Q: I have been seriously dating my boyfriend for over two years, and we live together. I have expressed more than once that I want to be married, and that it is something I value and want in life, and we had a lengthy conversation about it a couple months ago. He always tells me he’s "not ready, but maybe one day," and says the same thing with having kids.
We’ve had our ups and downs, and lately I feel as though he doesn’t actually want to marry me or make any big commitments. I am almost 30, and don’t want to wait around forever for him to make up his mind.
I’ve also written him notes to fully articulate my feelings without him interjecting, and he doesn’t usually write much back. It is either defensive, or he will say something like "thanks for sharing." Truly, I don’t know where most of his feelings lie about any of this.
Should I just accept that we in fact do not want the same things?
A: Or accept that even if you do want the same things, you won’t know that because he doesn’t talk to you. Except, apparently, either to interrupt you while you’re trying to talk or to be dismissive of what you take the trouble to write down.
And if it’s really marriage you want, then I might want to warn him away from you as well. Judging from your letter, you’re pressing to formalize a relationship that flat out isn’t working in some fundamental ways — "thanks for sharing"? seriously? — and this says you’re due to revisit your principles on commitment.
To start at the beginning is not to start dating new people because you’re 30 and getting nervous. The beginning is to get to know yourself well. The next step is to pay attention as you get to know different people — friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors and etc., not just dates. This is how you keep learning what does and doesn’t work. If you find someone you don’t want to go through life without, and it’s mutual, then you decide mutually on a legal coupling status of fill-in-the-blank.