Emma asks :
I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years and I'm 21 and he is 23. I am getting quite upset as all my friends have moved in together and are engaged but have been together for a shorter amount of time then us and yet we haven't moved in or engaged. I don't want to wait forever I want to be married and have children by the time I'm 25 which at that point he will be 27 and we still won't be married. I don't want to wait forever otherwise it will never happen but then I don't want to leave as I love him. I just get jealous and upset when I see all my friends engaged and like I said they have been together with their boyfriends for 2 years or less. Am I doing something wrong? Does he ever want to marry me or am I wasting my time? We have discussed it but the answer is always ‘not yet’.
The first piece of advice I would give you is to stop comparing yourself to other people- there will always be another couple out there, close to you or not, who are married and have children before you, despite being together for less time than you and your partner.
I would also suggest that you stop putting pressure on yourself and your partner to tick these boxes before a certain age. You might find yourself getting married and having children before you are ready just to keep up with your friends. Have you both done everything you want to before settling down? Travelling? Established a career?
All of the things you mention above that your friends are doing, does not mean that they have a stronger relationship than you do with your partner so try not to see it as a reflection of your closeness as a couple.
It can be frustrating to see your friends go through these things before you- but look at it this way- you still have them to look forward, whereas they don’t.
It may be that your partner wants the same things but is not ready, like he says. It may be worth asking him about his future plans and if they don’t match yours then perhaps your visions are too different to stay together happily.
If he does want the same things but does not want them by the same time you do, then maybe you need to find a compromise somewhere when it comes to your future aspirations.
If you push him too hard then you might end up losing him. There is nothing wrong with wanting a future with the person you are dating but forcing someone to talk about something they are not ready for can be unsettling for a relationship. It might be worth talking about it one last time- seeing where you stand and then leave it alone and make your decision from there whether to stay or to go.
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