Waiting For That “Special” Moment

by admin on February 18, 2015

First off, my boyfriend is adorable and we are very much in love. We have lived together for two years and have sort of both realized we are likely to be together forever. So much so, that after we had been together for about 8 months, he decided I was the person he was going to marry and he was going to ask me one year after that day. However, for some reason I can’t quite work out, he changed his mind in the intervening year. Which would have been odd enough, except for the fact that he told me he had changed his mind and had decided not to propose.

I mostly put it out of mind in the beginning, thinking that there isn’t much point worrying about it. Until about a year after he told me about his change of mind when I started to get confused and a bit upset. We ended up talking about it a few weeks before Christmas when he was sort of dismissive and said that of course he loved me and that he was wanted to propose soon so I should just be patient.

Then on Christmas Day (not expecting anything) we went to his parents’ house for lunch and then came home to unwrap our gifts to each other. After opening a few small gifts like a mug from him, he turns to me and smiles and says, “I’ve saved the BIGGEST gift for last”, and out of his pocket he pulls a small gift wrapped box. My heart is pounding as I tear off the wrapping paper, and open it up to see that he’s given me a pair of earrings. Which are quite nice and well appreciated, but it was certainly an odd way of presenting them after the discussions we had had recently.

So now I’m pretty fed up with the whole issue. He has said that I only get one chance to have someone ask me to marry them so he wants to make it special, whereas I just think everything has gotten a bit out of hand and no proposal will live up to the hype he has managed to create. I guess I just need to be grateful that I get to be with somebody who is mostly a wonderful and caring being, and only occasionally a bit of a twit.   0210-15

There is something “off” about this submission and I look forward to the Ehellions to read it and see if we alldiscern the same thing.

Just from the very small  amount of information you provide, it paints a portrait of a man who is frivolous with his words at best and at worst, someone who does not stand by his word and who doesn’t appear to care what the effect of his words are on his supposed beloved.

The other thing that bothers me is that despite your belief that you are both destined to be together forever, apparently he does not share that conviction at this time.   Once my husband determined that I was the woman he knew he could not live without, he did not procrastinate in proposing marriage.   If a man sees you as a valuable treasure that cannot be lost, he takes the steps to make sure he keeps that treasure.   If a man were to tell me he cannot propose until it is the perfect “special” situation, that would hint to me he has created an impossible hurdle to marriage as a means to forestall having to ever make the commitment.    Particularly when he claims this “special” proposal is for my benefit…why haven’t you realized that you never asked for a “special” proposal yet he is using that as an excuse to wait,  possibly indefinitely, to ask you to marry him?  I don’t consider that kind of behavior “wonderful”, “adorable” or “caring”.

I think you have a conundrum.  You can either choose to continue living with him with no expectation that he will ever propose or you end the relationship in the hopes of finding a man who will value you above pearls such that he eagerly looks forward to making you his wife.

{ 103 comments… read them below or add one }

LonelyHound February 18, 2015 at 11:04 am

I have to agree with Cerys here. Either propose yourself or have an open ended discussion (as another commenter mentioned). For both your sakes you have to find out where he stands. In my opinion I think it is even more important after what he did to you at Christmas. He HAD to know you expected a ring to be in that box. It was just cruel to have done what he did.

You do not say how old you are so that will have some weight for some people on getting engaged/marriage. However, most of the time when both of you know this is the person you are going to marry, you know. My husband proposed to me 6 months after we started dating sans ring. He told me he wished to not announce it to friends, just family, until he could provide a suitable ring. Every month, to the day, he asked me to marry him after the initial proposal. He said talking to his friends he found most do not consider it “official” without a ring. I told him I disliked jewelry (I even told him diamonds were my most hated gem), but needed a long engagement for peace of mind. Six months after he proposed to me he asked may parents for my hand, and informed them that he was still saving for a ring but wanted them to know he was going to make me his wife. A year and a half after he proposed initially he had saved up for a ring, took me on a picnic, and “officially” proposed. We married 2 years after he proposed.
I guess the point I am driving at is that not a day went by that I doubted my hubby wanted to marry me. If you have doubts now you might be losing you trust in him, and trust is the foundation of a marriage. You really need to talk to him or propose to him yourself.

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The Elf February 18, 2015 at 11:18 am

This isn’t about etiquette. This is a plain ol’ fashioned relationship communication fail. It’s time for a heart-to-heart about the future, what you want, and what he wants. If what you both want is (eventual) marriage, then talk about proposals and engagement rings. This might not seem romantic to some, but I’m always in favor of openly communicating desires.

I was recently in a position to “propose”! My husband and I have been married for 18 years. But he recently lost his wedding ring. He took it harder than I did. Anyway, we agreed that I would pick out the replacement since he didn’t want an identical ring. (Long story short: we married when we were broke and so his ring is very plain and ordinary. He wanted the replacement to be different now that we can afford it.) It was hard trying to find the best ring and figuring out how to gift it to him! I ran through so many ideas trying to make it special. In the end, all my plans fell through and I ended up just putting my arm around him while he was making drinks and presenting it. In a way, that was more “us” than any sort of elaborate thing.

Putting so much pressure on a proposal – or ring – to be “perfect” just creates pressure. What really matters is to be on the same page relationship-wise, and that is what you all need to figure out.

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Calypso February 18, 2015 at 11:26 am

I think the thing that’s “off” that Ehell Dame is mentioning might be the timeline. “We’ve lived together two years” it starts, but these numbers don’t add up: “I want to marry you” at 8 months + “I will ask you one year from today” = 12 more months + “in the year since then” 12 more months === total 2 years 8 months, or nearly 3 years.

However, IF they didn’t live together UNTIL after the initial 8 month period, the timing works out. But it’s unclear to me, from what the OP wrote, when cohabitation started.

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OP February 18, 2015 at 1:51 pm

That is correct. I was actually overseas from months 8-11.5, and I moved in just before our first anniversary 🙂

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Calypso February 19, 2015 at 11:01 am

Ah, thank you! That explains it.

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Annie February 18, 2015 at 11:42 am

A few weeks after my now-husband and I started dating, we decided we would get married. We wanted to date a decent amount of time first, so we decided we would get engaged in 2 years and married within a year of getting engaged. So I had a rough idea of when he was going to propose (within a week or so), but didn’t know any details. His proposal was very simple: no hoopla, just heartfelt words. Perfect.

Seriously, if you can’t discuss and negotiate now, you shouldn’t get married at all. If you really think you want to marry this guy, though, propose to him. Whatever his answer is, it will solve your problem permanently.

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Hollyhock February 18, 2015 at 3:57 pm

But if you’ve decided you are to be married, you ARE engaged.

I don’t mean to seem argumentative but am genuinely curious, what is the difference between agreeing to be married and being “engaged” ? What is the point of a ‘proposal’ when what is being proposed already has been agreed to, as much as a year earlier in your case?

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ThatGirl February 19, 2015 at 9:40 am

For some people, the formality is important. My now-husband and I talked about marriage and engagement many times, I knew he was ring-shopping, he knew I would say yes — but to us, the people in the relationship, we were not actually engaged until he formally asked me. It’s up to the couple in question, in my opinion.

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AthenaC February 19, 2015 at 10:13 am

The point of a proposal is to celebrate a significant relationship milestone in a meaningful way. Similar to the reason for having any sort of wedding ceremony or sending flowers on a birthday / anniversary. There’s no reason for any of it other than social convention, but that’s all the reason you need, really.

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SingActDance February 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm

In regard to proposals, my group often says, “A guy shouldn’t ask that question unless he already knows the answer.” So there is usually some discussion and agreement that marriage is something they both want before the actual proposal of marriage.

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CaesarBeezer May 12, 2015 at 12:55 pm

When my husband and I first began talking marriage we were not yet ready to become engaged. Though madly in love we knew that a formal announcement could not be made without discussing each others expectations for the future and agreeing on key fundamentals. Do we want children? How many? Are we willing to sacrifice one income so a parent can stay home? And what religion, if any, will we maintain. How far from family would we relocate for career advancement? Are we willing to care for an aging grandparent should the situation arise? And then there is the subject of money. Of course you can guarantee that the best laid plans are sure to change but these were pivotal topics that we wanted to address before moving forward. Our engagement was certainly no grand spectacle but I’m a flighty bird. A quiet dinner followed by a romantic proposal on bended knee suited me just fine. I do admit I insisted on a specific weight and shape of diamond ring but it was well within reason. It’s understandable that some people don’t “get it” in regards to formal proposals. I never really “got” the need to exchange vows surrounded by all your friends and family. Not to mention the costly reception afterwards that can set some folks back thousands of dollars that IMO would be better spent towards a home. BUT to each his own. My husband and I disappointed more than a few people when we opted for a private Hawaiian ceremony but it was what WE wanted and I’ve never regretted it once.

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Deb February 18, 2015 at 11:48 am

I don’t get it. If you tell me you’re going to propose to me, you just DID propose to me. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, any further delay is just a game.

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Kirsten February 18, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Well, exactly. I’ve never understood the “we’ll get engaged in this amount of time” – if you’ve agreed you’ll be getting engaged, you’re engaged

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Hollyhock February 18, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Agree. Those “staged”moments seem a bit archaic.

A handyman I often employ is 40ish, has been living with his 40ish girlfriend for a decade. They have pets together, own a home together, visit family/do holidays together, mingle their finances, etc.
He told me a couple of weeks ago “Well, we now are officially engaged!”

Of course I congratulated him but inwardly was thinking “To do what? You’ve been as good as married for 10 years; it’s hardly a newsflash at this point.” What is the difference between being a committed couple and “officially engaged.” Not from the couple’s POV — they can think or do what they wish, in their own minds — but from an etiquette POV, who cares? Nothing will change in terms of their interaction with the outside world. It’s moot.

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hakayama February 19, 2015 at 1:35 am

@Hollyhock: Did you have the grace to say “congratulations” to the guy? 😉 Maybe they will wind up married around the time they qualify for Medicare…
Totally with you on the “who cares?” angle.

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flora February 19, 2015 at 9:07 am

One of my cousins did this. At the time he proposed he’d been living with his girlfriend for almost a year and they had a child together. He was upset with the family because we didn’t offer him a more excited congradulations when he made the announcement. For the record they’re still not married.

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Tara February 19, 2015 at 6:14 am

That’s exactly how I think! You bring up the desire to get married, that’s a proposal. “Let’s get married.” “okay, but first you have to propose.” What? Seriously?

I’d been with my husband 3 years with no proposal, and the day after our 3rd anniversary, I finally decided to propose myself by saying we should get married. He took it as a discussion, and listed all the reasons we should wait. That was really upsetting, because as far as I was concerned he turned me down.

Several days later after a lot of talking and me saying that if we don’t get married I’m gonna find someone else who wants to be married, he finally said he was planning on proposing. Come on. This whole thing where a proposal has to be a big affair put on by the man after you’ve already agreed to say yes is ridiculous and caused a lot of unnecessary heartache for me.

Anyways, who cares, that was almost 8 years ago, so it’s old news now.

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ThatGirl February 19, 2015 at 9:42 am

For my husband, the formality of having a ring to give me (and he was a poor grad student at the time, so he wanted time to save up), and a quiet, planned moment to ask me, was important. And I loved it, too. But he wasn’t playing head games with me – we were discussing our future together.

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Freq Flyer February 18, 2015 at 11:52 am

I had a boyfriend like that. I dumped him. I accepted a date with a friend two days later. Friendship became love. Married my husband three years later, and am still married 38 years later.

What was the “last straw”? Mr Head Games pulled the same kind of stunt as the OP’s earrings on my birthday. The day after my birthday was Dump Day. That was the smartest thing I ever did.

PS: I put Mr Head Games’ name into Google a few years ago. I found he had a court order for psychiatric evaluations.

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JenyLind February 18, 2015 at 11:56 am

I just don’t get how this gets to be totally the man’s decision to propose and decide when to marry. This is something they both should be discussing and making decisions on. It affects both of them! I also think the idea of fantastic, over- the-top, proposals, is silly. Does every special occasion have to be a three ring circus?
I should also add that, 30 years ago, I proposed to the man I loved. We looked at rings together and picked out the ones we both liked. Everything can’t always be 50/50, but marriage is a partnership.

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VanessaGA81 February 18, 2015 at 9:36 pm

I proposed to my husband too. People always laugh nervously but hey, you, me and Lorelei Gilmore can’t all be wrong!

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Toni LaClair February 19, 2015 at 8:17 am

I agree with you. They already live together and seem to have an agreement they would marry. To wait for a sophisticated proposal on HIS timeframe does not make the woman an equal partner in their relationship. He definitely has reservations about getting married, and he also has a nasty streak.

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Skaramouche February 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm

What is it about proposals that makes women go gaga? Most couples these days have done everything but the kitchen sink before they decide to get married: most have slept together, many are living together, some have even had children. Why then, this insistence on an elaborate charade to answer a question to which both partners already know the answer? Heck, most couples have probably already discussed marriage and agreed upon it. This question is both for men and women: the women that expect these things and the men that plan them. Is it so that there is a “story” to tell years later? Is it that you believe that a special proposal will make a marriage special?

OP, dude, your boyfriend is playing games with you. I don’t know if he means to be cruel but he definitely is. I agree with Ms. Jeanne…he’s created an insurmountable obstacle for himself and only he can say when it has been removed, leaving you at his mercy. If you have made it very clear that a big proposal is not important to you and he insists on maintaining that he wants to plan one while playing these cat and mouse earring games, I think it’s time to have a talk. It’s time to tell him that the longer he waits, the more resentful you become so any proposal he plans won’t be special anymore. You’re willing to wait for him but you need to understand what the barriers are. Maybe he will give you something tangible: he’s saving for a ring, he’s unsure still, etc. If the only excuse is “I want to plan something special”, he’s stalling. Best of luck to you, OP!

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Anonymous February 18, 2015 at 11:55 pm

I’m not one of those women. If I ever decide to get married, I don’t want a big, theatrical proposal, especially not in public, and absolutely NOT on a Jumbo-Tron. Also, I don’t want a ring, because I don’t like how they feel. Actually, if anything, I’m envisioning a scenario where the man wants to have a proper ceremony, and I’m pushing to elope, or just go to City Hall or the courthouse and call it good.

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Fantod February 19, 2015 at 7:25 am

They don’t make ‘women’ go soft in the head. There are plenty of us who don’t want a proposal or a marriage.
We will congratulate our friends and enjoy any weddings we’re invited to, but would not personally want any part of it.

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SingActDance February 19, 2015 at 1:26 pm

So people who have slept together, lived together, or had children are not allowed to have proposals? Got it. It’s not wrong to discuss marriage before declaring yourselves officially engaged. I know plenty of serious couples who have discussed marriage, but engagement is when they announce and begin planning the impending marriage. Just as you may already have your marriage license a week before the actual wedding. You wouldn’t say to somebody getting married tomorrow, “Geez, you already have he license signed. You’re already married! Why do you need to have a wedding?”

I really don’t get all the hate for proposals on this thread. It’s like people are taking such pride in being “above it all” that anybody who likes the sweet celebration of becoming engaged is just participating in an “elaborate charade” as you call it.

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Tanya February 19, 2015 at 1:45 pm

I agree. There is nothing wrong with wanting a proposal to be “special” even if you’ve already decided to get married at some point in the future. As long as both parties are on board, they should do whatever makes them happy.

Of course, the problem arises when one party wants one (or thinks the other person does) and the other party does not…

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Hemi February 21, 2015 at 3:31 pm

I don’t hate proposals. My idea of a special proposal is just different from others. Some people want a big, splashy, elaborate proposal. I prefer a smaller, more intimate moment with just my SO.

I think that is what pp’s are trying to say- he is using the “special” part of the proposal as a stalling tactic- not that they hate proposals. OP and her boyfriend have together long enough that he could have already planned that special proposal.

Also, getting engaged does not mean you have to immediately get married the very next day. I think the OP is tired of the mind games- yes, I’ll propose, nah, I don’t think I’m going to now, yes I am going to propose sometime soon, oh wait, I need time to make it special. I read it as he really doesn’t want to get married and does not have the guts to tell her.

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NostalgicGal February 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Sounds like the OP’s BF is just enjoying dragging the moment out.

My proposal was over the phone, I was at my parents and he was at his and I left and he had to wait for me to get home again (college town school) and proposed on phone. It took me a week to say yes (very long story but I was mulling did I want him for the rest of my life, I’d met him at end of July and it was just Christmas).. we married in April and have the decades behind us now.

It didn’t need to be ‘romantically breathlessly perfectly special’ and it didn’t have to be preannounced and waited for for years. We bought the engagement ring AFTER the proposal and acceptance; it got knocked down the toilet in our second year (with the wedding band soldered to it) and I have yet to pick out a replacement (over 30 years later). The proposal and act of marriage has been more important than the details.

OP, Propose to HIM. If you want this bad enough, take the initiative.

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Goldie February 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm

NostalgicGal, once again I’m reading your comment and nodding in agreement! My proposal was in a college dorm where we both lived, at a party. I am embarrassed to say that we were both drunk and I actually didn’t hear his question because I was having the spins. But he asked me to say yes, so I said yes to whatever it was. Next day, he repeated the proposal while sober and I said yes again. We’d been dating for over a year at that point, and frankly, I’d already made up my mind that I wanted a family with that man. Also, I was about to graduate and move away for work, and he had two more years of school to go, so of course we’d both been thinking about what we wanted our future to be. Romantically breathlessly perfectly special or not, I still remember this proposal 26 years later, and that has got to count for something!

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NostalgicGal February 19, 2015 at 1:03 am

Goldie… Amen

In the end it turned out the same. 🙂

And congrats.

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cdubz February 18, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Why oh why do women insist on waiting around for a man that is sending obvious signals he doesn’t want to marry them? He isn’t “waiting for the right moment” because he knows “the right moment” will never happen. He’s too chicken to tell you he doesn’t want to marry you because he knows you’ll leave, thus he keeps leading you on. It happens time and time again, and women continually fall for it.

He doesn’t want things to change, and why should he? With you he has a live in maid, cook, and sex without the burden of commitment. At this point, I would have a very long talk with him. Don’t be confrontational, but be honest about him leading you on, which he is. If it was me, I would set a deadline for him to decide if he really wants to be with you or if you should go your separate ways.

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Rebecca February 19, 2015 at 12:41 am

I agree with everything you say except one thing: the OP has not said she does all the housework and cooking for him. I hope she doesn’t, in this day and age, especially if both are working about the same number of hours.

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cdubz February 19, 2015 at 8:52 am

“OP has not said she does all the housework and cooking for him”

And? Even if they split the housework 50/50, the point was that living with her makes it easier on him. I did not mean it in the sense that OP is a 50s housewife.

For instance, I do the cooking and my husband does the dishes, because I hate doing the dishes but love to cook. If he wasn’t there, I would have to do a task I despise and so he makes day to day life easier for me.

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cdubz February 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm

By the way, if you ask the majority of men, most don’t wait when they find that special someone. They either propose right away or they make plans to propose ASAP. My former co-worker was in your exact situation with him waiting for “the right moment” to propose for 5 years. They broke up, and within five months he found The One and married her right away.

You could have probably fried an egg on my coworkers’ head with how mad she was.

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Jewel February 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm

That’s pretty much the sub-plot in the movie “When Harry Met Sally”.

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cdubz February 19, 2015 at 8:43 am

I had to wiki that movie, I’ve never seen it before. I guess it was before my time. 🙂

Not surprising that plot point was in a movie, though. They were actually just talking about situations like this on a radio show I listen to on the way to work and they had a bunch of female callers saying that it’s happened to them. I guess it’s more common that people realize.

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The Elf February 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Eh, depends. By the time we married we had been dating for 6 years. But marrying before then was just out of the question because of where we were in our lives.

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cdubz February 19, 2015 at 8:47 am

Oh, I understand situations like that. My husband and I were together for five years before we married, but that was because I was in college and had to stay single to keep my need based grant. If it wasn’t for that, we would have married sooner.

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don't blink February 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Actually, I disagree with the admin. Although I think your boyfriend is definitely being a “twit” about it ( to borrow your term) I feel he is probably either trying to distract you or tease you while leading up to The Big Moment. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that he is going to ruin The Big Moment because he is trying to make it so…well, so Big. Of course, it is perfectly possible that he has no intention of ever asking you, but given his behaviour that would make him an almost unbelievable jerk. Hope that’s not the case, OP, and that you work this out.

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Ashley February 18, 2015 at 1:10 pm

My own experiences make me wonder what other facts we are missing from this story.

My husband and I have known each other since second grade. He proposed 8 months into our relationship. And then the proverbial s*** hit the fan in terms of jobs, health issues, and a bunch of other stuff. He was ready to get married when he proposed, but then life exploded, and it was another 7 years before our wedding.

So I want to know why he changed his mind? What else was going on in their lives that made him realize he wasn’t ready?

Because based on what OP has given us, this guy does come across as some sort of jackass who just wants to see how long he can string her along, but there may be more to this.

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Rachel February 18, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Propose to him and see what happens. If he weasels out of it, it’s time to move on. I think he’s just manipulating you and is never planning to get married or take you seriously.

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Cashie February 18, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Op, I am not saying this is your boyfriend, but the situation does remind me of something a former male friend once told me. He said that at one point in his life, he had done *just* enough to keep a relationship going with a former girlfriend for SIX years because he liked her enough to have a relationship, but not enough to marry her. He also told me this is more common with men than I think but most likely not as long term as 6 years. I was astounded. He is married to someone else now, and I felt that he lacked empathy for others, and so I slowly faded away.

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LadyV February 18, 2015 at 1:24 pm

I would have dumped this clown after he told me he was going to propose in a year and then not only backed out, but TOLD me he wasn’t going to propose. Admin is right – he is coming up with every excuse to not propose. If he really wanted to get married, he would have asked already. Run, don’t walk, and find a man who deserves you.

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PWH February 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Hi Op,

I would recommend having an open and honest conversation with your BF about your expectations. It may be a situation of him carrying around the ring and never finding the right time (I’ve known people who have done this) or, it could be that he just doesn’t want to get married (despite his earlier verbalization that he did). Either way, this would save you a lot of time, but not necessarily heartache unfortunately.

My now husband and I dated for 11 years before we got married. I knew he was the “one” and we both expressed that we wanted to get married, but we had other things we wanted to take care of first – education, career, a house (we were in high school when we started dating and BOTH agreed to wait). Once we were better established, we went to the jeweler together and I designed my own engagement ring. When the ring was ready, he picked it up, but told me it was delayed. Later that same day he presented me with three long stem roses (past, present and future), got down on one knee outside my parents’ home and asked me to marry him with the ring. It may not sound romantic to some, but it was intimate and personal and perfect just for me. 7 years later (18 in total), we are still married and both very happy with our decision to wait.

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Rodinne February 18, 2015 at 1:46 pm

There’s a simple solution to this problem: you propose. Buy your guy a fancy watch and present it, saying, “I want to spend all time with you. Will you marry me?” Either he will or he won’t or he’s “not ready yet,” in which case you can decide what you want to do. Personally, he’s known for two years that you’re ready for marriage. Either he isn’t yet or won’t ever be, and you can decide what you want to do about that.

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OP February 18, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Hi everyone, OP here and thanks for everyone’s suggestions. Unfortunately I obviously left some pertinent details out! I am 25 and he is 29. I’m sure I can’t convince anyone otherwise, but he is genuinely a nice guy. His friends that I know say he wants to be with me and even my parents love him.
Anyway, without me bringing it up (since our initial discussion) he proposed! It wasn’t particularly romantic, but I couldn’t care less because now I don’t have that expectation hanging over me. Turns out he oredered the ring months back but was waiting for delivery. And then wanted to wait for valentines day but couldnt help himself and asked on wednesday. I am genuinely happy.
As to other details, he didn’t actually ask at 8 months, he kept it to himself until 18 months. He had some idea that he needed to do exactly what his two older brothers did, a set timeline he was meant to follow. Still a twit but more understandable. Had anybody else told me this story I would have had a similar reaction of “propose to him” but it just seemed so important to him that he do it that it felt mean to “steal his thunder” as such.
And the earrings thing? That was incredibly hurtful, but genuinely just him being an oblivious twit. And he has apologised profusely since.

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Jewle February 18, 2015 at 5:58 pm

We don’t often get an update from the OP, so thank you for sharing “the rest of the story”!

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Goldie February 18, 2015 at 6:11 pm

Awww! Thanks for the update, OP! My day has now gotten better 🙂 And good for him that he apologized for the earrings! Best of luck to both of you!!

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monkeys mommy February 18, 2015 at 10:15 pm

OP, the same thing happened to a relative of mine. She was expecting a proposal after a year or so of dating (they were older, think late 30s), and he presented her with a ring box for Christmas. She ripped it open excitedly to find… a garnet birthstone ring. Being that I was only about 21 at the time, I told him flat out he bought the wrong stone. He was mortified, she was upset at him, it was a poorly thought out plan on his part. He was just oblivious. Needless to say, a diamond followed shortly thereafter!

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Tracy W February 19, 2015 at 12:58 am

Stupid question time: what does the stone have to do with whether it’s an engagement ring or not?

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hakayama February 19, 2015 at 8:30 am

@Tracy W: It’s not the stone that is stupid… 😉 :-O You are the epitome of kindness here.
BTW, I finally got it. Monkeys [sic] mommy does not wish to reveal that she’s related to a blonde beauty queen that was incredulous when told that Hungary is a country.

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monkeys mommy February 20, 2015 at 8:53 pm

Why, what an interesting assumption you are making there. Implying that one’s comment is stupid is frankly rude and obnoxious. If you didn’t understand the issue, you could ask, instead of assuming that the ring was intended to be an engagement ring. I teased her now husband for giving her a ring- NOT AN ENGAGEMENT RING- for Christmas in front of her family, as she was clearly expecting the same as the OP. I can assure you, had it been intended as an engagement ring, she would not have cared what the stone was… That was not his intent. It was a situation equal to that of the OP… otherwise, it would not be a relatable story here…

And thanks sooo much for your dissection of my grammar within my name. Yours is clearly better… I mean not really, but yeah…

Tanya February 19, 2015 at 9:15 am

I got the impression from the context that it was NOT intended to be an engagement ring– rather, like the OP’s boyfriend, he just bought her a gift of jewelry (in this case, a birthstone ring) not realizing that she was expecting a proposal. Then, when he realized she was expecting a proposal, he bought her an actual engagement ring.

Of course, if he really did mean the garnet ring to be an engagement ring, I see nothing wrong with that at all, and the relative was being a little materialistic to demand a diamond instead.

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Tracy W February 19, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Ah. My engagement ring has a sapphire, my mother’s an amethyst, my gran’s an opal and my great-grandmother’s an aquamarine. I know from my friends that diamonds are popular for engagement rings but I never thought of them as being essential. If he had given a birthstone ring to one of my family he’d have gotten engaged sooner than he was planning. Sounds like everyone in the story was on the same cultural wavelength.

monkeys mommy February 20, 2015 at 8:46 pm

Your first guess was correct!

hakayama February 19, 2015 at 1:28 am

Wrong stone! Heavens and Holy Mackerel! What a blasphemous dastardly act on the young man’s part. [Was HE raised by wolves? ;-)] Were there many witnesses to the poor young woman’s moment of humiliation? ;-O
Talk about being in a rut… and incapable of deviating from the seemingly iron-clad rules and precepts. So, if it’s not a diamond (or some look-alike), then the engagement is non existent, right? What if the woman does not like colorless stones? If there are any progeny, they will get the name/s/ that are popular that year. Your relative, is not in a creative field, by chance? Not even tangentially, eh?

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cdubz February 19, 2015 at 8:57 am

I think she was saying he didn’t mean it as an engagement ring, but just another present.

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monkeys mommy February 20, 2015 at 8:45 pm

Yes, cdubz, thank you! LOL! It was NOT an engagement ring the first time!! It was just birthstone ring as a present- NO meaning! That is why we harassed the poor guy- not because he bought the wrong engagement ring stone!

Sorry, should have clarified! Though, frankly, some of these remarks were rather snarky over a misinterpretation. I mean, my story would not have really been relevant here had the garnet been intended as an engagement ring, now would it…

CW February 19, 2015 at 10:34 am

There’s nothing wrong with having an alternative stone to a diamond IF that’s something that’s been talked about. For example, I have a friend who dislikes diamond jewelry and her now husband got her a sapphire engagement ring because that was her favorite. But if the receiver of said ring is anticipating a diamond (or insert stone of preference here), and is presented with something else, they are most certainly allowed to be disappointed.

Also, it’s entirely possible in the situation that monkeys mommy described that the gift giver was not using that ring as an engagement ring, just a gift of jewelry. In that case, she was probably upset that is wasn’t an engagement ring more than what stone was set in it.

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psammead February 23, 2015 at 7:01 pm

It’s a pity the boyfriend was not forearmed with a little garnet folklore. Garnets were very big with the Victorians, for whom they were a symbol of marital fidelity and lasting love. So garnet jewelry was a popular betrothal gift. Had he but known, boyfriend could have reassured monkeys mommy and her relative that the gift really was a sign of his intentions.

Goldie February 19, 2015 at 9:31 am

Actually it’s pretty trendy these days to have non-diamond engagement rings – because of how the diamonds are being mined, people opt out of buying them. Hey, had you kept the original ring, you could’ve said, “I had a garnet engagement ring years before it was cool”! lol

But once again, I’ve got nothing to contribute here – my ring was a gold band that my mom had bought for me when I was a kid. My (now-x) husband didn’t have a ring at all – we were straight out of college and money was tight – he borrowed his dad’s wedding band and returned it after the ceremony. (He also borrowed his brother’s suit for our wedding!) After my divorce, I took my ring to someone who does custom jewelry and he made it into a very cute pendant.

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Yvaine February 19, 2015 at 10:23 am

I suspect the “wrong stone” comment was shorthand for “wrong type of ring”–that it didn’t really matter what rock was actually in the ring, but that he didn’t propose with the garnet ring, hence why she was upset.

Anyway, OP, yay! 🙂 That’s awesome. Best wishes.

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Tracy W February 19, 2015 at 12:56 am

Congratulations!

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NostalgicGal February 19, 2015 at 1:17 am

Well OP, I hope it all works out for you and him!

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Mustard February 19, 2015 at 5:22 am

Congratulations; I hope you have a long and happy life together.

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Marozia February 19, 2015 at 5:16 am

Congratulations to you and your man. May you have a great life together.

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rachel February 20, 2015 at 10:58 pm

I’m glad I was wrong. Congrats!!

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Dina February 18, 2015 at 1:57 pm

I’m not one who thinks that waiting a long time to be married is bad or in any way a negative sign about your relationship. It was about 5.5 years from when we started dating, that my husband and I got married. (We also started dating young, at 19, so obviously education/career concerns came before serious contemplation of marriage.)

The fact that your boyfriend isn’t ready to be married doesn’t mean he doesn’t treasure your relationship, or will never want to be married. People are different, and knowing you will marry someone after 6 months doesn’t make that relationship better than one where the couple is ready to make such a commitment after a longer time (or a couple who is committed but doesn’t want to be married). I love hearing stories from people who knew early and got married quickly – but not when they intimate that my relationship was less committed or wonderful than theirs.

However, OP, your relationship is a partnership, and you should not be a passive participant in what course the relationship takes. Certainly, members of a couple often reach a point of readiness for marriage at different times, and that is really hard to deal with (and yeah, often involves fights). So get everything out in the open – how your partner feels about you, about marriage, what changed for him, why he wants to do a ‘special’ proposal. And share where you stand – you’re right that it’s not all about you (so, if you’re ready to get married now but your partner isn’t and wants to officially propose, you both need to respect where the other is coming from). Good luck!

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A different Tracy February 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm

I agree with Deb and JennyLind. First, why is it the man’s decision? Why does the woman have to sit around and wait for him to decide they should marry? Shouldn’t this be something they decide together? And second, once you decide to get married, you are engaged. The idea of waiting for, and planning, the perfect proposal is something I just don’t get, unless you redefine “proposal” as “the time you gave me a ring” instead of “the time we decided we were going to get married.”

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Belle February 18, 2015 at 2:32 pm

My FH’s proposal to me was not ‘special’ at all. We had only been together three months (I was 19 too) and he kind of just blurted it out of nowhere. But we’ve been together 5 years now, and will be getting married shortly after our 6th anniversary. Looking back, it was probably irresponsible but when a guy knows he wants to marry you, believe me he’ll tell you. If he’s stalling, then maybe you should question why.

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Amara February 18, 2015 at 2:32 pm

If the original post is not a troll–and I will leave it to the admin to decide that–then it shocks me. It sounds like the OP and her boyfriend are young, no older than their mid-twenties. (I am in my early sixties.) The situations that left me reeling because when he initially proposed and rescinded it and, especially, later when he gave her the earrings struck me as nearly rising to the level of viciousness. Those are incredibly mean things to do to someone, but someone you supposedly love? Just wow.

OP, my late father who was born in 1923, grew up in an era when women were seen as “good” or … something else. If a woman lived with a man or wasn’t a virgin she was “bad” or “ruined.” (The man , of course, had no such labels.) So my dad had a phrase he used: Why should he buy the milk when he can get the cow for free? Crude, yes, and certainly not applicable today but I have to admit this ran through my mind when I read the original post.

What does strike me much, much stronger is, as I noted before, the viciousness of his actions, especially the ring box and earrings episode–though whether this is deliberate or unconscious I cannot say. OP, you should look at this as a warning sign that this guy is not going to play fair with you in the future. Think very seriously about this because this is a preview of your life if you stay with him.

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C February 18, 2015 at 3:16 pm

I have a feeling the man might be seeing someone else and doesn’t know how to tell the OP.

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lakey February 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm

That Christmas earring incident sounds like the guy might have played a mean trick on her. It’s hard to tell without having heard all the previous proposal discussion or having been there for the gift build-up. If this was his idea of a joke, the guy has some issues and needs to be dumped.
He would have had to be pretty stupid to not realize that she would have expected that small box to be an engagement ring.

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Hollyhock February 18, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Totally agree with these words of Admin: “If a man sees you as a valuable treasure that cannot be lost, he takes the steps to make sure he keeps that treasure. If a man were to tell me he cannot propose until it is the perfect “special” situation, that would hint to me he has created an impossible hurdle to marriage as a means to forestall having to ever make the commitment. ”

OP, I hate to say it but: Run! If he’s this ambivalent now, what is life going to be like as the years go by, the normal trials and tribulations of life affect your relationship, etc.?

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Cat February 18, 2015 at 4:18 pm

It sounds as if he is using the carrot of a wonderful proposal to keep you on the hook, but without any definite commitment on his part. The old thought that “A man who is getting free milk does not buy a cow” comes to mind.
Some guys/girls will want to live together to see if you are truly compatible before making the final step into marriage . My father believed in this very strongly. Others will see living together as a way to have someone to come home to until they find a “soul mate”.
A friend of mine lived with a guy for seven years. They agreed they did not need a “piece of paper”to keep them together and they would forgo marriage with the understanding that, if either fell out of love, they would split. She was given twenty-four hours to vacate their apartment when he decided he had fallen out of love with her, but had found a new love who would be moving in the next day.
I suggest that you move on with your life. If he wants you, he will be at your door with a ring. If he does not want you, you will not have wasted your time with a man who does not want you as his wife.

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hakayama February 19, 2015 at 1:43 am

A while back my close neighbors were a young couple living together. He was working full time, she split time between work and college. She was leaving the “next step” up to him, and when that did not happen, she relocated for further study, and he just wound up looking for a new female. It seems that he was really interested in having someone to split rent with. ;-/

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DGS February 18, 2015 at 4:39 pm

He’s not that into you. If he was, he’d have proposed already. Move on, find someone who wants to marry you and doesn’t mess with your head.

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LLL February 18, 2015 at 9:06 pm

So just my two cents here;
My ex fiance and I were high school sweethearts, he proposed very early on, and I said yes and we both had every intention on being together forever. Now this may seem like just two young and stupid kids rushing into things, and despite staying together for seven years after the fact, it was. We stayed together and endured many hardships but ultimately made ourselves miserable. Eventually I had to be the one to realize that we would never be happy together and called things off. My point is you should never rush a commitment that you aren’t ready for. My ex and I probably wouldn’t have stayed in such a horrible situation for so long had we not made this commitment early on, and even though we were a perfect couple for years and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together time does change things.
Now I still think this man in question shouldn’t have said anything before he was ready to actually propose, unless it was in an abstract; trying to figure out where this woman stood and felt on the manner, sort of way. But I also really would not suggest trying to pressure either party to take such a leap before both are fully ready. Down that path lies resentment and hardship.

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GHN February 18, 2015 at 11:14 pm

OP, it sounds as if you need to take a good, hard look at both your boyfriend and the whole cohabitation issue.
First, with regard to the boyfriend, it sounds as if he’s the sort that loves to jerk you around, which IMO isn’t the sort of person you are likely to build a healthy relationship with in the first place.
Second, the marriage issue. marriage is both a social and a legal arrangement, so have a good look at where the money goes from BOTH of you, and whose name is attached to the house, the car and other things of value. Where I live, many couples live together for years before they get married (if they get married at all) so in itself that may not seem like such a big deal to me (except for the boyfriend changing his mind about proposing, but that really goes under the first point). However it is instead very common to have a legal cohabitation agreement to proetct the interests of the parties.

All in all, it sounds like you need to find someone else if you want to actually get married.

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hakayama February 18, 2015 at 11:19 pm

Dear OP, I’m glad that you got what you wished for, so that I don’t have to join the chorus of those who might use an acronym in this situation. A prior LW, the one upset at “PDQ”, would go into a dead faint at what I had in mind. 😉 Suffice to say that the first word of the 5 or 6 letter acronym is “dump”, and the last one is “already”. The words in between are not to be used in polite company.
My wish for you is that the infamous earring* episode may be the last and worst “twittism” ever. I also wish that you do not get dissed by worn socks and dirty dishes scattered around your abode. Quite possibly, the “trial cohabiting” has already shown your guy’s habits. But then, some males approach a wife in a much different way… Maybe they feel they do not need to be on their best “test taking” behavior…
People who make a study of these things, have concluded that women decide to marry when they meet Mr. Right (no matter how WRONG he might really be). Men, on the other hand, marry when the TIME is right for them.
I’ve observed several situations where that theory showed to be true. Sometimes, the marriage took place after a very brief time with the new female. So those ladies who want marriage, and who stay in a relationship, and wait endlessly for marriage to happen, are probably just throwing away good years after bad.
In the years of my first youth, “nice” girls did not “shack up” with guys. If they did, probably to avoid being labeled, they had to use extreme discretion. Now? Everybody, even the “nice” girls live with their bfs and fiances, and nobody seems to give it a second thought. Including me. 😉
What I do find to be out of sync, is that the same females still place very high value on ritualistic moves and actions: the proposal, the announcements, the Herculean task of planning a wedding, the showers, the parties… Y’know, the non-essentials that had been of essence in their mothers’ and grandmothers’ first youth when it came to legalized coupling. Even as an innocent bystander and observer, I find the dichotomy (is this the right word here?) to be disconcerting. As in, “Make up your mind. Are you going to apply the 21C mores and practices, or are you going back 200 years?”
And then, there’s the terminology… A guy that introduces the mother of his 4 children under 7 years of age as his “fiancee” could just give her name. No need for “titles”, eh? The mother of teenagers, referring to their father as her “boyfriend”, also could skip the title, say “partner”, or just use his name.

*Let’s hope that it was just a “Duh” moment. If not, and that had been meant as a joke or prank, then you have a major re-educating, reforming, re-molding ahead of you. Best wishes and good luck with that.

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NostalgicGal February 19, 2015 at 1:30 am

I do believe sometimes you need a dry run… after my DH proposed and I accepted we decided to move in together, when it was still in the era of you sorta don’t do that… and got a joint checking account. Trial by fire, if we could handle living together and shared finances, then we would get the piece of paper to make it legal. It had it’s moments but we did get married and we’re still married. I could cook, I fed him several times before he proposed, so he knew that he wouldn’t starve either… and other things not discussable in polite company but to say the least were important to me. Over three decades later we’re still married; sometimes it takes a ‘trial run’ first.

As for intros, many years back when dealing with friends that came out and more; I started using ‘Significant Other’ if I had other issues trying to describe a relationship. This is X and their Significant Other Y. I didn’t have to explain the living arrangement or titles. It could be partner, fiancée, spouse, live-in or anything in between. …

But as OP updated us, it did advance to the big P and beyond. And a delayed ring that messed some of it up… I wish her and him all the best.

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MrsL February 18, 2015 at 11:22 pm

I met M in May when I was twenty four and we got serious quickly. By November he was insisting that I start looking at rings even though I had said that I wasn’t ready and my Christmas presents from him included diamond earrings and four day a trip to Disneyland. I thought he was going to propose there. We had been ring shopping a couple of weeks before the trip and had actually settled on a ring we liked when he sent me out of the store so that he could discuss prices. I was SO sure a proposal was coming. It didn’t.
So then we had our six month annivarsary and he took me to a hockey game here in Vancouver. He had asked what I’d do if he proposed at a game so I had a feeling that he was going to ask me. He didn’t.
And then Valentine’s Day came. We went for a nice dinner and again I went home disappointed.
He swore up and down that I was the one and that he wanted to marry me. I declined a promotion at work because he didn’t think I should take up a job someone else could use because I’d stop working and have babies soon. We had a date set for that summer at his prompting and he still wasn’t asking me.
By spring he had suddenly decided to go travelling for two months. He left on my twenty fifth birthday after buying me a Chanel purse and he sent an email saying that we should go on a break while he was away mere days after leaving.
I said that breaks are break ups and he seemed crushed so we decided to stay together. We broke up two weeks after he returned (I’m very sure he was cheating) but he spent the next eighteen months acting as if we were still together. I was in agony. I finally asked him to stay away and he finally met someone else.

A few years later I was on a work trip. I met a man whose name I’d seen for years face to face and it was instant. We were inseparable for two days to the point of sitting up all night talking in the hotel lobby. He was from a different city so I thought I’d never see him again. Two days later he walked into my work and announced that he was moving to my city. We began dating right away, were engaged within weeks, and have been together happily for five years now.

If a man wants to be with you then he will come after you. If he doesn’t then he’s not worth the pain.

Oh and M is now divorced, bankrupt, and living with his parents.

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MPW1971 February 19, 2015 at 12:15 am

Let me give an example of the opposite side. I met a woman and after 6 months of long-distance relationship, she moved to my city – we got a small apartment on a month-to-month lease and then looked for a house to buy as soon as her old house sold. We were young and working our first jobs out of school – not a lot of money to be had. (She did come from a more privileged background and had even attended a private school, so her tastes and preferences were decidedly more “upscale”.) I had proposed to her and she accepted, but this was a quiet, private proposal done in the middle of the night while looking at the stars. While we were committed to each other then, she tole me that we couldn’t tell people about it. She needed a proper proposal – which involved dressing up for a special dinner at a “fancy” restaurant (“cloth on the table”), where she would be surprised with the ring – which had to come from a certain very old and famous jewelry shop with national presence. I had a script to follow, and it took me several months to get the cash, shop for the ring with her, make the final purchase and sizing without her, and then go out for this “magical” dinner. It was agony for me – and there was no magic or romance in it. I had the “script” and I feared that deviating from it would ruin everything – I feared that the smallest error or faux-pas (i.e. bad service or a bad meal at the dinner) would ruin her mood and force us to repeat this.
It was all part of a very cold and calculated plan. Only 10 weeks after moving in together she told me that things were over. Along the way she had attempted to push me away and force me to break things off, but in the end she could not wait any longer. My then ex-fiance had planned to use me, all along, to support her in moving to a new city and getting a new job. I paid her rent and moving expenses along the way, she had to start getting things moving before we had lived together long enough to be considered as “common law” and there would be some issue on the division of assets. During that year, she saved her money, and I spent mine. Even the “script” for how I would propose and the ring I had to get, was part of a plan where I would be the one to break things off, and she would be the one to keep the ring. Instead I kept it. Suffice to say, the premium paid for getting the ring from that “special” store was lost, and now some 15 years later I still have that puny, overpriced diamond, though it would make for a nice necklace.
Maybe the man in the OP isn’t sure, but maybe he’s got some really big expectations to live up to – implied perhaps because only someone as cold and calculating as my ex would have written such a detailed script – and he may very well believe that he has to do something spectacular because of things the woman has said – maybe they were hints or off-handed comments, but some men assume that this is what women want and need – and that if the proposal is anything but “storybook”, then she will walk away.
The truth is that if anyone really so petty, it is best to walk away.

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Lera99 February 19, 2015 at 8:35 am

Wow! She is a horrible human being. I am so sorry that she took such callous advantage of your affections. That is terrible.

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hakayama February 19, 2015 at 8:40 am

@OPW1971: You are one lucky guy in that “dodging the bullet” was relatively easy. Can you imagine a lifetime, or at least some decades, of playing the faux upper crust game? And I’m saying “faux”, because from what I’ve read, engagement announcement/celebrations are that. NOT settings for “surprise” proposals.
As for the puny overpriced ring, consider donating it to a good charity. Double benefit: 1) you get a nice tax write-off and 2) the freaking thing isn’t there to remind you of the time when you chose not to notice the red flags.
Congratulations and best wishes.

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MPW1971 February 19, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Thanks. Things were never going to work out – where I got lucky is that my own fears played into things. My parents are moderately religious and objected to our living together before marriage, but they would have accepted a “legal” marriage with the intention of a religious ceremony in the near future (as a Catholic I was looking at having to request a church marriage at least 6 months ahead, and there would be a mandatory prep course as well). I didn’t see any advantage to going to City Hall and getting married like that, when we were already “committed” through joint finances, joint ownership of a house, joint mortgage debt, and the legal protection of “common law” was just around the corner. Luckily for me, she gave up on trying to force me out. We sold the house and lost our down payment in the process – had we actually just done the “legal” marriage, there’d be the cost of divorce on top of everything.

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Rebecca February 19, 2015 at 12:49 am

Glad it worked out well for the OP in the end. But in general, in situations like that, I would have to say that if you have the willpower to follow through, say to the guy, “It looks like we want different things. I would like us to separate for a while and have the opportunity to find someone whose goals match my own..”

Then he can either say, “OK, you’re right.” or “No, really, you are the one!! I really want you to be my wife!! We’ll set a date next tomorrow!”

Of course, easier if you are not living together. I would probably not move in with a guy hoping to get married later, for that reason. Not because I have any moral opposition to it, but because it’s a lot easier to walk away from being strung along if you’re not living together.

Also, am I the only one who finds it weird to wait for the guy to “ask you to marry him” when it’s already been discussed and established that you’d definitely say yes?

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Jenna S. February 19, 2015 at 3:24 am

LOL. Sometimes non traditional works. My now husband and I were living together, when my Dad came to visit. My Dad says “You know, if you two got engaged this weekend, we could all go together and pick out the ring.”
We’d been together a bit over a year, with plans to eventually marry but no decisions made. He looked at me, I looked at him. “Do you want to.. Errrr….” “Ok”
I tease him that my Dad proposed lol.
We got married about 18 months later, and we will hit 2 years in October.

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Tara February 19, 2015 at 6:32 am

Don’t wait for him to stop playing games, make him stop playing games. Say to him, “This is a proposal: let’s get married in *name a month*.” Either he agrees or he doesn’t. If he agrees, begin the wedding planning for whatever month you picked. If he doesn’t, and still insists on playing games and making you wait for him to propose, tell him point blank that either he agrees to marry you or it’s time for you to start looking for someone else who wants to be married. You’ve been together long enough that you should both know what you want, and it’s time to either get married or move on. And if he still wants to make you wait, even after all that, make good on your promise and break up.

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NikkiB February 19, 2015 at 7:19 am

My fiance took me to Paris for my birthday and our 2-year anniversary. We did loads of romantic things together like walking along the river to see the ‘love locks’ bridge, going to the eiffel tower. At no point was I expecting a proposal – we had both agreed we wanted to get married at some point but not about when. There were loads of points when (as I later found out) he was going to propose, but the moment was spoilt by various things – random street con-artists interrupting (if you’ve been there you’ll know what I mean), me moaning about cold/sore feet, too many tourists around etc. In the end, he proposed on our last day in Paris, while we were reading the newspapers in bed together. I have never felt like I ‘missed out’ by not having my proposal be some overblown romantic fantasy, and I actually enjoy telling people about all the things that went wrong before he finally proposed! Sometimes, the moment’s right just because it’s totally representative of your lives together. For us, that was being curled up together reading the news and enjoying each other’s company – he told me he wanted to be doing this with me for the rest of our lives and would I marry him – perfect!

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whoop February 19, 2015 at 8:25 am

I think that I agree with some of the other posters on here – if he told you that he wanted to marry you, than that was the proposal. It stinks of self-aggrandizement that he feels the need to delay so that he can, ostensibly, make a big spectacle. That whole incident with the earrings seems to support the theory that he is using (and abusing) his relationship with you in order to create public spectacles to fulfill his own need for attention.

Anyhow, what YOU, dear OP, need to decide now is whether YOU want to marry him. If yes, then just propose to him yourself. It’s 2015 and there’s no rule that says you can’t, and you (ostensibly) already know what his answer is. If he isn’t an attention-hog, and actually does want to marry you, then he will accept. If not, then he will be forced to own up and quit dragging you along.

Personally, I would like to think that I would have dropped this guy long ago, but that is probably not true. When it comes to love, we can all be blind. My husband, who I thought of for a long time was caring and selfless and “perfect”, turned out to just be severely co-dependent. His “taking care” of me, at the sometimes masochistic neglect of his own self, became a toxic cycle that eventually made me a slave to his insecurity and constant, pathological desire for affirmation. Similar to what the Admin points out, it is a very selfish act, and a huge red flag, when someone supersedes your wishes with their own version of what they think that you SHOULD want. Thankfully, I did eventually catch on and call him out on just such actions, and his love for me was real enough that we were able to work through our issues and get him into therapy for what turned out to be the effects of a very sad history of childhood emotional abuse. Our relationship is better now than it has ever been. So, if you truly love this person, than I think that it is possible to salvage the relationship, but I think that it is well worth calling him out on these shenanigans. You don’t want to start of your marriage this way – with one person “using” the other – and you can be sure that these actions will not end after the proposal. You may also want to check in on yourself and make sure that there is nothing in you that is “using” this other person as well – for instance, a narcissistic/codependent relationship. Perhaps couples’ counseling is in order. (Better to start too early, than too late!)

Level-headedness aside, I have to say that, if I were you, I would be very tempted to call your beau’s bluff in a grand fashion – by proposing to him extravagantly, in public.

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PrincessButtercup February 19, 2015 at 11:21 am

He knows he wants to marry you but is going to wait a year?… When my husband and I were dating we discussed _everything_ so within a couple months we both agreed we wanted to be married, and considered ourselves sort of engaged at that point (though we didn’t advertise it yet). In a couple months he did an official ask and I of course agreed. After that we saw no reason to wait to get married, we both were certain that’s what we wanted and all that was stopping an official joining was a piece of paper. When you know for certain, there isn’t much reason to postpone for very long.
Since you moved in with him between him saying he wanted to marry you and before officially proposing, maybe living together made him realize he didn’t love you as much as he thought but is too afraid to say so.
With putting it off and messing with your head, I’d start looking at some time apart to rethink things.

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Postalslave February 19, 2015 at 11:23 am

I’m glad the OP had a happy update and this situation.

That being said, I don’t understand how this pertains to etiquette. No snark intended, just honestly curious.

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Postalslave February 19, 2015 at 11:24 am

Ugg that should read “and this situation is resolved.”

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SamiHami February 19, 2015 at 12:50 pm

I’m of two minds on this one. People have to move at the pace they are comfortable with. Just because you love someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a good match for the long haul. I think it is wise to wait until you’ve known someone for a couple of years before committing your life to him/her. My DH and I dated for three years before marrying and will be celebrating our 26th anniversary in a few weeks. So, I don’t necessarily think waiting for a period of time is an indication that one will never be ready to marry.

On the other hand, I knew a woman who had lived with her boyfriend for 13 years, with him always promising an engagement and marriage “eventually.” What he said and what he did were two completely different things. I haven’t spoken to them in probably 4 years now, but I’d be willing to be that they are still in the same situation.

What it comes down to is commuication. Why is he hesitating? Why is it important to you to get engaged/married at this point? Are you talking about a future together in specifics or is it all just “oh, someday we’ll…blah blah blah.” Once you have those serious conversations you’ll know better what you can realistically expect.

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AD February 19, 2015 at 2:04 pm

My husband proposed via email. Nothing fancy, just plain, heartfelt words. We’ve had seven great years together. I don’t regret it, even when I wistfully eye the kitchen knives and wonder if anyone would miss him. 😉

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ImJustSaying February 19, 2015 at 3:28 pm

So did no one else read this and consider he might….might be downplaying the 1 year exactly thing so he could genuinely surprise her?
Then she gets upset and asks about it therefore altering the “surprise timeline” again?
Other details makes this a little hard to believe but it sounds like he might have wanted to make it special and not a box checking action.
It’s a special moment for HIM too, you know.

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MMargaret February 20, 2015 at 9:28 am

There is no way in this world I would make excuses for that guy. He set her up her expectations on purpose and when he gave her earrings instead, it was exactly the mind**** he wanted it to be. This man is a cruel one, and he built in enough plausible deniability that he can say, “Who? Me?” if she tackles him on it.

Hooray to the letter writer who dumped her boyfriend when he pulled a similar stunt on her. That is exactly what a guy deserves for doing something like that.

I wouldn’t believe in a guy’s goodness for one second even he pulled out an engagement ring after a woman leaves him for doing that: he ruined his chance but good. By playing that game, he places himself above her, and that’s no good.

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Amanda February 20, 2015 at 12:39 pm

DH and I had been together for a little over 2 years when he expressed interest in proposing, and proposed to me in the kitchen sans ring. When I told him after our 4th anniversary that my finger felt naked, he got me a solid gold band as a “temporary proposal” ring. Just after our 5th anniversary he proposed with a “proper” ring that I still love wearing. We didn’t even get married until a year and a half later, but I wouldn’t have traded any of that time for anything different.

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Enna February 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Maybe he is unceratin or has changed his mind. What the OP should do is talk to him. What does he want from life and his expectations? He also needs to know how his change of mind has upset the OP and also what he did at Christmas. That was rather mean. If the bf can’t make his mind up, whether it is marriage or a life long relationship he needs to let the OP know. If he doesn’t see himself growing old with the OP and if the OP’s needs aren’t met it looks like they need to go their seperate ways.

Sometimes the person you met in your twenties might not be the one you marry in your thirties, despite what you felt at the time.

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theLadyBugg February 20, 2015 at 3:02 pm

The earrings bit reminded me of some similar, and more obviously accidental situations that my beloved has gotten us into. About two years ago, he asked me if I had plans for the upcoming Friday night. I didn’t, but he didn’t suggest we do anything, just asked me to ‘keep it open.’ At this point, we had talked seriously about getting married, had moved in together in a different state from either of our families (because I got a job here), were finally both working full-time, and were 25 years old. I tried not to get my hopes up, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. He was being so secretive. He was so clearly excited. I was supposed to visit my parents and college roommate the next week – people I don’t see often and would want to tell in person. My best friend was acting a little strange as well. I tried to talk myself out of my excitement or ask him for clues, but he gave me no information other than ‘keep Friday night open.’ On Thursday night just before bed, I finally begged him to give me a hint, in case there was a practical requirement he hadn’t thought of – “if I’m unprepared it will be really embarrassing for me.” He revealed his surprise early – best friend was coming up from home state tomorrow! I looked around our filthy studio apartment and panicked. I was so sorry to have been so wrong – but not nearly as sorry as SO was when I finally told him why his “wonderful surprise” had upset me so much. It never occurred to him that I might guess a proposal was coming.

A few months later, he did it again! My birthday was coming and he asked me to find out for hi my ring sizes – every finger. I went to the jewelry counter at the local department store and asked the woman behind the counter for help. She rolled her eyes, and told me with a smile, “they think they’re so clever! Like you won’t know!” And dutifully measured all ten of my fingers. Before I left she asked if I wanted to look over the engagement rings so she could steer him in the right direction when he came in without me! I declined, afraid to embarrass myself again. Instead of bidding me good day, the saleswoman congratulated me with a conspiratorial wink. About three days before my birthday, with no prompting from me, SO pulls up a picture on his laptop. It’s an adorable full-hand set of Pokemon-themed rings. He had wanted to get them for me as a birthday gift, but it didn’t work out. When I told him how the saleswoman had acted helping me find my ring sizes, he apologized. He couldn’t believe he’d inadvertently set me up for disappointment twice in one year!

Since then, there have been no more mix-ups. Although, no proposals either.

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Hanna February 23, 2015 at 2:50 pm

Wow, so the dude reneged on his initial proposal? That’s rough. It’s obvious he doesn’t want to get married. But, in the meantime getting the benefits of marriage by living with you, probably having you cook/clean for him among other things, but not having to commit. Good set up for him, I guess!

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