Ali Pica

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, ALI: My boyfriend won’t propose to me and I’m getting impatient

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, ALI: My boyfriend won’t propose to me and I’m getting impatient
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“Put a Ring on It” writes:

Dear Ali,

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 3.5 years, and lived together for the past year. I am extremely happy with him on all levels, and our relationship is wonderful. He is kind and affectionate, and I feel very loved. We are both very fond of one another’s families. There is really only one problem. After all this time together, he has not proposed.

We are both in our 30s and definitely don’t want children, so thankfully that’s not an issue. After a failed marriage way too young, I decided that I would never marry unless I found the ideal partner, and he is that partner to me. He has never been married before, and hasn’t had many serious relationships. We have discussed the “M” word before, sometimes in detail, and he has basically told me he welcomes the idea and for me to be patient. Also, our decision to live together was well-thought-out, and he said that I should see it as a sign of his commitment to me.

Part of me feels that I should just be happy and not worry about getting married and focus on the present. The other part is wondering how much more patient should I be, and am I yet another cliché (single 30-something woman with a boyfriend who loves her but will never marry her). I am very invested in this relationship, and don’t want to be with anyone else. I worry that I may grow resentful toward him if years go by and he doesn’t propose. Do you have any advice for my situation?

Sincerely,

Put a Ring on It

Dear “Put a Ring on It,”

I have numerous questions and suggestions for you to consider, but first, I would like to relay a story of mine involving a similar situation. However, I was on the opposite end, where I was the one being “nagged to death” to get married. It is not pleasant, to say the least, and it made me despise the idea of marriage even more so than if he had just let things go the way they were. Eventually, he gave me an ultimatum about getting married or otherwise we’d break up. We broke up.

The point of this story is “Why fix something that isn’t broken?” If you both don’t want children (as some women in their 30s are in a rush to get married in order to have children) and everything is great, why do you need a piece of paper that says you’ll be committed to each other for life? Is it peer pressure?

I understand the situation of being an unmarried woman in her 30s (it’s actually worse being single), because people start saying things like, “You must be crazy that you are in your 30s and don’t have a relationship headed towards marriage!” Your situation is a bit different, since you have said you were married before and you are in a relationship with a “boyfriend who loves her, but will never marry her.” You know what? Who cares?! If this is the only reason why you want to get married, because society is pressuring you, you and your boyfriend are going to make the biggest mistake of your lives!

So why do you want to get married? Why is he really that ideal partner? Are you his ideal partner? If I were you, I’d make a list of the pros and cons of getting married to this person. What will change? What will stay the same? Is it worth the possibility of ruining a wonderful relationship? Is it security? He’s obviously secure with you and proclaimed his security by his statement that “living together is a sign of his commitment.” Furthermore, he has clearly stated his intentions about marriage, at least thus far. Why is this not enough for you? Or is it?

Also, you should consider why your last marriage ended. What about it worked and what didn’t? How did that marriage come to be? Did he propose or was it your idea? Do you feel it was forced? What kind of person were you then and how is it different now? How is it the same? Are you still making the same mistakes, or do you think you have learned from them?

My advice to you is this: If you can’t deal with the fact that your boyfriend won’t propose to you, possibly ever, then move on. If you can deal with it, then don’t worry about it and don’t let the issue ruin your relationship. Nothing in life is ever guaranteed, even if you do get married (as you said, you were previously married and should know this). People get sick, lose jobs, cheat, find new love interests, move away, change careers – the possibilities are endless as to what could deteriorate a marriage.

If you force him to get married, he will resent you. If you wait and you find marriage to be a top priority, you’ll resent him. Wanting to get married is not necessarily good or bad, it’s just how you go about getting what you want and why you are doing it. You can’t manipulate, nag, or force him into getting married or you will be a selfish bitch. Don’t be a bridezilla unless you don’t care about your boyfriend’s feelings.

Best wishes,

Ali

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Ali is an advice column that runs every Friday on NEPA Scene. E-mail your anonymous question to Ali here to be featured in a future column.