Post # 1
Hi everyone, I’m a new bee around here. I just turned 40 and have been with my boyfriend for 2 years as of Labor Day. Our first year was VERY tumultuous for a number of reasons, the biggest ones being my dealing with depression and trust issues due to prior relationship abuse. That has resolved, believe it or not, and we are going strong now. He is one of those guys who states that he “doesn’t require marriage to be in a healthy, long-lasting relationship” but also knows that, in order to keep me, he will have to marry me. I don’t want kids (good thing because it’s getting rather late for that, anyway) and neither does he. We have already agreed that we don’t want a big ceremony, but, rather, a small elopement. This really isn’t about the wedding; it’s about the marriage. I haven’t given him a firm ultimatum (been there, done that, never again), but I have told him that I don’t want to be a forever girlfriend. I’ve kept to myself that by the time we’ve hit 3 years, I would like to be engaged. If he isn’t sure enough about me after 3 years of dating, 2 years of living together, and 42 years of age (him) by that time, then it probably won’t happen. I’ve told him that I am willing to wait a while longer because of the difficulties we had in the beginning, and that I will only stay until I don’t want to stay anymore. That said, it’s frustrating. Just venting a bit…
Post # 2
Why are you keeping your timeline to yourself? That is just a set up for dissappointment. If you have a timeline, you need to tell him. It is not an ultimatium, it is a discussion about your life goals. You need to make sure he is on the same page. At this point you are telling him that you are fine waiting a little longer. But you don’t tell him how much longer. In his mind “a little longer” could be 5 years. Your “a little longer” is like 2 years. You’re both right, but because you haven’t discussed it you’ll only be disappointed in the end. Your a grown woman, have a grown up conversation with him. Discuss your future and go from there. Or just build up a bunch of resentment waiting because he can’t read your mind.
Post # 3
When two healthy adults are building a life together, relationship goals are an ongoing discussion.
Your bf does not have a secret decoder ring, nor does he own your future.
He has a right to know your drop dead date, Bee.
There is an anti ultimatum bias around here because most Bees don’t seem to get how they work. An ultimatum is not a *tactic* to make someone do something. It’s a way of taking care of yourself. It’s setting a clear, firm boundary and being fair enough to clue the other party in on it.
If you’re trying to use an ultimatum to *make* him move, then it’s just manipulation. You only issue an ultimatum if you are 100% committed to it.
Post # 4
grnjuicejones : I’ve kept to myself that by the time we’ve hit 3 years, I would like to be engaged.
So why keep that to yourself? Just tell him exactly how long you’re willing to wait and let him know you’ll be out if he doesn’t propose within that time frame. That’s clear, concise communication he can understand and he should let you know how much time he needs. This is the way adults should do things.
Communicating effectively keeps relationships on track and nobody’s time gets wasted.
Post # 5
I hate that you’ve resigned yourself to waiting without having had a direct conversation with your partner.
It doesn’t have to be a threat, just an expression of expectations. “Partner, I’d like to talk about our future. Do you recall our discussion about me not wanting to be a forever girlfriend? Have you thought any further about how we will move forward with our relationship?” Listen to his answer, but unless he gives you a set timeline (“by May of next year”), then gently tell him that because you respect yourself and want to be sure your needs are being met in a relationship, you would like to be engaged by your third anniversary. Ask him directly if that’s something he can commit to doing. If he says it is, THEN you wait. You wait a ton more comfortably than you’re doing right now.
Post # 6
What does this mean and why?
in order to keep me, he will have to marry me.
Do you love this guy so much that you want to marry him and be with him for the rest of your life? Or is marriage a signal to you that you’re loved – and it’s a sign of proof of his love? Or does it provide you with a sense of some kind of security.
I’m not getting from the tone of your email that this about you loving him so much that you want to get married sooner rather than later – I’m getting that you want to be married because you’ve been hanging with the guy for 3 years.
Post # 7
Thank you for the responses so far, everyone. Yes, we do have ongoing discussions about our future. Like I mentioned in my post, I have done the ultimatum thing before and I didn’t like the bad taste it left in both my mouth and that of my boyfriend at the time. Any way it’s sliced, it sounds like a threat to me. Even if I hold up my end of the threat, it’s still a threat, of sorts.
Just because I didn’t specifically put in my post that I love him immensely and want to spend life with him doesn’t mean that this isn’t the case. I love him with all of my heart and believe he is the one. He believes that of me, too, but he is much more nervous about the idea of marriage than I am. He says it’s because his parents have a strained marriage (another topic altogether). It’s not just about hanging out for 3 years. I have been proposed to 3 times in the past, by 3 different boyfriends, and opted out of those for various reasons. So yeah, this isn’t about just being married after dating for a few years because that ship would’ve sailed long ago if that were the case. Don’t make assumptions about things that aren’t there, please.
We had our last major discussion about this a month or so ago. Because of the difficulties we had for the first year of the relationship, I am willing to be somewhat flexible on the exact timeline (hence not giving him a firm “end” date). He sounded positive about it, told me that he does think about us getting married and even has wondered how to get my ring size (I guess asking me wasn’t something he thought of lol), etc. I told him I want to revisit this topic in a few months to see where we both are at. Back to waiting..
Post # 8
grnjuicejones : so essentially the first half of your relationship was tumultuous. And you’re already impatient with waiting? Geez.
On the other hand, you may be more mature and know what you want so maybe it’s not such an issue for you.
Regardless, I do agree with PPs that you’re doing yourself a major disservice by not communicating your feelings about this and not discussing a timeline. Telling him you won’t wait forever is extremely vague and slightly threatening, especially coming from someone who refuses to issue an ultimatum.
You don’t have to take my advice of course, but for all we know he could have no concept of what timeline you’re on as he’s not a mind reader and you could just be sitting here waiting for nothing. What a waste of time.
And by the time you’ve hit three years, if he doesn’t magically propose of his own will (when he doesn’t care about getting married like you do so it’s even less likely for him to be inspired of his own will), you’re already resentful from 12 months of waiting that he didn’t even know about.
Let’s not forget that he doesn’t place any importance on marriage like you do, so he’s not fussed about it like you are. Even more reason to get on the same page.
Why not just skip the waiting and talk to him?? You’re going to be so upset if you let a year pass and then he’s blindsided by your resentment when you never communicated what you needed from him.
Post # 9
Just saw your update. Why not just have the conversation now? He shouldn’t need a couple months to figure out what he wants. Sounds like he’s on board and you know what timeline you’re happy with so just talk to him today!
And tell him your ring size.
Tell him what you want, bee. It sounds like he’s receptive so this shouldn’t be a problem!
Post # 10
I agree that he probably doesn’t need those few months; I guess I just want to be true to my word and give it a rest for a bit before bringing it up again. My original timeline for us was about 2 years; he alluded to that not long ago and how that has come and gone. I had told him that I was fine with that because of the troubles we had at the beginning. Sounds to me like it’ll be time to give him the official due date for this next time I bring this up. It does sound positive in many ways, but he also tends to pull the whole, “Don’t pressure me” thing at times. I can see how it might seem impatient, but really, at our ages (40 and up) and our stage in life (careers are all established, money isn’t an issue, etc) I don’t think it needs to be dragged out for years, either. You and the PP’s are probably right in that I need to tell him what I want as far as a date goes, but I’m scared to put a firm timeline on it and have him know what that date is! I also think it’s kind of a shame that I feel the need to do that, but hey, not all men (or women) are as excited about marriage as others. Now I need to find out my ring size. these days…
Post # 11
grnjuicejones : you don’t have to make it sound like a due date, though, you know?
Maybe come at it more lightly and open-ended, like “hey I’ve been thinking about our past discussions about marriage and I feel like things are going well. I’m happy with how our relationship has progressed over the last year and I think I’d feel ready to get engaged in about a year’s time. What do you think?” And keep it light and positive.
He might counter with a different timeline and you can go from there. Or he might be fine with it.
If he tries to say you’re pressuring him, tell him you have an equal say in this relationship and it’s not pressuring to discuss your expectations for your mutual future. You can also ask him why he feels pressured to do something he claims to want to do.
Good luck bee!
Post # 12
l do agree with your saying it does not need to be dragged out. In fact, in your situation l don’t see why an engagement needs to be of any great length at all and certainly there would appear to be no need to have a period of time waiting before it happens ( other than the time it takes to agree on things and get a ring etc)
Given that you don’t want a big wedding, and are even happy to elope, it seems to me you would be best talking about a projected marriage date rather than having any more protracted formal periods pre marriage.
pp above’s last sentence re pressure is very pertinent
Post # 13
I talked to him! It wasn’t a long, drawn-out conversation or anything; I basically told him that I feel that 3 years together is plenty of time to know if marriage is or isn’t in the cards. I probably could have been a bit more direct about it, though, I’m sure. He handled it nicely and told me he has been thinking more about it lately. It kind of sounded to me like he may be planning something. Elderbee, I agree that the engagement timeline should, and probably will, be very short. I could see us deciding on a whim that it’s time to go to the courthouse for the license and then plan a romantic getaway for the two of us. That would be fine by me!
Post # 14
So all you got from him is that he’s thinking about it more lately? It’s wonderful y’all talked and hopefully it will happen soon, but I’d suggest getting a time,one which will be more fair to you
Post # 15
Basically, yes. I’m ok with it because I said my piece; to me that was even more important. He knows my timeline! I feel it’ll happen sooner vs later. Well, hoping, at least.