Dad has alzheimer's, but SO won't propose

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 2
2725 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

First off, I’m so sorry about your dad. I can only imagine how hard this must be.

But, TBH, I think you’re being unfair. You should get engaged because it’s what you both want, and what you’re both ready for. Not because of what is going on with your dad. Because the two have nothing to do with one another. I get that it’s a shitty situation, but I feel like forcing him into a proposal because of your family situation is going to breed resentment later, from BOTH of you. He is going to feel like he was forced, and you are going to wonder if he REALLY wanted to get engaged, or proposed because you forced it.

Getting engaged should be a happy time in your relationship, not the product of a fight or an ultimatum.

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  .
Post # 3
5207 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

clane826:  I’m sorry about your father. That being said, you can still get married without him there. Sure it’s preferable to be able to share that moment with him, but are you really willing to break off a relationship with the man you love because your dad is ill? What would your dad want? Probably not for you to be lonely, especially if he felt you did it on his behalf. 

Post # 4
430 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

I am extremely close to my dad who has suffered from prostate cancer.  I was with my boyfriend for 5 years at the time and felt the same way so I understand all the crazy things that go through your head about not having your dad there, however its unfair to your boyfriend.  A wedding is to join 2 people and everyone else shouldnt truly affect that.  If things go downhill with your dad you want someone who will support and love you through those hard times so I would reconsider what your telling your boyfriend.  Maybe he will realize the importance and take it upon himself to pop the question but your taking away a special moment for him by giving him an ultimatum. Do you really want him to propose out of pity anyway?  In any event I wish you the best. hugs

Post # 5
5968 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2017


clane826:  I’m sorry OP. I am with you though. I’m going to go against what most have said here and say that I would be so hurt that my SO was now saying he wasn’t ready. I could see if the relationship was new and no talk of marriage had happend. But to me, regardless of if your dad is ill or not, he is maknig excuses now when it comes to really committing to you. that’s not fair to you at all. He is creating a life with you (living together, getting a pet together etc) but yet doesn’t want marriage yet? makes no sense to me and I feel like you have every right to decide for yourself if you can tolerate that for much longer. I wouldn’t give an ultimatum though. He has already shown you what his feelings are and you need to just decide for yourself based on that. Don’t say “if by this time we aren’t engaged im leaving”. Instead, respect what he’s saying, make your own timeline in you rmind about how much you’re willing to deal with and if by your own walk date, you still don’t see things changing in anyway, leave. But don’t make it about him. It’s about you and what you feel is right and fair to you.


Post # 6
7141 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

I’m so sorry. I understand why you want to share your wedding with him now. but as PP have said, this isn’t the best reason to get married. It also sounds like your SO isn’t sure he wants to commit further right now. 

Post # 7
3099 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

clane826:  I’m sorry that you’re going through this wiht your dad. I know how hard it can be. And I totally get your frustration with your SO, because how terrible would it be if he waited until your dad was too sick to attend or was no longer there. I’m sure there would be a ton of resentment on your end. I know for me, personally, I’d be incredibly resentful of my FI if he knew he was going to propose but waited until after a sick family member died. My FI said that he intially planned on proposing this fall, but after my beloved grandmother was diagnosed with stage four cancer and given only months to live, he bumped up the proposal to this past Feb. so that she could partake in the celebration of the engagement, even though we all knew she wouldn’t be at the wedding. 

I think your SO is probably feeling a ton of pressure and even if it doesn’t seem like it, he’s probably just as aware of the clock ticking on your father’s health. Have you discussed that a proposal doesn’t have to mean a massive, lavish wedding months later? Would you be willing to do something smaller sooner? Or are you willing possibly accept a proposal but recognize your father may not be at the weding? Like I said, in my case, my FI proposed but we both knew this didn’t change anything about a wedding or what our original timeline was.

I think you need to take a deep breath. Get to a place of calm. Now, I’m a big advocate of talking to my FI when things are bothering me. There is literally nothing I couldn’t say to him or talk to him about. I think you need to have a conversation where you aren’t pressuring your SO and really figure out what’s best for your relationship.

Post # 8
117 posts
Blushing bee

It is a horrible situation for you and I am very sorry for you and your family. <br /><br />That being said, I think *and this is 100% only my two cents*…

Now is the time to make other memories with your father. Go on trips together, watch games together, go out to eat together, play cards, take a cooking class, book a spa day for him- whatever! If you’re feeling an anxious “expiration date” there is 1,000,001 things you can do with your father that has nothing to do with your relationship to your SO. 

Putting an ultimatum on your SO for this situation is unfair, in my opinion. He sounds like he’s always been very upfront in the fact he wants to wait- and until now you said you agreed. Everyone is allowed to change their mind- of course!- but not only changing your mind on something you both agreed on but then saying if your SO doesn’t also change his mind you’re going to leave is a bit silly and somewhat “cut off your nose to spite your face”.

Putting an ultimatum on him is not going to give you the magical wedding experience you desire- even if it does end up making your SO propose because the key word there is make. You’d never know if he did it because you threatened him or because he thought of it all on his own and felt ready. He may harbor resentment in you for not being fair and understanding his own reasons for wanting to wait- for saying his reasons aren’t as valid as yours. 

Also the end of the year is in ONE MONTH. Not only do I think the ultimatum overall is pretty selfish, you’re only giving him one month to decide? 

In the nicest way possible I think you need to seperate your fears from your relationship with your SO. It’s 100% valid to be afraid of losing your father. But there are things that you can do to somewhat allay the fear of not having these magical memories with him while he is still well- just go make them! Throw a wonderful Christmas/Hannuka/Holiday/New Year Eve party. Take him on the vacations you’ve always talked about but never have done. Or go back to places from your childhood that meant the most to you! There are things you can do with your father that wont force something inorganic and potentially toxic from your SO and your relationship.

Also assuming your SO caves and proposes… weddings are super stressful to plan (AND EXPENSIVE!). You may not get the ring you want in only one month with no saving or planning from your SO. Or if you would like a large proposal one month is not enough time to do that so something else would not come up to snuff. 

You may not have the emotional and logistical planning help you’d like from your family because they may be too busy doing things with and for your father. There may not be any money left over if you’re planning on financial assistance from your mother and father. This could breed a lot of hurt if you start to feel like no one is taking your big day seriously- even if they have valid reasons for being aloof or apart from the planning.

Also you may regret spending this time that you have planning and being stressed and being too busy to ultimately have ONE memory moment with your father where, instead, you could be saving the time and money for your future with your SO and to spend it on making MANY memories with your father now. 


Post # 9
4655 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I’m sorry you’re going through this. I know exactly what it is like, because I will wed without any of my family alive and most of FI’s family gone. I also had to deal with dementia with my grandfather and he passed away the day after we got engaged, before I could tell him. With that said, I think you’re being a little unfair. Your relationship has probably been tumultuos beause of the stress with your dad. If you FI can’t understand that I’m sorry. You need to tell him your fears but you shouldn’t have given him an ultimatum. You really don’t want him to propose when he’s not ready, because like a PP said, that will only lead to resentment and will also make you wonder why he did it. I really think you should seek counseling. 

Post # 10
2657 posts
Sugar bee

I’m with you to an extent.  I have dealt with family members suffering from dementia and severe memory loss, and words can’t express the stress it puts on everyone involved.  If you were to wait longer for a wedding, you risk his condition worsening by the time of the wedding, you risk him straining to remember family members at the reception and getting frustrated, you risk other family members having to focus on his needs rather than enjoying themselves.  To me, it seems rational to want a wedding sooner to avoid these things.  

But, your SO also needs to be on the same page with things, no matter what.  Don’t force him to do something which he doesn’t feel ready for; that’s not a good start to any marriage.  It’s fine to say “Hey it would be really meaningful to me if we could do a ceremony before things get worse with dad, and I hope that you consider it too” but it’s not reasonable to hold it over his head as an ultimatum.  There are also many memories you can create together outside of a wedding.  Casually ask your dad what he would like to do more of, whether it’s travel, spending more family time together, whatever.  The wedding is just one day.  There are many other days and memories to make and cherish while you still can.

Post # 11
817 posts
Busy bee

I agree with the other posters however, you mentioned that your boyfriend keeps pushing back the engagement for various reasons.  He may just not be ready to get married.  Did you ask him about it before setting an ultimatum on him?  Also, that’s an awfully short ultimatum.  If you’re going to do that give him at least six months to think it over and have time to save up for/buy a ring.

Post # 12
3512 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

clane826:  I think you need to separate the issues with your relationship and the fears about your dad. The bottom line is that your SO doesn’t want to marry you right now, giving him an ultimatum is only going to potentially force him into something that he doesn’t want to do. It would be different if he said he wanted to marry you but he needed x amount of time to save up for a ring/plan a proposal or whatever. But it sounds to me like he’s just not sure about you yet and whether he wants to marry you and he’s using those vague excuses as a stall tactic until he is ready to make a decision. I know for many women, building a life together, living together, having a pet, etc. equals intent to marry, but for many men it is not like that. You need to decided, outside of the stuff with your dad, if you are willing to wait (and how long) for him to make a decision. Outside of the stuff with your dad, were you happy waiting before? I don’t blame you if you weren’t, I don’t think that anyone should have to wait forever for someone who can’t make a decision, but putting up an ultimatum just because of your dad’s illness is not the way to force a decision. As PPs said, I think you should focus on spending time with you dad now. Make your decision about your relationship separately from your fears of your dad. 

Post # 13
652 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

clane826:  I’m very sorry to hear about your father.  I cant imagine.

BUT, I dont think it is a good idea to rush marriage and push your SO into proposing because of this.  He will ask you when he feels that the time is right and he is ready.  A marriage should be based on the two of you, not any other factors. 

Post # 14
721 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

I’m so sorry to hear about your father. I can’t imagine the emotional rollercoaster that you and your family are on right now.

Unfortunately this situation is difficult on so many levels for both parties. I think it’s going to be a struggle no matter what, and there is a possibility of resentment happening on both ends. Your SO could resent you for pushing him into something that he is not ready for. You could end up resenting him for waiting too long and then your father not being able to be fully aware at your wedding. I don’t know if there is a clear cut answer in this situation.


Post # 15
7654 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

I’m so sorry you’re going through this with your dad. I can’t imagine how hard this must be. That being said, I think this is an unfair situation to put your SO in and isn’t a reason to push him in to marriage. Right now you should be focusing your time on your dad…not focusing your time on when you’re going to get married and then planning a wedding when it happens. While I can understand your desire to have your dad there, you don’t know his expiration date, and to try to coordinate events so he is there you may inadventently make some improper choices along the way.

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