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Dear readers and forum members:

Thank you so much for the Ask April Relationship Advice Forum. What a warm and welcoming community!

Due to the demands of launching my new company, AIFI (American Initiative for Film Industry Research Institute & Development Council), I'm so sorry to say that I must suspend forum activity.

I wish you all the very best, always.

April
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[RUSH!]

#1
My boyfriend and i started at work as friends but started dating after I left my ex. He's chivalrous, very attractive, has the same beliefs as I do and we have great chemistry.

I am his 22nd girlfriend. He's been cheated on twice. He had one serious relationship in which the girl left because she couldn't get over a miscarriage. Even though he dated after, he was in a deep depression for three years.

We both have said that we feel connected to each other on a deeper level. He said that I was his light out of that dark tunnel he was in for 3 years.

He says he wants a relationship like his parents do. They were high school sweethearts and are still happily together at ages 67 and 65. He says he also wants children.

This is my concern. He had said at 7 months into our relationship that he doesn't understand why people can't just be in a committed relationship without being married. He said marriage would make him feel trapped. He believes most people are in unhappy marriages. I have said I want a family and want to get married for that reason. I decided to wait until were together for a year before I discuss that further.

I do my best to give him space. But he cancelled on me twice this week to be with his best friend (Alex) instead. Last night he was supposed to come over at 3. He got to my place at 5:30. His excuse was that he fell asleep. I told him that him cancelling on me and coming late makes me feel unimportant. But I still want him to do things without me. He agreed but said he didn't think it would be a big deal. He also said that for the past month and half he's had this itch that he shouldn't be in a relationship but he doesn't know why. He said "we're happy. I love you. And it's not you. i don't know why I feel this way. It's not all the time. You're the only girl who's ever treated me this good." He said I don't want to lose you.

I'm so confused. I don't know what to do. Everything is great except for the commitment fears.

Re: [RUSH!]

#2
I don't think you're confused as much as you're simply disappointed. :oops: He's trying to tell you that he has doubts about marriage and about being a relationship at all right now. I wouldn't say he's being crystal clear, but he's trying to tell you how he feels and what he wants, without hurting your feelings. That's difficult, given that you want marriage and he doesn't, so he's confusing you to avoid hurting you, but I think you get the underlying problem here. That this is coming after the two of you have dated for 8 months means he's looking to wind down the relationship. His passive aggressive behavior of canceling on you is not isolated behavior. It's him doing the best he can to disengage without confrontation.

The bottom line is that you want a relationship that leads to marriage, and he doesn't. This makes the two of you incompatible. :( I know this hurts your feelings, but it's best to face these facts at 8 months in, rather than 2 years and 8 months in. For future.... when a guy says you're the light out of his 3 year depression, while that's flattering, it indicates that you're serving a purpose in his life, that may not be what you want it to be. He needed to move on from this depression, and being with you helped him, but he wasn't a guy who was happy and healthy and ready for marriage. He has a lot of great qualities, but because you want marriage, you need to hone in on this same relationship goal in those you're dating.

My advice is to let go and move on. Tell him that you care about him, but you're really looking for a commitment that leads to marriage, and it seems that he's not. I think you're avoiding this conversation because the outcome could lead to a breakup, and you don't want that. Nobody does -- but it's better to break up and move on to try and find what you want, then to stay with someone who doesn't want marriage when you do, hoping, anxiously, that he'll change.
April Masini is a relationship and etiquette expert, author of 4 books and the #1 relationship advice forum, blue-chip corporate spokesperson and preferred go-to source for the world’s most prominent media and news outlets.