Boyfriend not ready to be engaged – and doesn't want a timeline

posted 1 month ago in Engagement
Post # 2
336 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2019 - City, State

katherinegunderson :  yes, it is completely normal for a man to want some financial stability before he proposes. 
I would trust that he completely means what he says, and not pressure him, unless you just want to move on and find someone else to get to know who will move more quickly. 

If you have a really good, solid relationship, I would maybe compromise with a promise ring or something, and a special celebration to commemorate having a future vision in place. 

best of luck, bee <3 

Post # 3
796 posts
Busy bee

Hmm well signing that document doesn’t make him less “stable”. Perhaps more so. Is that a fear?

If so get engaged now and have a long engagement. If he’s not comfortable  with that, he’s not comfortable  with marriage. Imho

Post # 4
122 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

Your boyfriend sounds IDENTICAL to my husband. Man we went round and round struggling with this, but he always knew I wanted to be engaged about a year after we moved in. 6 months after we moved in his hours were cut, he had to find a new job, everything hit the fan. I really struggled but I tried to just reaffirm to him that I understood circumstances had changed and it might delay our timeline a bit. I tried to just take the pressure off that it was okay, I understood the situation. Surprise came to me! He proposed just short of the 1 year living together mark. Taking the pressure off and reassuring him that I understood not everything in life falls perfectly as planned, but he still understood my desire not to have a long term engagement or living together without engagement, and it all came together. 


Your guy may just need need some reassurance that he doesn’t have to perform on a timeline and that you understand both ways. Some guys just don’t handle pressure well. The reality of your prior conversation may have just startled him

Post # 5
618 posts
Busy bee

His goals are relatively concrete ones. He wants to graduate and get established in his career. That’s reasonable. 

I would talk with him to re-establish a new timeline. There is a compromise here. For instance, you could agree that once he gets a job out of school, he will propose within 6 months. That takes some of the pressure off of him to propose before he has income. 

Even if the two of you don’t get married until you’re 30, as long as he’s open to communicating with you and keeping you apprised on his thoughts, feelings, etc., I’d say you’re doing well. 

You know him and we don’t. If he’s the type of man to keep his word, then I think you can take him at it for right now. You’ll have to re-evaluate after he graduates to be sure. 

Post # 6
2345 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

katherinegunderson :  there is no reason *if* he is 100% sure that you’re “the one”, that you guys can’t be engaged *now*.  You’re devoting your entire 20s to this relationship and he is unwilling to commit to even engagement. Yeah no.  He may have his concerns but so do you and your concerns about the lack of engagement are no less valid than his. Talk is cheap. 6 years,  heading late 20s, time for an actual commitment, even if the marriage is planned for a few years later.  

Post # 7
98 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

I think this is totally different that what most of the bee’s who haven’t been proposed to say on this site. He has a plan, goals, is being honest and clear with you about what he wants and what is important to you. He isn’t being flighty or not giving you concrete reasons for why he hasn’t proposed yet. I think you’re in a great situation. I’m of the mindset that if you’re going to be together forever there is no rush. But if you want a long term engagement just be honest and tell him that is what you want and I’m sure he’ll oblige. From what you’ve said he seems like he is on the same page as you and on top of that, seems like what he is doing is to make sure he can support and be the best husband he can. 

Post # 8
2545 posts
Sugar bee

mrstodd2bee :  It’s amazing how these guys can dance around marriage, isn’t it? You’d swear they had training at the Joffrey Ballet school.

OP I’m not getting a warm and fuzzy feeling here. It’s more like I see you hearing up to waste your 20s on a guy who can’t even commit to getting engaged in the future.

Post # 9
2826 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

I think he’s being quite reasonable. He likely sees engagement as being ready to get married, not a placeholder for in the meantime. In his current situation, he doesn’t feel ready to step into marriage because he wants to have a solid foundation in place first. 

If you have no other doubts about his commitment, I think you need to trust him and trust that he isn’t going to leave you hanging arbitrarily.

Post # 10
54 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2020

I think what he’s asking for is completely reasonable and smart. I wouldn’t want to get engaged or married if I wasn’t even in my career field yet. I know you feel ready to “start life” and get things going but you’ve had THREE YEARS to settle into your career and routine. He hasn’t even started his. Idk how difficult your schooling was but I know if I was in my last year and my boyfriend started getting onto me about having a wedding, house, kids I would feel totally overwhelmed and unsupported. 

Try to take a step back and realize that an engagement isn’t even in his top 3 goals yet, rightfully so. He needs to finish school, find a job, get you guys moved in together and settle into all that newness. It sounds like he really IS on the same page as you as far as wanting all the things you want and wanting them specifically with YOU. if you trust that and trust he’s being honest with you then let him have this time to adjust and “catch up”. You want him to be able to enjoy all of these things WITH you, not be dragging him by the ear when he’s worried about 100 other things. 

And to people saying there’s nothing stopping you guys from getting engaged now, I think that’s ridiculous. A lot of people don’t feel like you get engaged until you are ready to plan a wedding- that’s what an engagement is. And even with that he has the pressure of buying a ring and figuring out how to propose- MAKING him propose to you tor guilting him into it totally defeats the purpose of him proposing to you. 

Take a deep breath. Let him settle in. If this is the man for you another year or two before wedding planning is nothing. 

Post # 11
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: January 2029

sunburn :  Agree for sure!  If he really loved you, he would want marriage.  I’ve read financial stability is commonly used an excuse not to get enagaged/married.  Once he gets financially stable (super vague goal anyways), he will most likely come up w/another reason why he cannot get engaged/married.  Weddings don’t have to elaborate.  I would be very cautious as he may never propose. 

Post # 12
411 posts
Helper bee

I’m on the fence about this one.

He wants a stable job before proposing. He’s still in school so he has a ways to go before he starts making any money. Different people have different opinions on how they feel about that. 

He doesn’t seem to be stalling in any kind of obvious way like we see with many other posts; however, you are in your late 20’s with 6 years in and zero guarantee that he will marry you due to the fact that he can’t even commit to a timeline of a year from now. This is the part that bothers me.

I get why he personally wants to wait; however, you may become resentful of waiting around for him indefinitely.

Waiting when you don’t even have an end in sight can feel a lot like being in limbo-an emotional hell. After all, the original timeline you both agreed to for when he graduates next year was already longer than you had wanted to wait. This isn’t just a matter of a few months- you would be waiting another 2+ years! That’s a longggg time to wait for a woman nearing 30. 

It all comes down to whether you are truly willing to wait that long. You guys might not be compatible timing-wise. If I were you, I would be very unhappy waiting another two years and I don’t think I could stick around. Unfortunately, timing is everything. 

If he isn’t willing to compromise with you on anything (propose now with a placeholder ring and plan a wedding when he graduates and gets a job; commit to the original timeline of next April and wedding plan later, etc), you will have to make a choice

Post # 13
1778 posts
Buzzing bee

katherinegunderson :  honestly, no one told him to drop out of school in the first place and get his life off track for however long…you supported him through that and I feel like he owes it to you to at least be able to commit to “we will be married (not engaged, MARRIED) by x season of x year” but it’s like he’s moving the goalposts almost…financial stability looks different to everyone you ask so who’s to say that even landing his first FT job will suit his need for financial stability? And then you’ll be pushing 28 and feeling like the sunk cost of wasting most of your 20s on him is too much to just throw the relationship away, he might still be dragging his feet, and you’ll still have your entire life on hold for…what, exactly? 


TL;DR: you supported him through a (completely self-inflicted) pivotal point in his life, and you deserve at least a promise to make a promise. No one told him to COMPLETELY derail his whole ass life by quitting school for any period of time…you shouldn’t have to *still* be putting your life on hold for that decision that HE unilaterally made for HIMSELF. It’s not an excuse, so take that completely out of the equation.

Post # 14
121 posts
Blushing bee

I understand that he wants to be financially stable, but I don’t see why that’s a reason to hold back from committing to you. After all, he was happy for you to commit and support him through his unstable periods. It’s normal and important to want a career and enough money before having children, but marriage is a partnership, and it sounds like you are perfectly independent yourself so it’s not like he would have to financially support you any time soon.

The point is, you’ve shown a lot of commitment to him in times which were not so favourable and done more than enough to prove that you will support him in any situation. There’s no need to rush, but don’t let him keep extending the timeline indefinitely just because he doesn’t have a good enough job or enough money. Ask him to stick to his promise of getting engaged after he graduates, it’s really not unreasonable.

Post # 15
758 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I’m torn.  I know a lot of people who  don’t want to get married until they’re settled into a career or more financially stable.   However,  life isn’t guaranteed and I always figured that marriage was about working through it together.  After all, he could get a fantastic paying job in his career and propose and then get laid off the very next day.  What if it takes him a while to find a job in his field or what if he never does and has to settle for something else?  Will he put off marriage indefinitely? 

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