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Ask Meg: Surviving The Pre-Engaged State


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Ask Meg: Surviving The Pre Engaged State | A Practical Wedding

My boyfriend and I have known each other for over 15 years, been close friends for over 9 and have been dating exclusively for almost 4 years. We are both 28-years-old. We talk about marriage. We talk about the things we’d like to include in our hypothetical wedding. And yet, we’re not “officially” engaged. He has told me that he feels like he needs to have a better job before we get married, and he has said that it is very important to him to be the one who proposes. He says he has a plan, but won’t elaborate past that. He tends to get a long-suffering look on his face when I mention it.

I have told him that I feel a lot of sadness over not being engaged yet and that the longer I wait, the harder it is for me to hang out in my own personal limbo without losing my sh*t. I have told him that I don’t think we should wait, since I want to help support him as he pursues his dreams, not wait in the wings for them to come true. I think he feels that he should have all his ducks in a row before we get hitched. I disagree. I think getting married means that I can come with him while he goes after his education and dream career. I think we can line our ducks up together, and it’ll be way easier with two people. ‘Cause, you know, ducks are wily.

So I’m really torn. I don’t want to pressure him, but I feel like a bit of an idiot just waiting around at this point. What am I supposed to do now? I feel so frustrated and lost, and as someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression my whole life, this feels like the ultimate gauntlet. I try to focus on the fact that our relationship is otherwise fantastic, but it’s getting more and more difficult to do that. I just don’t understand why someone who clearly loves and admires me, who tells me daily that I am amazing, who treats me as his partner and equal and with whom I have amazing chemistry would still be waiting to propose. Most of the time I am absolutely sure that he is the man I will marry. Other times, I wonder if I’ll still be waiting next year and the year after that and on and on until it destroys us. I also feel a little left behind by our friends, who are mostly married with kids now or are planning weddings. Will I be 30, still just plodding along with my boyfriend while everyone I know is raising babies? I don’t think I can live with that.

—L.

Dear L,

Well, my dear, ducks are wily. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it put better than that. So, knowing that you’re wise, let’s dive into this issue. It seems to me there are several things going on here, so let’s parse this out.

Ducks Are, In Fact, Wily

Lesson number one: your partner doesn’t feel ready to get hitched. He thinks he needs to get his ducks in a row; you think you can get your ducks in a row when you\’re married. And both of you are right. Last year, someone wrote to me saying that she was ready to get married, but she didn’t have the money. And I told her F*ck The Economy (Get Married Now). Because, when you’re ready to get married, you shouldn’t let things like not having a swimming pool full of money hold you back.

But here, I think the issues are a little different. It sounds like your partner genuinely does not feel ready to get married. And that’s fair. I’d also argue that there does not have to be a rush. David and I have a timeline spookily like yours. We’d known each other for nine years before we got together, and were in a serious relationship for five years before we got hitched. And for a long time we just didn’t feel ready to get married. We knew we wanted to get married to each other at some point, but we wanted to feel like we had our lives sorted out a bit more first. We wanted to feel like we were heading towards careers; we wanted financial stability. While we didn’t want all our ducks in a line, we wanted them to at least be toddling towards the place where they might consider lining up, and they were not ready to do that yet, adorable wee duckies that they were.

So it’s fair that your partner isn’t quite ready to get hitched. And while I’d like to tell you F*ck The Ducks (Get Married Now), sometimes you have to wait on your partner a bit. But what’s not fair is his lack of communication around the issue. “I have a plan,” sounds great, right till the point that your partner walks out on you because she’s sick of waiting (ducks are wily indeed). So that brings me to…

What Partnership Means

Marriage is a partnership of equals. It’s forming a team and making sure things work for both members of the team. And right now, your boyfriend has bought in to the cultural narrative that it’s the man who decides when you get hitched, and he’s keeping you in the dark. It’s the keeping you in the dark that’s not working. And it’s up to you to tell him that.

Tell him you\’re not willing to wait without information anymore. Tell him that if he has a plan, he needs to talk about it with you because his plan involves your life, too. Tell him that you’re willing to wait if you know why you’re waiting, what he needs to think over, and where you’re generally heading. Tell him you understand if he doesn’t have firm answers yet, but that you need to start the conversation. Tell him that no matter what the cultural dialogue says about engagements, the rest of your life cannot be a secret from you and that decisions have to be made as a team.

And then tell him that ducks are wily, and you want to be there for him no matter what happens. Tell him that the fact that you feel that way is what makes you know that you want to marry him.

And then after you’ve had a long talk, realize you might need to wait a little longer. And here is one last secret: 28 is young. Heck, 30 is young. Enjoy where you are right now because your relationship is wonderful, things are good, and you won’t pass this way again. Oh, and read this post on the pre-engaged state (now).

Good luck (and keep us posted).

Yours in Duckies,
Meg

Photo by Leah and Mark, APW Sponsors

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • http://www.asafemooring.blogspot.com Kirsty {a safe mooring}

    Aside from anything else, Meg, this was beautifully written.

    My heart goes out to you, L – I have felt that frustration of knowing but not knowing, waiting but finding it hard to wait in the dark. I have nothing to add to Meg’s eloquent advice – wishing you strength and courage for the conversation you know you need to have. And yes, do keep us posted.

    Yours in Duckies (I am now going to sign off every communication in this fashion),

    Kirsty xx

    • melissa

      Yes, beautifully written!

      • http://forcause.wordpress.com Sandy

        Was going to say, this is possibly my favorite piece of your writing I’ve seen yet (yet, I say, because I heard a rumor there’s a book that will be floating around soon?).

    • L

      Thanks! Sorry I’m so late to the comments party, but we’re in San Diego for Comic Con and it is CRAZY.

      Meg, this was exactly what I needed to hear, Thank you so much for the advice, and for not thinking my duck analogy is too nerdy! ::Big deep breath:: Now to wait for the end of the ‘Con and start a conversation with my boy.

      — L.

      • Jennie

        Babe. I have gone through almost the EXACT same scenario as you. And unfortunately have not been as wise. We have been together ten years (!!!) and I have yelled, cajoled, screamed, plotted….and finally ended up saying, “I want to get married. You don’t want to get married. That’s okay; but just know that someday I won’t be able to do this anymore.” I mean, we live together and own a house and two cars and a beagle! Once you are honest without being scary or judgey (and it sounds like you are really good at calmly laying out the facts), things go a lot better. If you want some extra support you can e-mail me at jennieboo33 (at) att (dot) net and I will be an understanding ear. Good luck! I know you’ll be great at whatever you say!

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    Wow, this really reminded me of our pre-engaged state, specially at a certain time that I burst out crying (not proud of this) because though we had talked about getting married, and we knew we were gonna, he wouldn’t ask and how for me it was so important I was going crazy. In the end when he finally proposed he did surprise me. One of his arguments was that I should have a job first (at the time I had just finished my studies), so that I would be able to take care of myself (which I agree as well, but situation is not so easy where I am). What resonated the most was: “I think getting married means that I can come with him while he goes after his education and dream career. I think we can line our ducks up together, and it’ll be way easier with two people” .
    So L, be patient, it will come, and do talk to him tell him why this is important for you, that you will be there supporting him and that this is what marriage is all about. And enjoy the moments that you have, as hard as it is, don’t be tricked with what society expects from you, just do whatever is best for both of you.

  • Rachel

    Oh wow, this question sounds like it could have been written by me any time in the last year. Both the emotional rollercoaster experienced by L, and the explanations given by her boyfriend (he has a plan, he wants to marry her, but he wants to get his ducks in a row and find a better job) describe my partner to a T.

    After a year of inner turmoil and struggling with the internal debate of “am I pressuring him, or having a rational conversation about our shared future?” (hint, it was the latter – if you ignore the one or two moments of weakness involving tears and general emotional meltdown…) – I finally started to make peace with the fact that my partner simply wasn’t ready to get married until he found a job he was happier with (I cursed the economy under my breath quite a lot through this phase…). Then, 2 weeks ago, he caught me off guard with a proposal.

    Now, I don’t mean this in an ‘oh don’t worry honey, he’ll propose soon! (because obviously everyone’s life follows the exact same pattern as mine… right) kind of way, but rather as a way of saying I think Meg’s advice is bang on. You can’t force someone to be ready for marriage, and if getting all of his ducks in a row is something that’s really important to him before proposing, there’s probably not a whole lot you can do to change that. He’ll be ready when he’s ready, and the timing of that may end up surprising you, or it may be exactly what you expected. What you can do is open the floor to conversations about your future. In the 21st century, you have a right to be an active participant in decisions that impact your life, and it’s worth sitting down with your partner and discussing that with him (and no, that’s not pressure). Sharing a clear vision of your expectations for your future will go a long way towards calming down those inner voices who start to panic and wonder if you’ll ever get engaged. With those inner voices tamed, it will be easier to enjoy this pre-engaged state and it will go a long way towards easing the stress and anxiety that can flare up in the face of the unknown.

  • http://somethingshavehappened.blogspot.com/ Siobhan

    This kind fo happened to me. We both discussed marriage and the future before we got together (I was being organised) but then we hit a time where he had to find his feet. He said he wanted to get married, but only once his job/finances were okay.

    And I freaked because ducks are wiley (love that phrase) and okay is not a very specific thing and I thought they might never be okay enough to get married.

    But I then spoke to him calmly and said that I was ready, and I was willing to wait but I needed a ballpark on how long I would be waiting, on what “okay” looked like.

    He told me at Christmas he would propose “next year” and he proposed in April. I was still surprised (genuinely) and it was still lovely, but though I felt like an idiot for getting him to give me a general timeline it helped a lot with the craziness and with the friends who really should have read the post on what to say to the pre-engaged (not that I told THEM that he was going to propose that year – that was not the point, it just meant I knew and found the fact that they pitied me a lot easier to handle)

    • L

      I’m so glad to hear from so many of you that I am not alone in this! It’s been rough, mostly because I feel like “everyone else” is getting married or already is. Thanks for sharing with me!

    • halfway there

      Oh, timelines. They’re good, but they’re stressful! We agreed in December that it would be sometime this year, but this year is going fast. And I keep telling myself to relax, the money’s not there (oh debt you money pit..we’re crawling out) and while I’m ok with an engagement agreement he feels he *has* to have a ring (and won’t believe me when I say, “I don’t want a crazy proposal/ massive ring”). And I’m going home in November (to the other side of the world, where we agreed 4 yrs ago to have the maybe-someday wedding), and I just want to be able to look at and discuss things *with* him rather than it feeling like a dirty little secret. And maybe I’m dreading the conversations with people who, when I was last home 2 yrs ago, kept asking me when the engagement was happening. Le sigh.

      /end rant? Thanks APW world, glad I got that off my chest. Not sure that’s the conversation he’ll want to have when he gets home, but sometime soon.

  • starkville

    Totally had this issue. What really helped me through was focusing on the Me in addition to the Us. When we talked about a future together, it was scary and a lot of pressure– he sweated profusely (no lie), i cried.

    When i came to the table with a robust plan of “I want to work in this field, go to grad school online, graduate at some point, be an awesome scientist, take art lessons, buy a house, garden, maybe spawn children with someone at some point, and die when i’m 104″ my attitude totally changed. Okay, I got cocky. Dude, I’m awesome, and my life’s gonna be awesome, so he can either join in the party with all his hopes and dreams, or not.

    • http://contradictorylife.wordpress.com Barbra

      Wow, this was so what I needed to hear at exactly this time. Not about necessarily being ready to get married, but “focusing on the Me in addition to the Us.”
      Thanks! :)

  • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

    Great response, Meg, lovely written. I was never in a long relationship (I was alone most of my life, until I met my husband, and 1 month into dating he proposed) so I haven’t been through what you, L, are going through, but I have a couple of friends that are going through that now. Most of their anxiety comes from not knowing whether their boyfriends actually want to get married (like in EVER) and, as they approach 30, they fret that they may be “wasting their time” (=their fertile years) with someone that may just not be the least interested in proposing. Their boyfriends, just like yours, get defensive with the topic and this, in turn, increases their anxiety.
    But Meg is right: you cannot make someone ready for marriage, but you can request open, sincere, heartfelt communication about the topic. And 28 is very young. Trust me, I’m 35 ;)
    Good luck!

  • http://www.cmorrisphoto.com Lauren

    I felt exactly like you, L, for the last (long) bit of our pre-engaged state. I ended up getting to the point where I had to have some idea about the “plan” or we’d have to re-evaluate everything. I cried about it by myself, read posts online about (nothing as good as Meg’s advice – shocking), and talked to my friends (side note: bad idea…for some reason people always just say “break up then” when you hit a rough patch. So, on this issue – don’t talk to your friends, talk to your heart and talk to your partner, that’s it). In the end, I figured, if I can’t talk to him about this issue, then how will we be able to be married and make it through realllly rough issues that require conversation? So, I talked to him – and I was so nervous to do it. I was worried it would lead to our break up (which makes no sense looking back because, again, marriage will cause you to have much tougher conversations and so we should be able to get through that one….but I digress). I explained that I didn’t want to rush him but I did have a *very* loose life plan and was ready for marriage and wanted to know if there was something in our relationship that we could work on to make him feel ready for marriage too. It was a long and very honest conversation. And it was so necessary because it explained a lot. I feel like we came out of that conversation more in love with each other than when we went in.

    Bottom line – Meg’s advice was dead on. Talk with him about it. It’s a bit nerve wracking to start the conversation but you are strong, your relationship sounds strong and I know there will be a happy ending. Good luck and keep us posted, L.

    • RubberDuckie

      Ditto the part about not talking to friends about it (or be really careful who you talk to about it). I made the mistake of mentioning to some “friends” about how I was about to embark on the pursuit of a Masters degree and was frustrated that I wasn’t engaged yet and expressed the fear of him waiting to propose until I was done with my degree.

      No joke, they did the divide and conqur to us at another friends’ wedding. They cornered him and basically said “Poop or get off the pot” and they yanked me aside and told me that I shouldn’t be upset over not getting engaged because “soandso has been with whathisface for ten years and they aren’t engaged, so why are you mad?”. It was HORRIBLE.

      • Bethie

        That’s awful! And besides, what do other relationships have to do with your relationship?

        I do have to say though, “poop or get off the pot” is an awesome saying.

        • RubberDuckie

          I tried to keep it PG. :)

    • Mai

      Any tips for those of us in the “we need to have a conversation about this” stage on how to start such a conversation? I’ve never been a fan of the “we need to talk” line – but don’t know how else to bring up something this heavy. That’s not to say we haven’t had real talks, just none in quite a while – so I’m out of practice.

      • Quela

        Hi Mai, I find what works is a pre arranged agreement to set aside time to talk. It feels weird at first but works really well. I might say to D, “have you got time tonight to sit down with me for a bit so we can work out our budget/vacation plans for the next little while/Christmas arrangements/etc?” Those are some good topics to instigate the process so that you’re learning to make plans together without the subject matter being too heavy. In good time, you can start to suggest a discussion about where you’re headed generally, and you may even reach a point where it’s easy to suggest taking time to talk vaguely about future wedding plans, raising kids, etc The process doesn’t work unless you genuinely allow your partner to come to the discussion when they are ready. Seriously. If tonight is no good and this month is no good, wait til there’s a good time for both of you. This is a long haul approach, but it’s really effective and puts you in a position to raise almost any taboo topic without being seen to apply the dreaded “pressure”…

        • Mai

          great tips. I struggle with making the leap from everyday/holiday plans to concrete heavy plans.

          We both know where we’re headed (our wily ducks are all facing the same direction, with some distraction of “what’s that shiny thing over there?”) but firming up a plan of attack to get said wily ducks to all get into the pond and swim is where I struggle. He’s thought process is, “life will work itself out. we know we’re pointed in the same direction, so just let the ducks waddle towards the pond, they’ll all get in when they’re good and ready.” And I just want to sit down and ask each duck, “so, do you think you want to go swimming today/this week/year/decade?”

          • tirzahrene

            LOVE this analogy.

  • marriedhappy

    General Sidenote on waiting for the proposal: It also helps to discuss any fantasies or nightmares regarding proposals with your partner before it happens. This can prevent a multitude of dashed hopes or slight disappointments. Idea of being asked in a super public place freak you out or turn you on? She or he may not know that, even if you guys are soul mates. Or maybe being surprised and romanced is important to you… still a good idea to let the proposing partner know that.

    I was always secretly a little embarrassed about fantasizing about a proposal. And I don’t remember if my partner asked me or if I volunteered the information, but I’m so glad we talked about it in a hypothetical fashion before the actual event. My partner ended up taking some of my musings on the subject very literally, which still makes me giggle a bit. So, being specific can help, too! I think most partners want to fufill your wildest dreams about being asked, but may still need a little help to know exactly what kind of dreams you’ve had about it.

    Tangentially, I would echo the sentiment that many people I know do need a sort of timeline, or general idea that a proposal is coming, maybe even specifically WHEN it’s coming. There’s this whole surprise element to a proposal that, while, sweet and romantic, is not always practical. Especially if you are project-oriented and used to creating your own schedules.

    • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

      So true. I’m smiling while I write this because it reminded me of my husband’s proposal. I never wanted a public, hollywoodesque proposal, so my husband still jokes that, at the last minute, he had to cancel the Bulgarian dancers he had hired to appear right after me saying “yes”, and I still joke that he owes me those dancers ;)

  • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

    I understand completely where you are, L. I’ve spent the last year and a half wrestling with this, and it wasn’t pretty. My boyfriend and I had reached a point where our ducks had started to line up, so I thought that the next step would be marriage, whereas he didn’t feel ready. We had a lot of tearful conversations about it, but ultimately what it came down to is that if this is truly a partnership, both partners have to be on the same page before taking the next step.

    We’re still waiting, but I’m in a good place with it now, and really happy. I know that we’re building a life together and that he’s not NOT marrying me because he doesn’t love me (as much as the rom-com and diamond industries would like to tell us). We’re having fun, enjoying our relationship, and exploring the world together. We’ll tie the knot at some point when we’re BOTH ready and excited to take that leap, holding hands and laughing all the way.

  • http://lastamericangirlstanding.blogspot.com Kim

    We went through this as well. I had a *really* hard time with the fact that a decision that impacted us both was something that only he had control over. We had many a talk that Meg suggests, mainly because I needed a lot of reassurance that we were on the same page. I got a lot crazier than I’d like to admit for a variety of valid reasons, and man, that was a hard summer to go through.

    • Bonnie

      I also thought it was ridiculous that a proposal seems to be a decision solely left up to a man. The idea that “suprise!” one day he decides he’s finally ready to marry you is completely ludicrous. So we talked about it, and decided that rather than “surprise, marry me!”, THEN premarital counseling, THEN a marriage, that we would instead start talking through all the tough questions now, then decide what a marriage might look like, then talk about getting married.

      I stressed a lot about this earlier this year, but I think recently the idea of marriage became real to him, and it just feels different now. I think that as long as you can talk about your future honestly and enjoy the present, you’ll be fine. I was also very up front with him about the realities of wedding planning (time and money-wise) and the realities of child bearing (as far as women’s bodies go). These were apparently eye-opening conversations.

      In addition to all that, I’ve been focusing on my own life more. I’ve been pursuing my hobbies and spending time with my friends, but I can’t devote as much time to a relationship that may or may not being going anywhere, and it’s actually relieved a lot of the stress for both of us.

      Anyways, still waiting for the engagement, but I feel like when it comes we will both be ready because we’ve already talked through the stuff tough.

      • Katelyn

        Yes, it has really helped us to talk about our futures together instead of trying to force the marriage conversation. I’m still not sure what goes through his head sometimes when he thinks there’s a difference between being together forever and getting married, but he’s definitely in that “ducks in a row” school of thought, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.

        For us, the power isn’t his because he’s “the man,” it’s because he’s the one who’s not ready. But talking about what we want from our lives, both together and as individuals, and knowing we have shared values and goals is a wonderful salve on my sometimes-aching heart for marriage.

        • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

          We wound up not having a proposal at all but a marriage conversation. Which is funny because we both thought we wanted a proposal but after a year and a half of discussing a marriage, our hypothetical wedding, getting a dog, buying a house, planning for the future, etc. the conversation just felt more right, to Forrest initially and as the days start to pass I’m liking it more and more as the days pass. It was quiet and thoughtful but really beautful.

          • Claire

            Aww, we also had a marriage conversation vs. a proposal. There was no big, dramatic surprise, just a quiet conversation in bed that ended with “so it’s settled, we’re getting married.” It was perfect for us.

          • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

            It was the same for us. We had been talking about what we didn’t want because I had been judged “not feminine”for not wanting a hollywoodesque proposal by some colleagues and we thought it was ridiculous. It was a quiet conversation and at the end he said “So, will you marry me? “and I said yes, 1 month after we met :)

          • Anna

            My parents as well! When I asked my Mum how Dad proposed she said, what do you mean? That was a decision we talked about together, cause it’s a kind of a big deal, and we agreed and decided to get married. So we told everyone to meet us at the church!
            So practical.

      • meg

        This is BRILLANT. Way to take your power back (because yes, we’ve all got power).

  • http://maplequilt.blogspot.com Jill B

    Meaghan explained what I was thinking by the end of the post – you don’t have to be married to be his partner and helping/supporting him achieve his dreams. Marriage is certainly a full-commitment level of it all, but there’s no law (written or unspoken) that says you have to be married to be in a committed, supportive relationship. And it seems like having that great support before you’re even engaged is fodder to help him realize you’ll be there and supportive later, too. Otherwise you’re sort of holding a piece of yourself back, which seems like a bad framework to set up. Those things just get more challenging as time passes because you’ve set up patterns that can be hard to break.
    All that “sageness” being out there, totally understand the frustrated waiting game. I worried about it and analyzed and tried to hold myself back and calm, but it took a lot of self-talk, “no, really, it’ll all work out. Quit stewing…” And while I knew it, I didn’t feel it very much.

    • Cass

      Oddly enough, it took my husband explaining this to me during our own “pre-engaged” state to make me at ease with a long-term pre-engagement.

      Although in our situation, we ended up in a long-distance pre-engagement, which in my mind put anything serious on hold – until he proposed while we were long-distance.It wasn’t an orchestrated proposal, but my Thinker of a husband had thought long enough, and realized he couldn’t live without me anymore.

    • meg

      Erm… do you mean Meg? (I think that’s the first time one of y’all has called me Meaghan, which is most definitely not my name!) Though three years is a good run of it ;)

      • C

        Or perhaps she is referring to the comment posted above by reader Meaghan?

      • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

        I think she maybe meant my comment way up there?

  • Erin

    Can I just add another “me-too!”? My fiance and I were living together with the understanding that marriage was the plan. He was having employment issues and didn’t feel like we were financially ready. He also didn’t see the point of marriage, since we were already functioning as a married, committed couple. I would bring this up every now and then, like you, and get very frustrated because everything else was good and right.

    Then last year, after Thanksgiving, I came home and told him that I wanted to be married by the end of the next year. In my head, it wasn’t an ultimatum and it wasn’t a proposal. It was just me stating my position: We were struggling now, we were planning on struggling together in the future, and dammit, why couldn’t we struggle together and be married at the same time? He said yes, we picked out a ring the next day and told our families and friends, and I got him a nice watch since I was the one who “proposed.”

    It’s nice that your boyfriend wants to make a big, romantic gesture, but if waiting is driving you crazy, you should talk to him like Meg said. Feeling like a chump who’s wasting time with a man who won’t commit isn’t romantic, and he needs to meet you halfway. Think of it as practice for more compromises to come!

    • http://www.asfoodtolife.com Meredyth

      I totally agree with Meg’s advice! We sort of had the conversation that ended with a formal proposal and we’re getting married tomorrow. Eek. Why am I on APW? I have so much to do! But thank you ladies for all of your awesomeness and keeping this bride sane. See you on the flip side.

      • Jennie

        CONGRATS AND HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!

  • Marie

    Hey L. !

    Let me start by saying that I really get where you’re coming from; like a few girls before me said, I could have asked (yelled, screamed, cried) the same question last year : why won’t you propose ???? So this is my experience with waiting for a proposal, even if of course I understand your situation is different because we’re all different people ^^. My fiancé and I had been together for 3 years and I was completely looking forward to marrying him (not just anyone – him), plus we had been talking about it for a while just like you, but still no proposal and it was slowly driving me crazy, like there had to be a deeper problem than just wanting to have a stable job situation first.

    Then, in December, without me forcing the issue, he proposed. And I was over-the-moon happy. And then I FRRRRREACKED-OUT. Like, really. I know, logical, right ? I still loved him more than anything in the world (still do) and still wanted to spend my life with him (still do too), but suddenly all the stress and panic of planning a wedding and committing to someone “till death do us part” caught up with me. And thank God my fiancé was there, and ready for marriage and convinced we could do this together, so that he was able to comfort and reassure me. And later when it was time to start truly planning the wedding, thank God he had waited till we were stable financially to propose, so that eventhough we are not rich we can afford the ceremony we want without having to take a bunch of money from our parents who would have wanted to pay for the whole thing even if they clearly can not afford it.

    I’m not saying anything 50’s-like such as “let your man take all decisions for you, you emotional female” but for me it got really easy to be swept away by the “why aren’t you getting married yet?” and “at our age, when people have been together for as long as we have, they get married. if we don’t then it means there’s something WRONG with us (me?)” and even “It’s the fourth wedding we’ve been to this summer, I want MY princess dress too”.

    Of course I agree talking about issues is very important in a couple, but also maybe just like mine your partner only needs a long time to make up his mind but when he sets his mind to something there is no stopping him and you will be happy to have his rock-hard conviction that you’re doing the right thing later, when/if all the stress and family issues surrounding a wedding arise. Knowing he took his time (and therefore also forced me to take mine and not rush all excited into it) and really matured the idea of proposing makes me feel all calm and serene when thinking about the wedding and more importantly the marriage because I know this isn’t some spur-of-the-moment thing. It is a careful thought-out, life-changing decision that commits us to each other for life. And we looooove it :) :) :)

    Hope this helped a little bit, and I wish you two all the love in the world !

  • Cassandra

    I think this is WAY more common than people imagine (judging by comments here and on the other post about pre-engagement). While we’re on a shorter timeframe than you, I’ve gone in and out of this state with the Boy. Rationally in my head, I know we’re not quite ready, and we have a few more things to sort out (although we’ve made it through some Very Bad Stuff and have long since worked out the big things in our relationship). Irrationally, the other part of me keeps reminding me of the fact that the Boy is moving (in about 2 weeks…) to the US for his PhD. We’re Canadian. While I can visit once in awhile, I can’t move there (nor can my daughter) until we’re married. That’s really pushed up the time-frame of “we ought to think about this more seriously” for me, because even the shortest PhD program is a long time to wait for someone to come back home. What had been most frustrating for me was that he simply would NOT discuss things. We have long agreed we want to marry each other, and we certainly already share a life and a family together, but for me, it was really upsetting that he really held all the cards in this situation – and he wouldn’t talk about the options with me. It took me quite awhile to make my peace with the situation, and while in the big picture sense, I’ve definitely made peace with it, little parts of me keep saying “Why can’t you just sort it out NOW?” Once I stopped (out loud) freaking out about it, we managed to have several rational discussions, which included him offering a rough timeline of when we might take that step. It was amazing the switch that he made when I began to phrase it the way Meg mentions – calmly, being understanding that he might not have the answers right now, and asking to have a rational, adult discussion about the future. Suddenly there were more concrete ideas coming forward, which really helped settle the “how long is this waiting game going on?” For me, it made a big difference to adjust my thinking a bit too and trying to see more clearly where he was coming from with his feelings on the subject. Because it is a big decision for both of you, and it’s important that you both are at peace with the decision. Asking him to help fill in some of the blanks in my rather open life plan made a big difference. We’re still not there yet, and I don’t know when we will be, but I’m confident that we won’t be waiting forever. It’s really about communicating (like everything else in a partnership, right?)

    • Cassandra

      Oh god, long comment. Sorry!

      (Also, right now I’m doing research work in Kenya, and have been told 3 times TODAY that I’m too old to be unmarried. I’m newly 25… Despite what the world seems to think, your twenties (and your thirties!) are still young!)

      • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

        hahaha I lived in Ivory Coast for 2 1/2 years and I was told the same hahaha (I was 29 at the time)

  • Harriet

    I really empathize with you, L–I was in almost exactly this situation two years ago, and I can picture that “long-suffering” look you describe. Meg is spot on that you need to have a serious conversation about your expectations and plans. One thing I would add is to see this stage in your relationship as an opportunity to learn things about yourself, your partner, and your relationship that might be harder to learn otherwise. I wanted to get married earlier than my now-husband did, but once I was able to see his point of view–once we had a serious conversation about our futures–I actually came to agree with him, and decided I didn’t want to get married as soon as I had thought! We had had a number of external complications (with work and school, mostly) in the early years of our relationship, and I wanted time to enjoy him and enjoy us without the stresses of making specific plans for the wedding and the future. When I felt like I was waiting for him to catch up to me and get married already, but I also wasn’t talking to him about it for fear of putting “pressure” on him, it took a toll on our relationship. Once we had an open conversation about our commitment to each other and the need to be honest with each other as we moved towards (maybe) getting married, things got so much better. The experience of being on different pages and needing to talk it through together has really strengthened our relationship.

  • http://www.anniefargo.blogspot.com Annie

    Ahh, yes, I remember my pre-engaged time of craziness. We were both ready. We had shopped for rings. I was waiting. (I knew he wanted to be the one to propose.)
    His mother was getting married, and I went to the wedding with him and his sister. When we got back into town, I had a meltdown. I remember sitting inside the shed he had built in his backyard (so that when I moved in there would be room for me to park in the garage), bawling. I knew we both wanted to get married, and that we would get engaged. But the more time that went by, the more I feared a proposal would never happen.
    Shortly after that crying-in-the-shed escapade, tired of feeling like a crazy person, I decided that I would stop worrying about it and trust what I already knew. And I did! And you know what? In just a few weeks, we were engaged.

  • Amy

    The timing of this post is almost absurd to me, because as of yesterday afternoon I could have written this question, almost exactly word for word. B and I have been together for 4.5 years, friends for 5.5 before that. We’re both 28 this year. I’ve known for quite a while that I wanted to marry him, and lately — due to a number of complicating factors — the issue has been on the forefront of my mind and stressing me out beyond belief. B and I had had several conversations about marriage. Early on the conversation was that he wanted to finish school first. Now that he had graduated, I was starting to wonder what the holdup was, and worried that maybe he just wasn’t ready, period, and that the graduating school/better job things were excuses rather than reasons. Because there will always be a reason why it’s NOT a good time, and so at some point it’s the right time when you decide it’s the right time, not when you meet some arbitrary criteria.

    At any rate, I had reached somewhat of a breaking point yesterday. Part of me was tempted to just go home and propose to B, even though I know that he wanted to be the one to propose. Instead I had a very honest conversation with him about what I needed: a timeline. I felt shrew-like and embarrassed even bringing up the idea, but some part of me knew that this would be the only thing to relieve my stress. To my relief, he gave me one. A very reasonable one. So now, even though I don’t know when the proposal will happen, I do know it will happen, and I know I won’t have to wonder if he’s even planning to do it at all.

    I’m so grateful that I have the kind of partner who I was able to bring this up with, time and time again, and have him not freak out or get upset or skittish. This latest conversation was especially wonderful. I think even just having that conversation with him go the way it did confirmed my already certain heart that this person is the person I want to join lives with.

    • RubberDuckie

      Ditto all of this, except it happened about 5 months ago.

      I came to a realization that the more I waited in the wings and the more I hesitated for fear of “pressuring him”, I realized that I was compromising my own happiness and well-being.

      I realized that I had to lay it all out there because this nasty dialogue going on in my head was only going on with half of the party, you know? So I went out to the garage, sat on an upside-down bucket and poured my heart out while he worked on one of his cars. It was amazing. I let him know what was important to me re: timeline and other things I needed (emotionally, regarding all of this pre-engaged craziness I was experiencing). And you know what? HE had stuff he wanted to talk about as well, and we really hashed some crap out. The air was cleared and I felt a lot better.

      I keep rewriting what I have to say next….. Basically, there was a huge fear of rejection component going on, but I had to put on my big girl chonies and deal with it for the sake of possibly having to move on. Thankfully, we both realized we were on the same page about marriage and timelines (although I’m a little more impatient than him), but I had to open up that line of communication and basically say “Look. I’m ready, can we discuss this because it’s really important to me”. And I knew going into it that it could have gone the opposite direction and while that may have hurt SO badly, at least I would have known and could stop wondering and start moving on.

      I think telling your partner your most deep-seeded needs and desires is one of the most exposing and vulnerable things you can do, but it’s also one of the highest forms of intimacy, which lies in the heart of marriage.

      • FawMo

        Yes to this! It’s scary! But so important.

        Right there with you.

  • Christa

    Meg,

    Thanks so much for stating this so eloquently. I don’t know a girl in her 20’s who HASN’T admitted to feeling like this. It’s wonderful to attribute this common feeling of I’m-going-crazy-waiting-for-you-to-make-up-your-mind to an outdated cultural narrative that forces us to live in an era where we aren’t allowed to make our own decisions (about one of the more important decisions in our lives!) instead of calling every girl who feels like that desperate and whiny. We all know theinjuction “don’t p.r.e.s.s.u.r.e him, he’ll run away and you’ll end up a lonely spinster.”. It’s wonderful to hear a different way to deal with this challenging state.

    • meg

      Yes.

      • L

        I second that YES. The pressuring thing is what I really struggle with. Also, bringing it up at an appropriate time vs just whenever I feel the most horrible about it (not my finest moments).

    • gloucesterina

      I think your comment was most eloquent, too, Christa :)

      It has been extraordinarily eye-opening to read this discussion–like glimpsing another country. As a proud and relieved adult child of divorce, I of course had a whole different set of associations/anxieties surrounding the idea of marriage, and what ultimately developed into a sincere desire to marry my partner (and not just in some indeterminate future galaxy far far away). Even writing these sentences, though, I begin to feel it’s unfair to my younger, ambivalent self to relegate that feeling of having-found-my-husband-but-not-wanting-to-marry-him-yet to a mere parenthetical, or suggest that it didn’t deserve the label of ‘sincerity': it was a real, powerful feeling that helped make our relationship a home. And when I was finally ready to propose–an arrangement that worked for us because, well, see above–was I ever ready!

      I’m so grateful for these incisive and heartfelt reflections from APW as I prepare for my wedding in less than 2 weeks.

  • http://www.part-timeadverturer.blogspot.com Megs

    L, a tear ran down my face as I read your story, it struck such a deep chord with me. And it was so refreshing to read some real, down-to-earth advice from Meg as well. It IS far more common than anyone thinks/talks about.

    I think there’s a general societal pressure on us for someone to be so overwhelmed by love that they can’t help but propose, and this is not always the case. Romantic books and films don’t help this either. I had the numerous conversations with friends whose advice was normally either ‘leave him’ or ‘I bet he’s thinking about it right now’ (he wasn’t). The worst was from my mother – something about cows and free milk!!.

    It took me a long time, and what I now realise was a period of depression, to come to terms with it and the lack-of-control, but I have and I’m waiting in a more peaceful way. I sometimes find it difficult though to speak to those, now-married friends who heard all the stories so long ago without getting a pitying look.

    • http://www.suncentered.com Jenny

      Hahaha, when I was talking to my Mom about moving in/pre engagement fears, she used the cows line, too!! Not helpful.

  • http://www.twitter.com/leahruthie Leah

    I want to dive into this post and these comments and just roll around in them like a dog in the dirt, until I’m covered in their support and wisdom and humor (ducks ARE wily, aren’t they??).

    Mr. Boyfriend and I are having our six-year dating anniversary on Sunday. To say that I’m antsy about not being married or engaged yet is an understatement; however, I’m working very hard on letting go of that anxiety and frustration and just enjoying the great life we have together–a beautiful house, three amazing dogs and a cat, laughter, good sex, mutual support, and all that other good stuff. He knows I want to get married, and he has said repeatedly that he wants to marry me, but he’s just not ready yet, and no amount of stamping my feet and pitching hissy fits are going to make him any more ready. You know what will? Patience, support, lots of honest discussion, and the reassurance that, married or not, I love him unendingly and he is my person, in that obnoxiously sappy “you complete me” Jerry Maguire way.

    In the meantime, I hope it’s OK with you, Team APW, that I lean on you all for support and guidance as I continue to move through this pre-engaged state. Y’all are the wisest women I know!

    • meg

      Awwwwww…. “I want to dive into this post and these comments and just roll around in them like a dog in the dirt, until I’m covered in their support and wisdom and humor (ducks ARE wily, aren’t they??).” Love.

  • AnotherCourtney

    Such great advice, Meg, as always! I wish I had asked this question a year ago when I was feeling the exact same way.

    I think guys tell themselves they’re being romantic when they clam up like that. Sure, they have a plan, but letting you in on it would spoil the surprise, right? Wrong! Once I finally got my guy on board with the conversation (which was a couple months after he hit all the milestones he told me he needed to before we started moving closer to marriage), we sat down and talked about it. And talked and talked. And by the end of the week, we had decided to get married. Together. The same way we make all our other decisions.

    My biggest fear is that it WOULD ruin the romance. I waited for years for him to be “ready”, and I figured by the time he would be, it would be more like “oh, it’s about time” than “OMG I’m ENGAGED!” But you know what? Really, officially deciding to get married is AWESOME, no matter what leads up to it. I still got the proposal – a month after we had already set our date and booked our venues, and his hands still shook as he pulled out the ring, and I still cried when I realized he was down on one knee asking me to marry him.

    So be patient, but talk to him about it. Find out exactly what his hesitations are. Let him know you want to be a part of the decision, too. And then be patient again, because it’s soo worth the wait. :)

    • Claire

      Amen to this! Amen to honest conversations, to talking openly about the serious stuff and to making big life decisions together rather than feeling forced to wait “patiently” in the dark for someone else to decide for you and spring it on you like a big “surprise”.

  • Amanda

    Sigh. I am recently broken up with my partner of 4 years due to wily ducks. His ducks involve trying to make the olympic team ( such a big duck!) and he felt there was no room for other ducks. I just wanted my ducks next to his and got very hurt that he didn’t have room for my ducks. He said it’s not that he didn’t want them, he was just ” sacrificing” for the next year. And damn it, I never agreed to be a sacrifice! So me and my hurt ducks made some hurtful choices since we were unwanted.

    Moral of the story, talk! I didn’t know he wanted to be married but felt like he couldn’t. He didn’t know how sad and rejected I felt. Now we both are alone with our ducks. Tell him how you feel, why you feel it, and what you need. Maybe you can at least get your ducks herded into a room, even if they won’t get in line.

    Hugs and a bottle of wine to you.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Hugs and a bottle of wine to you.

      • Amanda

        APW is my bottle of wine with girlfriends for so much of this! It’s a life brigade.

        • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

          I’ll send you hugs and chocolate ;)

          • L

            You guys are amazing. Many hugs your way! <3

    • meg

      And, you know, sometimes that’s the best lesson of all (and one worth learning now, not later). If our partner doesn’t love our ducks like their own, then, well… it’s going to be one long lifetime (and not in the good way), right?

      Hugs and a bottle of wine to YOU.

      • Amanda

        Oh you women just made me cry. My ducks are worth loving darn it!

    • http://www.twitter.com/leahruthie Leah

      First of all, let me join the throng in sending hugs and booze your way.

      Secondly, I have to take a moment and say that, as an owner of six animals currently (and a number of other ones through the years), this whole duck thing has me oversympathezing a little bit because I keep picturing a bunch of sad little ducks hanging out together, looking hopefully toward a significant other and wondering why they’re unwanted. (Incidentally, this is also why I can’t see most animal-related movies. Stupid over-identifying with animals, ha.)

      Anyway. Much love to you, Amanda, and kudos for having the strength to take care of your ducks.

    • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

      Oh, honey. Your bit about just wanting your ducks next to his killed me, and reminded me of this little speech from Gilmore Girls (I know, I know, but this quote got me through the worst break up of my life).

      Lorelai: [Explaining to Sookie why she had broken up with Luke for good] It was him not fighting for me. I gave him the ultimatum and he let me walk away. I didn’t want a life separate from Luke, and that’s all he could give me. It’s like Luke is driving a car and I just want to be in the passenger seat. He’s locked the door and I have to hold onto the bumper. I am not even asking him to open the door for me, just leave it unlocked and say come in, but he didn’t do that. So I am hanging on to the bumper and life goes on and the car goes on, and I get really badly bruised and I’m hitting potholes. And it hurts. It really hurts. So yesterday I had to let go of the bumper. Because it hurts too much.

      Hugs, and hugs, and lots of wine.

      • meredyth

        Man I love that show so hard.

    • L

      I think we should maybe share a hug and that bottle of wine. Thank you for your story and your sympathy!

    • L

      Oh my goodness, I am sorry to hear about your breakup. I wish I could reach across the Internet to give YOU a hug and to share that bottle of wine. Thanks for the commiseration and advice. I’m taking both very much to heart.

      • Amanda

        If you find yourself is the bay area,the first bottle is my treat! Good luck duck wrangling.

    • http://www.suncentered.com Jenny

      I’m sorry your ducks were unwanted. :( It’s a sad story, but I also really love the way you’ve written this.

  • http://www.ohdeerio.com Rachelle

    I don’t talk about it too much because I worry that from the outside it looks bad, but I essentially bugged my husband about wanting to get married until he got it and said, let’s do it. We were both ready emotionally but he has no married friends and felt confused about how to actually propose and get married. He was ready to get married, but not so sure about the proposing and planning a wedding part, if that makes sense. There’s a lot of weird pressure on men in that area. This time last year I was fretting about wanting to be engaged and now we’re happily married, probably because I kept bugging him. That approach won’t work for everyone, but I’m a doer, not a waiter, and it worked out for us. He’s thanked me for being the one with the balls to move us forward.

    • Sarah

      When you explain it, it doesn’t sound bad at all. I’m so glad you guys talked through it.

      In the weeks before our wedding, Jon started acting extremely nervous about the whole thing. We didn’t talk about it, and I started thinking he didn’t want to get married after all. Not the best mental place to be in while finish preparations, am I right?

      The NIGHT BEFORE our wedding I finally lost it and asked him what was going on. Turns out, while he was dead sure he wanted to be married, he was about to lose his shit over the idea of the WEDDING. He was just suddenly nervous about being in front of people.

      • http://www.ohdeerio.com Rachelle

        Talking it through is always the answer, I think.

        I should note for the sake of clarity that our resolution was not for him to suddenly propose, like so many of these stories seem to end. We had a great day and I launched into my usual bugging speech (I love you, let’s get married) and he said, “You’re right, let’s get married!” There was a ring and dinner and such later, but that’s what really happened. So to those waiting people I say, sometimes bugging works. Sometimes YOU can be the one who moves things forward if it’s right for you both as a couple. Only you can know that, but don’t play into the cultural standard if you don’t want to.

        • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

          “Talking it through is always the answer, I think.” For basically, everything, EVER, in my experience…

  • Jen M

    Oh duckies. I was in this situation too. Frustrated and angry with all the “It’s gonna happen so just be content to sit on your hands and wait” I finally said, “F*ck that, give me a timeline or I walk.” I got a timeline, I stayed and we’re now planning for next October. Meg’s advice is 110% right.

    • meg

      In some cases I am very pro-ultimatum. We have a dear friend who’s partner was pretty clearly not interested in marriage at all, and she wanted to settle down and have kids. My over-a-beer advice to her (David’s was the same, funny enough), was give him a deadline (it had been nine years at that point, though they were still relatively young). I pointed out that if he couldn’t go through with it in another year, he might never be able to go through with it, and she couldn’t live with that. And sometimes you just have to walk.

      That’s a TOTALLY different situation from L’s, obviously. But, I’m just saying that sometimes the gauntlet does need to be thrown down. It’s your life (and fertility) too.

  • Jes

    Just saying. I love all of you guys. I wish I could forward these links to everyone in my life and say “See, I’m not crazy!”

    • souris

      DO IT! I have been doing just that. Momma needs to chill out and obey her gag order on the engagement topic (and stop using the “We don’t know how long your Nana’ll be around…” blackmail (esp as Nana’s healthy)). This one hit the nail on the head, so I’m gonna share the APW wisdom, darnnit.

  • molly_t

    Ah, I wish this post had been around when I was waiting. Unfortunately, I did not have the introspection and wisdom to realize that what I was feeling wasn’t craziness, but frustration at having control over my future stripped away. I think so many people skip right over that point altogether, leading to the “pressure” stigma. Really, we just want some control over our lives!

    I expressed myself in several not-so-great ways, but thankfully my boyfriend (now husband) was patient – for the most part. There came a time when he said, “Do you want me to propose because I want to, or to get you to back off?” And there came a time when I said, “If you want to pursue jobs in another state, I need to be married before I move away from my home. And I want to get married here at home – during this time of year. And I will need at least 6 months to plan something. Do the math and decide what you want.” Shortly after that, he gave me the go-ahead for some official planning & proposed right around that 6 months out mark. Later, I found out that he wanted to get *married*, but didn’t feel ready for the madness of a *wedding*.

    So, Meg’s advice is great, as always. Talk, talk, think, talk. If we had a better grasp of our true feelings and were able to tell them to each other, I think the whole waiting period would have been a much happier time for both of us.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      Yes, the concept of a “Wedding” was scary to my now-husband, even though he was committed already to spending our lives together.

  • Andrea

    My fiance waited a YEAR after buying the ring to propose. I could just kill him thinking about it! ;) It is funny now (only because the ring is on my freaking finger!) but I remember how painful and confusing it was. For both of us; me feeling hurt and him feeling shame. Meg, this post (and all the comments) will mean so much to so many relationships.

  • Anna

    L- I hope you feel better reading these comments, & know that you are far from alone.

    As tough as it may be, Meg has a good point; you need to have an honest conversation with your loved one. It will help. I’m so sad to read and know that this conversation is associated with embarrassment and shame for most ladies. I, too, speak with my boyfriend about getting married and we agree that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together. For him that’s enough, for me…. nooooot so much. So recently I had THE conversation with him. I waited till I was calm and (semi-) level headed and told him,

    listen I need to talk to you about getting engaged and I need you to listen and then share your thoughts with me and I need the conversation to not include the word pressure. Because I am 50% of this relationship and it’s not fair that I should sit and wait and wonder what the future holds, while you get to plan it. I know we will be together forever, but I also need to know that that is a concrete thing that will materialize one day and not just a nice thought we have.

    And he was very receptive and explained the reasons he needed a bit more time- (money & stability seem to be a common theme for men here, and fair enough) and we talked about a rough time line. I felt much, much better after. And while I still have the occasional freak out- when I see friends getting pregnant and or my mail box is full of various shower invites- I try & remember it will happen for me & I know now I can speak to my boyfriend about it. He has been very supportive and has kindly omitted the word pressure from his vocabulary.

    I hope you make your peace with this L! Much love….

    • J9Funk

      Anna, Thank you so much for sharing your conversation starter here. It’s exactly what this pre-engaged mess needs. :)

      L, I am right there with ya girl. Also in the anxiety/depression boat, this huge worry kills me daily – what a combination!

      Think I’ll take some time over the next few days to gather up all my ducks, have an honest talk about courage and confidence with them, print out Anna’s paragraph from above, and git ‘r done. Wish me luck!

  • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

    ducks or no, he isn’t ready. that doesn’t mean anything about his amount of love for you or his desire to marry you. but he’s not ready. and that’s something to which i can entirely relate. i knew i wanted to marry my husband, but i just… it wasn’t time.

    when it’s time, the ducks won’t matter to him any more. but perhaps you need to let him know that they don’t matter to you. that you’d like to be partners in getting them to line up, rather than waiting around for them to do so of their own accord.

    • meg

      Wise words, right here.

      • L

        Thank you Liz. Wise words, indeed.

  • http://dearwedding.wordpress.com/ Andee

    I think there is a difference between wanting to marrying this particular man and just wanting to get married. If it is this specific man you want to marry why not wait for him to be ready? If you just want to be married, don’t wait. I agree with Meg’s sound advice about the talking to. I hate surprise engagements, the woman should be an equal part in the decision.

    Grabbing those wiley Ducks
    -Andee

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

      i don’t knowww.

      i don’t think i’m on board with the idea of wanting to get married for the sake of being married.

      • lisa

        Yeah… I was trying to figure out why the idea of “wanting to get married for the sake of being married” was rubbing me the wrong way. I guess it’s because it seems to remind me of the “woman who just wants to get married, trying to catch a man, doesn’t she look a little hysterical to you?” train of thought.

        On the other hand, I can think of a lot of thoughtful women who value partnership and want a committed, loving relationship to be a part of their long-term life. And I don’t think women should need to be ashamed of wanting that, along with a lot of things that we want in our life and take steps to make possible.

        • L

          I don’t like the idea of just wanting to BE married (as opposed to wanting to marry a specific person) either. I am definitely not interested in just finding the first available man who is willing to marry me. I want to be with my boyfriend for the rest of my life because I love and respect him. I think my insecurity has more to do with wondering if HE wants the same thing and about how long I can continue in a relationship without a real commitment. I just want the promise, and I want it in writing darn it!

  • TNM

    A couple things…

    I’m almost 36, married, and (fairly) financially stable – and I’d still say there are a couple wily ducks that simply are recalcitrant about getting in a row. I’m not sure it ever really happens.

    Second, I think some of the pre-engaged need to communicate how much distress the limbo is causing them. This is not “crazy,” this is just talking about one of the more important things in your life. I was more of the foot-dragger in my 4-yr pre-enagaged relationship, and was somewhat surprised when my then-boyfriend told me how insecure the waiting made him feel. It might sound dense, but if you don’t personally have the strong urge to get hitched, the emotional aspect of waiting doesn’t really sink in.

    Finally, I have several (female) friends (perhaps almost half) who basically told their long-term partners at some point in fairly strong terms what their expectations were in terms of marriage and timing. I wouldn’t say they were ultimatums, but they sounded like pretty cut-and-dry conversations! They are all happily married now to those partners. I think the cultural narrative that girls shouldn’t prrrrrrrrressure boys into marriage!! needs to be challenged a bit. Yes, if someone’s not ready, they’re not ready, but compromise is meeting somewhere in the middle. No one should get to hold “all the cards” in a relationship.

    • meg

      A) Stupid recalcitrant ducks.
      B) Yes. Sometimes ultimatums need to happen. Sometimes they are nothing more than a nice warning, “I’m going to be leaving you in a year if we’re not engaged, because this is not what I want from my life. You don’t have to marry me, but you do need to know I’m not going to wait forever.” I’m not sure that’s what’s needed here, but sometimes it is needed. Because you’re dead right. No one holds all the cards (and if they did, it wouldn’t be a good relationship anyway.)

      • Amy

        What do you do, though, when you can’t see yourself leaving him over it? Where the choice appears to be between leaving the person who lives inside your heart, or living with the sadness of knowing he is not ready or able to give you what you want yet (but may someday be able to)?

        I do agree that sometimes ultimatums are necessary, but they mean nothing if they’re empty threats. I felt stuck in that respect until yesterday when I asked for a timeline and my boyfriend gave me one. Thankfully he IS ready but still wants it all to be a surprise and romantic gesture and all of that, but what if he hadn’t have been ready? He wasn’t for a long time. I don’t know how one lives with that idea, that they may have given up a perfectly good relationship because they were so anxious that they forced a timeline. Logically it’s easy to say that both people’s desires matter, but emotionally it’s tough to swallow in situations like these.

        • Marina

          That’s true in so many situations. What do you do when your plans for the future don’t line up with the plans of the person you want to spend your future with? What if you’ve wanted to live in Kenya your whole life and your partner can’t imagine living more than 20 miles from his family in Detroit? What if one of you wants five kids and the other has a demanding career that keeps them away from home a lot?

          I think you end up with a lot of heartbreak whatever you choose, unfortunately. But I think you do have to come to a point where you see it as YOUR choice, not something they’re making you do. If you stay with someone but keep feeling like they’re holding you back from other things you want, that’s just going to fester.

        • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

          i cringe as i type this because it’s going to sound judgy and i don’t know how to make it sound un-judgy (because i don’t judge you for saying this, i think it’s a common sentiment and a true struggle)

          i think then it’s a question of who do you need to care for more. the answer to that is “you.” you are not caring for yourself if you saddle yourself with someone who refuses to offer you commitment (if only commitment to a timeline).

          you are WORTH commitment. and commitment should be mutual. by sticking by someone who refuses to respect you enough to offer you a gameplan for the next several years of your life, you disrespect yourself.

          and i 100% say this as the non-committal branch of the relationship. my husband is 5 years older than me and was ready to get married. and because i knew he was anxious to do the deed, and i knew i wasn’t, i respected him enough to set a timeline. “when i finish my master’s.” setting yourself that timeline doesn’t lock you into a choice for which you aren’t ready, but it does help you come to terms with whether you’re ready or not. as we got closer to graduation, i was able to say, “yes. YES. marriage to this man IS a good idea.” sometimes we just need that kick in the pants to force ourselves to work it out.

          regardless, how awesome that you have your timeline and this is no longer a question for you!!

          • Marina

            My husband did that–setting a timeline for setting the timeline. When I was first asking him, he just wasn’t ready to talk about it, but was able to say he WOULD be ready to talk about it at a given date. It was very helpful.

        • tirzahrene

          My personal experience tells me to choose the option that takes me into the unknown and gives me the possibility of getting what I want and need from life. Because I CAN make things happen for myself, but I CAN’T make anyone else change. And it took me ten years to learn that.

    • Sarah

      My boyfriend and I always joke that we are going to get married a later then I would like and a earlier then he would prefer all in the name of compromise.

    • http://bringitinheavy.tumblr.com Genevieve

      “No one should get to hold “all the cards” in a relationship.”

      Yes x100000

      And I do believe “recalcitrant” is my new favorite bit of vocab. Thanks for that!

  • http://chilingwang.com Chi-Ling

    28 is young!

    I just want to give you both a virtual hug.

  • Jeannine

    i want to throw my arms open and give all of you a hug, a high five, and one million exactlys.

    and l, good luck with establishing a timeline that the two of you are happy living with. the long-suffering face of your beloved is always a heartbreaker, but the long-suffering feeling that it sounds like you’re carrying around full-time also needs to be addressed.

  • katieprue

    This is almost like Ask Team Practical Friday, and I’m taking the day off tomorrow, so yesssssssssssssssssssss for advice-givin’ Thursdays!!!

    Like so many of y’all who have commented already, I have BEEN THERE. Except, I was kind of on the other side of it. My fiance and I had agreed to be married, oh, within a few weeks of meeting each other. So we weren’t really ever pre-engaged, I s’pose–we’ve been heading down this road for a long time. I wanted to finish college first, no problem. Done. So I started working… and working… and coming up on our 5-year anniversary I turned into a wannabe-bride-zombie. There were lots of tears, lots of screaming, pouty faces. I was not the girlfriend I should have been at the time. Like Rachelle’s dude, “He was ready to get married, but not so sure about the proposing and planning a wedding part, if that makes sense.” Ohh good gawd yes. I knew he loved me enough to marry me, and wanted to so badly, but the proposing crap threw us both off. He didn’t have a lot of money, and he royally sucks at surprises of any kind. Drama disaster. So we went to San Francisco for vacation, he proposed in front of a bar, we fought about the ring (ahem, lack thereof) and got giddy as hell when we met a Real Life Valley Girl in town on business and I said, “Oh, this is my fiance.” So casual, so cool, and I was freaking out like a little schoolgirl on the inside. So was he, because we re-hashed it all later. So we came back to Kansas, had a ring made, and you know what? I paid for the little f*cker. Yep. I’m the breadwinner for our little baby family, and it just. does. not. bother. me. My point is, your proposal, wedding, and marriage doesn’t have to model the ones you see on the kn*t, Martha, or even here! Most importantly, you have to share. With your fiance. Put on your big girl pants and have those talks you might not want to have. (Mine were usually in bed, with my head ducked under the covers, starting out, “Okay. We have to talk about getting married. I’m sorry. I have to do this.” It embarrassed the crap out of me, and this is the guy that I share a home (and an open-door bathrooom policy. Sorry, TMI?) with. It’s so scary, but it shouldn’t be.

    Another thing, a question that I asked myself a lot during our pre-engaged state was, “If we NEVER got married, would I stay?” I would have. I still would. That’s lurve.

    • http://www.twitter.com/leahruthie Leah

      I am also in the “if we never get married, would I stay?” camp–with a wholehearted yes. Obviously I’m happy and relieved that the fella sees marriage in our future, but like I said above, he’s my person and I would stay with him regardless. :)

    • FawMo

      Yay Fridays off! I’ll also be reading ATP from my couch tomorrow! Have a good weekend.

      • katieprue

        Awesome! Me too, and you too. :)

    • Remy

      KatiePrue, have you written an undergrad post? I’d love to hear more of your story!

      • katieprue

        You know, I should! My fiance and I have been through some sh*t–individually, together, and with our families. Nothing extraordinary, but five years gives you some stories.

    • Cassandra

      I’m definitely on the “would I stay?” team – not because I’m a pushover and would give up my desire of marriage because the Boy didn’t want to, but because the life we’ve created and the family we have together is already a strong (and ever-strengthening) commitment to one another. If it weren’t for immigration/adoption related matters, I think I could quite happily be committed but not married to the Boy indefinitely, because for me, the relationship in and of itself is pretty worth hanging around for. As long as I still got to throw a little party to celebrate the love once or twice ;)

    • Vmed

      We had the “if one never wanted marriage, would the other stay” conversation after getting engaged. And it rattled me. Because I wouldn’t have. (APW book club brought it up, actually)

      Here’s why: marriage is important to me, and always has been. And it’s a symbol for other values in our lives- specifically the need to maintain family of origin relationships. Living together forever unwed would bring vastly different treatment on us from my family, of which I would bear the brunt. And if my partner could not empathize or at least sympathize with the distress this would cause me, then our relationship would be unbalanced in a way I could not live with. Not because I don’t love him, but because I’ve got to take care of my emotional wellbeing, and do what is authentic to my values.

      Likewise, if he was to experience some grave distress in proportion to mine over being married, (marriage PTSD a la Dr Cox and Jordan?) then we’d have a different conversation. But it would have to be a compelling reason to get me to commit in those circumstances.

  • mecmec

    Ah, I love it when “pre-engagement” themed posts crop up. They make my pre-engaged self feel welcomed to this site, which I feel is helping me prepare for what marriage is really like as much as it is giving me ideas for wedding photographers and whatnot.

    To L. — I feel for both you and your boyf. Like you, I am anxious to marry a guy I totally love. But like your dude, I also want us to be a little more together, as in not struggling to pay our rent each month, before we get engaged. He is more gung-ho about it than I am, I think — he mentioned something about proposing this fall at one point and I told him it would be too soon for me. And one thing that may be a factor here is additional pressure from society that as a Man he must Provide for you. Obviously old-fashioned and probably not true for many of the women on this site. But he may feel self-conscious about facing the public scrutiny a wedding brings. I get the sense that that’s what the ducks are about, at least in part. Because a wedding IS taking your private relationship and making it a publicly declared matter.

    So I think the more you make it known that you don’t care what anyone else says or thinks about the state of his ducks, the better. But other than that, yeah, it’s just a matter of both being ready (and like Meg says you get to ask about all the whens and whys of that).

  • http://hodoeporicon.blogspot..com Stacey

    I am not going to weigh in much here due to inexperience with the pre-engaged state. However, I agree that both the question and Meg’s response are brilliantly written! And I’m pretty sure that “ducks are wily” and “yours in duckies” have now entered the APW lexicon for good. :)

    • FawMo

      Here’s hoping!

  • Claire

    Thank you, Meg, for taking on such a common and serious question with wisdom, eloquence and sensitivity. Thanks for blasting away the shame so often heaped upon women who dare to initiate the marriage conversation. There seems to be this ludicrous idea that either you are a good girlfriend waiting patiently (and silently) for him to propose on his own timeline, or else you are the desperate girlfriend nagging and pressuring your man for a ring. Thank you for bypassing that false dichotomy and reminding us that there are other options in between. Thank you for saying out loud that women have a right to be involved in the decisions that shape our lives and that big, life-changing decisions get made as a team. Yay for that!

    No, we don’t get to force our timeline on our partner and pressuring someone into a marriage that s/he isn’t ready for isn’t likely to end well. But, it is okay to insist on an honest conversation between partners. You don’t have to stand by passively while someone else makes the important life decisions according to some mysterious and secretive one-sided plan. It’s your life too and you do get to be involved in planning it.

    And also, “ducks are wily” = awesome!

    • L

      Thanks Claire =)

  • KateM

    I think the timeline is such an important conversation anyway, regardless of the feeling antsy to “make it official”. Remember the Friends episode when Rachel turns 30 and her timeline? But a timeline helps you define life goals. When we decided we wanted to get married, I thought he would propose in the next couple of month. He thought it would be in the next 4 years or so, after school was done and a job secured for him. I meanwhile had been in my career for 10 years and am 31. I want a few kids and I wanted to be a younger parent. I also know fertility issues come up the longer you wait. Women think about those things more than most guys I think, and while we are made fun of or told to ignore biological clock (or look desperate) it is a reality and needed to be acknowledged. We also discussed our career goals and balancing a family and what is realistic both financially and emotionally. From there we were able to back into a timeline for engagement. We got engaged 3 month later, and decided on a 1 1/2 yr engagement. I needed the engagement as a sign of the commitment, but was fine with being engaged for a little bit longer. But we got there by talking to death about everything.

    PS 28 was the worst year for me personally as far as feeling antsy about the future because everyone has an idea where they will be by 30 and at 28 you think you have enough time to make those goals happen. Don’t let that be the reason for the pressure. You never want to tell your kids when they ask “why did you marry daddy?” answer “because I was getting old” :)

    • Class of 1980

      There seems to be a cultural trend that’s been going on a long time that downplays the biological clock. But more doctors are now saying the decline in fertility happens a lot sooner than they used to think.

      Just because some women are able to get pregnant in their forties doesn’t mean it applies to everyone.

      The biological clock is NOT a good reason to get married to just anybody, but it’s one of many good reasons to find out where your relationship is going. No one has the right to expect you to ignore biology. ;)

  • Fiorentina

    Good luck with your ducks!!

    I think all the advice here is wise indeed. I’d just like to throw this little tidbit into the mix as well.

    Financial security is fickle.

    My partner and I got engaged when we *were* financially secure. We planned the wedding, put down all the deposits…and then he lost his job. (Fuck this economy.) We are no longer as financially secure as we would like to be but we’re going ahead with the wedding anyway. Our budgeting timeline included some cushion, but not knowing when we’ll have a dual income again does take it’s toll.

    Financial security is also relative. When we were both working even, I would not have called us particularly financially secure because we were not making/saving as much as we would both prefer to plan for our futures. Now, just being able to live somewhere other than the brink sounds “secure”.

    So, I guess what I’m saying is, if “financial security” is really all your bf is waiting for…you guys need to have a talk about what that really means. Define it. Make sure you’re not in the dark about his plans. And know that this kind of security is not a benchmark you’ll hit and then everything’s rosy. Have a plan (made by both of you) for that too.

    Hang in there.

    • Class of 1980

      Yes to everything.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

      Yes! It works the other way, too. David proposed when he was unemployed and his industry was a gutted disaster. By the time the wedding rolled around, 6 months later, he was working and money was good. (It didn’t particularly change our fairly barebones wedding budget, but that’s because of our financial priorities. Which esteemed Paris and a leather couch over decorations. But that’s us.) Point is, you never know for sure where you’re going to be in a year, financially or otherwise. Best laid plans, and all that…

  • Shannon

    Oh Meg, this is such a lovely post! The duck metaphor you guys have going on… made me smile this morning!

    I have to admit, I had never heard the term “pre-engaged” until I started reading this blog. It’s still a term I am not comfortable using (it just sounds “funny” to me), I do realize looking back that I had a “pre-engaged” period. We got to this point where we were starting to talk about commitment in a more serious way, and the idea of marriage came up here and there. It was actually me who was the one dragging my feet on the commitment thing. I wanted a bunch of ducks in a row too…

    Eventually, I realized that I was doing that thing that Meg was talking about in her response – I was seeing marriage as being an end rather than a process. We don’t need all of our ducks in a row in order to get married. But we do need to be emotionally ready to get married, and I think that process probably looks a little different for everyone.

    And since we’re talking about engagements, I’m just going to throw in some encouragement for any women out there thinking of proposing to their guys! I proposed to my sweetie, and it was awesome! He loved it, and it was great for me to feel what it felt like to be the “asker.” So, if you feel like it would work for your relationship, I say go ahead and propose!

    • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

      I proposed to my guy, and so did a friend of mine! (to her guy, that is) My friend’s story is even better than mine — she had a loose diamond from her family, and she didn’t want her now-husband to have the pressure of doing the setting. So she bought herself a modest engagement ring that she liked and gave it to him when they were out hiking. So, she proposed to him . . . by giving him a ring to put on her finger :-)

      I meant to plan something but didn’t get around to it in the craziness of my life. But we too were out hiking (in the snow, after volunteering at a winter event at our local nature center), and I just knew it was the time and he was my person. So I said “hey, want to get married?” And he says “sure.” And then I say “no, like, soon. As in, let’s set a date?” And, again, he said “uh, sure.” It took him about a month to come around and actually tell people about it, so I gave him some breathing room.

      And to the OP, my boyfriend (erm, half husband — we eloped on Monday but are still having our big ceremony in December) is a pretty traditional guy. He mentioned more than once that he wanted to be the one who proposed. But he never got around to it, and I was ready. It took him a little bit to be ready once I proposed, but he got there. The funniest part is this — he said he didn’t propose because he thought I’d say no. I’m not sure where he got that out of us talking frequently about marriage, but there it is. We sure could have benefited from more open conversation, and we’re taking that lesson forward into our married life.

      • Claire

        Congrats on your elopement and best wishes for your wedding!

      • Anonforow

        I did propose to my guy, then he said no. Fantastic!

        We are still together, but my goodnesss can I now relate to the freakouts I have watched my male friends have over the whole proposal thing, it is scary, really freaking scary to just open yourself up like that and ask.

  • Marguerite

    Love it! So wise.

  • http://theatreprojects.blogspot.com Jessamarie

    While reading this post I kept thinking, “I could have written this almost exactly word for word a year ago. I have so much to say on the topic!” and then I started reading the comments and realized that I am in a community of so many other women who were/are in the exact same boat and having the exact same “take control of planning my own life-vs-don’t want to be the nagging pressuring girl” problems. I want to *exactly every single comment! Guess it just more proof that I have found the right group of awesome, independent, intelligent, like-minded women :)

  • Erin

    As a pre-engaged lady myself, waiting (im)patiently for my traditional guy to dictate our next step (he tells me there’s a plan…), this post was JUST what I needed today to talk me down from my daily WHENISITGOINGTOHAPPEN crazy ledge. Thanks, APW! And L, you’re so not alone. We can commiserate across the interweb.

  • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

    L, I have so been there, and lamented my own pre-engaged purgatory in the comments of the post Meg mentioned. (My guy has since proposed!)

    As Meg and all of the other women here have said, talk it out. I let things boil up until I truly couldn’t take it anymore. I told my guy that I wanted to have a serious talk about our future and that the following topics would be on the table for discussion: engagement, marriage, children, returning to school for graduate degrees, and careers. I told him that I wanted to schedule the conversation in a week, to give us both time to think about these topics, how we felt about them, what we wanted to say about them. Having that week to prepare for The Talk really made things easier on both of us. No one was caught off guard, we both knew what topics we were going to discuss, and we both had a little time to really meditate on those topics and figure out how we really felt about them.

    The conversation was hard. It was at times embarassing, at times sad, and frustrating, and–yes–funny. We both felt better afterward, though, and so much closer. One of the things that really opened up for the two of us during that discussion was the difference between “Marriage” and “Wedding.” My guy kept saying that he didn’t want to be married, he didn’t want to be married, he didn’t want to throw away thousands of dollars on flowers and cake. And I would cut him off and say, “No. You are talking about a wedding. A wedding is a party that you throw on/around/in celebration of the start of your marriage. I am talking about MARRIAGE. As in our life-long commitment to each other, growing and nurturing our relationship.” I could actually see the comprehension dawning in his eyes. It was six months after that conversation that he felt “ready.” Right around the time that I was feeling the crazy start to boil up again. He proposed before I reached my boiling point, but I was already planning to open up the floor for another Future Talk. And even though this milestone is underway, there will be tons of things to decide on and discuss in our future together. I’m so happy knowing that we can approach these big conversation freely. It’s so liberating! (Now that we’re planning a wedding, of course, some of his panic has returned, but at least we both know that it’s the MARRIAGE that counts. Not the wedding!)

    • L

      I never thought about having to make that distinction between a wedding and a marriage. Thanks for the tip, maybe that will help my bf think about things a little differently.

  • mimi

    The boy and i have only been together for a year and he just moved in with me last week, so i’m definitely not at the same stage as L. This is one of those APW posts that I’m going to file away in the “just in case” file. We’ve talked very casually about getting married (the other day, he told me I could borrow his Costco card and tell them that it belongs to my “maybe future husband” lol). I know he’s not ready yet, so I’m staying calm and patient.

    I am getting tempted to send “Dos & Don’ts for Friends of the Pre-engaged” to various friends and family though. I’ve had 2 siblings meet and marry their spouses within 1 year, and another within 2 years, so everyone likes to pressure me and my other brother about when it’s going to be our turn (particularly since I am the oldest). It doesn’t help that the boy’s brother just got married also and he has 2 cousins getting married next month.

    Anyway, good luck to you L, and thanks Meg for the great advice!

    • mimi

      Right after I posted this comment, I opened a fortune cookie and read “Good news of long-awaited event will arrive soon.” Ha!

  • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

    To all you pre-engaged ladies here on APW: I was in your shoes like just a week or so ago. And I was crazy, I know why I was crazy but also don’t know why I was crazy, you know what I mean?
    I just want to give you all a hug. Individually. I want to sit and listen to why your particular situation is so hard, because it is. All my best wishes (and I’d be willing to bet that if you’re on APW you’ve got a solid relationship foundation and chances are your guy will eventually come around).

  • http://www.stuffjewishgirlslike.com JewishGirl

    Thanks for this post. The pre-engaged state is psychologically difficult sometimes, especially when the message to empowered women is some form of “if he really loved you, he’d propose,” with the hidden threat being that your pretty years are slipping away and that if a man isn’t proposing once you realize *you’re* ready, then he’s just not going to do it and you might as well cut and run.

    I have no doubt that some men don’t propose because they’re never going to, but I don’t think this is true for the majority of men in a majority of healthy, 3+ year-long relationships. The sticky thing about marriage is that there’s necessarily going to be one person in the relationship who is ready to take the plunge first. It shouldn’t be an automatic demerit against the other partner if s/he needs more time to get to that point.

  • Sabrina

    OMG, this was literally me and my dilemma all last year up till this last March when his “plan” was finally initiated. This post is amazing because it was exactly what I was looking for back then, and will now help countless others who will ultimately feel this way. In fact, I scoured this site for any shred of info/stories about the waiting game while being pre-engaged. For me/us, I learned that is was really the communication that was lacking and the feeling of being in the dark. It’s so hard when you know you’re on the same path but you’re just further up the path than your partner. “Hurry Up!!!” is the thought there. But as Meg stated, those Ducks are wiley, and so was my balancing act of communicating and waiting. I got pretty salty there for awhile, which I now regret… if I had just calmly and rationally stated my case from the beginning I probably would’ve been less in the dark and received less murky and cryptic statements of “don’t worry it will happen.”

    And i agree with Kelly above, that after we finally did have the logical, rational, and sometimes hard-funny-sad-embarrassing-goofy talk, we both felt better and so much more connected. I felt like we were a true team in it, rather than the “girl” waiting for her “man” to make this grand gesture.

    On a side note: I’m 36 and can say from experience that yes, you should NOT worry about your age, or what stage your friends are at in their lives. Enjoy where YOU are right now, and the love that you have and the experiences that you have. A few of my friends are on their second marriages right now because they felt 30 was some sort of end to a musical chairs game of mates.

  • Stephasaurus

    L – I don’t have a whole lot to say on the pre-engaged subject, but I will say this: when you discuss this with him, emphasize that your job/financial situations shouldn’t be the deciding factor in getting engaged. My fiance and I got engaged last summer — I still had one semester of school left, followed by job-searching, and he got laid off from his job one week after we got engaged. But we were engaged anyway, with the complete understanding that we wouldn’t get married until we were financially stable, and until at least one of us found a good job. There’s a big difference between waiting for financial stability to get engaged, and waiting for financial stability to get married. We were fine with a long engagement — it’s given us plenty of time to both find great jobs (yay) and save for the wedding. Being engaged just means you’ve both decided that, heck yes, we’re totally gonna commit to each other for life, and whenever we get around to having the actual wedding, it’ll be awesome! You don’t need piles of money or an awesome career to be engaged. That’s my take, anyway. :) (And I know your situation is a little more complicated than just money.)

  • Franny

    I’m there too — and I totally want a “Ducks are Wiley” shirt.

    • L

      I’m heading to Cafe Press after this!

  • http://starryknit.blogspot.com Jessica

    More hugs to L, and good luck with those ducks. I went through the crazy-waiting-stage as well, and for about three months after we got engaged it looked like our ducks were just ever so well-behaved and nicely lined up. Then the economy crashed, I lost half my income (I’m an educator), and my ducks kinda all scattered to the four winds. I’m still trying to find some of my ducks. One of the biggest tests for me during our engagement and our first year of marriage has been trying to come to grips with the few ducks I have left, allowing myself to feel like I deserve more ducks, and trying to find the ones that are still hiding. But the engagement was one of the ducks that really became *our* duck.

    Reading that back it sounds like a downer, but I wanted to share a different perspective. Sometimes you have to create your own stability with the tools you have at hand. I couldn’t force my job back into existence, but all we needed was a minister, two rings, and our community to give ourselves the strength to get through it together.

  • Kerri

    L – Thank you so much for sharing this. And Meg – beautifully written…thank you. This is exactly my life now as well and I often feel that I am the only one out there going through this sadness and frustration because all of my friends are married, getting married, and starting their families (with or without kids) and I’m just standing by watching it all happen, hoping, waiting. My boyfriend and I have been together for 4 years. After a year or so we began to discuss moving in together. Just after those discussion he was laid off from his job and as a result really needed to move in with me because he could not support himself and I wasn’t throwing him out on the street obviously. That was 2.5 years ago. Since then he has basically started his own business and is really getting the hang of self-employment and I’m extremely proud of him and have no problems at all being the primary bread winner while he pursues the career he wants. Yeah, we don’t have tons of money but we’re going just fine. We’ve been talking about our future together for more than a year now acknowledging we want to spend our lives together; however, when we discuss marriage all I can get out him is “I know you want to get married.” and the conversation stops there. Unfortunately, he went through a bad divorce previously and is afraid and I understand that but I feel as though I’m being punished for his past. I love him and I know he loves me and I want to spend my life with him. However, I feel as though I’m completely in the dark wondering if I’m going to be waiting forever or if I need to move on. Marriage is very important to me…and its more than just love but trust, respect, and being by each others side no matter what. I’m willing to wait but like you, I need more information. I don’t need to get married tomorrow but I need to know if marriage is off the table and if so, then I need to walk away for myself. Maybe it makes me insecure, horrible, whatever but I can’t compromise on marriage because I know I wouldnt be happy and I need to take care of myself. It saddens me that his fear is holding him back so much. This is a really rough time and really scary so thank you again…I guess I really needed to get this off my chest and this post came at exactly the right time.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

      You shouldn’t have to compromise your core values for someone else. Best of luck to you no matter what happens.

    • Vmed

      I made a comment on page 1 that echoes this idea of when to compromise, so I feel like I know where you’re coming from. Hope it gets better for you.

      And for what it’s worth, I ShameBlast your worry that it makes you insecure or horrible. Neither! You sound pretty awesome, and acknowledging what you need in your life is really brave.

    • Marina

      Needing information does NOT make you insecure or horrible. Knowing your own values is super important, and your partner needs to know your values too. That’s not pressuring him, that’s acknowledging that he needs information too.

    • L

      Kerri, thank you for sharing as well! It’s apparent from all the comments this got that we are definitely NOT alone in having these feelings. I am sorry you are suffering through this, but hopefully you have taken as much strength and hope as I have from all our fellow APWers. Big hugs, hon. We’ll both be ok.

  • JJ

    So first time commenter. Just wanted to say thank you, because this is exactly where I am. And maybe I am being a bit rushed, and maybe I ought to just chill out a bit, but I definately understand how hard it can be to not go absolutely crazypants when he decides to take you looking at rings, or asks you your ring size, or about if he should talk to your parents…EVERY SINGLE TIME you go do something romantic or visit the place you met you get that high-blood-pressure-maybe-now-maybe-now-or-not-ok-now-I’m-mad-at-him-for-no-reason BREAKDOWN.
    But, I did talk to him recently, and it helps, even if he is more vague on the details than I would prefer…And for me, it helped to tell him that he can NOT expect me to go “browse” rings with him if it is not fairly imminent, because it makes me crazypants, but he can have all the time he wants, if he communicates with me.

  • Miss O

    My partner and I are a year apart in age, but have very different marriage timelines that we grew- up around. In the culture I grew up in, it’s expected you marry after college around age 23-25 after dating for one or two years. Where he is from, people date for 5-7 years and don’t get married until several years after college. Lots of my friends are married; none of his are. Once we realized we had different expectations and timelines, it eased a lot of the stress and let us make our own timeline. It also shed light on a lot of other differences we have due to how we were raised and gave us an introduction to talking about them.

  • Laura

    I echo many of these comments. Have a frank and relaxed conversation together about the future to make sure you are both headed in this direction – next year, 5 years from now, whenever. Once you know you are on the same track and there’s a plan, enjoy! My husband and I went through similar things (as most people are attesting to here), but when he told me that he wanted to enjoy the part of our relationship where we were together and not married it made total sense. You have the rest of your life to be married together – enjoy this phase too and don’t rush it (after you have that talk).

    Also remember that there are many paths and you too don’t need to have the ducks of marriage, babies, etc. lined up in any particular order at any particular time :)

    quack!
    xo

  • Sarah T

    Oh, where is the *exactly* button for the entire post! I’m not even in the same situation at all (getting married in weeks, not months anymore!), but that was such a perfect response from Meg. Communicate communicate communicate.

  • Jennifer

    This post particularly tugged at my heartstrings because for us, it was ME that just wasn’t ready to decide to get married. He asked (and asked and asked and asked) but I just didn’t feel like I had enough of a vision of MY future, let alone our future. More than anything, I wanted to make sure that when we made the decision that I was really ready. I never wanted to look back and think “wow, I got married before I got to do x” or “I regret ‘giving in’ to the wedding thing’. I think your man may feel the same way.

    While I really don’t think the financial stability thing is a very good reason to wait to get married (how Victorian is that? I’m not bringing a dowery to the marriage, and I will be working, so thanks) but there’s something to be said for having full ownership of ‘you’ and really being confident with the person and the package that you’re giving to the other.

    I agree with Meg though, especially from my P.O.V. I was very up front with him that he needed to wait, and that my reluctance to get hitched wasn’t because I wasn’t committed to him, just that I didn’t think I just wasn’t ready. Take heart that all of the marriage talk hasn’t scared your man off yet, and heed Meg’s advice. Best of luck to you, and I hope that your pre-engagement days are filled with happiness :)

    • Caroline

      I agree that financial stability isn’t a duck that HAS to be lined up, unless that’s important to you. But financial maturity (aka, being off your parent’s dime) I think is important. Which is where we are hung up. I’ve very gratefully accepted my parents offer to put me through college, but that put’s me back on their support for another 4 years, which means that I feel like we can’t get married yet. We are both emotionally ready, but certain financial ducks are important. *sighs*

      • http://indiealbany.com irisira

        That’s a good point, and I 100% agree with that. I should have underlined this, but I was also thinking more of couples who (and I realize this is very hetero-normative, and the reverse could be true, as well as it could be true in same-sex couples) the woman is (relatively) stable, whereas the man is struggling – whether being unemployed, in the midst of a career change (which may require further schooling), paying off debt, etc. I meant it to say, the guy is better served marrying the girl (that is, if he wants to) than waiting until he’s “more secure,” as his security will be better served being married.

        (In other words, men, it’s totally OK to let women take care of you – you don’t have to bear the brunt alone.)

        • http://indiealbany.com irisira

          Er, I was referring to my comment below, not the comment above. Sorry for the confusion. :)

  • Autumn

    Meg is so wise, in saying this is a cultural (man decides when you both get married) and communication issue.

    I know all this has been said, but here’s my two cents anyway: I was in a similar spot a year or two before my now-husband and I got engaged– he had a lot of debt from a failed business and did not want to bring that into our marriage. We had a long, honest talk about how I DID NOT CARE about the debt, and anyway, it would be a lot easier to tackle it together with two incomes and shared living expenses in one house than with his one income. He didn’t propose the next day, but slowly, he changed his way of looking at the debt as an impediment to marriage. Those ducks he wanted to get in a row? We took care of them about 6 months after we got married, when we paid off the last of the business debt, together. It probably would have taken him another two years to do it on his own. Let me tell you, it felt amazing to achieve that sort of goal, together, early in our marriage.

    So yeah, talk to him and figure out what’s going on, and let him know where you are. It’s good practice for your actual marriage partnership anyway!

    • Class of 1980

      Great story. Yes, it is important to let a man know your views on what is acceptable. A lot of men won’t be brave enough to propose under less than ideal circumstances without encouragement that their situation is okay with you.

  • http://carouselgirlblog.blogspot.com/ Simone – Carousel Girl Blog

    Yes, Yes, a million times YES!

    I am where you are right now in fact I am engaged and we had all our ducks in a row and then and big o’ wind came and threw them right off and now I have the ring and am eager but we have had to take steps back and I find myself in this pre-engaged-engaged place that confuses the hell out of me.

    Thank you L so much for asking this question and thanks Meg for the answer because my ducks are wily, and it stresses me and depresses me more than I’m proud to admit. But to see all these comments of all these people saying yeah been there it makes it a bit easier to hang on in.

    xxxx

  • Class of 1980

    When the royal wedding was going on in England, someone did a story about Kate waiting for William to propose. She had to endure years of tabloids referring to her as “Waity Katy”. The truth is that somewhere along the way, she let William know that she needed to know if she was “the one”. He told her that she definitely was, but that he wanted to finish his training first. So in spite of the appearance of endlessly waiting for William, she had a time-frame and knew what to expect.

    I think any self-respecting woman should calmly ask for some confirmation at some point once the relationship is very well established. To wait around without knowing is not taking care of oneself.

    • meg

      Indeed.

  • Marina

    Being pre-engaged wasn’t a big issue for me (neither my husband nor I are “man must propose, woman must wait” people) but the issue of when to have babies REALLY was. And the issues that he brought up of why he wanted to wait are so similar to the reasons mentioned in all these comments here–financial stability, job stability, etc etc. What actually made it click for me, though, was when he said it wasn’t about having some predefined amount of money, it was about him knowing that he COULD be a provider, that he could make enough money to support a family if he had to. When he put it on that emotional level, it was much, much easier for me to deal with.

    The other thing both of us had to realize was that me talking about how much I wanted babies was NOT the same as pressuring him. That desire was a big part of my life, and to have hidden it away from him would have put a giant stress on our relationship. I had to learn how to talk about what I wanted and how much I wanted it without making it about his choices, and he had to learn to listen to me without taking it personally. Once we figured that out, it got a LOT better. One of us feeling strongly about something and hiding it from the other is just not good for our relationship. :)

    • http://youngsandinlove.blogspot.com valery

      ah! Thank you for your comment. I read this wonderful post and felt how L describes, but about babies. And it feels a lot like before we were engaged, when it was nerve-wracking to talk about and to bring up. So much so, that I then searched these comments for the word babies to see if anyone felt the same. You make a very great point about how “wanting” babies isn’t the same as “pressure”, and that helps me to feel better about bringing it up to talk about it. Thanks :)

      • Zombies Love….brains!

        Ahhh, yes! So glad someone finally brought up babies! I thought many of these issues also related to the ‘when to have babies’ question.

        As most have said, the key is communication. It’s also about respect, not only for your partner but also for yourself. I find it’s also about expectations. I am not a control freak – I often procrastinate or like to leave some options open, but I don’t like feeling out of control in my life or waiting for others to make important decisions about my life.

        When I was moving in with a previous bf, I initiated the engagement/wedding conversation at that point.

        I laid out *my* timeline!

        We’d already said we could see us marrying each other in the future if things worked out and if some *serious* issues could be resolved. (they couldn’t)
        I wanted both of us to know what we were potentially getting ourselves into, and especially for him to know what I expected and how I felt. I wanted to discuss our respective views on marriage. I said I didn’t expect either of us to have any answers at that point and that I wanted to talk about it in another 6 months. I let him know that if we were going to spend our lives together, marriage *was* important to me. It may not be to some people and I completely respect that – after all, what works for your relationship is what works for your relationship and is what makes it individual and special!

        He had lived with previous girlfriends before but in a casual way; this was the first time I had lived with someone and to me that signified a certain amount of commitment on my behalf. I explained that I didn’t want to ‘live together’ indefinitely and that my timeline included:
        *discussing this after 6 mths of living together to assess how we were going and if we were still on the same page;
        *having a more serious discussion if we made it to 1 year living together;
        * REALLY serious engagement talk at around 1.5 years; and
        * engagement by the 2 year mark. (this didn’t mean that serious conversations about our relationship wouldn’t be held regularly. Rather, it was a timline for the ‘marriage’ issue). After 2 years, we would be considered common-law-partners by most authorities and if we intended to remain together I didn’t see any reason not to get married, but saw many reasons to. I couldn’t foresee having a commitment such as mortgage together or a baby together without the personal commitment of marrying each other! It’s a lot easier to get out of a marriage than a mortage or a child!!! (It’s important to note that bf didn’t have any objections with the idea of marriage; no divorce in either of our families, both parents still together after 30 plus years etc).

        I didn’t want to go immediately from “we’re engaged!” to “let’s start planning the wedding!!!”. I said I wanted to have a period where we could just enjoy the engagement and each other. I invisioned setting the date and formal wedding planning as only starting after AT LEAST 6 months, which would realistically mean we wouldn’t actually be ‘married’ for a minimum of 3 to 3.5ish or even 4 years after moving in together – more than enough time for both bf and I to be completely ready and have pre-marriage counselling, which I think is really important even if a couple decide formal marriage isn’t for them. (although of course I would be allowed to look at wedding books and do a scrapbook-style journal of my preferred ideas, colours etc. Not that this was included in the original discussion, but I would have brought it up later – promise ;D )

        This way, we both knew from the start that the other was on board with this timeline. It would allow time for the relationship to grow and for us both to know how the other was feeling. For me, it meant the discussions were already factored in, eliminating the whole awkward is-this-too-soon, is either of us being pressured? BTW, how can you asking your partner for information about your future be pressuring them?!! Don’t hand away your power, it can wreak emotional damage or resentment and eat away at your relationship and happiness.

        As other posters have more eloquently said, some ducks just won’t be corralled. Money, stability, timing won’t sit, stand or roll-over on command (neither will most ducks!) Being able to work through those issues together is a true partnership. If you are living together, you are already doing that! The difference with marriage? It is a deeper commitment to some (me included!), comes with more recognition, more government and insurance benefits (as a poster below mentioned) but most importantly, if delaying proposing to the person you love and loves you back is causing them such pain, why would you do this?

        I also don’t see how someone who loves you can know this and not man-up….literally!! (although woman-up applies equally if the situation is reversed or for our wonderful LGBT friends!!) And by man-up, I mean having an honest conversation about this and giving you reassurance and information. If they know they do want to marry you, they should also actively work on themselves to get to the point where they *are* ‘ready’.

        Imagine what men would feel and what would happen if they proposed and you replied “Yes, but not now. I’m not ready, I’m waiting for all my ducks to get their collective sh*t together, I can’t give you a timeline but hey, I have a plan…..I just won’t talk about it!” Yes, a woman is allowed to say no, not yet, I’m not ready, but the duckin’ situation wouldn’t fly hahaha oh, my bad puns! Men would rightly feel hurt, rejected, unsure. But I’m sure they would also be angry and possibly act on that anger and end the relationship in haste, without thinking, instead of being expected to sit and wait patiently and be a “good” girlfriend!

        Imagine how they would feel fielding questions from friends/family.

        Imagine if every time someone asked you “why aren’t you married yet/when is he going to propose”, that someone had to ask him the same question, so that *he* could start to understand *real* pressure! Or if you emailed him this everytime you were asked so he truly knew what you were going through and how any sane, rational woman would start to go bat-duck-crazy!?

        Imagine if, once married, he wanted to have children and you said the same things he had been saying for not proposing yet. Financial issues are real, but you also never know what is going to happen with the economy, with your health etc. Imagine if you gave him no input as to when you would have children, and instead ‘surprised’ him (like he might want to surprise you – eventually – with an engagement that may or may not materialise). Or if you said “I might be pregnant, but I won’t tell you definitely, or how far along I am, or the due date!” Or even how many children, if any, you wanted?

        Yes, this is extreme and wouldn’t happen, and I know it probably comes across harshly, which is not my intention. The point is however that in these scenarios, no one would reasonably expect this *to* happen, or to have to wait without having any meaningful input or conversations……YET the opposite is true and is what is happening with the whole ‘waiting for the guy to maybe propose after several years of living together’.

        I’m not advocating breaking up with anyone’s bf. I am advocating opening the door to these conversations EARLY, so both people know the others’ view and feelings and what each can expect from their partner. It’s when you don’t clearly communicate that problems (not just about marriage timelines) start. When someone feels their expectations aren’t being met can be when hurt feelings begin and you can feel anxious, unsure, unappreciated – none of this is good for you individually, let alone as a couple.

        !!! Sorry for such a long post! Longer than War and Geese! *groan*

        P.S As for that previous bf – obviously things didn’t work out. It was a hard decision to make, but once I made it I felt such relief and never looked back. But I still believe the earlier the better, and if discussing moving in together discuss exactly what that means for both of you and how you both see your respective timelines going in, That way if there is a wild disparity in views that you can’t resolve, both of you could be spared potential worry and perpetual waiting in the future.

        Also, best of luck to L and all who are in a simliar position, and to Meg and others for their wonderful advice and support. Virtual hugs to all! And special award to L for her lovely duck analogy = pure brilliance! Your bf is a very, very lucky guy ♥

        …… and to those difficult fowl, just remember you duckin’ guys, you make great stuffing for pillows and duvets, and taste pretty good a l’orange! Behave – you have been warned! :)

  • Another L

    I’m embarrassed to admit this — being that I consider myself a fairly intelligent woman — but it never occurred to me the scale of sheer silliness of waiting around for one partner to decide when the marriage wheels were going to be put into motion while the other partner is sitting in the dark (playing with her ducks). How did I not see how ludicrous that is? (head slap)

    When I kissed my guy for the first time I knew two things: 1) This is the man I’m going to marry, and 2) It’s going to take some time. (It took long enough for the first kiss to happen; I knew I was going to have to be patient for the marriage part too.)

    “Tell him that no matter what the cultural dialogue says about engagements, the rest of your life cannot be a secret from you and that decisions have to be made as a team.”

    I wish I would have had these words when I was freaking out in the pre-engaged state. Luckily we did manage a discussion that confirmed we both wanted the same thing — to be married to each other forever and ever — but that point by Meg, and the duck analogy by L, would have made that conversation easier. … I might still use it. (“Hey, honey? I want a do-over on a conversation. I’ve got really good stuff now …”) ;)

    • Claire

      “sitting in the dark (playing with her ducks)”… Love it!

  • Megan

    L, thank you so much for your question and Meg, thank you so much for this posting. I have been having these pre-engagment anxiety feelings of “dear god, are we ever going to get married?” for a while now and last night had a conversation with my partner that only partly addressed my concerns. Your advice will be immensely helpful in continuing the discussion. And, L, having personally been in your boyfriend’s situation a few years ago, I am very thankful my partner respected my need for time to get to the place where I felt emotionally ready to get married. Communication is key!

  • http://indiealbany.com irisira

    OK, I’m going to put on my professional hat here, because I think it’s warranted.

    I work in human resources, specifically benefits administration. (Well, not exactly. I am the compensation analyst for a mid-sized teaching hospital. However, “comp and benefits” are often lumped together, so I put on the health, wellness, disability, and pension hats when necessary to assist my team members.)

    Here’s the thing about those wiley ducks: from a completely practical standpoint, being married BEFORE those wiley ducks line up really makes a lot of sense. When you’re married:
    – You can share health benefits, if necessary.
    Many employers will allow for “domestic partner” benefits, however because of DOMA, the tax penalties are really steep. Being married means not having to worry about those tax penalties.
    – If something happens to one of you, the other is protected.
    Sure, you can name anyone as your primary beneficiary for pension, 401K, life insurance, etc., however it’s a hell of a lot easier for your partner to claim those benefits if your partner happens to be your legal spouse
    – If you have to move across the country for your spouse, it is a lot less scary trying to strike out and find work, particularly since the spouse’s employer will often assist in this venture, depending on the industry. I know in academia (my husband is an academic), this is absolutely true.
    – On the same token, it’s also a lot less detrimental to be out of work for a little while. (See Bullet #1.)

    So, this is my PSA for marrying while your ducks are still off swimming blindly through the mist. Sure, it’s good to make sure your life goals are (somewhat) aligned and you DEFINITELY should have a plan in place (that goes without saying, even if you are not in a committed relationship), but it’s a lot easier to get your ducks in line when you have a stable support system.

    • Class of 1980

      What a helpful post! Bravo.

    • CK

      I dunno…these are all great, but I would love to be able to give these benefits to my partner without having a wedding. I don’t know if I would consider myself “pre-engaged” — “deeply-in-love-with-my-boyfriend-who-will-one-day-become-my-husband”, sure, that’s me, but most days I don’t really care if a proposal is imminent because we’ve discussed our commitment to each other. But then it became clear that my partner’s employment situation won’t be stable for the next year or so (thanks, crappy job market). I hate the idea that we might have to force the most important decision in our lives just so one of us can have insurance. I have met so many couples who have said these benefits have significantly influenced their decision to get married and it just seems to fly in the face of everything marriage should be actually be based on. We should be able to have these benefits even if the census lists us as “single” because he’s just as much my partner now as he will be after the wedding.

      • Marina

        On the one hand, I totally agree. On the other hand… one of the things I realized after getting married was that the marriage was not so much about making promises to each other–we had done that years before–but about making promises to our community. By having a marriage and stating our promises publicly, we were telling our community that we planned to interact with others with a certain kind of stability, that they could count on us to be a cohesive unit within the community. I think to some degree it was also a form of us telling the community that one of the things we wanted to do as a baby family was to contribute to our community, in return for our community reminding us of our promises to each other.

        So… in that context, it makes sense to me to have government/employment benefits only offered as a reward of sorts for making that public promise to the community. My relationship with my partner is none of my community’s business… until I choose to make it the community’s business by buying into the marriage thing.

        YMMV, of course–I know there are lots of people for whom marriage means something totally different than what I said above.

    • L

      Thank you! My bf really responds to logic, so this should be quite helpful =)

  • LC

    Adding my voice to the chorus of “been there too”. In fact, I was at the point where I was thinking it was time to end the relationship. I mean, if he doesn’t know now, he must not REALLY know. (I blame unattainable romcoms for that thought). Like one of the other commentators, I felt like it was at the point where the proposal wouldn’t even make me happy – I would just feel like he did it because he HAD to because I was obviously so unhappy.

    Not the case. We were both still giddy, over the moon, and throughout the entire engagement he’s only gotten MORE comfortable with getting married. I feel like now that he’s at this point, he’s wondering why he didn’t just go for it sooner.

    Your bf knows he wants to marry you and has TOLD you that. That’s really special. That was what got me through the extra couple of months, and hopefully it will help you too.

  • TheMalacoda

    It wasn’t too long ago that I was in this position, so I understand completely. I had been with my boyfriend since high school and he had told me often for a very long time that 6 months after college we would get engaged. We graduated, we moved, we got jobs… nothing happened. When I would bring it up he would say “We need to save more money.” or “I want to get settled into my job.” I became sad and frustrated and probably crazy wondering when things would happen because I was certainly ready.

    As it turned out, he had fallen in love with someone from his job and was too busy taking her out to dinner while I was at work to marry me. I had spent seven years waiting for the man who I thought was perfect for me and I was wrong.

    What I am saying here is not that your boyfriend is a scumbag or anything like that. I am saying that communication is key. When I was talking about getting married he should have been talking about how this would not work out. I should have been reading the signs instead of desperately looking for a ring. We needed to grow up, and we should have talked more and seriously.

    I agree with Meg wholeheartedly that this needs to be aired out now. It will re-affirm your relationship and will help him see that you are a team who can deal with anything. Which is what marriage is all about.

    I am also saying that things work out in the end and usually for the better. Case in point, here I am, with a man who is my equal in every way and loves me no matter what I look like when I wake up. We got married July 1st of this year on the second anniversary of our first date.

    I think you will be stronger and both of you will be happier for a little more waiting and talking now.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

      I was the one stalling while my university boyfriend/common-law-partner kept wanting to get married. In my case, it really was that while I loved him, my gut knew that marrying him would be a mistake, and it took me almost 7 years to figure that out and end it. I used all the excuses – safe money, pay off debt, buy a house, etc. I wasn’t even really aware of how unhappy I was until I left. I don’t know if I could have talked it out with him, because of how he disallowed my feelings, but it couldn’t have hurt any more than the way things played out did…

      And now? I’m happily married to an amazing guy, and I hope my ex is happier too.

  • Adi

    I don’t know if anyone else suggested it, but when I was going through a similar time, my friend gave me “I Do But I Don’t” (nonfiction–there’s a novel with the same title and it is NOT what you want) and I liked to yell YES EXACTLY at every other page. I’m not saying it will give you all the answers (I’m engaged now, but it didn’t happen like either of us wanted and I still feel guilty about how things went down, even though the end result is something we’re both ecstatic over) but it certainly helped me cope for a while. And who knows–maybe it WILL give you an answer.

    Good luck, babe. That time was the worst point in our relationship for me. I felt rejected, strung-along, and inadequate on a daily basis. And being made to feel those things because of someone you love, even when he’s not doing it intentionally… Well. It’s pretty awful. My fiancé is the one I turn to, but he wasn’t GETTING it, then, and neither did anyone else, it seemed. I wish I’d known about APW back then!

  • Jasmine Fancy

    We’ve been having increasingly deep conversations about marriage increasingly often. He feels he’ll know when we’re ready and he’ll propose; I have deep need to be working towards marriage as a goal. We are not engaged now but have a timeline and talk openly about the wedding and marriage and “research” we are doing for it. Bringing blogs like this and various good pre-marriage reading materials into the open has made it clear that it’s really happening AND given me the ability to feel like I am able to work towards it by doing reading and having discussions.

  • Spines

    De-lurking for the first time (eep!) to throw in my support! I feel your frustration, this was me not that long ago, though I have to say after nine years you are already heaps more patient than me!

    My (now) fiance did explain to me how important it was for him to propose to me, and was really unhappy with the idea of me proposing to me, because, as he puts it, this is one of the few really special things I get to do for you, let me have that moment!

    So I was in the position of knowing it was going to happen at some point, but not when. Two things ended up really helping me calm the crazies, one was an actual time line he gave me and second was a conversation we had about the future when we decided getting married was more important than buying a house (finances meant one had to come first!).

    Also, from what he has told me about “guy-type” thinking, financal stability seems to be paramount to a lot of men, and having money to buy a ring can sometimes hold them up (because guys can often get caught up in the diamond olympics too).

    Anyway enough rambling, good luck taming those ducks!

  • http://www.actsofbeauty.co.uk/wordpress ActsofBeauty

    I have no idea if people are still reading way down here, but I have had that conversation that Meg suggests, and it was SO WORTH IT. I’m still unengaged but I am not having fits of stress about it. Last year I ruined our anniversary by the sheer weight of my expectations.

    I think one thing worth mentioning is that (in general) women need to express themselves – they need to hear the words in the air and have someone validate them. So for an issue so important – to NOT be able to talk about it to the person involved is painful. Talking to anyone else doesn’t help much.

    When I had this conversation with him I discovered that there were in fact issues that we needed to deal with. so we worked on them, and we’re sill working. I’m sure it will never end.

    Then instead of asking for a timeline, I set one. You could call it an ultimatum, but I like ‘timeline’ (thanks APW). And thank you for releasing me of the fear of ‘putting pressure on the man’. What a load of balls. You know when you’re loved. That fear is simply that – fear.

    • L

      Yes, yes, yes. Thank you!

    • http://www.twitter.com/leahruthie Leah

      heeeee, “what a load of balls.” Apt and quite funny. :)

      My anniversary is Sunday and I’ve decided to work really hard on banishing any engagement hopes from my mind so that I can enjoy every moment of spending a special day celebrating six amazing years with my one true love rather than wasting the day being angsty.

  • z

    I had a really hard time with this too. I was really afraid that my now-husband was going along with the pre-engagement stuff but would not actually go through with getting married, and then I’d have to start all over with some other dude and becoming less fertile by the hour.

    But ultimately, and it’s probably annoying to hear and I hate to admit it even to myself, it was a good experience for me to go through. Because accommodating someone else’s feelings and ideas and needs, and trying to understand their reasons, and compromising on really, really important, high-stakes stuff is, well, kind of an important concept for married people. It was really important for me to come to terms with that. Of course, I think it’s perfectly alright to talk about it quite a bit, it shouldn’t be taboo, because hearing that the other person wants big-deal things you aren’t ready for is ALSO part of marriage. It’s the other side of the coin and you’ll probably have your chance to be in that role at some point. So we had some hard talks, but talking about it was definitely the way to go, and I didn’t feel bad about it. It’s ok to ask for the reassurance you need in order to feel comfortable, whatever that may be.

    It was definitely a humiliating experience to feel so powerless. Not to wax overly philosophical, but I felt powerless because I *was* powerless, because I think we’re all ultimately powerless to get others to love us or want to be with us in any capacity, if love and friendship are to be freely given. After all the long conversations, crying, being an extra-good-girlfriend, whatever I tried, he had to get there on his own, just like I had to get to wanting to marry him on my own. So I felt better when I realized it was the human condition, not just me.

    I’m also a big proponent of “reality checks” about fertility, especially because a lot of guys (if there’s a guy involved) just aren’t that knowledgeable about it. For a while I really felt that my now-husband had his head in the sand about fertility, our own parents’ aging, etc., and I’ve definitely been guilty of that at times myself. I got some fertility statistics from my doctor for extra convincingness and really tried to spell out things like “If we waited 8 years to have a child, you would be teaching hir to drive when you’re 64. You would be paying for college until you are 70, and your parents would probably not live to see high school graduation.” Not a fun chat, but he had been thinking of himself as perpetually 40, so I kind of had to burst that bubble. When he started counting on his fingers I knew I had gotten the message through.

  • http://www.markheddesign.com Marie

    I am going to chime in here to say that I also felt the EXACT same way about a year ago now, and my bf was giving me the same “ducks in a row” explanation and I was the SAME age and everything!!! I totally hear you!! I’m so sorry you are feeling so frustrated!!

    I will tell you what I did though. I know my guy is the type to fight against any kind of pressure. he’s like a two year old who has just discovered the word “no”. you know that age where they say “no” to everything even when they don’t mean “no”?

    It’s when kids are exercising their will. they are telling you they don’t need to do what you are telling them to. I think my bf (and many men) don’t fully grow out of that!

    so I backed off, and let him hang out with my friend’s babies. he fell in love with and realized he wanted to be a dad and that meant he needed to marry me. eventually, he proposed.

    SO be patient!!!

    good luck!

  • MissG

    I’m just so happy to have the “Meg-ness” back!!!

    I totally feel for you, I was in this situation a few years ago, when after 6 years together and traveling round the world there was still no sign of him popping the question. There was a huge amount of teeth gnashing and lots of tears, and while I had ultimatums in my head, I knew that ultimately, with or without a proposal, this was the guy I wanted to spend my life with. After that, I felt much more comfortable that I had made the decision that he was more important to me than my long held ideal of getting married, and what do you know he proposed!

    I know this is a decision that not everyone can make, but for me it helped and I think the fact that I had “let go” and wasn’t acting all crazy anymore also helped him make his decision too!

  • http://www.hollygardner.com Holly

    ahhhh… Poor girl! Hang in there. I remember feeling the same way. We talked about our wedding. We planned that it would be in May. And yet he never officially asked… I thought I was going to go insane! He said it was about money. As it turns out, it wasn’t so much… He wanted to be fully ready to commit his life to me AND my daughter. In the end it worked out. He asked when he was ready. And it was awesome sauce and then some. I’m sure yours will be too. Just hang in there. HUGS!

  • http://www.fieldandfallow.com amy

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You’ve all made me (9 years, no proposal, pretty much every aspect of a wedding discussed and decided on) feel so much less crazy.

    • L

      Oh god, seriously! I am right there with you. We have colors and a theme picked out. No joke.

  • L

    Dear Meg and EVERYONE,

    Thank you so much! Meg, your words had an immediate calming effect, and I am definitely going to take your advice. Ladies, I am overwhelmed by all the love I’m feeling from your comments! You guys are seriously cracking me up with all the different takes on my “duck” line, and it feels pretty awesome to get a laugh out of this whole situation. I wish I could take the time right now to respond to all of you, but I have spotty wifi right now, and posting a comment is taking forever! Know that I appreciate your advice and commiseration very much. I know what I need to do, and thanks to your support, I feel like I CAN do it. Also, I plan to build a pen for the ducks. Much love from me to all of you.

  • http://www.twitter.com/leahruthie Leah

    I just wanted to take a second to come back today and say THANK YOU to L for sharing and for Meg for advising. I went home from work yesterday full of empowerment and decided to talk to Mr. Boyfriend about timelines. I said, “So, you know that awesome wedding blog I read? Well, today there was a question about surviving the pre-engagement phase, like what we’re in now, and there was a lot of advice offered that suggested talking to one’s significant other about timelines and ballpark estimates and whatnot, so…” and I initiated a calm, level-headed, rational discussion about how the nebulous “it’ll happen, just be patient!” blanket statement wasn’t really doing my sanity any favors and how I just wanted to know that I was waiting for something finite and that he had a timeline in mind. It was a really good little talk, and you know what? I did get a timeline out of him (a year! WOO! I was honestly expecting another six, ha) and no one got upset or felt pressured, and I think we both felt much better afterward. :)

    Anyway, thank you, Team Practical, for the encouragement and empowerment and sage advice. Never am I more aware of my capacity to go out and go after what I want than when I’m hanging out in this amazing community.

    • L

      Nice! I haven’t had time yet to broach the subject (we just got back from a crazy-exhausting “vacation” and he’s got a lot to do before work tomorrow) but when I do, you guys will get an update. I’m encouraged by how well it worked out for you. Thanks for sharing! =)

  • http://www.jennifercarydiers.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Overall, I think this advice is right on point. I have to quibble with one thing, though:

    “And here is one last secret: 28 is young. Heck, 30 is young. Enjoy where you are right now because your relationship is wonderful, things are good, and you won’t pass this way again.”

    See, the thing is, this is so subjective. Meg might think that 28 is young to be married, or even that 30 is young. But there are many individuals, communities, and even entire cultures that would disagree. In Chicago, where we live, most people are in their mid-thirties when they get married but in my home state (Nebraska) they are in their early to mid-twenties. If you feel you’re getting older, and it bothers you, I think that’s a valid way to feel.

    I was married at 25, and many people I knew thought this was too young to be married. But their situation differed significantly from ours because I’m infertile. Reputable adoption agencies require married couples to have been married for five years before they can even begin the process. Most people I know in Chicago wait until they want to have kids to get married; they just live together for years beforehand. That was never an option for us. I found myself explaining over and over why we were married “so young.”

    I think there is no right age to get married, just as there is no right way to get married. If you’re feeling like you’ve waited four long years and you don’t want to wait another four, make that clear to him right now. Men don’t have to answer the incessant “when are you going to…?” questions that women endure so he’s not getting it from all sides, as you likely are. If he isn’t ready now, there’s really no reason to think he might be ready four years down the road. You need a gameplan you can agree on. Communication is key.

    He’s not a child. You don’t owe him anything but respect and honesty. It’s your life too.

    • Leigh Ann

      I have to agree here. 30 is young for some things, but if you’re 30 and your guy is nowhere near proposing, and you know it takes about a year to plan a wedding, and you’d like to be married a little while before having kids, and you want a couple of them before you’re 35 … panic can set in.

  • Lisa

    This is a great message! I appreciate hearing about other women in a similiar situation. Sadly (in my eyes) I will be 30 when I walk down the aisle next year. You would think that means we are engaged, but no we are still in the Pre-Engaged state. But we have chosen a wedding date, and out of anxiety that the date and the location may be wisked away by some other happy bride to be, we put down some money. My family is upset, his doesn’t know, close friends are saying we don’t need a ring to be engaged, planning is enough……and I am not worried about the ring, because I know its coming. Its important for him to surprise me, and yes he proscrastinates and he wants it to be perfect and the “pressure” word has come up a billion times….over the last 3 years! It didn’t help that 2 years into our relationship everyone we knew got married and wanted to know exactly what his plans were. I think it turned him off a bit. He is in school, working full time, trying to get his own ducks in a row. But we’ve been living together for 5 years, so we are doing this together. Just minus the ring. My parents are at the edge of their seats waiting for him to just get the ring already, and they are disappointed that we booked a date and they can’t share the happy news because there is no official announcement to make. Planning the wedding is clearly not the same as Getting Engaged. Its been a long road of waiting but its coming to an end. We both know that next year (2 days after our 6 year anniversary) we will be getting married. When the ring decides to join us in the planning, only he knows. Hoping for a surprise!

  • Casey

    Favorite. Post. Ever. Duckies!!

    • L

      ‘;o)

  • Leigh Ann

    Me too me too me too. Like, all of this. Plotting, cajoling, crying, and feeling totally taken advantage of because he knew I wasn’t leaving and I couldn’t pretend I would be capable of it. But HANG IN THERE! You WILL be engaged. And once you’ve crossed the line into the for-sure part of the relationship, it is wonderful. So, so wonderful.

    And I’ll just say again that it’s nice to know there are other sane, normal women out there driven totally crazy by this situation, as I was.

  • GingerJess

    L, I can totally relate to your incredibly stressful state of relationship limbo. I, too, was involved in a long term relationship where it was generally known that we would get married “eventually” but that nebulous timeframe seemed to stretch out in front of me like an endless desert. I did not do the mature thing, which would have been to discuss it with him like grown ups who can have logical discussions and make rational decisions. Instead, I sort of un-proposed to him. Through email. Real mature, right?

    Not fully understanding his reasons for not proposing yet, I concocted an elaborate plan to elope for a long weekend. I picked a weekend that was in the near future and I knew we didn’t have plans. I researched states where we could easily elope that had no waiting period. As an added incentive, I found an NFL game with his favorite team that we could attend the same weekend (two birds, one stone right!?). I did not come right out and say “will you marry me?” but instead presented it as “here’s my idea – no pressure if you don’t wanna” which is ridiculous because there was an enormous amount of implied pressure associated with my idea. I spent an hour crafting the perfect email and I sent it to him and then I held my breath for another hour until he read it and replied. It was probably the most stressful hour of my life, with heart pounding in my ears and tunnel vision as I tried to pretend I was working.

    How did it turn out? Well, he said he would rather not elope with me (ouch!), but it did give him an opportunity to let me know that he was working on something for us and it was important to him to give me the proposal I deserved and it would happen as soon as he could manage it. So it was heart breaking on one hand (nobody likes being turned down, even with the promise that you’ll get what you want eventually and I still cry a little when I think about it) but on the other hand it did make that endless desert of “eventually” feel more like a sandbox that we would soon be leaving. He did propose to me about three months later and it is a special story worth repeating – much better than my super lame email un-proposal of which I have told NOBODY until this post.

    So I guess there isn’t really a moral to my story. Just know that you aren’t alone in this stage of awkwardness and there are a lot of ways that it could work itself out. Most of the other comments to your story have way better advice to offer, so you should definitely give those things a try and do your best not to let the anxiety get the best of you.

    • http://www.suncentered.com Jenny

      I’m glad it worked out for you in the end! Can we hear the story? :)

      • L

        Yeah, I want to hear the proposal story!

        • GingerJess

          It wasn’t anything super theatrical, but it was perfect for us. It was early December and when I announced I was going to decorate the Christmas tree and just get it taken care of, he made a point of saying he wanted to help me do it. He’s not really a big fan of the holidays, so I thought it was really sweet that he wanted to do it together. We dragged out all the decorations and he would pull one out of the box and put a hook on it and hand it to me to put on the tree. At one point, he pulled out an ornament and I realized that inside he had suspended inside of it a ring he had once jokingly made for me out of a wire bread bag tie. He was always bugging me to throw it away, but I always kept it…weird, right? Anyhow, he said that since I thought it was so great he thought it should be somewhere special like the Christmas tree. I thought it was just a cute way for him to tease me about keeping the ratty old thing, so I hung up the ornament and didn’t think much about it. Then from behind me, I heard him say that he had one more thing but he didn’t think it would really work on the tree. Still looking the other direction, I argued that there was plenty of room on the tree and whatever he had would fit just fine. When I turned around he was on one knee with a ring in his hand. I didn’t even answer, I just sat down on the floor with him and started blubbering like an idiot. Eventually I made a point to say yes, then I spent the rest of the night staring at my left hand and crying periodically.

          Did I mention that I was in the oldest tshirt and sweatpants that I own, rocking a messy ponytail and no makeup? I looked really hot, let me tell you. It would have been nice to have had the opportunity to look all dolled up for the occasion, but I like to think that he and I are our truest selves when we’re lounging around the house in our pajamas just hanging out together. The ring was not exactly what I would have picked for myself, but I have really come to love it because he picked it out all by himself without help from anyone. My dearest friend’s family owns a jewelry store and he made sure to purchase the ring there from her father with the promise that he wouldn’t spill the beans to my friend or anyone else so it was a total surprise.

          I did call my parents that night to tell them the good news, but there was definitely a part of me that sort of wanted to keep it a secret for a while…like something amazing that only he and I would know. Looking back, that might have been a good idea because then I could have really basked in the feeling of “new engagement” before people started asking me questions like “so are you going to invite so-and-so?” or “have you picked out a dress?” Those kind of questions kind of kill the buzz because they remind you that there are decisions to be made and stress to be had in the near future.

          All in all, I’m happy that he didn’t accept my elopment plan. We’re now in the final stages of planning a more normal wedding that our families will get to attend on October 1. I have gotten to do all the pre-wedding things I would have missed out on, like showers and picking out a dress. Fair warning: once you graduate from the pre-engaged stage, you go almost directly to the pre-baby stage. People barely finish their wedding questions before they ask me when we’ll pop out a young’n. Anyhow, that’s my story!

          • L

            That’s such a sweet story! I love that he gave you the twist-tie ring first. Congratulations!

          • NAHNAHNAH

            I love this story!

  • http://bigmariolife.blogspot.com Stephanie

    This is such great advice. I’m in a similar “pre-engaged” situation and one of the toughest parts for me is knowing how to respond when people inevitably ask, “So when are you getting married?” Part of me wants to smile and pass it off with humor, part of me wants to just walk away, another part wants to say “mind your own damn business,” and yet another part of me wants to tear up while crying, “I just don’t know anymore!!”

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    There is a lot of amazing advice here, and I’m posting well after the fact (doing a little APW catchup after driving ourselves across the country to our new home!)… but I wanted to add my two cents. I went through this for a year or so before the hubs was ready to propose. Obviously, we had a happy ending. In fact, within a month or so of me being about ready to explode from the waiting, he took me ring shopping. So that calmed me down. And things moved forward shortly thereafter.

    But before then, during the agonizing, anxiety producing, pre-engaged state, I found comfort in this: my husband takes a long time to make all of his decisions.

    So my advice to pre-engaged people is this – consider who your partner is and how they make decisions. If normally they are very quick to know what they want in important situations, and yet they are drag-drag-dragging their feet to decide about marriage… there’s probably something else going on there. But, if like my man, choosing a place to live, a job, a bank, and where to go on our vacation is always an agonizing, drawn out process for your sweetie, but one that does eventually result in a good solid choice, perhaps this choice is no different?

    And then, like Meg said, that means they have to communicate. That part nobody gets out of. :)

  • ellobie

    Good grief, L, I wish you’d asked this question ages ago! Maybe if I’d read it a year and a half ago, I wouldn’t have lost my shit three times over the very same issues. But I did, several times in fact!

    We’d talked about marriage in July/August and both agreed it was something we wanted to do and with each other. My husband is a thinker & a procrastinator. He likes to think and think and let it sit for a while, then think some more before making a decision. I’m more of a plan&do-er. I do some basic research, make a plan and execute. By September, I had to tell him to shut up or put up or I was going to go nutso. We had the same conversation over and over and OVER again:

    him: would you say yes if I asked you to marry me?
    her: yes, are you asking me to marry you?
    him: well not right NOW…

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! So yes, by September, I told him we could not have this conversation again if he wanted me to keep my marbles and that I would prefer it happen before my birthday (mid-December). He asked a few more questions about ring styles and we looked at a few. He knew what I wanted and now it was in his court.

    My birthday rolled around and … nothing. He waited too long to DO and found out too late that no, you cannot design and produce a ring within 2 weeks. Especially when you have family rocks that you want to use, but also want to order some colored bits for the sides and the jeweler you insist on using only works part time. OH, and you want to plan a mini-trip on which to do the actual proposing? Yeah, that requires even more time and planning. Meltdown #1 happened right before I left to visit my family for Christmas. It was not pretty but it also was camouflaged as a random fight, not about anything to do with getting engaged.

    After I returned from Christmas, I thought for SURE it would happen at New Year’s. I’d made plans for just the two of us (returning to our meeting spot for dinner, drinks and dancing). Meltdown #2 occurred at the end of that night. It finally came out that I was freaking out thinking he didn’t want to marry me after all since he missed his deadline. He hadn’t shared anything because I’d said in September, “no more talking about this.” And because, you know, I was having near-raging meltdowns every couple of weeks. He thought it was best to add as little additional stress to my plate as possible. After that meltdown, we got everything on the table. I was stressed and pissed because I’d been expecting something to happen and he let me down. I was also embarrassed because I’d kinda sorta told my closest friends way back in November to expect a big announcement real soon. Oy. He shared that he was working on it, but there had been delays with the jeweler, and he was still trying to figure out the budget/location of the mini-trip.

    Reassured that he did still want to get married (and to me!), I calmed myself down. A bit. I started visiting my therapist twice a week. Husband agreed he would keep me posted on the progress and he shared that he was still determined to make it special on a mini-trip. I planned out a couple of mini-trips FOR him because I realized his planning skills are just…not there. Plus, his visions included northern Wisconsin (in Jan/Feb!) or a train-themed hotel in Indianapolis. My plans involved warm locales, a chance to get the hell out of Chicago in the depths of winter. But he refused to pull the trigger on securing flights/hotels until he had the ring in hand.

    In the end, he picked up the ring on a Friday afternoon at the end of January. I was staying over at his house that evening and he mentioned he had secured the goods. !!! He asked if I wanted to see it. I did. I tried it on. It was pretty! Not at ALL what I had indicated I wanted, but it was lovely. And he picked it all out. And it had stones from both of our great-grandmothers. I was very happy. He did not propose. We went to bed.

    The next morning, I got up to shower and get ready for our day. He asked for the ring back. I think my exact words were, “Are you fucking shitting me?” No, he was not. Now that he had the ring, he wanted to BEGIN planning the actual proposal. I threw the ring at his head and stomped off to the bathroom for Meltdown #3. He talked me back to the bedroom and after I calmed down, he got down on his knee and Officially asked. While my cell phone was ringing (to the tune of Fat Bottomed Girls).

    Six months later, we were happily married. And I am the Official planner for pretty much everything and haven’t had another meltdown.

    But yeah, you are certainly not alone in your frustrations and I wish I’d known that many, many other ladies have been in pretty similar places. So much of my anxiety stems from feeling like “things aren’t quite right” and that I’m a total freak for being different/alone. It’s nice to know that I’m not all THAT crazy. ;)

    • NAHNAHNAH

      Thank you for sharing this. I’m in a similar situation. My SO is a thinker and procrastinator, and we have a timeline. I’m terrified that he won’t be ready by then, and that I will have to leave him. I’m just like you – a planner. And he says he loves me but isn’t ready quite yet, though he gave me a timeline for the end of the year, and we’re almost there. I’ve been having minor meltdowns, but trying to have faith anyway. You hear all these stories of how “if he really loved you he would do this and that,” and your story says hey, he might love you but take awhile anyway, and that’s okay.

      • ellobie

        I am thankful every day that I found … whatever it was that made me wait. Patience, courage, fear, whatever it was that made me hold on, I am thankful for it! My husband is still a thinker and procrastinator, but he’s learned to trust my research and planning process and we’ve managed to find a happy medium. I have learned to know when I need to give him more time for some things (usually I can figure this out way ahead of time and get him thinking about something before we end up against a wall needing to make a decision) and he has learned to give in and go with my planning for other things.

        Good luck to you & your SO!

  • Mai

    Just wanted to report back a huge “Thanks” to the whole APW community. You are always so full of great ideas. This post debuted while I was on a solo vacation (yay co-owning 2 dogs and living 1200 miles from family – vacations are solo because someone has to watch the “kids”) – so sitting down and having a chat about the thoughts running through my head about wily ducks wasn’t going to work. I also know that my boy, who loves to just let life happen/work itself out, doesn’t like when I spring conversations on him – they come across more as a lecture, as he hasn’t had time to think of is opinion about the topic at hand (because it hasn’t popped into his mind yet). Knowing my limitations and how to communicate with my sweetie, I took some time to write up a rambling “things to talk to people about” document and emailed it off to him. Told him that we didn’t need to talk about it NOW, but we should maybe talk about it at some point sooner than later. This lets him percolate on the things running around in my head, and perhaps generate his own opinion (if not his own list of “things”).

    Sometimes writing things down seems to help. A note lets the other person in the equation digest what you have to say, and to generate their own thoughts before sitting down – and eliminating the “lecture” feel that some non-conversations can have.

  • TheGoose

    Thank you so much for this post. I was feeling exactly where the reader was. I knew I loved my partner and he was the one that I want to marry, but was waiting for him to be ready.

    I had a huge fear I would get resentful over waiting and hurt the relationship. However, I have an amazing partner and we kept the lines of communication open. He has said that those conversation are one of the main things that made him realize he just couldn’t wait any longer and he wanted to get married.

    While I was getting regular updates from him on how he was feeling about the subject, and I was able to tell him my fears, he still managed to surprise me when he asked me to marry him. I knew that we were getting closer, but I think that there is a tendency to follow the cultural narrative that the engagement should all be a surprise to the detriment of our relationships. On the other hand, having someone surprize you with a ring is an amazing feeling and I think we all get sucked into the feeling that it will not be romantic if you decide together and there is no one on bended knee. But for me the romantic part is that at the moment he asked me I knew that he and I can do what we need to do to support each other, communicate, solve problems, make compromises and have romance all at the same time.

  • Pingback: Interlude: The Ring « Carpal Tunnel Bride

  • Rosa

    Like many women I guess, I felt the exact same way about my pre-engagement. My fiance and I had been dating for close to 6 years and had known each other for 13. We started dating early in college and by the time we were well-established in grad school, (I moved to a different state to be with him after college, you’d think that would jolt some action on his part, right?) I thought it was time to move to the next step. He was adamant about both of us finishing school, or finding jobs, or some other reason.

    HOWEVER, I did try a sneaky trick that I read in a magazine one time and has always stuck with me somehow.

    I don’t remember where I read this, but it was in one of those gossipy, shiny magazines mostly about sex. Well one little section was about marriage from the guy’s point of view, and one guy was asked “why did you finally propose?” His answer was that his girlfriend put the entire timeline in perspective. For example, she pointed out that she wanted to have children within the next 3 years, and have about a year-long engagement. The guy kind of stopped to think about it and realized that meant he needed to propose pretty darn soon. While this didn’t work for me, naturally (my guy is hard headed-er than I am) it DID let him know that I had seriously thought about the issue and had some pretty good reasons to want to get married. We’re both 25 so I can’t seriously lay the having-kids card on the table, and I respected his reasons to wait, but like Meg said, I needed more information. (I also wanted it to be a sneaky proposal so I didn’t want TOO much information)…

    Finally he completely surprised me on Galveston beach in early June, after I got back from visiting my mom in NC. I had no idea that he’d even been looking at rings! But it’s the most gorgeous thing ever and everyone is happy.
    Serious, thoughtful conversations always make everything better, I think.

  • sj

    I am so happy to have found this site!
    This is exactly what I have been dealing with for almost three years now. The slight twist is that the boyfriend is Swedish, and as anyone who has had a Swedish sambo knows courtship, being a sambo, engagement, and marriage are different. Within his family no one expects that we will ever have to get married if we don’t want to. Within my family…well I cannot be around them without the inevitable “When??” questions.
    Now add to this the fact that I am 3 years older than him (28 to his 25). And the fact that he is going away to grad school and we will be apart five months. (I know! It doesn’t sound long but try telling my heart that!) Oh and there is always the issue of being from different countries. Officially I am going crazy, but trying to keep it from him.
    These posts have hit every point that has been running through my head recently. We have talked about the future, buying a house together, moving back to Sweden together, having children, etc… But often he freezes up and that just kills me. It probably doesn’t help that I’m more of the emotional type and a crier and he’s very stoic. To be fair to him we are young and we have talked about the fact that his parent’s divorce has really hurt him.
    I love him and would never give him the “now or I’m gone speech” but sometimes…(sighs)….yeah sometimes.
    Thanks for all the comfort that these posts have given me! It’s great to know that I am not crazy and that other women have been through the same thing. (I thought it was just me!!) Hugs

  • http://acceptorchange.blogspot.com AnotherMeg

    This post is finally bringing me out of lurking my way through the archives. My guy and I have been together for 4 years now and are solidly pre-engaged. There are days that I just want to scream! We’ve talked and he wants to wait until he feels like he can afford the ring he thinks he needs to buy me (I told him that I don’t care as long as it doesn’t turn my finger green). It definitely helps to hear that I am not crazy for not caring if a couple ducks are still wandering around in circles. I mean, seriously, there are plenty of people who are married with kids and owning houses with white picket fences and all that other stuff who are still chasing ducks. Darn wiley ducks.

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  • Liz

    Thank you for this. I am definitely in this state having lived with my guy for 4 years and been dating for 9. I have DEFINITELY not been pushy as he’s 8 years my junior ( I am 38). Now I am dealing with a circle of his young friends who are all getting married and he’s even going to officiate for one wedding. We have had the talk and he just wants to land one good steady job and not be freelancing. He knows he could lose it a week later and is like he just wants to start out on a good foot knowing that life is a risk. He’s flat out said that he can’t imagine spending the rest of his life with anyone else . My problem is there are just no positives related to it anymore for me. Thinking about getting married or even engaged just makes me tense and angry. We have a great relationship but taking it further is just filled with negatives. He’s always been a horrible risk taker and has always done right by me in the end but when it comes to making it official… I just feel like giving up. What’s more important a great relationship or that making it official? We’ve gotten through my cancer, his depression… we are in it for good but even if he proposed today I can’t even find hope in it anymore. I am honestly afraid my first words would be “Finally.. so why now? not trusting it. I know 30 is young and I am not afraid to give him space. I know that the pressure i feel is all his friends getting married this year and I can’t compare our life to theirs. That being said..it’s driving me nuts.

    • NAH NAH NAH

      I know the feeling like you might not have hope anymore. =( I wish you the very best of luck and hope things work out for you!

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  • finna

    What a wonderful and a straight forward spell caster that has brought back joy and happiness into my life after i saw a post on how he helped a lady called veronica,i decided to contact him for help when i told this God sent man Dr Zunga on how my lover left me for 3 years without calling nor texting me,When i shared this my sad experience with Dr Zunga he said everything would be okay within 36 hours i was like am i sure what this man is saying is real,So i decided to give a try and i what even surprised me the most at first i was also thinking he was a scam i taught he was like other spell caster who come online to add pain to peoples pain not knowing there feelings but to make money,But this great man Dr Zunga is never like that his own is for good and make people to be happy with the one they love,Am just so happy,Even before the 36 hours i just got a call from a man who has left me for 3 years saying he his sorry and that he wants me back to his life i was so happy,He invited me for a dinner which i meant him there and we bought talked and he said he wants to prove that he would never leave me for any other lady he engaged me and also make me had access to all his account am so happy all thanks goes to this great man Dr Zunga a man who has brought back joy to my life,Please friends that needs help i would advice and swear that Dr Zunga is the right man and not those fake ones who are online to make money and not to help here is Dr Zunga’s private mail: zungaspelltemple@gmail.com

  • Anjali

    This was one of the first APW posts I read – and I come back and read it every couple of months. Being (reluctantly) pre-engaged is hard, and this is a good reminder that the ring is just a symbol of everything that we’re already working on building together.

  • Rachel

    I’m one of those “scouring websites” people right now and your post felt like you were partly in my head. I’ve known my boyfriend for 3 years and we’ve been dating for 2 years. He is always loving and patient and committed to me but I have felt really frustrated in our relationship. For the last 6 months or so I’ve been bugging him (fights and tears) to get married because we love each other and I don’t see a reason not too. We live about 25 minutes away and we are both busy and I am frustrated with not being able to see each other as much as I would like. I am graduated and am financially stable – he is still in school and thinks he has to have a career and more money first. He works as a server right now tho and makes enough money to have a marriage. He also says conflicting things all the time – one day he’ll say we could get married right away if he doesn’t get into his program right away because then he would have time to focus on marriage but then other times he says he’s just not ready to get married and why can’t I trust him to make me happy and get married eventually but he refuses to give me a clear timeframe. I’m not sure if he just has commitment issues and isn’t ready to get married or if really is him trying to “get his ducks In a row” because he also always says that it’s way more complicated than I make it and he wants to be able to get me a nice ring and have a nice wedding and honeymoon and I say I don’t care about those things and he wouldn’t have to pay for the wedding anyhow. I broke up with him over it about 3 or 4 months ago and he like constantly told me he loved me but it didn’t change how he felt about marriage right now and he would rather
    Break up than get married. We only stayed broken up for two weeks before I decided that I just loved him and wanted to be with him. I just got a new job that’s about 45 minutes away from him and my conflict now is if I should move there and essentially have a long distance relationship (he will be going to school 4 days a week all day and working) and hope he will miss me enough to decide he wants to get married — or if we should move in together halfway between our jobs. He is totally up for moving in he says he would love to but also no pressure. But it’s a really big deal for me because i grew up very conservative and my parents will be devastated as well as a lot of my parents friends will judge me Which I would rather be happy than live in fear of other peoples thoughts but i will feel Bad for my parents. I just wanna know if moving in is a bad idea for us – will it make this situation worse? Theres so many people that say living with your bf is a bad idea that I’m just really confused. Should I wait or move in with him? I know he loves me and doesn’t want to be with anyone else but I’m afraid moving in will mess up our relationship but I also feel like we need to move to the next level and I’m tired of living out of a duffel bag (spending a few nights a week at his house). I am also in my 20a and he is 30.

    • KH_TAS

      I cannot tell you whether moving in would be better or worse, because it depends on the individuals. I can tell you what helped us, and it does carry a lot of stigma, was couples counselling. Having a trained neutral party helped us to be able to have conversations that we hadn’t been able to before without fighting, and the therapist forced us to hear the things we had been refusing to, and help each other understand each other better. Best of luck whatever happens

  • FRED ANDERSON

    My Name is : Fred Anderson ..I never believed in Love Spells or Magics until I met this special spell caster when i contact this man called DR OKUTA Execute some business..He is really powerful..My wife divorce me with no reason for almost 4 years and i tried all i could to have her back cos i really love her so much but all my effort did not work out.. we met at our early age at the college and we both have feelings for each other and we got married happily for 5 years with no kid and she woke up one morning and she told me she’s going on a divorce..i thought it was a joke and when she came back from work she tender to me a divorce letter and she packed all her loads from my house..i ran mad and i tried all i could to have her back but all did not work out..i was lonely for almost 4 years…So when i told the spell caster what happened he said he will help me and he asked for her full name and her picture..i gave him that..At first i was skeptical but i gave it a try cos have tried so many spell casters and there is no solution…so when he finished with the readings,he got back to me that she’s with a man and that man is the reason why she left me…The spell caster said he will help me with a spell that will surely bring her back.but i never believe all this…he told me i will see a positive result within 3 days..3 days later,she called me herself and came to me apologizingI NEVER BELIEVED IN LOVE SPELLS UNTIL I MET THIS WORLD’S TOP SPELL CASTER. HE IS REALLY POWERFUL AND COULD HELP CAST SPELLS TO BRING BACK ONE’S GONE,LOST,MISBEHAVING LOVER AND MAGIC MONEY SPELL OR SPELL FOR A GOOD JOB.I’M NOW HAPPY & A LIVING TESTIMONY COS THE WOMAN I HAD WANTED TO MARRY LEFT ME 2 WEEKS BEFORE OUR WEDDING AND MY LIFE WAS UPSIDE DOWN COS OUR RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN ON FOR 2YEARS… I REALLY LOVED HIM, BUT HIS MOTHER WAS AGAINST US AND HE HAD NO GOOD PAYING JOB. SO WHEN I MET THIS SPELL CASTER, I TOLD HIM WHAT HAPPENED AND EXPLAINED THE SITUATION OF THINGS TO HIM..AT FIRST I WAS UNDECIDED,SKEPTICAL AND DOUBTFUL, BUT I JUST GAVE IT A TRY. AND IN 7 DAYS WHEN I RETURNED TO USA, MY GIRLFRIEND(NOW WIFE) CALLED ME BY HERSELF AND CAME TO ME APOLOGIZING THAT EVERYTHING HAD BEEN SETTLED WITH HIS MOM AND FAMILY AND SHE GOT A NEW JOB INTERVIEW SO WE SHOULD GET MARRIED..I DIDN’T BELIEVE IT COS THE SPELL CASTER ONLY ASKED FOR MY NAME AND MY GIRLFRIENDS NAME AND ALL I WANTED HIM TO DO… WELL WE ARE HAPPILY MARRIED NOW AND WE ARE EXPECTING OUR LITTLE KID,AND MY WIFE ALSO GOT THE NEW JOB AND OUR LIVES BECAME MUCH BETTER. IN CASE ANYONE NEEDS THE SPELL CASTER FOR SOME HELP, HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS;okutaspellhome@gmail.com ……HOPE HE HELPS YOU OUT OUR OPPORTUNITY … CONTACT THIS GREAT SPELL CASTER VIA EMAIL:okutaspellhome@gmail.com…

  • Lee

    So ladies… what if he’s had the talk with you (without asking him), and he’s given deadlines (yes, plural with an “s”), but then when the deadlines hit he continues to push them out. Then he creates new deadlines.

    Much like all of you I feel happy to be in a great relationship, and then I feel sad b/c I don’t get it. At times I have a mini melt-down. If I were a home and he was in the market to buy, and I was a home wanted to live in, he’d scoop it up right away so that no one else could bid on it. I feel like when I think of myself like that… maybe he would just be settling? He says he loves me, wants to be married, wants kids… but isn’t ready. He also says he doesn’t want or see a life without me and can’t lose me. When I ask why he says he’s not ready he says he doesn’t know. Maybe he just doesn’t know himself? So to me his answer really isn’t an answer when he can’t explain it. We are both doing the “Christian” relationship where we don’t live together and do our best to not take things all the way (although it’s tough). The main issue: I feel like I have no control over my future. We have been together for 3.5 years. I got hopeful with a new deadline, but now having a 4th deadline… it’s starting to feel like a joke. I didn’t want to be someone who only eats together and holds hands. I’m ready for all that a relationship has to offer (in all the ways that we were before we went full blown “Christian-style”), I want the family that we often talk about to start, to live together in one of the places we have picked out… I’m ready for life to be happening instead of just imagining what it would be like. I am out of patience, and if we break-up over it…I break my heart too.

    • Lee

      *** and I only say “settling” b/c at this point… if he was certain that he loved me, and says it all of the time… how has it not happened. Like comments above I’m a planner, I do basic research, I execute the plan. He thinks about, then thinks more, then more, and again…. talks about that he wants to think about it, talks about thinking about thinking about it. Frustrated and in love.

  • http://www.priestjayemamagictemple.blogspot.com/ Selina

    am back and better
    I promised to tell the world about him that’s why am posting this here…all thanks to Priest JAYEMA…there are so many fake spell casters out there I was more than scammed heartbroken and almost gave up all hope until I met with him…now am so happy…
    If you have issues in your relationship i will advise you to search for Priest JAYEMA…he sure would help you he casts all kind of spells
    http://www.priestjayemamagictemple.blogspot.com/

  • http://google.com Dr Max

    Hello Everyone, who still care about his/her ex-lover/husband or wife. I am Mrs BELLA MORRISON from London I never though my husband will come back to me again, I am very happy at last that my husband came back to me after i was acquise of been barren of not been able to bring front children,Then i came across Dr Max who help me in bring back my husband to his sense with a spell and now i have a baby girl to show to the world that i am fruitful. i am grateful and happier than never before, Thank You Doctor for helping me, email drmax529@gmail.com, if you still love or want your ex-lover and happy marriage with children

  • marie02

    Hey Ladies
    I know I’m a little late to the conversation but I can totally relate to everything here I just turned 26 and my SO is 31. We’ve been in a relationship for 4 years (actually, our 4 year anniversary is tomorrow) We’ve been living together for 3.5 years and bought a house together 15 months ago. We have an amazing relationship, we communicate, we support and respect each other – We’re best friends.
    When we first met, SO was very honest in communicating that he never saw marriage in his future. He also told me that he’s never been in love before. He’s had relationship where he loves the girl, but he’s never been “in love” Part of what I liked about him right off the bat and now love about him is he never says anything he doesn’t 100% mean. He’s always been very honest with me about what he wants and needs (both now and in the future) even if sometimes it’s not easy to hear. I know that everything he says, he means and feels 100%. Anyway, I’ve always seen marriage in my future, and I was honest with him about this..but we were new and we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves. I liked him and we had lots of fun together. Anyway, it became pretty apparent from early on that we had something pretty darn special and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
    For the past year, we’ve talked heavily about marriage and babies. We talk about how in love we are and he tells me how excited he is to marry me and having babies and just our future in general. We talk about where we want to live, that we hope our first child will be a girl, what kind of wedding we want etc. I know it’s important for him to be the one who proposes (and I completely understand that) but now I feel like I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re very secure financially, we have a great support system, we have a house together…sometimes I just want to shake him and ask him what he’s waiting for!
    Anyway, last night I wanted to sit down and have a serious conversation in regards to timelines. Our 4 year anniversary is coming up and to be honest, I was hoping for a sparkly ring. I had a gut feeling that it wouldn’t be happening tomorrow, which made me feel disappointed and a bit frustrated. So what do I do? Try and talk with him during my emotional PMS state. Anyway, we talk all the time about our future and what we want, but never really spoke about WHEN these things would happen. Long story short, I approached the whole thing last night wrong. Very, very wrong ( I blame it on PMS) I got way too emotional and the conversation did not go how I planned. AT ALL. After we both calmed down, we were able to express why each of us got so upset and we were able to talk calmly about what we both want. He expressed that me getting so emotional before even bringing anything up made him feel trapped and a bit manipulated (although he knows this wasn’t my intention) he was too focused on calming me down and reassuring me to honestly express how he truly felt.
    I told him I was hoping for a summer 2014 wedding (we don’t want anything big or elaborate) but he expressed that while that was a possibility, he felt that was too soon and the thought of planning something so soon felt rushed and stressed him out. I was thinking in my head “we’ve talked about marriage for so long now, we’ve had PLENTY of time to plan for this. This is a cop out. The thought of marrying ME makes him stressed, etc etc etc” He said he was thinking a 2015 summer wedding. I thanked him for being honest and giving me his timeline because that’s really huge. I feel disappointed that it looks like I won’t be getting my 2014 wedding, but at least I know he has a timeline in mind! In regards to a proposal, he tells me its “in the works” and not to stress out or worry, be patient because it will happen. My “in the works” means a proposal yesterday, but I know that “in the works” for him means it’s coming, probably not tomorrow, or next month, but not to worry, it will happen…when we’re both ready. And that’s the way it needs to be, because we’re a team and we respect each other.
    In the meantime, I need to calm my ducks down. He’s not ready right now to propose even though I am ready. But that’s okay. He’s an amazing partner and I’ve told him I’m here for him. I’m here to support him and us through this next journey in our lives…and always, but I will not rush him. I know that when it does happen, it’s going to be so amazing. He’s told me the proposal will happen soon and he’s thinking a 2015 wedding. I can live with that. I trust him.
    Here’s to PATIENCE, love and support! I hope everyone has a great holiday season!!

  • Henry Nancy

    I and my boy friend as been separated for a long period, I cam across different spell caster and they were all unable to bring my lover back. I was so sad and almost gave up on him when i met a spell man called DR OLOKUM, who helped me get my lover back. Ever since then i have been so happy and couldnt believe it would happen. He also helped me with success spell, I have been living happily with my lover now and will be getting married soon. Here is his contact if you need his help. LAVENDERLOVESPELL@YAHOO.COM

  • Katherina

    This is a testimony that I will tell to every one to hear. I have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my lover away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until I met a post where this man DR OLOKUM have helped someone and I decided to give him a try to help me bring my lover back home and believe me I just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, I saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why I am happy to make every one of you in similar to met with this man and have your lover back to your self. His email: lavenderlovespell@yahoo.com

  • Olivia Ken

    My name is Olivia, am from maimi USA. i want to use this opportunity to thank my great doctor who really made my life a pleasurable one today. This great man DR.NICE OKSE brought my husband back to me, i had three lovely kids for my husband, about four years ago i and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me for one lady. i felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, until one day i met a good friend of mine that was also in a situation like me but her problem was her ex-boyfriend who she had an unwanted pregnancy for and he refused to take responsibility and dumped her. she told me that mine was a small case and that i should not worry about it at all, so i asked her what was the solution to my problems and she gave me this great man email address. i was doubting if this man was the solution, so i contacted this great man and he told me what to do and i deed them all, he told me to wait for just two day and that my husband will come crawling on his kneels just for forgiveness so i faithfully deed what this great man asked me to do and for sure after two days i heard a knock on the door, in a great surprise i saw him on his kneels and i was speechless, when he saw me, all he did was crying and asking me for forgiveness, from that day, all the pains and sorrows in my heart flew away,since then i and my husband and our lovely kids are happy.that is why i want to say a big thank you to DR.NICE OKSE. This great man made me to understand that there is no problem on earth that has no solution so please if you know that you have this same problem or any problem that is similar, i will advise you to come straight to this great man you can email him at: professionallovespell@hotmail.com

  • Caitlin

    I want to use this opportunity to thank drstanleyspelltemple@hotmail.com for helping me get my lover back after he left me few months ago. I have sent friends and my brothers to beg him for me but he refused and said that it is all over between both of us but when I met this Dr. Stanley, he told me to relaxed that every thing will be fine and after three days and contacted him, I got my man back……Caitlin

  • Noel

    I am in a similar situation. I have been with my man for 3 years. I’m a senior in college and graduating in a few months, he has already graduated and has a job. He actually was an undergrad with me and than started working for the school and we use to live together before he lost his job and had to move 2 hours away. About a year into our relationship we actually discussed rings and all that because at the point I guess you could say we knew he just couldn’t afford it at the time. Now he has a great job and if I bring it up it starts a fight and he says I’m pressing him. He say I should be graduated, we should have a certain amount of money this that and the other. I feel though as if he loves me why can’t I at least get a ring… I mean I’m freaking out enough about graduating, finding a job and all that. which he wants me to move where he is and that’s fine but I don’t want to live together forever I grew up southern and that what I want out of life. I just want to know why it is so hard because this is weighing on my heart so much I think I’m starting to deal with depression because of it. I scared to move where he is and nothing change. I feel like I need some sort of secure and I guess to me its the ring because I know I want to marry him.

  • jeff

    The most common source of problems in marriages is that the couple misinterpreted their mutual feelings of attraction as love. This normally results in the couple trying to keep up appearances after about 5 years, and wondering where the love went.

    It is important to know that attraction is an emotional feeling that may fade, while love is a promise that has little to do with attraction. If you are thinking of getting married, then please read “Attraction is a feeling. Love is a promise.” by Grenville Phillips.

  • Essie S

    Sigh. 8 years, no proposal. I think I am really starting to crack up. At this point, I don’t even know what to do anymore. I lost hope months ago, but don’t want to be with anyone else. It’s always, “not the right time”. He is under enough stress as it is, with a horrible job and crazy family, I don’t want to add to it. It’s getting harder to explain the random tears.

    • Miss Teek

      oh i know the random tears all too well. Just know you’re not alone :-)

  • sharon

    sharon
    This is a testimony that i will tell to every one to hear. i have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my lover away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until i meant a post where this man Dr, Love have helped someone and i decided to give him a try to help me bring my love Husband home and believe me i just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, i saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why i am happy to make every one of you in similar to met with this man and have your lover back to your self. His email: drlovetemple@gmail.com you can also contact him on his web site

  • Susan Mark

    After being in relationship with husband for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don’t believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I saw some good talk about this spell caster called Dr kasee and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: onimalovespell@gmail.com you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything.I CAN NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU SIR HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS: onimalovespell@gmail.com CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

  • Susan Mark

    After being in relationship with husband for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don’t believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I saw some good talk about this spell caster called Dr kasee and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: onimalovespell@gmail.com you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything.I CAN NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU SIR HIS EMAIL ADDRESS IS: onimalovespell@gmail.com CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

  • Henry Nancy

    My husband has abandon me and the kids for the the past 8months now, and refuse to come back because he was hold on by a woman whom he just met, for that, my self and the kids has been suffering and it has been heel of a struggle, but I decide to do all means to make sure that my family come together as it use to, then I went online there I saw so many good talk about this spell caster whose email is LAVENDERLOVESPELL@YAHOO.com so I had to contact him and in just 4days as he has promised, my husband came home and his behavior was back to the man I got married to.I cant thank the spell caster enough what what he did for me, I am so grateful. I even spoke to the spell caster over the phone, to confirm his existence. His email again is: LAVENDERLOVESPELL@YAHOO.com

  • Henry Nancy

    This is a testimony that I will tell to every one to hear. I have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my lover away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until I met a post where this man DR OLOKUM have helped someone and I decided to give him a try to help me bring my lover back home and believe me I just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, I saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why I am happy to make every one of you in similar to met with this man and have your lover back to your self. His email:lavenderlovespell@yahoo.com.

  • Henry Nancy

    My husband has abandon me and the kids for the the past 8months now, and refuse to come back because he was hold on by a woman whom he just met, for that, my self and the kids has been suffering and it has been heel of a struggle, but I decide to do all means to make sure that my family come together as it use to, then I went online there I saw so many good talk about this spell caster whose email is LAVENDERLOVESPELL@YAHOO.com so I had to contact him and in just 4days as he has promised, my husband came home and his behavior was back to the man I got married to.I cant thank the spell caster enough what what he did for me, I am so grateful. I even spoke to the spell caster over the phone, to confirm his existence. His email again is: LAVENDERLOVESPELL@YAHOO.com

  • amina

    I am a happy man today because of what Dr Eziza did for me. two years ago my lover broke up with me without any good reason at first i felt depressed and dont know what to do. on this lucky day i was going through the internet i saw testimonies of Dr Eziza i contacted him and he also helped me incase you need solution to your problems contact him on ezizaoguntemple@gmail.com or call +2348058176289

  • Briney

    My name is Briney from Fl. U.S. Do you need a miracle to help you with your heartache? Do you want to be Happy Again ? I want to honestly help you because i know what it feels like to have your heart broken. We all want to be happy with the one that makes our heart beat, the one who
    makes us happy. I know its hard to trust so called spell casters with so many scams going around. I was blessed to find a trustworthy spell caster Dr.kizzekpe is the most powerful spell caster there is. He is caring , understanding and will help you with the most impossible love issue
    you may have. Weather you want your lover or husband back , he will make it happen in just 48hours. He is the only one i would ever trust. He is making my dream come true with the love of my life. Don’t hesitate on contacting him for help email him at kizzekpespells@outlook.com

  • kels

    This is exactly what I am going through right now and is the only thing we fight over. I have told him that at this point in our lives, (we’ve been together for 6 years lived together for 3 and are now buying a house together) It feels a little ridiculous to call him my boyfriend. I feel he is more to me than that and I don’t want to use an ultimatum but I am at my witts end. HELP!!!!

  • Lanessa

    “…I feel very lucky and blessed that testimonytemple@gmail.com were able to turn our marriage around like this with his spell. My husband used to spend as much time as he could away from home with other women. Since he cast the love spell on him, My husband is now so in love with me and its so funny that my husband had not go out for weeks now!”
    –Ianessa, Portland

  • Rose Marylove

    I want to say thanks to this great man called Dr SAMURA who helped me in my marriage life. my name is Nguyen lives in USA Memphis so i was married to Albert we both love and like each other before our marriage, he care about my well being so i was so happy that i have found a man like this in my life my parents love him so much because of his kindness towards me and the way he care about me after four years in my marriage, no child he was not showing me much care anymore but i notice something is going on which i no. then i keep on with the relationship and i was hoping one day God will open my way to have a child in my home then i keep on going to church from one play to another by telling all the pastors about my problems that i don’t have a child so many of them promise me that soon i we have a child in my home i keep on hoping in God’s miracle on till one day when i went for a visit in my friend office then i was welcome by my friend we started dis causing about so many things on marriage life i was so shock she ask me about my wedding and what is going on till now i still don’t have a child then i told her my dear sister i don’t no what to do anymore and am scared of loosing my husband who have be caring for me for a long time now then she said i we not loosing him i ask how? then she said there is one man called Dr SAMURA who help in a relationship then i keep on asking how about him she told me this man can do all thing and make things possible i never believe her for once that this man she is talking about can do it so fast. also i ask her how do i get his contact she said i should not worry my self then she gave me his contact email ID and his number to contact him i said ok i will try my best to do so she wish me the best of luck in life then i went home gotten home, found that my door is open i was scared thinking so many things i don’t no who is in my house now i look at the key in my hand i was thinking i did not lock my door shortly a word came into my mind that i should go inside and check if there is any body at home or my husband getting inside, i found that my husband move away his things in the house then i started calling his number refuses to pick i was like a mad Dog i cried and cried don’t no what to do then i remember to that a friend of mine gave me a contact today i take my computer i emailed this man called Dr SAMURA also i called him on his cell phone which i received from my friend he spoke to me very well and i was happy my husband we come back to me so after the work was well done by Dr SAMURA, just in three days i heard my phone ringing not knowing it was my husband telling me his sorry about what he did to me then i accepted him again a month later, i was pregnant for him so i rest my testimony till i deliver safely i we give the best testimony again so my sisters and brothers if you are in such pain kindly contact this great man with this email SAMURATELERSPELL100@YAHOO.COM OR CALL +2348103508204 or my website http://samuratellerspell.webs.com/

  • Unidennem

    My daughter’s boyfriend asked for her hand in marriage 6 months ago. Though there has been discussion about purchasing a ring – it has not happened. He keeps saying he is planning to do it ‘soon’ which is who knows when. Would it be inappropriate to discuss his intentions with him?

    Confluffled Parents

    • Amy March

      Yes. It would be inappropriate. This is a discussion for your daughter to have with him if she wants to. There is no place for you in that conversation.

  • Mary P.

    I’m in a similar boat. My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 2 years, and have been living with each other for one year. We have a dog, a house, and we raise my 4 year old son from a previous marriage together. I’m 31. He’s 46. he works full time (and then some) and I am for the most part but they at home mom. I have a very part time job. I want more kids. I want to get married. He does too, but doesn’t have a timeline of when. I asked him and he said he has no plans. I said I was a planner. He said he’s not. He plans only for today. Day after day. I need more than this, I don’t know what to do with myself because he literally does not have a timeline. I say, “when?” and he says, “I don’t know.”
    so I am forced to be patient. I just have to wait until it hits him one day, a lightbulb will go off, and he will realize that he is ready.
    I don’t want to leave him, I don’t want to throw away what we do have for what we could have. I just have to be happy with the here and now, and hope that someday I will get my wishes answered too.

  • ELICIA

    my husband and i have been separated for a long period of time, I came across different spell caster and they were all unable to bring my husband back. I was so sad and almost gave up on him when i met a man called DR Lawrence who helped me get my husband back. Ever since then i have been so happy and couldn’t believe it would happen. He also helped me with success spell, Thank you drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail.com