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MID 40s MAN WILL NOT COMMIT
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR:  I've been dating a man for almost a year and a half. He's 43, never married, no children and I'm 31.

Here's a quick summary of our backgrounds. My boyfriend is a successful partner in his law firm, type A personality, good-looking man, comes from a great family, his parent's are still together and has a good head on his shoulders. Me: I'm easy to get along with, happy, loving and sweet, great job, parents still together, and a very attractive woman. I don't want to toot my own horn to sound like I have a big ego ... but I know I'm a great catch ... and I know my boyfriend is a wonderful catch, as well. My problem is - we aren't moving forward, and I feel like I am getting
looked down upon from him when I bring up marriage and/or having a family.

I see my boyfriend at the gym during the week, once during the work week for "date night", and then on Friday and Saturday nights when I stay with him. So really not that much compared to many other couples who've date as long as we have. He's never given me a key to his place, and when I make a comment about having a key, he tells me that he doesn't quite get why me having one is necessary.

Of course, I am pointing all the things that bother me, but there are indeed many great things about our relationship.

However, knowing that commitment conversations are pushed aside quite eloquently (hence being a lawyer), I am forced to wonder if I am wasting my time. Am I being led on by a man who will never want to marry? When I do bring the subject up, he tells me I pushing him and it's a real turn-off. I just don't know what to do! Is a year and a half plenty of time to give someone of his age to figure out whether or not he wants to marry me? His famous saying is "Can't we just have fun and see where this relationship goes".....UM NO! :)

If so, how do I leave in an appropriate matter explaining to him that I don't want to waste time with a man that can't make a decision? I certainly would appreciate your feedback, I truly just need to figure how to handle this situation and not spend time waiting for something that won't ever happen.

MIDLIFE BACHELOR ANSWER:  
Thanks for writing in. Here's a key question - does he want to have children? I've been divorced myself, and am fairly anti-marriage except in a few select circumstances.

The BEST REASON to get married is to have children/start a family ... so that might be the angle you approach this from. [I'm assuming that you DO want to have children ... since you are 31.] And since he's 43, he's got to start thinking about this fairly soon, I would think, right?

It sounds to me like he is a busy man ... and because he is an attorney, he is consumed by the downside of marriage (a possible divorce). So your best bet to getting him to the alter is to play the family card, and to see if he really wants a life-long partner ... someone to grow old with ... someone to hold hands with when you are age 75 ... someone to change his diaper at that age when he messes all over himself ;o) You get the idea, right?

I suggest maybe having a series of low pressure discussions with him on the above subjects, and see what he says. Don't mention marriage - leave that word out of the discussion ... make it more of a "what do you want in the long-term" type of discussion. Don't have this discussion when he comes home from work - we men just want to relax and not think when we get home. I'd suggest having this type of discussion on a Saturday or Sunday - when he is relaxed, and not in a hurry.

You may conclude that he has no plans to marry whatsoever - and in that case, you will have a decision to make. I think, however, it is important for you to have the discussion(s) I suggest above so that you can understand exactly what his goals are. Oh - and I wouldn't necessarily be overly fixated on the subject of him giving you a key to his place ... that is a minor issue compared to what you really want to know, right?

UPDATE: The woman who originally wrote in, and passed along an email thread between her and her boyfriend (see below). The conclusion I draw from this thread is that she pressures him quite a bit - and with this new information, I'd suggest that she ratchet down the full-court press for a number of months before having the long-term goal discussion that I suggest above.

Here's the email thread she passed me ...

HER - May I please have one of your keys back tonight?

HIM - ok, but I still don't see why you need a key. I don't know why you would be going to my place when I am not there. I just don't get why it is such a big deal that you have to have a key.

HER - Because it's easier ... I don't have to talk to the door person every time when walking through your condo building. I never stop by without telling you, unless I need to run by if I've forgot something at your place. I am so focking sick of you keeping me at arm lengths away ... it's always under your terms.

If I can't have a flipping key after dating you for well over a year, then that's a problem! I love you, I love us ... but you putting me in limbo all the time is hurtful and I feel like I am not going anywhere with you.

HIM - Because I have felt pushed from day one. I don't know why you can't just let things happen on their own terms and time instead of trying to push and force everything. THAT'S WHY! Just leave and go find your family man if I make you so miserable. You feel like you aren't going anywhere because you haven't checked your all mighty box yet. It makes me very angry that you have a goal in mind instead of just trying to be in a committed relationship. You get mad when I say that, and you deny it, but your actions are 100% consistent with that and it freaks me out for a variety of reasons - all of which I am sure you think are stupid.

HER - Let me give you multiple examples about letting things just happen ... it doesn't work that way! Example #1 - At work you have deadlines ... do things just happen if there isn't a catalyst? Example #2 - If you didn't practice at golf and I didn't practice at tennis, we wouldn't have very good results would we? Example #3 - I would still be in kindergarten (more than likely a specialized facility) at age 31 if I didn't learn my ABC's or colors. Same scenario with anything in life e.g., golf, friends/family. If effort isn't put into anything then nothing will progress!

To clarify, I'm box checking. It's the fact that when you and I talk about the future, you challenge me with all these things that make you seem like your not 100 percent committed to me. Usually when couples talk about this stuff, they talk about things they both want and are looking forward to experiencing with each other. These talks shouldn't be looked upon as bad.

Why can't I ask you about the future? I want a family someday ... if you don't want that too, please let me go. I don't want to date for another year and you decide that you don't want a family; I deserve to know your thoughts.

HIM - I am not going to be pressured, cornered, or forced into a life changing decision. If I, and my pace aren't good enough for you, leave. It's that simple.

I want to get married someday, hopefully to you. I don't know if I want kids. I think I am too old, but I can tell you I am sick and tired of this crap with you pushing and pressuring me. It is turning me away. If you want to corner me and make me make a decision on having a "family" this second, then the answer is no. You happy?

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