Confused about marriage

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2013
Confused about marriage
11
Sun, 02-24-2013 - 2:22am

Hi everyone.

I have a small issue going on right now. I'm almost 27 and have been with the same person for about 9 years. We have lived together for about 3 years now (with his family). Recently, we went to see a jeweler and he had an engagement ring made. It was all very exciting. I was very upset after Christmas when he did not propose. I went on and on about how it was always a dream of mine to be proposed to during Christmas and when he didn`t make that dream come true, it really crushed my heart. We had a talk about it - very open, very honest - and he told me that he didn`t have insurance for the ring. I knew that this was very important and felt that I was being foolish. We moved on. However, since then I am always secretly hoping he will propose soon. It`s been really killing me because I psych myself up..and then..nothing. I have been really honest with him in that this whole thing is really starting to take it`s toll on me (I`m also a student and have intense pressures in my family life). I know that it is self-inflicted but after 9 years I`m ready and I don`t want to wait a single second more to marry this man. I love him to pieces and I`m very happy with him.

This is my problem.

I`m not sure if it`s the stress of the situation (that I am bringing upon myself) or if I am somehow changing....but I am no longer excited, no longer hoping, no longer dreaming! I feel as though he could ask me to marry him and it would be like any other question (could you pass the newspaper, what time are you coming home, are you gonna eat that sandwhich etc.) It`s like this whole thing has taken every ounce of passion and excitement away. It doesn`t help that I am a maid of honour for the second time in a row to important people in my life. I have been constantly swarmed with weddings, marriage, dresses, flowers, blah, blah, blah for the last two years. The problem is I feel like I don`t even know what I feel anymore! It`s really scaring me because if and when he does ask, this isn`t how I want to feel. I want to be happy and excited but I can`t help but wonder why I`m not anymore. I try to talk to him about it but he seems too focused on making it a surprise or creating a perfect this or that...that he`s not seeing what it`s putting me through. This is just torture and I feel terrible. I don`t really have anyone I can talk to about this so any advice would be great.

Thank you!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Tue, 04-02-2013 - 9:10am

Hi Shoegal--

Just wondering how things are going?

Time for an update :)

((((((Hugs))))) and BEST WISHES!! 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-11-2013
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 1:44pm

I can understand the long wait if you were both 17 when you started dating.  What doesn't make a lot of sense to me is why he's waiting if he has the ring.  He hints that he wants things to be a certain way before he proposes.  What are those certain things?  Does he want to be out of his parents' home?  Is he waiting for a certain time of year?  Honestly, I don't understand because it's just making his intentions official.  In my opinion, there is no perfect time to do anything.  It sounds like he's procrastinating on this.  But why?  It just seems vague.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2013
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 11:33pm
Thank you for replying. Here are some responses to your thoughts. 2. The proposal simply signifies a formal proposal of commitment to me and to the family that we will start together someday. It's just a romantic gesture but it's backed up by years of us being committed to one another. 3. Yes we have really grown and changed. But somehow, we were able to do this together. Our personal values have stayed the same or developed together. 4. This is my major concern as well and it's quite terrifying. My feelings haven't changed about HIM. But my feelings about how he approaches things in such a laid back manner has been amplified by this situation. 5. Our living situation has worked in our favour. We have been able to save a lot and get ready to build a life together financially because of this opportunity. Sometimes it can be challenging to find alone time because we do a lot as a family. He loves his family, as do I. They have been very good to us. I'm not excited anymore. Honestly, I have been in school for two years and I am exhausted on a lot of levels and I feel after waiting for so long, it has taken the excitement out of the whole thing. It makes me sad because I haven't had many opportunities to be excited about things in my life and I really wanted this to be it. :(
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2013
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 11:15pm

I am so overwhelmed with such incredible advice that everyone has been so kind to share. Thank you. It's so complicated and there is so much to tell.

Well, when people hear that we have been together for nine years, we are met with the same reactions: "What are you waiting for?" Well, please understand we began our relationships at 17. Those early years were spent in university, my father had just passed away, our friendships/relationships changed etc. We were just kids. There were so many changes. I think our relationship really changed and matured when we began to live together. Our lives are very different than they used to be and we are no longer those 'kids'. We have responsibilities and our family is the most important thing to both of us. I think we are ready for marriage now and have been for a while. But we were definitely not ready three or five years ago.

Our prioirity for the last two years (besides me finishing school...) has been to save money and become financially stable so that we could buy a home of our own when we are ready. His job has become stable in the last few years. But we are starting our lives from scratch - no financial support from family (beyond living with his parents, which is a great help in itself). We're almost there but once I finish school (end of April) I will have to find full-time work before we purchase a home.

I guess the issue has really become this: I love this person. I want to marry him and have a family together. That is my goal and it hasn't changed since we moved in together. Now, I don't think his goals have always been as clear as mine but I can confidently say I believe he wants this also. He has purchased the ring. He now has it insured (I know this for a fact). When I asked him about why he is waiting he hints at wanting things to be a certain way before he proposes. But I am weighing this against what I want in my life and it's proving to be difficult. I don't want to give him an ultimatum because I think it's hurtful especially after seeing all of the sacrifices he's made for our current life and future. But when is it okay to say "This is what I want. And if it doesn't happen then I need to re-evaluate this relationship."


Hopefully this provides a little more context. I wrote the first post in a bit of an emotional state. Sorry for the rambling!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-05-2013
Tue, 03-05-2013 - 9:36pm

I get it, sometimes things dont go the way that you expect them to go. If it doesnt go exactly the way that you wanted then how can you be excited about it?  I agree with the other posts, I think it is less important at this point to think about how he's going to propose and more about setting a date and thinking about marriage in general.  He may have just become comfortable with being in a relationship with you and not married, espeicially if your relationship is going so well.  If it aint broke why fix it?  Right?  Either way it is hard to pshychoanalyze what your BF is thinking from your post but I think you should sit down with him and ask him if he really wants to get married.  If he says yes, let him know that a proposal is not something that he needs to continue thinking about, and that it's about time you both started thinking about married life together.

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012
Sat, 03-02-2013 - 2:37pm

shoegal191 wrote:
<p>Hi everyone.</p><p>I have a small issue going on right now. I'm almost 27 and have been with the same person for about 9 years. We have lived together for about 3 years now (with his family). Recently, we went to see a jeweler and he had an engagement ring made. It was all very exciting. I was very upset after Christmas when he did not propose. I went on and on about how it was always a dream of mine to be proposed to during Christmas and when he didn`t make that dream come true, it really crushed my heart. We had a talk about it - very open, very honest - and he told me that he didn`t have insurance for the ring. I knew that this was very important and felt that I was being foolish. We moved on. However, since then I am always secretly hoping he will propose soon. It`s been really killing me because I psych myself up..and then..nothing. I have been really honest with him in that this whole thing is really starting to take it`s toll on me (I`m also a student and have intense pressures in my family life). I know that it is self-inflicted but after 9 years I`m ready and I don`t want to wait a single second more to marry this man. I love him to pieces and I`m very happy with him.</p>

If you love him to pieces and are very happy with him and are living with him, what would be different about that if he never proposed to you? Would you be happy with him and love him to pieces, or is that conditional upon a marriage proposal?

Does he even want to get married?  IMO, that excuse about ring insurance is pretty flimsy... is the ring $1m?  Why not get you a less expensive ring that doesn't require Fort Knox to pay for the insurance?  He can always get you a more expensive ring after you two have spent 10 years together and have proved that your love and marriage can withstand the  tests which will come as a married couple.  Right now, all you want is a proposal followed by a wedding, right?

I would also advise you to check your expectations.  Stop amping yourself up to be disappointed by his failure to deliver your expectations to you.  You have laid plain to him how you feel about the way he proceeded and still, nothing was done by him to mitigate the hurt felt by you---that is something you should not ignore.  Is he being manipulative or punative with you now that you've expressed your disappointment in him?  To me, it just seems that him telling you how he would like to do this would have been discussed with you by now--from what you've written, it doesn't appear to have happened.

Quote:
<p>This is my problem.</p><p>I`m not sure if it`s the stress of the situation (that I am bringing upon myself) or if I am somehow changing....but I am no longer excited, no longer hoping, no longer dreaming! I feel as though he could ask me to marry him and it would be like any other question (could you pass the newspaper, what time are you coming home, are you gonna eat that sandwhich etc.) It`s like this whole thing has taken every ounce of passion and excitement away. It doesn`t help that I am a maid of honour for the second time in a row to important people in my life. I have been constantly swarmed with weddings, marriage, dresses, flowers, blah, blah, blah for the last two years. The problem is I feel like I don`t even know what I feel anymore! It`s really scaring me because if and when he does ask, this isn`t how I want to feel. I want to be happy and excited but I can`t help but wonder why I`m not anymore. I try to talk to him about it but he seems too focused on making it a surprise or creating a perfect this or that...that he`s not seeing what it`s putting me through. This is just torture and I feel terrible. I don`t really have anyone I can talk to about this so any advice would be great.</p><p>Thank you!</p>

If he rescinded his desire to propose to you and told you he was quite happy with how things are right now, would you stay with him?  You've invested 9 years of your life with him--people go to the JP every day and get married, if marriage is what you're after.  If it's the show of a wedding you're after, then it would seem that you will have to find a way to be quiet and content with him while you wait for him to orchestrate his perfect proposal moment with you. Do you trust him to do this? If you don't, then you've got a lot of thinking and decisions to make.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-13-2006
Wed, 02-27-2013 - 11:48am

Why have you given 9yrs of your precious life to this person?!! I feel that if he loved you...he would have married you a long time ago.I'm so tired of these men who just don't see the full picture until it's gone.The way I see it is to never spend more then 2 yrs with someone..if they haven't proposed to you by the end of the 2yr..then move on so that what you're going through doesn't happen to other women. 9 yrs...I swear I don't understand why some people feel they have all the time in the world. I understand about wanting things to be perfect...BUT now...I feel that it's not to you because so much time had passed by.I feel you have just gotten numb to all of this because you feel that it will never happen...WHY is it so important to him to do this HIS way???Doesn't he know that you would have accepted his proposal even if he didn't have any ring?I know you love him BUT if he loved you..he wouldn't be with you for 9 yrs and NOT have married you already.

In some aspects you both are married anyways now..it's called common law marriage.I know it's not what you want but isn't that where you're at now? You should have lite a match under his foot a long time ago.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Tue, 02-26-2013 - 1:02pm

Hi Shoegal--

You've gotten some good posts in reply here.....it's hard to really know your situation from simply reading a post, but here are some things that are brought up in my mind:

1.  Nine years is a long time to be in a relationship with someone.  (many many marriages last only a fraction of that time).  It would seem you already are in a serious/long term/committed relationship.  This is of interest, because a "proposal" is/was traditionally the way the man signaled his intentions to the woman, and let her know he was desiring a serious/long term/committed relationship with her.  In your case, you've already gotten the serious/long term/committed relationship....but missed out on a formalized proposal. (just an interesting observation)

2. Following that thought.....what does the formal proposal signify to you?  I guess that's something to think about---it cant be that you want him to settle down with you...because that's already happened.  Perhaps its more along the lines that since a romantic proposal has always been important to you, and he now knows this, ...if he really cared for you, he'd want to give this dream to you.....and him dragging his feet on this signifies to you that he doesnt really care about your dreams.  (on the other hand----he could care SO MUCH, that he's terrified he will not meet your expectations on this ....and be afraid of trying......!)  

3.  You were young when started your relationship---age 18, or maybe younger?  Yes, very possibly you've grown up some (each ) and now moving in different directions is natural.............this would be very normal to happen.......

4.  This is my biggest concern:

If you're going to spend the rest of your life with a person-----you really want it to be a person you can work on issues like this with----that you can express your feelings and concerns, and he will take them seriously, try to understand, and try to work with you on them (and vice/versa).  The fact that you've been together 9 years already, and living together 3,....you'd think you've already gotten alot of this figured out.......but it doesnt seem that way.  So, it's hard to expect things to be handled much different in future, with other issues that are important to you...would be good to work this out with him, or else realize this is going to be a pattern in your life as long as you are together....is this what you really want?

5.  I dont know either you or your BF----what is situation re: living with his folks?  Are they treating you both like kids, and you two just act like siblings in their household, without much planning for the future, or taking much responsiblity for your lives ?  

Regarding you not being so excited re: "a proposal" anymore........I kinda/sorta had the same thing many years ago...........REALLY wanted to get married/etc.....then, I came to a point where I started feeling more "OK" with *not* doing this....and, hah....THAT  was when he proposed............it caught me off guard....when he proposed,..I thought, "oh, ...I dont know that I DO want this?".....but then this "practical" voice in my head said, 'hah...this is what you've wanted for a LONG TIME.....!  Dont say "no"...he might change his mind on this!  Say "OK", and then YOU"VE got the option to change your mind and say "no" later, if you really dont want to...".....

So,....I said "OK".....we got married, ...it lasted 20 years....but in the end....I think I really should have listened to my heart (at the time) and said "no".  Not sure where that would have taken me.  Where it did take me was good on many fronts, but not so great on others.  So,....I guess you never know. No matter what happens, you'll be OK, and will  move on to better things.

Not sure what all I'm rambling on about here.....but there are probably no short answers to your questions, and I think all of the posters here have given you some food for thought, anyhow :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 02-26-2013 - 11:25am

I agree with the points that Safire made.  I think you two need to forget about "the proposal" and talk about "the marriage."  Does he actually want to get married?  When does he see that happening?  At 27 I think it would be embarrassing to still be living with parents, assuming that both of you work--why don't you just get your own place together?  Maybe he doesn't really want to get married but feels that you've been together a long time and maybe the parents are pushing and he's feeling pressure from you that your friends are getting married too.  I do agree that you have to think about whether you want to spend the rest of your lives together--so many young women get caught up in the excitement of the wedding and forget that after that it's gonig to be a big let down when you get back to the daily routine of life.

the insurance thing is an odd excuse.  I assume that his parents have homeowners insurance--he could just add the ring to that & it wouldn't cost much money--certainly a lot less than he paid for the ring.  Maybe he somehow doesn't have enough money to finish paying for the ring so he can't pick it up from the store.  Also you could tell him that you don't need some elaborate proposal so the pressure is off him on that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Tue, 02-26-2013 - 9:24am

Putting aside thoughts of a proposal, you need to re-examine your feelings about your bf. People do a lot of changing and growing from the late teens to late twenties. Questions to ask yourself: Could you have possibly outgrown the relationship? Make sure you have the same life goals. You should have discussed whether or not you will have children. Is he financially stable? Does he have a high work ethic? By age 27, he should've moved out of his parents home. What is the timeline for leaving? Thinking about growing old together, do you have a warm, wonderful feeling or do you feel like a weight is on your chest? Would you be devastated if you two broke up, imagining him kissing another woman? These are things to think about to see if he's the life partner you want, or were just excited about the fantasy of a fairy tale wedding in the future.

After divorcing after 23 years of marriage, and dating for several years before I met my second husband, I see what really matters in life. My 2nd husband never formally proposed to me. We just had discussions over time about getting married. I even paid for part of my ring. What was important to us was that we wanted to be companions for life. He is regularly romantic, but we didn't need the big hype of a proposal, and it was just he and I at the wedding. No stress.

Extreme romantic displays are fleeting, and has nothing to do with if a relationship will succeed. Daily effort by doing small acts of kindness and showing respect and affection are the key to a happy long term relationship. When you examine your feelings, if you feel he's the one, sit down with him and have a real discussion with him. Ask him if he's ready to marry, and if not, why not? Try to be mellow and let him speak fully without interuption. Then come up with a plan together of when it will happen. Chip in for the insurance if need be. Take away the thought that men are creative and planning some wham bam proposal. Most are not. Either tell him you don't want a proposal, since you've already decided together, or tell him you want him to plan something by a particular date. No, it's not what you originally wanted, but life is reallity, not a fantasy. You have to ask for what you want, and then be happy about it when you get it. You have a choice on your thought choices. Instead of grumbling that he should of thought of something himself, you can think that he really listened and cared enough to do what I asked. Good luck.

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