Hi Ani Ram,
I have been reading your blog for about six months now and I really enjoy it. I almost always agree with the advice you give and I think you are very rationale and see both sides (male and female) well.
I’m going to be 28 in August and my boyfriend just turned 29. We met in college and we have had A LOT of ups and downs during the past 5.5 years – never broke up – but we have both grown up as individuals and grown closer as a couple. We communicate better – but sometimes we still don’t see eye to eye. But I think we both understand our flaws and try to work on them.
I love him. And I know he loves me. I want to marry him and I’m finally ready to be engaged. I feel confident that our differences are ones we can work through and I’m ready. But my problem now is he is not ready yet. He thinks we still have time and that there is no need to “rush” into marriage. I don’t think it’s a rush. I think I have been patient. He still is nervous that we don’t always communicate that well together and we still have issues to work out. I told him there will always be “issues” but none that we can’t deal as a couple dating or as a couple married.
I’m at the point that if he doesn’t give me some sort of timeline – then I don’t know if I can wait – bc he doesn’t give me any firm idea on timing. I guess I don’t know how long I should wait. I just don’t want to be strung along and wake up one day and I’m 35 and still just “dating” my boyfriend for the past 12 years! That is my nightmare. I would really like to be engaged within the next 6 months. I am trying not to push him too hard, but I really feel like I have been patient and I need to stick up for myself. I really can’t wait forever. But how long is too long?
I have emotional outbursts that I know are bad, but sometimes I can’t help it bc I’m so frustrated and have a lot of resentment bc sometimes I don’t feel like he acknowledges or appreciates how patient I’m being. And sometimes I feel like an outburst is the only way to communicate to him so that he knows I’m serious. I know it’s bad and he does not react to “drama” well – so it’s something I need to control better.
Any thoughts you have – I would appreciate them.
- Still Waiting
Dear Still Waiting,
After thinking about your concerns, one thing is very clear: you are ready to get engaged and get married. You understand the challenges that come along with marriage and you are ready to work on them to improve your relationship (ex. communication & patience). It is also obvious how much you love your boyfriend.
There is an important distinction to be made between wanting to marry someone specific and actually being ready to get married in principle. For example, you could be so in love with your partner and want to marry him but, in reality, you may not be ready for marriage. On the other hand, you could be ready for marriage, but may not want to marry your partner. The latter occurs mostly in men (unfortunately).
You seem to tick both boxes – you are ready for marriage and you are sure that you want to marry your partner. Whether he is ready to tick both boxes is to be determined. The only way you can know for sure is through communication.
You mentioned that communication is an area that you both realize could use some improvement in your relationship. Sounds that way to me as well. I think it’s great that you have been patient with him but now you’ve come to a point where your patience is making you uncomfortable. You feel uncomfortable because the relationship is moving at his pace and on his terms. You have to get to a point where you can be comfortable with the pace and terms of the relationship. Knowing his timeline and plans for the future would bring you that comfort.
The first step to improving your communication is to address this very issue. You know you don’t want to wait another 12 years but you don’t know how long is too long. That is because you don’t know how long he needs. Statements like “I’m not ready yet” or “let’s not rush” sound to me like he is not convinced yet that marrying you is the right decision. Once you know how long he needs to figure that out you’ll know if that’s too long for you to wait or not. Best solution: just ask!
“When do you see yourself getting married?”
”Do you ever see us being married?”
”Can you imagine spending the rest of your life with me?”
”Do you have any concerns about us getting married?”
”How much longer do you think we need to date before you think we would be ready for marriage?”
Get some answers out of him! I guarantee you that he has an answer for each of these questions. Ask all of them. Don’t assume any of his answers. The only thing you should assume is that nothing is obvious and you shouldn’t feel like you’re in the dark. Getting these important answers out of him will bring you to a new level of openness, and it will take both of you to a better level of communication. Don’t leave out any single question that pops into your head. Just be prepared that you may not like all of his answers.
Also, be sure that you have your answers prepared, too. Don’t be surprised if he fires some questions back at you. One question that most men love is “what do you want?” If you are lucky to get it make sure you tell him everything! You want to be engaged in the next 6 months. Period. Be clear and specific. Leave him in no doubt about your needs.
Another thing that is certain about you two, and that you can bring up to him, is that over the past five and a half years, you have learned everything there is to learn about each other. From your emotional outbursts to all of the drama that you may have dealt with as a couple, you have seen each other in every which way. You know his faults and he knows yours. In a year from now, you will still have your faults, and he will have his. Neither of you is ever going to find someone who has no faults.
No guy likes drama and every girl has emotional outbursts. My husband had the same hang-up about that before we got married. One day I said to him, “look, I promise you that there will always be those moments where you upset me and I will get emotional and maybe freak out or scream… but good luck finding a girl who never freaks out or gets mad or hysterical”. I think that put things in perspective for him. Go ahead and ask your boyfriend if he really thinks there is a girlfriend out there who communicates perfectly and never has any emotional outbursts; or if there is a relationship out there with absolutely no drama. When you think of it that way it might make you feel pretty good about your relationship. I mean, imagine how much worse most relationships must be! I am sure you two make a pretty good couple!
So, go ahead and talk to him. No more wondering. You need answers and you need to decide how you feel about those answers. He needs answers from you, too. Tell him where you stand. Stand up for yourself. What you want is normal, reasonable, and not outrageous in any way.
Hopefully, asking him the above questions will get you two talking and will bring you closer in the end. Keep in touch! I’d love to hear about what happens.
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