Marry Me, or Else?

Dear Sherry:

I've been dating my boyfriend for three years -- we're both nearing 40 -- and he keeps saying he's not ready to get married. I'm at my wit's end. Do you think I should try an ultimatum: Give me the ring or I'll give you the heave-ho?



Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear Betsy:

Before I answer your question, I'll pose one. Do you remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? The townspeople, tired of running to help a child who was only testing his power, refused to come to the rescue when they were really needed.

Moral: Only give him the marry-me-or-I'm-outta-here spiel if you're willing to actually walk out the door. If he says, "Sorry, sweetheart, I love you but I'm still not ready to get married," and you cave, he won't take your next ultimatum seriously. (You know, the one you REALLY mean.)

Three years is certainly long enough to remain in romantic limbo. If you're willing to go for broke, give your boyfriend a deadline of, say, three months. If he doesn't produce the ring by the agreed-upon date, you haven't "lost." You've simply gained the knowledge that it's time to move on with your life.

Best of luck. Let us know what happens.