Mr. Bee —
I used the Back-Up Plan, and it really didn’t help. Sorry. My man is the most indecisive person on the planet, and takes forever to make even minor decisions, much less huge decisions. He was happy with the status quo, and so he really had no incentive to change it.
I tried everything. Talking about it, not talking about it. I am independent and live my own life (I’m on my own 5 days per week anyway due to semi-LDR). I communicated logically about it, I told him all the numbers and realities of life.
In short, I found that your back-up plan simply continued the status quo of stagnation. Sure, it was less stressful on him not to hear me talk about it for a while (and I went several months without talking about it). But by not talking about it, it never crossed his mind, so he made no mental progress towards it.
And this was all despite the fact that, at our 2 yr anniv., when all this came up, he asked for another 1-2 years, and at our 3rd anniv., I told him he had another year (b/c that’s plenty of time to decide at our age).
There came a certain point around 3.5 yrs where I realized that NOTHING would change for another several years if I didn’t put a stop to this stagnation. I saw no reason at the time to wait another 6 months. I told him I was ready to move forward with life, and it was up to him to move forward with me as an engaged couple, or without me (and I gave him 3 months to make up his mind…so PLENTY of time).
But I figured out within a day or two that I didn’t want our marriage to start that way… I sensed that it was an unhealthy start to our life together, and even if he decided to get engaged (which he most likely would have), he would have ALWAYS held it against me that I “forced” him into it…that it was my decision, not his. And that wasn’t my intention. So I withdrew the “ultimatum”, but said that going back to the status quo of “no progress” wasn’t ok either — so I made him set his OWN ultimatum/schedule. That way, it’s his choice – his timeline. But at least there is a “end date” to the stagnation. So he set his timeline as July b/c “6 mos is a nice round number” — ironically, it’s still right at our 4th anniv., which is right back where we were. (I’m trying to negotiate for May b/c it’s in the middle, but hey, at least there’s an end in sight.)
I feel like making him set his own “ultimatum” date was a smart move. It really made it his decision (and he felt more like it was/is his decision), but it nipped in the bud the “status quo of stagnation”. And lately, I’ve noticed he’s been a little “lovier” lately, so I”m kinda thinking he’s turned the corner and made a decision (even though he won’t tell me about it). So even though I’m not engaged yet (it’s not July), I think there is progress.
He still doesn’t understand why his “just want to be sure” was/is hurtful to me, despite my attempts to explain it to him. But even though he still pulls the whole “maybe, just wanna be sure” thing, I think he may have figured things out (mostly), but just isn’t ready to tell me b/c he wants me to surprised.
So that’s my two cents. I think your plan and back-up plan certainly have their place and are useful with MOST men. But unfortunately, it’s just not as successful with men who are indecisive, have no sense of the passage of time, and are somewhat oblivious to the reality of life (i.e. that women shouldn’t have kids after a certain age, etc.
Thank you for your insight into the male mind on this Board 🙂