I don't know where to start and I don't want to overload you with details so I'll try to keep it brief. If this isn't allowed here, sorry!
I've been with my boyfriend for about three years now. It's weird, because I met him as a pickme and he was just clearly unimpressed by it. He didn't try to see me again after our first date and I just knew deep in my bones that it's because he was too much of a HVM to even take advantage of my LVW status. It was a reality check to meet someone I really, really wanted but couldn't have because I didn't have enough going on in my own life. So I leveled up -- went back to school, basically packed my life with stuff I liked and wanted, dated other people, just became really happy, and when we bumped into each other again a year later, he was way more enthusiastic about me.
Pretty much immediately after we kissed, when our time together could no longer be ambiguous "friends who met on tinder last year" and was officially characterized by mutual interest, he disclosed to me that he identified as polyamorous and was seeing someone else. Ouch! But I pushed on, because I was dumb. Years later it turns out that he wasn't really seeing someone else, he had been dumped with some flowery "we should continue our relationship on a different level of intimacy" language and didn't realize that he'd been dumped.
I think it's important to emphasize that even though he identified as polyamorous, he never actually saw/dated/slept with anyone else while we were together because I was clearly uncomfortable with it and my comfort was important to him. He openly identified me as his girlfriend, was open about me on social media, displayed truly no red flags aside from the polyamory.
I moved in shortly after we started dating. I didn't pay rent or contribute financially in any way, mainly because I wasn't working much and was mostly just in school. The way the timing/locations/finances worked out (a totaled car, living with my parents 3 hours each way from my school and work by bus), it would've been insane for me to reject his offer of staying with him for free.
Over this past summer (May-August 2019) I actually started seeing someone else and it really fucked with him, he freaked out, he tried so hard to be supportive but was also very uneasy with it. He tried to date other people along with me but just couldn't do it because he got stressed about whether other women would be unkind to me and because he already felt like he didn't get to spend enough time with me. When that relationship ended (because the other guy sucked), my boyfriend wanted exclusivity. I said "sure!" and I felt great about it because it was a commitment I felt we were both making from an informed place.
Now, I'm like.... I wanna get married lol. He doesn't want to get married, at all, ever. I didn't think it was a big deal when we started dating because I was so surprised that he was interested in me that I didn't vet carefully. He reconsidered his "I will never get married" stance and softened to "I could get married eventually" when I told him that it is important to me.
We had an honest discussion about marriage about 9 months ago where he said that he feels that marriage is a "in seven years" thing for him when I feel like it's a "next two or three years" thing for me. We couldn't reach an agreement so we agreed to revisit the conversation one year out. There is nothing in the relationship to make it seem that he thinks I'm temporary or anything. For Christmas, he bought basically every expensive household thing I've mentioned this year (I mean every expensive thing I've mentioned... I DID NOT MEAN FOR HIM TO RUN OUT AND BUY ALL OF IT!!). I overheard him explaining to his mom that it was an investment in our future. I hear that. I appreciate that. But I want the damn ring too, and he immediately shuts down whenever it comes up.
I honestly don't think he's trying to pull the wool over my eyes when he says he might be down to get married someday, but not now. When I told him that I DO want to get married, he spent about one day being cranky and then ran out and scheduled coffee dates with every married person he knows and respects to pick their brain about it. He came back saying "okay, I am no longer fundamentally opposed to getting married."
Part of me is like "he clearly loves you, he wants you to be happy, he's working through things at his own pace, just give him some time" and the other part of me is like "stop pretending you're different, he's stringing you along and he's going to dump you your late 30s and marry a teenager 6 months later."
I'm just tired of feeling nervous. I don't want to bring it up because I don't want to appear desperate or alienate him further. I don't want to push it. I don't want to just abandon this relationship because it started off wrong (but if I do leave clearly it will be different next time).
I have read FDS religiously and also read some of the recommended texts (Getting to I Do, Why Men Love Bitches) and it has transformed our already super satisfying relationship. Without me mentioning it or doing anything different except being more feminine and self-preserving, we've stopped splitting every check and he's started taking me out on NICE dates, spending money on me without reciprocation, every sweet thing. But I think that he's still just not sold on marriage. I hope! Oh, I hope he's changed his mind and that it'll be a totally different conversation when we revisit it in April. But in the same way that I know in my heart that he really is trying to invest in me, I also know that he won't back down from his insistence on a 2026 wedding date.
I don't know if I should wait. I am sad. I clearly need a reality check on like 7 different levels. I would be financially fucking myself over if I left my boyfriend over this right now (maybe next year) but also... I like him. I don't feel strongly about getting married because I want "marriage," I feel strongly about getting married because I want to be with him! So I feel stuck and sad. I'm trying not to beat myself up too much over having Done Things Wrong but there's clearly something I did or didn't do that has me in this tense, sad place now.
Whatever words this sub does or doesn't have for me are appreciated and graciously accepted. Thanks for reading my dumb story.