I’ve dated my boyfriend for six years and he still won’t move in with me or make plans beyond a weekend. I love our relationship and want to take it to the next level. I’m afraid that he doesn’t love me as much as I love him. He also grew up in foster care and has no real family. I want to be his family. Why is he so unwilling to commit?
His fear of abandonment overrides his desire to grow in intimacy. Don’t take it personally. It’s not you; it’s him. Really. Often, people who have experienced a deep loss have difficulty trusting their hearts enough to trust others. The same is true for anyone who obsesses when a decision must be made. Instead of embracing the possibilities, he or she gets stuck on what might happen if they make the wrong decision. The overwhelming fear of a negative outcome obscures their intuition and instinct. Making a viable choice becomes even more difficult without the kind of accurate information that intuition offers.
Can you accept the relationship as it is? If so, you deflate the anxiety you feel when you try to push your man to move in with you or make long-term plans. You also allow your boyfriend to relax and enjoy being with you. Given his upbringing, he may need more time to ease into a relationship than most people. After all, he may have little experience with relationships that are built to last. So be patient. Give him all the time he needs to feel secure in love with you. In the meantime, focus on savoring the bond you share. Let the love you have be the love you need.
My sister knows that her husband cheats, and yet she stays with him. They’re in their mid-50s, and don’t have kids or any compelling reason to stay together. Why does she put up with this? Whenever anyone in the family tries to talk with her about his affairs, she says, “Every marriage has problems.” It pisses me off that she doesn’t think highly enough of herself to find a partner who would respect and love her.
People marry for as many reasons as there are people on the planet. You are assuming that your sister wants a soul mate, but she is clearly content with a roommate. You’ve sounded the alarm about your concerns. You’ve offered advice and an ear to listen. She’s refused. Why not let her live her life now the way she pleases? Continue to keep your heart and mind open so that if she needs someone to rely on, you can be there. But allow her to make choices that are different than what you want for her. By the way, you would be shocked to learn how many married people have affairs. Your sister might even be having an affair that you’re not privy to. If she is cheating, would her unconventional marriage be more acceptable to you? I’m not advocating affairs, of course, just trying to unlock a fresh perspective so you can love her as she is.