Post # 1
Thanks in advance for your advice.
I have been with my SO for 8 years, lived together for 4. I have been working a professional job for the last 3 years while my SO has been going to school. He finally got a job in May/June. For these last 3 years I have been supporting him financially (not totally, but more than enough). it has been hard on the both of us and even now that he is working I pay for more than my fair share of expenses etc. And, now that he is working in a new job with a high paced environment, I am helping out on the domestic front even more than my fair share in order to make the transition easier for him. Until he had gotten a job, I had put a proposal out of my mind (getting married while still in school was not for us – financially we would not be in the position to do so, and that never bothered me), but just after he got a job, it happened – the marriage bug bit me.
So about 1.5 months ago I told him that I wanted him to propose. We had always talked about being married in the future, so it wasn’t coming out of nowhere. He said he was on the same page. This may sound petty, but after being the breadwinner for 3 years, I feel entitled to a proposal ASAP – not 6 months to a year down the road. The problem is that he doesnt seem to be in any rush. I realise he is busy with his new job, but I know that he has not even thought about buying a ring or anything. I know he doesn’t have the money to go all out on a ring and I wouldnt expect him to, but he seems to think that a proposal is all about getting a ring and hasn’t thought of the fact that he can get one at a later date. I try to tell him this stuff but it goes in one ear and out the other.
I’m starting to wonder what his intentions are and am getting quite upset that he hasn’t made the effort to get this thing moving. I also realise that it takes men some time to get into the swing of things. But now I’m getting upset at all the little things and feel like all my efforts to help him in life are going unappreciated. I am particularly upset at the thought of being the live in girlfriend for much longer. I think what angers me the most about this is that I feel he isn’t showing his gratitude for me helping him for so many years and that I have had to tell him that I was waiting on a proposal to begin with. Perhaps not realistic or maybe even not fair, but in my mind, I feel like I should have been the number one thought as soon as he started working.
I feel like saying this as explict and blunt as I have said here to him would only make him upset and perhaps push him away, so I need to find someway of telling him that he can’t just let this go on and expect me to be the happy housewife without the name and without the ring.
What do I do?
Post # 3
8 years?!!? wow, i would be impatient too if i were you! I had to wait for over 4 years for the proposal and to be honest, 4 years was too long. It was important to me to know we were on the same page. Actions speak louder than words. I threatened to leave. I started looking at townhouses. I told him that if he didn’t want what I wanted out of our relationship that he needed to let me go. It was the first time he had considered what life would be like without me. He proposed within about 4 months. Sometimes they just need to realize what they have.
Post # 4
I think you need to try to be honest with him about how you’ve been together for a long time, and feel that because of what you’ve done for him, he needs to get his butt in gear and propose to you. Make it clear that the proposal isn’t about the ring or a highly orchestrated proposal but about making your love official and making the commitment to each other. I think you also need to honestly look at you and your bf and see if he is serious about committing. Maybe ask him in a calm manner what makes him nervous about getting engaged and married.
You could also try Mr. Bee’s plan (it’s on here somewhere) that basically involves focusing on yourself. Go away for a weekend and make him realize what he has when you’re there!
Another thing is that even if he wants to propose it still will take a little bit of time to plan and get the ring. That’s something I’m dealing him now. My boyfriend want to get engaged and is working on it, but I still have to wait for the details to fall into place.
Post # 5
On one hand, nothing wrong with you being honest about how 8 years is a little long for you and you are impatient and really want marriage.
On the other hand – the faint vibe I’m getting – I’m supporting him so he better pony up – is… not a good idea.
Do you really want him to propose and marry you for your money?
That does not seem like a recipe for a happy marriage. You can’t purchase or ‘deserve’ commitment – the other person either wants that with you or they don’t.
IMO you don’t support someone because they’re going to ‘pay you back’ in marriage or whatever, you support them if you want to support them.
Post # 6
@Arachna: I couldn’t agree more about the support thing. Doing more than your fair share and depleting yourself is never a good idea.
I’m sorry for your situation. You’re in a tough spot right now, becuase in my opinion you’ve been doing all the work of a WIFE (supporting him financially, domestic help, etc) without acutally being the wife. A recipe for “resentment disaster” . Now you feel entitled to a proposal and it’s tough to give someone something they feel entitled to. And it feels icky to feel entitled.
Also, don’t take it personally that it wasn’t his #1 thought when he got a job. Men RARELY think that way! WE think that way 🙂 So give him a bit of a break there….
If you want to know his intentions, I would ask him, calmly. Let him know you love him and you want to get married. And that you want to get engaged, soon! See if you’re on the same page. I don’t know your guy, or all the specifics, but this may not need to be torturous. Maybe you can just say ‘it’s time’ and he’ll say ‘OK’ and then you’re off to the jewelry store 🙂 I hope it’s just as easy as that for you. Just please do try to communicate in a non-blaming way. This could be the most important conversation of your life. Good for you for coming here to vent out your anger, continue to do that until you don’t feel angry/entitled anymore, and you can speak clearly with him. And listen fully. And realize you might not hear the perfect thing the first time, be willing to understand this may not be easy and he may not say what you want to hear. Which would be a blessing, becuase most guys, if they don’t have good intentions, won’t actually come out and say it…they string you on forever, saying all the right things but never doing it. Or avoiding the conversation.
Sorry this rang is getting long!
I know you feel entitled, but (sorry for the tough love) you’re responsible for that, becuase over-giving to the extend that you have is not a guarantee he’ll marry you, and if you’ve done it at the expense of your own self-care that is a mistake. Start taking care of YOU first.
Just my 2 cents.
Post # 7
First thing I would do is set a timeline for a proposal you can deal with mentally. Four months? Six months? When do you want to get married? Can you pull it off with a short engagement? Set yourself to abide by that timeline – if he doesn’t propose by then, you leave. If he follows and proposes, fine. If not… his loss.
He needs time anyway – time to find a ring and plan a proposal HE thinks is appropriate. (The following is what would be going through my head) He needs to know that, without a commitment, it looks like he’s using you. There are more than enough people who stick around until a degree is finished because afterwards, they don’t NEED the other person. It makes you feel degraded that he hasn’t even mentioned the desire to get married since he graduated. You need him to prove that he needs YOU, and didn’t just want money until he got on his feet.
If you tell him he must propose in, say, twelve weeks, you may as well propose to HIM. Forcing a proposal is far more confrontational than proposing yourself.
Post # 8
I know it’s annoying to hear “why don’t you propose?” but this might be a situation where it would be appropriate! Just something to think about.
One of my friends (who officiated the last wedding I was a Bridesmaid or Best Man for) proposed to her guy. Just casually, one morning. And then she said “OK let’s go ring shopping”! And it was very easy and natural for them to do it this way.
Post # 9
I agree that 8 years is a LONG TIME to wait. I also agree that this boy needs to propose to you: stat. The thing is, do you want him to propose to you because he’s grateful to you for what you’ve done, or because he wants to make you his wife? You don’t want a proposal out of obligation. I’ve been there and it sucks. You don’t want him to run to the jewelry store thinking “after everything she’s done I OWE her a ring, I’m gonna buy the first sparkly thing I see and shove it on her finger.” You want him to be thinking “finally after all this time I’m in a position where I can marry the woman I love. She deserves the best and I’m going to make sure and give her a ring and a proposal that rocks her world.”
As for timing, I would sit down with him and talk realistic timelines so you’re not driving yourself crazy waiting every day, getting increasingly agitated every time you look down at your naked finger. It might very well take a few months to get everything together (my SO and I had the “talk” almost 5 months ago. The wait is KILLING me, but according to all the bees here, these things apparently take time. Ugh.) Maybe ask for some occassional updates, if he’s willing to do that, in order to maintain your own sanity during the wait. Knowing my guy has been to ring stores and has been shopping has helped me a LOT. Just knowing progress IS being made, albiet slower than I would prefer, eases the anxiety quite a bit.
Post # 10
Thanks ladies for all your kind words. I know I shouldn’t feel entitled (and yes, it feels bloody awful) and that he ‘owes’ me a ring, but I’m sort of left here feeling like what the? I really don’t want to feel this way and just thinking of it makes me want to cry. I definitely want him to propose because he wants to make me his wife and not because it’s an obligation. I just can’t get around the fact that since the weeks where I boldly told him that I wanted to get married, he hasn’t done anything about it. This makes me feel like my feelings are being put on the backburner and will be attended to only when it suits him. This in turn makes me have these feelings of entitlement. it’s a vicious cycle that I don’t know how to get out of. And all the while I’m cooking, cleaning, getting groceries and running errands…
Post # 11
I agree he needs to be reminded what things are like without you. Although it doesn’t sound like he’s resisting the engagement, just too busy to think about it. Maybe give him a few months to settle into his new job then bring it up again..
Post # 12
Hmmmm…you never know, maybe he has been working on it? You said you talked about it 1.5 months ago and “he was on the same page”. I do think it will make you feel better if you have an idea of his timeframe. So you don’t go nutty waiting. And if you guys can openly talk about it I think a check-in is a good idea.
Please don’t feel like you “shouldn’t feel entitled”. I didn’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t feel that way, only that you sort of created that situation by being so accomodating to all of HIS needs before making sure you were going to get your needs met (aka marriage). Now it does feel awful becuase you can’t force him into giving you what you need. The reality is, you do feel that way and we can’t just magically change our feelings. I am so sorry you are feeling so tortured. I find when I’m feeling bloody awful sometimes I just need to absolutely feel it 100% and roll around in the awfulness, so to speak. Fully experiencing/investigating the emotions and then sometimes they’ll let go of you. Or you can question them too. Have you heard of Byron Katie? She wrote a great book called “Loving What Is” and her technique for helping yourself out of suffering by questioning stressful thoughts (rather than just wishing they would go away/telling yourself you shouldn’t feel them, which doesn’t ever work) has been really helpful for me when I’m feeling stuck. It provides a way of getting through your accumulated frustration. She is kind of “california new-agey” but don’t let that put you off.
If you don’t know how to get out of your vicious cycle it’s at least worth a try! You’ve got nothing to lose. Here’s the link: http://www.thework.com/thework.php And if you have some time, check out some of her videos. I like the one on hw to write out the “Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet”. It’s brilliant.
Good luck hon! Take a little time to have some fun and do some self-care, I know it doesn’t seem like there’s time but that’s usually the time you need it most.
Post # 13
I think you should tell him how you feel and back off the domestic duties. Take time for yourself. Let him know that while you love him and want to marry him, acting like a housewife to make his life easier is too much for you. You both work and you should both share the household duties. Let him know that you expect an engagement within the next __ months and that you are no longer comfortable fulfilling the role of wife without the title and ring that go along with the role. Once you’ve had the chat, ease back and wait. But don’t just sit around waiting. Go out and have fun. Take a cooking/art/pottery/aerobics/anything class. Join a bookclub. Start a tradition with girlfriends of going out for happy hour or brunch once a month. If he wants you to act like a housewife he’ll have to marry you. If you keep giving him everything he could possibly want, he may never see the need to marry you.
Also, if you don’t have to support him anymore, start spending some of that money on yourself. Day at the spa? Day out shopping? Mini-holiday somewhere with your BFF? You’re not entitled to a ring but you are entitled to have fun and spend your hard earned cash on yourself, so do it and worry primarily about making yourself happy.
Post # 14
Thank you for the link, I’ll look into that when I’m not at work. I’m having a hard time concentrating on anything today.
Great advice as well – and believe me, there as no point in time where I wasn’t spending money on myself! hehehe.
Thanks again everyone for your advice, this has made me feel so much better. The only problem about dropping all the housework is – I hate a messy house and if I don’t do the work, it doesn’t get done. I need to work on bringing this up – just need to figure out how to do it tackfully without sounding like a battleaxe hehe. I had a breakdown the other day about doing chores when the real underlying reason is the lack of name and ring but him trating me as if I have it. I wouldn’t mind so much if I was his wife doing all that i do (within reason and only when he is having a hard time at work).
Post # 15
Post # 16
Oh good I’m glad you’re feeling better! It really does help to know you’re not alone….
You’re right, tactful is everything when trying to get a guy to do chores 😉 He has to kind of think it was his idea, not you telling him what to do. I have a few ideas on this if you want:
I’d just say “I’m exhausted, I can’t do this much housework anymore”. Then you’re not telling him what to do. Just saying how you feel and setting a boundary. I know we’re all supposed to be superwomen and never say we “can’t” do anything, but right now that’s BS and does not apply. You’re seriously depleted.
Then he can be your HERO and say “I’ll help you honey!”. Then be super happy and tell him how grateful you are! YAY! And you can say “thank you so much! Will you do the _____(fill in the blank with a chore and a time, like ‘do the dishes tomorrow’)?” Make sure to say “will”, not “can”. For some reason this is a big deal when communicating with men. John Gray had a whole chapter in the Mars/Venus book, which is when I realized how sensitive guys are to this one language thing. Becuase, well, they CAN take out the garbage….they’re physically able to. That doesn’t mean they’ll do it. If you say “will you”, they feel more like they’re making a promise and actually think about it. The way I remember this is, how would you feel is someone asked “can you marry me?” LOL!
Then you’ll have to trust that he’ll actually do it, and if he doesn’t do it….well, you may have to let the house get messy for a few days. Then say “I hate when the house is messy”. Then he can come to the rescue again. Eventually he’ll get it.