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He Changed His Mind - What His Age Has To Do With It

Updated on October 22, 2011

Hub Request

He said he wanted to get married, asked my parents, bought a ring, and now..says he wants to "wait"?

After 1 year together, my boyfriend (he is 30, I am 29) is wanting to "wait" to get engaged. We have already discussed the potential wedding, dates, places to live, timed our respective apartments to have their leases up at the same time in December and even share money to pay off debt so we can pay cash for our wedding. We have discussed our future financial moves (we both have GREAT jobs and both make over 6 figures a year). We share the idea of kids, home life, Christian values and we LOVE each other. Now, he thinks we aren't "ready". He says he loves me and wants to marry me, just not now.

- cgamac

Dear cgamac,

Thanks for the Hub request. This makes perfect sense to me. I know what's going on.

Men go through 3 major changes in life. Major. Women go through them too, but men seem to do it with more dramatic noticeable difference. The first occurs when they are around 21 or 22, and is a major physiological change, where the frontal lobes of the brain develop. The last one is the mid life awakening, often referred to as The Crisis where they re-evaluate their lives.

And the one in the middle, that occurs usually around 28 years of age, is the Rites of Passage, or the Saturn Return. It can be looked at from a psychological place, it is recognized astrologically, and it is explained as a part of many spiritualities and cultures. 

The advice I'm going to give you is very specifically for your situation, and because of his age. It is inspired by the life you described. This advice would not be what I'd give to just anyone in this situation. 

But first, let's understand what the Saturn Return is all about. It occurs sometime in the late twenties, to maybe 30, 31 years of age. It's when everything comes into focus. This is the age many native cultures consider a boy to become a man. A transformation takes place. He sees things in a more serious way. He believes things in a deeper way. He notices things, and observes the world, for the first time, as it relates to him.

Here's some tangible examples. Prior to this, he may go to a friend's house who has kids, and play with the kids. It's fun. It's happy. It's all good. When he talks to his friend about the kids, he asks if they've seen Toy Story 3, he asks if he can take them on the trampoline. He is interested in Happy Meals, or what makes them laugh until they pee themselves. 

During his Rites of Passage, he began asking, how much private school costs. He asks about doctor visits and vaccines. He notices one child cries easier than the other and he asks why. 

It's not that he doesn't want to have fun with the kids anymore. It's that his interest has matured and grown. He realizes suddenly that kids aren't just fun. They are expensive, and need care and education and medical attention. It's not that he was an idiot before that and had no idea how expensive kids are. Of course he knew that, and probably had conversations about it. But now, it's at his instigation. Now, it's real. It's not something that happens to the other person, it's something that will happen to him. 

If you think about it, there have been other signs. Changes. A re-evaluation of a friendship, or a career path. His values may be the same, but he is applying them differently. 

One thing I have echoed in many of my hubs is that actions speak louder than words. He is showing you in his actions that he is planning to spend his life with you. Unless he's doing something you didn't mention, like closing that cash fund for the wedding, or withdrawing physically in some other way, then see in his deeds that his commitment to you has not changed.

All that has changed is that he's now realizing how big and hard and serious marriage is. Not that he took it lightly before. But now, with this new maturity, he sees it with a spotlight on it. It's different. It's more serious.

He's probably also re-evaluating himself. He's looking at his own strengths and weaknesses in a new way. It's a responsible thing to do, when you're about to take on commitments that will completely change your life, and the lives of others. Marrying you and bringing children into the world are two of the biggest decisions he will ever make. He didn't change his mind. He just took a good look around and said, "Wow." It just all got very real.

He wasn't faking it before. He was moving along on your journey, aware and awake. It's just a clearer more serious view from here.

Think of it this way. Have you ever let your hair go a little too long before dyes? You know your roots are coming in. You've said it a few times. You really have to get to the salon and take care of this. This is not news, this happens every 6 - 8 weeks. You know exactly what is going on. You glance in the mirror or at your reflection and you think, yeah, there's the roots, I'll call next week.

And then you get in your car. In the bright sunshine. And you glance up in the rearview at yourself in that bright light, and you say, "Holy crap! my roots are BAD. I have to call right now."

That's what's going on with him. I know I know, lame metaphor. I hope you'll try to catch the spirit of it just the same. He's known what he was doing all along. But right now he's looking at things in a much brighter light. His mind has just come to a place where he sees things in a clearer way.

My sincere advice to you is to give him some time. Allow him the time he's asking for. If the only change is that he's telling you he suddenly doesn't feel ready, he's actually right on schedule to re-evaluate himself and his life.

Now is your chance to really be a partner. To be supportive, and to demonstrate the kind of life he will have with you, where you listen to him and you help him. I'm not saying wait forever. But I think you should give him some time to work his way through this. The relationship you described is a great one. You've talked about your future, you've agreed on major things, you're in a place where you are both financially and personally whole, and ready to be partners. You're building that path in a smart and genuine way. Don't stop now. He's saying he loves you and wants to marry you. That's huge. He's not saying he doesn't know what he wants. He's not saying he doesn't know if he believes in marriage. He's not saying all those big bad red-flag things that I warn ladies about all the time. All he's saying is, he needs a little time. That's a reasonable request, especially considering the timing in his life.

Reinforce for him the kind of partner you are now, and with a hug and a smile, let him know he can take the time he's asking for. It will be worth it.

Comments

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  • satice_j profile image

    satice_j 

    7 years ago from via the Bronx, NY

    Wow, great hub! Voted you up, awesome, beautifully written, useful, and interesting. Loved it!

  • JeniferRW profile image

    Jen 

    7 years ago from Couch

    Wonderful advice and Hub! I'm new and just now found you but I definitely think you'll be the first one I ask when it's my turn to need some advice :)

  • profile image

    Crystal 

    8 years ago

    I can't find the first article of yours that I read but I spoke about that rights of passage saturn return and I knew I was hooked on you as soon as I read it. This is such incredibly good sound advice. People before they are 28 years old just can't even grasp how much they are going to grow and change by the time they are 30. I am one of those whose changes only polarized my feelings and thoughts. I want now what I thought I wanted then, but in a different way. I see it all in a much clearer way. It's hard to explain but you seem to be able to do it. Both my brothers got married in their early or mid twenties. Both were divorced before 40. Both changed so much as they grew up that their marriages just couldn't satisfy them. I recommend this article to all people in their twenties. Just have some patience. There is no rush. Let yourself grow up and change the way nature has in store for you. You will be happy in life if you just have some patience. Thanks for another incredible article Veronica. Yo

  • profile image

    Margie 

    8 years ago

    Another great Hub. I am a completely different person than I was when I was in my 20's. I know my rights of passage must have been a very significant one. Thanks for explaining this so well.

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR

    Veronica 

    8 years ago from NY

    Thanks Earth Angel!!

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 

    8 years ago

    More great sound advice Veronica!!

    I love reading your advice Veronica!! Well thought through and lovingly dispensed!!

    Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR

    Veronica 

    8 years ago from NY

    cgamac,

    I'm glad to hear your therapist and I are on the same page.

    Sure, I can see her point, maybe he is a little scared of change, and just like in one of my examples, it's alot happier talking about trampolines then vaccines. I can see how he could get caught up in the dreamy part, so when the reality showed in a brighter light, that was a little frightening. Still, I think you sound like you have built a great relationship. I'd give him a little time to regain his footing.

  • profile image

    cgamac 

    8 years ago

    Veronica,

    Thanks so much. I recently spoke to my old therapist (from about 4 years ago from one of my "life changes" and she pretty much said the same thing as you...but then also added that maybe he got caught up in the dreams of planning things and is actually scared of the change itself (he has lived in the same apartment for 5 years, same job, same friends, same workout routine, same CLOTHES, etc...)

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR

    Veronica 

    8 years ago from NY

    Thanks dallas93444. I lived in Bakersfield in the late 80's btw. Hello neighbor ;)

  • dallas93444 profile image

    Dallas W Thompson 

    8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

    Great hub! Thanks for sharing. I thought the "three changes in life" were, I am hungry, I an sleepy and I am thirsty! I learned something...

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