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
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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.