To hope or not to hope

posted 2 years ago in Waiting
Post # 2
577 posts
Busy bee

Personally, I think you’re way too young to get engaged, and that’s probably why your boyfriend isn’t ready to propose. I’m surprised that so many of your friends were getting engaged or married during your senior year of college. I know that was typical in 1973, but it’s not the norm these days. Not surprising when you consider how many people who got married at 22 were divorced by the time they were 40. Young marriages often don’t work out because people change a lot in their early 20s. At that age, most people still have a lot of growing up to do, and they want to experience life as an independent adult for a few years before settling down. I wouldn’t recommend going straight from college to married.

4 years might seem like a long time to be in a relationship, but 4 years in a college relationship is very different from 4 years in a mature, adult relationship. I’m not saying college students can’t be mature, but they haven’t yet experienced the realities of working a full-time job and paying bills and doing all their own grocery shopping and cooking and figuring out rent and apartment living, etc.

You might end up marrying your boyfriend, you might not. I wouldn’t make big life decisions based on where he decides to live or work. You’re not engaged yet; you need to live your life and work toward your own goals while you still have the freedom to do that.

Post # 3
2011 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Dear bee,

He’s basically saying that he can’t guarantee a future with you.  Hear that for the warning that it is.  Sure he loves you but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to get married or that he sees YOU as the woman he wants to make his wife.  If he did you wouldn’t be on this site wondering what’s happening.

He’s not wrong for not wanting to get married right now.  You both have barely had any life experiences and I’m sure he really wants to see what’s out there.  However, its not fair to you to keep you hanging on when he’s pretty much sure you’re not “the one” and bee that’s the crux of the issue.  He doesn’t want to marry you but he doesn’t want to break up with you either.  You owe it to yourself to get the total truth out of him.  He’s holding back.

Also, you need to decide what it is you really want.  Are you sure its marriage you want or are you comparing your life to your friends’ and simply think that this is what you’re supposed to be doing at this point? I’m getting the vibe from the latter and not from a true sense of wanting to be married. You should do a little more soul searching bee. 


Post # 4
1535 posts
Bumble bee

The one thing I read over and over is that people who get married pretty young typically end up in divorce. I do think it is important to figure out if he is not ready because he is too young or if he doesn’t want to get married because he can’t picture himself marrying YOU. Looking back on life, I am glad I didn’t marry the 2 people I considered I would in my 20’s.  I established myself in my career and traveled the world before settling down.  Some people want to have children while they are young and marriage maybe a part of this equation.  Personally, I am glad I waited and couldn’t imagine being married already at 22 but everyone is different.  

You might need to have the uncomfortable conversation once things have calmed down to find out what is driving him and why he does not see marriage in the very near future. You both may just be incompatabile in this area and then you have to decide if you want to stay or not depending on his answer.

Post # 5
675 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

I’ve been with my DH since college but no way would I be ready to get married after graduating and being 22/23. Maybe we live in different areas, but most of my friends/classmates married in late 20s to early 30s. Like PP said, do you want to get married because you feel it’s the next appropriate step (live together, start a family, etc) OR because your peers are getting engaged/married and you feel pressure to? There are so many things to explore at this stage in life–new jobs, new friends, new cities, new opportunities. Real life vs school life is very different.

Your bf has quite frankly said to you he does not want to marry you right now, does not want to waste your time, and does not want to keep a promise he cannot/may not keep. These are pretty telling. Do you think you could get to the bottom of his reasoning for not wanting to get engaged right now? Perhaps he’s not ready because he wants to explore his life more? Or worst case, he just can’t imagine marrying you. Either way, it is not fair for you to have to wait for him. Good luck, bee.

Post # 6
543 posts
Busy bee

Try not to get too caught up on the fact all your friends were getting engaged or married, who knows, they might have all rushed in and be getting divorced together down the road. You dont want to follow that bandwagon. 

Just go with your relationship and let it take its natural course. In another 2ish years maybe its time to revisit, for now though you have both only really started your adult lives in the world and so much changes. 

As a PP said, she is glad she didnt marry two people she considered in her early 20’s. There is no rush. 🙂

Post # 7
729 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

View original reply
nessie17 :  You need to listen to what he told you “sometimes he pictures us married but doesn’t want to make promises he can’t keep”. Bee he isn’t ready to get married anytime soon, if ever. And you may not be the one for him. I don’t mean to sound harsh but it’s true. Your caught up in this marriage thing and he is trying to get his adult started. Damn you guys just got out of college. It may be HARD watching ALL your friends get married but that’s not what he wants. If someone truly wants something they are not going to tell you yes one day and no the next. Your looking for way to hard for the yes when he is clearly saying no and you can’t see it.

Post # 8
3097 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

Move on,  he’s telling you you’re ok for *now*. Time to date others!

Post # 9
556 posts
Busy bee

You guys broke up two or three times in four years? Hard pass for marriage then or you’ll break up 80 times!

Why do you want to get engaged now? To feel more secure? You know he won’t fully mean it if he says he’ll marry you years from now so it’s a false idea that you’ll feel more secure. Do you want the prestige of being engaged? To wear a big ring? Engagement is meaningless without the imminent intent to marry. 

If he was the one he’d be sure he wants to marry you even on bad days. Find someone else if you’re looking for marriage in this next decade

Post # 10
685 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2021 - Dracut, Massachusetts

I wouldn’t hold my breath on this guy, bee. You’re both so young. Go experience the world while you have the chance! That’s what I would do if I was 22 again!

Post # 11
138 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

Without meaning to sound patronising, not many people are ready to get married at 22. I’m not sure where you’re from if all of your friends are getting married at your age, but that isn’t the norm in most places, and I wouldn’t take a lack of commitment at 22 from your boyfriend to mean he will never want to marry you. If he knows how keen you are to get married when he’s not ready to propose yet, it would actually be more cruel of him to say he definitely wants to marry you and let you believe a proposal is imminent. He’s a recent graduate just trying to figure it all out and that’s totally valid and ok. 

Ultimately it’s up to you now. If you are super ready to get married and don’t want to wait a couple of years to get engaged then ultimately you’re not compatible. But if your relationship is otherwise going well, I’d give it some time.

Post # 12
85 posts
Worker bee

View original reply
nessie17 :  Hey Bee, 

Plenty of people get married young, or to their first loves. 

Personally, I would not have been ready at 22 though! Marriage ties you to one person (presumably) for the rest of your lives. Why not do some exploring first? 

I’m happy for you that you feel so loved in your relationship but if your SO isn’t ready, you can’t rush him. 

Friends of mine are getting married shortly and had a similar timeline to you – they met freshman year of college, dated for four years, then dated for 5 more before getting engaged! And gosh darn if they aren’t BEAMING with excitement at their upcoming marriage. It’s amazing at how well they know each other after spending so much time together. 

My SO and I have only recently started having marriage talks after having been together for 5 years, but those 5 years were our mid to late twenties. The reason we feel we are able to get married at this point is because we know everything about one another – the good, the bad, and what we want out of life. It’s also important that we have spent enough time exploring ourselves first! 

Good luck to you in your future – just remember to always put yourself first 🙂 


Post # 13
1443 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Early 20’s seems pretty young to me to be engaged.. you guys just got out of college, it seems to me that he wants to live life a little prior to making any life long decisions, and that’s ok … I didn’t get engaged until I was 29… there is no way I would have been ready to be engaged at 22/24… I changed considerably from my early 20’s to my mid, and from my mid to my late 20’s, looking back .. I would be miserable right now if I had married the person I was with at 22 (we had been together for 4 years as well)… I say if you guys aren’t on the same page now, you probably won’t be in the near future… 


Post # 14
5513 posts
Bee Keeper

Please trust me, this isn’t the man for you. He’s become a habit that you fear to break. You need to be brave for yourself because this man is not going to become more sure of you over time. What he’s really saying is that he wants to date other people and as young as you are that’s pretty reasonable. 

Also, never marry someone with whom you’ve broken up multiple times. It doesnt bode well. 

Post # 15
10705 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

I’m sure you didn’t want to hear what pps are unanimously saying OP. It’s possible of course that you are one of the few people who can  marry their college sweethearts  and live happily ever after , growing and changing together in the same way at the same rate. But even if you are, he isn’t and he knows he isn’t.

lt bothers me to read you want to be engaged and don’t really mind for how long, that hope is what you are looking for. I think you can do better than this dear OP, waiting and and waiting in the hope of being married someday. You and he were what? 18? when you started? And most of that time was college and you broke up pretty regularly? All very normal and age appropriate. But the time has come to rethink , life should hold more at 22 than the hope of engagement and marriage.

Believe him and start thinking about what ELSE you can picture yourself doing. I fear, and it is sad, l totally see that, this relationship is reaching its natural end. Make sure you are an active part in the progress, even end , of this and any future relationship. Do not give over agency and power to the men in your life, Do not become passive, waiting , unhappy , insecure , it’s a crap way to live. It will sap your energy and self esteem and become an unhealthy and miserable obsession .

Carpe Diem dear OP. 



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nessie17 :  

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