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Are You Placing Undo Pressure On Your Relationship?

Updated on March 15, 2010

Dear Veronica,

I've just seen your webpage and really need some advice. I'm feeling so down and lost and have never felt like this before.

For a while now my boyfriend of 3 years (I'm 25, he's 27) and I have been having painful discussions about the future. I one day want to marry and have children. I felt like when we first got together he was openish to that, but has over time grown more cynical about it. A few weeks ago I basically said, "if we don't want the same things there's no point being together", and that i needed to know where he stood on the whole marriage/kids topic. he said that he doesn't ever want to get married, never wants kids, because he's scared of turning into his parents marriage (nasty divorce). My own parents have a really happy marriage and i want one day to have that for myself.

Because of this, I don't see that i can be with him knowing that we'll ultimately want different things. we've lived together happily for 2 out of the 3 years. in every other way things are fine and we love and adore each other. we've been through a lot together - more in these years than you cam imagine any couple going through in a lifetime. if you asked me if he's "the one" though, I would say I don't know - but i don't know if that's because hes so averse to what i want or if he just isn't right for me.

There are other things complicating this too. He's American and I'm British and we live in the UK, but he doesn't like it here and desperately wants to go back to the US. I would love to go and live there, (im sick of London) but afraid that after a few years I would start to feel the same way as he's feeling now.

I am generally unhappy with other things in my life too. I hate my job and am supposed to be starting studies in the autumn but I need to fund them, and I'm struggling with this, I'm also desperate to travel and live overseas (like he's doing now) but I know that he's been doing that for 3 years and is ready to go back, settle down (but no marriage or family). So on this subject we conflict too, like we're at different stages of our lives.

I cant figure out the distinction of where im unhappy and where I'm maybe over analysing things. I feel like I've been unfair to him to have these talks and to ask him to talk about marriage when we're so young, and it's not something I'd want for years yet. my parents feel like I've been unfair and irrational because marriage isn't even on my agenda yet so why should i bring it up to him? i feel like I might also have taken out other feelings of frustration with my current situation on my relationship, which was fine. Then again, we are such different people anyway that it's important to me that in the bigger things in life we are si milar- in what really matters, and that includes in the path that we see ourselves heading down.

Basically we've agreed to 2 months apart, this has been 3 hours and I've called him 3 times. It's so painful, I love him dearly and he loves me.

Any thoughts would really help, as I feel so desperately miserable.

Thank you


Dear Marla,

OK, you called him 3 times in 3 hours once you agreed to take a break? This is not healthy.

For someone in the throws of a crappy place in their lives, you are wildly insightful. You have realized you’ve taken things out on your boyfriend that aren’t part of your relationship, you aren’t ready for marriage but you obsess about it, you want to travel and experience certain things that aren’t conducive to a future with this partner, just to name a few.

Part of the main problem you’re having is a version of something I discuss in my hubs quite often. Sometimes when a woman isn’t happy with herself and her life, instead of working on fixing it and handling it, she latched onto a boyfriend and wants him to fix everything for her. All of their happiness and future plans and everything becomes completely dependant upon this guy. She takes no responsibility for herself. This way she doesn’t have to do anything but place blame and pressure on someone else.

Your version of this is a little different. You still seem to have a grasp of yourself but have projected a whole lot of weight onto your relationship with that same underlying basis: if he promises me the future I want, then all of these other things I want will fall into place.  It makes your work easier, and gives you a solid foothold on the future.

And in doing so with a guy that will absolutely not give you that future, you self sabotage. Therefore, when your whole life fails and you feel miserable, you can blame your love instead of yourself.

Marla, the things you want in life are good things. You want to travel, you want to live abroad, you want to experience the world a little bit, and then you want to have a family, most likely in your home country. This is a lovely plan. And there is no reason for you not have it.

Your life-plan is well balanced and healthy. But the man you’re with isn’t part of that plan. He is clearly and directly telling you he does not want to get married and doesn’t want kids. Hear him. He has every right to the future he wants as you do to the one you want.

And why are you trying to make a relationship at this point in your very young life into a guarantee for the future?  It’s like a double sabotage: being in a relationship now that you expect to be guaranteed as the future relationship, AND picking a guy that doesn’t want anything that you want in that future.

The whole calling him 3 times in 3 hours is a great big mondo red flag. You’re not in a healthy place. You’re loving him more than you’re loving yourself. You’re putting pressure and ridiculous need on this relationship. This must stop.

Part of this is your age. You’re at this very significant point where you can actually visualize your life. You have a future plan and a means of getting there. It’s all suddenly possible, and it’s all right there in front of you.

Consequently, it’s hard to be patient and take things one step at a time when you can suddenly for the first time see 1000 steps up the road.

Marla, I want you to keep 3 rules in mind.

1. - Take the right step for right now. One step at a time.

2. – Love your self, and your future, and your goals and plans.

3 – Respect that other people get to love themselves and their goals and their plans, too.

There is no reason in the world you can’t have a fun relationship right now with a good guy, other than your own unrealistic future projections, expectations, and pressures. Stop that. Enjoy today and the people that are in it. The only time you’re wasting is the time you spend trying to make today last forever.

Your job may suck, and you may have moments that are challenging. But you have such a cool plan for the future. Embrace it and love it. You should be able to find all the love and validation you need from within. If you can’t, you have no business being in any kind of relationship until you do.

You said this bf may not be the one because he’s so adverse to what you want. How about thinking about what he wants? How about accepting people for who they are? It’s not up to him to provide you with the future you want, guaranteeing it now, and forgoing his needs and desires. And, you know that, but you don’t live it.

You’re so busy loving him so much, that you’ve stopped loving yourself. You know how off that is. And you see it isn’t working.

Marla you are so young and have your whole life ahead of you, and from what you’ve speculated, it’s going to be a very nice life! Stop trying to make it happen tomorrow. Relax and enjoy the ride.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Shell 7 years ago

    Thank you for being there for the rest of human kind Veronica. I've only read two of these pages but I can see you have a talent for people. I appreciate that strangely.

    I was going to ask something but I think I answered myself. I'm going to treat myself for my sickness, dress up in the most hottest way I could find at a freakers ball next weekend, remind him of what we have and if we can be happy with that, great. Either way I will have a great life.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY

    Thanks stars439!

  • stars439 profile image

    stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    good hub

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 7 years ago from NY


    Thank you very much. Best to you.


  • profile image

    Marla 7 years ago

    Dear Veronica,

    I feel like I don't know who you are or anything about you but I'm so thankful that I stumbled upon your site. I think you have a gift for deciphering from a haze of confused emotions what the crux of the issue is, and in answering my problem you're absolutely right - as I have felt you've been with all the other problems you've dealt with.

    I am feeling sad but a bit better. I am going to work out what I really want, what I'm doing to look after no.1, and then where this leaves our relationship so be it - if it's meant to be...

    I still feel confused and struggle a bit with his assertions of never ever wanting to get married, and wonder how, if we reconcile, we'd get over that one (especially having read the hubs on this topic and it being clear that these feelings dont seem to change). But it's about me at the moment, so that's what I'll work on, and I hope that when I do I come to some clearer understanding of our relationship, which I don't want to end.

    Thanks so much.