Morning Quickies: “I’m Tired of Waiting for Him to Propose”

New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. Read some of the most popular Dear Wendy posts here. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), do a search in the search bar, or submit a question for advice at wendy(AT)

I have been in a very committed relationship for almost seven years now; I am a 26-year-old female, he is 34. About two years into the relationship he starting discussing marriage, we started looking at rings, and he brought that whole idea into my head. Years have past, and I’m still waiting. About a year ago, daily comments from people about why I was not married started eating at me. Why did he talk about “when we are married” and “our children” and “our future” and know how important marriage was only to make me keep waiting? Depressed and anxious, I questioned if we were on the same page which he followed with an angry, “If you want to know the truth, I already have the damn ring!” stab that I haven’t quite been able to shake. That was in November last year.

Since then, every vacation, trip, and weekend I’ve tried to look my best, but no proposal. After enduring the pain of my cousin’s AND his sister’s engagements, I’ve almost completely given up any hope. At this point, I feel like he could shove an engagement ring where the sun don’t shine. Ugh. Wendy! I love this man and would be lost without him! But I’m tired of being on his time and his time only! I’m sick of questioning myself, trying to better myself, wondering, wishing, and waiting. I am honestly harboring so much bitterness and resentment that at this point it’s almost as if, why the hell ask me now? I mean, am I supposed to jump for joy if he goes down on one knee? Scream, “Yay, I’m finally good enough! Seven years, and I guess I’ve finally washed enough of your clothes!”? My whole life revolves around his twisted time frame. Over the years there have been several occasions he has voiced his complaints about the expense of a ring and wedding and yet come home with a very expensive, several-thousand-dollar toy or, ahem, “investment.” What should I do? I feel that I am losing my mind. — Tired of Waiting

Well, I mean, you could just buy ask him to marry you yourself and whatever his answer is is the answer. If he says “no” or “not yet” or indicates that you have to go by his timetable, you move the fuck on. But, you know, I wouldn’t even bother asking this guy to marry you. You sound fucking miserable. Why do you want to sign on for a life of washing the clothes of some dude who sounds cheap, dishonest, inconsiderate, and selfish? You’re so obsessed with why he hasn’t proposed, but I’m really curious about why on earth you’d want to marry him. Because you love him and “would be lost without him”? Oh, honey. That’s pitiful. You’ve spent seven years being brainwashed into thinking you can’t function without his lame ass around, and that’s simply not true. You can function without having a load of some guy’s shirts to wash, I promise you. But you’re going to have to summon some inner strength, foster some independence, find your dignity, stand the hell up for yourself, and say, “Fuck this shit! I’ve waited for your sorry ass for seven long years and I’m done. Take that engagement ring and stick it where the sun don’t shine because I am moving on.”

Even if he ever does propose to you — and I find that highly doubtful — the chances of your actually having a wedding are close to zero. He’s going to come up with every excuse in the book why you can’t afford it and don’t need it. And then if you ever do get married, he’s going to consider you so indebted to him for finally wifing you up, that your happiness won’t ever make his list of priorities. As far as he’ll be concerned, that ring bought him the rest of your life together, making you something of an indentured servant to him while he makes all the major decisions about how to spend your money, where to live, how he spends his time (not with you, is my guess). Ugh. Is that what you want? That’s not what you want! Get out, girl. You don’t need this shit. MOA, MOA, MOA!!!

I recently started dating a new guy, but we aren’t official. He is a really great person and we click. I did a little snooping and found his ex’s Instagram. She had a picture of a gift her boyfriend had given her (a cookie cake), which was the exact same gift my guy just gave me! I may be overreacting to this, but I can’t shake the feeling he bought it because *she* got one. They have been broken up for over two years, and she has been dating her new guy for one. Am I overreacting? Or should we just end this? — The Way the Cookie Crumbles

It was a cookie cake — one of the most generic, common gifts among a certain group of people (i.e. teenagers/young adults, which I’m guess you are one of). I really wouldn’t read too much into this except that your guy lacks creativity, which isn’t the world’s biggest sin. I would stop worrying about the ex and snooping on her social media pages. And if you honestly feel in your heart that new guy isn’t over his ex from two years ago, maybe end the relationship before you develop an unhealthy obsession over it.

My boyfriend and I have been together on and off for over twenty-five years. He was married, but finally left his wife three years ago and moved in with me. She filed for divorce two years ago. His children are 26 and 29. He just told me he will be spending Christmas at his family home with his adult children and estranged wife. Of course, I am not included. The same thing happened last year and he promised me we would be together this year. I think this is a deal-breaker. What do you think? — Excluded from Holidays with His Wife and Kids

Well, I would have thought his being married to and having a family with someone else was the deal-breaker, but since that wasn’t an issue for you, your values differ greatly from mine and I’m not sure what to tell you. I mean, yeah, if the most important thing for you is to have a man who prioritizes the woman he’s committed to, you’re obviously with the wrong guy. If a guy who doesn’t respect the union he has with the woman he’s committed to and spends special occasions in the company of another woman is a deal-breaker for you, it looks like it’s time to move on, honey!


Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​


  1. @LW1 been there, done that. Girl, just move on. I promise, you’ll be so much happier. I was with my ex for 5 years and we kept doing that same song and dance that you’re doing now, I kept feeling the same way. When I finally left him, he didn’t even try to stop me. He didn’t even notice when I moved all of my clothes out of his place . Your guy has not proposed yet because he doesn’t want to. Just MOA and find a guy who is really excited to marry you.

    1. I’ve been in a similar situation too and broke things off after getting tired of waiting. When you’re with the right guy, he won’t hesitate to wife you. That’s what happened to me. My husband proposed earlier than I expected, and we’ve been going strong for over 4 years now and are about to have our 1st child.

    2. Been there, done that too. Move on. It has been enough.
      LW, you are so young to be wasting your time. And I can’t believe the line about washing the clothes! It’s sad. Take a look at yourself and please move on.

    3. Miss Dre, I thought about you as soon as I read this letter. I’m so glad you aren’t in that situation anymore!

  2. LW1, the only thing going through my mind when I read Wendy’s response was: FUCK YEAH. I hope you feel the same.

  3. LW1: what should you do? You end it. Surest way to have him ask you, but it is too late anyway, you seem to be over this relationship.
    LW3: of course you won’t be included! It would be really the world upside down if you were!

  4. LW1, I would bet my life savings he is 100% lying about having a ring already. He’s saying the minimum of what you want to hear to keep you around for sex and laundry. YOU are more than good enough. You should worry about whether HE’S good enough (hint: he’s not). Beware, because when he knows you’re really going to leave, that is the time he might finally propose – for the aforementioned sex and laundry. Don’t get sucked back in, because he will drag his feet for another couple of years after that.

    The only dating-advice book I ever read was “He’s Just Not That Into You”, and I think it applies here. There was a section at the end of each chapter called “Here’s what it should look like”, with examples of things that loving, committed partners do for each other in a healthy relationship. In your case, “what it should look like” makes me think of some friends of mine who have been together for 18-ish years, since college, and happily married for 11 years. The husband has described, on several occasions, the feeling of having just purchased the ring. “As soon as I had it I couldn’t wait to give it to her! I wanted to do something special but I really just wanted to go home and propose THAT DAY!” That’s what it’s supposed to look like.

    1. Yes! ^^That^^ is what it should look like!

  5. LW1: Yikes! Yes, move on! If he hasn’t proposed by now, he’s not going to. At this point you seem to only want to be chosen by this guy solely because you’ve been together for many years. Enough of that! Do YOU really want to choose HIM!? You sound bitter and resentful toward him. And why are you allowing him to dictate the timeline and falling into a depression over it as if you have no choice but to wait around? You can have a say by walking away. And P.S. It’s creepy when 27-year-olds date 19-year-olds.

    LW2: This is really, really stupid. It’s a cookie cake! Did both cakes have “Happy Birthday” written on them? And do you think your guy only did that because his ex’s boyfriend did that? As stupid as what you wrote is, though, I think you should end it since you’re so concerned about his ex from two(!) years ago.

    LW3: You were the other woman for over 23 years! Wow! That’s really sad.

    1. That is really sad. His now grown kids were really little when their Dad started running around on their Mom. I wonder how little time he had for his kids because he was too busy being a cheat.
      LW3 has a LOT of nerve!

  6. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    LW1 Your value has nothing to do with whether your boyfriend proposes. You are internalizing his actions as some sort of flaw on your part. You aren’t flawed. It’s him. He’s the one stringing you along. He’s the one who is dishonest about getting married. He’s the one dragging out this relationship by pretending to want to get married at some unspecified time in the future. It isn’t you.

    Regain your dignity and regain control of your life. Walk away from this relationship because he isn’t good enough for you. You don’t need to wash his shirts. What you need is a job that provides enough for you to live on and a place of your own. He has probably spent seven years putting you down in subtle ways so that he could dominate you and shut you down if you ever questioned him or wanted some input into what you do. Shut that down. Walk out the door and never look back. Tell him he doesn’t deserve you, which is the truth. Think about that. He doesn’t deserve you.

  7. LW3, I don’t know what you expected when you started a relationship with a man who had a 1-year-old, then continued while he had a new baby, went on family vacations, watched his kids’ soccer games and graduations, celebrated anniversaries with his wife, and spent every holiday with his actual family. It’s not like you’ve spent Christmas together in 25 years, why start now? I believe the phrase is “you made your bed.”

    1. *Correction: a 4-year old and a 1-year old. Even worse! You both suck – I can only imagine the time his wife spent taking care of those kids so you could rob them of time with their father. Gross.

  8. LW1, let’s do some math. This dude 27, was older than you are now, when you started dating. And you were 19. You know why a grown man dates a teenager? It’s so he doesn’t have to answer questions about when are we getting married and having kids… its so he can mold her into the perfect lapdog of a gf who does his laundry just the way he likes it and accepts the scraps of a relationship he’s willing to offer.
    Dude obviously does not want to get married. Dangling the idea of a ring in front of you like that was a cruel trick to keep you hanging on. If you do call his bluff he probably will propose, but then it’ll be “why set a date, lets just enjoy being engaged,” and maybe a few years will go by before you get fed up again and demand a date and then what? You’ll eventually get married to a dude who only married you because he ran out of excuses. Or, he’ll finally get the balls to dump you and you’ll have wasted even more years of your life on this douche.

    I’m sure you do think you’d be lost without him, because you have spent your entire adult life with him. But you can get through it LW, and you’ll be stronger for it. Getting married is not a life achievement or a checkbox or a reward you get for staying in a relationship for X loads of laundry. And its not worth being married to someone you have to beg to marry you.

    1. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

      I personally feel that if you want to be married then don’t move in with a guy without a definitive wedding date. No vague promises of ‘someday’ because that day never comes.

      I always tell my girls, ‘don’t give a man wife benefits when he’s only giving you boyfriend benefits.’

      1. I, on the other hand, wouldn’t agree to marry someone without living with them first, and am extremely grateful for the certainty our previous cohabitation gave me when I did agree to marry him. I was no more giving him “wife benefits” by moving in with him than he was giving me “husband benefits” by moving in with me.

      2. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

        To each her own.
        Moving in indefinitely with someone whom you hope will propose to you doesn’t work for everyone. If that were the case, DW wouldn’t have so many letters where women are waiting (for years, sometimes) on the guy to propose to them.
        Bravo that it worked for you but that is not the case for every woman!

      3. My sisters and I had that “rule.” We all chose to wait until we were engaged to move in with our now husbands. Nearly all of my friends waited until either they were engaged or marriage was discussed and they were on the marriage path. So far, so good for everyone.

        Yep, to each their own.

      4. dinoceros says:

        I had a couple of friends who went with this. Some who didn’t. They’re all in happy marriages.

        Never been a fan of that phrase, though, and what it says about women, men, marriage, and sex.

      5. @Cleopatra Jones those are my feelings as well. I would not move in with someone unless I was engaged or a specific timeline for marriage has been discussed. Not because I’m giving up “benefits” or anything like that, but because “moving in” means different things to different people. To me, it means committing to building a life together, and I would want to be very sure of that commitment.

      6. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

        ‘wife benefits’ is just a catch all phrase in this context. It has nothing to do with sex or financial benefits. It just means that you treat your husband much differently than your boyfriend. You have different intimacies and boundaries with a husband than a boyfriend.
        I see so many women who move in with a guy, and then take on the wife role (mingling finances, managing his family relationships, having kids, etc.) in hopes that he will marry them. When he doesn’t they are bitter (and they have the right to be) and feel like they wasted their life.
        Honestly, as a woman of color, this is a huge problem in my community and has been for decades, so I’m not encouraging my daughters to go down that road.

  9. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

    LW2: you are overreacting. I don’t mean that in a mean way at all; it’s just a fact in this specific instance. You said you guys “just started dating” and “aren’t official”, which leads me to believe it’s still early enough in the relationship that you two are still getting to know each other better. You don’t say if he’s friendly still with his ex (not “I haven’t gotten over her” friendly, I mean, but “our breakup didn’t suck and doesn’t define us as people” friendly), but I think it’s entirely possible that — not knowing you as well as he will in the future — he saw the picture, thought “Hey, women must like this stuff because she liked it!” and got you the cake.

    Is that a really stupid train of thought? Yeah, probably, but in our defense, men can be stupid sometimes when it comes to presents. When I think of all the REALLY bad presents I gave exes (and even my wife!) early on in our relationships . . . I mean, I got her one of those muscle-shocking abdominal belts for our first Valentine’s Day together (and it was about 8 months at that point) because she had one, it broke, and she had been saying she had been meaning to get another one. When I told my friend, all proud about it, her first response was “So you got your girlfriend a belt that’s designed to help her LOSE WEIGHT and FIX HER ABS?” and I basically wanted to crawl under my desk 🙂 So all I’m saying is that before you bail on the guy, let him get to know you a little better and see if the presents start to get a little more personal and thoughtful.

    1. Anything that ends in getting a cookie cake is not a stupid train of thought. Cookie cake is the food of the gods.

    2. dinoceros says:

      Makes sense to me. When I buy gifts for the guys in my life at Christmas, if I find a good one, they all get it.

    3. LisforLeslie says:

      Agreed – this is not about making this equal. This is about how a cookie cake is a great gift that people like. So not something you need to analyze any further.

  10. OMG, that first letter made me shudder. Sweetie, it’s 2017, and you’re not Cinderella, doing laundry while you wait for the prince to bring you the glass slipper.

    I’m not shuddering because the guy clearly doesn’t want to marry you, and you’re not getting it. I’m shuddering because of your attitude, thinking you have to wait around while a man decides your fate. Saying things like “enduring the pain of my cousin AND his sister’s engagement.” Or “every vacation, trip and weekend I’ve tried to look my best.”

    Dear lord. Do you really think that little of yourself? That your worth is tied up in whether a man proposes to you? That if he doesn’t it’s because you didn’t dress prettily enough on that vacation?

    You clearly detest this guy, so end the misery and take a break from dating. Therapy wouldn’t be a bad idea, with the goal of seeing your own worth. And learning what good relationships look like in the 21st century.

    1. So I read the part about looking her best on vacation more that she’s expecting the engagement so always trying to look camera ready. I know plenty of girls who expected an engagement and so got a manicure or new outfit or something so they would look good in the pictures.
      And on one hand that’s a bit shallow, but on the other hand, my husband precoordinated with a friend to take pics of our engagement when he planned it out, and we used one on our save the date cards.

      1. It woukdnt surprise me that he hasnt sone it, because she is a 100% ready for a proposal whenever and wherever, talk, about pressure and taking out the spontaneity

      2. If that’s the case then he’s awful.

        As a feminist, I don’t support this idea that one of the most important decisions of your life should be made spontaneously, and possibly in public or in front of loved ones. I mean the guy gets to think about it for weeks/months/years and the girl then gets 30 seconds while I a dude is on his knee? No.
        I had a lovely semi-surprise proposal (dude’s not as sneaky as he thinks he is) but we had talked about it often before, got me sized for a ring together, etc. It was not spontaneous.

        And any dude who was about to propose but decided not to because his gf got a manicure is a major ass. Eff that guy.

  11. dinoceros says:

    LW1: He doesn’t want to marry you. If he wanted to, he would have. The more concerning part is that it appears that you cannot even bring up the topic of where you are at in your relationship without him getting angry. You mention asking once, but make it sound like it’s the only time you’ve asked. If that’s true, then I think for your next relationship, you need to learn the lesson that you DO get a say in your relationship/have the right to know where you stand and if you are not getting that, then you should book it out of there. It’s not the 1800s. You don’t just sit around and wait for someone to propose.

    LW2: I thought you were about to imply that he was still her boyfriend. I don’t think he’d buy you one because she got one. That makes no sense. More likely, he got it for her before, she enjoyed it, and he saw it as an enjoyable gift. Also, it’s food. Unless someone has food allergies or is a picky eater, there are not a lot of ways that a person makes a food gift individualized. If she loves tennis (and you hate it), and he got you a tennis racket, that would be a problem.

    LW3: You get to pick your own dealbreakers. Keep in mind that it’s much more likely you’re going to be ostracized from a divorced man’s family if you guys get together while he’s still married than if you wait. Yes, yes, I’m sure their marriage was failing already or whatever, but people will not see it that way. Next time, try to hold out until they are divorced and actually ready to move on and you will probably have an easier time being incorporated into their life.

  12. LW1 I have to agree with Wendy it is time to move on. I dated a man who was 8 years older than me when I was 17. I thought I was mature enough to handle this relationship….yeah I wasn’t and neither was he. I was naive and inexperienced. It didn’t take long for me to realize this and break up with him. I am in my 30’s now and looking back, I was like what the hell was I thinking. I wish I had known better. I know this is not the case for everyone, but I see where you are coming from. This person has been a part of almost all of your early adult years. Don’t continue to spend your time with someone who doesn’t value you and your relationship. You deserve better than that.

  13. LW1 – I dont know if he has the ring but do you really want to be with someone that is so excited to marry you they he has a ring and is holding out until who knows what. My husband and I were together for 3 years before he purposed, he bought the ring called his mom and cousin to him come up with an epic plan for the engagement left and came home while I was putting together Ikea furniture with wood glue all over me and paced the house like 8 times I thought he was getting ready to have a seizure and he came in the living room and got down on one knee and purposed. His mother loves telling that story about how she had already called and talked to the restaurant about the proposal and where his parents and mine could watch. But because he could not stand waiting we got engaged in the living room at 10 pm with me covered in wood glue. If he has the ring and hasn’t purposed do you really want him, I wouldn’t.

    LW2 – Enjoy the cookie cake, and grow up and quit stalking his ex’s

    LW3 – You have had 23 years of practice for how your life will always be in this relationship. Quit expecting a new outcome, you have what you asked for.

  14. LW1 you sound like a horrific drama queen cry baby.

    How about discussing marriage with him.

    Its so incredibly archaic to wait on your little pedestal till he suprise asks you.

    Marriage is something you decide together instead of some silly bended on one knee proposal.

    And suffering through those two ither proposals? Why on earth are you so desperate for marriage?
    Its fine that you wanna marry if it holds importance to you, but marriage says absolutely nothing about commitment, look at the divorce rate.

    Living together is just as much of an commitment.

    If I were him I would run away so fast from you that you may wonder if hellhpunds were chasing me .

    You sound awfull

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      @Nikita You seem to have missed the part where she tried to have a discussion about marriage and he shouted at her to shut it down.

      You have a huge chip on your shoulder and you are taking it out on the LW. Living together might or might not be the same commitment. Commitment comes from deciding jointly that you want to spend your lives together. He refuses to have that joint conversation so you can’t say that they have the same commitment as marriage.

      1. Sorry but no. Living together is not the same commitment as getting married.
        It is a big commitment and for some people its what they want… but its absolutely not the same thing as legally becoming family.
        The entire gay marriage movement is predicated on the fact that marriage is a unique commitment level that cannot be substituted with cohabitation or even domestic partnership.

      2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I think you can have that level of commitment without marriage and I think you should have it before marriage but many people who live together don’t have that level of commitment.

        I think you need to know that the two of you would be together for life even if marriage didn’t exist before you get married. The marriage is then the legal expression, with all of it’s rights and obligations, of a commitment that already exists.

    2. You must be fun at parties.

    3. dinoceros says:

      Why does a stranger wanting to get married make you so enraged? Geez. Work out your issues on your own time, not on someone who just wants advice.

  15. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    LW1 You tried to see if the two of you were on the same page about marriage and children and he shouted at you. He shouted to avoid having the conversation and to make sure you didn’t bring it up again. That is the opposite of someone who wants to marry you. The guy who wants to marry you will be happy to talk about their vision of the future and will want to know whether it matches your vision of the future. He is telling you that you have no right to have answers to any questions which involve your joint future. He is trying to take away your ability to make informed decisions about your own future. You have every right to ask questions that relate to the rest of your life and to see if you are on track to have the type of life you want. When someone tries to take away your ability to make informed decisions it is time for you to leave them behind for good. You should have left him when he shouted at you for asking your question. He isn’t treating you as an equal partner or as a partner at all. He is treating you with contempt, as if he is the dictator of your life and you will get to know what he wants you to know when he wants you to know it. Dump him.
    He isn’t good enough to deserve you.

    Make a plan to leave but don’t inform him. He’ll only shout at you and perhaps propose to keep you there doing his laundry. Leave and let him come home to an empty home with a note that says you are done. Go no contact so that you aren’t pulled back into this awful relationship.

  16. LW3: Well what did you think would happen when you set your sights on a married father?? That he would just flaunt his other woman in front of the family he abandoned and that you helped break up? That they would just happily accept you with open arms?? That all would be forgiven once he left his wife?? You have already broken up their family, let them have SOMEthing. Don’t show up and ruin it for his ex and his kids; they are reminded of your existence daily; let them have this. Also, wake up and MOA.

  17. On the first letter; Omg she’s 26?!? Girl. GET OUT. The call is coming from inside the house!

  18. mellanthe says:

    LW1: Girl, you deserve better. It sounds like you got together when you were young and didn’t have much experience and didn’t need that kind of commitment. But that now you’re maturing and more serious about the relationship, he won’t entertain it. I’d say communication is key, but if he shouts down talk about whether marriage and kids are on the cards, and timeframes, then he’s never going to engage and be the grownup you need him to be. You could wait forever whilst he

    And also importantly, it’s making you miserable. Your letter sounds so defeated. It makes you jealous and miserble when the people you love get married or have kids because you wish you were. That’s not healthy.

    LW2: It’s really not that deep. He might not even check her instagram, lots of people get those kinds of gifts, and even if he gave her one in the past, or saw that her boyfriend gave her one, that doesn’t lessen the gesture to you.

    Unless you have reasons to believe he’s not over her, then do your best to let go of the fact he has an ex (she’s seeing another guy, after all, everyone seems to have moved on) and focus on getting to know him. And stop stalking exes’ instagrams, no good can come from that.

    LW3: your entire relationship with this man was set up on broken promises: the lies he’s told his ex wife and kids over the years, and the lack of respect he’s shown to them and you.

    I don’t know why you’d expect honesty, faithfulness and importance now; you’ve allowed him to keep you as the dirty secret and second choice for the past 25 or so years, I wonder if that’s set up how he’ll see you forever. You’ve been the secret for so long, he may not be able to introduce you as his partner and treat you as an actual priority. It’s wrong of him if he does that, but then everything he’s done has been dishonest so far so it’s hard to say how wrong he would find it.

    I’d usually say that when there’s been enough time, new partners should be introduced to kids (and ex partners, if it’s civil enough), but in this case, I don’t think it’d be easy, particularly if they find out the history.

    Good luck; I hope you get treated better now you can be an actual partner, but I’m not sure people who are that dishonest, and respect their relationships and parters that little can actually do that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *