You are very young.
Personally, I dated my Fiance for 5 years before we were ready to be engaged. And… don’t look now but…I already passed 30. I’m in my early 30s now. And I was not ready to be engaged when I was 30. In my social circle, only a little more than half the women my age are married by now. I’m not one of the last stragglers… most of them will marry.
I know, on the bee, the average age for a woman to marry seems to be much younger, and, there is a lot of anxiety about “waiting” and “why doesn’t he want to propose yet?” so you have lots of company, and it’s probably a cultural thing based on the norms of where you live, that women are expected to worry about that and, well, from my perspective, see themselves as having a highly limited “shelf life” (period in which they are marriageable) and I have to smile when I see in many cases it seems I’m past this imaginary “shelf life” already myself! As you said he said…”acting like you’re about to turn 30″… as if some terrible thing happens to us women after 30, we go rancid on the shelf if we’re not married off yet, nobody would want us at that point…we have to resign ourselves to spinsterhood.
The truth is…. this doesn’t happen! It doesn’t happen at 30 and it sure as heck doesn’t happen at 23. I guarantee, you can find a good man who will to marry you at any age… any age… if you look around hard enough.
My grandmother is in her late 70s. She has a boyfriend right now. She met him off a dating site. I don’t know him that well but they’ve been together for a while and she seems happy. Before this boyfriend, she had a husband I really rather liked, a very kind and gentle man, but she found him too needy and boring, so she divorced him… in her 70s. Her ex-husband was heartbroken, but, my grandmother is a free spirit and felt stifled. Before that husband, she was married to my grandfather, and loved him very much. He unfortunately died when she was in her early 60s.
I’m sorry but I’m really angry at your family for telling you those things, “good years” and all that. You are not a grapefruit to be bought. Never believe that you are. ALL your years are good.
If you’re wondering why he doesn’t want to marry you yet… it’s because he’s too young. The same way some women have been trained to believe they have an expiration date, men have been told that when they marry they must become “real men.” They’re happy about that in a way because they look forward to the pride they’ll havev n themselves, being a “real man,” with responsibilities for others, and all that. And, it’s also pretty damn intimidating. Opposite to the “shelf life” idea, they’re told that the optimal time to take on the challenging feat of becoming a “real man” is late 20s to early 30s. Try too early and you might fail at being a real man…shame yourself, let everyone down. Plus, he’s told, it is his right not to have that heavy responsibility yet. These are his “freer” years, so he’s told, where the world doesn’t expect more of him yet.
Oh, and he’s not told that he has a shelf life, at all, so unlike women, many men already know that they could find a good woman to marry them, at any age. Still, they tend to prefer what theylve been told is optimal for them: to marry when they are in they are in their late 20s or early 30s, so they can be young dads, etc. Their focus on when to marry is based on their own age and sense of when they can be ready to shoulder the sense of responsibility of being a “real man,” and not your “shelf life” story you’ve been told. Of course, they also don’t want you to feel like you’re going to go rancid (they love you and can see your pain), so sometimes they marry earlier than they want for their age, just to stop the woman they love from panicking about her age. He was trying to negotiate a time with you when you won’t feel panicked that you’re too old and he won’t feel panicked that he’s too young. He thinks that’s when you’re 26-28.
I wish you could get free from these myths. It is probably very hard to do when you’re surrounded by people who care about you who are telling you these harmful things. If your anxiety about it gets really bad, I suggest you see a therapist about it.