I'm ready to be engaged, but he's not. What are the next steps?

posted 2 months ago in Beehive
Post # 46
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I was once in a very similar boat as you! I began dating my Darling Husband when we were 18-19, living together since 20 and I moved states along with him after under-grad. We were 23 and in a new city together and had been through so much together already at that point. I DESPERATELY wanted to get engaged as it felt so inaccurate to be introduced to people as his “girlfriend” when we were already life partners and when we had already talked many times about getting married someday. He was very intimidated when I first started bringing it up and ABSOLUTELY not in the same place as I was. I was so hurt and asked why if he already knew he wanted to spend his life with me it was so hard to just make it official, and he just had a really hard time with it. We talked about it a lot over several years and honestly, it took him seeing some of our friends and colleagues getting married for him to move into being comfortable with the idea. We had to have lots and lots and lots of communication about it and ended up evolving on the idea together tremendously. We ended up getting engaged at 25, married at 26 and are now insanely happily married and planning to start a family at 31! I think if you know he’s the person you want to spend your life with, just keep being honest about how you feel and what you need and work together to find a timeline that feels ok to you both! 

Post # 47
3828 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

bibliophilacticbee :  When you revisit it, I’d say you’d like to discuss your 5 year (or 7 or 10) plan.

This!  I was in your shoes bee.  D.H. and I started dating at 18 and when my first friend got engaged at 23 (to her S.O. of 5 months!) I started thinking maybe we should be taking that step too.  We were both in grad school and I was a little disappointed when D.H. said he saw us getting married at 27.  That seemed so far away!  But we both worked hard in grad school, enjoyed our relationship, grew together, and got engaged at 26 after I passed the Bar, married at 27 just like he said.  Even though we knew each other was the one, there really was no need to rush and get married in grad school. 

Now that I’m 30, I am very glad that we waited and had knocked out school and gotten jobs in our respective fields.  We’ve still had time to just be together without kids, bought a house, and are tentatively planning to TTC next year.  I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that your 23 year old S.O. is stringing you along just yet.  You are both young – I recommend focuing on your school, career, friendships, relationship with your S.O. and revisiting your 5-10 year plan next year to make sure you’re on the same page.  

Post # 49
1843 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

babynurser :  I wouldn’t say agreeing “in a year” means you’re waiting. Especially not when combined with the fact that he seems to be having a quarter life crisis. 

It sounds more like he’s unhappy with his life and focused on that but wanted you to know that he still does want to marry you eventually. You don’t seem to have a clear idea of a budget to save for a ring etc.

That said, my advice from before stands… focus on yourself and your goals. Give him space and time to focus on getting happy or content with adult life. Reevaluate after you have a job. 

Also… if he wants a hobby, saving for a ring and house and to travel etc are goals. Advancing in work is a goal. Working out and getting more muscle and less fat are goals. Maybe just setting more defined goals in his current activities would help. 

Post # 50
569 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2020

Good for you, OP! I am so glad you had a productive talk. That is precisely how you set an engagement in motion and maintain a healthy relationship. I wish more “waiting bees” would follow your example. 

Post # 51
1081 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

This sounds like progress, and I’m glad he opened up about some of the things he’s stressing about, but I’m glad you see this as a launchpad for more conversations. Check back in after 6 months. Sometimes I think we have these conversations and each person hears an entirely different decision being made. E.g. maybe you heard “in a year he will propose” and he heard “in a year we will revisit the idea of marriage.” 

Another tension I read into your update is between his professional and self-development goals and his relationship goals with you. I have no idea why the two should be linked in his mind. You can get engaged AND he can start picking up new hobbies – one doesn’t need hobbies or time-filling activities to get engaged. As long as he’s saving money and being responsible, can you both look at these as parallel tracks that can be advanced simultaneously? Or is it that he feels a loss of identity which makes him doubt that he’s a good partner for you? If that’s the case, perhaps some therapy would be helpful. It may be a good idea for him to talk to someone regardless, if he really feels lost because he didn’t meet his goal of getting married at 23.

His statements about feeling like he’s in a rut are the thing I would try to do something about if I were you. Plan trips together, take a class, get a pet, etc. I may be reading too much into it, but my fear would be that as his SO, I’d be part of the routine he’s finding boring. I hope that’s not the case for you!

Post # 52
461 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

babynurser :  Wowww it was my Darling Husband answer to the T!!!! I’m not ready and I cannot tell you or even think when I’m going to be ready. Yeah it broke my heart, yeah we fight, yeah we almostttt broke up, and yeah I do let it go because I know I’m willing to wait for him.

For me age is matter, you are young, he is young. I bet most of your friends are not married yet?

I would give him time in frame you are comfortable with, then revisit the subject. If you see resentment is coming, the you can evaluate things to stay or go. I know it’s hard, waiting sucks, but yeah man mature slower (it is what it is, it’s not an excuse).

PS: Darling Husband comes to his sense that I am the one just 2weeks later lol.. Then he can’t wait to marry me. Sometimes they are just stupid, sometimes they are not the one, still your decision.

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