Hi Felicity, I’m 42 and in a committed relationship. My boyfriend and I are both divorced. We’ve been together for almost 4 years now and he hasn’t popped the question. Ughh… I really love him, but I’m starting to feel taken advantage of or like something is wrong with me! Every birthday that comes and goes without a ring is harder to handle. When I try to bring up the conversation of marriage, he gets defensive and avoids the conversation. I’m not getting any younger. What do I do? Do I stay or do I go?
It’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? I get asked this a lot. And I wish the answer was easy.
Any life decision such as getting married takes a tremendous amount of soul searching, as it should.
Making the commitment to get married is huge. The truth is he may be harboring some feelings of fear left over from his first marriage which makes things a bit more complex. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to marry you. It’s just that it could take him a bit more time to build up the courage to try again.
Whether you’re able to wait becomes the real question.
Whether to stay or leave the relationship is a decision that impacts the both of you. Which means it’s a decision you should be making together.
Leaving the relationship is an option, but is it what you really want? If not, you have some work to do. And it does not include you “fixing” him!
It sounds like you’ve been trying to talk to him about your future together and your desire to get married. But let’s face it – what you’ve been trying hasn’t been working or you wouldn’t be looking outside the relationship for answers. I say this with kindness and sincerity.
Bringing up the conversation of marriage can be tough on both of you.
Sometimes entering into a meaningful conversation about where your relationship is going can feel very heavy. Keep in mind that what you’ve been saying up until this point about marriage and what he’s actually hearing are likely two different things.
I know you were hoping for a clear cut answer telling you specifically whether you should stay or go, but you and I both know relationships are more complicated than that.
I also want you to know I understand what you’re going through, I’ve been there. And when I say that I’ve been there I mean I’ve BEEN there. It’s not easy. It’s downright painful.
Women seem to be hardwired to play out every possible scenario in our heads trying to get to the answer. But I suspect you’re asking yourself all the wrong questions, i.e. why doesn’t he want to marry me?!
The good news is that more than half of the stuff that you’ve probably been telling yourself about why he hasn’t proposed yet is b******t or an exaggerated version of the truth.
Oh the stories we tell ourselves.
It’s a recipe for disaster really and it looks something like this:
2 cups of social media
1 cup of I’m old, fat, ugly (etc.)
1 cup of every romantic comedy you’ve ever watched (tears and snot dripping down your face)
3/4 cup of Victoria Secret commercials
2 tablespoons of a pestering mom
1 teaspoon of your girlfriends telling you to just leave him already
A dash of everyone you know is getting married, even your floozy neighbor
Garnish with another holiday and no ring
Serve chilled (brrrr)
Listen to me when I say that there is NOTHING wrong with you.
You are beautiful, sexy and kind with people in your life who love and care about you. It’s obvious he loves you or you wouldn’t still be together!
Are you asking yourself the right questions?
When you say you want to get married the first question that comes to mind is. Why? And do you want to get married just for the sake of getting married, or do you want to marry HIM? More importantly are you happy together.
In thinking about your relationship, is this someone that you can see yourself growing old with?
> Is he honest?
> Does he make you feel beautiful?
> Does he make you laugh, motivate you and encourage you when you’re down?
> Do you trust each other, and have fun doing nothing at all?
If you can check off most if not all the boxes then it sounds like you’ve got yourself a keeper, which is great news!
Although I understand how hard it is to feel absolutely powerless about his decision to marry you, you should know this is another story you’re telling yourself.
What I want you to do…
We both know society puts a tremendous amount of pressure on women to get married. But it’s imperative that you let all of that go for now.
What I’m going to ask you to do next is counter intuitive. I want you to back off of the topic of marriage altogether for at least 3 months.
I mean it!
No comments under your breath. No rolling of the eyes or an elbow in his side when you see an engagement commercial. No emailing him screen shots of rings. None of it!
During the next three months make a commitment to focus on YOU.
Take time out for yourself. Pick up a new hobby or revisit a neglected one. Take your paint brushes out of storage or your camera off the shelf. Reconnect with old friends and family. Start your morning with some yoga and end the day snuggled in your favorite chair with a good book. Look and feel beautiful just for you.
Reconnect with the woman he fell in love with.
If he’s truly the one, it may take a little longer than you’d anticipated but he will come around if you allow him the space to do so. If not, you’ll outgrow the relationship and move on.