It’s been about 2 years since I got engaged (and about a year since I married). I was “waiting” for well over a year. It still occasionally bothers me, to be honest – while I know better, I still tend to see it as a reflection of me. I.e., “There must have been something about ME that made him take so long to propose,” or even the ultra-unhelpful, “Hell, even his sister obviously cheated on her boyfriend, he proposed in less than 3 years anyway in a big, elaborate show, and now they are both evidently very happy together!”
I feel you on the embarrassment front. It would piss me off because his family would occasionally direct marriage comments at ME, along the lines of, “When are you two ever going to get married?” or “You can date for too long, you know.” I’d awkwardly smile and quickly shift the subject. I remember my dad being furious and not even using his name – insisting to me he couldn’t and wouldn’t love my husband – “Unless he ever makes a move.”
My parents saw it as rejection of their daughter and thought that I was hurt. Truthfully, I was – although I thought I hid it better than that.
What’s now really embarrassing about this whole plight was when I recently discovered – about 2 years later – that my mother-in-law wrote a lengthy note to my husband and gave it to him in secret. In addition to highlighting everything she apparently liked about me, she urged him to propose and mentioned all of the benefits of getting married. I believe one of the lines was, “If you don’t make a move, you may find that you won’t get to enjoy any of those things.”
While it was heartfelt and kind, it was also overstepping and humiliating. Part of me now feels my in-laws are sitting over there, thinking they finally convinced their son/grandson/etc. to propose to me out of fear of losing me. My husband claims it was after we had already seriously discussed getting engaged.
I’ll be honest with you: when we moved in together, we discussed our limits and agreed that a year was our upper limit for getting engaged. He actually ended up proposing a few months AFTER that limit (I should have stuck to my guns – don’t follow my example here). By that point, I was quite fed up.
And OP, the proposal was crappy. At the time, that only added to the anger and pain that I felt.
I broadened my job search area and told him: if we are not engaged or married at the time, and a great job opens up, I will take it, I will move, and our relationship will be over. I didn’t want it to come as a shock to him. He was hurt by it, but we’d been dating for several years by that point already. You have to look out for yourself sometimes – you have to BE independent to a degree. I didn’t want to effectively give up my life, limit myself because we’re together…and in the end we not only don’t get married, but he also breaks up with me.
Now I’ve sacrificed years of my life without getting a single thing that I wanted out of the deal – and he ends up with everything.
But I can say this: It does fade with time. More things are happening in our relationship and our lives and it’s slowly erasing the bad. I will probably always feel a little slighted that he took so long, or that he treated the proposal so casually. But you know – thank God no one in his family, or really mine, ever asked about the details of it. They were just so happy that we were engaged that everything else was unimportant, and that did relieve some of the pressure.
We had a GREAT wedding – thanks to yours truly ^_~, of course. I’ll never forget him turning to me during the reception and saying, “This is really great, and this is all of your hard work.” It’s true. And in that moment, some of the anger I felt over the proposal and the like dissipated – it’s just not him. It never has been. It’s not a reflection of me or my worthiness. It could’ve been any girl in the world he proposed to, and the proposal and time limit likely would have been similar.
But have a time limit in mind. For me, I had quietly decided that I was walking the day after our anniversary last year. That gave me some peace and a sense of control. I loved myself MORE – something that you will always need to do if you hope to be the best partner that you can be. It’s difficult to love a martyr.