Are we just too different?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-28-2010
Are we just too different?
9
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 12:36pm

My boyfriend and I have been together now for 6 years. We started dating when we were 19, and we are now going on age 26. I understand that since we started dating so young there are bound to be a lot of changes as we grow older. But, I am starting to feel like these changes are pulling us apart. In the time span of our relationship I have earned an Associates Degree, Bachelor's Degree, secured a full-time job, moved into my own apartment (out of my parents house), and started grad school. Call me goal oreiented if you will, but when I set a goal I do all I can to make it a reality. But, to compare, my boyfriend has accomplished in the same amount of time: Technical degree, secured a part-time job (the same one he had when we met!). He has not attempted to use his degree to find a better job, has not made any effort in doing anything for the future. He has known since day one that I want to get married, have kids, have a house, etc. and has always agreed that he wants the same things. But, seeing him now, with the same part-time job, and no motivation to do better, I feel like he has decided for both of us that we can's have those things. I feel angry towards him because I feel he is holding us back from changing and growing. He says he isn't ready to grow up and that he needs time. Am I supposed to continue waiting? Outside opinions would be much appreicated....thanks for reading! 

BB

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 1:11pm

Sorry for him, but by age 26 he should be acting like a grown up and at least supporting himself, even if he's not ready to get married.  Do his parents enable this by supporting him (or do you?)  I have a 24 yr old DD and once she graduated from college, she was anxious to get a full time job as a nurse.  He can only hold you back from what you want if you let him.  I think you should tell him straight out that since you see yourself in the future as getting married and having kids, you have no interest in supporting a DH who won't get a full time job and help out either. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-28-2010
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 1:49pm
Hi, thanks for your comments. Not sure what DD and DH mean though!
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 4:16pm

DD= (dear) daughter

DH= husband

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Tue, 04-09-2013 - 6:52pm

Well if he's 26 (and is STILL happy with the same part time job he had at 19) that's really shows a lack of motivation to improve himself. Maybe you need to decide how much longer you're going to wait for him to show you that he has enough ambition to get ahead. Set a time limit for yourself. Maybe give it one more year or so and if nothing looks like it's going to change, it will be obvious that he is not goal oriented enough to want the same things you want. Unless you'd be happy being the main breadwinner and he could maybe stay home and raise the kids, this probably won't work out. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Wed, 04-10-2013 - 1:16am

I think between 19 and 26 people usually do a great deal of growing up, it's also why I think many marriages in that age span fail.  You obviously have some basic differences, one of you is much more ambitious than the other is and you just don't seem to have the same things in mind.  Nobody seems to be doing anything "wrong", you are who you are and he is who he is.  I do think it's a red flag to hear he says he isn't READY to grow up - what the heck does that mean?  How long ago did your differences start to nag at you?  Because you've stayed for a reason.  Sitting and waiting for him to change and grow up - all I can say is so many of us on these boards patiently/impatiently wait it out, hoping for one change or another in our relationships.  As it is now, you would likely be the breadwinner in the household, since he seems satisfied with his current job situation and you're wanting to move forward with yours.  Those could be pretty incompatible, which is probably why you are here asking for feedback.  No matter what any of us says, this is just a decision you have to make on your own.  If he really matters to you, how about some counseling appointments - a pro has heard it all and will have professional feedback.  This kind of situation is not always a deal breaker, it's just that you sound very disappointed to hear he plans to continue as is and you want something different.  All of us here seem to have some kind of decision to make, so we all "get it". 

 

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012
Wed, 04-10-2013 - 11:30am

bb1605 wrote:
<p>My boyfriend and I have been together now for 6 years. We started dating when we were 19, and we are now going on age 26. I understand that since we started dating so young there are bound to be a lot of changes as we grow older. But, I am starting to feel like these changes are pulling us apart. In the time span of our relationship I have earned an Associates Degree, Bachelor's Degree, secured a full-time job, moved into my own apartment (out of my parents house), and started grad school. Call me goal oreiented if you will, but when I set a goal I do all I can to make it a reality. But, to compare, my boyfriend has accomplished in the same amount of time: Technical degree, secured a part-time job (the same one he had when we met!). He has not attempted to use his degree to find a better job, has not made any effort in doing anything for the future. He has known since day one that I want to get married, have kids, have a house, etc. and has always agreed that he wants the same things. But, seeing him now, with the same part-time job, and no motivation to do better, I feel like he has decided for both of us that we can's have those things. I feel angry towards him because I feel he is holding us back from changing and growing. He says he isn't ready to grow up and that he needs time. Am I supposed to continue waiting? Outside opinions would be much appreicated....thanks for reading! </p><p>BB</p>

In a nutshell: yes, you are supposed to continue waiting if this guy is the guy you want a future with.  You cannot force him into wanting/doing what you want on your timetable.  He is the captain of his own life, not you. If he wants to remain in a part time job, not use his education for something better, doesn't want to get married and have children and incur debt behind that and isn't ready to grow up, then either you accept him and stay with him knowing this and being quiet and content with him or you reject him and go find someone who wants what you want on your timetable. 

Only you know if spending any more of your youth--which you'll never get back--with this guy is in your best interests.  He just might not be a high achieving kind of guy and is happy with a little life.  If that's not the type of life you want, then you're with the wrong man and as captain of your own life, you need to steer your ship into waters which will take you where you want to go.

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004
Wed, 04-10-2013 - 4:14pm

I'm basically going to echo what the others have said. If things stay the same as they are now then things are not going anywhere, Can he or will he change? We can't say for sure but past behavior suggests he won't. It is up to you and you alone to judge if someone is good enough for you, compatible enough for you. You two do seem very wide apart on the ambition spectrum. At this point it seems you do not really respect him and his choices or lack thereof and respect for your partner is very important to have.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Thu, 04-11-2013 - 12:13am

Have you ever seen your bf go after any goal aggressively? If you ask him to state his goals and how he intends to reach them, or where he thinks he will be in 5 years or 10 years, what does he answer? If he does not have goals of his own, is he willing to actively work towards goals that you set for the two of you as a couple? It doesn't sound like it since he says he's not ready to grow up and is showing that through his actions...but maybe if it was stated that he just needed to be the "support person" he would feel less pressure to be a "grown up". (some people really do not have goals or ambition but they are willing to help another.)  You would have to decide if you are comfortable with being in the role of breadwinner and "alpha partner", and if its even financially possible to achieve your goals mainly on your income.

Like others said, you cannot change him so you will have to accept him with his flaws, and decide if you love him enough to live with them. The chance of him becoming as driven as you, in time for you to achieve your goals on your timeline, seems pretty slim.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Thu, 04-11-2013 - 5:10pm

Your relationship sounds similar in many ways to what mine was with DH 25 years ago.  We met when we were 20.  By age 25 I had gotten my BA (at age 20), worked for two years, gotten an MBA (going full time for two years), gotten a job with a Fortune 100 company, and moved to Pittsburgh.  He had flunked out of two schools, worked at a deli and a bookstore, finally gotten an Associates degree at age 24, and quit his job to move to Pittsburgh with me - except that after quitting his job, he didn't move.  At that point, I wondered whether we were going anywhere (after almost six years) and asked, "Are you moving or are we over?"  Naturally I didn't want it to be over but if he wasn't going to move, I think it would have been.

He moved.  He got a job, gave me a promise ring, came to counseling with me, got engaged, and went back to school after we got married.  He finished his BA in just 18 months at the age of 29.  Talk about a late bloomer!

Here are the key things that made me hang on through all that.  One, he told me at age 21 that he wanted to marry me.  We discussed children and even names for them.  Two, he rejected pressure to get engaged at 23 because he felt it was stupid to get engaged just because we'd been going out for 3 years - if you still don't know what you want to do in life, how can you consider yourself mature enough to get married?  Three, he was mature in other ways than career, including his care for his family, his efforts to support me emotionally, his honesty, his respect for others, etc.  Fourth, he always thought that anything I wanted to do with my life was super.  He supported me 100%. 

We've been together for 30 years now.  He never did have much of a career - he had jobs he was good at and jobs he wasn't so good at.  He quit to become a stay-at-home dad 17 years ago, and he's done a TERRIFIC job.  He does all the cooking, shopping, cleaning, child care, medical appointments, lessons, practices, homework, car repair, home repair, you name it.  I'm the breadwinner.  This has worked out fantastically well for us.  I doubt it would have worked so well if he were career-oriented.  However he is very FAMILY oriented, and this was evident right from the start - he wanted to be married, he wanted to have at least three kids, and he has ALWAYS put our family first (he even goes to church on Sundays despite being agnostic because it is important to me therefore it is a family value).

Lest you think he's just there as a nice co-parent, we also enjoy many of the same things - music, art, film, tennis, baseball, food & wine.  We have date nights pretty regularly and spend as much time together as we possibly can.

I'd suggest you look at what your BF brings to the relationship and ask yourself if he has the qualities of someone you want to spend your life with on *many* dimensions.  If the answer is yes, then you have to ask yourself if you're willing to be the one who makes the money.  If the answer is no, you probably don't want to spend more time with him.