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Glow's avatar

How to talk about future stuff with bf?

Asked by Glow (1366points) March 25th, 2009

So…. I have a problem. I just dont know how to talk about the whole future stuff with my boyfriend. Ive tried, only to appear nervous and choke on my words every time. The best I could get out one time was “where ever you go, I want to go too”. Thing is though, he isnt ready to talk about this stuff yet. Im not asking him to move in with me now and marry me now and devote his life to me now. But, I want to feel like our future together is safe. I want to know that he does plan to live with me one day. Sure, this is going to have to happen after we graduate college, but thats in about 1 year for him and 2 for me. We both do plan to get our masters though.

But anyway, thing is, I just dont know how to talk to him about it. I choke up each time and I get nervous and embarrassed. How do I talk to him about such serious issues? What should I say, and ask? Or, should I stop even thinking of such things and just let us be the way it is now? Weve been together 2 years, which I figured was long enough…..

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11 Answers

ubersiren's avatar

If this conversation is uncomfortable for either of you, it hasn’t been long enough. In 2 years you should have some idea of where you both stand on the relationship.

Since you don’t know, set aside a time to talk to him. Tell him you want to talk for just 10 minutes about where you’re going. When you’re ready, just blurt it out. I’d say something like, “Harold, I love you very much and I want you to know that I see us building life together in the future. Not the immediate future, but eventually. I want to know if you feel this same way. I’m not asking anything of you now other than to tell me if you see me as a staple in your life.”

Something like that. But you have to call him Harold.

marinelife's avatar

Welcome to the collective! I can only add a a couple of minor things to ubersiren’s very good answer:

1. To help with the nerves, write out what you want to say and practice in the mirror out loud.

2. If you have not successfully brought this up before, and he has told you he is not ready to talk about this stuff, say your piece. Then say that are willing to give him a day or two to think about how he feels if he would like. Ask him when he would like to get back to you. Men need about 9–11 hours to process material with strong emotional content. They are very different from women in that sense.

3. If he is not where you are, then you have to decide what to do. Hang in as you are now (no nagging!) or move on if you feel he will not get there even if you love him now.

cak's avatar

@Ubersiren and @Marina have it pretty much covered.

I would struggle with the fact that after 2 years, you still aren’t comfortable with having this type of conversation, what is your relationship really like? I don’t mean that in an awful way – just is it more “fun” or is a growing thriving relationship. Do you feel like you are moving towards something together or just maintaining at a certain level? If you don’t feel like either of you are growing in this relationship, it might not be time for the talk.

Listen to what @Marina and @ubersiren suggested. They both offered some great advice.

YARNLADY's avatar

Chat daily about where you might like to travel and what your goals are for your future. Plan adventures and activities far into the future.

Never bite off more than you can chew. Advancing a relationship, whether it’s going steady or getting engaged, is a life changing thing. Make sure it’s what you really want!

Learn more about your partner. The more you know about your partner, the better you’ll understand whether speeding up and taking your relationship to a more serious level is what you really want.

Drop hints to your partner. If going steady if what you are looking to do, you could perhaps mention admiring the security, love, and comfort that couples in longterm relationships seem to have.

Introduce your family and friends to your partner, if they haven’t met before. This is a great way to speed up your relationship and take it to a more serious level.

You need to remove all distractions. Next, you’ll want to make sure that you are seated next to him and not in front of him. Men have trouble maintain eye contact and being forced to do so makes them uncomfortable.

Ask him a nonthreatening question. Do not try to get him to open up about his feeling immediately or you may cause him to shut down. For your first question, ask him how his day was or if he’s heard your new favorite song.

Once you have talked for twenty to thirty minutes about a neutral subject you can start to turn the conversation to the topic of your choice. Use I questions as in “I was wondering” or “I’ve been feeling”.

After you have expressed yourself ask him what he thinks. Give him a few minutes of quiet to collect his thoughts. Make sure you take the time to really listen to him. Follow up with questions to help you more fully understand his point of view.

flameboi's avatar

just do what my gf did, she asked, where are we going as a couple? is just 7 words and believe me, that works and is not as scary as it sounds :)

hug_of_war's avatar

Personally I feel you should just outright say. None of this saying it in a halfway, kinda, going around the words kind of way. After 2 years, I feel like you should be at a point where you can start discussing where you’d like to head. It doesn’t mean you’re planning the wedding, but he can’t expect you to just go with the flow of things for an indeterminate amount of time.

chelseababyy's avatar

Don’t do it if you’re not comfortable. It will come as time passes by. I really think it depends on the maturity level of a person. My best friend was with her now ex, for five years. She was ready to settle down, and he, was not.

I think you should express to him how you feel about him expressing how he feels about the future. Let him know that you’re in it for the long haul, and you want to know he is too. Ask him if he sees you in his near and far future. Try to let him know how you feel, then ask him if he has anything to say to that. Sometimes guys have problems saying things like that. Maybe he’s scared, or maybe he’s just not sure how to express it.

Lucky for me, when I met my boyfriend, we kind of had that instinct, that know, that we we’re more or less, meant for eachother, so we both talked about what we wished for the future, and both of our wishes, had to do with the other person.

Glow's avatar

Thanks for the advice everyone.

Well, what should I do when he is reluctant to talk about it or against what I have to say? Not saying he will be or is, but what if he is?

I guess my nervousness comes from this feeling.

wundayatta's avatar

Let me tell you about my belief of what a man’s perspective is. I never had a problem wanting relationships to go anywhere, so I can’t say I understand reluctance. But I do understand one thing: planning. As a general rule women like to do it because it helps them feel secure. As a general rule, men don’t like to do it because it makes them feel trapped.

We like to be ready for anything. We like to able to take an opportunity if it comes up. Now this probably sounds threatening to a woman, but it shouldn’t. The opportunities are things like moving somewhere, or taking a new job, or going on an adventure. Rarely is it an opportunity to jump ship, so to speak, and pick up a relationship with someone else. That does happen, but usually it’s because the relationship has been sucking for a long time.

So, when a woman asks where the relationship is going, it can make a man extremely uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t want it to go somewhere serious; it’s just that he’s reluctant to commit to something if there’s even a slight chance it won’t happen. We don’t like to lie. A commitment seems like a potential lie. There’s always a chance no matter how small it might be, that we’ll break up. If that happens, we don’t want it on record that we said we were solid. Solid has the implication of forever.

Forever! Wow! Blows a guy’s mind. We can’t even think about forever. How can we commit for forever? But when you say the relationship is going somewhere, you are saying you are going to get married, and if you say you are going to get married, then you are saying you are going to be together forever. FOREVER!!!!

And it’s not that we don’t want to be together forever; it’s just that we don’t want to commit to something when we can’t see the end of it. We just don’t know, and so if we say “yes” we are lying, or feel like we are lying. Just a little bit, but enough to make us wary. Well, most of us.

So, when you pressure us for an answer, it goes against something that is deeply honorable inside us. We wonder, why can’t we just go along? If we just go along, it’ll end up being forever (mostly), but we don’t have to give you the false idea that we know where it will end up.

I don’t know what it’s like for women. Maybe you can see the future. Maybe you can know. Maybe it isn’t a lie for you. Or maybe you are devious, and don’t mind lying, so you blithely promise a future, knowing that promise might not be kept. We know promises are lies to some extent, and it is an inbuilt sense of honor, I believe, that makes us run from that question.

Where that leaves you, I don’t know. You want security. You want us to stick around and take care of the kiddies. You want to be able to plan.

We don’t want to plan (on average), and we might want kiddies, but they scare the shit out of us—what if we do the wrong thing? We want you to feel secure, though, and that’s what puts us in a bind. We then feel like you are extracting something from us; we don’t even know what it is; but something that is extracted and unnatural, and thus we have to wriggle and squirm and hem and haw, trapped between giving you what you want (and we want too), and having to make a huge lie. A HUGE lie, because we can’t see the future.

How to get around this? I don’t know. Perhaps you ask for an intention, not a promise. Perhaps you ask for a vision, although we can see through that. Maybe you ask for a shorter range future? Maybe you state first, that it you want to feel secure, and having some idea of the future, even if it is a lie, makes you feel secure. You have to do the analysis of the feelings for both of you, in most cases. Men do these things instinctively, and don’t always have a conscious understanding of what they are doing, at least, not as often as women do.

Ok. My caveat here. (See I can’t promise anything either). This might be wrong. It’s just my thinking out loud. I’m just extrapolating from my own experience. So don’t take any actions based on what I say. I don’t want to be responsible for your mistakes, or my bad advice. Get it?

Glow's avatar

@daloon – wow, holy cow. Haha.

I definitely understand what youre saying though. Men hate to plan for future, woman hate to not plan. I guess, when I plan, I dont think that things might not work out. Thats something I dont plan for. Perhaps not the best thing to do though. But I am indeed an optimist and he is indeed a pessimist. I think what he hates, is that if we plan out lives together and nothing does work out. We crash harder than if we didnt plan. Plus, I also think he doesnt want to feel trapped.

Funny thing is, I watched this movie last night called the last kiss, and I found it funny how it mainly dealt with how men didnt have the ability to take relationships seriously and go a step further. Even men with kids and who were in their late 20s or early 30s. Me and my bf are only in our early 20s, but like I said, im not asking for it right now…. I just want to feel safe… I guess ive got insecurity issues to deal with. It helps not feeling like im the only one though, so its nice seeing that move or coming here and reading other peoples thoughts and opinions. Sometimes I feel like im doing it all wrong, maybe I should just slow down (internally), but at the same time, I think he is doing something wrong…. but either way, im not asking for much right now….

But what I figured is, right now I need to focus on our current happiness. With that, future happiness will come. Hows that??!!! ^________^

wundayatta's avatar

It’s not so much that men hate to plan, as it is that our plans are provisional, and we don’t want anyone to think of them as promises. I think men are perfectly capable of taking relationships seriously, but they can easily feel trapped. They don’t want to feel trapped. They need freedom, and if they can find that in a relationship, they’ll be happy, and they may even be around more than you want them to be.

Most people have insecurities to a greater or lesser degree. So no one should act like it’s unique to feel insecure. The issue is what can we do to feel safe.

When you are young, and have never been through anything before (an engagement, marriage, kids, jobs, whatever), it’s all scary. You feel like if you make a mistake, you’ve blown it for life. Well, that’s how I felt, anyway.

After a while, though, I learned I could survive a breakup, and being fired, and not knowing what the hell I was doing. You’re in your twenties. You’re not in your late 30s when women hear that biological clock ticking so loudly. You have time. You can wait and see how he behaves. You don’t need to get an answer now. Later on, you may not even need one. You’ll know, even if he doesn’t say it.

This is the other thing I’ve found. Women seem not to trust what they know. You have instincts and intuitions. Whatever they say, it’s probably true. If you are feeling like he’s antsy and going to move on, then it will probably happen. He won’t tell you because he doesn’t want to hurt you. Same way you’d handle it if the positions were reversed. We all hate hurting people, but when someone is leaving, the tracks are all over the place. The distancing. The reduction of affection. The angry moments. If that is not happening, and you feel good about him and you believe he feels good about you; that’s about as solid a promise as you can get out of a guy.

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