Will He Ever Open Up and Let Me In?

January 7, 2013

Hey guys, it’s my first time here. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 9 months now and am a little unsure of whether to continue the relationship. I would really appreciate your opinion (sorry in advance, it’s a bit long!).

We met about 9 months ago at a bar, he was the perfect gentleman and we ended up taking a taxi together after the bar closed – first to my place and then he went to his (at the other end of town). Nothing happened that night but the day after he called me and asked me out. We went on 4 dates before he so much as kissed me and another 3 before we slept together (honestly, I was getting a bit impatient!).

He made the effort early on to introduce me to his friends and family and was very interested in getting to know the people close to me. We’ve pretty much spent every night together since March and a few months ago he bought a flat and asked me to move in with him – mainly because it’s cheaper and handier but he also said that we’d be able to spend more time together. I said yes and moved in a month ago.

In general everything is going great. Although he works a lot he always sets aside time for us to do something together, is very interested in me and my life and the sex is great. He’s very respectful towards me, and towards women in general, and everyone who knows him speaks extremely well of him. He has a large group of very good friends and is close to his family.

Sounds pretty perfect, right? The problem is I’m worried he’s too much of an alpha and to closed off emotionally for the relationship to work long term.

He’s 27 (I’m 26), very good looking and works in a high profile job. He’s been single for the past 5 years but before that he was in two steady relationships of about one and a half years each. He won’t discuss how many women he’s slept with (and doesn’t want to know my number either) but says his number isn’t unusually high and from what he’s said he seems to have spent more time dating than hooking up with random women.

When he was a teenager his father cheated on his mother and is now married to the woman he cheated with. His parents’ relationship is extremely bad (they literally don’t talk and his father wasn’t even allowed to attend graduations and birthdays). The divorce was very ugly and went on for a couple of years. During that time my boyfriend pretty much raised his siblings. He is very fatherly towards them and is extremely self reliant and independent.

Now to the problems:

Firstly, I’d been waiting for him to tell me he loves me for a while and a couple of weeks ago I gave up and said it first and he said it back. We had a discussion about it and he told me he’d never said it to a girl before and I told him it was very important to me to hear it on a regular basis.

Since then he hasn’t said it again (and neither have I). When I mentioned this he said recently he’d been feeling pressure to say it and that when he feels pressured he tends to back off and not do things. I understand this because I’m the exact same way but I feel that this shouldn’t apply if you really love someone.

The second issue is regarding marriage. Recently I asked him if he wanted to get married at some point and he said he didn’t think so. It has never been something he’s wanted although he doesn’t rule out that he will at some point. He’s not against serious relationships though and wants children.

I find this all a bit confusing since his actions imply that he is in love with me and he’s said he can see a future with me. I’m extremely in love with him but I don’t want to get stuck in a dead end relationship with someone that will never commit.

My guess is that his parents divorce has a lot to do with this and I’m hoping that given time he will open up to me more. But then again I’m worried I’m wasting my time on someone who will never give me what I need emotionally. 

Any opinions/advice would be greatly appreciated!

Elise

Dear Elise,

I confess I almost didn’t post your letter because this is not a case where I feel confident in advising you to take one specific plan of action. However, I empathize very much with your dilemma, and I hate to see two people who care deeply for one another come apart if there’s a strong desire to be together. I am happy to share my thoughts and then open this up for the group to discuss in the Comment thread.

First, there are a great many things that sound wonderful about your guy. In fact, he pretty nearly meets the description of that elusive creature known as the benevolent, good-hearted alpha. Let’s take an objective look at the list of female attraction cues, and how he stacks up in your eyes:

ECONOMIC CAPACITY: Works hard, owns his own home.

SOCIAL STATUS: Cleared this hurdle in first meeting, as you left with him and shared a cab.

AGE: Peak attractiveness.

AMBITION AND INDUSTRIOUSNESS: Apparent both in career, and in taking responsibility for siblings.

DEPENDABILITY AND STABILITY: Provided this to his siblings during contentious divorce. Clearly reliable in his behavior towards you.

INTELLIGENCE: Demonstrated by his focus and achievement thus far.

COMPATIBILITY: Obviously highly compatible in most ways.

SIZE AND STRENGTH: Meets your criteria.

GOOD HEALTH (LOOKS): Meets your criteria.

LOVE AND COMMITMENT: ??? Essential, and dependent on the male’s ability to express and demonstrate these.

Obviously, out of all the female attraction cues as described by David Buss in The Evolution of Desire, you have only one concern. That your boyfriend either will not feel the kind of love and commitment you want, or that even if he does feel them, he will be unable to express those feelings in the way that you need to experience them. Buss:

Given the tremendous costs women incur because of sex, pregnancy and childbirth, it is reasonable for them to require commitment from a man in return.  Resources can be directly observed, but commitment cannot be.  Gauging it requires looking for cues that signal the likelihood of fidelity in channeling resources.  Love is one of the most important cues to commitment.

Requiring love, sincerity and kindness is a way of securing a commitment of resources commensurate with the value of the resource that women give up to men.

It is natural and appropriate for you to expect that the man you love with commitment to demonstrate and express his emotional commitment to you regularly in return.  Lacking that assurance makes you feel justifiably insecure, as you wonder about his long-term commitment to the relationship. 

Next, let’s look at his emotional reticence. It sounds like he has been able and willing to demonstrate affection from the start – it’s commitment he struggles with. Given his family background, and his sharing his history so openly with you, it’s clear that his parents’ divorce was a pivotal experience during his formative years. He became the man of the house, substitute father to his siblings, undoubtedly a source of support for his mother, all while dealing with his own grief and anger over his father’s abandonment. I agree with you that this is the main issue in his attitude towards commitment.

A quick perusal of the robust research on the long-term effects of parental divorce confirms your suspicion. A comprehensive summary of the research on the long-term effects of parental divorce may be found here. Some key findings that relate to your situation:

1.  Children of divorced parents are more likely than children of always-married parents to have more positive attitudes towards cohabitation and more negative attitudes towards marriage. When they leave home, they are two to three times as likely to cohabit and to do so earlier, especially if their parents divorced during their teenage years (Amato and Booth, 1997).

2. When parents divorce, their children’s attitudes about sexual behavior change. Children’s approval of premarital sex, cohabitation, and divorce rises dramatically, while their endorsement of marriage and childbearing falls (Jeynes, 2001). 

3. The strongest consequences of marital disruption do not appear until offspring confront the challenges of early adulthood, and offspring with divorced parents have more problems forming and maintaining happy and stable intimate relationships (Amato, 2003).

4. Children of divorced parents fear being rejected, and a lack of trust frequently hinders a deepening of their relationship (Johnston and Thomas, 1996).

5. One study showed that individuals whose parents divorced were more likely than individuals whose parents remained married to believe that relationships were beset by infidelity and the absence of trust, and they were also more likely to believe that relationships should be approached with caution. (Weigel, 2007).

6. Adult male children of divorced parents show more ambivalence than men from intact families about becoming involved in a relationship though they invest more money and tangible goods in casual dating relationships (Jacquet and Surra, 2001). 

7. One study reported that persons raised in divorced families have less positive attitudes towards marriage, and more positive attitudes towards divorce. This negative attitude about marriage leads to decreased commitment to romantic relationships, which in turn is related to lower relationship quality. (Cui and Fincham, 2010).

8. Adolescents who have experienced their parents’ divorces and remarriages may feel that marriage is unpredictable and unstable (Risch, Jodl, Eccles, 2004).

9. In her study of children of divorced parents from Marin County, California, Judith Wallerstein found that the children of divorced parents still had persistent anxiety about their chances of a happy marriage a decade after their parents’ divorce. This anxiety interfered with their ability to marry well: Some failed to form satisfying romantic ties, while others rushed impulsively into unhappy marriages (Wallerstein and Blakeslee,1996).

10. The evidence shows that “adult children of divorce who eventually wed are more likely to divorce than are adult children from intact families (Jacquet and Surra, 2001).

That’s all very discouraging, I know, but it does explain his outlook. I’m assuming you wish to marry and have children, not raise them as cohabitors. Indeed, the best reason for marriage is the raising of children. Most cohabitating relationships in the U.S. do not allow this:

What research shows is that cohabitating relationships in the United States tend to be fragile and relatively short in duration: less than half of cohabiting relationships last five or more years.Typically, they last about eighteen months.

Not surprisingly, partners in a cohabitating relationship are more likely to be unfaithful to each other than are married couples…The National Sex Survey (polling 3,500 people) reported that men in cohabitating relationships are 4 times more likely to be unfaithful than husbands and that women in cohabitating relationships are 8 times more likely to cheat than are wives.

In 2002 the CDC found that for married couples the percentage of the relationship ending after 5 years is 20%, for unmarried cohabitators the percentage is 49%. After 10 years the percentage for the relationship to end is 33% for married couples and 62% for unmarried cohabitators.

On the other hand, cohabitation obviously need not preclude eventual marriage. From the State of Our Unions:

Cohabitation is a common and popular form of romantic partnership for young adults today. Slightly more than 44 percent of single men, 20-29, agree with the statement that they would only marry someone if she agreed to live together first. Close to a third of the men in this study say that they have lived with someone in the past or are currently cohabiting with a girlfriend.

These men see living together as a way of avoiding an unhappy marriage and eventual divorce. This view is widely shared among people their age. Sixty-two percent of young adults agree that living with someone before marriage is a good way to avoid eventual divorce, according to last year’s Gallup survey for the National Marriage Project.

What you need to know is whether there is anything you can do to mitigate his fears or whether his attitude about marriage is permanent. Pressuring him now is likely to backfire – he’s already indicated as much. This is a very tough call, but here’s my advice:

You are in love with each other. That is not something to discard lightly. You live together, and his actions demonstrate deep feeling even if he is unable to make himself vulnerable by speaking the words you want to hear right now. I recommend establishing a period of time that you are willing to give this relationship, e.g. six months or a year.

During this time, remove all pressure from him to define what you have and where you’re headed. Do everything in your power to demonstrate your love, faithfulness and loyalty. Just Be. Be a couple in love. His reticence about marriage and commitment is understandable in light of his experiences. I do not know whether he can or wishes to get past it, and I suspect he doesn’t either. I suspect that the only way he can be reassured about relationships is witnessing his own working very, very well. 

Your goal is not to change him, it is to demonstrate your reliability as a life partner. Do not lie about what you want. Don’t pretend you don’t want to marry one day. If at any point he tells you he has made up his mind definitively, take him at his word. If, at the end of the timeframe you’ve set aside, he is no more inclined to consider marriage, you will have to decide if you are willing to stay together on his terms. 

This strategy is high risk and high reward. Leaving him now would result in less heartbreak overall, perhaps, but also preclude the possibility of happiness with the man you love. Your own level of risk aversion is a key consideration. Still, we are most likely to regret not doing something:

About 75 percent of respondents regret not doing something, with the top three slots taken by studying hard enough at school, not taking advantage of an important opportunity, and not spending enough time with friends and family. In contrast, only 25 percent of people regret doing something, such as making a bad career decision, marrying someone they didn’t love, or having a child at the wrong point in their lives.

If you walk away now, you’ll never know. Can you give him, and your relationship, some time?

Susan

  • taterearl

    Sounds to me like he is giving enough emotion. Any more and she will head for the hills.

  • Escoffier

    harsh truth:

    It was a mistake to move in with him. Leave aside the fact that I am always against that. Even on Susan’s own terms it was a mistake to do so when you didn’t know where this was going or what his beliefs are. Now you know and the news is not good. He doesn’t want to get married (but might some day) and, much worse, he is fine with the idea of having kids without marriage or even any sense of permanence.

    So all you can do now is wait around for him to change his mind, which is totally out of your control, or leave.

    RE: “not letting you in,” that I would say should not bother you so much, since by every metric that matters save one, he has demonstrated that he is a good partner. If he were willing to marry you and keep on behaving the same way, I would say, let go of your girly expectation of florid love talk, if you can bear to.

    But without a real commitment on his part, you are playing his game … in his frame, as they say.

  • John

    All of these women sound like headaches.

  • Cooper

    “If at any point he tells you he has made up his mind definitively, take him at his word.”

    This is what I’d strongly advise.

  • http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/ Stuart Schneiderman

    Regardless of whether or not she should have moved in, Elise did. As Susan hints she should not have confronted him on the three-little-word issue and should not have confronted him about marriage.

    She is left not knowing whether he never wants to get married or whether he wants to be the one posing the question.

    I agree with Susan, there is nothing wrong with this guy and nothing really wrong with this relationship. I would spend less time trying to psychoanalyze him or his background and more time being a good mate.
    It’s a relationship, not therapy. Successful men are not especially empathetic; they do not often display their feelings. Or better, they display them in their actions, and so far, his actions have all been very positive and very expressive.

    As a rule of thumb, if Elise wants to be a wife she should start acting like a wife. She says nothing about their everyday life, or about the household division of labor. Elise does not tell us what she does for a living, but if she wants to be a wife she can start taking charge of their home, making it a home and the like.

    All told, the relationship sounds very solid. The man sounds like a keeper. Elise needs merely to act the role she wishes were hers.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      For the readers’ information, Stuart is a trained psychoanalyst who has moved away from therapy, as his blog, Had Enough Therapy?, would indicate. Still, his insights into the human psyche should not be overlooked.

  • http://asinusspinasmasticans.wordpress.com Mule Chewing Briars

    He seems like a very phlegmatic, practical man. Whether this is the result of his parents’ divorce is both uncertain and irrelevant. It could very well be that he is displaying all the emotion he is ever going to display, and any attempt to turn him into Lord Byron will be met with a lot of passive-aggressive resistance.

    You gave her good advice. HOWEVER, this is a relationship that should be moving towards marriage. If after six more months, it isn’t, I’d introduce him to a lower-wattage friend and ask him if he would recommend her to a friend of his [she says that tribe is numerous and devoted] who was more ebullient and less marriage-shy.

    A man like this would probably comply with that request.

  • Escoffier

    OK, we had this same conversation in … I can’t remember which thread, the ladies–emphatically including Susan–all said that no girl should act like a wife until the ring is produced. Well, except for sex.

    I wonder how this thread will play out …

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I can’t remember which thread, the ladies–emphatically including Susan–all said that no girl should act like a wife until the ring is produced. Well, except for sex.

      That’s not correct. I stipulated cohabitation as the time for acting like a wife re doing chores especially for him. My objection was to doing them at his place or when you are not living together.

  • Escoffier

    Still and all, this girl is taking a big risk. If she wants a marriage, how long should she stick around waiting for him to change his mind? If she doesn’t want a marriage or children, I agree, relationship sounds fine, stay.

  • http://theprivateman.wordpress.com The Private Man

    His actions are speaking quite clearly:

    “In general everything is going great. Although he works a lot he always sets aside time for us to do something together, is very interested in me and my life and the sex is great. He’s very respectful towards me, and towards women in general, and everyone who knows him speaks extremely well of him. He has a large group of very good friends and is close to his family.”

    Men and women communicate so differently but the expectation is that men communicate like women. He is communicating, the way men do.

  • Vicomte

    Sounds like she’s looking for a reason to dump him because she wants a wedding.

    She ‘needs’ him to say he loves her, but she won’t say it herself?

    If he’s not interested in her number, he probably has suspicions that it’s high.

    Run, my boy. We got a mercenary here.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Sounds like she’s looking for a reason to dump him because she wants a wedding.

      She ‘needs’ him to say he loves her, but she won’t say it herself?

      If he’s not interested in her number, he probably has suspicions that it’s high.

      Run, my boy. We got a mercenary here.

      I feel like HUS has become the Island of Misfit Toys.

      This comment is so off the wall that Elise would have to be insane to enter this conversation. I’ve already deleted another comment. I count at least 5 completely unwarranted accusations here.

      All Ye Who Enter Here:

      Be advised to check your Red Pill at the door or come back when you have digested it and are no longer lashing out irrationally.

  • Jonny

    Unless Elise wants to end up the woman that breaks up with her boyfriend and he marries someone else, she needs to back off immediately.

    1. Move out. It is clear that cohabitation isn’t getting you closer to marriage. In fact, it is worsing the situation with Elise acting crazy.

    2. Continue to date casually, but set a time limit as to how long is acceptable before she demands a commitment.

    3. A few years later, marry or break up. Move on.

    She is over psycho analyzing the situation. The guy is relatively young in man years at 27. She is 26 and pushing 30 quickly, which is a different situation. She cannot wait, but he can.

    She must ensure the success of the relationship, but she is blowing it. It is better to leave knowing an ultimatum is given than a mere breakup.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      In fact, it is worsing the situation with Elise acting crazy.

      Crazy? How so? She seems remarkably level-headed and sane to me.

      Continue to date casually

      Huh? They’ve spend every night together for 9 months. They are in love.

      A few years later, marry or break up.

      How does this, make sense with this:

      She is 26 and pushing 30 quickly, which is a different situation. She cannot wait, but he can.

      She is aging at the same rate everyone else ages. I’ve recommended that she give it six months or a year. Why shouldn’t she give it a bit of time to see how things go?

  • Tomato

    There’s a theory that boys whose mothers cheat on their fathers or otherwise ruin the marriage are more likely to have negative feelings toward women in general as they grow up. But what about the reverse – how do boys react when it’s the father who cheats and ruins the marriage like in this letter? Are they more likely to loathe their own gender? Are they still more likely to consciously and subconsciously punish women? Are there any studies on this?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tomato

      But what about the reverse – how do boys react when it’s the father who cheats and ruins the marriage like in this letter? Are they more likely to loathe their own gender? Are they still more likely to consciously and subconsciously punish women? Are there any studies on this?

      I wondered that too. I did not find any studies that addressed that question. Perhaps he hates his father’s second wife? My college bf was in a similar situation, and he hated the homewrecker, and even blamed her for the fact that his father was rarely in touch.

      I thought it was interesting that her bf had a couple of serious relationships during his college years, but went from 22-27 without being in one. When he met her, he was clearly ready, and made his interest clear from the first night. No push pull from this guy. I have to believe he cares for her deeply. It sounds like he thinks she could be “the one” – he has said he can see a future together. If he steadfastly refuses to marry, his pool of potential partners is going to go way down, at least in his own cohort.

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    Glad I stopped by today.

    Susan, IMO this lady has an excellent opportunity that she might screw up because of this thing called female solipsism, which I know is a touchy subject. But allow me to explain.

    More than one perfectly good woman has driven off a perfectly good man at this point because she doesn’t understand the nature of his psychology, after he has made the first steps toward commitment. He’s been a Bull Alpha for a while, and he’s considering the possibility of becoming a Wolf Alpha and raising a litter of pups. . . but only if he has the right mate. Otherwise, women are fungible. He knows he’s a catch, and he can discard her and not be any worse for wear.

    What your reader must understand is that he is auditioning her. For the role of Wife. That’s the only real long term commitment he’s got left on the table, and if he has some brains — and apparently he does — then he’s going to be slowing things down and holding her up to serious scrutiny. While she’s picking out china patterns, he’s evaluating her genetics, her mental health, and her responses. Whether he realizes or not he has gone into “Wife Test” mode. And what women must understand is that any man worth having is going to subject her to a rigorous series of challenges before he’s ready to pull the trigger.

    But she shouldn’t panic. It’s actually a good thing. Indeed, if she’s actually committed, she should embrace it, and eat up the challenge of it all. This is difficult, of course, since they’re still in the infatuation-fuck-all-the-time stage, more or less, but this is when stuff starts to get real. The fact he took as long as he did and introduced her to family is big — she passed the early tests. Now it’s down to the second half of the quiz, and if your reader is smart, she’ll discard her anxiety and welcome the opportunity to study the dude and show off her own capabilities. This is the time where Deal Breakers need to come out, and you can’t do that if you’re constantly just screwing all the time.

    So start asking him, in little ways, just what he sees as ideal qualities in a wife. He’s not really going to know, probably, but he’ll have some good guesses. Start tailoring your behavior to match. Watch what his mother does, and figure out which things he admires about her and what things he resents or dislikes. Discover what is most important to him, and prepare yourself to deal with that for the rest of your life. Settle the issue of children to your mutual satisfaction, find out his dreams and fantasies and fears, and give him every possible indication that you are ready to trust him absolutely.

    And there is so much more. I guess I should write a book or something. But she’s in Wife Test mode, and the next few months will be critical.

    My advice? Study hard, hump him frequently and with great enthusiasm, and let him know what he’s getting. And cut out this anxiety shit. If he’s auditioning you for First Officer, then it’s really hard to demonstrate your trust and appreciation for him when you are (mentally and emotionally) standing in a lifeboat while you audition. Such things do not inspire confidence, and that will work against you. If you’re willing to get on his boat and let him be your Captain, then you’re either on the boat, or you’re off the boat. Pick one, and then stick with it . . . and let him know you’re ready to ride until he throws you off.

    Does that make you emotionally vulnerable? Yep. Does that challenge your identity as a unique individual? Maybe. Does that set you up to be hurt? Actually, probably not any more than if you try to back into the relationship carefully. If you break up, you’re gonna get hurt, it won’t matter how much of your heart you invested in it.

    But it’s your best course of action. Quit solipsistically thinking that everything he does means something it might not about the relationship, and start demonstrating that he can trust you utterly, emotionally, mentally, physically, sexually, and financially. Show him you have his back. Devote yourself to him, and let him know you are prepared to follow him where he leads. THAT’S what he wants to hear: commitment, admiration, and respect.

    Any idiot can do love.

    Good luck!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ian Ironwood

      I think you give Elise excellent advice, but you ignore the fact that he has expressly stated he has never intended to marry. Sounds like he’s in the “Probably not” camp right now. She can go all in, and I believe I recommended she do just that, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say that he is auditioning her as a wife. He may just be auditioning her for the role of live-in mom of his illegitimate children.

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    If he’s anything like me (also a product of divorce), he might be waiting to see how she handles adversity. Trust is likely a huge issue for him, so if she wants to keep him, she’ll probably have to continuously demonstrate that she’s worthy of trust — forever. Realistically though, she should give it another nine months at least, and as Stuart says, play the role she is auditioning for.

    A more pertinent question is probably: does he want children? As Susan noted, she didn’t actually talk about that, and that’s a bigger issue.

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    IMO, her moving out would end things. It just demonstrates she can’t be trusted to stick with the relationship through thick and thin. Even threatening to move out could wreck things.

    In my case, it’s my mother who cheated, and I have a tiny family and no siblings, so my particular issues may be slightly different, but it sounds like he doesn’t trust either parent particularly well.

  • deti

    Good advice from all. Elise should not have moved in with this man. In doing so she has now gone all in, when he is holding back the motherlode of commitment she wants — marriage. She wants the ring and the date.

    But what Elise is glossing over is that he HAS committed to her, as much as he is willing to do so. They live together. They’re exclusive. She’s a part of his life: she’s met his family and friends. He’s told her he loves her. More importantly he is showing her he loves her by sharing a living space, forgoing other opportunities, supporting her, and integrating her into his life.

    She doesn’t like this because she’s operating completely in his frame, on his terms. She’s getting a lot, but she has considerably less control over the direction, course and timing of the relationship milestones.

    Agree with MCB and others who say the relationship should be moving toward marriage; but I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t want to make it legal. Elise will have to decide if what this man is willing to offer is good enough.

  • deti

    If she moves out, that will end the relationship. It would be like a GF telling a BF she won’t have sex with him when they had been having sex.

    Moving out would be a clear signal that she is asserting more control over the relationship; she is pulling back; and essentially giving him an ultimatum. I’m not saying she shouldn’t do that; I’m simply stating what the likely result will be.

  • DJ

    It would be interesting to know her number of partners, as it may be showing up in her inability to bond to him. From the tone I would guess 8-15, if she was down in the 2-3 she would have no issue saying “I love U”

    If he is commited to her (his actions do point that way) this is more valuable than state sealed marriage.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @DJ

      It would be interesting to know her number of partners, as it may be showing up in her inability to bond to him

      This makes no sense, as she clearly has bonded to him. She is deeply in love with him.

      She has no issue saying I love you. She said it first. He is the one who has difficulty with it.

      WTF? Are you guys not taking the time to read the post? I don’t care if you read it or not, but if you don’t, please do us the courtesy of refraining from throwing in your .02.

      Re her number of partners, she clearly implies she has offered that information and he has declined it. She also suggests some worry that he has a history of promiscuity, and has tried to piece together his sexual history from what he has shared.

      There is no indication whatsoever here that Elise has been promiscuous.

  • Tomato

    This is a difficult situation and I’m not sure that becoming The Perfect Wife is the best strategy here. If she truly wants to do so and the effort is not overwhelming then perhaps it is worth a try. Maybe it will get her what she wants, maybe she’ll be just as frustrated 6 months from now. She’ll then have to decide whether she wants actual marriage or being a live-in wife. But if she has any negative reaction toward morphing into this Perfect Wife then it will ultimately lead to resentment, especially if she has to keep up appearances forever to avoid him bolting.

  • Darsh

    Am I the only one with a déjà vu? Haven’t this letter been posted and discussed already?? :-?

    ————————————–

    And on a completely unrelated note (since for the life of me I can’t get the forum to work):

    I’ve been seeing a girl for some time now, and every so often when watching a movie or walking in the street, she will comment “Wow, she’s really hot/pretty” when we see a good-looking woman. And I remember previous girls who have done the same.

    What’s the proper response to this??? Is it a shit test of some kind? Is she looking for reassurance that she looks good enough? Am I paying just a bit too much attention to the good-looking woman? What’s the thought behind it?

    So far I mostly ignore her comments. If the woman isn’t that hot I sometimes voice my disagreement (“Meh. She’s okay I guess”), or when it really is a hot woman I meekly agree.

    Can anyone enlighten me on this one?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Darsh

      This letter from Elise was languishing in the forum so I decided to make it a post.

      Re the forum, what’s wrong with it? I’d appreciate your taking the time to describe the problem, since it looks fine on the back end.

      Re your gf’s testing you re other women, she’s probably fishing for information, and she wants to know that you prefer her. It’s not in your best interest to offer blanket reassurance. I would continue as you are, but I would also make sure that your gf knows that you think she’s hot. Or you might occasionally say, “she’s OK, not as pretty as you.” IOW, let her know you find her attractive, but do not allow her to become complacent in assuming you don’t find other women attractive too.

  • John G

    TL;DR, etc.. I did skim it. I’ll shake the jar with the wasps in it, what are each of their SMVs? If there is an imbalance, one or the other has more options, it changes the discussion. If you did mention it somewhere, my apologies.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      what are each of their SMVs? If there is an imbalance, one or the other has more options, it changes the discussion.

      Elise does not mention this. As the relationship has been strong and remains so after 9 months, and took off from the first night they met, I believe we may assume they are well matched in terms of SMV.

  • Emily

    >> “A more pertinent question is probably: does he want children?”

    Yeah, I sort of think that this is what it comes down to. If you’re not going to have kids, then there’s pretty much no incentive for a man (particularly a high-SMV man) to get married.

    Women who want marriage + no kids are going to have a hard time selling their product.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      “A more pertinent question is probably: does he want children?”

      From the post:

      He’s not against serious relationships though and wants children.

  • Anne

    Susan, did you make a post about cohabitation before marriage?

    I am against it and would want to be (at least) engaged before moving in together. However all my female friends and my sister think I’m nuts, so it’s often under debate.

    I do think this is a good example of why cohabitation before marriage is never a good idea. This guy has everything he wants and I don’t see how he’ll ever want to change anything.
    I do find it odd that she didn’t elaborate on the marriage thing. If she wants to get married and he doesn’t, she needs to leave him. According to her letter, she asked and he said “don’t think so”. I don’t think that should be the end of the discussion, surely she would want a straight answer and make it clear what she wants?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Anne

      Susan, did you make a post about cohabitation before marriage?

      No, I don’t think I’ve ever written about that sole topic. I did it, and it’s come up in the comment threads a lot, though.

      If she wants to get married and he doesn’t, she needs to leave him. According to her letter, she asked and he said “don’t think so”. I don’t think that should be the end of the discussion, surely she would want a straight answer and make it clear what she wants?

      I agree that she should make her own wishes clear. That’s why I told her never to pretend something she doesn’t really feel. However, I believe she feels that he has opened up to her gradually in the relationship, and that he may come around on the question of marriage over time. It’s entirely possible that she is right, IMO. The question is, how much time should she give it?

      Don’t forget – she has said she is deeply in love with him, and that he has said he can see a future with her. She has something real to work with here.

  • http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/ Stuart Schneiderman

    I think that we all should remember that if he has a high powered job and wants to advance his career, then it would simply not look very good to the partners and his colleagues and associates and clients if he is not married to the mother of his children.

    He is a little younger than the age when people in his cohort get married, but soon enough there will be weddings and such. He will be attending with his live-in, and the question will inevitably arise… without Elise ever having to say anything.

    She does well not to pressure him, because there will soon be plenty of pressure coming toward him from other directions.

    I don’t know if I am making too much of this, but when she asked him about marriage, he said he didn’t think so. That feels more like a non-committal answer than a rejection of the idea.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Stuart

      I don’t know if I am making too much of this, but when she asked him about marriage, he said he didn’t think so. That feels more like a non-committal answer than a rejection of the idea.

      I agree. Specifically, this:

      It has never been something he’s wanted although he doesn’t rule out that he will at some point.

      Sounds like she has caught him a bit off guard, or at least asked him something he hasn’t given much thought to recently. He may have decided as a teenager he wouldn’t marry and not been in a position to contemplate it again since. We don’t know, but saying he doesn’t rule it out is very important here.

      I don’t think we should be telling her to leave him in a cavalier way. She has a great deal invested in the relationship, and it sounds like he does too. No guarantees, but I have a sense this could work out with time and care. If it were me, I’d stick around and audition for the role just as you suggested.

  • http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/ Stuart Schneiderman

    I also agree with Susan about the question of each person’s “number.” There is no indication that either of them has been promiscuous. For my part I find that a man who does not want to hear about a woman’s past experience is more serious about her than one who does.

    Clearly, they are in love. By keeping the issue of past lovers away from the conversation, he is saying, as Susan suggests, that he considers Elise “the one.”

  • Escoffier

    Dr. S, I still think it’s incredibly risky to move in with a guy who “doesn’t think” he wants to get married. Even moving in with a guy who absolutely says he does is no guarantee that he will follow through. When he says he thinks he doesn’t, well …

    I hope this works out for her but at this point luck will have to play a very large role. She made a big, big mistake which may not yet be fatal but which has put her at a serious disadvantage.

  • Vicomte

    Susan,

    Love me?

    -A Misfit Toy

  • LJ

    Leave. If he’s not in love with you by now, he almost certainly never will be. You deserve better.

  • Escoffier

    Honestly I think his willingness to contemplate children without being married is a huge red flag, even bigger than saying “I don’t think I want to get married.” Talk about a DLV.

  • LJ

    Yeah, I sort of think that this is what it comes down to. If you’re not going to have kids, then there’s pretty much no incentive for a man (particularly a high-SMV man) to get married.
    Women who want marriage + no kids are going to have a hard time selling their product.

    Yeah, that’s why gay and lesbian couples have no interest in getting married. Oh wait…

  • Cooper

    “Crazy? How so? She seems remarkably level-headed and sane to me.”

    I’d say so.

    “Be advised to check your Red Pill at the door or come back when you have digested it and are no longer lashing out irrationally.”

    Does it ever cross you mind that if I were to take these statements literally (which of course I’m most likely to do), I’d never return?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cooper

      Does it ever cross you mind that if I were to take these statements literally (which of course I’m most likely to do), I’d never return

      I don’t think you’ve lashed out irrationally once here. And I see you as having largely digested it anyway. You may not like it, but you’re not going around calling perfectly reasonable people mercenary sluts of low SMV.

  • http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/ Stuart Schneiderman

    @Escoffier… I have not been judging whether she should or should not have moved in with him. As the situation presents itself, she’s living with him. It may not be ideal, but it’s the reality on the ground.

    In most cases I would agree with you. The data suggests that you are right. And yet, it seems clear to me that everything is going well in this relationship, so why would we want to get her to thinking that she has made a mistake.

    She has a great deal invested already, so I think it better to take the position that she has chosen well and that she is being treated exactly as a man would treat a woman he was eventually going to marry.

    As Susan said, when Elise asked the question, she caught him off guard. To me this means that one should not take his answer as as a No.

  • HanSolo

    The cohabitation/marriage issue boils down to whether he wants to cohabit with her for the next 5-60 years (about the same time frame that a marriage would likely last) or only for another year.

    If he is willing to do cohabitation that is marriage in every aspect except the paper then that’s probably fine for Elise (unless she wants the paper too).

    If she lives in an area where cohabitation beyond two years or so doesn’t lead to common law marriage and she is concerned about not getting her portion of their joint increase in wealth, especially if she plans to be a SAHM, then she should likely insist on marriage.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Han

      If he is willing to do cohabitation that is marriage in every aspect except the paper then that’s probably fine for Elise (unless she wants the paper too).

      He has pretty much indicated this is where he sees himself, and she wrote to me because she presumably wants marriage.

      In any case, very, very few women are indifferent to the question. The stats on cohabitation make it very clear – without marriage, most couples split up, and that is very bad for children, as we see in this man.

  • Cooper

    “All Ye Who Enter Here:”

    Nvm, I should have noticed which comment you were addressing.

    “I feel like HUS has become the Island of Misfit Toys”

    I wanna be a dentist!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I wanna be a dentist!

      I want to be a Charlie in the Box.

  • Escoffier

    Well, she needs to time limit this, and I wouldn’t spend a lot more time if I were her. He should know by now or very soon if he wants to keep her.

    The risk is obvious, figuring out at 27 that marrage won’t happen is a lot better than figuring it out at 32.

  • OffTheCuff

    My take: give it more time, and don’t kill things by trying to accelerate it.

    On “love”. Some men take this word very seriously. When my wife to me she loved me, I replied “I’m not ready to say that back just yet, when I say it I mean it”. I had a lot higher standard for love, than just butterflies or romance or lust or sex, or whatever women so often confuse for love.

    Nine months is too early to even breathe the word marriage, and I come from an intact family. Asking if he is interested in it, in general, is code for “please propose to me”. His refusal to answer means “duly noted, I will ask if and when I am ready”. She is lucky he didn’t classify him as a clinger and break up.

    A man will be interested in marriage in *general*, based on his own life trajectory. Women can’t change our mind, only be present when/if we do. Give he’s from a broken home he might never want to go there but I think he might change his mind.

    Prescription: wait a 6 more months for the L works, and a year or two for a proposal.

  • Cooper

    “I want to be a Charlie in the Box.”

    Hahaha.

    I recall the scene where Will Farrell, in Elf, is assigned to test all the Boxes.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I’m hoping Elise comes by. I told her I’d be putting the post up today or tomorrow, but I don’t have a valid email for her, so we’ll have to see. Personally, I always like it when the writer chimes in, and I feel that it helps them more.

  • OffTheCuff

    * “the L word”.

  • Tomato

    The letter implies that she has directly expressed to him that she needs to be told “I love you” and that her end goal is marriage. If he is unwilling to do both/either then she will have to decide whether that is a deal breaker for her. The difficulty is sifting out whether he wants both but just needs some time or whether he is truly not interested in either.

    I was in a LTR where my boyfriend refused to commit or say I love you, even though he knew I wanted both. We were in relationship purgatory, fueled by his complacency and my inability to stand up for myself. After I finally left him he wrote a long letter saying how now he knew he loved me, but it was too little too late.

  • JP

    “I wanna be a dentist!

    I want to be a Charlie in the Box.”

    I want to be a lawyer, like the ones on the TV commercials!

  • HanSolo

    @Susan

    In places where cohabitation is very different legally from being married then she should be concerned.

    But with the ease of divorce, getting married doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship will last longer.

    I think the main question she wants answered is does he see them having a life together (or at least giving it an honest and sincere go at it).

    If he were to say, I don’t believe in marriage so I don’t really want to marry (but would consider it) but I want to be with you for the rest of our lives then I don’t see how that is so different than saying the same thing and getting married.

    Since divorce is so easy, what does the getting married really mean?

    I do realize that it will be much more easy for her to get half of their combined wealth and that can be an incentive to keep men in marriage when they have been the prime financial contributer, and if she plans on being a SAHM then that might make her not just want to trust his hypothetical intention to make a life with her.

    My point is that the underlying thing is whether he wants to make a life with her, not whether he wants to marry her, though marriage would seem to serve as an indication of the former in his case where he’s not exuberantly looking to get married.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      If he were to say, I don’t believe in marriage so I don’t really want to marry (but would consider it) but I want to be with you for the rest of our lives then I don’t see how that is so different than saying the same thing and getting married.

      The difference is a breakup rates:

      After 5 years:
      Married – 20%
      Living together – 49%

      After 10 years:
      Married: 33%
      Living together: 62%

      Some negative effects of cohabitation are laid out here: http://www.gwu.edu/~ccps/rcq/rcq_negativeeffects_waite.html

      Also here:

      Marital status is a key determinant of psychological well-being. I use data from both waves of the National Survey of Families and Households to evaluate the effect of union type (i.e., cohabitation versus marriage) on depression. Cohabitors report higher levels of depression than their married counterparts, net of sociodemographic factors. The greater depression characterizing cohabitors is primarily due to their higher relationship instability relative to marrieds. Cohabitors’ reports of relationship instability are about 25 percent higher than marrieds’ reports. High levels of relationship instability are especially detrimental for cohabitors who have been in their union for a long period of time. Additionally, cohabitors’ depression scores are exacerbated by the presence of biological and step children, whereas marrieds’ depression scores are impervious to children. Longitudinal analyses that correct for selection bias confirm that the lower levels of well-being characterizing cohabitors are not due to the types of people who choose to cohabit.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11011503

      There’s a lot of research on cohabitation, and it is less stable in every way than marriage: financially, emotionally, fidelity, sexually. I would advise any woman not to make this choice, especially if she wants children.

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    Susan wrote:

    He’s not against serious relationships though and wants children.

    Yes, BUT… I highly doubt marriage-talk and children-talk happened at the same time. Children-talk usually happens pretty early on, then we file away that piece of information. Marriage-talk happened pretty recently, apparently. It’s fine to say, “I want kids some day,” but then it’s another thing entirely to say, “I want kids with you within X years.” The way she describes him, smells like an assumption to me. I think a good question for her to ask him would be, “do you think children deserve a stable home environment, with committed married parents?”

    I say this because I wouldn’t get married unless it was for a child. He’s likely the same, and I really doubt anyone’s ready for babies after nine months together.

  • Anne

    Oops.
    @ Offthecuff
    “Nine months is too early to even breathe the word marriage, and I come from an intact family. Asking if he is interested in it, in general, is code for “please propose to me”. ”

    I don’t think this is true. If you’re a woman in your twenties and you ultimately want to get married, you want to know that he does too. Hopefully it will be mentioned casually, otherwise we’ll be careful about asking too soon. What’s for sure is that if he tells you he doesn’t, there is no point. If a guy says over a round of drinks with friends that he “never wants to get married”, I wouldn’t go on a 1st date with him. There are women out there who spend years with a man who DOES want to get married and waste their time as he doesn’t propose. What odds do you have with a man who doesn’t or “doesn’t think so”?

    When you’ve been committed for almost a year, any 20-something woman should have a strong sense of where the relationship is going. Whether he is interested in marriage (to anyone) is something you want to know as soon as possible. I don’t expect a man to propose to me after 9 months, and it takes a lot for me to fall in love as well. I’ve never said “I love you” to anyone.
    That being said, women are the emotional sex and our feelings run deeper, I wouldn’t say that women misunderstand love or act naive for falling in love before men do. Men can never understand a woman’s emotions, just like women cannot completely understand men’s need for sexual variety.

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    I saw that. I wouldn’t take it at face value. I said that a lot when I first courted Mrs. I. It was a test.

    If a woman is too invested in the dress and the party, that’s a red flag. Sometimes you have to watch what a man does, and not what he says. If he moved in, he’s thinking about it no matter what he says.

  • The Rebound Girlfriend

    “That’s not correct. I stipulated cohabitation as the time for acting like a wife re doing chores especially for him.”

    You’ve got to be joking.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Rebound

      “That’s not correct. I stipulated cohabitation as the time for acting like a wife re doing chores especially for him.”

      You’ve got to be joking.

      That didn’t sound right. We had a big argument here because some guys wanted or even expected girlfriends to come over, do their laundry, clean their bathroom, etc. after spending the night. I said that was outrageous, and things got pretty heated. I then said that when two people live together, they should expect to share chores, including laundry, etc.

      I followed up with a post:

      Be a Lover Before You Are a Wife

      I am NOT in favor of cleaning the bathroom of a man you do not live with. In any case, Escoffier’s claim that I suggested waiting until marriage is not true – I said that sharing chores should begin when two people live together.

  • Jonny

    @Susan W, Post 23,

    “Crazy? How so? She seems remarkably level-headed and sane to me. ”

    It is illogical to say this “I understand this because I’m the exact same way but I feel that this shouldn’t apply if you really love someone.” She agrees that it is wrong to pressure someone to do something, but love is different. Actually, loves makes it even more important to remain consistent unless you want to be lied to.

    He may have loving feelings about her, but it isn’t quite the same to say “I love you.” She must have the patients to wait. Besides, it is much too early with only 9 months into the relationship. I often hear stories of women who waited years for their boyfriends to give them a ring. This is the opposite case where she can’t wait at all.

    The psychoanalyzing of his divorced parents is the worst thing. His childhood experience doesn’t always affect future decisions. She is getting herself crazy.

    I recommended that she move out and continue to date casually (not breakup). I think you jumped the gun in saying they are in love.

    I’m trying to understand her situation when I say she is 26 and pushing 30. She can’t wait, but she must.

  • Cooper

    @Tomato
    I agree.
    “The difficulty is sifting out whether he wants both but just needs some time or whether he is truly not interested in either.”

    You acted correctly in your example, IMO. I think if the person knows what you want – and is still resistant to provide it – it’s not a good fit.

    @Anne #59
    +1
    ” If a guy says over a round of drinks with friends that he “never wants to get married”, I wouldn’t go on a 1st date with him.”

    NAWALT hehe

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      ” If a guy says over a round of drinks with friends that he “never wants to get married”, I wouldn’t go on a 1st date with him.”

      I second this. It’s awfully risky for women to deliberately ignore the “love and commitment” requirement. Why begin dating someone who has stated openly and without reservation that he does not share your view of what is important in life? If men test women this way, they may get lucky and find someone to stick it out, but I believe many women will bolt, which is sensible.

      There’s no such thing as a soulmate, right? If one guy makes it clear he’s not going to ever marry you, there are many others who would be open to the possibility. It is important for women in their 20s not to waste time if they want children.

  • HanSolo

    @Susan

    Those stats are lumping all cohabitors together. What about cohabitors that say they want to live the rest of their lives together?

    This couple is an example of people who started cohabiting without the expressed commitment of being together for life or whatever marriage commitments consist of. However, if they were to enter into a cohabitation with lifelong commitment that would be a different story.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Those stats are lumping all cohabitors together. What about cohabitors that say they want to live the rest of their lives together?

      I have never seen stats like that – I suspect they are a small minority, as marriage is still the most popular option for lifelong commitment, by far.

  • HanSolo

    @Susan

    I’m not really arguing against her wanting to get married, only pointing out that if he was intent on a lifelong cohabitation and really convinced her that he meant it that it might be worth her considering and accepting.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    My gut feeling on this one says “run.”

    Why? The guy has serious issues if he refuses to even say “I love you.” My husband and I are both from divorced families, and we have no problems expressing our emotions.

    Elise might be getting a temporarily good deal, but that’s about it. I would never settle for a man who never expressed his love verbally. I would rather be with a poor man with average looks and low “social status” but whose heart was full of love.

    But, I’m a total romantic, and I’m a sucker for stories like two young folks fall in love, get together, get married, struggle through a time of relative poverty and end up well-off, with kids. This guy just sounds like a ticking time bomb of psychological crisis.

  • HanSolo

    @Hope

    I think that men exist on a spectrum of how emotive and expressive they are.

    I tend to be on the expressive side when really in love with someone, though I keep it toned down until later.

    Other men are not very expressive. This seems more true of men 50+ years ago that were raised to be less expressive and yet you would infer from their actions that many were loving men and sacrificed for the wife and kids.

    So, if words of affirmation is not one of his love languages then “hear” what he is saying with the love languages he speaks. However, if she needs to hear this frequently then he is likely not the best candidate. Likewise, if she needs marriage, as opposed to livelong commitment w/o the paper, then if he doesn’t sound intent on it in the next few months or so then it might be time to get out.

  • LJ

    @ Hope – Yay, finally someone who had the same reaction as me!

    Also, I think it’s a big red flag that his thinking behind asking her to move in was, “It’ll be cheaper and I won’t have to spend time driving over to see you.” All about convenience, and nothing to do with building a life with someone.

  • HanSolo

    To be succinct, Elise, give it some more time without pressuring him and just enjoy being together.

    After that time, if you haven’t determined that he wants to spend his life with you or marry you and that he loves you, primarily through his actions and secondarily through his words, then it would be wise to bring up the issues in conversation to give him that chance to give his side of the story.

    Then you can either continue with him on his terms or demand that your terms are met or come to some compromise.

    If none of those three options work or are acceptable to both parties then leave.

  • Escoffier

    I don’t believe that nine months is too early to talk marriage, but be that as it may, once you’re cohabitating, that’s definitely NOT too early to talk marriage. In fact, you shouldn’t even contemplate cohabitation unless you know the other party shares your view of marriage.

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    Not everyone expresses their love verbally. I didn’t tell Mrs. I I loved her until almost a year into the relationship. And I said it infrequently until I felt comfortable about it. It’s not something my family culture said a lot, and we save it for when it really matters. If you’re going to kill a relationship, do it over something important. And it might be important to the OP, but if it isn’t important to him – yet – then that means he’s still evaluating. Don’t expect him to leap into anything — he’s waiting to see if she flakes. Worrying about “I love you” and the possibility of marriage at this stage is an early flaky warning, so he’s paying attention. Jumping the gun, flaking out and freaking out about silliness like that when he’s contemplating swimming in your gene pool is going to put him off.

    I know literally dozens of women who have screwed up this exact situation because they self-sabotaged their relationship. They can always rationalize it away afterward — “it just wasn’t meant to be” – but the fact is they could have salvaged it if they had just refrained from just this sort of silliness.

    If you want a husband, make yourself a wife. If you want a wedding, just throw yourself a really big party and spare everyone the sorrow. Figure out which one it is that you really want and pursue it.

    But if you want to be his wife you’ll demonstrate some patience and tenacity . . . or you’re probably not wife material. That’s what I’d be thinking, if I were he.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      It’s not something my family culture said a lot, and we save it for when it really matters.

      I think this is a really important point. There’s a lot of variation in families around expressions of affection. Imagine how the norm, whatever it is, might be interrupted with a nasty, adulterous divorce. I’m not surprised this particular guy would be cautious about any expression of commitment.

  • Fifth Season

    Elise,

    I’m reminded, and not in a good way, of what Susan said when women like to “win men over.” One bad way this tendency can manifest is when women become attracted to “Byronic” men in the hope that they can reform these men. Of course, according to what you’ve told us, this particular specimen isn’t anywhere near a “ne-er do well” like the stereotype of “Byronic” men goes, but the danger remains of becoming obsessed/addicted with changing someone into what you want, which could very well become an impossible challenge.

    The fact of the matter is, change only comes from within each of us. External pressure can help, but can just as easily backfire. Even longtime marriages can’t truly change some of the core issues afflicting each of the partners.

    I would agree that one of the things to do right now is to take some time to build trust as a couple, to build on each other as a “family” of sorts, in the sense that you are proving yourself to him as someone who will always have his back, someone who will always welcome him home, someone who will take him in your arms both when he is his highest joys and his deepest distress. This would be one way to gradually get him to open up about his (understandable) misgivings about starting a family with you (yes, the couple is the first basis of the family). Help him understand that you’re not the kind of woman to turn him into another divorce statistic or to walk out on him like his father did. Consider couples therapy if it’s available.

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    @Hope: if those are the only issues they have after nine months, then running away from this is probably another great self-sabotage story. Ten years from now she’ll bump into him on the street . . . with his wife and kids. The life she could have had. The dude she could have had . . . if she hadn’t messed things up.

    Any guy worth marrying is going to proceed into the commitment of a relationship cautiously. Women don’t respect a dude who gives up his ‘C-card’ too early any more than men respect the oft-punched ‘V-card’. At nine months I was just beginning to consider a permanent relationship. There was still a hell of a lot of testing to do. A woman who isn’t willing to stick around for that is like a used-car salesman who is trying to convince you to buy a car without taking a test drive. It doesn’t cost anything to sit behind the wheel for a while, but he’s going to buy the one that fits him like a glove.

    Be the glove.

    (Dear Goddess, the phrase “if you want glove, be gloveable” just popped into my head. Time for a drink.)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ian

      Women don’t respect a dude who gives up his ‘C-card’ too early any more than men respect the oft-punched ‘V-card’

      This concept has been getting a lot of airplay at HUS recently, though I hadn’t connected it to this situation. Still, it fits.

      the phrase “if you want glove, be gloveable” just popped into my head. Time for a drink.

      I like that!

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    HanSolo, yep, a couple with such differences will run into problems.

    I am firmly in the camp of “what you see is what you get.” If you start out like this, it’s NOT going to get better. The initial phase is a clue into the future. Ignore these clues at your own peril.

  • JamesV

    This guy sounds a lot like me. Child of divorce. Unemotional detached father. Difficulty forming trusting relationships. Very hard expressing love verbally. I dated my girlfriend for 2 1/2 years and while I could show love through action I didn’t tell her I loved her until the night I proposed.

    Had she needed me to express myself verbally before and pressured me to do so it would very likely fractured our relationship and we wouldn’t be married today. A previous girlfriend, who I also loved, did push me to be more verbal and the continued pressure drove a wedge between us. I’m very thankful my wife was content enough not to need the constant verbal affirmation.

    Now that we are married we say “I love you” to each other every night and every morning. It is still hard for me to do but it is getting easier and I continue to try because it is important to her and, I think, important to me as well.

    I think Susan’s advice is excellent. Yes, you may not end up married to him but it appears that he does love you and does want to be with you. His ability to verbally express love to you is not a foreshadow of his willingness to commit. However pressuring him to do so, when he has expressed that it is uncomfortable for him may very well be a foreshadow of his unwillingness. Good luck to you.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @JamesV

      Thank you for sharing that honest and moving comment.

      Now that we are married we say “I love you” to each other every night and every morning. It is still hard for me to do but it is getting easier and I continue to try because it is important to her and, I think, important to me as well.

      I love this. It’s an honest look at just how difficult this can be – you love your wife, you value this exchange of affection each day, and yet it is not easy. It may never be easy. But you two figured it out. This is what I hope Elise can have.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Stuff that guys say over drink doesn’t always mean something, lol

  • Tasmin

    I feel like I have read this exact letter somewhere else. I could be wrong. Some of these blend together, but I’m fairly certain it has been posted elsewhere, FWIW.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tasmin

      It was in the forum, but got no replies. I thought it was interesting so I posted it. It’s definitely not a fake – I have exchanged two rounds of emails with Elise.

  • pvw

    Perhaps I’m just too much of a killjoy non-romantic, overly pragmatic INTJ woman.

    My response at first wasn’t to be troubled by this guy not saying the “L word,” but I was instead troubled by this:

    “a few months ago he bought a flat and asked me to move in with him – mainly because it’s cheaper and handier but he also said that we’d be able to spend more time together. I said yes and moved in…”

    Huh, as it seems “LJ” asked as well?

    The sad part is that this was the time for her to get him to talk about his expectations, but she blew it. She should have been asking, “what are your expectations of a live-in relationship? Is it that you are interested in getting engaged, married? Is it that you are in love with me?” And if he wasn’t interested in explaining or if he wasn’t ready to think or talk about marriage, she could have continued seeing him, but without moving in with him.

    Because otherwise, it seems to be just about fun and games and playing house with her being in the losing end of hoping she plays house well enough to get him to marry her. Yet, she will never know when that day might come. I get the Ian Ironwood argument, though, that he might be very serious minded, but cautious. That could have been part of the conversation, if she had brought it up.

    Well it is what it is; she is in deep, and she is auditioning, because that is what being a live-in in those circumstances requires. She just has to audition very well and for as long as she thinks she can continue doing so in the hope that after x amount of time, he will be persuaded.

    But he might not ever be; he pretty much said so, as it only came up recently when it should have come up at first. Ian Ironwood might be right, that things can work out well for them if she plays it right.

    Now here is something very important; many women, as Ian Ironwood explained, blow things up, but I think they blow things up in a different way. They blow things up by walking in blind, as happened here.

    They are too timid about expressing their needs or interests when they enter into situations like this, for whatever reason, naivete, they are too passive, or they are fearful of being seen as too clingy and needy. That has got to go. This is your life here, and your future, this is no time to be timid.

    When I moved in with Mr. PVW, it was because we were planning on getting married in a month. He knew those were my expectations, and he was willing to work with them. However, I did spend a lot of time prior to that cultivating high mmv “girl game” while we were dating, not only because that is how I was raised, but I was interested in becoming the type of woman I knew he needed in a relationship.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @pvw

      They are too timid about expressing their needs or interests when they enter into situations like this, for whatever reason, naivete, they are too passive, or they are fearful of being seen as too clingy and needy. That has got to go. This is your life here, and your future, this is no time to be timid.

      I agree pvw, well said. This is so common it pains me. In fact, much of the time women have sex for the first time with a guy, they have not asked anything about his intentions, they go with the flow, cross their fingers, and hope for the best. It works out sometimes, but it’s a risky business. I keep telling “my girls” that if a guy is thinking of a relationship, he’ll be delighted if the woman brings that up as part of the decision to have sex. They’re either on the same page or they’re not. If they’re not, she needs to know. If they are, it’s perfect.

      Obviously, the stakes are higher here, but as Stuart said, she needs advice on how to move forward from the current circumstances.

  • Senior Beta

    Not sure how “alpha” this guy is inviting her to live with him but he has some alpha traits for sure. Susan gave good advice but the old married guys, Deti and Ian, nailed it. He said “maybe” to the marriage issue. If he wants kids it will undoubtedly be in a marriage. So she needs to act like the best wife to be on the planet. And it sounds like she is a good part of the way there. Good luck, Elise.

  • Escoffier

    yawn

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Finally got around to reading the letter:

    During this time, remove all pressure from him to define what you have and where you’re headed. Do everything in your power to demonstrate your love, faithfulness and loyalty. Just Be. Be a couple in love.

    Boom, this x1000. Was exactly what I was thinking. Putting pressure on him is going to make him want to run and setting up expectations for him is going to make him feel like he’s in a job.

    He is obviously very taken with the girl, and has a tremendous of issues to go through. She should definitely be taking the lead in emotional escalation and setting the “couple in love” frame, and he may naturally fall in line with the frame: it appears he certainly WANTS to.

    Also, moving in a month ago….come on, there’s got to be some problems for that, right? Don’t reinterpret basic “I FUCKING HATE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH” problems into “oh my god this relationship is over because he doesn’t say he loves me” problems. That’s extremely dangerous.

    I also want to toss out the theory that this boy is omega and has only recently come into his full SMV value. Only two relationships, both in college, followed by 5 years of no girl at all, and he doesn’t even kiss until the 7th date…
    Yeah, that sounds like he spent a long time as an Involuntary Celibate and isn’t great with girls.

  • LJ

    @ pvw- Yup. And to add to that, he owns the place– I’m assuming they don’t own in jointly. So she is, presumably, paying part of the expenses/ mortgage, while he builds equity that is not shared.

    Maybe I’m cynical for thinking of it that way, but if he were expressing confidence in a shared future, I wouldn’t be worried about her getting screwed.

  • OffTheCuff

    I agree with Han, Ian, and JamesV, and not with Hope. You may have married an F who fell in emotional gooey love with lots of words, but there are few men like that. Remember, men have lots of feelings that we have keep close to our chest… Doesn’t anyone remember “eager men” thread?

    Anne: of course it does, here. This is not about what you want, this time.

    He’s *already* committed with monogamy, but she doesn’t “want to get stuck in a dead end relationship, with someone that will never commit.”

    Precisely what level of commitment is she looking for, that she doesn’t already have, then? Super monogamy? Extra special super-duper monogamy?

    Answer: she wants to be engaged, or at least proposed to, which means marriage, but doesn’t quite know it yet.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    The thing is, if he wants her to be auditioning for the role of wife, he’s not exactly setting those expectations clearly. They are (or should be) old enough to communicate about these matters. I agree with pvw that moving in together to be “cheap” is a terrible idea.

    My husband and I moved in together when we were 25, after only about three months. Month one, he told me that he saw the possibility of having a baby with me. It was clear to both of us from the beginning that we would be evaluating each other for marriage. We got engaged three months after moving in together, and married six months after that.

    While there are success stories of women getting married to men who were not verbally expressive or affectionate, there are also lots of failure stories of women waiting around for a man to marry her only to end up alone and dumped because the man was never in love with her. Susan is advocating the “all in” approach to the gamble with a 6-month timeframe, but I think she’s going to suffer from the “sunk cost” fallacy (as she already has) and not be able to leave at the end of 6 months.

  • LJ

    I just saw the forum post and noticed that she posted it on 11/4/12 — so over 2 months ago. Susan, did you heard anything from her as to any updates since then? By now they’ve been together nearly a year.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @LJ

      Yes, our communication has been in the last week. I asked if she would like me to post it and she said she is still very interested in feedback. My sense is that the situation has not changed.

  • Anne

    @Offthecuff
    I’m sorry, I really don’t get your post at all. I am aware she wants marriage – that’s what I based the advice on. Where I disagreed with you, was where you said women mentioning marriage are basically asking for a proposal. They are not necessarily. They don’t want to take the time to figure out whether they can be with him if he doesn’t want marriage anyway. You want to know what’s what before you bother getting emotionally invested. Not every woman falls in love overnight, even if he’s “alpha” or whatever.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I think people are being too hard on Elise’s bf. He was able to tell her he loves her, admitted that it is very hard for him to say, and that he has never said it to anyone before. He is attentive, caring, and has made her a priority in his life. They get along really well and have great sex. He is extremely loyal to family and friends, and is admired for having excellent character. All this is in Elise’s letter. I think we should take her at her word.

      If she walks away now, I fear she will always wonder, always regret, running in fear. She’s already in deep, why not nurture the love and see how things develop?

      Look, I focused on the psychology piece in the post because it is so profound. Kids of divorce have a really, really hard time. It shows up time and again in the stats re promiscuity, hooking up, avoiding relationships, etc. He’s not dysfunctional, and he’s really trying. I think she’s got a keeper IF he can trust her fully. I agree with Ian that 9 months is not a long time, given the circumstances.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    Ian Ironwood, “Ten years from now she’ll bump into him on the street . . . with his wife and kids. The life she could have had. The dude she could have had . . . if she hadn’t messed things up.”

    Just before meeting my husband, I was in a semi-similar situation where I was “chasing” the ENTJ, and he was withholding, being aloof, not wanting to commit, not saying anything about love, etc. I got fed up, cried a lot, and looked for a man who didn’t think he was being “pressured.” Years later, I’m the one in a happy marriage with a baby, and he’s still not anywhere near an engagement.

    OffTheCuff, true, there are fewer Feeling type men than Thinking types. But even Ted D and Cooper, though INT*s, have their romantic sides and would probably (I’m guessing here!) not refuse to say “I love you” at least on a semi-regular basis after 9 months of dating and moving in together. Those issues surrounding trust and love would be difficult to accept for someone who is emotionally ready to trust and love.

    When I was younger, I used to think my love was so “special” that I could “change” a man. That was naive and dumb. She cannot make him ready for marriage if he is not. My husband was ready for love before I came into his life. He told me, early on, that he was “ready.”

  • pvw

    @Susan: I keep telling “my girls” that if a guy is thinking of a relationship, he’ll be delighted if the woman brings that up as part of the decision to have sex. They’re either on the same page or they’re not. If they’re not, she needs to know. If they are, it’s perfect.

    Me: When he brought up the question of living together, that would have been the time to emotionally escalate on her part, for her to make sure he knows how she feels about him, nothing over the top or anything, but as a means of getting a sense of where he is, and without pressuring him. Any decent man would respect that type of vulnerability game, it seems to me. Moving in is a big step for a woman when she is unsure about a man’s intentions; if anything, as you suggest, a decent man would want to be clear about what he wants.

  • OffTheCuff

    Anne, by “in general” I meant “is likely to be, in situations like this” – rather then “applicable to all women, in any situation”. Unfortunate word choice.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Hope, he might not be ready for marriage yet, but he might be in the future, and she can’t change him, for sure, but she can show that she loves him dearly and that love is indeed possible.

    I don’t know. I think it’s worth a shot.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Maybe he doesn’t need to change. Maybe he just needs time to feel safe and secure being himself.

  • OffTheCuff

    Hope: “I was in a semi-similar situation where I was “chasing” the ENTJ, and he was withholding, being aloof, not wanting to commit, not saying anything about love, etc”

    That’s not even remotely similar. See #98.

  • JP

    ” He was able to tell her he loves her, admitted that it is very hard for him to say, and that he has never said it to anyone before. He is attentive, caring, and has made her a priority in his life. They get along really well and have great sex. He is extremely loyal to family and friends, and is admired for having excellent character. All this is in Elise’s letter. I think we should take her at her word.

    If she walks away now, I fear she will always wonder, always regret, running in fear. She’s already in deep, why not nurture the love and see how things develop?”

    Maybe just see how things develop for 12 months and then think about this again.

    The relationship snooze button.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    OTC, “That’s not even remotely similar. See #98.”

    I left out some details… he did say I love you. Then stopped. There’s more, but I’d rather not get into it.

  • Jackie

    What was Elise’s thought-process in deciding to move in? (I.e sounds like fun, save rent, a step towards marriage? None of the above?) Has she ever lived with anyone before this?

    Because living together as a couple is a very public statement. In some states they will be moving towards a common-law marriage if it lasts long enough.

    The window for laying down expectations has passed. If she is really stuck on this guy, the outcome Elise wants could only come from Susan’s advice. Though, I’m sorry to say, I am not holding out much hope for it. :(

    In my observation, if a guy is ready to marry he will let you know. You could be the most giving, beautiful, fabulous woman in the world, but if he’s not ready it doesn’t make a darn bit of difference. You can’t convince someone to fall that far into love with you. It has to come from them.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      You could be the most giving, beautiful, fabulous woman in the world, but if he’s not ready it doesn’t make a darn bit of difference. You can’t convince someone to fall that far into love with you. It has to come from them.

      This is so true. So often women feel inadequate when the guy doesn’t fall head over heels. (I imagine it’s the same for men?) They take responsibility for not being “enough.” The truth is, there are other things that go into the mix. Timing, history, that person’s feelings about themselves, about relationships.

      A lot of the support I offer to people winds up being simply pointing out that the fact that someone did not decide to jump off that cliff head over heels does not say anything about them as a person, their value, or how lovable they are. I’d rather assume it has nothing to do with me, lol, and chalk it up to their stuff.

  • JP

    “In some states they will be moving towards a common-law marriage if it lasts long enough.”

    I’m pretty sure that you normally have to hold yourself out as husband and wife.

    Common law marriage is going away anyway, generally.

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    Maybe he’s already feeling safe and secure being himself, and he’s doing his Due Diligence to decide whether or not to consider escalating the commitment.

    Look, the only way she’s going to know is to demonstrate her willingness to commit herself — with her heart, not just her keychain. She needs to test him, too. It took years for Mrs. Ironwood to discover all the horrors in the murky depths of my soul. The Ice Dancing alone took her months to recover from.

    This is time to put on your best personal marketing plan. Make it a good one.

  • Jackie

    “In fact, much of the time women have sex for the first time with a guy, they have not asked anything about his intentions, they go with the flow, cross their fingers, and hope for the best. It works out sometimes, but it’s a risky business.”
    ===
    :(
    It’s funny that we would never risk our money with those odds, but our hearts and bodies…. It’s like we want to hang on to every last second of potential happy-ending instead actually knowing where things stand, and the possibility of having our illusions shattered.

    It makes me so sad that people that people are willing to put up with stuff they would NEVER stand for if it was happening to someone they cared about (family member, BFF, etc).

    I

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      It’s like we want to hang on to every last second of potential happy-ending instead actually knowing where things stand, and the possibility of having our illusions shattered.

      Definitely – it’s about the fantasy being realized. A woman actually said to me, “I want a rom com ending!” This was after the guy had started acting flaky without explanation – she was hoping he’d knock on her door and say “You are my exception.” In reality, the odds of Justin Long doing that were actually higher than the real guy doing it.

      Once she accepted that it was done, of course she could go back and see where she’d projected and idealized him to a degree that made it fiction.

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    @ Jackie “In my observation, if a guy is ready to marry he will let you know.”

    Not necessarily. Actually, the ones who let you know, say in the first few dates, that’s a red flag. Premature commitment is ugly. Guys have a long time to consider such things, comparatively speaking, and the fact that he isn’t ready to marry now doesn’t mean he won’t be absolutely smitten with the idea in two years. It all depends on the woman.

    Just like women are sexually reactive to the displays of men, men react commitment-wise to the displays of women.

  • Tasmin

    @Susan
    That explains it.

    “I keep telling “my girls” that if a guy is thinking of a relationship, he’ll be delighted if the woman brings that up as part of the decision to have sex. ”

    Yeah sex has become “no big deal”, particularly as a determinant of relationship status/progression and it seems that cohabitation is following closely behind. We can have a FWB situation and feel good about that as long as we are getting what we want/need (or tricking ourselves into believing that we are), so why not a roommate with benefits? why not play house for a while?

    This isn’t exactly the case here, but the move-in did seem to set a certain tone; one that may not have reflected the depth of the relationship from her perspective and one that certainly did not involve a marriage discussion. It was the progression of sleeping over every night – “why are we paying two rent/mortgages, we should just move in” instead of “we are in love, we want to be together all of the time and want to build a future together.”

    Its the “why buy the cow” thing but it also highlights the fact that it can be problematic to emulate all of the aspects of marriage without the actual alignment of beliefs and commitment to make those a shared beliefs reality.

    “We had a discussion about it and he told me he’d never said it to a girl before and I told him it was very important to me to hear it on a regular basis.”

    They are in love, but I’m suspicious of his feeling pressure about stating such. Its not a terribly complex thing to say. I get the pressure to discuss marriage or awkwardness of discussing sexual past/preferences, but what’s with the L word?

    If he is “closed-off emotionally”, how did she form an emotional bond with him? Is he selectively closed-off? Does he say really sweet, intimate things like “I am grateful for you” “so happy to be with you” etc. but just won’t say the L word? Or is it all actions? If so, she fell in love with his actions so maybe she needs to be ok with not hearing the words. Or she fell in love with her image of him = Trouble.

    Part of me thinks the pressure he feels is because he knows that she is over her skis, that they are basically in a marriage situation and there is an emotional investment-power-vulnerability imbalance. While he is getting what he wants he also knows that she is not, so he turns it on her straight away. He doesn’t have to say “you are pressuring me”, he need only state that he “feels pressure”. He might not be directly accusing her, but she owns it nonetheless. I’d feel kind of selfish if I was in his shoes.

    His position on declaring his love = “feels pressure” + “can see a future”.
    The first one is his answer, the second part is because he knows what she wants.

    His position on marriage = “I don’t think so” + “maybe at some point”
    The first part is his answer, the second part is because he knows her answer.

    “…his actions imply that he is in love with me”

    I believe that actions can say a lot, but she has said that she needs him to say it. If he loves her, he will say it even it if hurts him – or whatever – to do so; THAT is love. I’m more of an actions type guy too but the only time I’ve had trouble saying it is when I just didn’t feel it. And even in those cases my actions were viewed as being loving. I may be a bit overly cynical but I think the divorced parents thing is getting too much weight here. Something else is going on. Maybe time will cure it and her great wife-like support will get him through it, but it kind of seems like she really wants him to be something that he just might not be.

  • http://bastiatblogger.blogspot.com/ Bastiat Blogger

    I think Elise should ask why he feels that way about marriage. It may be nothing personal at all—blame the family law system.

    These no-marriage/cohab with children arrangements are highly correlated with socialist welfare states and feminism, so Elise’s BF may have been systematically trained to think that his position is progressive, cosmopolitan, and very “Scandinavian.”

    Re: break ups. This is probably impossible to find, but I wonder if the majority of co-hab break-ups are still initiated by women, as divorces are. If the co-hab break-up initiation rates were closer to 50/50, that actually might have interesting ramifications. Ideally you’d also have to take the probabilities of each times their respective costs to men and women involved (i.e., divorce might be less frequent but far more destructive when it does occur).

    It would also be interesting to see if the co-hab break-up statistics include the percentage for co-hab w/ children.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @BB

      I recall reading that 75% of cohabs with children do break up, but I couldn’t find that stat today. I agree that we need a lot more information about cohabitation. It’s growing as a choice even as the marriage rate declines. Pew Research surveys show that Millennials place a higher priority on having children than getting married – that suggests more cohabitation in the future. I suspect many researchers are busy as we speak, and there’s probably a lot more info out there that I just didn’t have time to research for this post.

  • JP

    “They are in love, but I’m suspicious of his feeling pressure about stating such. Its not a terribly complex thing to say. I get the pressure to discuss marriage or awkwardness of discussing sexual past/preferences, but what’s with the L word?”

    To me, it always meant, I have now decided to permanently emotionally bond with you and that I am going to marry you.

    Granted, I don’t really have half measures.

    I’m either 100% or 0%, and only when I’m 95% certain of success (meaning that unless I have really misread something, I’m not going to fail).

    I was in a relationship where I refused to say “I love you.” In fact, this was almost all of my relationships.

  • Jackie

    @Ian I.

    Ian, I didn’t mean it literally. I think intentions aligned with actions are very important. Also: where you are in life.

    I can definitely see undergrads having a longer timeline and less self-knowledge than someone who has been out in the world, working and living a life.

    Some men may need years and years to be certain but that is a risky strategy, as a woman of high worth with an aim towards marriage won’t sit around and wait indefinitely. Take Hope’s example: She was the one who ended up with a happy marriage and family and the guy is still out there alone.

  • Jackie

    @Tasmin

    +1 (as usual :) )

    This comment really summed it up:
    “Its the “why buy the cow” thing but it also highlights the fact that it can be problematic to emulate all of the aspects of marriage without the actual alignment of beliefs and commitment to make those a shared beliefs reality.”
    ===
    It’s like hoping the lines between “playing house” and “committed to marriage” will somehow blur together seamlessly. Things tend to be a little more cut and dried than that, again, in my observation.

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    @Tasmin

    “I believe that actions can say a lot, but she has said that she needs him to say it. If he loves her, he will say it even it if hurts him – or whatever – to do so; THAT is love.”

    If she’s willing to blow the possibility of a beautiful life-long relationship because she isn’t willing to show him some level of accomodation at this early stage of the game, then perhaps he’d be better off without her. An Alpha leads, and prefers a woman who can accept his leadership and be strong, not challenge it. She knows it’s a big deal to both of them, and yet she presses and frets over a word, when there are far more important issues (to him) of concern, then she’s giving him good reasons to doubt giving up the C-card. His use of the word would be a measure of his commitment to the relationship as it grew stronger over time — but forcing it before he is ready and willing to say it naturally is an unacceptable intrusion, an attempt to dictate how and when he expresses himself.

    That’s a lot bigger deal than you might think. Many men who consider marriage — and some of the best men who consider marriage — see saying the L-word as a token of commitment in and of itself. Therefore he spends them like coins of great value, only when he feels genuinely moved. “I love you” is one of those things that people (particularly women) use all-too-casually for a lot of us. The word “Love” means something very, very deep and sincere to that kind of man, and it’s not the silly flutter in romance novels– that’s infatuation, not love, and he knows it.

    When he feels love — the genuine and spontaneous feeling where your fundamental happiness is dependent upon the happiness of another — real love, he will say it — and it will mean something. But if he feels compelled or pressured in the slightest, he sees it as a betrayal of his love to be forced to express it until he’s damn good and ready.

    Seriously, ladies, why do y’all find excuses to mess up a good thing? The drama? The excitement? The ice cream? This dude is STERLING. She lucked out beyond the dreams of mortal woman. And now she’s looking for a reason to screw that up, because . . . because . . . because she can’t control how he expresses his love. That’s not good enough for her.

    So why should he leap into a commitment with a woman who’s willing to cut and run about that?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ian

      Seriously, ladies, why do y’all find excuses to mess up a good thing? The drama? The excitement? The ice cream? This dude is STERLING. She lucked out beyond the dreams of mortal woman. And now she’s looking for a reason to screw that up, because . . . because . . . because she can’t control how he expresses his love. That’s not good enough for her.

      So why should he leap into a commitment with a woman who’s willing to cut and run about that?

      She is hardly willing to cut and run! She hanging in there, asking for advice on the best way to make this work, and trying to get a handle on whether her concerns are valid.

      I do not agree that this is about drama. We may question her decision to move in with him, but the truth is that a man’s ability to demonstrate love is extremely important to women. Choose a guy who is never going to get there, and you’ve got kids with no support from dad. You stuck it out and now his attention and resources are being directed elsewhere.

      This is not a game Elise is playing – she should be worried. The only way this scenario is justifiable is his personal family trauma, IMO. That’s the reason I am encouraging her to be patient.

      Otherwise I’d be agreeing with those who say that a guy who admits he loves you at 9 months but never says it again is not a keeper.

  • http://jadekeller.com Jade

    I would second Susan’s advice here. This man sounds a lot like the man who eventually became my husband – though I will say we did go through an intense period before he was willing to commit. This man sounds like a keeper and that he is demonstrating commitment without saying the words. How he treats his siblings is a really good indicator of his sense of loyalty and how he would treat his wife. He is also like my husband in that he is very independent. Independent people need their space and they do not appreciate overly needy people. The more you crowd him, the more you will push him away. But if you respect his space, he will love you more for it. If you are a needy person, you’ll have to own that and either find a person who will feed that need or learn to be more independent yourself. If I might say, this relationship is still young yet and you moved in together quite quickly. Give it time. In the meantime, demonstrate your qualities as a wife. Don’t issue ultimatums. But if you do reach a point where you feel you either need to move towards marriage with him or cut your losses and run, be honest with him. Don’t threaten; just be honest that that is the choice you both are faced with. It may be a difficult time you will go through together, but if you have demonstrated to the best of your ability what your life would be like together as married, he will know clearly what his choices are.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jade

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience.

      I have to say, it is such a joy to see you!

      (Jade is an early, early reader of HUS – she goes back to when traffic was 50 or 100 people a day, lol.)

      Knowing you still read from time to time is so gratifying. I hope all is well with you!

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    @Yah-Halo:

    “In the interest of my comment not being deleted as usual, I leave any conclusions about Game’s effectiveness and PUAs’ understanding of the female psyche and how attraction works, in the readers’ hands.”

    Game works in many ways for many different people for different purposes. In this case, I think Elise’s dude is actually running pretty tight relationship Game — he met her, vetted her, courted her, did a thorough background check, boinked her, decided it might have a future, and proceeded to cohabitation as per cultural imperative. The ultimate goal of Game is dependent upon the man — and Elise’s guy is looking for a wife, even if he’s not ready to admit that yet.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Mistaking the desperate pleas of a girl for a girl who is enthralled in a mating dance does not suit a man well.

  • JP

    “A woman actually said to me, “I want a rom com ending!” This was after the guy had started acting flaky without explanation – she was hoping he’d knock on her door and say “You are my exception.” ”

    I want a hot pepperoni pizza to appear at the door of my office right about now.

  • Don’tDoIt

    Didn’t read all the comments, but I’ve been in a long term relationship with a man like this and I would never do it again. Being in a relationship with someone who “won’t let you in” will lead to a relationship that is lacking in intimacy and closeness. Why waste time on a guy that will ultimately lead to a subpar relationship because he won’t “let you in”, when there are men who are more emotionally available? My .02

  • YaReallyLolSeriouslySue

    lol really? You deleted that one? I literally just cut and pasted her words, some definitions that are freely available all over the Internet, and your own words.

    wow…just wow. lol

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      YaReally,

      I consider you a troll because you’re always peddling PUA. I don’t know why, because I have no problem with Game – I’m not a hater nor a denier. I think it’s a useful tool for many men. I don’t respect men or women who have sex as a career, so I’m not particularly interested in your lifestyle or your sharing it with my readers.

      If you ever leave a comment (like this one) that does not relate the actions of normal people to the PUA handbook, I’ll let it stand.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Susan, I agree with you that she should try her best to show her love and devotion. But I personally don’t think it’s going to go too well unless she can really relax and not pressure him at all. Even then, the question of “why buy the cow” looms large. There’s a fundamental values mismatch if a man views marriage through a dark lens.

    As an aside, the ENTJ guy I mentioned was also a very stand-up guy, a gentleman with a good heart, conscientious, lots of friends, respectful to women, single digit N. Also from a divorced family in which the father remarried, loves his sibling, and he was closer to the mother. That was the parallel. He, too, was very wary of marriage. For good reason, yes, as other men have mentioned.

    But as Jackie said, I didn’t wait around for him. It would have been foolish.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Hope

      There’s a fundamental values mismatch if a man views marriage through a dark lens.

      This is my primary fear. It saddens me, because so many people are children of divorce, and those whose parents had an extremely acrimonious separation really do pay for it for many years down the road. The most promiscuous girl in my focus groups, whom I love dearly, is the product of a situation much like Elise’s bf. I pray that she will in time be able to have a normal, functional relationship.

      I don’t know to what degree this explains Elise’s situation. Nor do I know whether she can change his view.

  • agamemnon021

    Reading all the comments, I think Ian makes the most sense. Everything this guy has done so far in deeds shows that he does care for her immensely. He introduced her to his family and friends and brought her into his home. You don’t do that with women you’re just boinking on the side. Just because he won’t mouth some word that’s been demonstrated to be meaningless in pretty much every failed relationship doesn’t mean squat.

    With his history of a broken family and how he apparently took care of his younger siblings, not to mention a demonstrated ability at being responsible enough to have a career and buy a house, I can’t imagine he would ever consider bringing a child into the world out of wedlock. If he suffered as much as it seems he did from the divorce and fallout and has such a sterling reputation, I find it hard to believe he would do that to his future offspring.

    This is the brave new world women wanted; intelligent men don’t have to commit to get sex. They can be far more discriminating with their future wives. It sounds like he’s a smart guy and he’s playing the hand this world has dealt him to make sure he doesn’t end up like his parents.

  • The Rebound Girlfriend

    “That didn’t sound right. We had a big argument here because some guys wanted or even expected girlfriends to come over, do their laundry, clean their bathroom, etc. after spending the night. I said that was outrageous, and things got pretty heated. I then said that when two people live together, they should expect to share chores, including laundry, etc. ”

    Got heated?! SRSLY? Why would/should anyone expect their girlfriend/boyfriend to come over and clean their bathroom and do laundry? That is outrageous. And I’m absolutely sure NO ONE does that.

  • Tasmin

    @IanIronwood

    You are projecting a bit into the situation, slow it down, his (arguable) Alpha-ness does not entitle him to a universe that bends to his needs.

    “If she’s willing to blow the possibility of a beautiful life-long relationship because she isn’t willing to show him some level of accomodation at this early stage of the game, then perhaps he’d be better off without her.”

    9 months may be “early” for him, but he should have considered that when he asked her to move in. If he wanted some “space” or to take it slow, moving in was a stupid thing to do. He has been in control of the pacing and it has worked for him – he has gotten what he has wanted the entire way. Now he feels pressure. What guy, Alpha or not, doesn’t realize what kind of emotional escalation cohabitation implies? That’s why it feels like hedging to me. He gladly accepts the benefits but any emotional responsibility that may fall on him becomes “pressure” from her.

    “An Alpha leads, and prefers a woman who can accept his leadership and be strong, not challenge it.”

    She has followed his lead from day 1. The ability to understand the needs of others and make the tough choices – often at the expense of the self, are essential skills of a leader. He isn’t leading, he is accepting – something quite different.

    “…but forcing it before he is ready and willing to say it naturally is an unacceptable intrusion, an attempt to dictate how and when he expresses himself.”

    He has already said it. If he is so damn Alpha, how does a woman – obviously with a less important career and feelings and needs that are subordinate to his career and outside needs ["...she presses and frets over a word, when there are far more important issues (to him) of concern."] FORCE him to say it before he is “ready”?

    He’s either withholding or he lied the time he said it, which kind of makes him a pussy. Either way, she’s not dictating – she is communicating her needs and expectations. ["I told him it was very important to me to hear it on a regular basis"] That is how a relationship works. He hasn’t returned the same in terms of what works for him, but rather this: “When I mentioned this he said recently he’d been feeling pressure to say it and that when he feels pressured he tends to back off and not do things.” Which doesn’t sound like a leader or an alpha to me.

    “That’s a lot bigger deal than you might think.”
    Dude I get it. I’m one of those guys too. The L word is a big deal. Im 39 and I’ve told it to two women. I waste very few words and am a man of action myself. But he’s already said it and his actions may say a lot, but she has also told him that actions are not enough. I think there is room for both of them to get out of their comfort zones and work on this, but its not fair to assume expressing love is less of a “deal” for her than for him or that expressing his emotions requires navigating the depths of an emotional labyrinth on the way to enlightenment and hers are just trite chirping.

    “This dude is STERLING. She lucked out beyond the dreams of mortal woman.” “And now she’s looking for a reason to screw that up, because . . . because . . . because she can’t control how he expresses his love. That’s not good enough for her.”

    Whoa. He’s good looking (according to her) with a high-powered job. Despite what some might say, there are plenty of those guys out there. He may be “sterling” to you and maybe he is a catch, but that doesn’t mean that he is right for her. And we don’t know how sterling she is. In fact her story goes out of the way to point out his qualities – in a way she is defending him, building him up as an Alpha, success, with a difficult family history that he approached honorably. He is letting her down and she is working overtime to rationalize his behavior, apologizing in advance. That is a long way from a woman that is trivializing or demanding or taking anything for granted. Not good enough? Ha, part of her problem is that she has him on a pedestal.

    I think she messed up, she went along for the ride – followed his lead and now she realizes that she actually wants/needs something more. Bad strategy. But he is an equal party to that. They both invited a level of emotional investment and intimacy that they were not prepared to reciprocate and/or support according to the needs/expectations of the other person.

    Just because the revelation of those needs/expectations came after the escalations, does not make those things less relevant or free from responsibility. She may have to table her needs and give him more time, comfort, etc. but she needs what she needs and that is unlikely to go away. Its no different than other dimensions of a relationship in terms of compatibility. One or both will figure out fairly quickly what really matters to them. My gut says there is a bit more going on here, but I hope it works out that he is just a bit walled off and her feminine charms will disarm his defenses.

  • The Rebound Girlfriend

    “An Alpha leads, and prefers a woman who can accept his leadership and be strong, not challenge it.”

    How is “not challenging” being “strong”?

    Bottomline: The dude in this scenario is getting free milk without buying the cow. And not only is the milk free, its non-GMO, 100% organic from a young, beautiful grass fed cow.

    Elsie the Cow better start grazing in greener pastures.

  • Thomas

    “Too much of an alpha” is not what I read in Elise’s description of this fellow. He sounds indecisive and fearful, if anything: four dates to a kiss, three more to sex (at which point she admits she was getting impatient), the slow progression with the family stuff and the moving in, spending every day together for nearly a year. And then the whole episode with the I<3Y (which sounds like it was an attempt to take her own temperature on things as much as anything) and him following her lead on that… I think that this guy, probably as a result of his unfortunate family history, is choking and being too boringly predictable, which is anything but Alpha, and Elise's need for passion and excitement hasn't been getting met. The hot fires of early sexual attraction and energy are dying out while they start to play house, but at the same time, she doesn't yet have any clear signs of commitment and stability to sustain a bunch of "Old Relationship Energy" type feelings yet. She loves this guy though, so she's rationalizing her first step out the door.

  • The Rebound Girlfriend

    Thomas, ” The hot fires of early sexual attraction and energy are dying out while they start to play house, but at the same time, she doesn’t yet have any clear signs of commitment and stability to sustain a bunch of “Old Relationship Energy” type feelings yet.”

    Wow. I think you just tapped into what MANY live-in couples might be experiencing. The hot fires of the pre-move in dating period have died out but there is no sure certainty in living together that they will marry, nor is there a previous history of sticking it out though the tough times behind them. Basically there is no real bond, just domesticity. And they stay together “just because”.

    Wow. Its a twilight zone. Feet are neither on land nor in sky.

  • http://dannyfrom504.wordpress.com dannyfrom504

    and THIS is why i’m able to keep a harem.

    i am UP FRONT with women BEFORE we ever sleep together. i’m especially open with younger women since i know they may be more relationshiop minded. i let them know, “i’m NEVER getting married.”

    and you KNOW i mean that. the younger ALWAYS think, they are going to be the one that changes my mind. and again, eventually when it comes up, she has no argument. and i have ZERO guilt.

  • Shimshon

    As others have pointed out, she has already gone all-in. The time to consider these issues was really before sex or moving in with him.

    That being said, this guy sounds like a real catch (as others have also pointed out). He didn’t pump and dump. He didn’t push for sex on the first, second, or even third date. And given his reluctance about marriage, asking her to move in sounds like quite a bit of commitment from him already. He is a serious dude.

    He has even expressed his love for her. Don’t blow by over-analyzing his feelings! My wife tells me probably 100 times a week that she loves me. If I followed Roissy’s 3:2 rule, I’d be telling her the same roughly 60-70. But that just seems way to0 much to me (as someone who swallowed the red pill and saved my marriage in the process). I tell her quite a bit (actually, a lot) less, and mean it every time, and she savors it more too.

    He clearly cares for her deeply, and she can assuage whatever reservations he has by keeping cool and being fully invested in the relationship, since she’s already all-in. Be friendly, be feminine, don’t bitch. Stop with the intentional withholding expressions of love because he does so uninentionally.That’s bad form and unattractive. If you feel it, say it. Maybe less, if you’d like. But say it. In short, run girl game.

    From the sound of it, this guy has serious game (and thus is extremely attractive to her), and she better not blow it by pushing too hard or expressing too much doubt about his feelings or intentions.

    Feel free to discuss longer-term aspects of the relationship that are important to you (like marriage or children) but with no pressure or expectations. Maybe he can explain his reluctance to marry. If he does, and does so in way you can address, work on yourself to prove that you are worthy of that commitment from him. Again, with no pressure. You’re already in the relationship and would be hit hard by a breakup regardless of whether it’s now or two years from now.

  • szopen

    @hope

    The guy has serious issues if he refuses to even say “I love you.”

    I love my wife and my children. I hate to say “I love you”. I hate to speak about my feelings. Somehow, it’s easier for me to write it. I also prefer to kiss my wife and do something for her, instead of saying “i love you”.
    I understand that the females may need to her “I love you” more, but it’s like I would write The chick has serious issues if he refuses to even go oral on him.

    @everyone
    interesting thought, even if rather highly improbable, based on cycle of article on hbd site of evo and proud – since we know that some parasites are able to modify the hosts behaviour (human hosts too, that is) – what if cad-like behaviour (the desire for a lot and lot of casual sex) is really just a STD?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @szopen

      That article is wild! I didn’t know cuckold envy was a real thing – the author says it goes back to 17th c. England.

  • maven9

    it looks like guy is quite attractive and has good amount of natural game.

    however, i think he is simply unaware of that on consinous level. he is 27, he is still in pre-player age. in her best interest is to commit him fast, before he understands his value.

    i have been is the same place, but dodged the marriage bullet (not sure if that was good or bad think)

    i will say she has to commit him in next 1-2 years or he is gone looking for better woman

  • Elise

    Got here a bit late! Thank you all for your comments, they have been incredibly helpful.

    I would like to address some points, I’ll start with the questions raised about me:

    My number: 7, including him. I’ve had three relationships, 3 years, 9 months and just over 1 year. The other 3 guys were guys I was dating (ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months) so I do not consider myself promiscuous and I have told him that I’m not so that shouldn’t be an issue.

    SMV: I’d say our SMV is pretty similar. I’m beautiful and intelligent, I have an MSc and a good job at a good company. I’m in good shape and have friends and hobbies that keep my busy. His SMV is however higher than my previous boyfriend’s so that is probably contributing to my insecurities. I’m used to men falling head over heels in love with me and I’ve usually been the one to slow things down.

    I liked the “Scandinavian” comment from Bastiat as we are indeed both Scandinavian! Moving in together is always a big deal but I think it is regarded as a much smaller step here than in the US and yes, since we are currently living together there is not much I can do about that at this point and I’m pretty sure moving out would end the relationship.

    Regarding children, he does want them (three of them).

    I think part of the whole “marriage” problem is our background. I come from a family where my parents are happily married and hardly any of my friends’ parents have gotten divorced. He, however, has divorced parents and many, if not most, of his friends’ parents are divorced. He has said that it’s not that he is against marriage as such but he’s seen what divorce can do to the couple and their children so he wants to avoid that and not get married. Personally I believe and brake-up/divorce when you have children is going to be messy whether you are married or not and I would like to have the safety of knowing that the man I do have children with is at least planning to stick around forever and that is why marriage is important to me. I don’t need a massive wedding and if he did say he wanted to be with me forever but still doesn’t want to get married that is something I could work with. Obviously, I do not expect him to know this after 9 months but I would like the relationship to progress in that direction and for me, saying I love you is part of that…but from what some of you have said maybe not as important as I thought.

    It has been 2 months since I posted this in the forum and I’d say things are pretty much the same, he is very obviously trying which I think is a good thing. I think that currently the main problem is me because I have had a hard time deciding how much time to give this before I open it up for discussion again. I’ve spent a lot of time (probably way too much) analyzing the situation and this has led to me closing off a bit.

    Reading your post Susan, as well as the comments, has definitely made me realize that the situation may not be as bad as I think. It was great to hear from the men that said they have trouble saying the L-word, definitely gives me hope that things aren’t as bad as I think. I also liked Ian’s comments a lot…He made some very good points, and my boyfriend does indeed know that he is a catch – but I know that I am as well which is partly why I’ve been thinking about where this is going because I know that I can get a great man (which I think he is) and would like to do so in time to have children, preferably, before I turn 30 so I don’t have much time to waste. And that is my main worry, because I feel I don’t get enough from him emotionally I’m worried that I will waste too much time and wake up in 3 years and realize that he either never really loved me or that he will never be able to give me the emotional security I want in a relationship.

    So bottom line (to this extremely long comment!): I agree that 9 months is not enough time and think that I would like to focus on just being optimistic, enjoying our time together and letting the relationship continue to develop for at least 6 months and see where things stand then and hopefully things will have progressed naturally.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Elise

      Thanks so much for adding in some details. I think you have your head on straight, and you need to keep working on the relationship by being the best partner you can be. Definitely don’t close yourself off – that is a defensive move, and while it is quite natural, I think, it’s also going to send the relationship in a bad direction by decreasing intimacy and trust. If he senses he is not making you happy, I fear he will bail.

      At the same time, I do respect your needs and feel that they are reasonable. I would take the temperature of the relationship again in 6 months. If there has been progress, keep going. If not, you may need to express your needs again, as Tasmin described.

      Re your SMV, while it’s true that you’ve reached the peak of your fertility and beauty, you’re not going to change into an old crone overnight. Some men are particularly invested in the idea of women hitting the wall at 30, as exemplified by statements such as “you are aging rapidly.” For my part, I suspect you will remain an extremely attractive prospect for some time. The bigger concern is fertility, which you focus on, appropriately.

      I thought you were American, or I would not have dwelled on cohabitations stats in the US, which I believe are quite different than your own. You Scandinavians speak and write English so well I am routinely fooled! I know your SMP is quite different than ours, but I’m glad you’ve benefited from the perspective of some readers here. In fact, there are one or two Scandinavians sprinkled in the bunch :)

      Best of luck with the relationship – keep us posted if you feel like it!

  • Maven3

    Hi Elise,

    My story was quite similar, but from guys side. I have been 27yrs old and dating same age girl. It was my first true relationship with a good girl (her sex partners no was 4 and I believe that it was true).
    However, after dating her for 18+ months I was no longer attracted as much as before. Circumstances decided I was moving somewhere else – I want to take her with me, but she declined.

    Now I realize I have grown much more in value (gym, personal career, mindset, etc.) and I don’t have problems with getting young and pretty women for a relationship (I am not fond with pump&dump). And my choice is much wider.

    I am afraid the same might happen with your bf. You have some time to catch him (yes, I use the word catch) before he becomes aware of his value. As you describe him he has good qualities, you probably might want to get pregnant asap.

    As for L-word – some guys say it some don’t. I will not put much pressure on that.

    Comment edited to remove link

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    szopen

    it’s like I would write The chick has serious issues if he refuses to even go oral on him.”

    Very much the same! A lot of guys nowadays would find it a serious dealbreaker. Imagine if the girlfriend put her mouth on him only once ever, and then refused to again, sayings she felt pressured, it isn’t something she wants to do, and basically never does it again. I would think a lot of men would be advising “move on” as well. I’d also think that “she has serious issues” wouldn’t be out of the question.

    Elsie

    I liked the “Scandinavian” comment from Bastiat as we are indeed both Scandinavian! Moving in together is always a big deal but I think it is regarded as a much smaller step here than in the US and yes, since we are currently living together there is not much I can do about that at this point and I’m pretty sure moving out would end the relationship.

    knowing that you are both Scandinavian does indeed change things. In Europe, more and more couples do have children without being married, and their rate of splitting up is less than cohabitation with children in the US. However, you should not compromise on what you want, especially since you want to get married before 30 and as you said, you don’t have much time to waste. Waiting around for a man to open up to you emotionally is fine if you are similarly reserved, but you sound like you are more passionate. That will not change even if you manage to get him to marry you. Do you always want to be feeling this way?

    If you end the relationship, you will know his true feelings regarding you, at least if you make it clear that you are ending it because you are not getting what you need. I have seen a couple who lived together (they were living in a large US city, but French and Norway nationals) break up and get back together, because they really did love each other. So there is that. At some point you do have to issue that ultimatum.

    When I was 25, I moved on from a man that I thought I was “in love” with, but who didn’t give me emotionally security. I described him above as “ENTJ.” I am now head over heels in love with my husband of 3 years as well as our sweet little boy baby, and I’m not yet 30. At the time, it was really scary to venture into the unknown, but I knew that I wasn’t getting what my heart truly desired. Had I listened to the men in the manosphere at the time, I would have operated out of fear and waited for many more months in agony.

    I agree that 9 months is not enough time and think that I would like to focus on just being optimistic, enjoying our time together and letting the relationship continue to develop for at least 6 months and see where things stand then and hopefully things will have progressed naturally.

    I wish you the best of luck. Staying for another 6 months (though it has already been 2 months!) to see where things stand then is a way to see if he will “shit or get off the pot” –vulgar American expression but I feel it is appropriate here. This expression also implies that he, by failing to act, is preventing you from acting. And remember, if you are truly enjoying your time together, you would not feel this way. If you choose to settle for less, you cannot blame him for giving you less.

  • Ion

    Escoffier

    “I don’t believe that nine months is too early to talk marriage, but be that as it may, once you’re cohabitating, that’s definitely NOT too early to talk marriage. In fact, you shouldn’t even contemplate cohabitation unless you know the other party shares your view of marriage.”

    3,000%

    Reminds me of the episode of Mad Men when Joan told Peggy that her boyfriend was going to propose, and then he asked to move in instead. Here’s a recap. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_VMk62tO7k (first 2 minutes). There should be a manual about when to discuss marriage though, since most girls won’t even bring it up (they are scared of the answer). I wonder if 6 months is ok…

  • Elise

    @Maven3: I have actually read that post before and realize I am at the point where my SMV is decreasin. I believe that is one of the main reasons I worry about this relationship. If I were 21 I’d have no problem giving it a few years and seeing what happened but I am not in that position any more.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    Another few quotes that helped me very much back when I was 25:

    “A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.”

    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

    “To accept a little death is worse than death itself.”

    “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

    “You cannot change someone else. You can only change yourself.”

  • Elise

    @Hope

    I absolutely understand your point and I have thought about the fact that by staying in the relationship I am keeping myself off the market and may be missing out on something great. But at the moment I don’t feel that we’ve truly come to a point where I can confidently break up and never look back.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Elise

      But at the moment I don’t feel that we’ve truly come to a point where I can confidently break up and never look back.

      This is key, IMO, and I think this has a lot to do with personality traits. I know I would risk it all and see it through, one way or the other. If I didn’t I’d always, always wonder “what if.” But I am a person who is comfortable with change and taking risks.

      And again, re your age – in the US the average age at marriage for an educated woman is 28. That’s the mean. For a woman with a master’s degree, it’s 30. You are 26 years old, you have time. I don’t think that approaching this with a mindset of time running out is a good idea.

  • Ion

    “An Alpha leads, and prefers a woman who can accept his leadership and be strong, not challenge it.”

    Idunno……depends on what alpha means (it differs in the manosphere to what I’ve seen of alphas in real life). Any gamma can buy a gun or have non-monogamous sex with lowest value women.

    Half the alphas I know of seem to like batshit crazy women because they keep things interesting, and are controllable to a degree. I don’t doubt that media plays a hand in promoting dysfunctional relationships as “exciting”, and healthy relationships as “boring”.

  • Maggie

    @Tasmin
    “9 months may be “early” for him, but he should have considered that when he asked her to move in. If he wanted some “space” or to take it slow, moving in was a stupid thing to do. He has been in control of the pacing and it has worked for him – he has gotten what he has wanted the entire way. Now he feels pressure. What guy, Alpha or not, doesn’t realize what kind of emotional escalation cohabitation implies?”

    +1

    I agree with Susan’s advice and would stay with him for another nine months without bringing up marriage again. Don’t worry about him saying “I love you” since he shows that he loves you. After nine months I’d tell him how much I love and adore him but that our relationship must be leading to marriage. If he’s still unsure it’s time to look at moving out.

    It sounds like this man is happy to continue the status quo. A couple of years could easily go by and Elise is no closer to getting which she wants. I’m kind of old-fashioned; I think having children outside of marriage is a dreadful idea and totally selfish. It leads to insecurity for a woman and the children are in a vulnerable position. Elise deserves better than that.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    Elise, “by staying in the relationship I am keeping myself off the market and may be missing out on something great. But at the moment I don’t feel that we’ve truly come to a point where I can confidently break up and never look back.”

    I stayed in a bad one for 7 years, though, I was much younger. I love deeply and do not easily let go either. But some men will use you because of this, as I learned.

    I will say this. If the two of you cannot openly and honestly communicate, there will be difficulties. My husband and I have been through quite a bit (we lost our firstborn son as a stillborn at 9 months), and we pulled through by talking to each other and having a solid and secure emotional foundation.

    Let’s say you try for a baby, and something terrible happens, you lose an ovary, or you have trouble conceiving, or have miscarriages (which are more common than you’d think!), or a pelvic infection. Would he give you the emotional support you need?

    After I lost another and stayed in the hospital for a week with a massive infection which could have killed me, my husband told me that he’d stay even if I could not have his biological children. That’s real demonstration of love, not mere words. He was by my bedside and very worried about me. He had already married me.

    How has this man truly shown he loves you by concrete actions? Playing house doesn’t count. Real love perseveres through adversity. You are being easy on him because you fear losing him. But if his love is so easily lost, is it really worth even another minute of your life?

  • Tomato

    Spot on, Tasmin. I don’t see Elise’s bf as an alpha playing game (lol), I see him as understandably withdrawn because of his negative experiences with his parents’ marriage. Coming from a broken family is often difficult, but at some point one has to move beyond the past in order to create a future.

    Elise, I wish you the best and I hope you find what you’re looking for. Whatever happens, never lose sight of your self and what you want!

  • Maven3

    @Elise
    ‘I have actually read that post before and realize I am at the point where my SMV is decreasin.’
    Sorry for being harsh; good you are aware of SMV. I became aware of mine only few years ago (I am early 30 now)

  • Jonny

    “9 months may be “early” for him, but he should have considered that when he asked her to move in. If he wanted some “space” or to take it slow, moving in was a stupid thing to do.”

    Sometimes, moving in together just means moving in together. Otherwise people would be doing the traditional thing by getting married first (elope). By definition, it is taking it slowly. What else is it?

    To get to marriage from living together, she must give a time frame that is realistic. Otherwise, the pattern of living together becomes pernament, which is the worse possible thing. After the one year anniversary (in one month), decide how much longer she is willing wait. I think another 1 to 2 years is reasonable.

    Ask her boyfriend what his intentions are in a casual sense. Do this a few times in regular intervals like every 2 or 3 months. By the end of the second year, that’s when there should be no playing around. Either he should announce his intentions to marry her or she should move out. Of course, she can delay to the third year.

    The wedding ceremony and ring should never be a impediment. I heard of women who ask for 5 carat rings and gigantic weddings after a live-in arrangement. Many times, the weddings never happen. Be realistic. Big weddings are traditional. You’re not. Do the next best thing. Get married at a court house the sooner the better. Later arrange a dinner for family and friends. No one cares if you’re walking down the aisle (except for some bridezillas and her friends).

  • HanSolo

    @Elise

    I think you should give it some more time but I’m more of the opinion that 4 months or so is good enough to just enjoy things and relax and just let him be free to act as he will and then see where things are. I think 9 months is too long. Your decision of course.

  • YaReallyLolSeriouslySue

    “If you ever leave a comment (like this one) that does not relate the actions of normal people to the PUA handbook, I’ll let it stand.”

    Yes, that sounds rational. I certainly wouldn’t want a discussion about eating to involve any mention of hunger. lol

    Soon as you stop labelling anyone who’s views you disagree with as a troll, slandering their personal life, demonizing them, rewriting history knowing no one is going to go back and re-read it, etc. for simply having an opinion that makes you uncomfortable, you’ll accomplish a lot more in terms of understanding social dynamics.

    It’s hard to really learn anything in an echo chamber, but you’re not really interested in learning I suppose. Until you do learn, of course, and then just re-define things and re-label them to pretend you came up with the ideas on your own despite us telling you about them for months lol

    I literally skim through most of the comments just to go to the blue ones and watch the hamster-spin in action. It’s fascinating! Please continue being right about everything. :)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      YaReally,

      There is a difference between unwilling to debate and being disinterested in what you have to say. You tell yourself women can’t face the truth about their nature, but in reality you’re just boring because you’re always saying the same thing. You also write like a child, which is something several people have noticed and mentioned here. It is not enjoyable to read your commentary.

      In addition, you have a strange way of looking at everything through a Pickup Artist lens. You don’t relate well to people outside your own sphere. Your comments have a lecturing and pedantic tone, and they’re very repetitive. I call that trolling.

      Finally, your endorsement of sexual promiscuity is antithetical to my mission here. I treat sluts and manwhores exactly the same way – bye.

  • OffTheCuff

    RBG: “Elsie the Cow better start grazing in greener pastures.”

    Gee, who better to take LTR advice from, than from a rebound girlfriend? I’d give exactly this advice if I wanted to sabotage her. Dump the jerk! Oh, and on your way out, be sure introduce him to your 23-year hairdresser cousin.

    Like I said, give it some more time (6-12mo), work on girl-style emotional escalation like Hope says, just without the super-compressed timeframe that would chase most men away. Worry more about actions than words.

    However, during this time be sure to communicate your boundaries. You want children, and you will *only* do that when married. Is this a boundary you can stick to? Remember a boundary isn’t an ultimatum to club someone over the head with to change their behavior, it’s the point at where you walk. Either he’ll come along, or he won’t.

  • Iggles

    @ Ian Ironwood:

    Not everyone expresses their love verbally. I didn’t tell Mrs. I I loved her until almost a year into the relationship. And I said it infrequently until I felt comfortable about it. It’s not something my family culture said a lot, and we save it for when it really matters.

    + 1

    You really have a way with talking women down from the ledge! I’ll explain — as a woman, try as I might there are times when I have struggle to understand where my boyfriend is coming from. His thinking is different from mind on some issues. The male/female divide and all.

    We first exchanged “I love you”s 4 months in, after a major argument. I said it first. He had a lot of walls up and admits he put me through tests before he could fully trust me (he was afraid of getting hurt due to past experiences).

    I noticed at first he didn’t express it often. Several months later he increasingly said “I love you” more freely and today, at one year together, he is as expressive with the term as I am, if not more at times!

    If you’re going to kill a relationship, do it over something important. And it might be important to the OP, but if it isn’t important to him – yet – then that means he’s still evaluating.

    Indeed, and that’s a good thing!

    Love takes time! There’s a reason why “the course of true love never did run smooth” is considered by many to be true. Nothing worth having is easily attainable! You want a partner who is discerning. Guys can take a lot longer than women to be ready to “take the next step” but that’s far better than a man who easily falls in love. A man like that chases the feeling of love, which is really infatuation. Once that runs it’s course, he’s likely to pursue a new relationship with someone else for his fix!

  • Don’tDoIt

    I’ve commented before, but I just don’t agree with the general consensus here. It seems like he is emotionally unavailable. He isn’t all the way closed off, but it’s enough to the point where it is altering the relationship for her. It seems as if this is important to her and I think she should move on, imo.

    There are plenty of men who have no problem saying the L word and allowing themselves to be vulnerable. Men who aren’t as closed off are easier to communicate with and build a deeper relationship. Intimacy is a key ingredient to a good relationship and you cannot be intimate with a man who is closed off emotionally.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Intimacy is a key ingredient to a good relationship and you cannot be intimate with a man who is closed off emotionally.

      Don’tDoIt makes a valid point. Some men, especially high T types, are just less emotional in general. A woman who enjoys affection and emo moments is probably not going to get them from such a man. I think this is why Elise described her bf as alpha in the original post.

      It’s a compatibility issue. I’ve always known I could never be with a guy who says, “I don’t like to talk about my feelings.” But Ian describes how patient his wife was and it worked out well for them.

      Elise needs to figure out what part of this is nature (personality) and what part is environment (childhood), in order to understand their long-term compatibility.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    OffTheCuff, you are right that a woman shouldn’t club a man over the head with demands. I was quite “relaxed” when I was living with my husband without an engagement. I was just doing things out of love, things that I still do including taking care of bills and paperwork, cooking all the meals, packing his lunch for him, lending a sympathetic ear, regular bj’s, etc.

    The difference was that we were already on the same page with regard to the future, which I figured would take at least a year or so. I did not expect him to ask me to marry him so quickly. I would have waited longer / auditioned for the role of wife patiently. Maybe he sensed that and knew I really was in it with him for the long haul.

    I told him I didn’t want a ring nor an expensive wedding, as we weren’t rich (he was still a grad student), and I was happy just to be in his life. So he didn’t buy me a ring, and we got married in a courthouse with family dinner after. Our honeymoon was also quite simple.

    The fact that the guy Elise is with has money probably makes him more reticent. He has “more to lose,” and he has more “options.” She probably senses that he’s holding some parts of himself back, which makes her also hold back some parts of herself, even if she tries to go “all in” emotionally. They are like classic ballroom dancers, holding each other seemingly close in a beautiful dance, but leaving some space in between each other’s bodies.

    My personal theory is that this guy worked hard during the past 5 years to get to where he is now, financially successful and high status. Now he is looking at this beautiful girl and thinking, “She probably wouldn’t have given me the time of day a few years ago.” My husband actually expressed this sentiment to me — he appreciated that even if we had met as teenagers or back in college, I would have still fallen wildly in love with him. The idea of being loved for his “essence” is very important for a man. Maybe that is part of the equation.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Along those lines of “wanting to be loved for who he is,” he has probably had his heart broken before and is reluctant to really, truly love again. By 27, he had probably at least one very severe heartbreak that was partially cause for his staying single for 5 years. My husband had something similar when he was in college and was single for almost as long when we met. The natural instinct after heartbreak is to close one’s heart off / be guarded to avoid pain.

    The difference is, my husband wasn’t financially successful and was not even in the dating market (MGHOW). Elise and her guy met at a bar, and he doesn’t seem unaccustomed the attention of various attractive women. So he also uses that to protect his heart, seeing women as “fungible” and not allowing himself to fall into “oneitis,” even if he’s not fully conscious of it.

    If I may continue with the psychoanalysis, I think the key to this man’s heart is in his family. He is likely highly protective and loyal to his family. Elise could get to know his mother and siblings, and understand his past better to figure out who he is when he does let down his guards. My husband has alluded to the fact that I remind him of his mother in some ways, and my good relationship with his mother also is also glue for our marriage.

  • OffTheCuff

    Hope: “I was just doing things out of love, things that I still do including taking care of bills and paperwork, cooking all the meals, packing his lunch for him, lending a sympathetic ear, regular bj’s, etc.”

    In other words, you acted like a wife, instead of just roommates, and so he realized in time he wanted to marry you.

    Hope: “The difference was that we were already on the same page with regard to the future, which I figured would take at least a year or so. I did not expect him to ask me to marry him so quickly. I would have waited longer / auditioned for the role of wife patiently. Maybe he sensed that and knew I really was in it with him for the long haul.”

    I think you nailed it.

  • Emily

    >> “. Some men, especially high T types, are just less emotional in general. A woman who enjoys affection and emo moments is probably not going to get them from such a man. I think this is why Elise described her bf as alpha in the original post. It’s a compatibility issue.”

    I agree. Somebody like Hope wouldn’t be happy with this type of man, but somebody like Sassy would probably prefer it. It doesn’t make any of them good or bad, it just is.

    Sidenote: This is one thread where the “Old Married Guys” are able to provide the best insight into the situation. I’m finding the information about the “wife testing” process (ie. Ironwood’s posts) particularly interesting. Most of them seem to agree with Susan’s advice, so I’d go with that.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Emily, you are right. I would be miserable with such a man as described, and Sassy would love it. The question is, what type is Elise? From what it sounds like, she came from an in tact and loving family, so she knows something crucial is missing from this relationship.

    I find it interesting that both Sassy and I are from divorced single-mother families with the “alpha but jerkish father,” but we have had different reactions.

    Marriage (in the guy’s case) and kids (in Sassy’s case) probably remind them of their broken childhood. I also remember feeling very ambivalent towards marriage and kids myself. My mother also never told me she loved me, nor was she affectionate at all. She yelled at me a lot, was verbally abusive and was emotionally walled off and cold.

    I think the difference for me is that I was raised earlier on (in more formative years) by my grandparents who showed me a lot of love, physically and verbally, and I saw a loving patriarch figure in my grandpa. My husband also has a model of a healthy relationship in his mom and stepdad, who have been together over 25 years.

    It could well be that part of the reason for higher rates of divorce among children of divorce is the psychological walling off and guardness that happens, which erode trust, intimacy and love over time, causing subsequent relationship instability and perpetuating the awful cycle.

  • J

    Interesting letter. The boyfriend reminds me a lot of my husband.

    I agree with those who have said that Elise should not thave moved in with him. She really has nothing to gain from doing that, and she may in fact have given away her trump card in doing so. She has also uprooted her life for an unsure thing.

    I disagree with those who have categorized the BF as an alpha. He seems to have a broas social circle n which he is a winner without putting in a lot of emotional investment. This makes him a sigma in my book. Men like his are slow and cautious regarding commitment. Part of this no doubt comes from his family history. Again my husband is like this and had a famously bad childhood. OTOH, my younger son, who has had a charmed childhood, is also like this. I think, to some extent, the reticence and need for some distance is innate. I think Elise should think long and hard as to whether or not she wants to be with a sigma. If this guy is anything like my husband, he will be intensely loyal to her, but the sort of efflusive affection that a lot of women want simply will not be his to give. For my husband, the primary cause of break-ups before he met me was his aloofness. If Elise finds out that her BF is just that sort of guy, she has a decision to make.

    I find the BF’s desire for kids but not marriage interesting. If Elise wants marriage, she needs to make it clear that she won’t do that. If I were Elise right now, I’d spend some time trying to figure out what exactly I want. If she wants a marriage, she really should not settle for just living together without a commitment that may never come. Without making a ultimatum and in the most unemotioanl way she can, Elise needs to lay her cards on the table. She needs to say that she is not willing to live in limbo waiting for a proposal that may never come and then really be willing to leave if he says that marriage is not in his future. Otherwise, I fear that there is no incentive for him to marry her. He receives all the benefits of marriage–a woman keeping his home and being there for him sexually and emotionally while she wastes her fertile years. She can have a nice tie with him, but then what?

    Before DH and I went out, we had a long talk. He asked me out and I refused initially because I did not believe that he was the type who would ever marry. I told him that I felt we could have a couple of happy years together but that, since he wouldn’t commit. thing s would then break up and I would be right back where I started from and that I was simply to old to do that and wasn’t interested. There were no games, no ultimatums, no tricks–just a asimple statement of my needs and my request that he not play games with me. Even though Elise has already discarded her trump card in moving in, I think that she can still refuse to stick around indefinitely without a commitment or any sign of one on the horizon.

    Additionally, if this guy is a sigma as I suspect, he is, despite his fears, a rational guy. She should ask him to clarify, at least for himself, what have a family without have a marriage is going to look like. She should make it clear that she will not be the one to have kids with him as a single mom even if that means losing him. She needs to set some boundaries here. He appears to be a good setter of boundaries himself and will respect that.

  • Cooper

    @Hope

    I’m always amazed by how much parental martial success plays a role in a person relationship preference. (Your wouldn’t be surprised to know many, if not most, of my friends I know come from, happily, divorced families)

    For instance, I know a few guys who’s dads split up and went on to have a complete second family – and surprise, surprise – these guys demonstrate zero desire or pressure to find a wife. (Cause obviously they feel they’ll have a (second) chance at settling down if they change their mind in years. Namely cause they saw their fathers successfully do so before them)

    I very surprised how much of a effect a girl having a good relationship with her family has on me nowadays.

  • Thomas

    The fact that Elise and her guy are Scandinavian I think was significant missing information. Good thing to remember that some stories and anecdotes come from people from all kinds of different cultures! The different experience with cohabitation was touched on above. Also explains perhaps some of the bf’s pattern re: alpha or not. Different cultures have different expectations of both social and gender role performance and I wouldn’t be surprised if an “alpha” from a Scandinavian country might be relatively more introverted and low-key than in a lot of other countries.

  • J

    If a woman is too invested in the dress and the party, that’s a red flag.

    You know, it always amazes me how much men believe that woman do this. Perhaps there are a few women who do this; certainly, those Bridezilla shows manage to find them, but NAWALT. I personally fail to see how one day in a pretty dress even begins to compensate for a life of dealing with another person’s bullshit. And no matter how great your spouse is, they will have their bullshit.

  • OffTheCuff

    I don’t think Sassy requires any more of a stoneface than any woman. Her stories have all descirbed deltas-in-alpha-clothing who eventually turn into supplicating saps.

    If men emoted as much as women *say* they want us to, they’d run away screaming, as evidenced by the “Rejecting Eager Men” post. I hold back a ton, Ian does, and I bet Hope’s husband does too. No man can afford to let it all out. Your woman is not your therapist. It’s a tightrope, as men cannot be more emotional than their women want them to be. The correct, assertive masculine frame is to keep things tightly under wraps, to his own standard, well distant from that line, and let it out at specific, controlled times. This isn’t a problem, as we’re good at this. It’s when (well-meaning, but ultimately wrong) women tell us to emote more, we do, and the inevitable bad consequences result. It’s a trap, a shit test, where you all rage against it on the surface… but inside are thrilled your man has stuck to his guns because you’re still with him.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @OTC

      Good counterpoint re men emoting, that’s very true.

  • LJ

    The “Rejecting Eager Men” post was not about men expressing love in 11-month relationships.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      The “Rejecting Eager Men” post was not about men expressing love in 11-month relationships.

      And a good counter to the counterpoint!

  • OffTheCuff

    Way to entirely miss the point. You either have a man who has mastery over his emotions or doesn’t.

    If he doesn’t, he’s surely going to be like Eager post, Sassy’s exes, because every woman has a different line on what’s too much for HER.

    If he does, he’s going to act like the OP’s boyfriend and keep well away from it. The risk is, of course, it *might* be too much, and he might wind up like Hope’s ENFJ, but the punishment is far more severe for being on the eager side, than the stonewall side.

  • Cooper

    “but the punishment is far more severe for being on the [too] eager side, than the [too] stonewall side.” (OTC, I added the [too])

    This is definitely true. Where as one will have the women “earn” his emoting, the other simply has them run, run, run.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    OffTheCuff, it was ENTJ, but I see your point. As emotional as I am, I don’t let it all hang loose either. I have control over my feelings, and I don’t express all of them, especially not the negative ones.

    After falling in love and living together for a while, letting the guards down on positive emotions should be well-received. My husband and I both appear a bit reserved and stand-offish to the outside world. At home we laugh, giggle, play, make strange noises and basically have fun.

    A guy doesn’t have to gush and be all “I can’t live without you” to express love. He likes to slap me on the butt and do other “chauvinistic” things. Last night he picked me up and took me to the kitchen, making a joke, “You’re not barefoot or pregnant, but you’re in the kitchen now.” We laughed, I hugged him, and then I made dinner.

    That’s neither “eager” nor a “stonewall.” Mastery over emotions means you can choose what emotions to let out at what time, not bottle it all inside so tightly until you explode from the pressure.

  • J

    And again, re your age – in the US the average age at marriage for an educated woman is 28. That’s the mean. For a woman with a master’s degree, it’s 30. You are 26 years old, you have time. I don’t think that approaching this with a mindset of time running out is a good idea.

    I agree that the WORST thing Elise can do is approach this from a scarcity mentality. While this guy does sound terrific except for the commitment phobia, she still has plenty of time if she doesn’t waste it on things that aren’t going anywhere.

    Personally I believe and brake-up/divorce when you have children is going to be messy whether you are married or not and I would like to have the safety of knowing that the man I do have children with is at least planning to stick around forever and that is why marriage is important to me.

    Um…yeah. A woman should should never have a kid with a man who isn’t at least committed to try to make it last.

  • OffTheCuff

    “While this guy does sound terrific except for the commitment phobia”

    GARRRRRRGH!

    What “fear” of “commitment”? He is already “committed” to her via monogamy in true LTR style. Short of a marriage proposal, there is no deeper level of commitment, and it’s too damn soon for that.

    A smart decision not to propose, is not rooted from fear.

    Pick a new phrase!

  • Cooper

    @Susan
    I’m responding to a post on the makeover post, but thought it’s better to discuss personal things at least not on the first page of comments.

    I’m curious about whether or not to purpose a Valentines date. Can it be too early?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cooper

      I’m curious about whether or not to purpose a Valentines date. Can it be too early?

      Yes it is too early. I’d say that if you feel confident all is well at Feb. 1st, make a plan. No earlier than that. And if she’s being flaky, make her sweat it out a bit.

      What’s going on with you? The flaky chick is the kiss in the botanical gardens? How did she respond to your Adam text?

  • HanSolo

    @Cooper

    Is she your gf? If not, then I’d wait. Even is she is I’d wait.

  • Cooper

    “Is she your gf? If not, then I’d wait. Even is she is I’d wait.”

    You could ask me a million questions, and to all of them my answer would be: I have no fucking clue.

    I would almost say so, but like always the only thing I know to go by is the fact that we haven’t slept together. So, I’d say no.

    Other than that, I have no fucking clue.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I would almost say so, but like always the only thing I know to go by is the fact that we haven’t slept together. So, I’d say no.

      Other than that, I have no fucking clue.

      Hmmm, having sex is not the differentiator. But I bet the guys would say it’s important to sexually escalate in order to make her your gf. Whatever you do, don’t put on the brakes! Girls really, really expect guys to try and we feel disrespected, i.e. undesirable, if you DON’T try!

  • J

    Pick a new phrase!

    OK. She portrays him as commitment phobic, but I’m not married to the phrase.

    I do actually agree that 9 months is too soon to propose, but it’s not too soon for there to be some assurance that things are moving in that direction, especially if they are living together. And this is something that the two of them should be able to discuss honestly; for example, DH thought I was expecting an engagement ring for my birthday and said straight up that he did not feel ready to give it. I said OK, that’s fine, but I’d like to know what the timetable is. He said, “If things go well, I’m thinking Valentine’s Day.” That’s way different from “I want kids, but I never want to get married.”

  • HanSolo

    What is making you want to plan something for Valentine’s? Are you talking a trip somewhere that requires plane tickets and reservations now so it’s not too expensive?

    Overall, I would say wait until the beginning of Feb and then if things are going good bring it up, but only if you are sure that she is wanting a relationship with you. Valentine’s means relationship so don’t do it unless you are SURE she is at the stage or it will (unfortunately, I know, I sucks) scare her off.

  • OffTheCuff

    Coop: Definitely no cliched V-day date or card or gift. But do initiate some sort of flirty contact on the day, without mentioning the day itself. By phone, I’d say.

  • Cooper

    @HanSolo
    Yeah, I will most likely wait. The reason I’m considering it is cause my work is holding their annual sales dinner that evening. (silly date to choose)
    So, I supposed to be RSVPing for that, one month in advance. I’d go if I don’t have plans, but would much rather have plans and not go. Chances are I’ll end up RSVPing No, to keep my options open (it’s not all that important I go anyways) but that leaves the possibility that I’m, or both of us, are sitting at home that evening – which sounds awfully lame.

  • Emily

    >> “I’m curious about whether or not to purpose a Valentines date. Can it be too early?”

    NOW???????????? Valentines is more than a month away!

  • Emily

    Cooper,

    You can always RSVP for two and then not tell her about it until closer to the date. Or you can invite her to your work dinner, but not mention the “V” date.

  • Cooper

    @Emily
    Well, the dinner isn’t intended to include spouses even. And, even more importantly, how lame would it be to take her to a work function of V-day!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cooper

      There are going to be a lot of annoyed spouses on Valentine’s Day! We never go out, but I always cook a nice meal, and I would find it very depressing to be home alone for dinner that night.

  • OffTheCuff

    Emily’s idea is what I thought of. RSVP and leave it open, possibly inviting someone else for the function. If you suspect in the meantime she’d love it (quite rare, but a possibility), then you casually just say “well, I have this function we could go to”. Otherwise, you go with someone else. You could even pick someone you’re not really interested in, calling it a non-date date.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Cooper, our work has a sales meeting dinner like that coming up, and spouses/dates are not invited either. At least in our case they don’t usually schedule for Valentine’s day…

    I would bring it up casually with her in conversation, mention it’d be on Feb 14, and maybe make a joke of it to gauge her reaction. See if she wants you to be “free” that day so you’d ask her out, or see if she suggests that you go to the work dinner that disallows dates. If the latter, she has firmly friendzoned you.

  • OffTheCuff

    Never mind what I wrote, I misread it as an event for dates.

  • HanSolo

    @Cooper

    Can you RSVP for yourself and back out later, say a week before, or RSVP later?

    Anyway, it sounds like things are going well so I would keep Feb 14 open but don’t bring up spending it with her until about Feb 1, assuming she has emotionally escalated enough by then and you have physically escalated more. Not sure where things are at but I think that it would be a good idea to keep escalating a bit more physically over the next couple of weeks and sleep with her.

  • Cooper

    @Hope
    Yeah , I think they did it intentionally, so that young couple who still cared about valentines won’t come for the free meals and drinks. Hah

    “See if she wants you to be “free” that day so you’d ask her out, or see if she suggests that you go to the work dinner that disallows dates. If the latter, she has firmly friendzoned you.”

    I see what your saying, but I think she might insist I go the work event to avoid imposing on my work. (Even if I said it was unimportant)

    I surely hope I’m past the friendzone. (At least I think I am)
    I’ve already physically escalated (to a certain degree), I feel like if she wanted to friendzone me she wouldn’t had her chance. (She seems keen to see me again, so it seems)
    If she rejects me now, it will clearly be based in more than ‘wanting to remain friends.’ (As in it will clearly be ‘I’m not into you’ – but, I suppose, what’s LJBF then..)
    There’s just no basis for being friends, that I don’t see that being a possibility. We don’t exactly live close, and we have literally zero social circle overlap. I would be dumbfounded if she tried to friendzone me now.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I’ve already physically escalated (to a certain degree), I feel like if she wanted to friendzone me she wouldn’t had her chance. (She seems keen to see me again, so it seems)

      Excellent!

  • Ian

    Options have been on my mind lately. Relationships are harder with more options; there’s an opportunity cost to staying in the relationship. If relationships are harder with options, getting into a relationship is easier.

    Exercising options: When I was in my teens, I went for pretty. Then, cool. Early 20’s, deep connection. Then, best wife.

    It seems that Elise hasn’t, to this point, hasn’t filtered for marriage-material. She’s got a catch, in the present tense, the option she chose. Now, she needs to move him against his nature, but she has little leverage, he has options.

    Water under the bridge on the original choice. I vote stay, for now, but keep an eye open for other options.

  • Russ in Texas

    I cosign Susan#150: she’s with him. What she needs now is just the right time to have a good talk about the future in a nonthreatening way, and without any artificial and unilaterially-imposed deadlines/mandates.

  • Cooper

    “What’s going on with you? The flaky chick is the kiss in the botanical gardens? How did she respond to your Adam text?”

    You gotta keep up! (I quietly nodded to Emily when she asked whether this was ms. flaky, when I mentioned the date last week)

    She responded well, but of course a day later, as per usual.

    This is a peculiar scenario really, cause we only know each other to in-law family, and in that sense there is a lot of family (somewhat shared) between us. I’ve personally liked this cause I think it was put in place an assumption that we aren’t just screwing around. (Know, “where we eat” so to speak)

    My brother in-law told me Sunday, that she apparently has been getting flack from family members (ie his dad, which to her is just her neighbour, was poking fun, by asking far too many questions about our date) And she wasn’t asking ‘how does everyone already know!’ and that her mom apparently has been ‘telling everyone about our date’.

    I felt for her, cause understandable who enjoys (even friendly) prodding into their personal lives, but that’s being said, she was still texting me. (After, before I heard about any of this)

    How can family affect our situation? Usually external pressures spoil internal drive, no?

    IOW, I feel like she has a few women in her life, my bro in-laws mom and sounds like hers’ too, rooting for us. I just don’t know whether having family member giving us a “thumbs up” too early is going to be detrimental. I’m obviously making sure the time we spend together is just us, and that I’m asking her out cause *I* want to.

    I’m just thinking is terms of social proof. Is her mother, or her mother best friend, approving of me good or bad?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cooper

      I’m obviously making sure the time we spend together is just us, and that I’m asking her out cause *I* want to.

      Good, this is very important. I would definitely keep my distance from family while you are getting together.

      This also may explain her seeming ambivalence. It’s a bit tricky to navigate a close family situation, and you don’t want to say or do the wrong thing, or hurt anyone’s feelings.

      I’m just thinking is terms of social proof. Is her mother, or her mother best friend, approving of me good or bad?

      It’s very good if they’re close. My kids put great stock in my opinion, and that of my husband as well. If I am enthused about a guy, my daughter is very pleased, assuming she is already attracted to him. (I have tried to sell her on some sweet boys over the years with zero luck.) Conversely, if we disapprove or have reservations about a guy, she is very distressed. She doesn’t always immediately take our advice, but we have always been proven right in the end. :)

  • Cooper

    4th paragraph: “And she *was* asking”

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Cooper, oh, I hadn’t connected the dots. So you’re definitely more than friends, but less than lovers. The murky grey area that is yet undefined. You should play it by ear, throw out hints and see if she catches them and throws them back at you.

    At that stage my husband said things like “you have potential” to me. He never said “I like you.” He kept things light and funny, said things like “hope is a internet junky, /discuss” or “I doubt it’s more than skin deep… you do have skin right?” or “A+ for your taste in men. :P” Probably the guys here would call those negs or cocky funny. He made me laugh or smile a lot.

    Basically you’re both still displaying and qualifying to each other. She’s likely already intrigued, but hasn’t seen enough yet to make a real move. Keep up your end and draw her to you until she can’t help but escalate emotionally.

  • J

    We never go out, but I always cook a nice meal, and I would find it very depressing to be home alone for dinner that night.

    We’ve done both. A lot of guys pop the question in restaurants on V Day, so that’s fun to watch, and a lot of people, like me, have engagement “anniversaries” which is also fun. Restaurant service sucks on V Day though, so I often make a romantic dinner and then we go out the next weekend.

    Wanna know what I really get a kick out of? We go to one of the best restaurants in town on our wedding anniversary. There are inevitably other couples doing the same thing. If you mention that it’s your anniversary, the restaurant comps you dessert or drinks, and they sing to you. (DH hates this, but I’m a whore for free creme brulee and champaigne.) I always congratulate other people and ask how long they’ve been married. I like seeing the older couples, and I think the young ones enjoy seeing DH and me.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @J

      I love that story of sharing of anniversaries with other diners! We almost always bump to the next Saturday, and it’s never even occurred to us to inform the restaurant. I’ll have to try that. I’m with you on creme brulee, for sure!

      We were given a gift certificate to a very lavish restaurant, and we were seated next to a newlywed couple who was also there on someone else’s dime – I assume it was a wedding gift. It was so fun to see them enjoying this treat and mooning over one another.

  • Damien Vulaume

    Élise:
    Will he ever open up and let me in?
    ………..Or, how about, from a guy’s perspective with his fair share of “international” experiences with young women: “Will she ever open up and let him time to find out if that will work out?”
    It looks like you both have the same problem at expressing your emotions, a pattern not that uncommon in northern Europe, anywhere from Germany up to Finland.
    You may have been dating each other for 9 months, but the REAL compatibily test starts right now: You’ve been living together in the same place on a 24h a day basis for just one month… Let it just unfold it that way a few more months together and then you both (or either you or him first) will clearly know if you’re made to spend the rest of your life together. This impatient thing to want him to marry you right now sounds more like an insecure fetish thing about the wedding ring than a genuine demanding proof of committment so far, for he seems to have taken all the other steps towards it.
    One last comment that made my jaw dropped, and which you may be kind enough to nuance if I read it to literally:
    I’m extremely in love with him…. This sounds passionate enough, however:
    ….but I’m worried I’m wasting my time on someone who will never give me what I need emotionally.
    Are you sure you are, in your own words, as “extremely in love” with him as you think you are? Since, based on ALL my experiences with girls involved passionately enough, none would ever have, that early on, even began to contemplate a possible beak up, even less so if they were emotionally fulfilled, which, by your own admission, you do not seem to be…

    And, for the other commentators thinking that moving in together was a bad idea, I totally disagree and instead firmly believe that it will be a healthy and salutory way of finding out sooner than later if they are fit to marry or not.
    But this comment is only based on the information you provided, that is, just a blog comment as well.

  • Cooper

    ” lIf I am enthused about a guy, my daughter is very pleased, **assuming she is already attracted to him.*”

    I guess that’s the key. She’s at least entertaining the idea, so far.

    I didn’t want to ask too many questions to my brother in-law, to avoid seem too invested. I was really wondering what they’re discussions would have been like. They would have had waay more women present, and curious, (and I don’t know how much she’s shared, either) – and I purposely haven’t given my sister or bro in-law enough info to relay back, as for my interest.
    Plus, that side of family knows I live downtown, which usually implies a certain social life – something I don’t ever discount.

    My bro-in-law joked and said if I really want answers to ask my sister, cause he said “she’ll find out what she wants with you.”

    I said, “NNnooo! Keep (my sis) out of it!”

    My sister recommend we get together, years ago in fact (before we’d ever met), but of course I didn’t want to go after a “recommendation.”
    And even upon meeting, I strongly disliked the idea being imposed. (even having been so long ago)
    It wasn’t until I was made the decision myself, that something happened. (Which hehe, was when I laid eyes on her)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cooper

      It wasn’t until I was made the decision myself, that something happened. (Which hehe, was when I laid eyes on her)

      Well, here’s some advice for you. Find a way to let her see you without your shirt on. (If you haven’t already :P )

      So I gather this girl is in the family of your sister’s husband?

  • Cooper

    “Hmmm, having sex is not the differentiator.”

    What is exactly?

    Uttering the word “boyfriend”? (Coming from her)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      “Hmmm, having sex is not the differentiator.”

      What is exactly?

      I just mean that you have seen first-hand that some women will want to have sex and no relationship.

      But yes, she’s your girlfriend when you guys decide it. Don’t wait for her to just say it, though. Go for sex, and it should flow from that. If she doesn’t initiate the DTR before sex, you could discuss it after.

  • Cooper

    “Well, here’s some advice for you. Find a way to let her see you without your shirt on. (If you haven’t already)”

    How could I have already? Lol, needless to say, I haven’t.

    And either way, I don’t exactly have the beach-bod that I sometimes sport. I’ve essentially been “off the wagon” in terms of working out, since Sept. And I have little reason to get back into it yet, when I have a impending surgery on my finger in the next couple months. Trust me, abs are my definitely my (delayed) resolution for 2013, but as of now I’ve slightly let myself go. I have to wait until I’m completely healthy again, and don’t have 8weeks of being out-of-commission looming ahead.

    “So I gather this girl is in the family of your sister’s husband?”

    Actually, just close family friends to my sisters in-laws.

  • Ramble

    We had a big argument here because some guys wanted or even expected girlfriends to come over, do their laundry, clean their bathroom, etc. after spending the night.

    That is not what happened.

    I will recap, once again, for those that did not read the thread.

    Jason spoke about a roommate he had and the roommate’s gf. The roommate was jealous of the treatment that Jason, and other friends of his, got from their gfs. These gfs would, every now and then, do things like cook a meal for their bf or even clean the place.

    Jason also described the girl as being a typical Jewess (which was ok since Jason is Jewish, however, I am not, so pretend I never wrote that) and his roommate as being beta and that he would probably go on to marry her even though Jason thought that was a mistake because, amongst other reasons, she had never shown any of those nice little touches like cooking for her boyfriend or, HEAVEN FUCKING-FORBID tidy the place.

    I then told some stories about things girls had done for me.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Cooper, I know what you mean about off the wagon. 2012 was fucking brutal for me, I ended up gaining 30 pounds and topped out at 205, a few pounds away from medically obese for my height (5’10).

    I hadn’t done a pushup for months, but I decided the best thing to do is not think and just DO IT, so I decided to load up P90X and stick it out.

    I’m down to 198, though, god, my arms hurt like a bitch.

    Last time I got serious I was able to drop from 195 to 174 or so just by hitting the elliptical nearly every day, not drinking calories, and restricting portions, so I am optimistic (as long as I stick with it).

    @ Hope
    It’s quite amazing that this ENTJ behaved this way…or I guess not, I don’t know. I’m an ENTJ myself, though my T score is not very high. I am, if anything, a rampant feelings slut with people in general. I think it’s part of the whole subconscious field marshal thing.

    Similarly, my BIGGEST pet peeve is when I people that should act as advisers or pretending to act as advisers are obviously failing in the role and not doing anything to improve. Bigger than anything else, actually.

    I come from an intact family, though, and I am very expressive with my SO.

    Also, a lot of the stuff you are describing as “emotive” is closer to “horseplay.” I like to slap my SO on the ass, too, it’s a lot of fun, but it’s not quite the same thing as saying “I love you.”

    FWIW, my SO, who apparently tests as an INFP (I think…), was rushing in head-first, and gave me a speech after we were dating for a few weeks that she was really scared of saying it because she felt like we were rushing things. She is also very emotive and playful, though, so it works out well

  • Sassy6519

    Man, it feels like I haven’t been on here in forever. Grad school, and dating my guy, have taken up almost all of my time. Okay, time to dig in.

    @ Emily

    I agree. Somebody like Hope wouldn’t be happy with this type of man, but somebody like Sassy would probably prefer it. It doesn’t make any of them good or bad, it just is.

    Yeah, I probably wouldn’t have a problem with the relationship dynamics that have been described by Elise.

    @ Hope

    Emily, you are right. I would be miserable with such a man as described, and Sassy would love it. The question is, what type is Elise? From what it sounds like, she came from an in tact and loving family, so she knows something crucial is missing from this relationship.

    I find it interesting that both Sassy and I are from divorced single-mother families with the “alpha but jerkish father,” but we have had different reactions.

    Marriage (in the guy’s case) and kids (in Sassy’s case) probably remind them of their broken childhood. I also remember feeling very ambivalent towards marriage and kids myself. My mother also never told me she loved me, nor was she affectionate at all. She yelled at me a lot, was verbally abusive and was emotionally walled off and cold.

    With regards to children, the strangest thing happened to me not too long ago. I was out with my guy, and he was being his charming self (per the usual). Surprisingly, I was suddenly struck by this weird feeling. I initially couldn’t put my finger on it, but then things finally dawned on me. I looked at him, and was suddenly struck by the desire to have his kids. I can’t explain it, and I don’t even think I want to really dive into it at the moment. This is the first time a man has ever induced the desire in me to have his children. It’s the strangest thing.

    @ OffTheCuff

    I don’t think Sassy requires any more of a stoneface than any woman. Her stories have all descirbed deltas-in-alpha-clothing who eventually turn into supplicating saps.

    Hahaha!! It could be. I don’t really think that’s the case, however. I date typical “Alphas”, but many of them have a hard time keeping a strong frame around me, with regards to commitment. If they could have maintained stronger frames around me, there wouldn’t have been a problem. The funny thing is that I was always a witness to these same men having extremely strong/dominating frames when interacting with other people, almost scarily so.

    Perhaps it’s a Daenerys/Khal Drogo type situation. I turn men into gooey saps.

  • Cooper

    @ADBG
    “Cooper, I know what you mean about off the wagon. 2012 was fucking brutal for me, I ended up gaining 30 pounds and topped out at 205″

    Much to my surprise, I haven’t change weight, but visually have lost muscle. (So I it’s a bit of good/bad – I know I’ve lost tons of progress, but clearly I had enough muscle that my weight has only shift)

    It wasn’t too long ago we were talking about pull-ups, and I think I said I could do 10-20. I’m now back to being able to do a few, if I try really hard.

    It’s especially annoying knowing you can’t get back into it cause it’s just going to get lost again.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    Cooper, there’s hope for relationships with familial connections. My coworker’s girlfriend (they got together a few months ago) used to live next to his parents/grandparents, and the families are still close. That’s how they met, and they were sort of “set up.” Still, they had a ton in common and really hit it off, and the parental approval is a plus.

    Sassy, I knew one day the inkling to want a baby would hit you! :P

  • Dinkney Pawson

    @Sassy

    Wanting to have his babies means you want him. It’s the gold standard. It’s your hindbrain talking, though. Still doesn’t make him marriage material. Figure that out with your forebrain.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    ADBG, that other guy I described was also a “feeling slut” in some ways, having lots of friends he talked to, and quite affectionate, but he was not forthcoming about love or marriage. I do understand since I also feared lifelong commitment and what I previously believed to be inevitable failure.

    Anyway, I think horseplay is also saying I love you, because that’s how daddies tend to play with kiddies and show their affection. I think on some primal level, parental love is the earliest model of love on which people base their subsequent loves.

  • OffTheCuff

    Not a neg, or even cocky, Hope, just a solid frame of being the prize and judging you, with humor and teasing… and also just the right level of emotional distance. I’m sure he did like you, and a whole lot, and held it back just enough.

    Sassy: lol, what did we say? Women change their mind… given the right kind of man. As predicted.

  • J

    Surprisingly, I was suddenly struck by this weird feeling. I initially couldn’t put my finger on it, but then things finally dawned on me. I looked at him, and was suddenly struck by the desire to have his kids. .. It’s the strangest thing.

    That’s OK, Sassy. It happens to the best of us. ;-)

  • Sassy6519

    I’m just very confused by these feelings, at the moment. They’re really foreign to me. I don’t know how to take them. I’m still confused about wanting children, but I don’t think I would mind having one with him. Is this normal? I’m kind of freaking out about it.

  • Cooper

    “Is this normal? I’m kind of freaking out about it.”

    Hate to say, yup.

    Do you think this will affect your selection in men?

  • J

    So normal that the entire species depends on it.

  • HereIAm

    @Elise

    I think you need to step up and risk loving him even if you fear it won’t be returned. To me it seems like you are withholding from him while he is doing all kinds of things to show you he is attentive, respectful, committed, and loves you. I know it wasn’t the point of your posts but what are you doing to show him you love him, are committed to him, respect him, etc. You said that you have not told him you love him except for the one time and yet you are concerned because he hasn’t said it again. It comes across to me like you are waiting for him to take the risks and make is safe for you to reveal yourself, show your love for him, and allow you to create the life that you want. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but it’s time to grow up, learn to take better care of your self while also giving more of yourself (this is also what I work on every day).

    So I’m sorta close to the Ian Ironwood camp here. I understand I don’t know you at all and I’m judging this through a very narrow window of an email and a couple of comments but from my perspective, you’re not owning your own wants, taking responsibility for your own insecurities, and not bringing yourself to the relationship. So don’t just give it time, be optimistic, and enjoy it. I think you need to take some risks and own this. Take this time to create the relationship you want, express your love for him in your words and deeds. Own your insecurities/concerns/fears and when they come up you can share what’s going on for you but don’t put them on him. Work to get to a point where you can say ~ “I want a deeply committed and loving relationship with a husband to raise children with. I realize now that I have withheld myself from you but I will do my part from now on in giving this relationship a real chance by bringing myself more fully to it, risking rejection, and seeing if we can honestly create a relationship that works for us both. If not, as much as it will hurt, I will take care of myself and affirm what matters most to me and try to create that relationship with someone else.”

    Also a quick question: Are there other ways that he is “emotionally unavailable” besides not saying I love you again and doesn’t want to get married b/c of the consequences of divorce?

    I recommend you (and really everyone) read “Passionate Marriage” and “Intimacy and Desire” by Dr. David Schnarch. I think he is doing the best work on growing up, relating intimately with others and dealing with the dynamics in close relationships.

  • http://@ Iggles

    @ Sassy:

     I initially couldn’t put my finger on it, but then things finally dawned on me. I looked at him, and was suddenly struck by the desire to have his kids. I can’t explain it, and I don’t even think I want to really dive into it at the moment. This is the first time a man has ever induced the desire in me to have his children. It’s the strangest thing.

    That’s great Sassy! :D

    I know it’s freaking you, but you don’t have to make any decisions right now. Give yourself time to explore your feelings. I will say this, sometimes we have a clear view of how we picture our lives and meeting your life partner can blow all those plans to hell – in a good way! The person you build a life with will shape your future in ways you cannot imagine since the choices you both make together will determine the path your lives take (where to live? Job changes. Children if any, etc.).

    Perhaps it’s a Daenerys/Khal Drogo type situation. I turn men into gooey saps.

    Ha! Love the Game of Thrones reference.

    @ J:

    So normal that the entire species depends on it.

    + 1

  • J

    I love that story of sharing of anniversaries with other diners!

    LOL. I’m surprising sentimental sometimes.

    We almost always bump to the next Saturday, and it’s never even occurred to us to inform the restaurant. I’ll have to try that…

    I found out by accident. When I was in college, a friend of mine told a singer in a bar that it was my b’day (It really was.) because she wanted to embarrass me with the b’day song. The bartender then sent me a drink. Later, I told a waitress about a friend’s b’day, and she got cake. I noticed a pattern. About 90% of the time, they’ll comp you something on an occasion. It’s good PR.

  • Elise

    @Susan
    I agree I’m not too worried about my looks it’s more of a fertility issue.

    I’m also the type to worry I’d always think “what if”, I’d rather give it a real shot than regret it later.

    Thanks – I will update you on the situation in a few months! And I have to say that just by focusing on just enjoying the relationship for the last couple of days has really helped and we’ve connected more in the last couple of days than we have in the past 3 months – hopefully that will continue!

    @Hope

    “Emily, you are right. I would be miserable with such a man as described, and Sassy would love it. The question is, what type is Elise? From what it sounds like, she came from an in tact and loving family, so she knows something crucial is missing from this relationship.”

    I’d say I’m somewhere in between the two. I don’t think I could be with someone who was overly loving (I have been and I couldn’t stand it – I need my space) but then I have a hard time imagining myself with someone who is very closed off.

    I come from a very loving family but we don’t say “I love you” which I think explains why I had a hard time saying it first.

    @J
    I don’t see him as a pure alpha either but he does have some alpha traits. Maybe I should have gone with high-T instead.

    @Damien
    “It looks like you both have the same problem at expressing your emotions, a pattern not that uncommon in northern Europe, anywhere from Germany up to Finland.”

    I agree that this is probably a big part of the problem.

    “This impatient thing to want him to marry you right now sounds more like an insecure fetish thing about the wedding ring than a genuine demanding proof of committment so far, for he seems to have taken all the other steps towards it.”

    I never said I wanted to marry him right now. It’s not that I am “waiting for a proposal”, I think 9 months is way to early to be expecting that and I’m not even sure at this point I want to marry him. I would, however, like the relationship to get to that point in time. If he’d said “I’m never in a million years getting married” I would have left. The fact that he “doesn’t think he will” does worry me but does give my hope he will at some point. He did get all teary eyed at his best friends wedding so he obviously not immune. He is a very cautious man in general so hopefully there is a chance he will open up to me with time.

    “I’m extremely in love with him…. This sounds passionate enough, however:
    ….but I’m worried I’m wasting my time on someone who will never give me what I need emotionally. Are you sure you are, in your own words, as “extremely in love” with him as you think you are?”

    In my experience you can be in love with someone but still doubt that you are compatible enough to make it last. But then I am a very skeptical person in general.

    @HereIAm
    I agree, I need too jump in and see what happens even though it is way outside of my comfort zone.

    “Also a quick question: Are there other ways that he is “emotionally unavailable” besides not saying I love you again and doesn’t want to get married b/c of the consequences of divorce?”

    No, which is why I have hope that this will work. He’s not much of the “gazing into each others eyes” kind of guy and he hates the idea of holding hands but I think that’s more of a personality thing, he’s just not a hearts and flowers type of guy – which is fine.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Elise

      And I have to say that just by focusing on just enjoying the relationship for the last couple of days has really helped and we’ve connected more in the last couple of days than we have in the past 3 months – hopefully that will continue!

      Yay, that’s fantastic! You shifted your head into a slightly different space, and it sounds like it made a huge difference. The fact that he was so responsive is a very good sign, IMO. Good luck.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Yeah, that’s why gay and lesbian couples have no interest in getting married. Oh wait…
    Is more about the right to get married than about marrying per se, the gay people I know were less concerned about it than the straight liberals…strange if you ask me.

    After I lost another and stayed in the hospital for a week with a massive infection which could have killed me, my husband told me that he’d stay even if I could not have his biological children. That’s real demonstration of love, not mere words. He was by my bedside and very worried about me. He had already married me.

    What a timing today I found out that one of my friend’s husband from DR, asked her the divorce because she cannot give him children, she has had multiple miscarriages, really sad situation for something is not her fault and really the divorce is not the worst is the way he did he practically kicked her out the house, she didn’t deserved at least some courtesy? :( You are very lucky, God bless you and your family.

    About 90% of the time, they’ll comp you something on an occasion. It’s good PR.

    I though that was common knowledge hubby hates attention so I never do it, but I know its sort of mandatory.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Oh I’m curious about something…
    How many of us come from intact home vs broken homes/single mothers?
    Hope comments made me realize that there might be another pattern that the majority of HUSsies share.

  • http://@ Iggles

    Ana – I’m from a broken home. My parents separated when I was 4 and a bitter divorce. Despite it all, there was no parental alienation – my dad was a consistent part of my life (i.e., custody every other weekend, switched off on school breaks and holidays, checked report cards and encouraged our hobbies).

    I have a secure attachment style and am verbally expressive to my SO. Not surprisingly, I have a very optimistic view of marriage. My parents’ divorce doesn’t dissuade me at all (I may just be plain stubborn but I don’t think I’m doomed to repeat other people’s mistakes; on the contrary I file it away as what not to do!).

    However, I do share the common “fear of abandonment” that most kids of divorce have. But it doesn’t make me avoidant or cautious to enter relationships and share emotional intimacy.

  • DamienVulaume

    Élise
    “If he’d said “I’m never in a million years getting married” I would have left…”
    “In my experience you can be in love with someone but still doubt that you are compatible enough to make it last. But then I am a very skeptical person in general.

    That first quote of yours in turns sounds like a passionate enough sentence from a young “clean” woman’s heart, and it is “wonderful” to see that by nowdays standards, and you would be right to leave him for that reason…….but, only if you were SURE that he meant it that way, as an undemonishable truth of his…. But what does he know at that stage… ? Maybe only wanting to be swept away by you, but also probably without feeling neither led nor pressured.
    The both of you seem to be feeling great together, and,.. you are the woman, by that I mean that you, and only you, will be able to entice him further into that commitement once you live together and open up. If that doesn’t happen, that simply means you’re just not enough “in love” with each other. Give it an OPEN and tender time together, and by that I mean much more that just sex, and then you’ll see.
    I don’t think it is a problem of being skeptical. We all are skeptical at some point, especially in the early stages of life. If you still feel some kind of iner skepticism about him further on, then follow your heart, your instinct, and change direction/partner. Only your feelings and instincts know. Good luck for your future, and remember that it is good and releiving to lash out emotions, at least sometimes.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Elise
    I would say a combo is the best advice act like the wife you want to become find out what kind of woman he sees as a good wife material and things like that but set a date for this being enough for a marriage proposal. I think a year is enough since you are not that old. But don’t stay forever waiting for him to change his mind, you can end up waiting forever and never getting what you need or worse having a “We should start having babies now” in 5 years and you are probably going to accept after investing so many years on him and maybe bullshit yourself into “He will marry me after kid number 2…” Do your best, but don’t do it forever, YMMV.

  • DamienVulaume

    @Anacaona
    Oh I’m curious about something…How many of us come from intact home vs broken homes/single mothers?

    Great question. Everyone one of us at HUS should “lay down our hands’ palms on the table” at some point regarding that question. I for myself grew up in a very stable family with a strong father and a strong mother who never cheated on each other until the end…. Yet I also grew up with a sister who, under the same conditions, would give you a completely different version than mine, and, as a result, a much more shaky life experience for her, as of today.
    “Intact homes” do not exist in my view…

  • JP

    “Oh I’m curious about something…How many of us come from intact home vs broken homes/single mothers?”

    My home was fine growing up until my parents were either dead or disabled by the time I was 25.

    I didn’t realize that there were very many “broken homes”. Everyone I knew was very stable in that area.

  • J

    I don’t see him as a pure alpha either but he does have some alpha traits. Maybe I should have gone with high-T instead.

    Check out Vox Day’s definition of the sigma type and see if your BF fits the bill:

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2010/05/explaining-sigma-again.html

    http://alphagameplan.blogspot.com/2011/03/socio-sexual-hierarchy.html

    Sigmas correlate roughly to the INTJ Myers-Briggs type; you might want to google that as well. I actually gained quite a bit of insight into my husband and our relationship by reading those posts and researching INTJs

  • pvw

    Good question re. family background: intact marriage, parents have been together for decades; the same with Mr. PVW. Knew from observing my parents, what type of spouse I wanted: devoted beta type, with a good dose of alpha. He is just what I wanted–Mr. PVW is more in the sigma range, though, very libertarian.

  • LJ

    Is more about the right to get married than about marrying per se, the gay people I know were less concerned about it than the straight liberals…strange if you ask me.

    Interesting. Is that because most of your gay/lesbian friends are not in long-term relationships? From what I observed in my circle, same-sex couples want to wait until the time is right just like straight couples, but having the right to marry is very important even if not everyone rushes to the courthouse the day it becomes legal in their state (although many who have been in long-term partnerships do).

  • szopen

    @anacaona
    I’m from stable, intact family, and I think there were no divorce at least on my father’s side tracking since at least XVIII century.

  • Grace

    @Susan, i like the way you’ve appreciated both Elise’s & her man’s depth of emotion – but also presented bare facts as a compass to where things may go eventually.

    I think one of the things Elise needs to consider is what she would feel if things did not work out the way she wants them to? Would she feel like she ‘wasted time on this guy’? Would she find it difficult to trust someone for a long time? Or worse, would she begin to feel that somehow she is the one ‘unworthy’ of commitment?

    I realize that it seems impossible to predict your future feelings, but its worth a thinking through. If she feels like any of these negative, confidence-shattering emotions may hold true for her – it makes sense for her to be gentle with her own heart.

    I’m not suggesting she walk out on him. No, he seems like a good man, worth keeping & worth working for. But I do think that most women fall in the trap of “doing too much in a relationship”. And that “too much” is what breaks our hearts later on when the relationship is over & we are left picking up the pieces.

    A bit of restraint may be a good thing. Keep things loving & nurturing. Be aware of his deep fears & be gentle with them. But also be aware of her own hopes, fears & dreams. Be aware that if it doesn’t work out, it isn’t because of her inability to pass a “wife challenge”. That if she feels that she will wont emerge stronger in the end, she can walk out so she will be.

    Personally, I feel that women respond to “wife-test challenges” rather negatively. Yes, women love being nurturing, embracing, stoic, caring even in tough times – but who wants to be TESTED for it? You’d rarely feel mushy about a guy who’s been scoring your emotions.

    Also the “26 pushing 30 & so you want a commitment” crap is just that – crap. It’s great to find love at a statistically proven “prime-age”. But its rather silly to let stereotypes or statistics dictate what you should be feeling when.

    The only age that’s right for you, is the one when you find loving, kind & sincere passion from a quality man/woman with whom you want to have fun most of the time.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Grace

      A bit of restraint may be a good thing. Keep things loving & nurturing. Be aware of his deep fears & be gentle with them. But also be aware of her own hopes, fears & dreams.

      I think this is good advice in general. I think people need to keep some small part of themselves that is not about the relationship or the other person. I usually express this as holding back 10%.

      Also the “26 pushing 30 & so you want a commitment” crap is just that – crap. It’s great to find love at a statistically proven “prime-age”. But its rather silly to let stereotypes or statistics dictate what you should be feeling when.

      I couldn’t agree more. My SIL freaked out that she’d never find anyone at 26, and married a man she loved, but there were many red flags she ignored. He left her when their sons were 3 and 4 for another woman. It is silly to let a date on the calendar dictate such an important life choice.

  • JP

    My ancestors were involved with the creation of Tom Foolery.

    I’m not sure if that means anything or not.

    And Tom Fool was a murderous man.

    Well, at least he was willing to be killing the carpenter of low station who was sleeping with my ancestor’s daughter on orders from her father.

    “Muncaster Castle was home to the original Tom Fool and is believed to be the only castle in the world that appoints a modern day jester.

    Tom Fool was the Pennington family jester in the 16th century. He is believed to have been the inspiration for the Fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear and to have given the word ‘tomfoolery’ to the English language.”

    And that completes today’s HUS History Lesson.

    http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/castle-keeping-spirit-of-tomfoolery-alive-1.97572?referrerPath=home/2.1962

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Fool_(spirit)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @JP

      Incredible that you can trace your family back to the 16th c. I believe Vox can do the same. I am reading Wolf Hall right now and loving every minute of it.

      Tomfoolery is also one of my favorite words. It became popular in one of my focus groups to refer to various shenanigans. It never fails to make everyone laugh.

  • JP

    Looks like I’m a descendant of the vikings.

    “The oldest known Pennington was Gamel de Peninton or Penitone. The fact that he bore an Old Norse first name indicates Viking ancestry.”

    http://www.kevinskoglund.com/familyhistory/pennington1.html

  • JP

    “Incredible that you can trace your family back to the 16th c. I believe Vox can do the same. I am reading Wolf Hall right now and loving every minute of it.”

    For some reason, all parts of my family have been into ancestry.

    I can’t get one of the other branches back before about 1730, though because I don’t have anything about before they arrived in America.

    Another group is easy because they are German from Alsace-Lorraine, so there are nice German records from them.

  • JP

    “I couldn’t agree more. My SIL freaked out that she’d never find anyone at 26, and married a man she loved, but there were many red flags she ignored. He left her when their sons were 3 and 4 for another woman. It is silly to let a date on the calendar dictate such an important life choice.”

    You pretty much *have* to do this if you want to be younger when your kids are growing up.

    I think I started panicking about age 23 because of the time constraints that were going to arise later in life.

    If you have a strategic life plan (and intend to be relevant well into your 80s), you are going to hit certain time-based benchmarks.

  • Womenaregutlesscowards

    “We had a discussion about it and he told me he’d never said it to a girl before ”

    LOL. Of course he hadn’t – women don’t want men who are capable of love, women are terrified of intimacy.

    The author of this piece is also incapable of approaching a man – am I right? How did I guess?

    Women who wait for men to approach THEM (which is 99.9% of you) are highly unlikely to meet kind, loving men. Kind, loving men think you aren’t interested in them, and with good reason – you are incapable of SHOWING them that you like them, precisely because you think you never have to go up to a stranger and try to talk to them, and get rejected, over and over and over again.

    Read this comment quick before Susan Walsh deletes it for getting too close to her greatest fear – asking men out. LOL.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Gutless Wonder

      Dude, railing against women in an attempt to get them to ask you out sounds like a piss poor strategy. I’d go back to the drawing board if I were you.

  • Wendy

    Whoa! Slow your roll! You have only known him 9 months and you’re working up your ultimatums if you don’t get a ring soon? Give the guy a chance! He obviously knows the seriousness of such decisions due to being an eyewitness to and victim of his parents bad decisions. Why are you in such a hurry? Do you love him or the way the Tux in your wedding fantasy looks on him? I know that if someone was pressuring me to marry them after only 9 months, I’d be out the door, running! If you really love your guy, just believe it will happen someday, enjoy your relationship with him, and try to prove to him you are worth opening up to. Hint: that usually takes longer than 9 months.

  • OffTheCuff

    Ana: intact family here. My father divorced very young and never told me, so as a kid it all appeared 100% intact. Everyone else in my immediate family is married, except for one bachelor uncle, all kids in wedlock. Very traditional. My attitudes are mostly because I was church-raised, and thus bred to be a delta. While my reformed-alpha father was present, he wasn’t involved with me. Older half-brother as I posted above, and younger sister. Blue-pill nightmare.

  • Damien Vulaume

    @Wendy#252
    +one million for that comment. It’s all right there.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Going back to my counting, so it somehow seems even: Sassy, Hope, Ted =single mothers/broken homes. While OTC, Me, szopen = intact. *
    Anyone else wants to chime in?

    *Not counting Damien as per his definition he was not from an intact home, yet he had to parents under the same roof so whatever…

  • Damien Vulaume

    @Anacoana
    Going back to my counting, so it somehow seems even: Sassy, Hope, Ted =single mothers/broken homes. While OTC, Me, szopen = intact. *
    Anyone else wants to chime in?

    Oh s’il te plait non….Por favor no. :-)
    It looks like you’re doing math already. But your question was essential, in my opinion. I also hope that everybody else will chime in on that one here, for it is at the root of a lot of things, yet it neither explains nor justifies everything. I think you could put me in the “intact home”, with a long apendix list at the bottom of the page, so to speak. As of today, I’ve never seen ideal models, or intact homes, as you put it. Some work better than other, for sure, like two parents living together and thus giving a good and stable example for their children, but, even in those cases there are always “problems”.

  • JP

    ” As of today, I’ve never seen ideal models, or intact homes, as you put it. Some work better than other, for sure, like two parents living together and thus giving a good and stable example for their children, but, even in those cases there are always “problems”.”

    No, there are a number of pretty much ideal cases. Happy parents. Well-adjusted kids.

    I know a number of homes where things were just fine and there were essentially no “problems”.

  • http://@ Iggles

    Ana – I chimed in at #234. I’m from a broken home.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    It looks like you’re doing math already. But your question was essential, in my opinion. I also hope that everybody else will chime in on that one here, for it is at the root of a lot of things, yet it neither explains nor justifies everything. I think you could put me in the “intact home”, with a long apendix list at the bottom of the page, so to speak. As of today, I’ve never seen ideal models, or intact homes, as you put it. Some work better than other, for sure, like two parents living together and thus giving a good and stable example for their children, but, even in those cases there are always “problems”.

    I asked for intact homes, not perfect ones.

  • SayWhaat

    Ana – I come from an intact home. My parents were very loving to each other when I last saw them.

    It was so uncomfortable.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Sorry Iggles, didn’t saw it, 4 to 3 then.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Heh and SayWhaat makes it even. 4 to 4.

  • Damien Vulaume

    No, there are a number of pretty much ideal cases. Happy parents. Well-adjusted kids.

    You mean Hollywood or cartoon characters, probably.

  • J

    My parents divorced and got back together twice. It affected me as a kid, but ultimately they were together until they died. Is that intact ot not?

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    My parents divorced and got back together twice. It affected me as a kid, but ultimately they were together until they died. Is that intact ot not?

    That is twice broken! Sorry to hear that you went through that.
    For clarification purposes.
    Intact = No divorce and no major issues (I can’t believe I have to define it but if your parents didn’t abused each other or you, rejoice you had an intact home, there is no such a thing as perfect Disney marriage, some yelling, some moments of silence are normal)
    Broken = single mother/father, divorce and I will say separation if it lasted enough to make you feel like love doesn’t exist and marriage is a sham.
    Dysfunctional Home: Abuse, cheating, drinking and gambling problems, addictions to drugs or other forms of escapism, (again this is if affects the family a drink once in a while, a bet once in a while is not reason to consider your home broken), extreme poverty (again not getting a pony =/= poverty I mean like not afford the basics and an ice cream and a toy once in a while, but then I grew up low class, maybe not having that pony registered as abuse if everyone else had one while you were growing up and you didn’t got one just because your parents were jerks), mental issues if major and untreated, sexual abuse of course, stress (if your parents lived in a high stress zone like I don’t know war zones or drug lord zones or were part of the Mafia I would count that too….Did I missed anything?

  • Emily

    Intact home.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    5 to 5 then.

  • JP

    “You mean Hollywood or cartoon characters, probably.”

    No, really.

    There are a subset of fine families who get along and produce well-adjusted kids.

    Not mine, but generally having cancer kill your mother for several years when you are younger is going to smoosh any family. Mostly because it kills a family member.

    My mother’s family of origin was fine, too. Everyone was generally happy and loved each other.

    Two cousins I can think of are doing well. This is in comparison to the cousin’s family who isn’t doing well. There’s a difference and you can tell.

    And a family friend’s family. Neighbors doing well.

    I’d say about 30% to 40% from my experience.

    I knew who the alcoholics were…who was cheaing on whom…who had issues, etc.

  • Elise

    @J
    I’m not sure he’s a sigma either, but the INTJ type fits him well – except from the introversion. He is definitely and extrovert, although he enjoys his alone time he is absolutely and extrovert, he loves big parties and talking to random people he meets (he’s way better at small talk than me). Thanks for that, is was a really interesting read.

    @Grace
    “Would she feel like she ‘wasted time on this guy’ ”

    This is my main worry and probably why I’ve been holding back, but by holding back myself I know that I am also holding the relationship back so I’m working on opening up (going quite well so far).

    “Would she find it difficult to trust someone for a long time? Or worse, would she begin to feel that somehow she is the one ‘unworthy’ of commitment?”

    This I’m not worried about, at least not at the moment. I’ve never had these issues in the past so hopefully that won’t happen in the future!

    “Personally, I feel that women respond to “wife-test challenges” rather negatively. Yes, women love being nurturing, embracing, stoic, caring even in tough times – but who wants to be TESTED for it?”

    I agree with this, I’ve never felt like I’m being tested until now and it feels a bit weird but I guess that’s what you can expect when you are with someone who is very logical and cautious. For the past week though I have actually been enjoying it, mainly because I feel I’ve been doing a pretty good job and he’s been very responsive.

    @Womenaregutlesscoward
    I actually approached him originally.

    @Wendy
    As I’ve said earlier I don’t want him to propose right now (and if he did I’d say no because it’s way too soon) and have not been pressuring him for a proposal in any way. My worries about marriage stem from the fact that he said he’s “never wanted to get married and doesn’t think that will change, but it might” and I know I do want to get married one day so I’d like to know that the guy I’m with intends to get married some day.

  • HereIAm

    @Grace #243 and pertinent to Elise,
    I think you’re misunderstanding what’s happening when a woman (or anyone) is
    “doing too much in a relationship” and feels heartbroken when the relationship is over. I don’t think it’s the effort or investment that “causes” the heartbreak. Its pain you feel from feeling owed the other’s validation and acceptance running smack into the reality that you can’t take away someone else’s choice to live/reject as they see fit. No matter how amazing you are or how amazing your investment in “the relationship” is, the least amazing person can say no and walk away. That’s the deal. You’re owed nothing in that sense. It’s more likely that when someone is “doing too much” they are in fact “saying/expressing too little” about the unwritten contract they are wanting the other to participate in with their actions (I do this so you have to accept and validate me).

    Additionally, if the meaning (“time wasted”) of your entire relationship-worth of investment can be changed by someone else because they decided (long after you acted in those ways) to discontinue the relationship, I think that goes to the point I’m making that the actions were done in a controlling way to bind the other’s choice (they have to accept me/validate me/reciprocate now) to your investment. “How dare they waste my time by not accepting me and doing what I want them to do. I deserve better. All my actions, even though I didn’t say/believe it, were in fact contingent (rather than giving) on the relationship working out, and since it didn’t, they are all worthless now.” It’s not that you “did too much” or “loved too much”, it’s that you tried to “control too much” or acted contingently in order to get validation/acceptance from another for you and your relationship rather than acting that way as an expressing/sharing/giving of who you are and what you want.

    @ Elise
    Instead try investing everything into creating your life and relationships with the clear understanding that other people are completely free to do what they do. How can it possibly be a waste of your time to make the most out of the moment you have before you? It’s your life. Get better at bringing all of yourself and everything you can to a given situation while at the same time taking care of yourself (that’s your responsibility not his). In my opinion, real marriage market value (rMMV) is in part based on one’s capacity to take the risk to offer something real, something that matters, something of yourself to another. That’s real strength and high value and you can’t get it without putting yourself forward. This relationship may or may not work out but it will be “worth it” in direct proportion to your ability to truly live each moment and no one can take that away from you.

    Also, while I don’t know if your boyfriend is “wife-testing” you, I wonder if part of why if feels different to you is because he means something different to you. The more he matters to you, the more you’re into him, the riskier it is for you to show yourself – the more your validation as the person you think you are is tested – whether or not he is actively/consciously testing you.

    Once again, I’ll suggest reading the books I mentioned by Dr. Schnarch @#227.