Afraid Of Commitment? Learning To Live All Over Again?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2012
Afraid Of Commitment? Learning To Live All Over Again?
Wed, 11-21-2012 - 9:34pm

Hi guys.

I'm currently in a 5, almost 6 year relationship that including living together for the majority of that time. It seems as if the relationship is on a cycle that just keeps repeating over, and over, and over again. After two years, we broke up after I felt like things were too bad to mend. At the time we lived with his parents so it was hard leaving but not as hard as it is when you actually share an apartment together. At that time I was leaving because I felt overwhelmed by the relationship, I was upset by his actions at the time, he wasn't working, he had lost a lot of confidence & ambition. He has emotional issues that keep him from being able to connect on a certain level & communication has always been difficult. I ended up leaving but coming back about six months later after going through a health crisis that left me vulnerable. When we got back together though, things seemed to go well for another two years before it all started all over again.

This time things are a little different. The same issues are there which is disturbing because I realized that I feel the same way now as I did three years ago. That tells me that in the matter of three years, nothing has truly changed despite any disguise that it has. Sure small advancements have been made, but the bottom line is that I somehow have landed right back in the same spot I was in 2009. The circumstances have changed but the underlying issues are the same: my man is afraid of commitment, isn't ready to grow up & has no idea how to control his emotions or anger. Issues of the same nature have continually come on, been talked about, "gotten over" and put away. That cycle has become so monotoneous, so exhausting, so overwhelming. I keep thinking that things are changing, that we are growing, that we are moving forward but now, in the past week, I've realized that I might be wasting my time.

The biggest problem right now is that at 27 & faced with a lot of health issues I'm thinking about true commitment & what i want out of my life. At this point in a relationship, I feel like there should be some inclination of whether or not marraige is probable as that is something I really, really, really want. This whole time I thought that was a goal of OURS together, that we both wanted that with a family, etc etc. Up to this point, I knew he had hesitation but I had no idea just how much the whole thing scared him. The reason it's truly come up now is that I am ready for that step with someone, I am ready to move forward. I've finally gotten a good job, got my BA degree, am making big girl decisions like buying a car on my own...but I don't think he's there with me at all. He's got a good job but all around seems like he couldn't care less about anything else i do (marraige, money management, settling down, family, kids, etc). Those are things I can't lie about: I want that. And I want it with someone who wants it too, the last thing I want is to force him into ANYTHING because I'd rather go adopt a child on my own then have him father one against his better judgment. That's just completely wrong.

One of the hardest aspects (as if it all isn't difficult) is that we live together, share's like the sensation of questioning a divorce. At this point I feel like we've talked so many times to no-avail where I've told him bottom line "this is what i want to change, this is what needs to happen" so many times, but things despite quick changes seem to always go back. My friends are tired of hearing it, as they have all told me what their bottom line opinion is: he's not going to change. I'm just so angry that he's made me become this bitter, that he can't give me what I want, that after all this time he's still not sure if he wants to take the next steps. I have had so many good times despite the bad & this is the longest relationship I've ever been in & the only man I've ever lived with. At this point he isn't clued in to how serious I'm feeling about this, despite the fact that the conversations have spawned little by little hinting at my displeasement over his anti-marraige stance.

Am I wrong for feeling upset about all this? How in the world do I begin to process such a big change? Help!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

No, you're not wrong for being upset.  Of course it's upsetting as this is basically the one serious relationship you've had, but I think you recognize that he doesn't want the same things that you do.  You're right--after 5+ yrs together, he should be able to realize if you are the woman he wants to marry, if he wants to marry someone at all.  It's possible that he'll never want to get married or want children, but you have already expressed to him (probably many times) that this is what you want--and you shouldn't have to conince someone.  Better to break up now that to wait til you're getting on to the point where you might be too old to have kids.  It's still very possible to find someone else who would want what you do.  It is going to feel almost like a divorce except having to go through the legal process.  So you have to tell him that you realize that you don't want the same things in life and it's probably better that you break up (don't use that "let's take a break" thing--it never works) and you'll have to figure out how to do that if you have financial ties, if you both signed the lease, etc.