Post # 1
Ladies, I had such high hopes for a summer 2012 wedding!
But apparently the reason SO hasn’t proposed is because he’s scared. And it’s related to the fact that he was engaged once in the past… and the girl ended up leaving him (after 2.5 yrs of engagement, 9 months before the wedding) for another guy.
On the one hand, he tells me all the time how he’s never loved anyone as much as me and how I’m the “best thing that ever happened to him,” he can’t imagine his life without me, etc. However, he seems to be paralyzed when it comes to actually initiating any of the steps that would lead to marriage (looking at rings, talking to my parents, proposing). As a somewhat non-traditionalist, I would have no problem proposing to him. But SO insists that he’d like to be the one to do it, and to do it properly with a ring and my parents’ blessing.
Despite the fact that SO and I agreed to get married in summer 2012, it’s now January 2012 and we are no closer to engagement than we were before. I’ve talked to him about my concern/upset that our timeline is falling to pieces. He’s able to tell me that the reason he hasn’t done anything is because he’s scared, but not really able to articulate why– something about “being afraid of ruining a good thing” was part of it.
I’ve reassured him, but it’s almost like he’s trying to doom the relationship to fall apart– by making me walk away after he drags this out for too long 🙁 If he were at least doing something to show that yes indeed, he does want to marry me (seeking out counseling?), I feel like this would be easier. AAAAARGH! I feel so infuriatingly helpless.
Are there ANY words of wisdom out there?? Anyone in a similar situation? How long would you let him be “scared” before enough is enough?
Thanks, Bees 🙂
Post # 3
My SO was also previously engaged, and, yeah, she cheated on him. However, they had been engaged for over a year and hadn’t even set a wedding date yet, so not quite as serious as what your poor SO went through.
I’m not sure what to say, except that he just needs to realize that you are not his ex and you’re not going to pull that crap on him like she did. As far as ruining a good thing, maybe you should tell him that putting it off is going to ruin it more than getting married will 😉
Post # 4
I’d be angry, to be honest. My Darling Husband had a similar background with his previous engagement and breakup, and it did not affect how he felt about marrying me one bit – in fact, we got engaged faster than him and his ex! Took them 4 years and he proposed to me after only 2. I would definitely want him to go to pre-marital counseling with me, or whatever you call it when you’re not engaged yet, if he was letting something his ex did stop our relationship from moving forward. It’s time for him to stop forcing you to pay for her mistakes.
Post # 5
Thanks for your support, guys. I didn’t think I was being unreasonably upset, but it’s nice to hear it from you 🙂
@Wonderstruck: I had the thought of pre-engagement counseling, too! We actually set up some pre-marital counseling sessions for January– but I canceled them a few days ago, ha. It was going to be more of “preparing for life together” rather than “working through tough spots in the relationship.” I began to feel intensely uncomfortable as the time drew closer, because SO is clearly not ready for life together. It made the whole thing feel fake.
Post # 6
His ex’s mistakes and decisions = not your problem.
He should trust that you are different. I understand that he was burned before, but I feel as though I know a lot of guys out there that were previously engaged and it fell apart..only for them to find someone better for them and try the whole wedding thing again.
Instead of pre-maritial counseling, could you do couples? Sounds like he has been holding a lot of fears inside for a long time.
Post # 7
How long have you 2 been together? I think that would influence how patient I could be with his being scared. If it’s been a few years or more, I’d be starting to lose patience. If under 2 years, I could wait. Of course there’s no hard and fast rules about this stuff and it varies by situation (age, life situation of the couple, etc)
But at some point it does become unfair to you that he’s punishing you for what his ex did to him, and he needs to get his head of his ass and realize that he’s got a good thing!
Post # 8
Yeah, you shouldn’t be held hostage by the crimes of a previous partner of his, that’s not fair.
My boyfriend was engaged previously too… but only for about a month before they broke up (she didn’t want to marry him and was really ‘anti-marriage’, I think ‘reluctantly’ said yes when he proposed to her after 7 years of dating, so he broke up with her and she was devastated. Tough!). Though it’s not the same dynamic as you have going on, I don’t think it has made him antsy about getting engaged again, at least not in the sense that he is afraid of it or anything. But it may have made him a bit anxious about announcing it, just worrying that people will think ‘oh engaged again eh? will it stick this time?’.
I think that the others’ ideas of suggesting that you need to go to couples counselling together are good. Even if just to hit it home for him that this is a serious issue and something needs to be done to address it. Although it does sound like he might have some emotional / psychological troubles of his own that need to be addressed.
Looking at it from both sides at once, I think that he probably is pretty scared – maybe scared of announcing to the world that you are engaged and having people wonder ‘hmm I wonder if it will really happen this time…’, or even just him thinking that people will wonder that. So (giving him the benefit of the doubt that he is not just using this as an excuse, which for the most part I’m sure he isn’t), you need to be sensitive to the possibility that he is dealing with a lot of anxiety and that the thought of getting married to you, as happy as that may be, is probably dredging up a lot of old hurt for him. That said, he can’t let fear rule his life forever and he is going to have to realize that he needs to get over this pretty fast in order to keep you around. It’s not fair to you for him to go back on a previously agreed upon timeline. Whatever you do, just be compassionate and understanding and give him the opportunity to voice his fears and be heard. But don’t be constantly naggy or whiny. It’s a big deal, give it the airtime of a ‘serious discussion’. And bring up the possibility of counselling.
Hope that novel helped! Feel free to message me about it.
Post # 9
I think your SO needs some professional help. I think it’s normal to be a little gun shy after being dumped like that. But it’s not normal to have a phobia of marriage.
My Darling Husband had been divorced for a little over a year (she cheated on him) when he and I were considering becoming a couple. Marriage was important to me, so I asked him if he would ever get married again. He said he absolutely would if he met the right girl. It took us 6 1/2 years to get married, but any obstacles were between the two of us and had nothing to do with his ex. I will not pay for her mistakes.
Post # 10
I don’t have any great advice, I too am the victim of ‘previous gf baggage’, and I don’t see any way past it. He proposed to another girl that he dated for a few years, she said ‘no’ and not only that, she told him he wasn’t worth marrying because he had ‘no ambition’ and didn’t have a good enough job. So he was crushed, and then she dumped him. He had to return the ring that he had saved up for a bought, and then he found out later that she had been cheating on him
Because of his previous girlfriend’s comments he decided to go back to school (school that I supported us through half of because he got laid off his job).
I feel certain that this a big part of why I’m still waiting. He knows from our conversations that I will say ‘yes’ if he asks me to marry him, but I know he has some level of lingering doubt. He’s constantly asking if I love him, and when I tell him he says “good”, as if he’s constantly asking to reassure himself. Also, SO is always talking about how much he wants to have a better job and be a good provider for us, which is super sweet. But even though he hasn’t directly said so, I have a feeling he is waiting until he has that “better job” to propose. He’s said several times that he plans on keeping his current job for a few more years, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue to wait for a very long time.
Post # 11
It sounds odd that he would agree to a wedding in Summer 2012, then start to back out and say he’s afraid as it grows closer to wedding time. When you discussed your timeline and wedding month/year, was he confident then? Did he express any hesitation or trepidation then? If not, I would ask him when did these feelings start to surface. A man that is afraid of proposing is generally apprehensive about any marriage talk.
Post # 12
@Mommygirl001: I know, right? He seemed totally happy with summer 2012. Unless he was just pretending, for fear of losing me?
@araneidae: many thanks for your novel! 🙂
THE PLAN: My last conversation with SO about our timeline was on December 30. (This is when I told him that I was becoming genuinely upset, and he responded that he was scared.) At the end of the talk, SO said that he heard my feelings and could only do his best to make it up to me. I said I could only assume he hadn’t been 100% on board with the summer 2012 timeline. So, I asked him to give it some honest thought and come back to me with a timeline that he felt good about. A week later… no mention of a new timeline yet.
I’m thinking that I’ll give him until the end of January to make some sort of effort. If, a month after the fact, he can’t even answer the timeline question, I think I’m going to go crazy, lol. I think you ladies are exactly right to suggest counseling. We’ll see what happens.
Thanks all for your advice!