(Closed) Should i try to convince BF to propose before his PhD is finished?

posted 11 years ago in Waiting
Post # 3
302 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

@LondonAmericana: My opinion is you should never convince your SO.  Though it may drive you nuts, though you might think you have a good reason to, and timing issue might be relivant, I never think its a good idea to bring forth an ‘argument’ (mean that in a discussion sense) for getting engaged due to circumstances or feelings of I prefer it now.  It should happen when things align for SO emotionally.  As you guys have been discussing it, its on SO mind, so let it be.  Trust me when I say you’d prefer for it to happen on their terms, vs being pushed.  Your robbing yourself of those feelings of surprise, and excitment that they are ready, on their own, not just because you asked enough.  Make sense?

Post # 4
1646 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@HardyPooleParty: i disagree that she shouldn’t say anything; while it’s a bad idea to “convince” someone to propose, i don’t think that’s what op’s described. it sounds like they’re on the same page and he’s the one pushing this timing anyway, but there are very real concerns about his timeline (family getting flights at a reasonable price, her getting a job, etc) and in a healthy relationship, discussing those issues shouldn’t rock that boat very hard. this is a partnership–you should be able to comfortably express your concerns and needs without the guy freaking out.

i’ll give you my example. in august 2009 my husband and i had been talking about getting engaged for awhile in a hypothetical sense. i was about to start applying for grad school, and he was definitely going to be moving with me whereever i got in. i was getting anxious because we didn’t know where we’d be moving (i was applying allll over the place) and i didn’t want to be planning a wedding in a new city while trying to also do well my first year of a phd program. very real, logistical concerns. so hubby and i had a calm conversation where i said something like, “hey, i don’t want to pressure you, but if we want to get married in this city, where we’ve fallen in love and have friends and family, we need to get engaged soon so we can make that happen.” he hadn’t been thinking about the timing at all, and so even though his initial reaction was “ahhh this is pressure,” he calmed down pretty quick. he designed a ring in september, proposed in october, and then we were married the in august 2010, a month before i started grad school. did i “push” him or have to convince him? absolutely not–he was already going to propose, he just hadn’t thought of the logistics at all because he had no idea what goes in to planning an actual wedding. we have a great relationship with lots of healthy communication.

so bottom line–you speaking up about legitimate logistical concerns is totally okay. being in the waiting stage can be you feel like you’ve given up total control over your relationship, and i for one hated that. i think getting engaged should be much more of a conversation–he can still surprise you (my hubs completely caught me off guard even though i knew it was coming!), but speaking up about things like this is completely okay

Post # 5
2336 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

My bf is very similar to yours – he’s very single minded.  He even got his PhD (though not while dating me) so I’ve heard a bit about that time.  I appreciate wanting to focus on his defense, it’s an important time.  And it takes time to find/buy the right ring (even if you pick it out for him) not to mention plan a wedding.  Obviously, I also see your side – by delaying, it not just pushes all of the stress into a shorter time frame, but it becomes more elevated because time is running out.

How about a little compromise?  Ask him if he’d be willing to propose prior to the PhD so that you can tell your family so they can book flights.  You can then research venues/put down deposits.  But the ring can come after.  You in turn need to keep fairly mum on planning and not distracting him.  So 12 visits to find a venue is out, but perhaps take him to see 2-3 and that’s it for wedding planning involvement from him.  (You can get a guest list from his mom and guess on his friends until he resurfaces.)

Post # 8
1065 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I actaully think it is wrong and damaging to feel like you have to give your SO 100% control over when and how you get engages/married.  You should have some input, there are two people here! Open and honest communication is really important IMO, and I think you should talk to him about the logistics.

Post # 10
150 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

As someone who has been through both the phd phase and is currently going through the waiting phase, I can honestly say the the phd phase is way way worse and more stressful. I personally wouldn’t bring it up. He will really appreciate it if you let him focus on the last few months working on his dissertation and let him focus on proposing after he defends.

Post # 11
686 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I worried about moving to Montana before getting engaged, too. I flat out told my husband that I had been waiting to change my address until he proposed. He told me I had nothing to worry about. I chose to believe him. We got engaged soon after.

So I’d say, know where you stand, but don’t fret over nothing. Trust your guy. If you are talking marriage, I doubt he’ll just change course.

Post # 13
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011


Yes! The PhD process is more frustrating than waiting (and usually takes a lot longer!) As someone who is currently in your SO’s position (months away from the PhD), and recently got married, I encourage you to be patient for a little bit longer. These last few months are incredibly stressful. You want to savor that time right after the engagement, and if he’s consumed by school, he won’t enjoy this time too much. In fact, to him it may seem more like an inopportune distraction instead of a wonderful life event. If he’s thought of this, he knows that’s not fair to you. Try seeing it through his eyes (he’s ‘waiting’ too for that PhD!) and know that soon, you both won’t be waiting anymore. 

Post # 14
89 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I agree with PP about not pressuring him to propose/trying to plan a wedding during these last very busy months of his program.

However, I think you should tell him that you want to have a serious conversation with him in the next few weeks. Let him know it’s not anything bad or anything he should be stressed out about, but that you will need 30 mins to an hour of his time, at his convenience. Then just raise your concerns about having the very short engagement he wants. Explain that you’re completely fine with waiting to be engaged, and you understand he needs to focus on his work right now. But give him a sense of the logistics involved in planning the kind of wedding you two might want. Explain that venues, photographers, caterers, etc. often need to be booked six months to a year in advance; that your dress will need to be shopped for, ordered, and altered, all of which takes time; and that your family and friends will need plenty of advance notice so they can find reasonable airfare. Then remind him that you two want to spend the rest of your lives together, and prolonging your engagement by four months (or whatever) is really not a big deal in the long term. Tell him you want him to reconsider his plan for a “really, really short engagement”.

In terms of the graduation/finding a job in London issue: I do feel for you and understand why this might make you anxious/uncomfortable. However, honestly, I think you need to get over it. You’re both very much on the same page in terms of your dedication to building a life together; finding a job in the city where you currently reside while you wait–presumably for a few months at most–for him to propose is frankly a minor concession to make compared to lots of decisions that will come up after you are married. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but it does sound like you are being kind of silly about this.

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