My boyfriend and I have been together for a little under 3 years, and we have lived together for over one year. We are in our late twenties. We are extremely compatible 90% of the time, have so much fun together, are mutually supportive, generally very communicative, and love each other deeply. We get along with each others' families, we travel and live well together, and we share so many interests. I am ready to marry the man, and he is maybe/kinda/sorta ready to marry me. Ouch!
posted by tentwentythirty to Human Relations (57 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have what I've found to be (in my internet searching) a rather classic issue. The following thread had some great insights, but it is from 2008, and I wanted to see if there were any fresh or more specific ideas for me: http://ask.metafilter.com/88742/Discussing-marriage-with-reluctant-boyfriend
He is about to go to graduate school on the opposite coast, starting in the fall. I would like to go with him, but feel nervous not knowing anyone out there, picking up my job, etc. I would like to be engaged before we move. I would also just like to be engaged to him in general because I am confident that I could spend the rest of my life with this man and be happy. I want to have a family with him. He agrees, when I bring it up, that he wants these things too. We've been discussing marriage seriously for about 4 months now. I am ready for a proposal. But he is not ready to propose, and I'm not sure when he will be. He said he will propose before we move, and I just have to trust him, but when I ask him if then, why not now, he balks. He has said various things, mainly centering around that we fight and it makes him feel bad.
No, things are not 100% perfect, but in what relationship are they? Yes, we fight sometimes-- most often coming from some deep-seated insecurities I have that I have gone a long way to resolving through therapy. I accept fighting as a part of being in a relationship, especially if we can fight in a respectful and healthy way. He, on the other hand, is very conflict-avoidant, and tries to find ways to prevent confronting issues, although he has gotten so much better at it over the course of our relationship. He says that he knows it's important to confront issues and communicate to resolve them, but that it makes him feel bad and would rather avoid hurting me at all. I respect that he wants to resolve something that bothers him before making a lifetime commitment, but I really think that he can't run away from all conflict. I'm open to expressing discord in a way that's better for him, and we're working on that, but no conflict at all? Impossible.
I'm ready to take this next step with him, and it's hurting me that he's not ready. It seems to make him uncomfortable to even discuss it in passing. I've always been a plan-and-take-charge type of person. I haven't always known what I want to do next in life, but I always have multiple possible things to do and paths worked out to get there. Sooner, rather than later, I choose a path and take it. It is driving me crazy to have someone else in charge of choosing that path, when I know I'm ready to take it, especially when there's a cross-country move involved and all the planning that goes with it. These sentiments are well-expressed in the following thread, using a metaphor involving a glass door that you can see through, but your boyfriend has the key: http://ask.metafilter.com/162657/Why-am-I-going-crazy-waiting-for-a-proposal
I want to be proposed to, but I was feeling so anxious about it recently that I asked him if it would be ok if I proposed to him. He said he wouldn't like it- that he wants to do the proposing. Which, honestly, I prefer as well, maybe for the romanticism of it or maybe just because it's the societal norm. He's not doing awesome financially, but he makes do and has a substantial amount in savings from relatives. So, he could afford a ring, and I don't want anything big or flashy or very expensive. I would also be willing to split the cost of it, which we haven't discussed since it seems like pushing it too far.
So, I need some advice surrounding: how to bring it up with him? It clearly upsets him, I don't want to "bully" him into proposing, yet I need to voice my concerns and feeling of urgency. Also, I haven't set an ultimatum out loud, but I've been thinking that if he has not proposed by June, then I need to break up with him to release myself from the heartache. This is the last thing I want, but I also cannot be in this liminal space, waiting forever. It hurts. Should I set an ultimatum out loud, to him? Or not set one at all? Any general advice is also welcome.