Libby advises on how to deal with marital pressure

Libby Hill

Libby Hill

Dear Libby,

I have been dating someone for a little over a year, in fact we just had our one year this month. I enjoy spending time with him, we have a lot in common, and he always seems to be there for me when I need help or feeling down. He told me that he loved me a few months in the relationship. I still haven’t told him yet, because I don’t know if I love him and I don’t know what that type of love is. I wonder if he is the one for me, or if we are just meant to be good friends for the rest of our life, always being there for each other and never losing touch.

One problem is though, is that I know that he wants to marry me, but I’m not ready for that yet. I want to go to grad school and have a career but it seems that he thinks that he can get me to marry before that. He also doesn’t understand why I don’t open up a lot to him, I have never been that type of person, and he should know that I will tell him things when I feel ready.

But back to my main problem, how do you know if you truly love someone like that, and are willing to stay with him the rest of your life? Is it also bad that I haven’t told him that I loved him? One more thing Libby, this is my first boyfriend ever–I just don’t know what to do anymore.–Wondering What If

Dear Wondering,

Wow. You said a mouthful. Or rather, wrote a handful. Or something. I’m struggling to find an appropriate place to start addressing your question(s).

First of all, I’m curious as to how much of this information you’ve shared with your boyfriend. I know that he’s aware of the fact that you’ve never said that you loved him, but how much else does he know? Does he know that you have a lot of things you want to accomplish before you’re ready to settle down? And more importantly, does he CARE? Sometimes people we care about have a tendency to hear what they want to hear. I say that because it concerns me when you say that “he thinks that he can get me to marry before that” because it seems to imply that he has a certain disregard for your future. Also, I’m not sure that coercing a person to get married before they’re ready is really a route he should take.

Additionally, it’s nice that he wants you to open up to him, but there’s no way to force someone to share their innermost thoughts. Some people just don’t feel comfortable discussing what they feel when they feel it. Your boyfriend should accept that and not give up on communication, but still not put undue pressure on you to share every little thing.

Now to address your main question. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to discern whether or not you’re in love. Though it seems to me, that if you have to ask how you know you’re in love … well, it doesn’t seem like a good sign. But like I said, there is no simple way to tell, though there are a few questions you should ask yourself. Do you want to spend the rest of your life with this person? Could you see yourself raising a family with this person? These are only a few things you should ask yourself. Though to be honest, if you look deep down inside yourself, you shouldn’t have to ask.

E-mail Libby Hill at [email protected].