(Closed) Breaking Point: Giving Myself an Ultimatum

posted 6 years ago in Waiting
Post # 17
39 posts
  • Wedding: June 2014

Graduate school can be really difficult on relationships.  Don’t watch the Five Year Engagement!  But do have that conversation, even if you have had it before, so he can know how much you value engagement. Spring will come soon I hope!


Post # 18
1768 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 1997

@ShoeGal89:  . I read your prior post, you have uprooted your life for him, you have discussed with him what you want.. argh, sorry hon. I think you’re wise to make this decision. Good luck.

@bitsybee:  +100

Post # 19
2297 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

i also moved for my now fiancé once – and 6 months in i calmly said, ‘we talk about marriage alot, what needs to happen in our lives before you think we’re ready?’

we had a great talk – answer was more savings (check), grad school (currently in it) and a little older – a year later he started the ring buying process and four months after that we were engaged. 

i would have a calm, non freakout talk with him. literally just, this is how i feel – where are you at?

Post # 20
2633 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@ShoeGal89:  Hugs girl!! I can imagine how frustrating it is. I think it’s great to have a deadline for yourself. In my own opionion (really take it with a grain of salt) it may be more fair to talk to him about how you are feeling, and also mention that you wont be able to take more for much longer, you don’t have to tell him your timeline cutoff date, but giving him a heads up that your frustration is mounting is fair also. 

Post # 21
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

@sailor_girl: +1. 

Definitely be prepared for him to want to graduate first. And then be prepared for him to settle into his job. And then be prepared to wait while things settle out financially. 

My SO started bringing up rings/engagement a LOT about a month before he finished grad school. I think before then, feeling like a student and earning grad-student salaries (i.e. barely anything) made him feel unprepared for engagement and marriage. Fair enough. And then he started his new job and got extremely busy, learning the ropes and trying to make a good first impression by starting early, working late, going to social gatherings with workmates etc. Again, fair enough! He was busy enough and had enough stress on his plate as it is. Now that he feels more like a real adult (it doesn’t hurt that most of his workmates are married professionals, with some starting families) and earning a great paycheck, he is bringing up engagement again. However, we are still transitioning from University to the work place, and that ended up being a huge financial burden. We drained our savings to pay for the move, had to borrow money from our parents to make ends meet when he had to push back his start date (and first paycheck!) when his immigration paperwork was delayed. We’re still trying to recover and get on stable ground financially, so it’s in our best interest to wait again. 

It all makes sense logically, but obviously I wish this wasn’t the case. Grad school definitely pushed back our engagement, as he’s mentioned that if he hadn’t gone to grad school we likely already would’ve been married at this point. That sucked to hear. But I love my SO and I try to remember the logic of why we’re waiting. We’re a team, and grad school was a huge investment in our team’s future–he’s made great contacts, has significantly higher earning potential and landed a job at an elite company all due to his grad degree. He’s set us and our future family up to be in a great position. 

I’m in a similar position to you–I’ll be moving to be with him, to a city I’m not thrilled about, without a proposal. We’ve been together 4.5 years. But every time I have a bad waiting day, I just go through all of my logical reminders about why we’re not engaged and that helps when I’m feeling like maybe it’s personal (“does he not love me enough? am I not good enough? is he still not sure after all this time together? etc etc”). 

If you feel like you need a deadline for yourself to feel more comfortable, then go for it. But just remember that guys loooove to have all their ducks in a row before moving forward in life. If he’s in grad school, that implies he is a very organized, logical and pragmatic person. Why should he start a new experiment if he’s not done with the one he’s still working on? Men tend to like to focus on one major task at a time. Engagement and weddings take up a lot of time, money, and energy, and in grad school all three of those resources are in short supply. He may not feel like a “real adult” yet since he’s still in school. Obviously people can and do get engaged during school, but I think most men would prefer to wait until things are more stable. Is he doing a PhD or master’s? Would you be able to wait until he’s graduated? Have you asked him about his feelings regarding engagement while he’s in school? I totally understand wanting to have the committment there; you’re feeling unhappy and unsettled in this new city, you feel like you sacrificed a lot for the relationship and he can’t even throw you a bone! I totally get it–an engagement would signify both a committment and also that you didn’t make those sacrifices in vain. So if you need to set an internal walk-date to feel like you have regained some control in this situation, then you should do it for your own sanity.

Also, I’m currently in the Mid West, so I totally sympathize with this winter. We had thunder snow yesterday…WTF?

Wishing you the best of luck! 

Post # 22
365 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@atacrossroads:  Exactly!

OP, that is exactly that! Why in the world should we be waiting and not make our expectations clear? I sure made them clear with my SO (now FI). I don’t care about a surprise… I don’t want a surprise! WE are BOTH in this, I don’t see at all why it should come as a surprise. Men are surprisingly dense, and your SO might not have realized you wanted a proposal after you moved in with him. Let him know, and don’t be afraid to ask for updates along the way if he needs time to think about it! This nonsense about the guy is supposed to be running the whole engagement process on HIS own terms drives me nuts! I’m an educated woman, I’m an adult, I’m going to discuss one of the most important decisions of my life with you, since it involves both of us, thank you very much!

Post # 24
1768 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 1997

Guess don’t see why graduate school and engagement/marriage are seen as mutually exclusive by some? If a couple are already living together, sharing bills, sharing their lives, there is no real reason to not get engaged or even married..

Engagement/marriage doesn’t require money-just a question, a commitment and a license.

Seems fairly obvious, it’s more about buying time.

@ShoeGal89:  OP, no you’re absolutely not giving him an ultimatum, you are simply taking care of yourself and setting limits as more women should do! Some of the stories you read here are really sad! best wishes.


Post # 25
2837 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@ShoeGal89:  First off, you do believe in ultimatums because you are giving yourself one.

Have you had any sort of conversation with him?  He’s in grad school- is it possible that even if he wanted to get engaged, he just doesn’t have the money for a ring right now?– Or a ring HE things is “appropriate”? 

Maybe he thinks you are totally cool with how things are right now– and even if he wants to marry you, he might think you’re cool with waiting while.  You need to be fair to him and at least have some sort of conversation with him.  At least you guys will be on the same page.

Post # 27
3223 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@ShoeGal89:  After reading your update I think your self imposed ultimatum is going to fail if you don’t have a conversation with him. Do you really think he’ll go from not ready to proposal in a few months? My Boyfriend or Best Friend (also a grad student so I feel your pain) has been ready for months but still hasn’t proposed because of finances/finding the perfect ring/planning a surprise so to get from not ready to ready to proposing seems like it will take a while. It’s only fair to both of you if you have a serious timeline talk. I know it seems scary, my Boyfriend or Best Friend is very traditional and didn’t want to talk about our engagement at all before it happened because he thought that the man should surprise the girl and all that old fashioned stuff. After I explained that I didn’t need to know details but I DID need to know that we were on the same page as far as when we were taking the next step because we are partners, we had some very good conversations. I advise you to do the same, ask him when he sees himself married and backtrack to engaged. See if you can live with his timeline and then make a choice.  

Post # 28
3967 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@ShoeGal89:  As a bee who moved north to be in the middle of nowhere with a grad student that doesn’t have to worry about money (he’s funded, with health insurance that costs him nothing) and he doesn’t have to worry about most real life things, I feel for you. PM if you ever want to talk. You definitely need to talk to him about your feelings. I didn’t give mine an ultimatum but I told him, you need to make a decision. Either we’re doing this or we’re not doing this. I am giving up a lot for you and unless this is headed towards a legal partnership, I’m not sure this is going to last.  And he told me he would propose within the year (which was a compromise between us, obviously I wanted it sooner), and he made it happen because he realized he would lose me otherwise. Me-matums are great, but you gotta have that communication with him first.

Post # 29
766 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@Zhabeego:  +1, I couldn’t agree more. 

Post # 30
3840 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2007 - City, State

Im so sorry you have had a bad day… I agree with others, Id have a serious talk with him. Let him know, you are willing to wait a bit longer, but not forever. I wouldnt give him the cutoff date, but I would say that you wont be willing to stay for another year like this. 

Post # 31
11520 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

@ShoeGal89:  I waited 8.5 years.  We were both in undergrad when we started dating.  I graduated 6 months later, him 18 months after me.  18 months after he graduated I went back for a second degree – 4 more years.  A little less than a year after I graduated the second time (and 9 months after HIS promised deadline) he proposed.

I never gave him (or me) and ultimatum.  I knew I wouldn’t walk so what was the point?  I love this man and we will get married eventually.  The thing that helped the most was one day I was complaining to my friend about waiting.  She asked if I had told him WHY i wanted to get married.  Not just that I love him and want to be with him, but why the wedding and the piece of paper were important.  That put things in perspective, and having a conversation about what we wanted helped a lot.

I found out that part of the reason we were waiting was because HE wanted a ‘real’ wedding, he didn’t want to run off and elope (which we had briefly discussed) he wanted to make sure we were both in a good place financially…once I understood his reasons I felt better.

The topic ‘Breaking Point: Giving Myself an Ultimatum’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors