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“Pressuring” your boyfriend to marry you?

February 10, 2011

This is great.   A bit off-topic, but great.

Call me new-fashioned, but I believe that as an educated woman in my late twenties with my own assets, ideas, experience and opinions, I shouldn’t be waiting on my partner to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives on his own. What if I have expectations about marriage based on my religion, values or traditions?  Shouldn’t he know that before he proposes? What if I want to be the one to propose? What if I don’t want to get married? What if I have some debt that I want to pay off before we make it legal? What if he does? I fully believe that if this is someone that I legitimately want to spend the rest of my life with, I should be able to talk to him about anything. Talking about marriage is not “pressuring for a ring.” It is creating a sustainable relationship. I am not a coy, blushing girl waiting for my over-the-top surprise proposal. I’m ballsy and strong and independent. He loves me because I’m opinionated, so why would I hide my opinions about our future?

It doesn’t apply to me anymore, but as someone who dated their husband for 5-6 years before getting married…  I had to answer questions about our future to many well-intentioned friends and acquaintances.  When I answered honestly, my answer would sometimes include an expectation of when I thought we’d probably get married.  “But doesn’t he have to propose first?  Or are you planning that part as well?”  No, I don’t need a proposal to discuss and plan my future with the man I love, but thanks for your concern.   (That comment was so rude that I seriously re-evaluated that friendship.)

I’m sharing this for all the rest of the new-fashioned young women out their who are dating great guys that they plan on marrying, but who, for whatever reason (or for no reason at all) are not engaged.  And for their friends.

Anyone out there in that boat?

29 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2011 8:21 am

    My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years (this time– he was my first EVERYTHING when we were 17, and now we’re 31) and live together and he told me the other day to “not get too excited” but he’s looking at rings. There’s been a lot of expenses lately, so it’s not coming any time soon. But since this has been the plan, and since he’s already admitted to perusing the diamond aisle, does that mean I still can’t start planning so maybe we don’t need to have too long of an engagement? I’m not so concerned for me, but my parents are getting older and I’m so afraid something will happen. Is that morbid? Can I really not get excited? This comment is all over the place– sorry. 🙂 Clearly I’m conflicted.

  2. Bonnie permalink
    February 10, 2011 8:27 am

    Hits home for me–BF and I will have been dating 5 years in July. All of my friends and family want to know why we’re not engaged. A couple of friends have even encouraged me to ask him! I won’t do that, but we have had some serious discussions. We’re definitely heading in that direction, but it’s hard not to get down sometimes when everyone tells you “should” be married by now. Thanks for the post!

    • February 10, 2011 8:50 am

      I know – it is surprising how many opinions other people have, and how willing they are to share them!

      I got a lot of opinions and questions when I said i was moving halfway across the country without even being engaged :::gasp:::

  3. February 10, 2011 8:31 am

    I was in a four-year relationship and while we were not officially engaged, we both knew we were going to marry each other. We just hadn’t dealt with the logistics of ring buying and everything; but that didn’t change how we felt about each other.

  4. February 10, 2011 8:55 am

    great post, SP. 🙂 SO TRUE!! I remember being so annoyed that I felt like I couldn’t be involved in the planning process for our proposal. I often felt like I had to wait around to plan my life (as a planner, that sucked). After months of avoiding the subject, I finally realized that I just needed to tell G what was up and what I wanted. Ironically, he had been planning to propose after he paid off his student loans. So, while I was sitting around steaming that I had to “wait” to plan things, he was already doing a lot of planning that I didn’t even know about. Putting my desires out there helped our relationship SOO much! I found out about his plans and he knew more about my plans. Win, win. : )

    And now, I am SOOO happy he doesn’t have any student loans! Waiting another year to get engaged is SO worth it to be able to start our marriage debt-free. 🙂

  5. February 10, 2011 9:38 am

    What a great quote. I 100% agree with all of this. I’m so early in my relationship right now that thinking about marriage is out of the question, but if/when it does get to that point I’ll have no qualms about talking openly with him about it.

    And kudos on re-evaluating that friendship, friends should be supportive, not cold and rude.

    • SP permalink*
      February 10, 2011 12:25 pm

      It is a great quote. I wish I read it about 3 years ago!

      After thinking about it, I ultimately gave her a pass, since she was no longer an important day-to-day part of my life. For as rarely as we see each other, it didn’t seem worth cutting her out, and I figured we’d still have fun if an opportunity to hang out came up. (It did, and we did.)

  6. seenonflickr permalink
    February 10, 2011 9:39 am

    I recently got engaged after 10+ years in the relationship. Some people have been really snotty about it, asking why bother now… as if the 10+ years we spent building the relationship are invalid because we didn’t have rings.

    Boo to that.

    • SP permalink*
      February 10, 2011 12:25 pm

      How annoying!

      Why bother? BECAUSE you get to celebrate your love and relationship!

  7. February 10, 2011 12:24 pm

    I think my wife put a little bit of pressure on me, I kept hearing the if you just give me a ring, ring, ring… eventually I got the hint, next thing you know we are getting married… Life happens!


  8. February 10, 2011 12:37 pm

    Yeah, for sure. We’ve been together over 5 years but we’re both still only 22. So there’s not much pressure yet…but it is starting, some of it from friends my age with much younger relationships.

    I’m starting to get to the point where I feel ready to call myself engaged but still light years away from ready to say I’m married.

    Logistics are definitely a part of it. I’ve told BF before I expect a ring, but uh…I don’t wear rings, so sorting out a size would be problematic for him.

    • Rachel permalink
      February 10, 2011 2:34 pm

      Haha, I never wore rings either but one evening my now-husband said he needed to check something–he wrapped a twist-tie around my ring finger, twisted it shut, and put it in his pocket. Obviously he was trying to measure for a ring, so it wasn’t a huge surprise a few months later when he proposed (which suited me, ’cause I was just like the girl in the quote above). The surprise was actually how enormous the ring was–he measured the distance around the OUTSIDE of the twist-tie loop and converted that to a ring size (instead of the interior). Instead of a 7 1/2, the ring was 11 1/2. When I went in to have the ring sized down, the saleslady said “I tried to tell him that unless you were a linebacker, you’d be back in to size this down. We’ve been waiting for you!”

  9. Nicci permalink
    February 10, 2011 1:33 pm

    Good post, I’ve been in a relationship for 5 years, going on 6 this year. I get tired of people asking me when were getting married. We know we are,but not sure when. I just tell people ”ask him, not me b/c I’m not proposing”. I m just sick of the questions in general.

  10. February 10, 2011 3:19 pm

    Hehe that last comment made me laugh.

    I was in a relationship with my ex for 6.5 years. People were asking a lot. My parents were even suggesting wedding songs for us. It was a lot of pressure. Especially when I figured out that he wasn’t the one for me.

    I have been with my current BF for about 6 MONTHS. We are avoiding talking about marriage and future. It’s a scary thing and it’s hard when it doesn’t pan out. Our relationship is still new but I really like him and if it’s meant to be then it will happen.

    The funny thing is is that it still feels like we are getting some pressure with my YOUNGER brother moving in with his long-term girlfriend, and his YOUNGER sister already married. It’s like we are SUPPOSED to be at that stage but are not ready for it.

    I’m totally fine with taking our time, we have all the time in the world!

  11. Melissa permalink
    February 10, 2011 4:00 pm

    I’ve been with my BF for 4 years? Maybe 5? Time flies. Will we marry? Yes. No doubt. Do we plan our lives as though we’re married? Sure. We both have financial goals and we push each other to meet them. Do we get pressured to get married? All the freaking time. Right now I tell people that I won’t plan a wedding during grad school. The reality is that we’ll get married when it’s right for us, but I will not stop planning my life because someone else tells me not to because of the ring.

  12. February 10, 2011 9:08 pm

    It’s kind of hilarious that it took me this long (up til six months ago) to finally get to the point where I was finally ready to be thinking marriage and by then I’d made PiC wait so long that it felt weird to just tap him on the shoulder and say, So yeah, I’m not freaking out about the marriage thing anymore. Just FYI.

    Between our 2nd year of dating ’til now, though, jeepers, people were nearly insufferable with their questions, hints, nudges and pressure about when we were going to get married.

    And somehow he managed to almost completely take me by surprise when he did ask. That was funny.

  13. February 11, 2011 1:20 pm

    Lovely post. I agree while still sort of hoping that I’ll be blissfully surprised if/when he does ask.

  14. February 13, 2011 9:44 pm

    I totally agree. I have been seeing my BF for 5 years this October have felt this way in the past too! Although now its mostly strangers (which makes it even worse) because people close to us know where we stand.

  15. February 14, 2011 4:45 pm

    Having been in a 5 year relationship that DIDN’T end in marriage (more like mutual “let’s GTFO”), I hate that outside people even think it is their business to pressure OTHER PEOPLE in to marriage.

    No one but the two people in the relationship know where they’re at and what they want, so I’m not sure why outsiders feel they have such a need to butt in and try to force the people in to something.

  16. February 16, 2011 8:44 pm

    To echo all the other comments, Great Post!

    I’ve only been with A for 2 years but because many of our friends are getting married, we often hear at weddings “you’ll be next!” With a smile and half-way pitying look towards me. . . Like it must be devastating to have been to so many weddings without a diamond on my finger.

    Guess what? I’m probably more nervous about marriage than he is, and I’m in NO hurry to get married. So, I’d truly appreciate it if everyone would just keep their opinions to themselves. It gets old and awkward having to come up with replies to such “well-meaning” comments.

  17. February 16, 2011 10:24 pm

    I really appreciate all the comments! I absolutely don’t take credit for the sentiment, but I’m glad I could share this opinion with a different niche than the wedding blog reading crowd.

    I am just annoyed at the idea that a proposal is “supposed to” be this big surprise and that women are disparaged for bringing up the topic of a future with their boyfriends. Because “you don’t want to force him into it, wouldn’t it be awful to start marriage that way?” Yet almost every women I know, with few exceptions, has been “ready” before the guy. It’s just an awkward position our culture places women in!

  18. monique permalink
    March 15, 2012 1:51 am

    I was very happy to read all of the above, i need your help, I’ve been in a very serious relationship for almost 1 year and a few months. We both love each other very much, and he is the first man that i have ever called my soulmate. I’m 26years old, and want to spend the rest of my life with him. But if i bring up the subject he gets annoyed and tells me that he’s not ready. What should i make of that. I do everything for him, but sometimes feel that he knows i;m not going anywhere so why bother. I dont want to be in a dead end relationship. and hope and hope. Or do i wait patiently untill he is ready one day. /?????

  19. Louise permalink
    April 8, 2012 8:51 pm

    @ Monique/
    I think it is important to be able to speak about marriage with your partner if it is a deal breaker in your mind. I had to bring it up with my unconventional ‘never want to get married’ boy and at first it was awkward, but he came round. In that I explained why marriage was important for me, and while I didn’t want a proposal or to marry him necessarily I needed to know that it was an option – or else what is the point in continuing the relationship…he understood… and it was left at that for a while…fast forward a year and he is going on and on about wanting to marry me, next year no less.. my problem is that I think that I ignored his actual proposal thinking he was just talking as he didn’t have a ring etc…and now we are in limbo land….I don’t want to propose but think that surely we can decide to get married together without the bended knee bullish*t?

  20. Anonymous permalink
    May 2, 2012 12:34 pm

    Similarly I’m having an issue with my live in boyfriend. We have been dating for 2 years now, and living together for the last 6 months. He bought the condo that we live in and put all his money into the down payment, now together we barely have 25% of what it would cost for a wedding saved. A year into our relationship he was saying that in 2-3 years he would want to get married, and now 2 years into our relationship, he is still saying 2-3 years because we spent all the money on a down payment. He says we don’t have the money for it and we can’t until we have the money. He is 32 and I am 26 years old and my parents have been presuring me for years to tie the knot or have an arranged marriage, but my boyfriend is so laid back about marriage and I really want to make our relationship official and get married as I feel I am not going to get any younger and neither is he. Especially in the India culture, we plan to marry much younger. I like to plan my life and strive on having plans and goals, and he isn’t the planning type. I want to know when he realisticly wants to get married but whenever I bring it up he gets mad saying because he doesn’t want to discuss it. I don’t want to wait 2-3 years, we are already living together and I just want to make it official. We’ve been together long enough to just say “okay, lets plan on getting married in the summer of 2013”, rather than an ambiguous answer like “in 2-3 years”. I am very frustrated about this as it has been on my mind for months and I don’t get a straight answer from him.

  21. Anonymous permalink
    May 18, 2012 6:26 am

    I have to admit that after reading this post, I feel the need to be frank about how I have been pressuring my awesome boyfriend to propose. Not in a “give me a ring or else!” kind of way, but more like making sure he is aware of what I expect. I do believe in letting things work out naturally, however I dont believe in waiting years for a ring when you are seriously dating someone. This is just a personal preference and I dont see a problem with other couples waiting longer. To me, if you ‘know’, then why wait? Regardless, I told him I have a two year max. He has let me know that my ‘pressuring’ is causing him to wait, which I understand – but again, I dont think I am being demanding or crass by any standards. I just think it is only fair for him to know what I need out of this as well. He has let me know that he has a ring picked out. Hopefully he will present me with it within the next 7 months

  22. acacia permalink
    May 21, 2012 2:20 am

    I am currently in a 6 year relationship and want this to progress to marriage, but I am not so sure it will happen. We’ve discussed it, but he can’t explain why he isn’t ready, he just says he isn’t. It hurts though when he fantisises about his future children with me etc. Honestly, I don’t know whether a long or short relationship before you get married is important or not…it’s the quality of the relationship. The longer he waits to propose, the more I doubt our future because if he doesn’t know me by now, and share the feeling of wanting the relationship to progress, I think there is something amiss. The OP describes a relationship where a couple is on the same page…that to me is a sure sign that they will have a long lasting, healthy relationship.

  23. scbolden permalink
    June 8, 2012 2:12 pm

    I have been with my boyfriend for about 2 years and almost once a month for the past few months he has been telling me “I know you have been patient but don’t worry you don’t have to be patient for much longer.” Does he not know that is the WORST thing he can tell a woman who has been waiting to get married/proposed to? I was fine with waiting however when you make comments it makes it worse. Not only has this happen but he told my father he intends to marry me and my mother took off running, booking a chuch and now trying to book a reception hall. I just feel like this all got WAY out of hand.

    I would wait a thousand years for him but now I feel like he is going to propose because he feels pressured to and that is the last thing I want but thanks to that above post it gave me a few things to think about.

  24. Anonymous permalink
    December 5, 2012 9:23 pm

    oooh great post! I have not put any pressure on BF since Im the one that’s commitment phobic, (he says he will have guards at the church doors to make sure I don’t run away, lol) but it’s been some years that he’s been hinting at getting married and since i mentioned that people normally get proposed to and engaged first, he went out scouring the net for what I might like. He did exceptionally well I might say and being that Im a great evaluator of diamonds and precious stones and gems, he had a difficult task hahaha, but I did see the ring and how much it cost because just last week I was looking at something similar online.
    being in my mid 30’s I get the questions all the time, “tick tock” the clock is ticking what are you waiting for etc. and our families,sheez! you’d think they are the ones planning to get married, lmao! we do plan everything as if we are married already, all the way down to retirement in 14 yrs. I think at some point you just start to tune out the questions.
    Oh and for my first fiance, I was the one that proposed to him, being that he was the one person I didnt’ want to let get away but 12 yrs later we are with other people and we are still friends.

  25. Anonymous permalink
    July 28, 2013 1:17 pm

    I’m 27 and have been dating my guy for 6 years. All is well. He better pop the question soon. He will be 30 in a couple weeks. At this point, he needs to decide if he wants to be married or not. I’m ready… and if he’s not then its not meant to be!

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