Okay. Here goes. My boyfriend of 4 years bought a ring in Jan/Feb, which I wasn’t meant to know about, but he did a silly thing in the process of buying which meant I then found out about it. Anyway… 9 months later he still hasn’t proposed and it has become such a huge issue in our relationship.
I don’t understand why he bought the ring if he wasn’t planning on proposing any time soon. He keeps telling me that he wants it to be special, yet there have been plenty of opportunities for a special proposal. Meanwhile, about 3 months ago he bought me a promise ring which confused me further as I feel as though he’s trying to put off proposing.
I feel like he’s changed his mind. I desperately want to be engaged and all my friends are getting engaged/married, and I so desperately want to be able to say to the world we are, too. I know he has the ring, and supposedly wants to be married, too, but he just won’t pop the question. We argue about it a lot, and I just don’t really know what to do anymore.
Why hasn’t he proposed? Is something wrong? Please help!!
Dear “Misses Gollum,”
Good Lord, nine months is a helluva long time to be waiting around for a ring that’s sitting in the other room. Bummer that you found out about it… And then got a promise ring… I guess that’s sorta better than getting a “shut-up ring,” (which is what most engagement rings turn into when a girl keeps nagging.) Hell, you got two rings outta your frustration, so it’s definitely better! But I digress. On to your question.
So, you wanna know why he hasn’t proposed, huh? What the hold-up is… Well, unless your dude’s lying to you, (or himself), it looks like he actually already told you. He wants it to be special, which for him may not only mean waiting for the right physical space/way, but the right mental one.
You see, a lot of wolves have gotten pretty tired of us women pressuring them into getting married, only to be the first one to turn around, file for divorce when our fantasy of married life doesn’t match the reality of it, and potentially take half of their shit. So, here, we gotta give it to the fellas and their long-sighted approach.
Now, what this means for you is that while, technically, your concern that he’s putting it off is right, that doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong. While many women in your shoes would see his hesitation as a sign of commitment issues, or something like that, the truth of the matter is that many times, when a man is holding off from marrying a woman he loves and does want to have a future with, it’s because he’s afraid of one thing and one thing only: a bad marriage. (And, unfortunately, nagging only feeds any fear of being stuck in a bad marriage with a selfish, demanding devil-woman. Crikey.)
Yep, as strange as it is, despite their dimness in many other areas, a lot of men often figure out earlier than women that there’s a difference between being married and being happily married. And your guy’s lack of urgency is most likely due to him just wanting to make sure that things start out on the right foot.
So, my advice? Instead, of pressuring him to do something that he is in some way not ready to do, use this time to focus on making sure you have the right foundation for a life-long marriage.
Make sure your values when it comes to top marriage-killers – like money, religion, infidelity, illness, and kids – are aligned. Double-check your intimacy needs and each other’s capacity and willingness to satisfy them. Participate in relationship counseling in person or with a book like “Getting the Love You Want,” by Harville Hendrix, in order to get to know each other on an even deeper level. And come up with a solid game plan for how you’re going to deal with life’s unexpected challenges together.
Once everything checks out, and both of you are confident that you have what it takes to go the distance, communicate your engagement time-frame desires to your beau, and find out what his are. If both of you are on the same page, you should be able to come up with a “by Christmas” or “by summer” type of date that you both feel good about. Then, let it go, and enjoy your life. After all, the real secret to a good marriage is two, happy and whole people coming together and enjoying the shit out of life with each other.
If, however, you two can’t settle on a “by” date, or you do and he backs out of it?… Well, time to start working on your Beyoncé “Single Ladies” wave, and picking winners.
Best of luck, and congratulations on your engagement in advance. It looks like you got a good one.
Note: As this column is designed to be a judgement-free zone, only those who have been, (or know someone who has been), in a similar situation are invited to comment; especially if the question is unorthodox or hard for one to relate to. And for even more relevant insight, those seeking answers are always encouraged to go within.