Post # 1
My SO and I have been together for almost two years. We’ve been living together for almost a year and a half. We’ve spoken openly (and fairly frequently) about how we’re going to handle our marriage ceremony (we’re both atheists, both of our families are religious, but are of different faiths), if last names will be changed (and whose), and so on. He has discussed these things with his parents (and I’ve discussed them with mine). We already have a joint bank account, and have had one for over a year. He calls my parents his ILs, and refers to his parents as my ILs. He knows my ring size and knows the engagement/wedding ring set I want (combined, the set is less than $700, because I prefer sterling and garnets, and dislike diamonds). He likes it when I refer to him as “my husband” and he likes to call me “his wife.” He occasionally does this in front of other people/strangers, saying “it’s easier than explaining our relationship.” We’ve talked about kids (we want one, maybe two), he owns the house we live in, we both have good jobs working for the state (finances aren’t an issue; we’re not rich, but we’re firmly middle class). We’re both almost 28 years old.
Around New Year of 2012, we had a conversation about engagement. He firmly said he didn’t want me to propose to him (I would be comfortable doing so, leap year or not – we’re not big on observing traditions). We agreed that we wanted to live together for a full year before getting formally engaged, to make sure we were compatible and fully out of the six-month “honeymoon period.” He said he would propose after September 2012 to give us that full year. I agreed that sounded like a good plan.
Obviously, September 2012 has come and gone (and then some) and no proposal has been forthcoming. I’m hurt and confused. I have no doubts that I want to spend the rest of my life with him, and don’t really doubt that he wants to do the same. I’m not a woman who “just wants to get married.” In fact, the idea of marriage disgusted me until I met him. (I dumped my previous SO of 9 months flat out the moment he asked if I would consider living with him someday). I just want to formalize what we already share.
How do I approach him about this without making it seem like an ultimatum? Because it’s not; I have no intention of leaving him. But I firmly believe that this is my life, too, and despite his “you don’t propose to me, I want to propose to you” edict, I get to have a say in how it plays out. And that includes the timing of things.
Post # 3
@Polyphemus: Well, seeing as how you live together, you have combined finances, you call one another husband and wife, etc., it may feel to him that marriage is not necessary. To me, it seems like you’ve skipped that step, and are living like the couples I know who have chosen to not get married because they’re against it. If you’re already acting like his wife in every way, he’s probably wondering what the point in spending a extra money on jewelry, going through the stress of planning a party, and signing paperwork is. He has it pretty good right now–all the benefits of having a wife with none of the responsibilities. If you don’t give him a reason to want to change the situation, he’d be crazy to want to, honestly. Hopefully this can be as simple as sitting down and letting him know how much this means to you and that you’re starting to wonder whether he is actually serious about it.
But I’d definitely stop calling one another husband and wife. By doing that, you’re basically saying “I’d like to get married, but you don’t REALLY have to marry me, because I already think of you like a husband.”
No. Make him EARN that ish. 😉
Post # 4
I don’t actually call him “my husband,” because doing so when we’re not married makes me uncomfortable. But he has expressed that he would like me to, and liked it when I called him “my husband-to-be,” and he does occasionally refer to me as “his wife.” I can’t control his actions, only my own.
I do definitely feel like he has gotten comfortable with the situation – and I am, too! If I weren’t comfortable, I wouldn’t want to marry him. But I agree with your feeling that he’s in a “Why bother with getting married? We’re practically there already,” place.
I had a pretty upsetting moment about three weeks before Christmas when he said (jokingly), “Wouldn’t it be funny if we went down to the courthouse and got married for Christmas? It could be our present to your mom. Could you imagine the look on her face?” I thought he was leading into a proposal (we’re planning a courthouse ceremony, very low-key), but then…nothing. Then I thought maybe he had been fishing to gauge my reaction, but there’s been nothing since, and I don’t know why it would have been needed; I’ve been quite forthcoming with my feelings on the matter whenever he inquired.
Post # 5
I agree with Effie- you have given him everything without having him give you a Marriage. I can see how him calling you his wife might be sweet, but if it were me, that wouldn’t fly at all. If he wants you to be his wife and sees you as his wife, he has to step up and take that next step- make it happen. I think you should be honest and talk to him about it. It doesn’t have to be some demanding ultimatum- just a little talk explaining that you want to spend the rest of your life with him and you want your commitment to be official and soon. Explain why you want to get married to him and ask him if he would like to also get married and when. If you want to be engaged in this calendar year, tell him that. Until then, I would respectfully request not to be called his wife (because you aren’t), definitely not have kids yet, and stay firm about what you want from the relationship. Good luck!
Post # 6
@Polyphemus: I think your best approach is to tell him in a calm way that marriage is still very important to you. Do not get angry or hurt, even if he says something like “I’m not ready.” Men tend to view this as just an objective statement, not a rejection of the relationship. My fiance went from “i’m scared of the future” to “will you marry me” in about 6 months.
Post # 7
Is it not possible that he is currently planning a proposal? Do you get that vibe from him at all? I would hate for you to jump to conclusions that he isn’t planning to marry you just because he didn’t propose shortly after September. On the other hand, I know how difficult waiting can be especially when you know it should be coming and your have talked extensively about it. I think you can totally bring it up but definitely in an open and non confrontational way. Perhaps “go fishing” and ask if he needs any more suggestions on the types of rings you like. Or just straight out ask if you should be expecting a proposal in the coming months.
I think you have a right to know for sure, but I also think he has a right to plan your proposal how he wants. (I should probably take my own advice as I am not the most graceful waiter, lol)