I waited 18 years before I got a proposal, and had reached a place of complacency, where I decided if I loved him, a ring would be nice, but overall was not a reason to leave. This was very hard about 2008-2012, as EVERYONE we knew save about 3 confirmed bachelors got married, even FI’s little brother. I frankly had a minor mid life crisis, as lots of other bad things seemed to be happening, and realized I had to come to terms with how much marraige mattered, versus how much being together mattered.
We started together very young, 18 and 19, first year of college in spring 1996, and he was a slow starter. He stood with me when I got disowned by my literally psuchotic abusive dad and dad’s family in 1997, and his family semi-adopted me after that.
I got fed up with school and graduated and started working, he got fed up with school, and dropped out, and had a hard time finding work in our little town while we shared the one car and I had that all day at my work (he insisted). He found part time jobs and walked, but finally got tired of how it made him feel for me to be the breadwinner in the eyes of his family and our friends.
He finally got on the ball after a while (about the same time I kinda gave up hopes and dreams of marraige, resigned to living forever with my asshole dad’s last name), and went back to college on his own dime instead of getting new loans (which was very financially taxing on us, but made him more inclined to finish). He had found full time work by this time, too, so he completed school while working full time.
At a really rough point for both of us, I’d gotten laid off due to cuts in grant funding in 2013, and his new boss was ramping up a hostile work environment because he had the audacity to know things she didn’t bother to learn, he told me he was ring shopping, but had wanted to finish school before even comtemplating marraige, and to feel like a grown up working and supporting himself/helping us as a household. I totally broke down crying, and was finally able to explain how much it had hurt to feel good enouh to have around but not good enough to be a wife. It horrfied him how much it had hurt me, how worthless it made me feel. He told me he knows he wants me as his wife, but he wanted to ask “right”, with a ring. That conversation gave me the biggest feeling of peace – I can’t explain it. I beleived him, and was willing to wait even a decade more before wondering if he was going to follow through.
May 2014, in th midst of even more abuse heaped on him by his boss, we were taking daily walks to help him work out his stress. I work, now, on research proposals, and he pulled me into a spot where we’d often stop for a break. I called it butterfly cove, because it had a poster of local butterflies, and plants to attract them. He surprised me by pulling soemthugn out of his backpack, getting on one knee and said, I know you’ve been working hard on proposals, can you take one more (he knew it was corny, but it was perfect.). I was not expecting it at all.
He was ring shopping for over 2 years, not wanting to order one off the internet, but our small town did not have what he wanted to get me, and what I overall wanted – a aquamarine ring. So he finally went to Gemvara, and I’d thoght the box that arrived was DVDs.
All I can say is that only you can judge what time is the time to go. Deadlines spur some people on, and I certainly would never tall anyone to wait 20 years if they just couldn’t. And I definitely know how hard it is when you ahve family and friends, both asking you about it, and also moving towards engagement, marraige, and children themselves. After it became evident we could not afford to get married in just one year, we set a date this May to get married on the day he proposed next May 2016.
I don’t think it’s about not loving you. I just think there’s a lot of build up and epxectation from the world for a man to deliver the eprfect ring, the perfect proposal, and he doesn’t want to do it wrong, before he feels he’s ready. It’s about him being ready, too. One reason I never pushed, other than to let him know I was sad (often just after a friend’s wedding – we had about 15 couples get married in just a few years) about not being married, was that it was suprememly important to me to know it’s waht he wanted. Not just him going throgh motions to do something just to make me happy, but didn’t feel like doing. That just leads to resentment, and resenment is the bane of relationships. You can deal with hurt, you can deal with anger, but resenting someone smolders and festers.
I hope you find a place you can be happy, whether you stay or go, proposal or no.