I didn't want to get engaged last year, but now he doesn't when I want to

posted 2 months ago in Waiting
Post # 2
5964 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

jasminek :  I don’t blame him for being unsure and hurt.  If your emotional problems can cause you to doubt your relationship and future together, what is there to say that it won’t happen again?  I recommend 1. giving him time, and 2. going to couples therapy to talk these issues out to make sure you both a comfortable and secure in the relationship.

Post # 3
6409 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

I don’t know that you almost breaking up with him when a proposal was imminent is something that easy to recover from. And I agree that you may want to look into couples counseling because even if he doesn’t outwardly admit to feeling this way, I can see there being a subconscious desire on his part to punish you the way you did him. Having someone help the two of you talk through what happened and why it happened and why it won’t happen again might be really important. Either way, if this happened in October of last year, assuming that things in your relationshop didn’t suddenly turn rosy again, I can understand this being too soon. He is probably looking for some validation that this won’t happen again.

Post # 4
225 posts
Helper bee

I haven’t been through this but my best advice is: 

1) Give it time. 

2) Be honest and perhaps apologize sincerely and explain how much the relationship really does mean to you. 

3) See a premarital counselor. 

I am sure you’ve already apologized but hearing it in conjunction with discussing the potential of making it official again may help him heal. I don’t know if it will work out, but I think there’s a chance if he stayed with you throughout your hardship that he will be able to forgive you. 

Post # 5
948 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

jasminek :  You have to give it time. It hasn’t even been a year yet. And just because you are ready now doesn’t mean he is ok let’s do this. No no it doesn’t work like that sometimes. He is leary and it’s understandable. You broke his heart. Put yourself in his shoes, like really think about it. He may never be ready again. Counseling is a great idea for you two. Relationships can be very hard but if you put the work into them sometimes they are stronger than you think they are. Just know that you still have him. Good luck bee.

Post # 6
3931 posts
Honey bee

Actions have consequences and sometimes we just have to take them. In your case you have to take your boyfriend’s uncertainty about your relationship as a result of your behavior. I would use this time to reflect on your own behavior and just take a proposal out of the equation for now. If therapy will help you then go for it. If your boyfriend sees you happy and taking steps to manage your issues he will feel more secure. Give it some more time.

Post # 7
373 posts
Helper bee

In your case two things come to mind. You don’t get second chences to make a first impression. Your behavior when you  fell out last year may always be at the back of his mind and colour the way he views this relationship and your future together. 

Thar said, actions speak louder than words. Show him how you’ve changed from who you used to be. Do what it takes, anger management classes, as a Pp said – pre marital coinselling – and hopefully with time and with every new instance he may find himself drawn to the possibility of proposing to you again. Best of luck. 

Post # 8
602 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

They say it takes 10 good things to cancel out 1 bad thing. Perhaps think about how many months you put him through an emotional ringer and multiply that by 10 and give him that much time.

They also say that you find out who a person really is during the lowest points of their lives.  If you were as bad as you say this would have most people questioning their future with you.

I wouldn’t suggest couples counseling, I’d suggest individual counseling and giving him lots of feedback on your new coping strategies that you’re learning.

Post # 9
388 posts
Helper bee

I can practically feel the rancor of other Waiting Bees right now coming through my screen….”She rejected a man who was about to propose and now she expects a second chance while some of us would do anything just to be asked once? The nerve!”

I’m not going to judge you for your outburst. You made it clear that it was part of the emotional turmoil you were going through at the time. I’m not going to judge your boyfriend for being hurt, either, he has every right to be. I agree that he probably does need more time and space, and that it is important that he sees your willingness to heal.

I would also say that what one PP said is correct, you show someone part of who you really are when you show them your worst. That’s not always a hopeless thing. Your boyfriend now has to decide whether he can handle your personal worst. If he decides he can, it might actually bring you closer going forward. If he decides he can’t, yes it will be awful, but it will help you see your degree of compatibility more clearly. Your dark side might be unattractive and extreme (everyone’s is) and you may learn to cope with it so that it doesn’t have as much power over you. But it is part of you, and in an intimate partnership all elements of both personalities should be acknowledged. Not necessarily embraced or even liked, but not left in the dark either.  

Post # 10
824 posts
Busy bee

jasminek :  I believe your regret is genuine and I’m sorry you were in a bad place back when you said those things. But unfortunately even if you have apologized and he’s stuck by you, he can’t just un-hear the things you said. And TBH saying you’re unsure about the relationship and wanting to get engaged is pretty major, I think in this case you have to give him time to try and get past this. 

If it turns out he can’t get past this or you can’t deal with what is now his uncertainty, this may be a dealbreaker. If you’re both willing to sincerely give the relationship a try, then I think you need to be willing to put in the time and work to make this happen. 

Post # 11
1979 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

its going to take time, even with you guys still staying together through the first broken engagement timeline. 

Ive been engaged twice, to the same person. The first time i was around 25 he was 30, i just wasnt ready. We broke up. I moved out. Took two years of just focusing on myself before we ended up back together and about a year after that got engaged again. Now married. 

It was not easy, we both questioned the strength of our relationship a multitude of times through the first broken engagement and when first getting back together. But i will say our relationship was the strongest it has ever been when we got engaged the second time, we both knew what we wanted 100% 

its only been a year, which may seem like a long time, but in reality it isnt. It might just take him a few years. 

Post # 12
569 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2020

Despite your regrets, I think it’s good that you delayed the engagement. You need to be stable yourself before being in a relationship. It’s also good that he’s treading with caution. That’s very reasonable. Also, you show a lot of insight into your own faults. 

At the end of the day, if he can’t take your lows with your highs, he doesn’t deserve you. However, he should only be expected to tolerate lows to a reasonable extent. If a person can’t moderate their own lows within reason, then they shouldn’t be in a relationship. It seems like you’re working on your issues, and your bf wants some certainty that they are indeed addressed. 

Your options are to give him time and wait it out or break things off and try starting anew with someone else. I vote for wait it out because your bf is being very reasonable and honest with you. He’s not stalling or skirting, he has told you straight up he doesn’t know if and when he wants to marry you. That is a healthy communicator and a guy who sticks up for himself. 

The one thing I don’t like is your talk about “we didn’t get engaged because he didn’t propose” and “he doesn’t known if and when he will propose.” Maybe it’s just semantics, but I get the vibe it’s not. In my mind, you’re “engaged” when you have a mutual, firm agreement to marry. The ring, bended knee, “proposal” is just a formality at that point. By “waiting” for him to “propose”, you’re relegating all the power of the timeline to him. That makes no sense to me. That is not a healthy relationship dynamic. Don’t turn into one of those waiting bees who feel they have to prove their worth to a man to get the reward of ring/wife status.

I’d get into counseling (individual), and see where he’s at when your counselor feels you’ve made sufficient progress. At that point try some conjoint. After that, see where your bf is at in terms of marriage timelines. If he is still not ready to move on with you, them you may want to consider whether you want to move on without him.

Good luck, Bee. Don’t beat yourself up over this. Even if you had gone through with the proposal at the original time, that wouldn’t have fixed the way your bf feels now. And it may have exacerbated your relationship problems, because being a fiancee or wife may have given you a false sense of security. Hope that makes sense. 

Post # 13
1021 posts
Bumble bee

jasminek :  this is a tough one. I see both sides of it. I’m sure you feel bad enough for the damage you caused to the relationship, and at the same time I can see that he may not be able to see your relationship the same way after the things you said. Don’t beat yourself up too much- what’s done is done.

I am wondering though- What did you do while you were in that situation to make things better? Did you go to therapy? Anger management? Did you receive a diagnosis for anything mental health-related? You don’t mention it in your post so I just wondered.

It sounds like you’re doing better so I’m thinking that you sought help in some way in order to get better. It’s pretty revealing that your SO stood by you through the thick of it and he didn’t just give up on you then and there. That’s a good sign.

I think you need to show him with your words and actions that you are committed to this relationship and that you will do whatever it takes to keep improving your mental health and that you will work extremely hard to not let what happened in the past affect your relationship in the future.

I think it’s important to note that while you may struggle emotionally or mentally throughout your lifetime (anyone with mental health issues knows that it can be a lifelong process of managing and adjusting treatments), it does not have to wreck your relationship.

If you were taking out your issues on him and using that to question the relationship, that is not okay.

It is another thing entirely to naturally question the relationship if you are noticing questionable patterns or unacceptable behaviors in the relationship.

Unfortunately, your SO might not ever know if you were truly experiencing doubts or if you were doubting the relationship as a symptom of your mental health issues, no matter what you say to him now. And that’s what makes it hard to move forward here.

I think if you show him that you are continually doing things to maintain your health and you take engagement off the table for at least another 6 months, then he may feel better knowing that you guys can take some time to reconnect and let the relationship mend if that’s possible.

You have been together for many years, so if you otherwise have a good track record in the relationship, he may be able to re-develop the trust. If this has been a pattern, he may have a harder time getting past it.

Good luck, bee

Post # 14
6540 posts
Bee Keeper

You put the brakes on your relationship while you were going through a difficult time and he stuck with you. Now he needs you to do the same for him. Show him that you are in a better place and are continuing self-care and that you will do what you need to do to rebuild his trust. Be as patient with him as you needed him to be with you. 

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