Long story short, he found out that I found it and is now telling me the reason he hasn’t proposed is because he’s “not ready.” He assured me that I am the love of his life and he knows he’s going to marry me but that he just isn’t ready to pop the question due to his not being ready for marriage. It bothers me so much that he isn’t sure about our relationship and it makes me wonder if I’m wasting my time in a relationship that might never manifest itself into something more serious.
My question is: Do I stick around and wait for him to be ready (if he ever is) or leave and maybe give him a wake-up call? — Stuck In Girlfriend Limbo
So, “everything was going great” until you found this engagement ring? And the only thing that changed between your not knowing about the engagement ring and then finding out about the engagement ring is thinking that your boyfriend isn’t ready to get married? Am I understanding that right? But before you found this engagement ring, everything was great and you were under the impression that your boyfriend was ready to get married? Was that an understanding you two had? Did you believe a proposal was imminent and now you’re worried that it isn’t? I guess… I’m having trouble understanding how finding an engagement ring would worry you so much about your boyfriend’s intention and commitment to you. Shouldn’t an engagement ring symbolize the opposite?
Ok, I get it — it’s been seven months since he purchased it and asked your parents for permission to propose (ugh, by the way), and you think that means he isn’t sure. But there’s a difference between being unsure about a relationship and not being quite ready to get married. You two are only 25 — still pretty young by many measures. What’s the rush? What would marriage give you that you don’t have now? Reassurance that you’re in it forever? Health insurance? Insurance in an emergency or, god forbid, a tragedy, that you would both be able to care for each other in the best way possible?
I think you need to be really explicit — both for yourself and your boyfriend — about WHY you want to be married. And then your boyfriend needs to be explicit about why he isn’t ready. And you both need to understand that neither of you is “right” or “wrong.” And neither of you loves the other more or less solely on your readiness for marriage. I promise you that readiness for marriage is not a measure — or at least not the sole or most important measure — of love and commitment between two people. (Some people might argue that buying a home together is a commitment as big or almost as big as getting married…).
Bottom line: If you are seriously thinking about leaving your boyfriend in order to give him a “wake-up call,” I’m thinking that maybe YOU aren’t as ready for marriage as you think you are either. You can’t just leave every time you are unhappy about a decision (or non-decision) your partner is making. You can’t be passive and hope for happy results. Life and relationships don’t work that way. It’s a super childish way of behaving and not reflective of a thoughtful, measured, mature individual ready to take a leap as big as marriage.
Sit on this, sit with your boyfriend, talk about your feelings, talk about his feelings, talk about what you both need to feel confident and settled in your relationship and what might be keeping both of you from jumping in with both feet at this point. Try not to take a hint of hesitation personally, but see it as an opportunity to learn about and from each other and grow together. At 25, you both have lots of growing to do. The trick for longevity in your relationship will be to grow together and not apart (leaving him to give a “wake-up call” is a sure bet of doing the latter).
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.