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Hi there,

I am in a 4.5 year long relationship with my boyfriend and am looking for some insight. For a while now (couple years) I have been feeling envious when other friends and acquaintances have been moving on in their relationships, IE: proposing, marriage, having babies etc. Thing is, me and my boyfriend have been the couple together the longest, as we and most of our friends are in their early-mid twenties. We don't show this off or take pride in it, we don't announce it or play it up. It is just the way it is and has been full of its share of issues as well, issues I believe to be normal growing pains and life experiences. We have been through deaths, family sickness, moving in together (and out, then back in hah) starting and finishing university, starting careers, major life changes and even taking a step back from the relationship to re-evaluate how we felt. In the end it caused us to become a stronger couple.

Now this sounds fine perhaps, but friends around us have been moving along 'faster' than we have. I don't mean in life experience but rather they are becoming engaged, often very quickly, having children etc. I am not in competition with anyone but this is causing me some frustration as people seem to 'validate' couples who are engaged or tied the knot, and others are not valid. Considering what me and my boyfriend have overcome together this is also hurtful, especially when friends "move on" without us. In addition, I have a feeling that most people don't seem to think we have overcome anything but rather have been dramatic. I discussed this with a close friend who claimed most people have not yet reached the turbulence many couples go through in relationships and this could be why these so called friends see us as troubled rather than experienced. I don't know if this is true or not, or if it simply means perhaps we are not as compatible as we think we are because people around us seem 'rosier' with their other half?

I hold marriage in high esteem as well as children. My parents have been married 30 years as of last week, and my boyfriend's parents dated a long time before getting married. Both our families waited a long time to have children, and it is important to me as well to be financially and emotionally stable. Sometimes I look at these young couples with babies and wonder who the heck is paying for it all!!! I want a baby VERY badly, no less than others out there who are not waiting and my maternal instincts are going overdrive.

In any case, I realize this is a problem with myself and NOT with others, and not even with my relationship. I want to know if it is normal to feel this way (anyone else out there in a similar situation?) and I am tired of friends 'moving along' and leaving us behind to join the under 25 and married-with-baby club. This is why I am seeking advice from strangers, rather than the few friends I have left who have stuck around. Thanks for any help given!
I think it is pretty normal to feel the way you do. Everyone always seems to want what others seem to have. But the thing is, even if they seem to be moving in, getting married, and starting families so quickly, do they really have it better? You never know what really goes on in a relationship.

What really matters is that you and your boyfriend are happy. So what if your not married yet and having kids. You want to be more secure financially and follow your plan. There is nothing wrong with that. Don't worry about what others say about you guys being "troubled" because really, what do they know? Chances are when/if you do get married it will stick because you have gotten to know eachother and you are waiting until you are ready to do everything and not "flying by the seat of your pants".

I know it's hard sometimes to see others moving on and doing things, but the important thing is to focus on what you do have instead of what you don't. Does that make sense? Focusing on the "negative" will make you negative. Be proud and happy with what you and your boyfriend have.
You have to follow your own plan and your own heart, not some idea that you get by seeing what other couples are doing.

My friends all got married in their early 20s and started having kids. I waited until I found the right person which wasn't until I was 30 and had a child at 32. All those friend that married so young are now divorced and single mothers.

Just like we learned when we were little, just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean that you have to do it too.
Why do you feel you are not moving on? I don't mean starting a family, but it seems that you yourself perceive that your relationship is not being "taken seriously". Where is that coming from? These days there are so many different types of relationships and families that it would be quite hard to be the odd ones out. I feel that you have this perception and you might want to look at why this is worrying you. Sera
You've already been given some great advice, so I won't repeat that. But I just wanted to say that you have every right to move through life at your own pace. If the time comes when you and your boyfriend are both ready to take this to the next "level", then it will happen.

Have the two of you had any indepth discussions about timeframe, etc.? It is up to you and your boyfriend to decide when and how. I too, have seen many friends who married and started families right out of college or even high school, who are now divorced and bitter or on their second or even third marriage.

What matters is the quality of your relationship. The rest is just about deciding how you want to proceed. Best of luck in the future. Between the 2 of you, you will make the right choices, in your own time.
Thanks for the advice everyone! Each one of you had something interesting to say.

In regards to my own perception that my relationship is not taken seriously, I think it stems from the idea of validation that I mentioned earlier. As in, if i don't have a ring on my finger or child on my hip people seem to not recognize the relationship me and my boyfriend share. I don't need recognition to validate my relationship, but it would be nice if when I bump into people I once knew fairly well they didn't start the conversation with "hey, are you still with... oh jeez I forgot his name, that last guy you were seeing for a few months?" (this coming from someone who was introduced to her fiance 7 months ago by me and my BF) :rolleyes:

I think it also wouldn't bother me so much if we weren't continuously losing friends. For real, I have so few to hang out with anymore because they are all moved away, or preoccupied with their married lives! I tried to get a group of us girls together last month and out of 16 of them, 10 failed to even RSVP, a couple couldn't make it and two actually told me that they have 'moved on now, have very little in common with me anymore'. Of course those with babies now hang out all the time together, I've asked to be a part of it but one friend (now in the past) only called me when she wanted a babysitter. And as far as my male friends are concerned, they have pretty much been forbidden to be seen talking with any of their female friends :nono:

I hope I'm not coming across as too negative, because I am actually quite happy in my life, just get sad when I think of these ladies and gents I have known for most of my life who can so easily move apart from me and my boyfriend. It makes me envious to see them excited and busy with their new lives, I wish I could be included somehow. I also don't like the superior and judgmental attitude I receive from peers my age, when in my heart I only truly wish them a happy marriage that defies the ever challenging odds. But I think you hit it right on the head happymom28 when you said " focus on what you do have instead of what you don't". Thanks everyone

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