Is This What Maturity Feels Like?

The boyfriend and I have reached an awkward impasse.

Engagement.

Somehow we’ve managed to avoid seriously talking about this for the last four years we’ve been together.

It’s not that I haven’t brought it up. I’ve mentioned marriage just before me making the move here to be with him. I wanted to know that we would be more than just “boyfriend-girlfriend” sometime down the line. He’s reassured me that as long as we continued to be happy with each other, then we would.

So I made the move despite all my personal reservations.

The short version of what happened: We were asking each other what we wanted for Christmas. He told me head phones. I said I wanted to be married.

It was my awkward way of asking for an engagement. I have mentioned my wish to be engaged a few times before whenever the subject of us being married in the future came up. He’s always managed to joke it off., calling me sentimental and old fashioned. Somehow he’s never directly said, “Yes, that is part of the plan” or “No, that will not be happening.”

Now, because of the shitty way I brought up the subject and because of his anti-romantic & anti-traditionalist opinions, an engagement is probably never in our future.

And so I ready myself to alter my personal preferences yet again. Because if I don’t, then he feels like I don’t want to be with him for him–that I only want to be with him for an engagement ring & a husband. His words.

I don’t know how to refute that. I don’t know how to explain that because of my innate need for security of a family, I need these simple gestures for reassurance. I have tried to explain this in these exact words. I said I logically understood that an engagement does not mean we will absolutely get married (hello! I’ve broken off an engagement before) and that a marriage does not ensure we will live happily ever after. I have explained to him that I do not see these gestures as guarantees that our relationship will never end. However, I see these gestures as what they are–hopeful declarations of a person’s love for another.

He said he couldn’t understand that, and therefore he couldn’t bring himself to get on board with the idea. Somehow during our conversation, he let it slip that he “doesn’t know” what will happen in the future so therefore he can’t go through with an engagement.

Writing this out now is painful. Of course no one can say what will happen in the future… but when I think of being with him, I want to be with him for the rest of my life. Just because I want to do something, it doesn’t mean I can predict the future. I don’t feel the same is true for him. I don’t understand his hesitance. I’m not asking for him to predict the future. I’m not asking him to promise that we will be together forever. I’m simply asking him if he feels the way that I do–that he wants to be with me for the future. And his hesitance tells me that he does not.

So it should be simple, right? He doesn’t love me. I should be free to just walk away.

But selfishly I want to remain with a person I love, even if he does not love me. Stupidly I’m considering giving in–I’m considering staying with a person who will never be sure.

And now all I can think of is how we will have no future. We’ll just be happy spending time with each other until he’s bored, and then it’ll finally just end. My thoughts are plagued with how I’ll probably never have children. I will be older when we’re finally broken up.

I feel like my chances of having a family are much lower than I previously believed. My fear of living my entire life alone has become a bigger possibility. All because I made the choice to attach myself to a person who cares more for his own opinions and comforts than he could ever care for anyone else’s.

How do I get around this? Do I alter my beliefs? Do I leave this person? What course of action should I really take here?

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