How do I gently bring up getting engaged to my boyfriend?

posted 2 weeks ago in Waiting
Post # 31
Member
846 posts
Busy bee

Please have a conversation about this BEFORE you buy that house together.  I was exactly in this situation in my 20’s and it did not end well.  It took both of our incomes to purchase our house.  We didn’t have 20% to put down so my father graciously lent us the money with a repayment plan.  We talked about marriage and kids but after we lived together and I acted like his wife for 2 years, he was in no hurry to get married and suddenly decided he didn’t want children.  I had not even made up my mind about it but didn’t want it taken off the table by someone else.  I moved out but he couldn’t afford to pay off my father’s loan or re-finance the house on his own. My father and I would argue about this in every conversation that we didn’t talk for almost a year until my ex-boyfriend found a new job with a higher salary. During the whole time we owned the house we split the costs 50/50 even though he made twice as much as me.  I also received nothing when I left because I was told that our money had only gone towards the interest payments and not the actual cost of the house but I didn’t understand how equity in a house works and there are less legal channels to fall back on when you are unmarried.  I was very young and inexperienced with how mortgages work.  You must know the property rights for your State and you should really have a contract in place, reviewed by a lawyer, as to what happens if your relationship does not work out and the house has to be divided or sold.  If you are doing a fixer upper, you will be dumping a lot of money that may not translate into equity in the very beginning.  This may take over many years of owning that house to see the investment return. Save all your receipts for the money that each of you spend on the house. I truly believed I was going to marry this man but if it doesn’t work out, you better be prepared. It was a blessing but I had to start over again from nothing.  Just like many of the other ‘waiting’ stories I hear, he married the next woman he met right away and the next year they had a child together. 

Post # 34
Member
6 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2019

Good on you that you took that first step! In my experience, getting engaged is a process, not one single conversation for many couples. It took my fiancé and I a while to go from the first convo to fully publicly engaged and it was a stressful time. Not terrible but just…important and intense. 

If he’s offered to go ring shopping then I’d say go? I think it’s ok for everyone to be a bit nervous and have complicated feelings when you start diving into this. However if he stays hard to read or seems distant after a week or so, I’d probably do a gut check- it doesn’t sound like anything he said is hesitant about your relationship- he said he was happy to marry you, but he’s skittish about a wedding. Depending what you also want- that might mean you could choose to get married very simply at a courthouse or wait a while to plan a larger wedding. Several of my friends who bought houses got engaged right around the time they bought the house, then had a simple home backyard wedding once the house was in ok shape.

 

good luck!

Post # 35
Member
34 posts
Newbee

louloumoo :  Why do you want to get engaged when neither of you wants to get married soon or actively plan a wedding? 

Idk, I understand that being engaged feels more secure than just being boyfriend/girlfriend, and I absolutely agree to not buy property with a boyfriend. But what’s the point of him proposing if he doesn’t want to get married yet and you’re not actively planning a wedding?  You’re just a girlfriend with a piece of jewelry who still has the same risks as woman who purchases property with a boyfriend.

How old are you guys? You sound very young from your timelines of marriage in 2-3 years and kids in 6-7. You’ve been together 2 years.  Why not continue dating until you’re both ready for marriage and table the home purchase until that point? 

Post # 36
Member
642 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

If you can’t talk about your plans to marry a man, you shouldn’t be planning to buy a house with him.  Your relationship isn’t where it needs to be for a 30 year commitment to make sense at this point. 

If he can’t afford the house on his own, too bad so sad.  Husbands and wives regularly commit 30 years of their financial future to one another. No girlfriend is obligated to do the same.  

Post # 37
Member
618 posts
Busy bee

I’m glad you’ve spoken to an attorney about ramifications of a break up as to the house. Please make sure you get your agreement IN WRITING. Both of you need to sign it. Both of you should have independent counsel (separate attorneys acting in your interest). There are a lot of things that can go terribly wrong, and break ups bring out the worst in people. It may cost a few hundred dollars now, but it will be worth it to save the mess later. 

Let me put it to you this way— it’s all well and good to pay less and build equity, but it’s generally not a good idea to legally and financially entangle yourself with another person before marriage, especially if you’re not sure if the two of you are on the same page. I see a situation where the two of you may get engaged, have the house, and marriage gets pushed out for years. Once you’re engaged, set the date, even if it’s two years out, and put a deposit on your venue. Legitimize your intentions. 

Post # 39
Member
7408 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Sounds like a good first convo bee. I think it’s a great sign he suggested ring shopping this weekend! Why are you worried he’ll change his mind about that? Does he tend to do that?

Post # 40
Member
296 posts
Helper bee

louloumoo :  

It sounds as though you are comfortable with your decision to buy a house and to have a long engagement. That is good because it means you can stop worrying about those two decisions and worry about what is in front of you.

You’ve spoken to him about getting engaged, and he seems to be on board for now. That is a good sign. He told you he wants to get married and that he wants to get married to you. You are still quite young, and you guys have been together for 2 years, which is a good time to start having these conversations, but not so long that you need to worry.

I agree with the bees who say you need to start getting comfortable and confident having these conversations. No feeling nervous or silly or worrying about stressing him out or seeming foolish. Just go for it. You’ll get more comfortable the more you do it. You need to just grab the bull by the horns. That said, you have pushed through and had the conversation with him. Give yourself a big pat on the back!

His response was not negative. He may just be processing everything that you guys talked about. He’s suggested you go and look at rings this weekend which seems like a positive step toward what you want. Take a deep breath. If you’re an anxious person, you may be letting your anxiety get the better of you, so just try to relax and calm yourself. Go ring shopping with him, and then table the discussion again for a future time – like three months or whatever seems reasonable to you.

Post # 41
Member
34 posts
Newbee

louloumoo : Well I’m glad you have the legal protections, because that is so important.

It sounds like you are in a good position after your conversation and happy with where things are going. That’s good! 

Even though your conversation went well, you seem a bit concerned about how it ended and being unable to read him. If I were you, I would want to follow-up on your last conversation and discuss your worries:

1) You worry that you’re pressuring him into ring shopping/proposing. 
Check in with the boyfriend and make sure he doesn’t feel pressured. Maybe let him know that ring shopping doesn’t have to be this weekend but within the next X weeks or months or whatever your preference is.

2) You worry that you’re getting a shut-up ring.
Let him know that although the wedding may be years away, you’d like to set a date and find a venue so you don’t feel indefinitely engaged (if that would help). 

Also, you’re bound to get questions from people about when the wedding is. IMO being able to answer it speaks to how serious a couple is about getting married. Even if it’s “Fall 2023 once XYZ gets fixed in the house.” All couples who I know IRL who had long engagements without any wedding plans never made it down the aisle, so I don’t think your concern is unwarranted. Just make sure you’re both on the same page.

Post # 42
Member
279 posts
Helper bee

louloumoo :  If money can be a sensitive issue right now, when you shop, make sure you dont go into stores that will scare him off. Research places youd like to visit that are reasonable for your finances> 🙂 good luck, keep us updated if you can!

Post # 43
Member
293 posts
Helper bee

louloumoo :  Is he able to buy the house on his own? Perhaps a better solution would be for him to acquire the mortgage and be responsible for repairs and materials, and for you to pay a fixed reduced rent. The rent could be below market value to account for any physical effort you put into the renovation and the fact that a girlfriend is generally more tolerable/less intrusive than a roommate. He could use the rent you pay to him to offset the mortgage. In this way the benefits from owning rather than renting accrue to you both as a couple, but it also allows you to remain financially disentangled if it doesn’t work out.

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