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Waiting For That “Special” Moment

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.

{ 260 comments }

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  • Ames February 18, 2015, 2:47 am

    I am in the exact same situation. We have been together nearly 5 years, living together for 4. At the end of our first year together, he told me he would propose. My partner has not done so and I am incredibly disappointed, especially as our friends start getting married and having babies. It’s even resulted in some incredibly angry fights.

    But I wouldn’t change a thing. He’s told me that he wants to do it right with a ring he thinks I deserve. I’ve told him numerous times it could be a candy ring and he is aware that it doesn’t mean anything to me materialistically. But still, if that is the way he wants to do it, then I am happy to wait. It’s not just about me getting the ring on my finger, it’s about having a partner who takes pride in the way he proposes so that he can feel happy when he tells people, just as I will.

    I’m bitterly disappointed about being made to wait so long, but I have to realise that this is not just about me, but about how he’s always pictured doing it as well. Financially, we just can’t do that yet (along with many of our future plans) so I completely understand. It doesn’t change the way I feel about him at all and it never will. It will happen when it happens and not a minute before.

    • Ames February 18, 2015, 2:49 am

      I should put in there that I am impatient. Very much so. It’s part of the reason I’m so disappointed. How angry I get with him is a direct link to how competitive I am as well- I want what everyone else has.

      Luckily, he takes my faults and accepts them, even though really, they are terrible, terrible faults.

      • SS February 18, 2015, 9:46 am

        The story about how he proposes is more important than actually being married to you????? I would be heartbroken to be treated like that. I know many people who start with a small ring, and on a significant anniversary upgrade the ring (or reset the original stone) to show that their relationship has grown over the years of marriage. It’s unrealistic to expect to start out with all the bells and whistles in anything at first… that’s the way life is. You grow and expand. Most people don’t start with their first car being a Mercedes or BMW. They get what they can afford because it was important to have a car, and then they achieve the more expensive car down the road. Even though the first car wasn’t as expensive, most people still treasure that first car. Same thing for a ring or an inexpensive wedding.

        If YOU really don’t think you’re ready to be married yet, then that’s your valid choice. To say you can’t get married because you want all the fancy expensive toys to make it perfect seems very unrealistic.

      • Willynilly February 18, 2015, 9:56 am

        ” I’ve told him numerous times it could be a candy ring and he is aware that it doesn’t mean anything to me materialistically…I’m bitterly disappointed about being made to wait so long, but I have to realise that this is not just about me, but about how he’s always pictured doing it as well.”

        To be honest its sounds like it isn’t about you at all. Your boyfriend seems to think, and you seem to agree, its 100% about what he wants. Its about the proposal he wants, the ring he wants you to wear, and on the time frame he prefers. I don’t see you in any of that.

        Its totally cool if you are actually “happy to wait,” but if you aren’t, please know its perfectly reasonable. Your wants are valid and should be given weight.

        There is a bit of good relationship advice floating out there “begin as you intend to proceed”. From what you wrote here, you have begun and proceeded with a system in what you seem to think is a lifelong relationship by handing over all power and decisions to your boyfriend while your wants go unaddressed.

      • Amber February 18, 2015, 10:25 am

        Oh, Ames. This is a really worrying post. I know we’re just people on the internet, but I really think you should talk to some IRL friends and ask them their honest opinions about your SO. We all have faults, but if he’s the one telling you that your faults are “terrible, terrible” and you aren’t, say, a compulsive liar or a puppy kicker, that’s not good. Not good.

      • don't blink February 18, 2015, 1:16 pm

        None of what you described sounds like it comes from a happy person who wouldn’t change a thing. We all have “terrible” faults, but part of a good relationship comes from accepting your partner’s shortcomings. Marriage is far, far more important than the engagement story or ring. You have to realize that EVERYONE out there who is married has a story about how it happened. It should be special because it happened to you, not because it’s so amazing you need to tell everyone for years to come. It sounds like you need to talk to some of your friends and family about your situation, get advice from people who know and love you both, and do some hard thinking about what you want to do in your life. Good luck.

      • Ames February 18, 2015, 7:06 pm

        Hi, thanks for all the responses.

        To be honest, I think in my desire to express the situation I’ve gone and made my partner seem like some complete jerk who is only interested in his own happiness. That is 110% not the case and I feel the need to defend him somewhat.

        Before I met my partner, I was in a highly emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Let’s just say it was pretty awful. Then I met my partner and I’ve never met someone who was so solely interested in my well-being before. He literally does everything within his power to give me the life I’ve always wanted and I never want for anything. I can’t remember the last time he said ‘no’ to me. I’m probably what you can call spoilt.

        So when I weigh up the pros of my relationship (the caring, wonderful nature of my partner and how easily we just “fit” together), they far outweigh the one massive fight we had over our friend’s engagement. I think it was just 4 years of waiting that exploded into one drag down knock out fight. And to be honest, 4 years of keeping it inside about how much I wanted it placed unnecessary pressure on my partner, because I don’t think he really knew how much I wanted it before the fight. I would jokingly bring it up every now and then, but I don’t think he really saw the subtle undercurrent there.

        We’ve just come from a period of financial insecurity. As in, we would be down to my minimum wage job alone and he would be looking for a job. Knowing that I’m pretty much the spoiled Princess of the household, I can see why he feels the need to give me something that I could be “proud” of, in terms of a ring. I can see why he would wait. Then there is the added drama of us looking to build a house in the next year or so (yay for coming out of the financial insecurity better than when we came in!). He’s very traditional in that he wants to provide for us with a house, then a wedding and then children. He’s even made me promise not to propose to him because he wants to be the one to do it. I’ve given him my word on that, because it is important to him. I’m going to say yes whenever it happens, regardless of when it happens. I just have to be patient.

        I honestly feel I’ve done him a disservice with my post. The man is quite literally my soul mate and I wouldn’t change him for the world. I love him with every ounce of my being. I just wanted OP to know that there are people like her out there and that sometimes, waiting isn’t fun but if you can stick it out, you will end up with the fairytale ending.

        • The OP February 19, 2015, 2:04 am

          Wow, I think we might actually be the same person! I also felt a bit bad with the stream of people saying “dump him” to me, given that the proposal issue is such a small part of our relationship. I’m living with him because I love him and enjoy spending time with him, not because he has to propose some day. He is wonderful and thoughtful and caring, and treats me incredibly well. He has just been dopey about this one thing.
          I’m not sure if you read my update further down, but he did propose to me about a week ago (after I submitted this story). So maybe just have faith? And now I feel terrible complaining about having to wait an extra year when you’ve had to put up with this for 4 years!

          • admin February 19, 2015, 2:36 am

            FYI, people do email me to ask that I not publish a previously submitted story they sent. Receiving an engagement ring within 24 hours of emailing me that story certainly changed the dynamics of the situation and made your story pointless as well as a waste of my time to have responded.

          • Amber February 19, 2015, 10:29 am

            I don’t think it’s a waste of time, admin. From the number of responses to this article, it looks like more than one person may benefit from your answer.

        • The OP February 19, 2015, 3:15 am

          And sorry for posting again, but I suspect that having been in abusive relationship before has probably affected how you see relationships similarly to me. My ex was crazy possessive and always talking about marriage, but more because he wanted a wife who wouldn’t leave him than because he wanted me as a wife. So for me now, it’s way more Important that I’m in a healthy and loving relationship than married. And if that means I have to wait until he is ready, then I will get irritated, but that’s what I’ll do for somebody who 99% of the time thinks I’m the most important person in the world, and 1% of the time is an unthinking idiot who would never intentionally hurt me

        • Tracy W February 19, 2015, 7:31 am

          . He’s very traditional in that he wants to provide for us with a house, then a wedding and then children.

          Wedding then house. It makes the legal side so much safer, especially as since you’re already together the house will be coming out of your joint resources somehow. No matter what your trust in your partner’s affections, he could be hit by a bus on the way home from the house purchase. Wedding means no worrying about the difference between tenants-in-common versus tenants-in-joint or winding up co-owning a house with his legal next-of-kin or massive inheritance bills for you.

          • Ames February 19, 2015, 8:32 pm

            In Australia at the moment, the median house price in our city is around $600,000. A deposit for the house is around $60,000, possibly up to $100,000.

            Factoring in the long engagement (we both want at least 18 months) and the large wedding we both want to have (he’s Italian, it’s going to be massive for family alone) we have to prioritise. We don’t want to wait another 18-24 months to get our house, knowing that every year we delay, house prices go up another $50,000.

            In terms of worrying about paying for the house or where we stand legally, we both have wills (to be updated upon purchase of the house, marriage and children) and life insurance to cover anything that might come our way (my partner works with lawyers for a living, so we’ve had everything drawn up to be safe).

    • Tracy W February 18, 2015, 9:13 am

      I’m a bit lost here. You’re bitterly disappointed, you’re having angry fights, but you wouldn’t change a thing?

      And why don’t you propose to him in a way that you’ll take pride in so that you feel happy when you tell people?

      • Shalamar February 18, 2015, 9:40 am

        I’m lost, too. And Ames’ remark about his accepting her “terrible, terrible faults” is a red flag to me. If wanting to be married and have children sooner rather than later is a “terrible, terrible fault”, his gracious acceptance doesn’t make him a saint.

    • Ms. Charming February 18, 2015, 10:15 am

      I have been married for 1.5 years, and my husband proposed after two years of dating. It was a simple proposal: We were in a parked car drinking tea, and he told me I dropped something. When I looked around and saw nothing, I turned back to him to find him holding a ring. He said “will you marry me?” and I immediately accepted. It was not a grand proposal or a fancy ring, because at the end of the day, those things don’t matter and they don’t guarantee success in a marriage.
      If marriage is something that is important to you, and he is dismissive about it, it’s time you do some serious thinking. Holding off for a perfect ring and perfect proposal is not fair to you.
      I wish you the best of luck and hope you find happiness.

    • Shannan February 18, 2015, 10:18 am

      You say that you are “Bitterly disappointed” and have “incredibly angry fights”. Why is all of this ok with you?

    • Girlie February 18, 2015, 11:32 am

      If you don’t know after a year… RUN. If you’re within a reasonable age, a year or so is all it takes to start thinking more seriously (at least in my opinion). 5 years is way too long to “wait” for a “perfect” ring and “perfect” proposal. Sounds like your significant other is just making excuses to prolong it. All that should matter is just getting married, if that’s what you want, with or without a ring. These just sound like excuses. A big diamond won’t change anything.

    • Cat2 February 18, 2015, 1:59 pm

      Ames, I think you need to change the focus of your conversation. It’s not just about you getting the ring on your finger. But it IS about being realistic about what your possibilities are.

      Also known as “We’re putting our lives on hold for this. Not for a small amount of time, for a long amount of time. We need to think about the idea that it may never happen, or at the very least, not happen soon enough in order for us to be able to work on or do all the other things we want to do too.”

      Yes, it’s the picture in his head. But just like a woman who can’t afford the wedding she wants, and never will be able to, your guy may need to accept that he can’t afford the ring he wants to give you. And you have a right to say “I’ve waited, I’ve tried to do it your way. But this isn’t working because it’s taking too long. We need to do something different.”

      We all want a pony. We all deserve to have a pony. But none of us are entitled to have a pony we can’t afford just because we deserve it.

  • B February 18, 2015, 3:08 am

    None of this is done in a way I understand at all.

    You “have sort of both realized we are likely to be together forever”…that’s not the most confident assertion, is it? Then he tells you he wants to marry you after 8 months, then he changes his mind, and then you seem to be ok with this until a YEAR later, when you ‘started to get confused and a bit upset’. Er, why? Why after a year?

    And why are you so utterly, helplessly dependent on just sitting around waiting for him to propose? This should not be about wanting a proposal – you want *marriage*. The proposal is a red herring. Not everyone gets one, not everyone wants one. Many couples nowadays simply discuss marriage then take steps. No proposal from a man will be any indication of what your marriage will be like, so I would strongly recommend moving off that to tell him that you do not care about the proposal. You care about the marriage. Is he ready for marriage? If he is not, he needs to say so and you might need to think if you have a limit you are prepared to wait then tell him that.

    My husband took several years to be ready for marriage (he was very young when we first got together), but we discussed the subject openly so we always knew where we both stood. I was ready before he was, but he did not play silly games like this – the earrings one is verging on malicious. Are you honestly sure that your boyfriend does want to get married? Or does he just not have the guts to say he doesn’t want to, after his grand gestures at the start?

    It sounds to me as if he made that marriage claim in the first flush of love, and has now got cold feet because he thinks it’s too soon, isn’t ready, but doesn’t know how to say so now he knows you’re waiting and he told you he’d ask. I would ask him to his face if that is the situation then decide what you will do next.

    • manybellsdown February 18, 2015, 9:58 am

      My proposal was “Hey, want to get lunch today and then go ring shopping?” We’ve been married 10 years now. And I’ve still got the ring I chose.

      • Cat February 18, 2015, 4:28 pm

        You got a good one. He’s pragmatic and that’s the type that comes home early because the grass needs cutting and one of the kids has a ball game.
        He’s not the most romantic, but you know he’ll always be there for you.

    • clairedelune February 18, 2015, 11:19 am

      Agreed. This is completely confusing to me–I agree with Admin, but I also don’t understand why the main concern here seems to be that he’s not obeying the unwritten rules of some complicated engagement ritual. The REAL problem here is that marriage is the most serious, important, complex relationship of one’s life, and it should be undertaken only after a lot of mutual conversation and agreement, none of which seems to be happening here. It’s not about a woman simply sitting around and waiting for a man to shine a big light on her.

    • kit February 18, 2015, 11:51 am

      I agree. Why is the act of proposing even important? I read notalwaysromantic and I do like the “proposing” stories where there really is no proposing, just a discussion from where a natural agreement reached about marrying soon – this kind of shows me that the people are on the same page and marriage is for them a natural step to happen. Not that “waiting and demanding for years for other to get down on his knees and beg to become his wife” thing (which sounds rather absurd to me in the first place).

      • JWH February 18, 2015, 2:07 pm

        I have heard that wedding-industry vendors are also available for hire, should you wish to make your proposal into an event. That just gives me the shivers. As if weddings aren’t expensive enough already!

        Although I could certainly see hiring an improv troupe or something to create a scenario if you and your intended enjoy playing practical jokes on each other.

    • The OP February 19, 2015, 12:33 am

      I probably didn’t make it quite clear enough. It was hard explaining a story that involved so many different dates! He told me at about 17 months. Sort of “I decided a year I was going to do this on this next week, but have since changed my mind.” Like I said, odd. I’m not sure why it took another year for me to get annnoyed. I guess I thought it would have happened within that year, and then I started working night shift which has been really challenging for our relationship.
      I also thought it was very strange and would have preferred to be involved in the decision making. But based on when his older brothers proposed and then got married he had a specific time he thought would be appropriate to get married in. I think your last comment was dead on, and I never realised until now. I was also overseas when he made the initial decision which seems to support that idea.
      I was always less hung up on the marraige aspect, which is probably why I was ok to wait until he could do it the way he wanted to. For example my parents are divorced and my mum has been with her new partner for over 10 years and they have decided they don’t want to get married. I admit that its probably partly because I’m of the age where all my friends are getting engaged. They aren’t getting married yet. I imagine that will be next year 🙂

  • Mojo February 18, 2015, 3:25 am

    Sorry, this isn’t a question of ‘Etiquette Hell’, it’s a question of ‘get the hell out of there’. It may take a while to know you’ve picked the right one, but once you know, you know. You’re sure, and marriage or commitment is the next sure step.

    It’s clear that if he’s not proposing after this length of time, he’s just not sure. What are you going to do – pressure him all the way to altar? No, never works, and frankly the divorce will be expensive and heart-breaking.

    Unless he can honestly challenge and overcome his commitment issues, this is going to hurt you. Your choice is now, or later.

    • Sassy Snow White February 20, 2015, 6:32 pm

      Your response is good. Very, very good.

  • Lex February 18, 2015, 3:42 am

    Having been in a similar situation with my own now-Fiancé, you have two choices:
    1) Issue him with an ultimatum – if he is anything like my own Fiancé this will not end well.
    2) Have an open discussion with him and explain that marriage is important to you and that you need him to decide if it is still something he wants. You need to be prepared for him to say no. If he says no, then you need to explain (calmly) that it is not a point of compromise for you and that HIS ANSWER has determined the fate of the relationship. If he says yes then ask him why he’s prevaricating – it could be that he’s having trouble saving/affording the ring (this was the case with us as we bought a house instead of getting engaged).

    If your Fiancé is anything like mine, he DOES love you, but he likes to do things in his own time and takes a while to work up to them. He was probably caught up in the ‘first blush’ of the new relationship when he declared his intentions after 8 months.

    The bit about ‘making it special’ is exactly like my own Fiancé too. In fact, your entire story echoes my own experience almost exactly, so if the admin is hinting that this is a fake troll then I’m going to disagree based on my own identical experience, however I have to say: This is an ETIQUETTE page, NOT an Agony Aunt. I’m not at all sure a) why this submission was selected and b) what the etiquette question is here and c) why you submitted this story to this site at all. We may dissect family dramas here, but usually only where there is a question of etiquette. Sorry OP, but we’re not your own personal relationship counsellors.

    I’ve been with LeFiancé for 7 years. After 2 years I really think you’re expecting a bit much TBH.

    • Goldie February 18, 2015, 9:41 am

      That was a bit harsh! And honestly, for OP’s boyfriend to put on the spot in front of his family the way he did with those earrings, might’ve been a breach of etiquette. He knew exactly what he was doing, he knew exactly what OP would think. To trick her like that when she’s opening the presents at his parents’ house… not cool!

      As for expecting much after two years, I actually heard that two years is a kind of a milestone – that, two years into the relationship, the two people have already gotten to know each other well enough that they are able to decide whether they want to make it a forever thing (be it in the form of buying a ring or buying a house), or end things and move on.

      • B February 18, 2015, 10:06 am

        He didn’t do it in front of his parents. I thought that, but she says ‘then we came home’ ie they were on their own.

        I still think it was mean because he knows she wants to get married, but all this fussing about a proposal on any side seems to be missing the point entirely. Nobody needs a big fancy proposal, and I don’t understand why anyone cares that much about giving or receiving one as long as you DO get your chosen life partner and a statement of lifelong commitment. A big fancy proposal is not going to guarantee you anything.

      • SmarterPrimate February 18, 2015, 10:58 am

        Just chiming in to say the gift exchange happened in private, not at the parents’ house.

        To quote the OP, “we went to his parents’ house for lunch and then came home to unwrap our gifts to each other”.

        If it WAS in front of the family, then I would agree with you 100%.

      • TaterTot February 18, 2015, 12:07 pm

        “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.”

        Actually, the gift exchange did not occur in front of his parents.

    • PhDeath February 18, 2015, 11:49 am

      I realize different people have different timetables, so I won’t quibble on that. For me 2 years is a perfectly “acceptable” time to think about engagement.

      I think what bothers me here is the fact the OP’s partner brought up the possibility of engagement, offered what seemed to be a very specific timeline, then pulled back.

      If you’re thinking about proposing, but aren’t sure, I think it’s far kinder to keep it to yourself until you’re certain.

    • Dee February 18, 2015, 5:04 pm

      “Issue him with an ultimatum”?!? This is a partnership we’re talking about – not an arranged marriage, or a kidnapping … The LW and her fiancee already discussed marriage, they’re both in agreement, so now they are engaged. Done. If he has changed his mind then that needs to be discussed, of course, but there is no proposing to be done anymore. It already happened.

      That’s how couples know they are engaged. One party (she or he) brings up the topic, both parties agree that that’s what they want, and – ta-da! You’re engaged. Rings and bended knees are unnecessary and do not affect what has already taken place. The deed is done. The contract is made.

      A ring is not a down payment, a deposit, to hold the bride from exploring other options. You are engaged from the moment the discussion takes place and there is an agreement; the ring is only a SYMBOL of what has already occurred. No ring = still engaged. Seriously.

      In this case, despite the fact that they already discussed the issue and were in agreement, the fiancee proposed making a redundant proposal for some point in the vague future. Proposed a proposal … and OP thinks this is normal. It’s so convoluted that I wonder far more about OP’s mental abilities than her fiancee’s.

      I am so lost on this concept of waiting for a man to make the decision. Is this how (supposedly) mature women enter into business contracts – waiting for the other party to make the plans and decisions for them? Seems to me the biggest problem here is half of the partnership has renounced the right to make important decisions, and then complains when the other half does not make the decisions she wants. Utterly ridiculous.

      • LadyV February 18, 2015, 8:39 pm

        Except that her boyfriend does NOT seem to be in agreement about getting married. And I also think you’re way off the mark by saying that just because people have discussed marriage, it means they’re engaged. To me, that’s only engagement by default. Even though I’ve never been a big believer in the expensive ring and the “perfect” proposal, I think an engagement requires a little more than just talking about marriage as a possibility.

        • Dee February 19, 2015, 8:06 pm

          ” … he decided I was the person he was going to marry …”. Doesn’t sound ambiguous at all. And I don’t get where you say that discussing marriage does not equate to engagement. If two parties discuss it and both are in agreement then, yes, they are engaged. And I am totally flabbergasted that you think that an engagement requires more than just talking about marriage. That’s all an engagement is – an agreement to get married. Not a ring, not a house, not a wedding date. Just an agreement. A proposal is a completely unnecessary “frill” that does nothing to cement the agreement in any way, shape or form. Seems like a farce to pretend to wait until it’s done “properly” when the deed is already done. But, then again, if one or both parties is more focussed on show than substance then hopefully they are in agreement with that, too, because otherwise such expectations will quickly become tiresome for both parties, as the OP has clearly shown.

          • LadyV February 20, 2015, 11:50 pm

            I’ve known a lot of couples that have casually discussed possibly getting married someday who would be very shocked to know that constitutes an engagement. You’re entitled to your view of what constitutes “being engaged”, but please realize that a lot of other people have a different, and equally valid, opinion.

      • Tracy W February 19, 2015, 7:45 am

        I do think the ring is an important symbol though in many cases, particularly if one party has been sending mixed messages. There’s an old saying that a verbal contract is only worth the paper it’s written on. A ring is less subject to reinterpretation or bad memories than a discussion.

        (That said I remember the moment we got engaged much more vividly, and as being much more happier, than the moment he gave me the ring. But I had no doubt of his acceptance then, the OP is in a more difficult case).

    • The OP February 19, 2015, 12:50 am

      Haha, our SOs sound exactly alike! I think you are right when you say about the first blush of the new relationship, but I never totally gave him credit for that. Too wrapped up in being disappointed I guess :p Normally I wouldn’t have thought too much of not being engaged after 2 years (although we are closer to 3 now) except that he brought it up as an issue so early on.
      As for your final comment, well I guess that is something you would be better taking up with the admin. I thought it was an interesting story, but I hereby relieve you of any duty of being my personal relationship counsellor 🙂

  • Tracy W February 18, 2015, 4:14 am

    Suggested solution: you propose to him. Make it a special (not necessarily hiring a skywriter or scattering 1000 red roses on your favourite beach, just, you know, maybe a special meal, a bottle of bubbly). If he complains that you didn’t wait for him to propose, get rather stiff about it all, and say that you understand that he doesn’t want to marry you, and you don’t want to put any pressure on him, so you’ll move out and then wish him the best of happiness in life.

    Either he’ll agree that you’re engaged, or you should move out and look to find someone who does want to marry you.

    Obviously this is assuming that you want to get married.

    • LR February 18, 2015, 11:02 am

      I agree. If you really want to be married, then you should do the asking. If he says no, or gets angry at the the idea of being “proposed to”, then that’s your answer. I don’t think it’s fair or particularly wise to keep yourself indefinitely in relationship limbo.

  • Sarizzle February 18, 2015, 4:24 am

    As the great prophet Beyonce once said “If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it”.
    I’m with Admin on this one…

    • Daphne February 18, 2015, 12:53 pm

      Perfect!

  • Emerald February 18, 2015, 4:37 am

    “He said I only have one chance for to have someone ask me to marry them so he wants to make it special.” You may have many people ask you to marry them (and I hope you do). Lose this guy, he is toying with you.

  • just4kicks February 18, 2015, 5:16 am

    Marriage is a big step, and not to be entered into lightly, maybe he just got scared with taking such a big step so soon into your relationship.
    I would cut him a little slack on that, better a broken engagement than a broken marriage.
    However, having flat out telling you he was planning on proposing, and then gifting you with a small box in a private moment that didn’t contain an engagement ring, comes across to me as insensitive and a little childish.
    He HAD to know you would think it’s a ring, and I, too, would have been disappointed.

  • koolchicken February 18, 2015, 5:25 am

    I have to both agree and disagree with the admin on this one. My husband did know I was the one for him. The only problem was a six year age gap and us meeting while he was still in med school and I was only 19. There were also a lot of upheavals during that time. We lived in separate states, he had to apply for residency programs that might have taken him even further away. Finally once he was offered a job in Hawaii (basically on the other side of the world from where I was from) he asked me to come with him as I was in my 20’s by then. Still no proposal but that was for the best. I don’t handle change well, and radical change might have been too much. It was better to move with no real strings attached knowing I could always go back home if it was too much for me. Only once we made the decision to stay on the island did he propose. Given my nature it was the best course of action and we’ve been together 11 years, married for 3.5 of them and we’re very happy and stable.

    However it does not seem like this is the case with the OP. It seems as though she wants to get married, and soon. Her would be fiancé does not seem to feel the same. There just seems to be something off about this fellow. My husband did not play these games. When he told me he was going to propose he did it, and did so quickly (it would have been even faster had I noticed what he’d set out for me as a surprise. Took me days, he finally lost patience and dragged me to my dressing table…). The OP’s boyfriend seems to be playing a game, and I strongly suspect the OP has no chance of winning. If it were me I’d sit him down and make my feelings quite clear to him. If he didn’t feel as though marriage was something he could commit to right then, I’d move on. Because the admin is right about one thing, he’s stringing you along and may do so forever if you let him.

    • B February 18, 2015, 10:11 am

      Your husband sounds like mine! When he was ready to propose, he did it that day, but marriage for him was a huge, life-changing step and at 19 he just was not ready to do it, and neither was I!

    • Cat February 18, 2015, 4:34 pm

      That’s great-he had to drag you over to find your ring. Reminds me of the guy who put the engagement ring in his girlfriend’s milkshake, thinking she woul discover it. She gulped it down and did not believe him when he told her she had just swallowed her engagement ring. It took an x-ray to convince her.
      She got it back, of course, but it was not a very romantic way to get her ring.

      • TaterTot February 19, 2015, 2:09 am

        If that would have happened to me and my guy stayed with me to pass the ring? He is definitely a keeper!.

        PS She wad drinking a milkshake without a straw?

    • Library Diva February 18, 2015, 4:53 pm

      You guys had real reasons for delaying, though. OP hasn’t mentioned any such reasons. Like you said, it sounds like he’s playing a colossal game…and that’s not OK. OP needs to have a frank discussion with this guy, and pronto.

  • Marozia February 18, 2015, 5:34 am

    OP, you might have to rethink this relationship. It sounds like he wants the ‘special moment’ to propose to you, but he’s not quite sure when that will be. By the time he works out when that will be, it could’ve passed by or you might be gone. It sounds like he’s just hedging and he’s not really serious about marrying you.

    • SS February 18, 2015, 11:55 pm

      It also caught my eye that he hasn’t managed to find a ‘special moment’ in 4 years of looking (after the initial 1 year wait period)?? Then he’s not trying very hard.

  • PlainJane February 18, 2015, 6:07 am

    In total agreement with admin on this one. Boyfriend does not want to marry the letter writer.

    • Jazzgirl205 February 19, 2015, 1:44 pm

      When men want to get married, they want to do it right away (in my experience). They don’t hesitate to ask, they don’t wait for the right moment, and they don’t take their SO for granted. He thinking that you will wait years for him to make up his mind or decide it’s the right time is disrespectful. Most of the young men I knew were afraid that, if they didn’t act soon, someone else would steal away their beautiful desirable lady.

      Don’t wait forever for him to make his move. Your only reward will be a reluctant husband.

  • tessa February 18, 2015, 6:34 am

    What caught my eye is that they are “likely” to be together forever, as opposed to ” we are committed” to be together forever. Special proposals are nice, but after 2 years, a simple but sincere proposal would be really nice also. He’s not ready…..move on.

  • Green123 February 18, 2015, 6:41 am

    I suppose it depends how much importance the OP places on marriage, as in, the actual wedding and the ring and the piece of paper that says ‘It’s official, formally, in law, OP and Mr OP are husband and wife’. Millions of couples live together happily for their whole lives without needing to walk down the aisle to prove their relationship is solid, and in many cases a married couple is no more or less secure than an unmarried one.

    BUT! I agree with Admin that there’s something a bit… odd about OP’s boyfriend. To change his mind about proposal is one thing, but to be so (in my opinion) cruel and mocking to OP with the earring stunt suggests that he’s either immature and thinks that’s funny OR is a genuine jerk. Either way, alarm bells rang when I read that.

    • Tracy W February 18, 2015, 10:17 am

      The value of the piece of paper comes when the relationship ends, as all relationships do, by death or divorce. The paper, plus witnesses, proves that the two parties made a commitment to each other which is very useful for allocating property.

      A married couple may be no more or less secure than an unmarried one, but if you’re not married never ever give up earning an independent income to look after the kids.

      • Northlight February 18, 2015, 3:00 pm

        That’s very location dependent though. Where I live my common law relationship is legally recognized and, if dissolved, involves the division of joint assets and spousal support as needed. Basically, the big difference is having a wedding vs not having one. The legal protections are the same regardless.

        I would advise everyone to lock in their end of life wishes. Make sure that your partner has medical power of attorney and the knowledge necessary to make the decisions you would like.

        • The Elf February 18, 2015, 8:45 pm

          I absolutely agree that everyone should formalize their end of life wishes. Don’t wait until you are old or sick; we could all be hit by a bus tomorrow. Honestly, the Terri Schiavo case scared the hell out of me, so I did mine then. Doesn’t matter if you are married or not, or even in a relationship, you need to designate someone to have your back and enact what you want should you be incapable.

        • Tracy W February 19, 2015, 1:51 am

          But if your spouse dies and one of their relatives decides to claim youreally weren’t actually married so they get spouse’s property, then you face needing to show that you were committed to each other. Yes you can prove that in ways other than a ceremony and a ring and a piece of paper but such proof is probably going to involve an awful lot more paper.

      • Cat February 18, 2015, 4:36 pm

        It also makes a major difference in medical decisions. You need to be the legal next of kin or have power of attorney if your partner is ill or injured.

  • Cerys February 18, 2015, 7:03 am

    OP – why not stop waiting to be asked and do the proposing yourself? It cuts through the ‘oh, I’m waiting for *your* benefit’, and might actually give you a better idea of what’s going on in his head. If he turns you down, you know where you stand.

    And then there’s the option of keeping things the way they are. Why get hung up on *having* to be married? You’re already living together – what more would being married offer the relationship?

    • admin February 18, 2015, 9:34 am

      It would be interesting to see his reaction to a carefully orchestrated, “special” proposal by the OP. And if he objects, she could remind him that he’s been waiting for it to be special for her and how she has done *is* special for her.

    • Ergala February 18, 2015, 11:08 am

      Cerys for some people marriage is the BIG commitment. There is no easy walk away from being legally married. If you aren’t married, don’t have kids the door is always there to just walk away. When you take that leap into marriage you are saying “Hey I am closing that easy out door and locking it. I don’t need it.”

      Not to mention certain faiths really do push for marriage. Mine does, we believe that marriage is a HUGE deal and it is eternal. It’s why we date so carefully and choose our partner the way we do. Once you have children together you are together….FOREVER. If you don’t have children together you are still together….FOREVER. Divorce happens of course, it isn’t encouraged but hey sometimes stuff happens. There is a process to dissolve your marriage in the Church but it’s relatively painless. Plus usually the divorces are a result of one person being a member and the other isn’t. The people whom divorce usually go on to marry someone from within the Church. Common ground.

      • SJ February 18, 2015, 1:55 pm

        I’m kind of grabbing onto a tangent here, but it sounds like you’re LDS -as am I.

        If so, I think you’re saying some things that are exaggerations or assumptions. From my experience dissolving your marriage in the church isn’t “relatively painless.” And I know of more divorces by two members of the church than as a result of one person being a member and one not.

        • ergala February 18, 2015, 6:22 pm

          SJ I am! I was just baptized last fall after investigating for a few years. Here in my area at least more people whom are divorced and remarried were previously married to non-members. We live in a very small town, as in our area merges in with the neighboring state 🙂 Tiny tiny tiny. I remember my mother’s husband mentioning a high rate of divorce among LDS. I think it’s less difficult if you aren’t sealed yet. If you are sealed I can imagine it’s a lot harder to dissolve a marriage. I am a member but my husband is Agnostic. It has been a huge point of contention but he is extremely respectful of my beliefs.

          But as I said, what I am stating is for my specific area. I am sure in bigger places like Utah and Texas and CA that the population is much higher and therefore a larger number of statistics to point to. But when our weekly members at church are 30 or 40….yeah tiny tiny tiny. I went through separation from my husband last year and the women of the church were amazing in supporting me in whatever decision I made. I thought for sure I would be ousted or not allowed to be baptized if I was divorced. They pointed out that stuff happens and that plenty of members had been divorced or gone through rough patches. One of them even told me about her own divorce several years ago. It’s a sad fact of life for a lot of people. Thankfully I didn’t end up divorced.

      • Cerys February 18, 2015, 2:56 pm

        Ergala – I assumed that the fact the OP is already living with her boyfriend might indicate a more relaxed attitude than is sometimes taken by religious couples. (I don’t say this as a dig at religion or at you, but at myself for making that assumption.)

        • Ergala February 22, 2015, 10:22 pm

          Good point Cerys. Though I will say my mother is an extremely devout Catholic woman whom threw a fit when I moved in with my now husband the month before the wedding. However she lived with her now husband two YEARS before they were married 😉 I bit my tongue.

    • Tracy W February 18, 2015, 2:46 pm

      Marriage matters when the relationship ends. If your partner dies and a relative tries to claim their assets it’s useful to be able to point to a piece of paper. Yes you can draw up contracts and wills and so forth to replicate a marriage contract but that’s a lot more expensive and many people never get around to it.

      • mechtilde February 19, 2015, 6:41 am

        That is so very true- it scares me how many people live together and assume they have the same rights as married couples- and they don’t.
        Part of the reason I was so keen to get married was so that my husband would be protected both legally and financially if anything happened to me.

      • Ergala February 22, 2015, 10:25 pm

        I’ve tried to explain to my friends whom think they are protected if they have children with their boyfriends before they are married. They don’t understand that they do not have the same legal protection if something goes wrong. A lot of them do not believe in marriage but believe in co-habitating and starting a family together which is fine for them. But when things go sour they expect some type of legal ramification for their now ex in regards to support. Nope…just child support. There is no alimony if you weren’t married. At least when you are married very rarely do the men demand a DNA test if they suddenly don’t think they are the father. If that child was conceived during the marriage then that child IS his child legally. If you weren’t married they can deny any paternal connection and then you have to jump through hoops for DNA testing and what not. It’s messy.

  • Reaver February 18, 2015, 7:09 am

    It really bothers me that he did that christmas present thing, no way he is so dense to think that she WOULDN’T think it was a proposal, there was family, there was a tiny box, he presented them in a way that said “Proposal!” Only to basically go “Just Kidding!”

    Plus he /TOLD YOU/ he changed his mind!?

    • Lisa H. February 18, 2015, 12:16 pm

      he sounds passive/agressive to me.

      • Cat February 18, 2015, 4:38 pm

        To me, too, if he is playing silly games with her feelings like making her think she was getting her engagement ring and then disappointing her. That’s a bit sick.

  • Mustard February 18, 2015, 7:12 am

    It seems a bit weird to me that your boyfriend decided he was going to ask you to marry him four months after he’s decided you’re the one for him, and then to change his mind… If he’d kept his thoughts to himself you wouldn’t be in this situation. Even if he does propose, and you accept, does it seem likely he’ll walk down the aisle?

  • essie February 18, 2015, 7:29 am

    Admin asked, so here’s my opinion: he enjoys manipulating your emotions. He sets you up to expect a proposal, then says “Nah, not now.” Among children, this is known as the “offer-a-chair-then-yank-it-away” gag. That’s cruel.

    My ex did this all the time: he’d promise a weekend away, a day trip, dinner out, then at the last minute (after I’m packed, dressed, and ready to walk out the door), he’d cancel. Sometimes, “something came up at work” (which I’d find out later he volunteered for AFTER our plans were made) or he’d point-blank tell me “I changed my mind; you don’t deserve it.” Or he’d make fun of me (usually in public) until I burst into tears, then say “I was only kidding.” It took me years to discover that, in his mind, if he could make me cry, he’d win; I wasn’t aware that relationships were a contest.

    “He has said that I only get one chance to have someone ask me to marry them…” Notice he didn’t say HE only has one chance to ask YOU; instead he implies that you’re so generally unworthy that you’ll be darned lucky if someone accidentally says words which might be, just possibly could be, twisted into an interpretation that they’d consider marrying you. It’s obviously working, too. Look at your closing line “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.” Twits don’t lead you on and smile when you squirm; they run out in the pouring rain to save someone’s paper boat from being swept down into the sewer or send you a stuffed camel at work just because it’s “hump-day” or draw smiley faces on snow-covered parking meters. They do things that make you shake your head and smile or even laugh out loud, they don’t do things that stress you and make you cry. Have you considered that he’s “mostly” wonderful and caring just because that’s what he has to do to keep you from leaving?

    He declared that you have only one chance to receive a proposal. As my brother used to say, “Who told [him] that lie?” There’s no law about it; it’s not in any books on etiquettte. If YOU want to marry him, YOU make that “one chance” proposal. To be blunt, though, I believe that marrying him would be a mistake.

    • Anna February 18, 2015, 9:51 am

      Yes, that line about your only having one chance really stood out to me too, as well as the line about being grateful to be with him in the first place. Both lines are about your self-worth–one from him (“obviously, you should be grateful to have someone propose to you, so you would say yes to anyone”) and one from you (I should be grateful someone loves me). Also, good point about him manipulating you. He’s allowed to go back and forth about thinking about when he wants to propose to you, but him sharing every detail about his thought process is really manipulative, and makes it seem like he’s using this power (I AM IN CHARGE OF SOMETHING YOU WANT!) just to make you squirm. Is that the behavior of someone who loves you and cares about you? I think you probably deserve better.

      • Shoegal February 18, 2015, 2:10 pm

        I agree – OP, has given this guy all the power. He decides exactly when HE is good and ready – and then and ONLY then will she receive a proposal. This should be something that was discussed and is basically inevitable really. Not one half of the relationship hoping and praying for a proposal and the other half playing head games.

    • psammead February 18, 2015, 8:39 pm

      “Notice he didn’t say HE only has one chance to ask YOU; instead he implies that you’re so generally unworthy that you’ll be darned lucky if someone accidentally says words which just possibly could be twisted into an interpretation that they’d consider marrying you.”

      Yes, exactly! This is what stood out to me, too–the hint that he’s the OP’s only shot at marriage! But this sounds like “negging” to me–those subtle (and not-so-subtle) putdowns meant to keep you off-balance, to suggest that you’re not worthy and should be grateful for any crumbs of attention they might toss your way.

    • Hemi February 21, 2015, 2:35 pm

      Exactly, @Essie. You perfectly summed up this situation/relationship.

  • Charliesmum February 18, 2015, 7:45 am

    I find it interesting he said he wanted to marry you, but then never actually proposed. I think this is called ‘approach/avoidance conflict’ in psychological terms.

    You didn’t say how old you are, so it’s possible he, and you, are still very young and maybe not ready for that sort of thing, but since you already live together, I don’t think you’re doing yourself any favours by waiting for him to make a concrete decision.

    Communication is key. If you really want to start planning your wedding, you need to tell him so. You need to sit down with your boyfriend, tell him you’re getting annoyed with his procrastination, and he has a finite amount of time to decide if he really wants to commit to you or not.

    I have a feeling you’re worried that if you have that conversation that he will say ‘no, I don’t want to marry you.’ I can understand that. So ultimately it’s your choice. If you’re content staying in this ‘living together limbo’ that’s fine, but if you really want to move forward in the relationship, then you’re going to have to do something about it, and risk him running for the hills.

    Good luck. I hope it all works out for you!

  • Susan February 18, 2015, 8:25 am

    I don’t buy the “I want it to be special” excuse. I wouldn’t give him an ultimatum, but decide for yourself how long you are willing to wait for this guy, if he doesn’t propose by then, move on!

  • Paige February 18, 2015, 8:52 am

    I don’t really understand people’s obsession with making proposal’s these grand gestures. To me it is something intimate between the couple, not a competition or a moment to create bragging rights. He seems very selfish in his actions to put this off and then the whole earring thing… I might have lost it when I saw those earrings. Either you are both very young or he is just an idiot. Time for a serious conversation about your expectations.

    • Hemi February 21, 2015, 2:38 pm

      I agree with you about the proposals being an intimate moment between couples. When I dreamed of my perfect proposal, it was always just me & my SO, not some huge production fit for reality tv.

  • EllenS February 18, 2015, 8:56 am

    I’m afraid I agree with Admin. This guy is more interested in playing on your emotions to enjoy the effect, than in actually being married to you.
    Possibly he is just immature and not self-aware enough to realize that his quest for the imaginary perfect moment is sacrificing your real and present happiness. In that case, a clear statement that he needs to “fish or cut bait” should provide some clarity.
    It’s not at all unusual for a nice guy (in the short term) to misjudge his timing on the relationship. I had to look at my then-boyfriend and say quite explicitly, “No, I am not driving 10 hours to your brother’s birthday party. That is what family does. I am not family, I am just your girlfriend.” He picked up the ring he’d ordered very quickly, and proposed a week later.
    Your definitive statement might be in the form of proposing to him yourself as pp suggested, or it may be in drawing a line of “This is what being a boyfriend is like. It is not the same as being engaged or married. Decide what you want.” It may mean changing the parameters of your relationship until you are comfortable with him as a non-fiance.
    The other possibility is that he has no real intention of marrying you at all and is just stalling so you don’t leave. In that case you should leave if being married is something you want in life.
    You setting a boundary or calling his bluff should make things clear.

  • Rebecca February 18, 2015, 9:00 am

    Before we all get too hard on him, has anything big changed in his life since he assured you the first time that he’d propose? Are his parents having issues? Did he start a new job? Did somebody close to him die? The only reason I ask is that I’d make sure that there isn’t something in his life that’s making him jittery, like a new doubt about marriage (parents), his ability to support you (job) or a fear of being close to somebody and then losing them (death).

    Other than that, it does kind of sound like he’s stringing you along. My now-husband waited 6 years, but that was because he wanted to wait until we were ready financially. If he’d done it for no reason I wouldn’t have stuck around.

    • Lisa February 18, 2015, 12:14 pm

      I agree. He’s changed his mind (and he’s even said so) for some reason. We don’t know what that is. It may be valid. It may not. But it’s his life too. He shouldn’t have to propose to someone if he’s not fully committed to the idea of getting married.

      And the LW shouldn’t want to marry someone whose heart really isn’t in it.

  • Lo February 18, 2015, 9:00 am

    This isn’t the 50s. You don’t have to wait around hoping to be picked. If you want to marry a man, tell him so. Propose to him.

    But not to this man. I I hate to tell you this but if he isn’t sure after two years of living together, he’s never going to be. Find someone who feels the same way you do. This guy is all about promises, probably to make himself feel better, and I doubt marriage is something he’s interested in.

    • Kim February 18, 2015, 10:27 am

      Agree completely.

      Getting married is not just his decision. It’s yours as well. Propose to him. Put him on the spot. You’re not the little woman waiting helplessly.

      It’s better to deal with this head on now rather than 8 years from now.

  • AnaMaria February 18, 2015, 9:06 am

    Did the OP mention their ages or where they are at in their careers? My best friend and her husband met when they were in 7th grade and knew when they were 18 that they had found “The One” in each other. However, proposing at that point would have meant a Walmart ring over a meal at Perkins. They were both living with their parents and going to college nearby, so marrying would have meant having to trade their free room/board/food for their own apartment, grocery bills, and insurance on top of their tuition. He DID propose at the end of their junior year, and they were married the summer after graduation (in a simple but elegant wedding), and they now have a beautiful house and a little girl.

    On the other hand, I’m 28 with a full-time career and three credits away from my master’s. I hope I will meet “The One” someday, and, when I know it’s him and he knows it’s me, I expect him to put a ring on it pretty darn quick!

    • kit February 18, 2015, 12:06 pm

      Getting engaged is not the same as getting married. I can imagine that if you are sure you want to marry that other person, you can get engaged at 18 and marry when you have graduated college, no matter how many years that is.

      • AnaMaria February 18, 2015, 2:04 pm

        Well, I should clarify that best friend and I both come from a cultural/religious background where you don’t get engaged until you are ready to start planning your wedding. There may be some exceptions (like a military couple who aren’t sure when they will be able to have a wedding), but, generally, for us, getting formally engaged at 18 would mean you were going to be married before you were 20.

  • Miss-E February 18, 2015, 9:10 am

    I feel like there is a fundamental flaw in this relationship. He could be the greatest man alive but if you want to get married and he doesn’t then you are never going to work. Just like if you wanted kids and he didn’t, you have different life goals and if you aren’t on the same page it isn’t going to last. And I know he SAYS he wants to marry you but if he’s dragging his feet so much he can’t be all that eager.

    I lived with my husband for three years before we got engaged and I can tell you there is pretty much zero difference between living together and being married, so you need to ask yourself how important this really is to you. If you can live without a marriage then you should put it out of your mind and focus just on maintaining a strong relationship. If you can’t, you need to find someone else who does care about marriage.

    • Gena February 18, 2015, 10:37 am

      I disagree with the remark that there is zero difference in living together and being married. When you are living together there is always the underlying theory that you can just leave – -no divorce necessary. Finances are usually handled separately, and there is no long-term planning for retirement, etc.

      There is also a lack of respect for your relationship from others. As in “they are only living together”, not married.

      Marriage is the ultimate commitment. No matter how much you and your live-in partner love each other and are committed,it doesn’t match that of marriage.

      • Miss-E February 18, 2015, 1:10 pm

        That is really up to the people involved. My husband and I are not religious so marriage was a just a legal thing to us. We were deeply committed to each other and that isn’t something that a wedding can enhance. Perhaps it’s because we were so committed that’s why it hasn’t felt any different in the two years since we married.

      • Northlight February 18, 2015, 3:08 pm

        I think the point is that marriage is the ultimate commitment *for you* but it may not be for others.

        My common law relationship has lasted longer, and gone through more serious bumps, than the marriages within our friend group. I’ve sat by his bedside in the ICU and he’s carried coffins at funerals of my family members. We’re a family, a team and committed.

        We’ve built a family out of love and respect and that’s the important and serious bit of it. A piece of paper and a party are not. A relationship is only as serious and meaningful as the people within it make it, no outside contracts can change that.

  • flora February 18, 2015, 9:16 am

    My question for the OP is: Do you really want to be married? You don’t have to be, you know. These days people can and do happily live together forever and a day without many social repercussions. ( I know a lot of this depends on where you live) Also, do you really want to be married to this man? The opening paragraph makes me wonder who you’re trying to convince.
    If the answer to both questions is yes, you need to have a long, open, honest, talk with your boyfriend. Maybe with the help of a marriage counsoler who could help both of you get the bottom of this issue.
    If the answer to the first is no. Then you don’t really have a problem but I don’t think it is otherwise you wouldn’t be writing. If the answer to the second question is no, then I think you know what you need to do.

  • Lisa February 18, 2015, 9:19 am

    This is kind of an odd post for this site.

    But my take on it is that he changed his mind about proposing and now doesn’t have the guts to end the relationship entirely. Sorry, I’m sure that’s not what the LW wants to hear, but that’s how it sounds to me.

  • Ladyxaviara February 18, 2015, 9:21 am

    I had lived with my ex for 5 years. We talked about marriage by the second. By the fourth I told him that marriage was not negotiable and I needed to know where we stood. By the fifth year, I realized I wanted marriage and children while he didn’t, and I left.

    Now my husband proposed to me a year after we started dating. We were married last year and have a baby on the way!!

    Discuss your feelings with your boyfriend. If you don’t want the same things, there is no sense in wasting time. I wish I had left my ex much earlier.

  • Michelle February 18, 2015, 9:23 am

    I really don’t have anything to add to what has already been stated, just want to say that I agree with everyone who said he probably proposed in the first flushes of love and now isn’t so sure. He’s afraid to tell you that and uses the “special” tactic to stall, hoping you will not get upset and leave his butt.

    I also agree you have 2 choices- either propose and see what his reaction is or have the “talk”- you want marriage, does he still want marriage, what’s the deal.

    Oh, and the stunt with the earrings- I would have been super pissed. He might have spent the night on the couch.

  • mommawhopper February 18, 2015, 9:26 am

    Not a popular answer here, but I’m firmly in the camp of not living together before marriage and this story highlights but one reason why ( I have a lot of reasons). I get that some people think it’s a step to marriage and others want to “try” living together first to see how it “works out”. But I think that some people who live together don’t feel the need to decide commitments about marriage because nothing is really going to change much just because they get a “license” to do what they are already doIng. So what’s the hurry? Studies will show that people who don’t live together before marriage will get married more often and stay married than those who live together first.

    • Lo February 18, 2015, 10:12 am

      I personally don’t believe in living together before an engagement but I don’t think it necessarily makes things less likely to work out or that it really affects divorce rates. If anything it just speeds up the timetable for marriage if marriage is sought by the couple. Dating for years and not living together I’d say he might still be the one for her but they need to have a serious and open talk about what they need to do to get there. Dating and living together for two of those years? Unless you’re very young you ought to have figured a few things out by then and the longer you live together the harder it’s going to be to break it off and get back into the dating scene if OP wants to get married someday.

    • B February 18, 2015, 10:23 am

      “Studies will show that people who don’t live together before marriage will get married more often and stay married than those who live together first.”

      Actually, that varies from country to country. In the UK, 2012 statistics show that there is no difference whatsoever and the overwhelming majority of couples live together first.

      And if you are against living together, of course you’re more likely to get married. How else are you supposed to share a home with your life partner? I am a great believer in marriage, our relationship strengthened x10 when we married, but this story has nothing to do with her choice to cohabit that I can see. She just has a boyfriend who doesn’t sound at all like marriage material to me, for several reasons, whether she lives with him or not.

    • Lera99 February 18, 2015, 10:55 am

      Also, people who leave together for several years and then get married often feel “let down” afterwards. Nothing changes and the feel like getting married should have made a bigger impact.

      And there are those people who live together for a couple of years, things start getting a little rocky, and they decide that getting married will fix the relationship troubles. (Better than the people who think kids will fix the relationship troubles, but still not an actual solution.)

      Also, just living together doesn’t give you the legal protections of marriage. When the relationship dissolves, you may end up out on the street with the clothes on your back and no legal recourse.

      Finally, studies also show that in the vast majority of married couples – both people work.
      But when people are just living together it is far more likely to find a situation where the man doesn’t work at all.

    • flora February 18, 2015, 11:07 am

      A lot depends on who is sponsering those “studies” and why. Where are they taking thier sample size from? And are the people being truthful?
      I personally think it’s up to the people in question. Living together worked well for myself and my husband because we got a chance to see how well we worked together, and we didn’t have to deal with the stress of moving on top of planning a wedding. Also, just becuase those people are staying married doesn’t mean they’re happy.

    • David February 18, 2015, 11:40 am

      Seconded.

    • Rod February 18, 2015, 12:39 pm

      Show those studies, please?

      Kuperberg and the Council for Contemporary families cite that there is no difference in the divorce rates between cohabitating and non-cohabitating couples. The biggest “risk” for divorce is getting together too young.

      You can have your reasons for opposing it, but others have reasons to support it. I thoroughly support the idea, being unencumbered by religious codes. For one, it allows you to establish other measures of (in)compatibility that are not clear before living with someone. Examples? Sleeping habits and times. Finance management. Chore distribution. And so on.

      None of these are deal makers or breakers, but they do reduce some uncertainties. Whether that is important to you or not is a different matter. It was very important to my (now) wife when we moved in together.

      As for marriage itself – where I live after a period of cohabitation the couple (even same sex) has most of the legal rights as a married couple. So marriage is a social formalization of the union, more than a legal entity. And in our case the excuse for an awesome party with our favourite people.

      • admin February 20, 2015, 8:29 am

        Uh oh! A research challenge! I am not just the Devil’s Advocate but also the “fact checker”.

        Years ago the question thrown out for discussion was, “Who has the greater likelihood of divorce and marital problems – cohabitators or non?” I spent a Saturday afternoon in D.H. Hill Library on the NC State campus researching that question just because I am an ornery Devil’s Advocate and I happen to like research data as opposed to anecdotal evidence.

        The research I found clearly shows that cohabitators, as a group, have significantly higher rates of divorce than non-cohabitators. This was a stated conclusion in at least nine studies. There were no studies offering rebuttal evidence.

        I think the conclusions of these studies answer several questions raised. Obviously, I cannot post every aspect of every study. What follows are the quotes taken from each study and *are not* my observations, conclusions or comments.

        1. Axinn, WIlliam & Thorton, Arland (1992) “The Relationship Between Cohabitation and Divorce: Selectivity or Causal Influence?” Demography, 29, pages 357.

        Abstract: “We develop hypotheses predicting that premarital cohabitation is selective of those prone to divorce as well as hypotheses predicting that the experience of premarital cohabitation produces attitudes and values which increase the probability of divorce. The results are consistent with hypotheses suggesting that cohabitation is selective of men and women who are less committed to marriage and more approving of divorce. The results are also consistent with the conclusion that cohabitating experiences significantly increase young people’s acceptance of divorce.”

        Excerpts from body of article: “The expectation of a postive relationship between cohabitation and marital stability, however, have been shattered in recent years by studies conducted in several Western countries, including Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, and the UNited States. Although these studies are consistent with expectations of high dissolution rates among cohabitators before marriage, they provide no evidence that cohabitation experience leads to lower rates of dissolution after marriage. Instead those who cohabit before marriage have substantially higher divorce rates than those who do not; the recorded differentials
        range from 50 to 100% (Balakrishnan et al. 1987; Bennett, Blanc and Bloom 1988; Burch and Madan 1986; Fergusson, Horwood, and Dhannon 1984). (Jeanne’s note: the research of Booth and Johnson, 1988; Bumpass and Sweet, 1989; Demaris and Rao, 1992; Teachman and Polonko, 1990; were also examples sited in other studies as having concluded that living together prior to marriage substantially increases the chances of divorce for a couple.) Furthermore, these differentials are not explained by the social, economic, and demographic factors included in the data sets examined.”

        “We found that the magnitude of the effect of cohabitation on acceptance of divorce dropped slightly when we controlled for religiosity….Clearly religiosity is not the entire explanation for the effect of cohabitation on divorce attitudes because the relationship persists even after we control for religiosity.”

        2. Booth, Alan & Johnson, David (1988) “Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Success.” Journal of Family Issues, 9, p. 255

        Abstract: “First, it has been proposed that premarital cohabitation serves as a training period for marriage and hence mate selection. By living together, relationships that do not work terminate before marriage occurrs, and the more successful relationships continue into marriage. This approach would lead us to expect that premarital cohabitation improves marital quality and stability.”

        Conclusion: “On the basis of an examination of the relationship between cohabitation and marital quality with a national sample of married persons, the enhanced marital training and selection hypothesis is seriously challenged if not refuted, as is the accelerated marriage proposition. There is a modest but consistent relationship between cohabitation and lower marital interaction, elevated disagreement, divorce proneness, and divorce and permanent separation among non-minorities.”

        3. DeMaris, Alfred & Leslie, Gerald (1984) “Cohabitation with the Future Spouse: Marital Satisfaction and Communication.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54, p.77

        Conclusion: “In contrast to previous research, this investigation found that, compared to non-cohabitators, cohabitators scored significantly lower in both perceived quality of marital communication and marital satisfaction. Part of of this effect is accounted for by differences between cohabitators and noncohabitators on sex-role traditionalism, church attendance, and other sociocultural variables. However, even after controlling for such differences, having cohabited is associated with slightly lower marital satisfaction for both husbands and wives, although for the husbands the effect is not quite significant. The effect persists even after considering the greater amount of time in which cohabitators have been intimately involved and controlling for differences between cohabitors and noncohabitators on committment to marital permanence.”

        “While the reduction in marital satisfaction associated with priorcohabitation is not alarmingly large, the importance of these results lies in the fact that they run counter to “common sense” expectations regarding the advantages of living together before marriage.”

        4. Thomson, Elizabeth & Colella, Ugo (1992) “Cohabitation and Marital Stability: Quality or Commitment?” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54, P. 259

        “Using data from the 1987-88 National Survey of Families and Households, we found that couples who cohabitated prior to marriage reported lower quality marriages, lower commitment to the institution of marriage, more individualistics views of marriage (wives only), and greater likelihood of divorce than couples who did not cohabitate.”

        5. Hall, David & Zhao, John (1995) “Cohabitation and Divorce in Canada: Tesing the Selectivity Hypothesis.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, pg. 421.

        Abstract: “We found that premarital cohabitation was associated with a greater risk of divorce even after the effects of four sociodemographic factors that differentiate cohabitors – the presence of stepchildren,
        marital status of first spouse, parental divorce, and age heterogamy – were specified in the model of marital dissolution.”

  • AMC February 18, 2015, 9:31 am

    Red flags flying all over the place here. He decided you were The One after 8 months of dating and then changed his mind. The first 6-12 months of a relationship is the “honeymoon” period, so it’s not unusual for a relationship to be all passion in the beginning and then cool off after a few months. Maybe that’s why he changed his mind? Maybe the reality of such a commitment set in and made him reconsider. But you, OP, don’t seem to have such reservations. You seem pretty certain that you want to marry him, but he’s not in any rush to propose to you. (And BTW, OP, why exactly must you wait for him? I know it’s a bit unconventional, but what’s to stop *you* from proposing marriage?)
    It doesn’t seem like you and your BF are on the same page. I think it’s time you had a serious conversation with him about where this relationship is going. Your time is far too precious to sit around waiting for someone else to decide your future for you.

  • Powers February 18, 2015, 9:32 am

    People put way too much emphasis on proposals. The day you become engaged is not supposed to be the happiest day of your life.

    • Ms. Charming February 18, 2015, 10:25 am

      I totally agree. Even your wedding day is not supposed to be the happiest day of you life.

    • Kim February 18, 2015, 10:31 am

      Exactly. It’s just a proposal. The marriage is the hard part/most rewarding part.

      Same thing with babies. People spend more time “decorating the nursery” than planning for actually parenting the baby and the lifetime implications of that.

      Ridiculous.

    • Tracy W February 18, 2015, 10:34 am

      I recall the moment we got engaged as being very happy: I had a mad day with about three very important things on, I think one was a job interview, and he was being ultra-supportive, so I just spontaneously asked and he said yes, and we hugged and then I went off to the next thing on the list, feeling like I was not walking but dancing two inches above the ground. I don’t think how I could possibly have felt any happier.

    • The Elf February 18, 2015, 11:22 am

      This. A thousand times this. And the day you marry is just supposed to be the first day, not the best day, of the marriage.

  • Wendy B. February 18, 2015, 9:34 am

    There’s another famous saying. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

    In other words, why propose and go through getting married when you’re already living together?

    I personally think you need to move out. And in the future, if you’re dating someone and decide to move in together, really, seriously think hard about it before you do it.

    • Amber February 18, 2015, 10:11 am

      Eh, I don’t think that’s the problem. Every person I know who is currently married in my friend set lived together before a proposal and an eventual tying of the knot. When you know this is someone you can live with forever, you know. You know? This guy’s just a stringer – too cowardly to break up with a girl who clearly wants forever because he probably loves her, but too afraid of big M Marriage to write his name on a marriage license.

    • Goldie February 18, 2015, 10:25 am

      Sorry, but I really, really, really dislike this famous saying. First of all, if it’s true, then why does OP want to buy a proverbial cow? She’s getting the milk for free too!

      The saying also seems to imply that sex is something a woman gives away, reluctantly, to a man, in exchange for a wedding ring. And that’s wrong on too many levels.

      “why propose and go through getting married when you’re already living together?”

      For legal and economical reasons. Running a household together, raising kids together etc. are all easier when you’re legally married. So is making end-of-life decisions, adding each other to your life insurance, 401K etc as beneficiaries, and so on. I also know several couples who got married so one could be on the other one’s medical insurance.

      • sweetonsno February 18, 2015, 4:21 pm

        I also hate this phrase because I think it often implies the exchange of sex for love/commitment. Also, using a farm animal as the symbol for a woman? Ugh.

        However…

        The proverbial milk does not need to be sex. It can be cohabitation, monogamy, commitment, or any other number of things (financial security, social buffer, a pertness that loves them…). If the current relationship fulfills all of the boyfriend’s needs, then he has no reason to propose and get married, or “buy the cow.” He’s at an advantage because he has what he wants. He’s already “getting the milk.”

        In general, I don’t think that being happy with cohabitation without an official, formal commitment like a marriage or engagement is a bad thing. Works for some, not for others. It’s about personal needs. But this guy’s behavior is manipulative and horrible. He’s stringing her along with his promises of “someday,” and playing mind games with his “here’s what you want… kidding!” earrings stunt. (The “prank” sounds like a similar story I read in a women’s magazine years ago, though the ending of that one is that he kisses her with the ring in his mouth.)

        So, short answer: neither the LW nor the boyfriend is wrong to have their own wants/needs when it comes to marriage. The boyfriend is wrong to mess with the LW’s head by setting her up for disappointment with the jewelry box stunt. He’s also wrong to string her along by implying (or explicitly promising) that a proposal is forthcoming if it is not.

      • Ai February 18, 2015, 4:36 pm

        POD. This saying gets under my skin especially since I lived with my husband before we got married (and we got married for all the reasons you described, as well as having that official commitment feeling).

        For this post, I think the issue is not that they are living together, but the what the OP wants and what her boyfriend wants are not the same. The boyfriend seems to be using OP’s desires as a way of getting a rise out of her. That’s not okay and this relationship does not seem healthy to me.

      • Cat February 18, 2015, 4:52 pm

        That comment was typical for my generation. The belief was that a woman’s goal was a home with children. To be an old maid was to be unable to attract and to retain a man. She had failed as a women. She lived with her parents or had a small apartment with a cat for company.
        A man was expected to be the “lad about town”, making no commitments and moving from woman to woman. Only when he found “Miss Right”, who had to be a virgin and who had no goals outside a home and several children, did he settle down to become a responsible husband and father. Working as a career for a woman was unthinkable, as was divorce.
        Society has made major changes, but a man who avoids marriage after suggesting it to a woman is still seen as avoiding his responsibilites to “do the right thing” and to marry the woman. Perhaps sex is not his goal as much as not coming home to an empty house, but the feeling is still there that he is a bit of a cad, whatever his reasons.

        • Tracy W February 19, 2015, 8:06 am

          Even now, very commonly when a couple have kids the mother will stay home or cut back her work hours to look after them. This places her at a financial disadvantage if the relationship ends. Marriage provides some (not full, some) protection against that.

      • Library Diva February 18, 2015, 5:03 pm

        Agree, Goldie. It’s a very sexist metaphor. No one ever says that to guys who are considering moving in with a woman. It’s especially disgusting when you think about all of the reasons someone who’s getting free milk might actually want to buy a cow: to sell milk to other people, to get more milk, for the possibility of having cheese and ice cream in addition to milk, so that they can ultimately get the meat from the cow. When you consider what these could be metaphors for, too, it’s pretty unpleasant and exposes the way this metaphor casts a woman as a piece of property who’s got one thing to offer and demands a lot in exchange for it.

        • Goldie February 18, 2015, 6:01 pm

          OMG, I never thought of it that way! Great, now I like this saying even less.

    • The Elf February 18, 2015, 11:21 am

      There are still lots of benefits to marriage as opposed to living together. (And in some cases, penalties). It’s really up to the couple – what they want, what they don’t want, what is best for them. OP and OP’s boyfriend need to figure out what they want and why they want it. No one should get married just because other people think it is a good idea.

    • hearsegirl February 18, 2015, 2:27 pm

      why buy a pig when the sausage is free?

    • Mary February 18, 2015, 2:56 pm

      I didn’t have the nerve to say it but I was hoping somebody would!

  • Goldie February 18, 2015, 9:34 am

    BG: I was married once, paid for my own divorce, don’t want to get married again, and, in each serious relationship I’ve had since my divorce, we had the conversation pretty early in the relationship where we both confirmed to each other that neither of us wants to get married again.

    That said, I do not like OP’s boyfriend either. And not because he’s putting off getting married, but because he’s messing with her head. One day he says he’s going to propose, but in exactly 12 months, next day, he’s changed his mind and isn’t going to propose at all, next day after that, he’ll propose but wants to make it super special, and as a cherry on top, he pulls the stupid prank with the earrings! This screams head games, and I truly hate that stuff.

    Also, I want to join everyone who’s already commented on this: “He has said that I only get one chance to have someone ask me to marry them” – where the hell did he get that notion? OP can get as many chances as she wants. Just not while she’s staying with him!! I think a breakup might be in order.

    • Shoegal February 18, 2015, 10:25 am

      I agree, you get more than one chance, I have been asked no less than 4 times.

  • Vicky February 18, 2015, 9:36 am

    I was in a similar situation. My now-husband and I had been together for 3 years (living together for 2). We were talking about the future and buying a house and I knew through our discussion and his actions that he would propose at some point. I did get a little impatient and frustrated after his sister got engaged (been with her boyfriend for the same amount of time). At Christmas, he gave me a pair of chrystal wedding bells and told me that he would be proposing at some point within the next year but wanted it to be a surprise. And he was true to his word – one week before Valentine’s Day he proposed and it was a surprise. He had asked for patience – he wanted to be sure because his parents divorced after 25 years and many in his family were divorced. He did not want to rush into things and have the same outcome.

    The OP sounds a bit younger than we were when we got married (34) and that could explain some of the actions of the boyfriend. I think the OP needs to really think about this. Does she want to spend the rest of her life with a man who does not stay to his commitments or is not communicative about his thoughts and feelings on the subject of marriage. I think when he first proposed, he might have been caught up in what was expected rather than what he truly felt. Now he is just stringing you along, not wanting to commit but not wanting to break it off and be alone. You need to decide how much no longer you can deal with this and have a meaningful conversation or even couples counseling.

  • Shalamar February 18, 2015, 9:38 am

    This reminds me of a post I saw recently on Reddit. It was from a man who HAD proposed to his long-time girlfriend. Then, to his dismay and consternation, she immediately started planning their wedding after accepting his proposal. Why was that a problem? Because he’d fondly imagined that they’d be engaged for years until he could afford to give her the wedding of her dreams. Never mind that she didn’t WANT a huge wedding – he’d gotten it in his head that it had to be a huge, lavish affair, and nothing else would do. The best part was that he said “She wants kids, and it’s fine with me if we have them before we get married, but I can’t afford a wedding just yet.” Several commenters said “Uh, you realize that kids aren’t exactly cheap, right?”.

    • The Elf February 18, 2015, 11:19 am

      To many people equate spending money with showing love, or on making some event seem more important. To me, a small intimate affair is just as beautiful as a lavish affair. More so, in some ways.

  • Redneck Gravy February 18, 2015, 9:42 am

    I agree with the others about the ultimatum, either he wants to get married or he doesn’t, call his hand but be prepared to move on if it doesn’t go your way – or – decide now that you are willing to live like this, possibly forever.

    I urge couple counseling before you do anything else, maybe that will help you both decide what you really want.

  • GeenaG February 18, 2015, 9:50 am

    You need to end it and move out. The thing that did it for me was the earrings. He knows how you feel about getting married and I can’t help but feel he was deliberately toying with you by giving you earnings in a box that would of course, resemble an engagement ring. That just strikes me as being thoughtless and possibly intentionally cruel. That doesn’t sound like a man I would want to be with or wait around for. He can’t seem to make up his mind but theres no reason you can’t make up yours – and leave.

    • Cat February 18, 2015, 4:55 pm

      I agree with you. That small box was a taunt more than a present. If he did propose to me, I’d tell him no and move out. If he is doing that now, I don’t want to think about the games he’ll be playing in the future.

  • Christina February 18, 2015, 9:59 am

    From my own experience, it’s not as easy as ‘when you know,you know’. My now-fiancé and I have been talking about marriage since three months or so into our relationship, we were that sure. We are now coming up on five years together. I, unbeknownst to him, expected a proposal at our one year anniversary. It didn’t happen, I was disappointed, but it was entirely on me. He never hinted it was coming or anything. I spent the next three years waiting, impatiently. He knew I wanted it, we often discussed plans for it, like where it would be and what colors we would use,etc. He talked about it as much as I did, it wasn’t like I was pressuring him. Then, once, he mentioned that he didn’t think he could live up to my expectations given how often elaborate proposals are popping up on YouTube. Except that was all in His mind, I never even hinted I expected it. Another time, he told me he was waiting to afford the ‘ring I deserved’. Again, his words, not mine. Finally, well after four years together, he finally asked. He told me what finally pushed him to do it was attending my aunts wedding last May, which was very simple and lovely, not the loud DJ rap-music over-the-top receptions we had previously been to. when he realized we could do ours differently, he got excited about it, instead of stressed and putting it off.

    So, OP, it IS odd that he gave a specific timeline, then changed his mind. But it is not odd that he wants to make it perfect. Yes, I wanted a proposal, but my fiancé was putting more stress on himself than I ever imagined. I’ve never doubted his love for me, he wasn’t avoiding proposing because he was flaky or not invested in our relationship. He wanted it all to be perfect. That’s it.

    • Christina February 18, 2015, 10:18 am

      I wanted to add about the earrings…earrings are much cheaper than an engagement ring. He may have presented them oddly, but the way she interpreted it was on her, not him. She ‘assumed’ it was a ring. She said she opened a mug, then he said he saved the best for last. I’m pretty sure most people would agree that earrings are the best of those choices. I received jewelry from my boyfriend a couple times before getting a proposal, ironically, getting earrings in the bottom of a stocking at Christmas one year. I didn’t assume the box was a ring. I definitely did not take away from the letter that the boyfriend was being malicious. He may have got her hopes up on accident, but men don’t think like women do. That is a fact. He wasn’t trying to trick her.

      • Jewel February 18, 2015, 1:52 pm

        By itself, I agree with you about how he presented her with the earrings. However, in consideration of the fact that he stated his intentions to marry her, then retracted it when his self-imposed deadline passed AND the fact that they’d had recent discussions about the whole debacle, he’s obtuse at best and a game-player at worse.

  • Kristi February 18, 2015, 10:09 am

    This is a strange story to see here on e-hell….I’ve seen many posts on the community board get shut down because they were either not an etiquette issue and/or the person was asking for advice on relationship issues. I don’t see the etiquette issue but OP’s story clearly demonstrates that she is confused by her boyfriend’s behaviors and actions…so she must be asking for relationship advice right?

    • admin February 20, 2015, 8:12 am

      The blog is not the forum. Completely different software, totally different in target audience, rules versus no rules, community discussion versus my personal soapbox.

  • Christina February 18, 2015, 10:12 am

    Considering it was over four years before my fiancé proposed , I vehemently disagree with anyone saying he is toying with you or leading you on. Im actually insulted by that theory. I once told my fiancé , after he expressed why he was waiting to propose, that it didn’t matter when he proposed, because we already knew we would be together forever, no matter when the wedding actually happened. So, this man can’t possibly love her because he hasn’t proposed yet? You don’t know his side.

    Why would anyone think any ultimatum is a good way to start out a marriage? “Do what I want or I’m leaving you” doesn’t scream ‘successful marriage’ to me. You can Talk to him and explain how important it is to you and ask if it is to him, without saying ‘or else’.

    • J February 18, 2015, 4:25 pm

      There’s certainly nothing wrong with couples who get engaged late or never get engaged. I have two friends who have both been in great relationships for 10+ years, and neither they nor their guys are interested in marriage.

      But what’s worrying here is the fact that, based on the information we have here, he’s been dismissive of her feelings and redirecting the blame for this tension on her (promising to propose “soon,” not doing it, and then telling her she’s not “patient” enough).

    • Library Diva February 18, 2015, 5:08 pm

      It’s not that he simply hasn’t proposed. It’s the way that he keeps changing his mind. Eight months into their relationship, he says “I’m going to ask you to marry me a year from now.” A year goes by, then he says “You know what? I’m not doing that after all,” with apparently no explanation. She waits an entire year with evidently no discussion on the topic, and brings it up shortly before Christmas, when he gets dismissive and tells her, don’t worry, I’m going to do it. Then he presents the earrings in such a manner that they could have been mistaken for the ring. It’s just a little strange.

    • Lanes February 18, 2015, 5:13 pm

      I wholeheartedly agree with you Christina. There is A LOT of hate flowing in this thread for the boyfriend, and I’m surprised at the amount of “leave him” comments.

      My story also includes a longish wait for a proposal (3.5 years, and I never got a formal proposal), but it doesn’t matter now. 11 years and a baby on the way, and the whole engagement/proposal thing feels like a lifetime ago, and just another rung among hundreds on the ladder to where we are today.

      OP, he might be a tactless twit, or he might be a total jerk. Only you can know and determine that. The only advice I can give is to be honest with yourself. No amount of internet searching is going to give you the answer, there’s no calculation for successful relationships.

    • Tracy P February 18, 2015, 5:20 pm

      Did your fiance say that he was going to propose to you at a certain time and then not do it though?

      And it sounds like you were OK with waiting for the proposal and marriage. Which is fine. But some people don’t want to wait like that.

      The OP is ready to get engaged and move towards a wedding. The boyfriend has dug in his heels and won’t budge without it being “special.” Right now, this engagement is going all his way with no consideration for what the OP wants. There needs to be some compromise, and it looks like the boyfriend refuses to do that. He was actually dismissive of it. That says he doesn’t really love her.

  • Amber February 18, 2015, 10:17 am

    The easiest and quickest way to solve this problem is to go to Kay’s, buy a thin band for dudes with some twiddly stuff on it, get down on one knee and propose to him yourself. If you want to marry him, pop the question! You can even do the restaurant proposal or the under a starry night proposal or whatever to make it “special.” Then he will have a clear and obvious way to either accept or refuse, and you will have your answer.

    After that, your next step will be your own, without the wishy-washy maybes to muddle your head.

    • Ashley February 18, 2015, 1:04 pm

      This isn’t entirely relevant to the topic, but your description of “A thin band for dudes with some twiddly stuff on it” made me giggle.

  • Shoegal February 18, 2015, 10:19 am

    My own story – I met my husband and we dated for nearly 10 years before there was a proposal. One thing was that when it coming down to it – either get married or just accept that it wasn’t going to happen, I was a little hesitant. I mean, everything was so good the way it was, why spoil it with marriage – it could change everything. We did not live together before getting married and it made getting married more of a commitment, more of a big deal, it just meant more than just a piece of paper. I told him that I was never going to just live with him.

    When it did finally happen, however, I was sorry we hadn’t got there sooner. We are so happy together and being man and wife really does change things in a good way. It seems like we wasted all this time when we could have been this happy longer.

    Everybody is different though, every relationship is different and I don’t think any of us can know what is going on there exactly. If you are happy with the way things are, OP, then continue on – if being married is important to you then have a frank, open, honest discussion about where the relationship is headed. One big thing about relationships . . . any relationship . . . is that communication is crucial. Don’t just sit there and wait – talk about it again . It will make any decision you need to make an easy one. Just say, I’m done with waiting – I need to know.

    I also agree that I’m just not sure about the etiquette question in this submission.

    • Cat2 February 18, 2015, 5:04 pm

      “It seems like we wasted all this time when we could have been this happy longer.”

      I’d say don’t be too sure of that. You guys were probably growing and figuring things out during that additional time together which made moving in together and being married work more smoothly, and be better for the both of you.

      My husband and I agree that if we’d met 10 years before we did, we’d have had a glorious relationship and then driven into the ground and jumped up and down on the ashes of the bonfire. We weren’t ready for each other yet.

      So… maybe it wasn’t wasted time, so much as necessary time to get to the point where the being together *would* make each other happy, rather than making each other unhappy while still doing all the adjusting you needed to do.

  • Willynilly February 18, 2015, 10:25 am

    OP, I want to remind you of something: your wants matter. If you want to get married, if you want to have kids [in a married relationship no less], if you want to move forward, those things matter and should not be pushed to the side to honor only your boyfriends wants.

    Right now it seems very much like your boyfriend is not only driving the relationship but setting its course as well. Your navigation – your wants – are not being seriously considered.

    Steer your own ship. If he’s on board as co-captain, awesome. But take the reins. Be your own driver. Whatever moving forward cliche you like but live your life the way that will make you happy and fulfilled, because you only get one shot at this life, and every day you are little closer to the end.

    A good marriage partner is just that, a partner. Someone who will be your teammate, who will be looking out for both your wants, both your best interests, both your happiness, and someone for whom you do the same. Do you feel, truly, that is the relationship you are in now? Do you feel equal and validated? Do you feel your wants and interests and goals are being given equal and appropriate weight?

  • JD February 18, 2015, 10:25 am

    Well, this sounds so much like a situation in my family, in which the man said he wanted to get married, loved his girlfriend dearly, couldn’t imagine marrying anyone else, etc., but wanted the proposal to be ”special” and to save up for a nice ring. They were already living together because they had started out as platonic roommates and the relationship had progressed. Finally, after almost a year of waiting, she told him she expected to at least be engaged by her next birthday, ring or no ring, so just before her next birthday, he proposed, and presented her with a $150.00 ring from Penney’s jewelry counter. What happened to saving up for a nice ring, he didn’t say. They planned the wedding, had invitations, dress, etc., and she made plans to move to his hometown where he was now working, then two months before the wedding, he said he wasn’t ready after all and wanted to delay the wedding a few more months. She broke it off at that point and returned the ring (and the dress). The red flags were just too obvious. The lesson here was that, perhaps unconsciously, he was delaying because he really didn’t want to get married although he still claimed he did. Both moved on — both are now married to other people, both have become parents, and both are happily living in totally different parts of the state from each other. OP, consciously or unconsciously, this guy is telling you he’s changed his mind. If you want to get married, move on. Even an ultimatum isn’t necessarily going to work, if he really doesn’t want to go through with marriage, but doesn’t want you to leave.

    • LadyV February 21, 2015, 12:02 am

      According to one earlier poster, once your friend and his girlfriend started discussing marriage, they were already engaged – even without a proposal.

  • Shannan February 18, 2015, 10:29 am

    Sorry but I’m part of the camp that says living together is part of the problem. Why should he propose when the 2 of you already share a bed???? I think you should put some space, literally, between you and move out…..

  • Lera99 February 18, 2015, 10:43 am

    This sounds like the time to have a real talk moment with your boyfriend.

    It sounds like he has changed his mind about the whole marriage thing. Heck, he’s not even ready to call you his fiancee.

    So you need to sit down with him and have a real talk about your relationship, your expectations, and where you are headed.

    Find out:
    – Does he still want to get married? This is the big one. It may be that he feels he’s just too young to get married. Or maybe he doesn’t want to be “tied down” yet.

    – If he DOES want to get married, when does he see that happening: next year, two years, five years, ten years from now?

    – If he DOES want to get married and within the next few years, what is stopping him from proposing?
    – Is he concerned about money?
    – Does he feel that he just HAS to get you that $5000 2.5 carat ring from Tiffany’s?
    – Does he feel that he’s talked it up too much and now he’ll have to whisk you off to Italy so he can propose in a gorgeous little winery outside of Florence?
    – Is he uncomfortable with the transition from girlfriend to fiancee? Does that just make things a little too serious?
    – Is he waiting for some milestone to pass (certain job, obtaining of a graduate degree, his grandma to die so he can get into the family trust, etc…)

    Let him know that you are NOT trying to force him into commitment but that you need to know where things stand.

    Also, be honest with him about your plans.
    Do you expect the two of you to marry in the next few years?
    Do you want to have kids by a certain date/age?

    It’s important that you are both on the same page. And if you aren’t, then you need to figure out if it is a deal breaker.

    Despite what the songs say, sometimes love isn’t enough. Sometimes you need more in order to build a life together.

  • Raven February 18, 2015, 10:45 am

    I feel like he is toying with her. The “big present” that turned out to be earrings, in a box that could easily be mistaken for a ring box, is a pretty mean trick. I’m going to propose…no I’m not….yes, soon….no, not soon…. enough already.

    Why does he have all the power here? If you want to get engaged, spell it out for him. Even if you don’t want to do the proposing, you should have the talk with him. Ask him to be serious and be honest. What are his intentions? How does he feel about getting engaged and married?

    Truthfully though, he doesn’t seem to be very mature, which is a big red flag. He’s lived with you for 2 years; he should know by now what he wants, and when. If he doesn’t, it may be time to move on.

  • Kimstu February 18, 2015, 10:59 am

    I can have some sympathy and understanding for a guy who’s feeling uncertain about marriage, for whatever reason. I don’t have any sympathy whatsoever for a guy who’s using his uncertainty to tease and string along his girlfriend who is hoping to marry him.

    An honest “I’m not sure any more whether I want to get married or when I’ll be ready to ask you if I do” is open and fair. A manipulative “and now for the BIGGEST present of all in this little jeweler’s box…ha ha gotcha, it’s a pair of earrings!” is a total duckhead move.

  • Ergala February 18, 2015, 11:01 am

    Some men are clueless about how cruel they can be. I lived with my ex for over a year, then on Christmas one year he says he has a surprise for me. He hinted that it was shiny and round. Of course I assumed it was a ring. Nope…snow tires. He got me flipping snow tires…USED snow tires. We didn’t last much longer, not because of the tires but because he honestly was so freaking clueless and could only think about himself. He were given some passes to a huge NYE party up the road from our place, he refused to go and told me he didn’t feel comfortable with me going solo. He popped this on me 1 hour before we were supposed to go to it. I started crying, my mom called at that moment and wanted to know what was wrong. So I told her the deal, she and my grandmother tried to talk some sense into him and make him see that he wasn’t exactly being fair to me. If I remember correctly my grandmother told him that her granddaughter was a not a good time for hire and that he better start turning stuff around or else she would be having a chat with him…in person. She was 4’10 and like 80 lbs. Then he blew off my birthday dinner with my family. I turned 20. Needless to say we broke up a few months later and I never looked back.

    OP don’t gimp yourself please. I’m sorry but I disagree with the ultimatum suggestions. I wouldn’t want my boyfriend to propose to me simply because I told him to or else I was leaving. For the rest of my life I would wonder if he felt guilted into asking me. My husband proposed to me on his own without any pressure and I have never questioned it….ever.