Full disclosure – I have not read the whole thread, but I read a large portion of it.
I 100% understand the angst that you are feeling. Perhaps I relate to your story so much because I am also a 31 year old attorney who experienced the exact frustrations that you have described re: being a fiercely independent woman who was feeling uncharacteristically insecure due to my boyfriend not proposing.
But I have a very good news story for you. I am now happily engaged. And the one thing that I regret is that I allowed my emotions to dictate my behaviour to the point where I had actually nagged my SO about getting engaged.
The facts leading up to my proposal were a bit different. We started dating when I was 23 (turning 24) and he was 27. We ended up dating for a little over 7 years before he proposed (though he had the custom box & ring for about 6 months before the proposal; he just waited until we took a trip back to our favorite place in our country).
I love this man in a way that I never thought I could possibly experience love. He is my absolute everything and we have weathered the toughest of storms together.
When I used to ask him why he had not proposed yet, the reasons that he gave were essentially that he wanted to be in a more financially stable postion. You see, even though I am financially secure as an attorney (and even though we had lived together for almost 7 years and we share expenses/ money) he has gone back to university to change careers (a decision that I supported and encouraged him to make).
But my emotions and “ticking clock” would not allow me to hear and accept this reason. I felt angst. I felt anxiety. I felt fear. I too have a rule against speaking negatively about my SO to family and friends so I turned to this board for help. I recieved many messages telling me to dump him/ calling him a “dud”.
For a brief moment, I actually considered leaving. But I decided to suck it up, shut up, and wait a bit longer to have a final discussion with him (not to break up, but to really express my feelings). My God am I happy that I stopped nagging him when I did, because he ended up proposing in the perfect spot and perfect way. I actually felt guilty and like I did not deserve such a perfect proposal due to my prior nagging and doubtful thoughts.
Anyway, the point of my message is this: only you know your man. These posters (myself included) DO NOT KNOW YOUR MAN. Take a breather, maybe meditate (that helped me a lot with the anxiety, particularly using the Headspace app), and shove all of these emotions to the side. Get a clear head, find your fierce-independent-woman-power and then really think about the circumstances: the circumstances that only you truly know.
In my case: I knew my SO was the one; I knew my SO was being honest with me; and I knew my emotions were getting the better of me. But I let those emotions cloud my sound judgment and I reached out to this board in a moment of weakness (but part of me is also happy that I did, because I discovered this good-intetnioned community of women).
So those are my thoughts. Only you know whether he is the one and worth waiting for. I hope he is and that you live “happily ever after”; but if he isn’t, you sound like you are incredibly strong and will be just fine.
Best wishes, Bee.