@sarasouth: Totally agree that a lot of guys keep quiet out of fear of rejection. Which is understandable – it’s scary!
While I know for some relationships this may be true, I don’t see this as being the case so much anymore – epsecially if the girl HAS brought it up. We’re not in the Victorian era or even the 1950s anymore when the guy isn’t 90% sure she’s going to say yes should he propose, and he has to do a big song and dance about formally asking for her hand from the paernts (some guys do this, still, but it’s a fading tradition), proving his ability to provide (this is important in a guy’s mind, but again, he’s not asking her father to approve based soley on his financial abilties) and he really doesn’t have to have anyone’s approval except hers. Family and friend support is great, but people don’t hinge their lives on it like they used to when your potential inheritnce was a major factor in how well you cold support yourself.
These days, if you’ve been together longer than a year, and espcially if you’ve made it past two years, odds are the lady has made up her mind he’s a keeper, he’s husband-worthy, and she is waiting, patiently or no, for him to propose. By the time years 3-6 roll around, she’s getting a bit frazzled, wondering WHY he ahsn’t done it – they seem so happy together, doens’t he want her, why is HE rejecting HER?
Our society has done a complete 180 as to who is choosing whom for a spouse first, who needs to mention it, and who is feeling rejected if it doesn’t happen. Also, I hate to admit it, but many people used to get married quickly simply because it wasn’t accetable to have sex openly unless you were – so that was a great motivator in moving guys down the aisle. Also, this added to the couple’s nerves, because many people got engaged and married after courting for a span of months, meaning you were now tied to raise a family with essentailly a stranger. Of course, this worked well enough we still ahve mamrraige as a desired institution, even though it’s pretty much under attack from many sides in entertainment and public attitudes.
Now, that the pressure of if-you-want-her-you-HAvE-to-marry-her has been lifted, guys are free to waffle about making an active choice and instead passively “going with the flow” and are more free to resist marriage if pushed too hard. This put woemn in an odd place, because women are expected to be the passive party waiting for marriage, but since the active role is no longer 100% the man’s, since it’s far more acceptable to be a bachelor forever than a spinster, since he can have all the benefits of a wife without the responsibilites, it’s hard for woemn to remain passive and still get that open proclamation of commitment.
I can understand a guy being nervous about asking for that first date, but if they’ve been together long enough for HIM to consider marraige, even in secret, then it’s pretty much almost always a given that she’s already predisposed to accept a proposal – I can’t think of to many woemn I know who’d tell their Boyfriend or Best Friend of a year or more, “No” shold he get down on one knee if the lady was planning on staying with him. If she had other interests, or was wanting to end the relationship, then there’s a chance for rejection, but otherwise, guys have far less esteem to put on the table and lose when it comes to this than they used to.