Q. I have been in a great relationship with my boyfriend for over 4 years. Last year as I was discussing our future, I told him that I want to get married to him soon and ideally would like to be engaged this year by June. At that time, he agreed and I was really looking forward to this year.
So far that has not happened and I get the feeling that he isn’t going to propose to me anytime soon. I am disappointed and hurt. Our relationship has been great but, this issue continues to bother me. Right now, I feel like I am the one chasing him and wanting to ask him to commit to me when it should be the other way around.
What should I do? Should I wait and give him more time? Should I sit down with him and discuss what’s on his mind? What if he asks for more time and repeats the same again? Am I coming across as someone needy and desperate?
A. First off, congratulations on being in a great relationship for four years. I know how much work that takes. It seems, however, that this issue of getting engaged is causing an unusual experience hurt and disappointment for you, and now making you feel as if you’re “chasing him”. Is that right?
My initial curiosity is around why you want to get engaged, and why the timeline that you had presented last year (“by June”) is important.
My guess is that both of these factors are things you have discussed and agree upon. In other words, was this a request, a demand, an ultimatum, or a collaborative plan? If you want a marriage to be healthy, as I’m sure you know from four strong years together, it needs to be a collaboration.
If your boyfriend hasn’t had much of a voice in the matter, I would be interested to know how he holds the idea of marriage, what his hopes, values and expectations are around it, and what his timeline looks like.
My question for you is “What do you want to do?”
If he says he needs more time, and he repeats the same thing again, is that OK with you? Really check in with yourself here. How does your heart feel when you ponder this? What about your belly or gut?
When you think about possible scenarios, just experience how they make you feel. It might be anxious, calm, tired, heavy-hearted, sad, nauseous, numb… it could be a whole mix of things. Just see what comes up, and try to note it. See if what your body is saying makes sense to you.
Yes, you should absolutely sit down together and discuss, but there is an important amendment to your question: you can only discuss what is on your mind.
He is in charge of his, and how much he is willing or able to share. You can’t pry it out. Regarding appearing “needy and desperate”, don’t worry. Simply ask for what you are wanting or needing, decide if it is a want or a need, and wait for the response.
If it is a want and you do not get it, you’ll determine how important it is, and if you can live without it. If it is a need and you don’t get it, the answer is clear. And if you get what you are asking for, problem solved! In every aspect of your life, you always determine the boundaries and terms that are acceptable.
Even now, the choice is all yours.