do??

        Not his fault she keeps hoping and wishing for something that isn’t there and likely never was… I mean maybe everyone should assume to know what’s best for others and act on it, or maybe we should just treat adults like adults who are responsible for their own choices (as sad as they may be).

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      • katie

        katie November 1, 2013, 11:38 am

        i also would not call him an asshole.

        there is more ways to have a relationship then the all-powerful marriage-track. he is fine having a relationship that no kind of “forever” attached to it- ie. he doesnt want a life partner/wife/girlfriend/ANYTHING, but he does like what they have right now (or at least i assume he gets something out of it). he isnt lying to her. he isnt stringing her along.

        he is doing what we always tell people to do on DW- lay out what you want and dont want. the LW is accepting these terms, if only passively, in an apparent attempt to get him to cave someday. thats on her.

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      • avatar

        Christy November 1, 2013, 12:16 pm

        Yeah, I’d like to add to what I said: I don’t think that he’s an asshole for not wanting marriage or a relationship. You do you. I just think he’d be a better person if he dumped her.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow November 1, 2013, 12:39 pm

        yeah! Clearly she is responsible for her own emotional well-being.It’s on her to see it for what it is and listen when he tells her what he wants (or doesn’t want). No arguments there. He’s not an ass for not wanting marriage, and he’s not a terrible person because he IS being upfront with her. But it’s still a tad bit dickish to carry on in a relationship where you KNOW for a fact that you are not meeting the other person’s needs, and you just don’t care. They’re both in the wrong, if you ask me.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson November 1, 2013, 12:46 pm

        I completely disagree. She’s being an idiot. You teach people how to treat you. She’s taught him he can do whatever he wants and she’ll be following him around blindly like a puppy dog.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow November 1, 2013, 1:02 pm

        Absolutely. But it’s still a dick move to let someone follow you around blindly like a puppy dog just because they will. Like, would you do that? Just say, “Hey, you ‘taught’ me with your behavior that I can get away with never taking your needs into consideration, so that’s totally what I’m going to do.”

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow November 1, 2013, 1:04 pm

        I mean, it doesn’t matter. She needs to leave him regardless.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson November 1, 2013, 1:09 pm

        Haha look who you’re talking too. I probably would. Why wouldn’t you? You’re getting all of your needs satisfied, so you’re happy. You can’t control someone else’s happiness.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland November 1, 2013, 1:36 pm

        IWTTS, I’m an “asshole” like this too.

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  • avatar

    Lily in NYC November 1, 2013, 10:06 am

    I think you should ask yourself why you want to be with someone who is so lukewarm about your relationship. If you want to settle for crumbs, then by all means stay with him. This is the kind of guy who will be a distant father (using the excuse that you were the one that wanted kids, not him), never help around the house, and then will cheat on you but blame you for driving him to it. It’s time for inner strength – be the kind of person who doesn’t put up with being her partner’s lowest priority.

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  • cmary

    cmary November 1, 2013, 10:07 am

    I think it can take a while to KNOW that you DO want to be with someone forever. (6 years is quite a while, but the LW sounds young, so I guess we adjust for age?). But I also think people realize very quickly when they DO NOT want to be with someone. Brian and I had a “relationship discussion” when we were about a year into dating, and I told him Hey, I don’t expect you to know yet if you want to be married to me. But if you realize- at any point- that I’m NOT the one you want to marry, please, please, tell me. Because if someone flat out tells you they don’t want to marry you, chances are you’re not going to convince them otherwise. Whatever else they do, keeping you around, talking about the future, debating living together, is nothing. It’s nothing. Sticking around isn’t the same as being wanted. And being wanted is so much better. Wouldn’t you rather hear someone call you his girlfriend, or fiance, or wife and sound proud?

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    • avatar

      Christy November 1, 2013, 10:25 am

      She’s in her late 20s, she’s not that young.

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      • avatar

        kali November 1, 2013, 2:08 pm

        Young enough to find someone who wants what she wants out of life.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra November 1, 2013, 10:08 am

    Bottom line, you’re comfortable in your current situation and you’re afraid of what might happen if you aren’t with him. Your boyfriend doesn’t want to commit to you, but you want him to. You can’t force someone to change, especially when it comes to relationships. Even if you do change his mind, do you really want to be in a relationship where you had to convince him to marry you? That would just lead to even more heartache down the road.

    You have a lot of evidence that this isn’t working. Living together didn’t work the first time and I can guarantee it wouldn’t work if you tried it again. Not to mention, it’s obvious he doesn’t want to live with you again stating the apartment is “too small”. I mean, really? That’s pretty lame.

    He’s not going to marry you and he’s not going to commit to you despite the fact that it’s already been 6 years. It sounds like he has told you that multiple times. It’s time to believe him.

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  • avatar

    TECH November 1, 2013, 10:13 am

    Life is too short to be with someone who quite clearly can either take or leave you.
    Tell him that since he isn’t interested in marrying you, it’s time to part ways.
    If he doesn’t immediately do an about face and tell you how much he loves you and wants to spend the rest of his life with you, you know you made the right decision.
    When it comes to expecting him to change — I wouldn’t hold my breath. Just like Wendy said in yesterday afternoon’s update, decisions made out of courage are never ones we regret.

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland November 1, 2013, 10:26 am

    Alternative advice: This guy is going to make bank as a dentist. Work very hard to secure a lifelong commitment on paper with this gentleman before he finishes school. Then, when you are still not emotionally fulfilled in the least, take up some expensive hobbies to fill the emptiness inside. I hear horseback riding is expensive but also very emotionally rewarding…

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph November 1, 2013, 10:34 am

      Haa! I love it.

      Sometimes I do think I should have stuck with the law student I didn’t like to kiss. Sure, I love my husband, but horseback riding IS expensive…

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland November 1, 2013, 11:09 am

        Naw… haven’t you heard, lawyers can’t get jobs!! Everyone needs dentists…. 😉

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland November 1, 2013, 11:20 am

        ohmeegawd, just kidding. I <3 all the lawyers on here and would marry them for their $$ anytime.

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    • othy

      othy November 1, 2013, 11:02 am

      It’s just as easy to marry rich as it is to marry poor?

      That said, I wouldn’t trade my quit-his-job-to-return-to-school-to-become-a-writer (i.e. poor) husband for the world.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland November 1, 2013, 1:52 pm

        I’m with an organic farmer. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we will never be able to take a bath in large sums of cash…

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM November 1, 2013, 6:54 pm

        I will see and raise you a lawyer who…

        couldn’t handle regular law and turned himself into a NFP specialist and part time prof. FML.

        I shouldn’t bitch tho, we get by just fine. Just this isn’t what I thought being a lawyer’s wife would be like. Hmph.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph November 1, 2013, 10:31 am

    This letter makes me pretty sad for the LW. Late 20s and she’s invested 6 years with a guy who has claimed since day 1 that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. I, too, would probably be afraid to cut and run after I’ve sunken so much time into it.

    Read this: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-the-sunk-cost-fallacy-makes-you-act-stupid.html

    Staying with this guy for the next couple years will not mean you did any less wasting of the last 6 years, just that you’re going to waste even more. So yes, MOA.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna November 1, 2013, 10:37 am

      I don’t really like the concept of “investing” into a relationship in general. It sounds like while one is investing, one isn’t really happy, and just eagerly awaiting the return on investment (a marriage certificate?). And it makes time spent in relationships that weren’t “terminal” seem like a waste, but they could have been happy years. Plus, it’s not really like the more time you put into a relationship, the more likely you’ll get a lifelong commitment, so it’s not even a real investment, but rather just “spending time with someone”.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph November 1, 2013, 1:02 pm

        I think to say you are just spending time with someone is an oversimplification. Most people don’t spend several years in a romantic relationship with someone with the intention of being with them for a few years and then breaking up. They do it hoping that they will spend forever together. Is it true that you enter relationships without marriage being kind of the goal of the relationship. Or at least of seeing if this is a person you could marry? Maybe you don’t, but I always did. I didn’t date to date, I dated to find a life partner. That doesn’t mean every relationship where I didn’t end up married is a waste of time, but it certainly didn’t meet the goal (and for good reason, they were the wrong guys for me!)

        So yes at some point when you’ve spent 6 years with someone you feel like you’ve invested time and energy- time and energy you could have spent elsewhere, meeting a different guy who might be the one. So yes, there is a sunken cost in a relationship of the other men you could have dated, other things you could have done, etc. with the time you instead spent with them.

        The problem is not with thinking of relationships as an investment but that if you turn this thinking into “I’ve spent 6 years with him, I have to make him the one because it’s been so long.” That’s not the point. The point is not to find A life partner, but the right life partner.

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        SasLinna November 1, 2013, 2:05 pm

        I get what you’re saying. I always dated with the intention of a longterm commitment, too, but I don’t think I ever adjusted my life significantly before making and getting said commitment. So I didn’t ever really do anything that would have made me feel like I had wasted my time if the relationship didn’t make it to a permanent commitment. (Or maybe I did, but I certainly don’t think one SHOULD do this).

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        SpaceySteph November 1, 2013, 3:58 pm

        Oh I definitely agree nobody SHOULD do this, but I think its a very common reaction and my advice to the LW is that I can understand her feeling that way but it’s not a good enough reason to stay.

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  • rainbow

    rainbow November 1, 2013, 10:34 am

    “He also says that the place he moved into is too small for the both of us to live in together.” Well, he picked it, didn’t he? You have your answer right there.

    I was once dating a guy who had to move for work and ended up in a very small studio apartment. We were crazy in love and couldn’t just break up (we believed at first it was the sensible thing to do – and looking back it would have been), so I followed him four months after he left. He was the one who invited me to live with him and never, not even once, was the size of the apartment a problem. We just fucked like rabbits all over the room, cooked for each other making the whole place stinky (it was really small and cave-like) and made plans for the future in sweaty studio apartment bliss. And he wasn’t even a good boyfriend, he was kind of an asshole, but it happened this way because he wanted me.

    You asked this man if you can move with him and he said “oh, well, you know, the place is too small”. HE DOES NOT WANT YOU THERE. Take the hint.

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    • avatar

      Christy November 1, 2013, 10:56 am

      This really is the clearest sign of them all.

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  • avatar

    starpattern November 1, 2013, 10:55 am

    This guy sounds like a weenie. He doesn’t want a girlfriend, but accepts one anyway, stays with her 6 years while going on the whole time about how he doesn’t want commitment, blah blah blah? I’m surprised he’s pursuing something like dental school, because he sounds SO passive about his own life.

    LW, don’t you want someone who is going to actively want a relationship with you? You’ve spent 6 years on this guy and he hasn’t come around. Please let go and find a man who doesn’t need convincing.

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    • rainbow

      rainbow November 1, 2013, 5:09 pm

      They’re very much alike if you think about it.
      He doesn’t want a girlfriend, but accepts one anyway, stays with her 6 years while going on the whole time about how he doesn’t want commitment.
      She doesn’t want to be single, but accepts to anyway, stays with him 6 years while going on the whole time about how she wants commitment.

      At least the dude is being honest with her. She’s trying to manipulate him into marrying him.

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      • avatar

        rieux November 1, 2013, 6:01 pm

        Eh, I wouldn’t say “honest.” Like, “we can’t live together because my place is too small” — that’s not honest. That’s using an excuse to get out of something you don’t want.

        That said, LW has a history of not respecting what he wants, apparently, so maybe he just feels like he has to have a backup reason that she doesn’t feel like she can wheedle or convince him out of.

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      • rainbow

        rainbow November 1, 2013, 6:17 pm

        “Eh, I wouldn’t say “honest.” Like, “we can’t live together because my place is too small” — that’s not honest. That’s using an excuse to get out of something you don’t want.”

        Yeah, you’re right about that. I was talking more about the not wanting a girlfriend part, but this one is not cool at all.

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  • avatar

    Amanda November 1, 2013, 10:56 am

    LW, it seems that your boyfriend has been very straightforward with you from the beginning of your relationship. I’m not sure why he hasn’t just broken up with you, but you clearly were OK with the situation to stay with this guy for 6 years. You should ask yourself why you settled and continue to settle for so little from this guy? Relationship scraps are just scraps; MOA if you truly want a chance at having a long term relationship with a partner who wants to be with you long term.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster November 1, 2013, 10:58 am

    Wait. Does he call you his girlfriend while telling he doesn’t want to have a girlfriend??? Has he been doing that for 6 years? And you’ve been putting up with it for 6 years?

    Jesus. And I thought MY ex had commitment issues.

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  • avatar

    MMcG November 1, 2013, 11:07 am

    There is more to life and relationships than just “sticking around.” Break up, and next time you decide to persevere in a relationship that someone is telling you they don’t want – STOP IT. Personal relationships aren’t built by osmosis but by mutual understanding, love, affection, and most of all and desire to be with one another. Your “boyfriend” keeps telling you he doesn’t want a future with you, biding your time until he really does break the cycle (i.e. finds someone he does see a future with) is not going to get you where you want to be.

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  • avatar

    thatgirl November 1, 2013, 11:07 am

    I don’t have much to add here. Just because you “stuck around” does not mean this is a long term, or even a long distance, relationship. He is allowing you to stick around for the occasional benefit it brings him, all the while being very clear you want very different things. MOA and find someone you can’t be without, who can’t be without you.

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  • avatar

    Anna November 1, 2013, 11:21 am

    We as women are big fans of the phrase “No means no!” as it relates to sexual assault and harassment.

    I feel like men feel the same way when it comes to romantic relationships. Sure, he’s allowed you to remain in his life. He has easy access to sex, intimacy, and companionship with you, and has for the past six years. But what has he always told you about marriage and even a girlfriend while he’s in dental school?

    No means no.

    I’m sure he enjoys your company. He undoubtedly finds you attractive and smart (and why shouldn’t he? You’re wonderful). But when you’ve mentioned moving in with him again, he said that his place is too small for the two of you.

    No means no.

    Wake up and smell the pumpkin pie, sweet angel mouse. As much as you want him, he doesn’t feel the same way. Let him go, and find someone who openly says that he wants to be with you, wants to marry you, wants to spend his life with you. I promise, the guy who says “yes” is out there.

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  • avatar

    Boosker November 1, 2013, 10:22 am

    He’s telling you what he wants and what he doesn’t want. Believe him. “I stuck around,” doesn’t mean much in the long term. I understand that it’s hard to move on when you’ve invested 6 years of your life in a dead end. But the real question isn’t, “Can I change his mind?” but “How much more time am I going to waste when I could be meeting a real life partner?”

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  • avatar

    SasLinna November 1, 2013, 10:33 am

    This letter reminded me of this.

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  • avatar

    Essie November 1, 2013, 12:12 pm

    It’s time for you to move on. You can’t ‘contemplate even longer term’ in a relationship when you’re the only one doing it.

    You don’t get to decide where your relationship goes all by yourself, and your guy has been very, very, very clear that he’s not going to come along for the ride. Sounds to me like he’s been very open and honest with you that this is a no-strings-attached deal, and you’ve been just hanging around, waiting for him wake up one day and love you the way you love him.

    I’m sorry. It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t matter how much you love him, it doesn’t matter if he’s ‘the one’ for you. He doesn’t feel that way, and he’s been telling you that very clearly. You just don’t want to hear what he’s saying.

    You ask ‘why has he been with me for the past six years.’ I think it’s more that you’ve been ‘with him’. He hasn’t pushed you away completely because you’re there, you’re easy company, you boost his ego, and there’s sex more or less readily available. I’m not trying to paint him in a bad light, it’s just that he likes the status quo. Things are good the way they are for him. That’s ok if it’s good that way for both parties, but you want more, and he doesn’t.

    I know it hurts, but it’s time to go.

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  • avatar

    AKchic November 1, 2013, 12:23 pm

    Stop wasting your time. Period. He said he doesn’t want to get married. You do. You are incompatible in respect to your life goals. You still have plenty of time to find a partner that WANTS to get married, that doesn’t want to keep moving all over creation for school, work, etc, which would be better for YOUR mental health thus would be better for whatever relationship you’re in.

    Yes, a break-up sucks, especially after 6 years, but you’re not going to get what you want, and he doesn’t even really want you to move in with him again, so where is this relationship going? Nowhere. You want a relationship that ultimately leads to marriage. Starting over seems like a small price to pay.
    You can do this. It will hurt, but ultimately, you will find someone else. There is no “the one”. And even if there is, “the one” will want to be married to you, not be hesitant about a relationship in general, let alone one with you.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle November 1, 2013, 12:50 pm

    It sounds like you think the fact that you’ve managed to “stick around” all these years is evidence the guy doesn’t mean what he says about not wanting a girlfriend? But, yeah, like everyone else is saying, that’s not true. He told you what he DOESN’T want, multiple times. He’s comfortable enough with you, & cares about you, I’m sure, to be hesitant about outright telling you to go away, but he clearly isn’t the kind of person who’ll ever commit. End things now for your own sake.

    I honestly don’t understand how you haven’t been motivated to leave this guy, already? If you’re dating someone, & that someone tells you that they don’t want a girlfriend, don’t want a life partner, don’t want to live with you, & won’t want you as a girlfriend during some upcoming future time (i.e. dental school), shouldn’t that sort of put a fire under your ass to leave? Or even just be like, “what the fuck, aren’t I your girlfriend?” I hope all these comments finally motivate you to feel like, “what the fuck am I doing.”

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  • avatar

    DarkRedLipstick November 1, 2013, 12:56 pm

    Why don’t you just move on?You want a marriage,he does not even want a relationship.It will be better for both of you if you both move on.It is not as if he wants to get married to you after he finishes school or gets a job.He does not want to get married (to you).You are lucky that he was clear from the beginning and did not try to deceive you.Believe him when he says he does not even want a girlfriend.

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  • Stonegypsy

    Stonegypsy November 1, 2013, 1:01 pm

    I don’t have much to add here. So I’m just going to say, listen to what everyone else said.
    Unless… are you happy with this relationship? Are you happy with being with a guy who doesn’t really want a life with you, or a real commitment? Who doesn’t want to live with you? Are you happy with that being your relationship until he wants to be fully single and breaks up with you? Cause if you are, then by all means continue being with this guy who has told you exactly what he wants. But don’t think you’re going to change his mind, cause it’s not gonna happen. The square peg is never going to fit in the round hole. It’s just not. Stop trying to force it.

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  • avatar

    Lucy November 1, 2013, 1:17 pm

    “From the start, he always said he was never looking for a girlfriend, but somehow I have stuck around for six years. ”
    I don’t mean to be harsh, but… of course he has let you stick around. He gets sex and companionship, and even when he tells you he doesn’t want a future with you or even to have a girlfriend, you still keep providing him with sex and companionship.
    One of two things will happen when you break up with this guy, which you MUST do. Either he’ll have meant what he says and you’ll move on and find someone who actually loves you and won’t constantly tell you how little he values you (this is the 99.9% likely real world scenario), or he’ll realize that he misses you terribly and that he does love you and want a serious relationship after all (this is the 0.1% likely romcom scenario).

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray November 1, 2013, 1:35 pm

    I would do one of two things. I’d break up with him. If he really wants you in his life, he’ll realize, finally, how much you mean to him and he’ll come running back! You’ll be just like Jennifer Aniston’s and Ben Afflecks characters in the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Or he won’t come running back, and you’ll be glad you cut things off when you did, because he was never ever going to want you long term.

    Or you could try getting pregnant because having kids always changes things, they say.

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    • avatar

      MMcG November 1, 2013, 2:36 pm

      “Or you could try getting pregnant because having kids always changes things, they say.”

      Since I am concerned about the LWers ability to grasp reality, I just want to provide a brief public service announcement that AP IS NOT BEING SERIOUS. GETTING PREGNANT TO TRAP “YOUR” MAN IS NOT, NEVER EVER GOING TO BE, A GOOD IDEA.

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray November 1, 2013, 2:59 pm

        Welllll, all I said was having kids always changes things, which I think everyone would agree is true, so I stand by it! 🙂

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      • avatar

        AKchic November 1, 2013, 4:09 pm

        Getting pregnant is NOT a good idea.

        Just saying as someone with four kids by four fathers… 2 of which have not seen their kids in 10+ years and haven’t paid a dime in child support in as long.

        Boy… if I ever got my back child support… cha-ching! (kidding)

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  • kare

    kare November 1, 2013, 2:10 pm

    This reminds me of my ex. We started dating young and he often said he didn’t see himself getting married. Which I didn’t really care about since I was 18. 4 years later we were both out of school, and I got to the point of “where do we go from here?”. I didn’t want an engagement, but I wanted to know we were on the same page. His answer was always “oh I see a future with you. If I ever actually decide to get married, it would be to you”. Yeah that’s not really the same. I wanted to get a place together, and he said he didn’t want to because he didn’t want to live with my dog. Every minor progression I tried to make was shot down by excuses. Once I signed a lease for my own place, it hit me that we really had no future together and it’d been obvious all along. Of course he knew this but didn’t want to be the bad guy. So the last year of our relationship was him pulling away and doing all these shitty things so that I would break up with him. After we finally broke up (he dumped me over a text while I was driving home in rush hour traffic), I asked him why he hadn’t done it earlier. His reasoning was that I was there, it was easy, it was comfortable, and he knew that he didn’t have to make an effort. Get out now before you waste more time.

    Also, be prepared that he might meet someone he does want to marry. My ex started dating the female friend (the “we’re just friends, I’d never be attracted to her, but she’s obsessed with me” friend) and in like two months got an apartment with her. I expect them to get engaged anytime now. But I also expect him to cheat on her because a) I’m a bitch and b) if they cheat with you, they cheat on you. (Okay probably not true in all cases, but he’s cheated on every single girlfriend he’s ever had).

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  • avatar

    kali November 1, 2013, 2:04 pm

    Dude just doesn’t have the balls to break up with her but he’s told her repeatedly he doesn’t want a girlfriend or wife and LW is STILL sticking around years later? Please. LISTEN to what the he’s saying and MOA!!

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    • avatar

      AKchic November 1, 2013, 4:11 pm

      He said he didn’t want a girlfriend but she’s stuck around or hung on, so is this even a break-up situation? Maybe he’s trying a fade out because this isn’t a real relationship in his mind? To him, this could be an intense friend with benefits situation with temporary live-in booty-call fringe-benefits.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaynark November 1, 2013, 4:02 pm

    Damn. Some women REALLY can’t take a hint, eh?

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