Post # 1
So this is my first post on this site, and it’s pretty personal, but I feel like reading some of the advice the bee’s have given after lurking for a while (haha) has finally given me the courage to speak my truth. Here goes:
My boyfriend and I have been together for 11 years and we STILL AREN’T ENGAGED. I know! We got together really young, so it’s not as scary as it sounds, but we’re in our late twenties now and I have been bit by the wedding bug bug time—it seems like everyone around me is getting married and having babies after knowing their spouses for like a hot second. Yet, he just doesn’t seem all that motivated to get off his ass and propose. We had the talk last month, and his response to my asking him whether he sees us getting married soon is always, “Sure,” and when I asked him how soon soon is in his mind he was suddenly all, “when I’m 100% sure we’ll never get divorced.” UM. WHAT? Like how does he plan on calculating this risk? After 11 years I kind of feel as though we have thuroughly tested this relationship. I tried to laugh it off as a joke at the time, but he wasn’t laughing.
So last night I broke down and told him that his expectations were riddiculous and that I felt as though he was keeping me from the next step in my adult life and that being together that long without at least a ring was not normal in our society and just that he was making me feel like shit by witholding. He starts crying (I shit you not) and tells me that I am the one making him feel like shit by devaluing our relationship and that he is committed to me so why do I even need a ring? I told him that’s exactly what a ring signifies, COMMITMENT (my love language is gifts, he knows this).
I don’t know how to approach this subject with him anymore. After talking to several of my friends I’m wondering if 11 years is just too long to be together without being married, like, whether the relatiosnhip goes stale or something. He’s never been the kind of person to push himself, refuses to persue a higher paying job because it would just make him miserable, lived with his parents for a while after college, etc., so why should I believe that he’s not just settling for this relationship and dragging me along with him just because it makes him “comforatble”. But I believe there’s an order to the way we do things and that the RING comes first, and that he should at least have a plan in place at this point. I want children, and I’m afraid he’s going to drag this out until all my eggs are gone!
Have I done this to us? Have I let him get too comfortable?? Should I have pushed for action years ago, moved out, let hhim fend for himself? Is it too late?? Soooo confused! Help!
Post # 2
I’m sorry you are in this position. It sounds as though he will not be proposing, he basically already told you that by saying you are “devaluing” the relationship by wanting to take the next step. I spent 5 years with a man like this and although we had a great relationship, I left. Guess what, it’s been 6 years and he isn’t married and actually doesn’t like the idea of marriage or bringing children to this world, he is a great guy but I’m so happy I’m not in a relationship with him, that would also put me at 11 years. I would suggest setting up a timeline you are comfortable with and is doable for him (saving for a ring, etc) and see how he reacts, if he gives you the same reaction, you should move on. If he agrees but isn’t taking necessary steps, move on.
You deserve someone who wants the same things as you!
Post # 3
I think only you can know if it has gone stale, and/or that he’s too comfortable . I suspect the latter is the case, but what would l know!
l don’t like his tearful stuff accusing you of devaluing the relationship because you want engagement and marriage . Crap. And a neat way of turning it back on you. I would tell him what you have said here, that frankly, you feel he is lazy and comfortable and because of it you have begun to doubt his commitment. Add that you don’t want to argue on and on about it, but that you have reached a point where you are thinking about cutting your losses. Tell him to think about that and get back to you.
Post # 4
Guess he likes getting the milk for free. I know that seems old fashioned but it’s what he is doing.
Post # 5
I also met my husband young. For that reason we ended up waiting 7 years to get engaged (8 to get married). This nonsense he’s telling never once came out of my husband’s mouth. Our reasons for waiting were concrete, agreed on by both of us, and clear steps were being taken to reach our pre-marriage goals.
You are in limbo with a man whose actions (and words) say he will never propose.
So it’s been 11 years. Do you want it to be 12? 13? How long are you willing to wait around and see? You need to take control of your life! Want marriage and kids? Move on. Don’t keep wasting time, you do not have an endless supply.
Post # 6
Lol, I’ve heard the milk thing a lot, usually from my mother. It strikes me as old fashioned, but I guess it could still be true….
Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies so far! I really appreciate it.
Post # 7
I don’t know if this makes a difference but it is something I forgot to mention. Because we’ve been together since we were kids we’ve only ever had sex with each other. I’m a little afraid that he’s refusing to marry me because he regrets that and wants to keep his options open….that could just be my crazy brain, though.
Post # 8
Don’t no let him make any kind of excuse or crap or blame you for this. My best friend and her husband were literally identical to you timeline-wise. At 10 years together he proposed and they got married. None of the crap your boyfriend is saying ever came up, no concerns over her being the only woman he ever slept with, no commitment/devaluing weird blame game. This guy is garbage, he’s not going to propose.
Relationships don’t automatically go stale because you were together a decade… this guy is just stale backwardsandinheels :
Post # 9
This guy hardly sounds like a catch. You deserve someone who doesn’t waiver: who is eager to marry you and who is head over heels for you. 11 years is long enough to know if you want to marry someone, and too long for him to monopolize your time. Your best response in this case is to recognize the sunk cost and let him go. His response will be informative as to whether he is motivated enough and truly wants to be with you. It’s to your benefit to know sooner rather than later, so that you can focus on yourself and finding someone more compatible.
Also, the gaslighting is unacceptable.
Post # 10
Well he’s guaranteeing you’ll never get divorced – you have to get married to get divorced.
I guess ask yourself if you’re ok waiting around for (and should it ever happen – marrying) someone who lacks ambition who needs to be prodded through each of adulthood’s steps. I would focus less on where you think you should be after 11 years. That’s irrelevant. No person’s “11 years” will look exactly the same. There is no universal “should”. You need to focus on what you want from now forward, assessing where you are in the relationship now and whether that can get you to the future you want. Not just engagement. What is your five year plan? Career? Marriage? Children? Home-owner?
And are your goals the same and how does your relationship enhance your ability to reach those goals? Someone in their late-20s should be able to make goals and concrete plans towards something, anything. I personally wouldn’t want to be with someone who couldn’t. You have to decide for yourself how long you are willing to accept aimless and shiftless because it sounds like that’s just his permanent speed. So you’ll be prodding him along for everything like you’re his mommy. I mean, at least you’ll have a kid out of the deal and he’s hopefully already potty-trained.
Or you can decide if you want a partner who works with you to meet your shared goals and move on so you can find one.
Post # 11
Do all the things you would have done eight years ago, now.
I think there are some red flags that he gets comfortable with everything. That doesn’t really sound like the kind of person to devote your life to.
He can’t guarantee he won’t get into a collision every time he gets into a car, so does he not drive a car? I doubt it. That is a bullshit line.
Post # 12
I’m sorry about this. Good for you for being honest. But your boyfriend……what a drama queen and a guilt tripper. And I’m being kind. He’s got a lot of nerve trying to make you feel bad for questioning his inaction. Don’t fall for it. Give the little boy some kleenex. Sorry, but what a loser. You might love him but he isn’t acting very lovable at the moment, is he? Listen to your brain here, not your heart.
11 years is a long time. If I am being totally honest I do think it is too long – and I’ve been married 33 years. Your boyfriend has gotten very comfortable over a very long period of time. He doesn’t want to leave, because it’s not that bad, but he does want the security of knowing that he has an out should Ms. Right come along. Of course he wants to keep his options open; that’s not your imagination.
There’s only one thing for you to do. You have to shake up the system that has served him so well and dump it on its ear. You can’t change him, you can’t make him want something he doesn’t. But you can make sure that you find someone who shares your goals while you are still young.
Post # 13
THIS. Are you sure you really want to marry him, OP?
Post # 14
I’m sorry you have wasted most of your 20s with this guy. I would suggest you immediately stop living as his (pseudo) “wife”. You’ve done that for longer than a decade and here you are, still single and receiving an (insulting) song and dance from him when you ask for more! Move out and move on to someone who really *wants* you for his wife.
Post # 15
Honestly I think I’m just so confused right now between what I want and what everyone around me is saying. I love him deeply, but my friends and sister and even my mom keep jumping all over me about why hasn’t he proposed yet??? It seems like that’s the automatic question out of everyone’s mouth when I tell them we’ve been together so long, even people I hardly know who have never met him! I could bore you all with details and explanations for his behavior, but my gut tells me the majority of you wouldn’t care, dismiss them as excuses. I’m not saying everyone is totally wrong, but I’m encountering a hell of a lot of “You guys are freaks, your biological clock is ticking” kind of responses in real life, so I thought I’d venture online to try to get a more balanced opinion.
I’ve heard the term “shut up ring” used on this site from time to time. Honestly that would be what an engagement ring would be at this point, but not as a way to shut me up, as a way to shut EVERYONE ELSE up.
If I’m being totally honest…..yes, I want marriage and children and he is aware of this, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder if the time pressure on my part is entirely imagined based on the peer pressure I’m getting. I think if he and I had this conversation from a less emotionally charged standpoint there is a chance it might work out.
On the other hand, the overwhelming advice I seem to be getting is “cut your losses”, sooooo……