Post # 1
We’ve been together for 4 years. We have a good solid relationship. We don’t live together. He’s been married before, I never have. He’s been divorced 5 years. He tells me he wants to get married, says he plans to spend the rest of his life together, but the proposal seems no where in sight & so far out of reach. More recently I’ve talked to him more about it and he’s well aware of my desire to be married. I’ve gotten the whole can’t afford a ring” song and dance among other things that to me are excuses. As far as I’m concerned, the “where there’s a will there’s a way” concept isn’t dead, people make happen what they want to make happen. I’ve not given him an ultimatum, as I don’t agree with those, but I’ve made it clear I’m not going to continue dating indefinitely, going back & forth between houses, packing bags and unpacking and am not going to play wife when he’s not willing to commit to the husband role, why should I. He’s vaguely looked online at rings, but only a couple of times after my mention to him about him not even knowing what I’d Iike (style, etc). He’s never suggested going to look at rings together. I have let him know that I’m starting to feel like maybe I’m not engagement or marriage material if he can talk the talk about his plans to get married, but yet is so reluctant to pull the trigger on proposing. A recent mention of that led to an argument as he claimed by me saying things like that, I was attacking or questioning his integrity. I disagree. I feel like a comeback like that is manipulative as really it’s not uncommon for someone to start to question their place and value if after this long you’re repeatedly told by your boyfriend he plans to marry you, but can’t pull the trigger. It’s really started to wear on me, I’m constantly pondering it & it leads to me not being my usual happy self around him. I feel like he’s just continuing life as usual full well knowing what I want, claiming his intentions are to give me what I want, but seemingly in no hurry to do so and finds no significance in making it happen.
Post # 2
Ask him for his engagement and marriage timeline. Get a month and a year (so, two dates). If you agree, hold him to it. If you don’t agree, see if you can come to a conclusion. At the end of the conversation, if you can’t come to an agreement… get ready to walk.
Post # 3
His reaction is out of line. You’re asking about engagement and marriage–something that will affect you both–and he’s reacting as if it’s a personal attack. That would be a red flag for me.
I’d suggest having a long, honest talk with each other to discuss what enagement and marriage mean to you both, your expectations of the relationship, and your ideal timeline. The conversation should serve both to let each other know how the person feels and what they picture when they say “engaged/married,” etc., and to give you starting points to start working toward something that will make you both happy. Since it sounds like you’ve covered some of this already, you might also include what it would mean to you if he doesn’t propose and you don’t get married, and when you’ll say enough is enough.
How do you feel about the ring issue? Would you be happy with a ringless proposal? Some people are, since the ring is just a symbol of the relationship. But planning and saving for an important purchase, as well as taking your partner’s tastes and wishes into account, are also big factors in a relationship, and buying a ring can be an indicator of how your partner approaches finances.
Post # 4
coffeecakez : This. Also discuss a ring budget.
I think if you take away al the barriers he’s putting up to getting engaged (red flag that there are multiple excuses), you will quickly find out if those excuses were valid or if he will come up with yet another roadblock.
Ask him what budget he has in mind and see what he says. Discuss a timeline. I think you’ll get some answers that way
Post # 5
hope2beethe1 : 1. Tell him you don’t need a ring. 2.Since he claims he wants to marry you, ask if you can consider you are engaged right now 3. Then tell him you’re now planning your wedding for the near future.
Do this above *today* and you will know the real truth.
Post # 6
Questioning his integrity….that’s a new one. Way to deflect the spotlight on him.
Look, you need a real deadline for yourself – call it an expiration date. Saying that you’re not going to continue dating indefinitely is vague and amorphous and could keep you there forever.
Post # 7
sunburn : Completely agree, the integrity comment was to deflect the focus off of him. I plan to have a very blunt talk with him soon and let him know that we need to set a timeline for our future, I.e. engagement & marriage. I don’t need to know an exact time he’ll propose as I would like that to be a surprise, although it needs to happen in the next X months (what ever we decide). You’re right, the use of the term dating indefinitely is vague and presents nothing concrete in the way of setting a time frame to end that cycle.
Post # 8
Bee, a couple of things really bother me. That “integrity” slam was way, way out of line and much too nasty as well as way off the mark.
His response that you’re “attacking” him by bringing up your shared future is also wildly inappropriate.
Why are you tolerating this shit?
He does not *own* your future. It’s time to reclaim your own power. Many Bees hate ultimatums because they don’t understand them. An ultimatum is a way to take care of yourself . It happens when you have finally hit the wall. You have run out of time and have no more to give. You must move on. As a courtesy, you notify your partner as to your exit date. It’s not about him. It’s about taking control of your own future.
If, however, you lay down what you think is an ultimatum in hopes it will motivate your SO to act; that’s not an ultimatum, that’s just manipulation.
In a happy, healthy, adult relationship, future goals are an ongoing discussion. The person who supposedly loves you *hears* you and understands your pain. He negotiates. He wants you both to be happy. If he’s not ready for marriage, he says that. Then he gives you specific articulable reasons why he’s not ready. This allows for open, authentic discussions and negotiations.
A mature, loving partner does not blow up and go on defense because you want to discuss your future.
Post # 9
I usually try to stay away from these posts because they make me so angry and I’m afraid my advice will come across as harsh and unhelpful, but…..sometimes I just gotta!
There are TONS of guys out there who would feel privileged and on top of the world at the thought of marrying you (yes…there are). Trust me when I say (because I’m old and have been around the block a time or two) THAT’S the kind of guy you want to spend the rest of your life with. Having to argue with him to get him there? Sorry, that’s not an argument I’d want to win. After all of this time, he knows who you are, and it sounds like you have made it clear you want to be married. A guy in love would have moved mountains to have made that happen by now. Don’t marry anyone who wouldn’t move mountains for you…..life will throw you so many curve balls over the years, you’re going to want to be with someone who is happy to be on your team.
I’m glad to read you’re not living with him – you have an advantage that a lot of women who feel “stuck” or “already half way there” don’t. You can simply break up with him and move on. I realize that’s not going to be easy emotionally, but you’re worth it. Free yourself to find someone who will make you feel like you’re worth it. Right now you’re with someone who makes you question whether you’re good enough…..that’s crap. You are MORE than good enough.
Wishing you the best –
Post # 11
So my Darling Husband was previously married and his divorce was very nasty. When we met less than a year after his divorce was final, I was pretty certain marriage wasn’t going to be on the table for a while but within a year we were seriously discussing marriage. I say this to say that it shouldn’t be hard simply discussing marriage. Its completely understandable if he’s not ready but that’s where an adult conversation about needs, expectations and timelines come into play. After 4 years he should know everything he needs to know about you so he pretty much knows whether or not he wants to marry you.
Bee, the question is what is acceptable/unacceptable to you? How much longer are you willing to wait and are you prepared to walk away if you and he can’t get on the same page? What are your dealbreakers?
I always suggest having one last conversation so you don’t walk away questioning whether or not you did your best. I suggest that now, however, it should be like a negotiation without the emotional aspect. This is where you both discuss your needs, expectations, etc. He cannot blow it off or you take it as his answer that he will not commit to you. Instead a definitive timeline should be established that you both can agree on along with consequences to be enforced if the agreement is violated. If you two can’t come to an agreement then that ALSO is your answer bee.
Knowing exactly what you want will guide you to Mr. Right so make sure that part is handled.
Post # 12
I think a basic definition of integrity is that your deeds match your words. So, for him to say he sees you spending the rest of your lives together and talking about plans to get married, but then not do anything to make that a reality – that actually does make me question his integrity. And that’s what I would say to him if he tries that tack again.
When you have the timeline conversation with him (so glad you’re planning to!), let him know that you aren’t giving him an ultimatum but you need to be on the same page about your future together and right now it feels like you aren’t. You don’t mention your ages, or if you want kids, but if there’s any concern about fertility I would factor that into the timeline. If he brings up finances being a barrier, let him know you will contribute to the ring, or you have an inexpensive one in mind, or you would be happy with a small ceremony or a courthouse wedding – just think through the possible concerns (aka arguments) he may bring up, and have a matter-of-fact response to them.
Post # 13
mrstodd2bee : This is a great idea!
And be sure to tell him that from now on you are going to start telling people (including his family) that you are engaged. And then see if he is open to calling some family and close friends right then to declare the good news.
Post # 14
Did you have a chat with your boyfriend? What happened OP?