You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
Dear Dr. Sherry,
I desperately need advice. Next month my boyfriend and I will have been dating exclusively for nine years. We started dating when I was 16 and he was 19. He is my first and only. We waited until I was 18 before we had any form of sex. He's respectful, protective, a leader, and he stood by my side and loved me when I couldn't love myself. I had a rough childhood and adolescence because of physical abuse by my father and he came in like a super hero and changed my life. He spent any little money he had and took me out and bought me gifts. Fast forward and now we’ve lived together for the last three years and I’m 25 now. When I was 17 he bought me a promise ring (which I misplaced years later). I want kids and marriage, but marriage before kids. I felt we were too young before but approaching nine years later it's very disappointing to not be married. I've expressed this to him numerous times, and both my family and his have done the same. He constantly says he wants to get married, but I'm discouraged, and at this point, I wouldn't even be so happy if it happened because he has taken too long.
Recently he wanted a baby and I almost gave in, but I put my foot down and said absolutely no children unless I get a ring and plan a wedding. I know some people think I'm still young for marriage but I know what I want and he's 28 so I don't see why not. He was making really good money for the last three years when he started managing a successful restaurant but he recently lost that job and started a new restaurant job and isn't making as much because he's still working his way up. And we are struggling financially now. But we weren't before. He bought a Mercedes Benz a year ago (his first car) but no ring for me. My family adores him because he is a great guy but I'm terribly disappointed in him. How can he not save up for a ring? I made it clear if I don't have a ring before I reach our 10 year mark (which is a very long time) I will leave him. And I definitely don't want to. He's my soul mate but I'm so lost and hurt and sometimes I cry over it. Please help me.
It is admirable that you have been committed and faithful to the same guy since the age of 16. You have given him the years of your life that most young people are dating without true commitment in order to find the right person. This is a time they may have several boyfriends/girlfriends to decide what they like and don't like in a relationship. Nine years is a long time to date and wait on a guy for marriage and hopes of a family. I am sure you are quite disappointed that your boyfriend has not proposed to you with a ring. The problem has nothing to do with his ability to afford an engagement ring. Neither does it have to do with him loving you. It is highly likely that he loves you and can definitely buy you a ring. The problem is that he has no reason to marry you. You have played house and "wifey" for years without having the official title.
I am sure you have heard this before but why should he buy the cow when he can get the milk free? Unfortunately, he has received free milk for a long time. You can decide to wait for the 10-year mark in your relationship if you would like, but if he decides to give you a ring and marry you, you will be left wondering if he only married you because of your ultimatum. This has the potential to create some stressful undertones in any marriage. You are very smart to hold out on having a child unless you want to be a single mother. It is time for you to refocus on yourself. He has clearly shown you who he is in the last nine years and that is fine. If you want marriage and a family, you must stop playing wifey and prepare to be a wife to someone that wants to be a husband. You have had repeated conversations with your boyfriend about your desires. There is no need to beg him to meet your desires and needs. It is time for you to prepare to move on with your life. You must ask yourself why you have held on to broken promises in this relationship. At age 25, you have time to really find a man that loves you and shares your hopes and dreams. If you believe that you deserve more, why are you settling for so much less? -- Dr. Sherry
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