The Man-Child and the Nag

QUESTION: I've been involved with someone for approx 2 1/2 years now and it has gone from casual dates to a more "serious" relationship. I don't think at this age (early 30s) anyone comes without scars of some sort of baggage so I'll summarize the pros and cons of our situation because I'm wondering if there is really any future.

My problem with him is his all around immaturity about things from relationships to just daily life. He doesn't want to grow up. He admits he has commitment issues, not just in relationships but to anything from a cell phone contract to a home loan. In the past he has been less-than-forthcoming about his "friendships" which he's later confessed at some drunken moments had gotten sexual. While we weren't officially a couple at the time, the irresponsible behavior is an issue for me because 1)how do I know it won't happen again like he says and 2)the obvious health/honesty/trust factor of infidelity. W

On the flip side, even with these issues, while not on paper (the house is in my name) we live together for over a year and share all household expenses. When things are good, they are good. He is supportive emotionally and financially, gives me most anything I can ask for, is attentive and engaged in the relationship. He has difficulty verbalizing how he feels at times, but does always says that he loves me, and says he knows that I am who he wants to settle down with. So there has to be the BUT....He says I am who he wants to marry BUT he is not ready for that level of commitment. We only argue about this issue. He claims he is not involved with anyone else, but there are signs that he is lying. i know he still wants to go out, enjoys flirting and hates to feel like he has to report to me. If he can't commit now after all this time, can he really know that he wants to be with me?

My problem is that I can be a huge nag, forcing an issue for discussion even when I know he is not prepared to talk about it. Bigger than that for me is trust or lake there of. Most guys I've dated were not ready to commit. Often they professed that they were, yet were cheating. I also have violated my current bf's space by reading his text messages when he was being less than fully honest. When I push an issue or ask him where he was over and over, he feels pressured and he pulls back saying he's not ready for a relationship. I remind him its hard to say you are not ready for a relationship when you live with someone and have joint financial responsibilities and to either sh!t or get off the pot as the expression goes. While he knows he hasn't done 100% right by me at all times, he feels I do not give him credit for his efforts and only criticize.

I've seen improvements in how he handles our relationship, and in his ability to express himself but at the same time still feel that he is very immature and has a ways to go before he's ready to commit. I always hear people say that if a guy is into you, that's just it, no if's and's or but's. I would like for us to stop the games and get married but wonder if this a case of just waiting in vain for someone who is not really into me? Or should I give it more time?

CHUCK: Yes, at a certain point in our lives, we all can say that we've had experiences that may have colored our lives, or tainted us. But should that mean we should not move forward, and just allow our pasts to leave us paralyzed? I don't think so.

Your boyfriend is very lucky. Not only have you allowed him to move in with you, despite an immaturity and irresponsibility in matters personal and financial, but you've allowed him to hold your relationship hostage with his indecisiveness about your future. And despite these negatives, you STILL want to marry him? Ah, love...

Two and a half years is sufficient time for him to decide if he wants to marry you. Trust me. All that fear of committment stuff is just horseshit. He has probably decided that he'll hang around with you until his hand is forced and you finally kick him out. He says he loves you, and he probably does, but he loves his rootless life even more.

But you're not blameless here, either. Your admitted nagging and lack of trust, although exacerbated by your man's bad behavior, make you not the best risk for the long haul, either. If I was the least bit indecisive about being with you, things like spying on my cell phone would be enough to put you in the "lose" column. No one, even the untrustworthy, like not to be trusted. I would ask you to consider your own conduct, and the contribution you may be making to your own miserable state.

As I don't believe that this man will agree to marry you, despite the considerable pressure you could put to bear on him, you have some thinking to do. Do you want to continue living with him, despite the idea that there may be little future in it, or are you ready to get off the pot, as they say? These are decisions that you should probably make on your own, as trying to include him in them may appear to him as if you are giving him an ultimatum. Love is good, but it sounds as though you want a future.

GARLAND: Thank you for your question.

I think that you might be looking at marriage to this guy as a good thing or as a cure all for your problem plagued relationship. Marriage to him would be is neither. The term "Marriage" does not translate in "Magic" in any language I have been able to find. Don't think that because you go out and spend thousands of dollars and countless hours of prep time to set up a wedding, and then jump the broom that suddenly your man-child is going to become a grown up, responsible, monagamus, man. It doesn't work that way. He still has a lot of playing and growing up to do and to be 100% honest, he'll never truly respect you even if he ever "settles" for you. The reasoning is this: He'll never be able to respect a woman that stood by his side knowing that he was still running the streets and treating her any old kinda' way. He'll look at her as somewhat pitiful and he'll consider himself doing her a 'favor' by allowing her to call him "Her Man."

I really hate to see guys dangling "marriage to them" as some kind of prize in front of women. And even more, I hate to see women buying it and waiting with bated breath until their men run out of options [and girlfriends] and decide to "settle" for them.

I think your guy is going to hang on to you until he has done all that he wants to do, this includes dating, sneaking and hooking up with as many women as he can. After 2 years and plenty of sexual confessions, you've shown him that you are good and patient. He's gonna string you along for quite a while. Be ready.

But, I think you too are not ready for a relationship, much less a MARRIAGE. Sneaking his cell phone, nagging, suspicions, arguments... no, you are not ready either. But, that's okay. It is okay to not be ready for a relationship. That is a good thing. It is your heart's way of telling you that something isn't right. PLEASE LISTEN - There are other fish in the sea! Please unhitch your wagon from this falling star. Look at your boyfriend as a stock. You bought 100 shares for $2 a piece 2 years ago and now he's worth $1.05 a share. It's okay to sell him now! He's not going to be worth much more for a long time. Cut your losses and move on while you can... I.E. While you are not pregnant, not legally bound, not wearing his name as a tat on your back, and still young and attractive.


max.fabulous said...

Great advice Chuck & Garland - you guys are right. I have a little story for your reader that I feel compelled to share:
I once was involved with a man who sounds kinda like hers; he was a good man but a little immature, a little irresponsible, a little too flirtatious. He always told me he wasn't ready for commitment, but we moved in together after dating for about a year and lived together for about two years; during which time he never became ready to settle down with me even though he loved me. We eventually broke up - not because I grew tired of waiting, not because he grew tired of my pressing him for more, but because he met someone else and about nine months later they were married.

Candi said...

I read this question and felt that I could have written it having also gone through an almost identical situation. The man in my case, however, did propose and we planned a wedding and three weeks before the wedding he called it off saying he needed more time and was not sure he was ready to commit. He said he loved me and did not want to break up and then strung me along for another 6 months until he left me for someone he was cheating with all along. It was only after some much needed introspection (and therapy) that I realised how much of a bullet I had dodged. Wish I had written to you guys while I was going through my drama because the signs were there from the beginning and I just refused to see them because I was so anxious to get married. To the young lady who wrote the question, there really are more fish in the sea. Cut your losses now and take some time to figure out what you want for your life. A guy who will really love, treasure and value you will come along when he sees how you love, treasure and value yourself.

Anonymous said...

I am going out with a divorced man with two kids in other country. He just ended another relationship six months back with a kid where the ex-partner is back to her country. We started the relationship with no issues and now we have an issue. He asked me to give him some time as he said he is embarassed by what happened. Which was one day I was at his place, and his ex-partner called and said his kid was sick and hospitalized. Then after he had to send me home. After that he does not talk to me and always trying to avoid me. I dont know what is he thinking now.... Shall I give him more time or confront him?

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