Post # 1
I am a newbie here and I’ve loved reading other posts and gleaning advice from all of you. I’ve had a rough week – thinking my boyfriend was going to propose two different times and nothing happened. I kept talking to my sisters, saying that my mind was just going nuts and I was feeling like I needed to be “on my toes” all the time just in case a proposal was going to happen.
A little background info: one year ago, my boyfriend had told me his plans of a rough timeline of when he was going to propose and went into details about who he wanted as his best man, etc. He had a few too many “adult drinks” that day, so he didn’t remember telling me all of that.
So, yesterday was one of the days I thought he might propose. I was trying hard to not let him know everything I was thinking, but I ended up telling him absolutely everything – everything I had been telling my sisters, everything I was thinking about… everything. My anxiety just couldn’t handle it anymore, so we ended up having a serious conversation about the situation.
He basically told me that he’s afraid of marriage because of everything that will change. Now, I don’t think much will change because we have been living together for several years. But, he told me that if I want it, then I’ll get it. That has really stuck with me – that can’t be healthy, right? Shouldn’t he want to propose rather then just doing it because I want it?
We had talked about marriage before and I was sure we were on the same page but, after he said that, I had to ask him if he was anti-marriage. He very definitively told me he isn’t anti-marriage, that it’s just different from what he witnessed in his family growing up and he’s feeling timid about having to make changes.
What do you all think? Is this going to be a healthy way to start out an engagement – with him proposing just because I want him to?
Thanks in advance! I’m grateful to have found this community.
Post # 2
I mean, you guys are living together and committed – what is so scared is going to change? I’d be concerned that he isn’t really “in it” tbh. What changed in a year when he was excited, and now is only doing it as a pity favour for you?
Post # 3
Can you ask him to articulate what he thinks will change?
Without more details, it seems sort of like a BS excuse that he heard somewhere and is repeating so that he doesn’t have to actually explain what the holdup is. Completely speculative but I’m not buying it without more detail on his end.
Post # 4
I would keep having conversations with him to try to pinpoint his fears.
When I got married 3 yrs ago almost nothing about our lives changed. We already lived together and shared financial responsibilities and that didn’t change. We didn’t even merge our bank accounts until this year when we bought a house and I lost my job because of Covid. We already split holidays between our families.. I honestly cant think of a single thing that changed except emotionally/symbolically.
You should get to the bottom of what his specific fears are before you get engaged so that you can both go into it with positive feelings about it. Hopefully it’s just a case of reassuring him that your relationship is not his parents’ relationship.
Post # 5
Yeah, his explanation smells of BS. He needs to clearly articulate what he’s so afraid will change. I have this feeling he’s trying to put you off marriage with him. But you need to find out for sure by having a DIRECT adult conversation about the topic. Don’t let him deflect you with promises of a surprise or that it will happen “soon.” The surprise ship has sailed at this point. He needs to be explicit about where he stands on marriage with you and what his timeline is. If he tries to avoid having a direct, specific conversation, that is not a good sign.
Post # 6
Is marriage a deal-breaker for you?
Marriage is a deal-breaker for me. My boyfriend is very much a “you don’t need a piece of paper to show you are committed” person. When we had a serious talk about the future his position was “I don’t think I need to marry you to show you that I want my spend my life with you, but I know that it is really important to you. I love you, I want to build a future with you, so you better tell me when you want this ring by so I have time to save.” His next comment was how he would like to be like a couple we know through the rock climbing community who have a beautiful camper and are always out on adventures now that they are retired.
My timeline was by end of September 2021. I guess I can’t offer my story as a beacon of hope until then, but I think the takeaway is my boyfriend isn’t excited to get married from a theoretical standpoint, but isn’t scared of the commitment.
My big concern is that if he isn’t anti-marriage in general, why doesn’t he want to marry you? On the flip side, I don’t think that someone needs to be excited to get married for them to want to have a life with you.
I always want to add a caveat to my WB comments that I live in Alberta, Canada, so our support and property laws are very different than the US and marriage doesn’t really affect them too much (i.e. you have the same rights as a married person after three years of cohabitating).
Post # 7
I think it would help a lot if you can sit down with him and ask what he thinks will change if you got married and what he’s afraid of. At the beginning of this year, my longtime boyfriend was still anxious about getting married and we barely talked about it because I felt scared to ask what was holding him back. So throughout the year, we worked on having open discussions about what marriage means to each of us and what we think it will be like – which has really helped us move closer to marriage.
I told him that since we are already living together and close to each other’s families, I don’t think much will actually change in our day to day lives – it will just be extra special because we’re “officially” a part of each other’s families and celebrating our relationship with the people we love.
I also needed to give him space to really open up about what he was afraid of without him having to worry about hurting my feelings. When he told me his fears, I was able to tell him my perspective and we worked through it together so we’re on the same page and have a better understanding of where we’re each coming from.
Maybe your boyfriend has a different idea of what marriage will be like compared to what you have in mind. It sounds like he doesn’t have the best role models in terms of married couples in his family, so maybe he needs to express his fears based on the marriages he’s observed in his own family.
I suggest you take the time to have this conversation when you both have time to sit down and be vulnerable with each other. Figuring out this step and opening your communication about a tricky subject will be a test to your potential marriage too – you’ll see how you and your partner can handle conflict and getting on the same page about big life decisions.