Actually, i sat my FI down and told him that if he didn’t put a ring on my finger before he went to iraq for 15 MONTHS, then I was taking it as a sign that he didn’t want to marry me.
IMO why would i sit around and wait for a BOYFRIEND who was deployed to Iraq if I didn’t know we were going to get married when he got home? Had I mentioned that we’d been together about 3 years at this point? We’d even lived together for a few months. I didn’t want to be with a guy who was dragging his feet and dealing with his own uncertainties. I loved him, but I wasn’t going to wait around forever if he was going to just yank me along, either. He wanted to know why I wanted a ring so bad. We had talked about getting married and honestly, I wanted the committment from him that it was going to happen. It was sort of a "put up or shut up" thing. Don’t tell me you want to marry me, you love me, etc, then do absolutely zero about it. I got the impression he was "all talk". Frankly, I just wasn’t happy with the idea of him leaving for so long and NOT putting a ring on my finger. My biggest issue was, Why didn’t he want to? Aaah, the life of a military’s girlfriend. I never wanted to date a guy "just to date". I only dated guys I saw myself dating long term or eventually marrying, and if he didn’t see me that way, too, then quite frankly, there were other fish in the sea. It’s harsh, but i’m a very straight up kinda girl. I’m sure a lot of people will think i’m ridiculous, but that’s ok!
Honestly, if his answer had been, "well i’m just not sure about you yet" in regards to marrying me, I probably would have wished him luck and walked out the door. I was graduting from college soon, and my personal career choice and location of job depended on where "we" would be when he got back.
Well…turns out he wanted to wait and here’s why. He felt it was a tease to me to put a ring on my finger, then jet off to fight a war. What an awful thing to do, he said. He said he couldn’t afford anything but a tiny little diamond and wanted to get me a big, beautiful ring to "reward" me for being so patient and putting up with him in the military all these years. For sticking through it and only seeing him every 6-8 weeks for one short weekend while going to college for an intensive degree. Ultimately, I was taking his lack in urgency to propose (c’mon, it’d been 3 years!) as a lack in desire to marry me and I didnt’ want to waste my time. I didn’t want him to ask me unless he wanted to. But if he didn’t want to…well….
So we talked about it, and he said if i REALLY wanted to get engaged, now that I knew how he felt about it (that he did want to marry me, but honestly he did have valid reasons for waiting), he would put a ring on my finger. Since our 1 year anniversary, though, I’ve been wearing an "I love you" ring on my ring finger. It’s my birthstone (amethyst) with little diamonds on the side.
Once I knew his reason, I decided to respect that. I joked he better make it worth my while and he promised me to get me whatever I wanted when he got back. He’s a man of his word!
I think this is relatively common with women who date military guys. I have plenty of friends who date military men who would have walked away if they’d been with a guy for 3+ years and he hadn’t proposed yet. Military life involves a LOT of committment on the part of the woman. At some point it has to be reciprocated.