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Ask Dr. Shirley Schaye Your Own Question
Dr. Shirley Schaye
Dr. Shirley Schaye, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1673
Experience:  PhD-Psych; Certif. Psychoanalyst NPAP& NYFS; Memb.APsaA;IPA; Pub.Author; Teach/Supervise Therapy
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My boyfriend of two years says he hopes we have a future together

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My boyfriend of two years says he hopes we have a future together but isn't sure. He is 47 and never married. I'm 47 and was married for 12 years before divorcing 3 years ago. He is from a nice family. His mom and dad were never divorced and I've met most of his family. I as well am not a "child of divorce." We spend quite a bit of time together and he says he loves me, cares for me, and enjoys my company. He goes above and beyond to do nice things for me like cleaning my car, cleaning my house, walking my dog, helping me do yard work and small projects around my home, but at this point he says he's not ready to get married and doesn't know if we have a future together. He is not very happy right now with his state in life. He was laid off 9 months ago and finally found a job but it's not what he really wants and he's very unhappy about that. He says that has to take priority right now. I want to get married one day and it doesn't have to be now, but I'd like him to be sure about our future together. Should I get out of the relationship or continue to see he'll come around once his career life is back on track?

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about what is happening between the two of you. Let me ask you a few questions first so that I have a better understanding of the situation.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

You mentioned that he is 47 and that he has never been married before. Do you know any of the history behind that? It might help us to understand what is going on with him.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

I see that now he is concerned about what is happening vis a vis work. However, he is 47 and never been married so obviously, there is a reason for that so we cannot simply say that it only has to do with his feelings about work.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Do you know anything about his past relationships? That will help tell us more about what is going on with him.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

I see that you went offline so I'll await your response when you get back online to see whether we can analyze what is going on with him about making a commitment to you. Two years is a fair amount of time to know yes or no whether one wants to stay in a relationship. So, of course, all this history makes me wonder about his problems with commitments.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Of course, I don't have a crystal ball to know whether things will change once he is more settled work wise.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

The key, to repeat myself is for us to fdigure out why he was never married before.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Hi there.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

oops!!! figure, not fdigure.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

If we look at the past we may be able to figure things out better.

Customer:

He told me when we first started dating that he had dated a lot of nice ladies but nothing had worked out due to travel with his work, etc. He was engaged once after dating someone for 2 1/2 years about 12 years ago, but she didn't say yes and he ended the relationship.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

I want to let you know that I have 17 years of education in the mental health field post my bachelor of arts degree so I dig very deep to try and understand where a person is coming from.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Ok, thanks. That helps. This is what I would say to him based on what you have told me. But first, another question.

Customer:

Although we spend a lot of time together, it is routine. Tuesday evenings for dinner, spend Friday and Saturday nights (all night) together and then spend Sunday evenings together. I feel like he likes his home as his sanctuary so to speak and does enjoy his time alone. He is not someone who likes to party or hangs out with male friends, so I don't have that to worry about. He's a very conservative, moral and ethical guy.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

With the woman he dated for 2 1/2 years, what were his feelings when she didn't say yes?

Customer:

It seems he was very hurt. She told him she'd take the ring home, look at it, and let him know. He said it all seemed to be about the ring. He didn't let her have the ring to take home and in fact, took it back to the jewelry store the next day. He said his mother went with him and I could ask her about that situation if I wanted to.

Customer:

His parents have been married for 50 years and his brother and both of his two sisters are married with families. He seems to be the odd man out in that family.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

You need to say to him, I understand how you feel about work and that you are not happy with what your work situation is right now. Believe me I understand you and completely support you. But remember what you told me about being hurt when your ex did what she did. I love you and don't care about rings. I care about you and for better or for worse want to be with you. We have been together for 2 years. I want to still be with you. I want to spend my life with you but I. am afraid that you will do to me what your ex did --- she hurt you. I am afraid if you don't make a commitment to me that I, too will be hurt the way you were back then.

Customer:

Okay, I haven't tried the approach by comparing what he's doing with me and our situation with his ex. I'm just afraid I've gotten a hold of a commitment phobe although he claims not to be afraid of marriage, etc. etc...

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

So by turning it back to how he felt you are showing him that you are afraid that he is doing the same to you. It may wake things up in him. Hey, it's worth a try.

Customer:

Okay, thanks for the advice. How long should I stick it out before I throw in the towel, so to speak?

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

So do that as step one. If that doesn't work I would go to step no. 2.

Customer:

And step no. 2 would be calling it quits?

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

If he doesn't make a move then say I am too frightened that you will never make a commitment to me. I love you and want to spend my life with you. Since you still cannot make a commitment to me I would like to take some time off from our relationship. This will give us both some time to think about things.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Then if you need to go this route as a last effort I would then say, if you are ready to make a commitment you know where to find me.

Customer:

Do you think it prudent to do this even when he's so unhappy right now with his career?

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

I would wait a little. I would be very supportive of him about his career situation but, as I said before, I would say to him whether your career is where you want it to be, I love you and want to spend my life with you. ( If that's true).I will be there for you while you are working on your career situation.

Customer:

Okay, so I'll wait a while and hopefully the career situation will straighten out and when he's in a better place, I'll use Step One and then if necessary, Step Two.

Customer:

Thanks.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Also, let me say this with each step that you try, you can always contact me and give me feedback about how he responded and I will help you through this.

Customer:

Oh that would be great. Thank you so much!

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

You are most welcome. Please know that I am here for you and will help you through each step.

Dr. Shirley Schaye and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you