I don't see so many postings here from men, but here goes.
I've been dating my current girlfriend for six months now. Next month, we are going on our first vacation together - 3 weeks to Costa Rica.
The thing is, I'm starting to get worried she's thinking I'm going to propose.
We're both in our late 30s. Mostly settled financially. And, as you've seen often here, the pressure is on.
Last week was her birthday, and I joined her and her family for dinner, during which her dad proposed a toast to our future, then posed together for joint photos (which made me a bit uncomfortable).
She always brings up little things about the future like where she wants to live and if I'd be willing to move there. I agree, because in theory I would. I'm flexible like that. I'm the kind of guy who does everything for a girlfriend.
Plus location was an issue with her ex boyfriend, and so I can understand her worries (though it is a bit weird to me that she's waiting to get married to move to where she actually wants to be).
She also has inquired about my finances and how we'd afford kids (which maybe is also a mistake that I answer in detail about how much I make and how much I've saved).
And she's made "casual" mention of the type of ring she would want, but I guess some women like that talk, so fair enough.
I mean, I understand she sees all of this as "signs" that I'm moving in that direction with her, and so I'm maybe leading her on, because for now I'm fine with the status quo. On the other hand, I can't shut her down each time, because it is all part of the getting to know you phase.
So two questions:
1. How does a 38 year old man date "age appropriate women", without this happening? Women all seem to be reading the same advice column on making your intentions clear from the start/how to land a man. So is 6 months now the shit or get off the pot cutoff date?
2. I am not intending on proposing to her in Costa Rica. Should I address this before the vacation, and risk a fight/disappointment on her end? I feel like once the "pink elephant" is let out, and the marriage pressure's on, it's really not going to end so well, and I'm now buying time to see where it goes, plus don't want to throw away the money/trip, or disappoint her too much.
As for how I feel about her, I'm not sure if I love her or the idea of the relationship more. She's hot, but the sex isn't great or frequent. To be truly honest (as this is the internet and we're strangers), while she's not so successful herself, she's from a very wealthy and respected family, which has an appeal. Our chemistry isn't great, but there's lots of sweet interactions "honey" "sweetheart" and the like, which I like. There's plenty of conversation and lots of laughs, but still, I sometimes feel like we're on a first date, like there's a will for more, but we just don't quite gel. In other words, there's nothing great or terrible here. I'd be happy to keep going for a year, but I'm not sure it's possible with the pressure.
So maybe question 3:
Why are women so gung-ho to tie down with a man who's clearly ambivalent? How do a few signs have them losing the plot that soon? Is this level in our relationship really enough for her?
(sorry to have been so long winded, but a bloke doesn't get that many opportunities to vent).
I mean, I understand she sees all of this as "signs" that I'm moving in that direction with her, and so I'm maybe leading her on.
There's no maybe here. You are, without question, leading her on. It's sweet that you like to be the accommodating boyfriend but it's time to grow a pair and use your words. If you don't, you're going to find yourself at the other end of that aisle looking for the fire exit.
What you need to do is break-up with her. This conundrum you've created for yourself is not going to resolve itself. You're sticking it out in a relationship that doesn't make you all that happy because she's rich. Worse, you're painting this woman as wedding-obsessed as though you aren't 100% enabling and contributing to that narrative. My Dude, read your letter again. Never once did you say you loved this woman. That's all you need to know. This isn't an issue of how do you find women who aren't trying to rush men down the aisle. This is an issue of you not using your Big Boy Words.
You aren't "clearly ambivalent." Maybe your inside voice is, but your outside voice is very much saying you and she are on the same page. Stop trying to put this on her.
As for why she may be "gung-ho" about getting married, all you need to do is log on to Instagram or Facebook. Women are made to feel less than every where they turn. Their bodies, their age, married, not married, no kids. These are all things held against us at any given time. The pressure for women to get married can be extraordinary, especially in a family like hers. And it won't stop at marriage. Once that's accomplished, they'll be on her to have kids. If it's not her family pressuring her, it's her own desire to have children. Or it's that all her friends from college are getting engaged. Or it's a day that ends in "-y." Marriage is hammered into our heads as The Holy Grail.
Or maybe...she loves you. A lot. In which case, what you're doing isn't just selfish, it's cruel. It's not her fault that you don't want to give up three week vacations in Costa Rica paid for by her father or mother. (Because, let's be real: you're not paying for that.)
Her reasons for wanting to get married are irrelevant. They don't matter. What matters is: you don't. You need to decide how you're going to extricate yourself from this situation with as little damage possible.