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You Asked: His Pressure Is Going to Tear Us Apart

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have been together for five months now but we've know each other for two years. We are very much in love, and have talked about getting married one day. We are both still young, and while I have graduated college and have a stable, well-paying job, he does not. The topic of his career came up today and he asked me to choose a path for him. He says that it's not only him he is thinking of now, it's both of us, so it's only "proper" that I have a say in what he chooses as a career. He even asked me how much money I need him to make each year. Not only that, but he is already thinking about getting married as soon as we can afford it.

He is putting so much pressure on me, not only by asking me to choose a career for him, but also in planning our future so prematurely. I tell him to just take each day as it comes, and to focus on one thing at a time, but he insists that he needs to plan everything now in order to be ready in the future. I love him very much, and I am pretty sure that I would like to spend my life with him, but we have only been dating five months and I'm terrified that the pressure he is putting on us will drive us apart. How can I talk to him without hurting his feelings or our relationship?
— Feeling the Pressure Paulie

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear Feeling the Pressure Paulie,

I don't blame you for feeling an enormous amount of pressure by your boyfriend asking you for such advice. It would be one thing if he was asking your opinion about two career paths he was contemplating, but asking you to flat-out choose for him is a little inappropriate, especially with regards to his finances. One of the great things about becoming an adult is figuring out for yourself what it is you want to do with your life. If he only wants to work for a paycheck, there's no doubt in my mind that he'll inevitably be unhappy and unfulfilled.

It's always fun to talk about the future, but over talking it is proving to be too much. I'd be honest with him about the way you're feeling in this relationship — sure, he might feel a little stung, but being straight forward with him is the right move. Let him know that you'd be more than happy to be his sounding board and support system, but the career path he chooses needs to be his decision. Hopefully, once you let him know how much stress you're feeling, he'll be able to back off a bit so you can move forward with your relationship and do just as you suggested — take each day as it comes.


Join The Conversation
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
He probably just wants your input. I would be flattered by that. Just tell him you'd love to help and give him suggestions and do a little research but ultimately you'd like him to choose. Tell him that it doesn't matter what he makes as long as you're happy. It's a good thing that he's thinking about your future and wants your input. If he doesn't have a great career it's going to be a while before he has the money he wants before getting married. Don't worry about it so much.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
This doesn't sound promising at all. I wouldn't even laugh if this were a joke, he's a grown man and should take responsibility.
juicylove juicylove 9 years
my first thought when i heard this was.. its probably just so that in the future if something goes wrong, say he works long hours and isnt around enough, or if hes always stressed because of work, his arguement can be "well you picked this career for me" or like "you wanted me to make x amount of money and this is what it takes to get it." thats probably so far off but, just what came to mind.
mlen mlen 9 years
i see the posters point though in that 5 months into a relationship - its a bit soon to be quite as serious as planning his career path! if they had been together a couple years, maybe. i suggest what one person said in maybe setting an age where you won't get engaged til- like 25, 26 whatever it may be- so he has a plan but a very long term one. also, i'd just tell him that part of what you love so much about the relationship is the enjoying it one day at a time. that you don't want to focus so much on the future because you want to enjoy the present
tomatoshirt tomatoshirt 9 years
The problem is you are too young to want to commit... but trust me when you get to, i don't know around 18 or 30, this probably wouldn't be an issue at all... No to make you feel bad, but you are going to crush this guy (a.k.a. turn him to a jerk) if you dump him...
lindholmka lindholmka 9 years
Not meaning to sound bitchy or anything above! But personally I can't even find a decent BOYFRIEND none the less a man, with a future who wants to spend his life with me.... I definately wouldn't be complaining if I were you!
lindholmka lindholmka 9 years
You're "pretty sure" you want to spend the rest of your life with him?? Sounds like cold feet to me. I think it's nice that he's getting your input as to how you are going to live your life together. How would you feel if he picked a career that is going to move him across the country and he didn't even talk to you about it? I think you are over analyzing the situation. I doubt he wants you to PICK his career but yet he wants some input on how you are feeling about where the two of your are going in life. You should be happy that you have a nice man, with a future a head of him that wants to spend the rest of his life with YOU. Be great-full for what you have.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
isn't "goal-oriented" and "ambitious" characteristics you look for in a mate??? i do. i mean, i would want someone who wants to make something of themselves. the OP's bf's attitude wouldn't be a deal-breaker, because i don't think the deal would've even started. and then he puts it on YOU to map out his future???? WTF! he sounds like a little boy. and when i say little boy, i mean like 20 or something. since you have overlooked these things and now call yourself ready to marry him, you gotta be the grown up. tell his a*s that he needs to sit down and write out what his passions are. since he's a bit on the handy-tard side, you can then come up with career paths for him to take. likes to draw? be a graphics designer or architect. whatever. plus, if he picks something and goes to school for it, i recommend you two waiting until HE IS finished with college to get married. why do i say this? a) he goes to school, you would've graduated from grad school and would be working full time/overtime. guess what, you're paying for college/supporting him financially. not so bad when you love a guy, right? b) college gives you a lot of perspective on life. people go through changes. i hate for you to pay for his education, only for him to decide you aren't for him anymore. c) he starts school. you guys get married. he drops out of school. he gets some so-so job, or bums out completely. you bring the bacon home. you wind up taking care of a grown mutha-f*cka, who gets upset when you ask him to go get some job applications instead of playing X-Box for another full day.
runningesq runningesq 9 years
Wow, I'm in the minority :P I can't imagine telling an adult what they should do as a career. That's so odd to me
runningesq runningesq 9 years
Help a man choose his career... fine. TELL a man what he should do with his life ... not fine. HE - not you! - needs to do some serious soul searching. You two have only been together for five months -- that's not a lot of time. Personally, I need (and have ;)) a spouse that is driven and passionate about what he does ... like me.
Sydney-C Sydney-C 9 years
I agree with hotstuff and jaxon...and this is so opposite of my situation I can't even comment on my own!
jaxon jaxon 9 years
He's actually considering you in his future and you are complaing? I know WIVES who would kill for this. I dont see this as pressure he seems like he just really values your input. He understands that the decisions he makes now could impact THE BOTH OF YOU for the rest of your lives. I agree with hotstuff, it just seems you are not as into this as you thought. Not say ing you dont love him but you obviously are looking for more freedom less serious situation. Your waiving seems to be a sympton of a deeper issue. Yes, dating for 5 months is not long but like you said you've been friends for 2 years so you started off your relationship mile markers ahead then most. He has probably liked you that entire time. In his mind you guys have far progressed pass 5 months
Lele777 Lele777 9 years
Agreed hotstuff!
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
gooniette, I guess I'm so used to hearing women say things like 'thank God for me or he would have never went to police academy or been in this or that career'. I just don't see it as that big a deal. I don't think it's so uncommon that a woman would help her man plan a future.
gooniette gooniette 9 years
Hotstuff, I see your point, but I agree with sarah_bellum. He's looking for someone to make his decisions for him. I think the poster is looking for a partner to share decisions with, not someone she has to take care of and be responsible for. He's putting an awful lot on her shoulders. Where's his burden?
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
Well you say your so very much in love with him and pretty sure you want to spend the rest of your life with him but to me it sounds like your just giving lip service. It seems your not being totally honest with him about how you feel about being so in love and getting married whereas this guy sounds pretty serious about it. Yes its strange that he would ask you to make decisions for him but maybe he admires what you've been able to do with your life and he needs help with planning his. Some would see this as a deal breaker for them but I would think if you were really serious about spending the rest of your life with this man and really were as much in love as you claim then you wouldnt think twice to help him figure this out. I know of men who were lost in finding a real career and their girlfriends dads help them find a job or hooked them up with planning successful futures without batting an eye so I would question how genuine you are if this scares you so much.
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 9 years
He's using you as an excuse to cop out of being an adult. That along with the premature marriage thing makes me think he wants another mommy. You absolutely have to talk with him and be honest about what he's doing, it may hurt his feelings for a bit but if you guys are truly meant to be than he'll come around eventually. Proceed with caution, nevertheless. Guys who are this dependent on a woman usually have deeper problems.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
This is interesting. It's nice he's motivated and nice that he values your opinions. But for you to choose a career for him seems odd. Did he go to college? If so, didn't he major in something related to the field he wanted to go into? Sounds like he's a bit lost himself about what he wants in life right now. I don't think that's too uncommon, especially at the age you two are. Sometimes I think it would be easier just to have someone tell me what to do with my life so I wouldn't analyze everything so much :) But the reality is he needs to make these decisions without you. I'd tell him you love him and will support whatever decision he makes, jobwise. As for the marriage stuff, why don't you work that into his planning? Try saying something like, "Well I wouldn't consider getting engaged until I was 25 years old (or whatever) so let's table the planning until then." Then he'll at least have a timeframe and some parameters which it sounds like he needs. Good luck!
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