- 10 months ago
What can you say that won’t make SO defensive and that doesn’t sound like an ultimatum?
What can you say that won’t make SO defensive and that doesn’t sound like an ultimatum?
Well first, how have you discussed engagement so far? Do you know when he sees it happening and what his reasons are?
I just literally told him how I felt. We went ring shopping two weeks later.
zzar45 : Yes, we have discussed it many times the past 2 years, last year he said that he wanted to wait to get me something nice so I said I don’t need an expensive ring. Then a few months later he said he was waiting to see what is going to happen at his job (layoffs were happening) and nowadays he is saying it will happen soon and that it will be a surpise.
Have you discussed this with him before? Your SO shouldn’t be getting defensive over talks of engagement.
The conversation should just be, “So when do you see us getting engaged and married?” That’s a general question, no pressure or ultimatums there. If he says he’s “unsure,” just give him your timeline, and say, “What do you think about that?” If he gives you a timeline that you’re not happy with, ask him why he is thinking of that timeline. Have an adult discussion. Both of you should be included in this decision. Make the conversation more of a mutual decision-making session rather than demands and ultimatums. If you have totally different timelines, you’ll both have to compromise some, but it will still be fair because you’ll have discussed it together and you’ll have each compromised, and you’ll be on the same page.
newyorkweddingbee : Okay, based on your update, I’d have one more conversation and ask him if he can define “soon” a little better (a month, two months, 6 months?). Just tell him that you feel like you’re in this weird in between place, where you aren’t just boyfriend/girlfriend but you aren’t engaged either, and it’s making you anxious, and it would make you feel a lot better/put your mind at ease if you had a definitive timeline in which he’ll propose. It can still be a surprise as to the exact time and place, but to put it within a timeline will just help put your mind at ease.
I wouldn’t stand for defensiveness AT ALL on the subject of our SHARED future.
Defensiveness from one party means the other party’s feelings or concerns are being invalidated, and I refuse to be invalidated.
I simply told my boyfriend (at the time) that the idea of “waiting” like the stereotype was giving me really high anxiety, and that I didn’t think that was going to work for me, and said I wanted the process of getting engaged to be collaborative.
He said he liked the idea and we commenced designing a ring together when we were ready.
Someone on weddingbee once described engagement as – you both agree to go out to dinner. You are STARVING and get all ready to walk out the door to dinner at 7pm. However, your boyfriend isn’t hungry that minute, he wants to relax. He definitely wants to go out to dinner eventually but you’re ready way before him. He has every intention of having dinner but not at the exact time you want to. Does that make sense?
Just calmly discuss setting a realistic and agreeable timeline for engagement. No vague answers, just ask – do you see it happening within 3 months, 6 months or a year? And based on his answer – tell him what you are OK with. If he can’t give you any timeline, you need to reconsider if he wants a future with you. Do not bring up a “walk date” or ultimatum per say, but just explain calmly that it’s important to take the relationship to the next level and being engaged supercedes a fancy proposal or expensive ring for you. If he can’t agree and follow through by whatever agreed upon timeline, that you’ll have to interpret that as a sign he’s not ready and may never be.
Also – don’t underestimate the “surprise” element for men. My now H is totally logical and normal with all other plans but with proposing, he was such a jerk (not really, he just threw me off a few times!) b/c he wanted it to be a surprise. He said to me once “Just as much as you want to be engaged, I want to the proposal to be a special surprise”. Even knowning how anxious I was getting, he messed with me & threw me off to ensure I was susprised. My BFFs H did the same thing. Honestly, I wish I had laid off a little now… looking back, I was so hyper about the whole thing that I think I freaked him out and he gave me HUGE clues right at the end. To the point that I kinda expected it, lol.
If he’s going to react defensively to you expressing how waiting makes you feel, he’s gonna react that way no matter how prettily you word it.
I would focus less on the wording and more on being direct about your needs. I wouldn’t worry about sounding like you’re giving him an ultimatum either, cause ultimately that is what will happen if he continues putting this off, and he deserves to know where your head is. We all have our dealbreakers, and a perfectly valid dealbreaker is being with a partner who keeps moving the goalpost and delaying engagement.
We talk very openly about it, he doesn’t get defensive and I think it’s primarily because when we talked about it – it was exhaustive. Whats your timeline? What are your expectations? Whats our budget? We were frank about our feelings and set a timeline that we stuck to, due to job/salary restrictions at the time.
The proposal will be a surprise, but nothing else will be. We discussed ring budget, looked at rings, and general season when we would like to get engaged.
After talking about it the hardest part is probably waiting, being patient, and adhereing to the agreed timeline – this way neither party grows resentful. So they key takeaway here I think is BE ON THE SAME PAGE, SET A TIMELINE.
The way to do it is just like everyone said here, be frank. I asked my SO when he saw us getting married and his response was “next year” I was like, I need at least a season if not an actual month! He saw us getting married in the fall, I saw the spring, we agreed that we would both compromise based on what venue we decide on is available. We went ring shopping the next week. I also had to walk him through the timeline a litttle bit! He honestly thought he would walk into a jewelery store and walk out with a ring, and that we could start planning a fall wedding next summer, or spring if we wanted to be prepared!
Just have a frank and honest conversation. If they get defensice or upset, I’m sorry but you have your answer.
I never understand why this is an issue for so many people. You need to have a frank conversation with your SO and not tolerate evasiveness. First ask him if he has a specific timeline in mind. 6 months? A year? Something else? If he cant or won’t respond to that, tell him – “Here is what would be my ideal. What do you think of this/Can you get onboard with this?” If he is still being evasive or tries to pull that surprise nonsense. Tell him “I understand that you want this to be a fun surprise, but I am not ok with feeling like I don’t have a say in the timing of my own future. We can establish a general timeline of [6 months, a year], and then I will let you take it from there. But I’m going to need to have a time frame so I can plan for my future.”
Whenever I see these posts I have to respond because I wish someone told me sooner what I needed to hear when I was in your shoes. I put up with not knowing in silence for WAY too long. We had the ‘soft’ approach, the ‘mature’ approach and the full blown ‘tears and tantrums’ approach (my tears and tantrums might I add).
In the end the surprise element made me feel like a prisoner waiting on their unspecified release date and I despised feeling so powerless and out of control of our future. It could be days, months, years?!?!
The ONLY thing that worked for us… was a clinical, unemotional firm discussion that involved me telling him I refused to be ignored for any longer. I was so firm I was ready to walk away if he didn’t listen to me any longer, I was tired of being dismissed. Some friend (use the term loosely) said I “ruined” the romantic moment and “blackmailed” him into it. I didn’t give a damn what anyone thought because I knew this man loved me to the moon and back but suffers with chronic indecision about EVERYTHING. Who cares what I sounds like?! It’s the intention that matters and if he loves you he will know that he wants to marry you.
So I followed my mums advice and gave him a good old fashioned kick up the ass. Now things are fantastic and our timeline is the end of summer and both of us are happier than ever. What I am saying is, do what is ultimately best for you. Put yourself first in the process and keep it respectful.
I hope you reach your peace soon girl! Keep us updated.
lovebee15 : Yeah, I wasted too much time with all of that crap: being the “cool girl” that’s fine with engagement whenever, being the “cool couple” that is on exactly the same page and gets engaged without any fuss, not “ruining” the proposal, the “don’t pressure him,” the “don’t ask for a timeline because timeline = ULTIMATUM.”
Forget all of that. A timeline isn’t an ultimatum. It doesn’t ruin the romance. Waiting and waiting ruins everything. But at the same time, it’s also ok if partners aren’t ready at the exact same time. Getting strung along in the dark sucks, but that doesn’t mean that the only “correct” engagement is both partners simultaneously shouting “1..2..3.. Engaged!” Having a timeline talk doesn’t mean you’ve failed at the relationship. It doesn’t mean you aren’t compatible if you are able to work through it together.
If he gets defensive then work through it and get the information you need to know. As sassy411 always points out, a little “pressure” isn’t going to kill him. And if he’s one of those guys who’s going latch onto the “you’re pressuring me” excuse to buy more time, then you need to know that about him. If he “pressures” you to just leave him alone about it, then put yourself first. Because the reality is that a partner who makes you wait and won’t work with you is putting himself first.
highstrungmomtobe : That last paragraph is chilling. Your H was ok with you being sad and stressed out for his surprise? That’s not ok. If a man I loved did that to me, I’d rethink my love. Actually, I’ve already done something similar, so yeah. I don’t know man that shit is just cold IMO.