Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Don’t Know Why My White Boyfriend Hasn’t Proposed Yet”

My boyfriend is 30 and I’m 25 years old. I come from a Middle Eastern background, but he is white. My problem is that I don’t know how the rules of proposal and marriage work here. We’ve been dating for over a year and my parents are asking for an update every month. You see, by our standards the guy should propose by six months and I don’t know how long people date here before a proposal, so I don’t know what to tell my parents. (He is 30, after all, and by my culture’s standards, I am like a 30-year-old too).

He knows I expect a wedding and he has even taken me to pick out rings so he can have an idea of what I like, but that was five months ago. On occasion he brings up how expensive rings and weddings are. On those occasions, I’ve chosen to ignore his comments. He also seems to have this phobia that women will take his house and money. I once asked him what’s one thing he wants to tell me but feels like he can’t, and he said, “Can I ever trust you with my credit card?” I was shocked to hear that because I rarely shop, always try to save money for my future, have a great credit score, have no student debt, and am working toward a doctorate degree (which will take me two to four years) while planning to work full-time after graduation. I’m not the type of girl who’s looking to leech off some guy.

Last weekend on a double date we were congratulating a couple on buying their first condo and I said hopefully that that’ll be us in five years. He said: “Who’s this ‘us’ you’re talking about? Are you buying me a house?” I said: “I can buy myself a house; I only need 10% downpayment.” He said: “That’s great. Can I live in your house too?”

I would’ve gotten up and left, but it was a double date and I didn’t want to be rude. I’m getting some scrooge vibes, but I might be wrong. Is there any way I can know if he’s ready for the financial commitments of marriage?

Is this how easy-going white men are? A Middle Eastern guy would be too proud to show he’s struggling financially. They also often take initiative in most steps in the relationship. I feel like I don’t know what I should expect from my guy.

Can you please tell me how I can school him? I feel as though I’ve been Rosie sunshine for too long. — Done with Rosy Sunshine

You don’t need to “school” anyone (except maybe your parents about backing off and letting you live your life). What you do need to do is actually TALK to your boyfriend. No more ignoring the hints he drops (like how, on occasion, he brings up how expensive rings and weddings are and you choose to ignore him) and no more asking what he wants to tell you but feels like he can’t. (I mean, you aren’t middle-schoolers playing Truth or Dare; you’re grown adults in a relationship in which wedding rings and weddings have been mentioned!) Finally, no more saying you don’t know where you stand because you don’t know how things work with white guys.

Since you want to know how things work with this particular white guy in this particular relationship with you, the person you need to ask isn’t me or some other white person; the person you need to ask is your boyfriend! So sit him down and tell him that you need to know what he’s thinking about your future together. Tell him that since you looked at wedding rings five months ago, you’ve been wondering if a proposal is coming and that he has said some things recently that make you wonder whether he’s on the same page as you. And then listen to him. Listen to what he says. If he expresses fears or concerns, don’t ignore them, don’t invalidate them, don’t compare him to men from your culture who you think would act differently. Just listen to him.

If your boyfriend has financial worries – and paying for a wedding and a ring is a valid worry! – what words can you offer him to ease his mind? You say that in two to four years you plan to have your doctorate and to work full-time, but what about until then? Do you expect to be supported? Do you expect your boyfriend to pay for the wedding himself? If your boyfriend can’t comfortably afford any of the rings you gave him an idea you liked, are you willing to take something less expensive? Have you considered that perhaps your boyfriend feels like he simply cannot provide the lifestyle you’ve made it clear you want (a particular ring, a condo in five years)?

I can appreciate that there’s a cultural difference at play here. Maybe where you’re from people don’t discuss money issues, and everything just sort of … I don’t know, works out? But in the West – in America, specifically – if two people aren’t on the same page financially before they get married, there’s a very good chance it isn’t going to magically work out. If one person thinks they’re going to be buying a condo in five years and the other person is like, “Huh, really? Because you’ve got four more years of school to go and I’m tens of thousands of dollars in debt and can’t even afford a tinfoil ring, let alone a ring with 4 Cs,” you’ve got yourself in a bit of a pickle, from which the only hope of a way out is to actually communicate.

And so that’s where you are: you need to communicate. You don’t have to be “rosy sunshine” about it. In fact, if that’s a euphemism for not being open and honest and frank and upfront about your expectations and desires, I recommend you NOT be rosy sunshine at all. Just be honest about what you want and need and expect. And let him be honest (about what he wants and needs and expects and whether or not he can meet your expectations). And listen. Because, the truth is, here in this culture, being 25 and a full-time student with one-year of dating under your belt does not scream ready for marriage. That’s not to say a 25-year-old full-time student can’t have a happy and successful marriage, but in this culture – the culture your boyfriend comes from – we don’t operate from the assumption that marriage needs to happen within six months or before a person turns 26.

***************

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)dearwendy.com.

72 comments… add one
  • avatar

    csp April 23, 2019, 8:16 am

    LW – I think the best part of this advice is to start talking about money. as much as you can. lay out your cards on the table and ask him to do the same. If you can’t talk about money, then it is best to end the relationship. It is more and more common to push marriage later in the US. However, I think that dating with the intention to marry is completely fine and you need to be honest about what you are looking for. If these conversations scare him away, then it is better to know now than waste years in a relationship.

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      csp April 23, 2019, 10:32 am

      In my opinion there are two possibilities here: 1.) he has real money problems or 2.) he isn’t thinking marriage at all.

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      • avatar

        dinoceros April 23, 2019, 11:46 am

        Exactly. Or even if he doesn’t have serious money problems, he doesn’t see buying property as a priority in the next few years, which would imply that he’s not going to be financially prepared for it.

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        FYI April 23, 2019, 1:25 pm

        Or he doesn’t want someone treating him like a doll in Barbie Dream World. Maybe he has a mind of his own and isn’t buying into her timetable.

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    Essie April 23, 2019, 9:05 am

    The thing is, there’s no one way that couples do things in America. We’re a country that’s made up of many different regions, cultures, faiths, traditions, ethnic groups. And even within those groups, there are differences.

    But to answer your questions in a general sense, there’s no expectation in “American culture” that people will marry by a certain age, or will propose after a certain period of time in a relationship. When or if couples marry depends entirely on what the partners want to do and what they feel is right for them. Some couples stay together for a lifetime and never marry.

    It sounds to me like your boyfriend is stalling on a proposal because he’s not sure he wants to marry you. It may be too soon. He may like your relationship the way it is. He may feel like it’s a temporary relationship – you’ll enjoy each other’s company for now, but probably won’t be together for the rest of your lives.

    As Wendy said, you both really need to talk about where you see this relationship going.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph April 23, 2019, 9:18 am

    I will say culturally that Americans do tend to date longer than a year before getting engaged. 6 months would be very fast, 2 years seems more the norm to me. And also you definitely need to tell your parents to mind their own business.
    But I think the bigger issue is that this particular American guy sounds like a bit of an ass. Unless you have shown gold digger tendencies, there’s no reason to say he can’t trust you with his credit card. (Also if you’re married then financial decisions should be mutual, not *his* card or *your* spending). And also to pick a fight with you over buying a house when on a double date? Gross. He could have just let that conversation go there, and discussed it with you after vs calling you out in front of friends.

    Definitely time for a frank talk about timeline, about finances, about expectations. After a year it shouldn’t be a mystery anymore.

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    • avatar

      else April 23, 2019, 9:45 am

      Agreed. It’s certainly not unheard of for people to get engaged after less than a year or in their early twenties, especially a generation or two back, but most people marry later, and marry after dating for longer than a year. Two or three years sounds about right for an engagement in my peer group, though many of us kind of knew that relationships would have permanent potential before that. You’re younger than many women are who are seeking marriage. Everyone I know who got married that young either had met their perfect person in college or was a member of a conservative religious group marrying another such person with similar values.

      All of that aside – your boyfriend said some mean, graceless, selfish things to you, even in public. He clearly knows you want to be married, but he skates around it instead of having an honest discussion. He also says things that sound like he thinks that you expect him to pay for everything, even though you’re studying for a degree that will give you a well-paying career. This could be because you are currently expecting him to pay more than is normal in Western culture – you should be sharing many expenses – OR, it could be that he is the kind of awful person who will use money as a weapon to control you or not want to share decision making about any shared money. There are certainly many men and some women like that, but that is not considered healthy or normal in America. If I were you, I’d plan for a serious talk with him and a serious think about how you are experiencing this relationship. He’s not likely to change much if you do get married. It’s a big country, and there are lots of decent, normal, respectful men here, some of whom are also at the stage where they are looking for marriage.

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    • avatar

      RedBlue April 23, 2019, 12:29 pm

      Giving your credit card to someone you aren’t married to is a big no in my book and no one in my circle would even think of doing that. It is a terrible way to find out that someone has little impulse control, especially with someone else’s money.

      Before marriage a couple should review each other’s finances to see that they are in the same page. Especially if one has been hiding a tremendous amount of debt. I do know couples where one didn’t disclose a tremendous debt that ended the relationship. Or to find out that one was a person for whom shopping was their method for self medicating.

      I would never give my credit card information to someone I wasn’t married to.

      It begs the question of why can’t she get her own credit card.

      Other things to bring up before marriage:

      Children’s religion.

      Will there be children?

      If he is willing to relocate to her home country or if she intends to remain in the US. ( being a veteran, I found that many that I dated were unwilling to relocate when I got transferred and would get tremendously homesick.

      The melding of cultures. I, for one, cannot abide in-laws interfering in relationship. It’s one thing to talk to your parents about your life but completely different for them to dictate how your marriage “should” be. At the same time, each spouse should be prepared to defend the spouse whole heartedly. My personal experience with Middle Eastern parents is that they tend to meddle by our standards.

      When dealing with different cultured, this is very very important.

      This couple doesn’t sound near the proposal stage yet and not at the credit card stage.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph April 23, 2019, 12:38 pm

        I am not suggesting he give her a credit card now. But this musing “can I ever trust you with my credit card” well if you’re married then heck yes, you better trust each other with finances.

        Although, giving someone access to my low limit credit card before I married them sounds like an excellent way to see how they behave with money before I marry them.

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  • avatar

    Buttery April 23, 2019, 9:34 am

    I definitely concur with what Wendy and others say about starting conversations, but I did want to point out, like, what is up with the nasty snark with this guy? Even if someone doesn’t want what you want, they don’t have to be a jerk about it. That whole double date scenario rubbed me the wrong way. If you have something to say, say it, don’t treat me like some kind of an asshole and then expect me to be there all smiley with you and your friends and oh yeah lets hit the sheets later. I’m a little older, so maybe I approach things differently, but if I’m your woman, I’m your woman – don’t treat me like your bro you’re mad it. If I’m not hanging out with people I like and have fun with then there are plenty of solo things to do that I’d prefer to sitting through an evening with you being an ass. He doesn’t even sound like a nice person. I mean she talks about buying a home together for god’s sake and his response is Are YOU gonna buy me a house? F you ass hole.
    Maybe this rubs me the wrong way so badly because my own husband is a bit rude like that and we’ve talked about it so he tries to be aware. He has communication issues, maybe that is part of the problem with this guy too. Like he wants to say something on a subject, doesn’t, then when you innocently say something they pull out this ridiculous snark/sarcasm because they never expressed themselves on the subject before and then they just blurt. Are also mad with themselves for having communication issues. Not OK though.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor April 23, 2019, 10:00 am

    Everyone is crapping on him for what he said on the double date but she’s the one who brought the issue up in front of other people. She wanted to publicly pressure him in front of their friends in hopes of extracting a commitment from him. He responded in a rude way, but she was the one who staged the issue.

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      csp April 23, 2019, 10:31 am

      I don’t know. All she said was “I hope we can in 5 years.” he could have just been quiet. He was the one who purposely made an issue out of it. Like he wanted to make sure that the whole group knew this was not the plan. it is a weird response.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph April 23, 2019, 11:46 am

        I’m like cringing at the thought of being on a double date and the couple getting into a fight about something like this right there in front of us. Awkward.

        I don’t feel like saying “hey maybe in 5 years we’ll buy a house too” is pressuring him in front of his friends. Definitely not something he needs to loudly and rudely correct for everyone in earshot. He could have said “yeah maybe” and left it at that until later. Its not like that couple would come back in 5 years and be like “where’s that house you talked about getting?”

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      • avatar

        Fyodor April 23, 2019, 12:09 pm

        He obviously reacted very rudely but if they’ve never discussed it in private and they’d been having arguments over financial issues and commitment timelines, I can understand why he’d be upset that she just announced this to his friends.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros April 23, 2019, 11:48 am

      I think it’s equally as possible that she literally does think they are on track for this, since they haven’t apparently talked much about their future together. I don’t think it’s necessarily malicious.

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        Fyodor April 23, 2019, 11:59 am

        It doesn’t sound like they have discussed it before in private so it’s odd that she would bring it up in public.

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      Buttery April 23, 2019, 12:27 pm

      But the condo was a topic that came up at dinner because the other couple had just bought one. She didn’t just randomly bring up some topic to tryto roast the guy.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster April 23, 2019, 12:37 pm

        Exactly. And it’s not like she’s pulling the idea of a future together out of thin air. They looked at rings already (prematurely IMO, but that definitely indicates a future). It’s not “pressuring” him to muse out loud about where you’ll live once you’re married if you’ve discussed marriage. They clearly don’t have good communication and she’s just as guilty of that as him, but his reaction was totally uncalled for and says a lot of (not good) things about his character.

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      anonymousse April 23, 2019, 12:41 pm

      It was a celebratory dinner and to me, what she said is what a lot people say in those circumstances. It wasn’t an attack. It wasn’t even a push for more of a conversation. It was a compliment to the other couple. “I want what you are lucky to have, in five years.”

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      • avatar

        Fyodor April 23, 2019, 1:51 pm

        It wasn’t a celebratory dinner. They were just out on a double date. They’ve clearly never discussed it in private.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse April 23, 2019, 3:06 pm

        Fine, celebratory moment in the conversation. Saying you hope you’ll be buying a house in five years (like your friends) is hardly a calculated move to manipulate him.

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    • avatar

      FYI April 23, 2019, 1:29 pm

      100% agreed, Fyodor. “We” are doing X in five years. Wha–? Well, thanks for running my life for me.

      I think this guy is reacting to a LOT of unfair assumptions she’s making, and to how she’s treating him.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph April 23, 2019, 2:18 pm

        Sorry, if I mention that I see myself and my SO buying a home in the 5 year plan and he flips out then that is definitely a red flag. I’m not picking out drapes without him. You both are vastly overstating what she did.

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      • avatar

        Kate April 23, 2019, 4:32 pm

        I don’t think it’s ever a good sign when your S/O goes, “who’s this “us” you’re talking about?” It’s a strong indicator that you’re not on the same page with the same goals in mind.

        She absolutely needs to talk to him ASAP like Wendy suggested. She shouldn’t be assuming that because marriage was discussed months ago, that he sees marriage in their future. At all. Or maybe he sort of does but not on the same timeline or terms that she has in mind. This doesn’t look great.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor April 23, 2019, 10:44 am

    She has marriage on the brain and wants him to commit faster. She brought the issue up in front of their friends as a way of pushing the issue. His response was indeed obnoxious but she was the one who decided to discuss this in front of third parties.

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    • avatar

      Ruby Tuesday April 23, 2019, 12:42 pm

      Agreed. I can see how a 30 year old would be put off by a 25 year old aggressively pushing for marriage within the first year of the relationship. Maybe he has money problems, maybe he’s just not ready to think about marriage this early.

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    • avatar

      saneinca April 23, 2019, 3:19 pm

      Duh! He knew she was expecting marriage.
      If he does not want to marry that quickly, say so like a an adult.
      Don’t throw a public tantrum.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark April 23, 2019, 5:20 pm

        It really wasn’t that much a tantrum, though. Two semi-snide remarks?

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  • avatar

    ron April 23, 2019, 11:17 am

    What everyone said is correct — she needs to talk specifics with him and 6 months is an unreasonably short time, while a year isn’t unusually long. Still, I’m in Buttery’s camp: there is something off about this guy. He seems to believe that women marry to steal a man’s money and house. There is a lack of trust which applies not to LW, but to a whole gender. It sounds like he is reading extreme men’s rights websites. My wife sponging off of me and stealing my money was never a concern. I’ve never had a male friend or relative express this concern about a SO. Either LW is giving off a vibe that she sees him as a source of $ and financial support more than as a loving future spouse/partner, or this guy is warped. From what she wrote, I think this guy is warped.

    From what LW wrote, if I were her bf, I’d want to discuss how we are going to live and support ourselves for the 4 years until she gets her doctorate. Then what? She works for a while or mad dash for kids? It sounds like he isn’t very well off financially and that she will have the potential to earn significantly more than him once she gets her doctorate. That should be another topic for discussion. He sounds like a guy who is angry about his lot in the world and afraid everyone is out to get what little he has. I don’t know how representative of his overall personality the scraps of conversation you report are, but he sounds like the degree of anti-woman thinking you’d expect

    What sort of ring did you push for when you went ring ‘shopping’. Was it a very expensive one or a simple, relatively inexpensive one. You don’t need an expensive ring to get engaged and you don’t need an expensive wedding. If you still have 4 years of school ahead of you, then an expensive ring should be very far down your list of priorities.

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    • avatar

      Fyodor April 23, 2019, 11:54 am

      I don’t disagree that a lot the things he’s said sound off, but consider this.

      1. She has said that she “expects” him to pay for a wedding.
      2. She has brushed off his concerns when he’s talked about the costs of weddings and rings.
      3. She has no job and will not be able to contribute financially for at least another three to four years.
      4. She presses him on home purchases in front of third parties.
      5. As indicated here, she is pretty contemptuous of his concerns about money, taking it as a warning sign that he might be poor.

      “Is there any way I can know if he’s ready for the financial commitments of marriage?… A Middle Eastern guy would be too proud to show he’s struggling financially.”

      There may context of which I am not aware, but I think that he’s right to be concerned that she’s maybe not realistically engaged with money issues or just think that they’re his problem to worry about.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster April 23, 2019, 12:27 pm

        I think you are way off base, Fyodor. She said she expects a wedding, not that she expects her bf to foot the bill entirely. Everything else she’s said indicates that she’s responsible with money and doesn’t expect any man to pay her way in life. I didn’t take her comment about how middle eastern men approach money as “contemptuous” so much as her explaining that she doesn’t have a reference point for his comments due to cultural differences–she’s trying to parse out IF he’s saying these things bc he’s struggling or bc he doesn’t want to marry her.

        “..I rarely shop, always try to save money for my future, have a great credit score, have no student debt, and am working toward a doctorate degree (which will take me two to four years) while planning to work full-time after graduation. I’m not the type of girl who’s looking to leech off some guy.”

        I didn’t take any of her comments as “pressuring” him in front of others either, but that she’s realizing they aren’t on the same page. The thing she is doing wrong is attempting to read his mind instead of having frank and open communication with this guy. And honestly I think it’s bc she suspects she’s not going to like what she finds when she does ask him about it–that he’s got some pretty toxic ideas about how women are all gold diggers and he doesn’t see himself with her long term.

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        Fyodor April 23, 2019, 12:42 pm

        He has brought up the cost of weddings so it sounds like she expects him to pay for it. He has expressed concern about paying for the wedding and ring and she has blown him off (she has “chosen to ignore his comments,” disdainful that he would dare to raise concerns about how he will afford major financial outlays).

        She may fancy herself financially responsible but she’s going to be a student for another four years. I don’t think that she’s trying to rob him but I think that she thinks that worrying for how to pay for things is his problem.

        He has handled his concerns in an extremely dickish manner but he clearly has major concerns about how he’s going to pay for the many things she wants, including a ring, wedding, and condo, and she doesn’t seem to care beyond how it affects her marriage timeline.

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        anonymousse April 23, 2019, 3:07 pm

        How does he bringing up the cost “sound” like she expects him to pay for it??

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster April 23, 2019, 3:26 pm

        I think you are inferring a whole lot of stuff that is not actually contained or even implied in this letter. “chosen to ignore his comments,” is avoidant, which is a communication issue at worst, and is a pretty common problem in relationships when the couple knows deep down they’re not on the same page. You keep using words like “disdainful” and “contemptuous” to describe this LW and it’s a huge stretch.

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        Fyodor April 23, 2019, 3:51 pm

        “How does he bringing up the cost “sound” like she expects him to pay for it??”

        Why would he stress about the cost of it (along with the ring, which he is clearly paying for) if he wasn’t paying for it.

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        Fyodor April 23, 2019, 3:56 pm

        “I think you are inferring a whole lot of stuff that is not actually contained or even implied in this letter. “chosen to ignore his comments,” is avoidant, which is a communication issue at worst, and is a pretty common problem in relationships when the couple knows deep down they’re not on the same page”

        Yeah, people ignore things for different reasons. When someone characterizes their own behavior as “choos[ing] to ignore” a comment, they are saying that the other person has said something worthy of rebuke but they’re not rising to the bait.

        Nothing in here suggests that she takes seriously his concerns about affording a house/ring/wedding. Rather she seeks to “school” him so that he knows how he should behave.

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        Fyodor April 23, 2019, 4:00 pm

        “I think you are inferring a whole lot of stuff that is not actually contained or even implied in this letter. “chosen to ignore his comments,” is avoidant, which is a communication issue at worst, and is a pretty common problem in relationships when the couple knows deep down they’re not on the same page”

        Yeah, people ignore things for different reasons. When someone characterizes their own behavior as “choos[ing] to ignore” a comment, they are saying that the other person has said something worthy of rebuke but they’re not rising to the bait.

        Nothing in here suggests that she takes seriously his concerns about affording a house/ring/wedding. Rather she seeks to “school” him so that he knows how he should behave.

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        saneinca April 23, 2019, 4:01 pm

        Ring should be paid for by the guy.
        May be he wants her to pay for the entire wedding because he is a cheapskate.

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        anonymousse April 23, 2019, 4:13 pm

        That is an assumption you are making. People complain about money all the time. He seems to complain about it a lot, but that doesn’t mean she’s told him that she expects him to pay for it. He made a big deal about the offhand condo comment, and she said she’d pay for it. Considering her family is very traditional, I actually think her family would probably pay for it, but I’m not going to castigate her for something she didn’t include in her letter. I don’t think you’re being fair to the LW.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster April 23, 2019, 4:44 pm

        On the contrary, I’d say the fact that she’s written in here is pretty solid evidence that she’s taking his comments and concerns extremely seriously. She just needs to put on her big girl pants and talk to him. No idea what you mean by schooling him or where you got that from.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster April 23, 2019, 4:57 pm

        I do see the “school” comment after reading again, but I think she is asking how to get him to propose, which again, is lazy communication (and a bad idea), but I don’t think it conveys that she is after his wallet.

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    • avatar

      Fyodor April 23, 2019, 5:37 pm

      You don’t say that you are going to “school” someone when you think that they have valid concerns that you take seriously.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark April 23, 2019, 5:45 pm

        ^^ EXACTLY! She is so off base with that condescending closing remark — I give their relationship two more weeks. Tops.

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      Fyodor April 23, 2019, 6:34 pm

      If anyone here had been expressing a bunch of valid concerns to her boyfriend and he said that he was going to “school” her about it, we would correctly think he was a giant creep.

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  • avatar

    Poppy April 23, 2019, 11:26 am

    Is LW DOL6 who wrote in a few weeks ago with fiance wants to postpone wedding?

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    dinoceros April 23, 2019, 11:41 am

    LW1: One of the cultural differences here is that there isn’t as much adherence to what society says you have to do. There are people who get engaged within 6 months and there are people who get engaged after 7 years. Though there are norms, the general message is that each couple gets to decide. So you can go online and find out from us what we all think is “normal” or not, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. It only matters what you and your boyfriend want to do.

    I do find it concerning that you want to be engaged to someone you’re not able to have an open and honest conversation with about what you both want out of your relationship and what your ideal timeline is, or finances. I understand it may be another cultural difference that you are not used to women bringing up these topics, but for him, that’s normal.

    I think that you have two main options here. Have an honest conversation with him about your questions and be willing to compromise with him. Or break up and find someone who shares your cultural beliefs.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros April 23, 2019, 11:45 am

      I submitted this before i got to my other part. The other issue, that folks have mentioned, is that he also sounds very distrusting of women and of you. I think that you need to figure that out before trying to marry him, and I also think that he also may not be as committed to future with you as you are (because he seems to want to disrupt this idea that you two will be together/buying property together in five years and turn it into a joke).

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    Fyodor April 23, 2019, 12:39 pm

    He has brought up the cost of weddings so it sounds like she expects him to pay for it. He has expressed concern about paying for the wedding and ring and she has blown him off (she has “chosen to ignore his comments,” disdainful that he would dare to raise concerns about how he will afford major financial outlays).

    She may fancy herself financially responsible but she’s going to be a student for another four years. I don’t think that she’s trying to rob him but I think that she thinks that worrying for how to pay for things is his problem.

    He has handled his concerns in an extremely dickish manner but he clearly has major concerns about how he’s going to pay for the many things she wants, including a ring, wedding, and condo, and she doesn’t seem to care beyond how it affects her marriage timeline.

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      Fyodor April 23, 2019, 12:42 pm

      Sorry for the duplicate. Posted this in the wrong place initially.

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    anonymousse April 23, 2019, 12:55 pm

    I think you should try to stop caring what your parents want. Stop feeling pressured to be married. You’re 25! You’re in the US. You don’t have to get married anytime soon.

    I don’t think this guy is the guy for you, LW. I would think after a year, you’d know his financial situation. You both don’t communicate well. He’s worried you’re a gold digger.

    You should sit down and bring up your concerns and discuss this stuff. Ignoring it, ignoring his comments or worries isn’t helpful. Maybe you both should go into premarital counseling…but I have a feeling this just isn’t the right fit.

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    FYI April 23, 2019, 1:23 pm

    “White guys” aren’t some monolithic thing that all behave alike — nor are middle-easterners. Nor are people aged 30. This is a PERSON you’re talking about, a person you purport to love.

    You’re acting like you’re going to slot him in to some pre-conceived plan that you have about How Life Is Supposed To Be. In my view, THAT’s why he balked when you mentioned a condo in five years. “WE are going to be doing X.” — what? You’ve planned out HIS life without even talking to him about it! He isn’t a supporting player in your life drama, which is operating on a weirdly rigid timetable and is (let’s face it) mainly set up to please your parents. Come on. Think for yourself, and let him think for himself.

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      anonymousse April 23, 2019, 3:12 pm

      She’s writing asking about cultural norms between the two different cultures. She never said “were going to be doing X …” she responded to a conversation about a home purchase, “hopefully that’ll be us in five years.” That’s a pretty normal casual comment between friends who don’t yet own a home at that age, I think. It’s not like she said, “We’ll be buying a condo in five years, too“ She hopes they will. Considering they’ve talked about marriage and looked at engagement rings, I don’t think saying that in a casual conversation is OTT.

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        FYI April 23, 2019, 10:58 pm

        She is throwing stereotypes around all over the place. “Middle-easterners would never do X. ”

        Here is a PERSON that she wants to marry, and she’s asking the internet, “What do white guys do?” I mean, has she bothered to know the guy at all? As a PERSON?

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom April 23, 2019, 4:48 pm

    ” A Middle Eastern guy would be too proud to show he’s struggling financially. ”

    This explains why she doesn’t ask about finances and ignores comments about finances. She comes from a culture where it would embarrass the guy to have this discussion.

    LW You are living in a culture that does have these discussions. You can and should ask many questions.

    If we get married what kind of wedding would you like? Would it be simple or expensive? Who would you want to invite? Who would pay for it? Where would it be? Would it be religious? If so whose religion?

    If we get married how would you want to handle our money? Would you want separate bank accounts? Would there be any joint accounts? How will we pay for things if one of us makes more money than the other? Would we each do a percent of shared expenses based on our income?

    Would you want to buy a home at some point? If so approximately when? Have you been saving for a down payment? Be willing to tell him what you have done.

    If you want to get married when would you want to do that?

    It’s also okay to ask questions that might sound difficult. Why would you think you couldn’t trust me with a credit card? Have I ever spent in a way that seemed financially risky? Do you have any debt? If so how much and for what? Tell him about your debt, which so far is none.

    Think about his answers and see if you would want to live the way he wants to live? Would you want to live with his debt if he has any? If he doesn’t want to get married for five or ten years do you want to wait that long?

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    Anonymous April 23, 2019, 5:02 pm

    He’s just NOT that into her. And who would be after such a short time. Oh sure, I have a few friends that rushed into marriage — even in America. Actually, the only thing they ALL rushed into faster was their DIVORCES.

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      ron April 24, 2019, 7:51 am

      I don’t think a year is such a short time to be that into her, if they are right for each other. It is a short time for a marriage for someone who is planning to be a full-time student for the next 4 years. LW isn’t necessarily at the position in life to marry. Yes, she does come across as very into the money, which is strange that she wants to marry him, because he doesn’t seem to have any (but neither does she. She’s living on mommy’s and daddy’s money from what she seems to be saying). That’s not real life. She is not independent enough to marry.

      A discussion about finances and how they each view money is important. It’s hard to tell why she wants to sink 4 years into a PhD, since part of what she writes seems to suggest (I know that’s reading between the lines based on tone) that she expects her husband to support her. I’m not at all sure that he can support her for 4 years while she gets her doctorate. I think that’s partly what he was conveying in response to her condo statement, ring, and marriage. Is her family going to support her degree quest as a married woman or will they tell husband that this is now his job? She just seems naïve.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark April 23, 2019, 5:12 pm

    He’s just NOT that into her. I wonder why…?
    .
    PS — nothing is more unattractive than one partner relentlessly rushing and thus constantly pushing marriage. Especially after one meager year…

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      FYI April 23, 2019, 11:03 pm

      Agreed. The LW clearly has a timetable, driven by her parents, and he has the audacity to balk at being treated as a box she wants to check on her To Do list.

      I don’t agree at all with others who are saying there’s something wrong with the guy. I wouldn’t like it AT ALL if my partner said, out loud at dinner to another couple, “We hope to do X in five years.” Especially if that partner would not be earning an income to do X, and especially if partner had had ZERO conversation with me about future plans. It’s very presumptuous, and THAT is what boyfriend has been feeling all along, I’d bet.

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      saneinca April 24, 2019, 1:05 pm

      You are talking as though the guy does not have his own agency.
      He is dating a girl who is expecting a quick proposal and marriage.
      If he does not want that,
      1) doesn’t have to date her
      2) make his views clear to the girl

      He is older than LW by 5 years. He should be capable of having an adult conversation with her. Instead of passive aggressive crap.

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    brise April 24, 2019, 5:06 am

    LW, you take the situation by the wrong end. The question is not: when will he propose. One year is way too early. Wait 3 years to consider it seriously. The right question: is your relationship good enough to marry? Will you be happy with this man? Do you know him well enough to imagine your next 50 years with him? Will you both go forwards in your individual life as a couple? You don’t seem to know much about this guy. You don’t communicate well. Start by that.
    You do somehow give the vibe that you are after money: your remark about the condo was a mistake. How do you intend to finance your PhD? With your parents’ money? Your boyfriend’s money? Your own? This is a major question that shall be discussed before any wedding. I think you should be financially independent before getting married: work and support yourself. This is an important step in a woman’s life.
    I understand his reaction at the double date as a joke. He was surprised and tried to take you at your own game: “you want to own a condo, by it yourself.”
    Not very elegant, but you sound complicated and demanding. Why the rings after 6 months? A condo? That sounds too materialistic. Just wait and see to know him better.
    Is he poor? How does he spend his money in his everyday life? You might have given him the impression that you expect a good situation that he can’t afford, at least now. You might suffer from cultural differences and prejudices on his part, but you have to acquire his trust, and this comes with time, successful and gratifying experiences as a couple. Be more patient. Don’t be on a schedule artificially imposed by your parents or your own expectations. Don’t try to create a “marriage situation” that doesn’t exist and discuss with him about your real possibilities.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom April 24, 2019, 10:19 am

    If she is getting a PhD in a scienctific field she will be paid by her department to get her degree. No all students pay to get a PhD.

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      ele4phant April 24, 2019, 11:46 am

      I’d say the vast majority of PhD candidates get funded enough that they make a modest income, very few actually have to pay to get their PhD.

      Between stipends they receive in exchange for being a TA or RA, most PhD candidates also get funding from outside research grants, and all together that usually covers the cost of tuition, research, AND living expenses.

      Universities – particularly those that are major research centers – need people to do research. They need PhD candidates’ research to further their institutional goals. It’s not like being an undergrad where you pay to be there. Universities benefit from PhD candidates’ work, so they make sure for the most part PhD candidates can be there focused on their research without having outside distractions like worrying about how to pay the bills or having to take on additional jobs.

      All the people I’ve known that have gotten a PhD – even those that were in humanities – they managed to get enough to scrap by the 5-7 years it took. It was a lean 5-7 years, and for some that maybe had families already and bigger financial obligations, they might’ve needed to take on a second job to get by.

      But I’d say if someone is getting a PhD and they’re not getting enough in stipends and grants to cover the bare necessities, if they are actually PAYING to get their PhD, something is off.

      Either they are lazy and not pursuing grants like they should, or their research isn’t of any value so nobody wants to give them grants, or they are at a non-reputable institution that is scamming them out of money.

      Heck – I just got a two year masters in a humanities field and I cobbled enough together in stipends and grants to basically cover my living expenses for the two years, and the cost of my research. I did have to take out loans to pay tuition, but again, it was just a masters.

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  • avatar

    SuperPeachy April 24, 2019, 11:52 am

    Hello ladies,

    Thank you for all of your comments. I was the one who sent this post to Wendy.
    There are some gaps in the story that might help you understand the situation better.

    1) I wasn’t the one who suggested he should take me ring shopping. In fact it was his mom’s idea.
    2) I am working toward a pharmD degree and my parents have already promised to help me with part of my tuition. I understand that it will take me four years to finish school and I won’t be working.
    But he has gone through the same scenario as me. He finished two degrees and didn’t use any of them. He was studying until he was 26 and instead joined the army. He’s been working for four years and paying off his loan debt.
    3) when we went ring shopping I set a budget for him without telling him and it was 3k at most. I always look out for him and try not to be wasteful with money even if it’s his. Although he is not a poor guy and he’s been working for a few years now.
    4) I’ve brought up the topic of finances a few times during the past year but he’s been brushing it off. I wasn’t sure if it was too early to talk about it and didn’t want to look like a crazy person so I gave him more time. As I said before I don’t know how early is too early in western relationships to ask these things.
    5) All of the things that you said sounds crazy are actually part of my culture and sound normal to me. I’ve done everything I can to accomodate his culture and I’m hoping that he’ll be able to accomodate mine to some extent too.
    6) In my mind gathering down payment for a small condo after 5 years isn’t crazy or too soon and I’ll be able to do that on my own with or without anyone’s help. All it takes is 10 k and I already have saved most of that.
    7) We have hit a point in our relationship past the first 8 months and I feel like the next 6 months after that have had no positive effect in us knowing each other better. It’s been all sort of repitition and there was simply nothing more that could have been done at that point. Maybe the next step would be moving in together and that’s something that he has proposed himself.
    Unfortunately we can’t do that yet because I have four years of school in one province and he is getting sent to another base and we don’t know where or for how long.
    8) And as for the part that you said my question was like a middle schooler’s I was trying to see what are his concerns about our relationship and encourage him to talk about his worries so we can see if we can work on them together. However, his concern was if I will run away with his credit card.

    I agree that I should have more talks with him but the fact that I’m studying for four more years and that he’ll be moving around all over the country has made these discussions like a joke. I can’t move in with him; I feel like an ass for asking these questions at the moment; and he seems worried about the future of his job and has been asking me to follow him every time he moves.

    I do love the guy but I’m worried he’s not ready or mature enough for marriage.
    He doesn’t even know what he wants from marriage and his biggest fears are me running away with his credit card or gaining weight after we have a baby.
    I was hoping someone could give me tips on how and where to bring up my concerns and get him comfortable enough to talk about his concerns.

    He has told me himself that he likes to be a dad before he’s 35 and that he wants us to move in together. In my opinion being togther for two years before marriage is good if you feel like you’ll learn something new about your partner but being together for two years just so we hit a time limit doesn’t make sense to me. And after the first 8 months I haven’t learnt anything new about him and it’s beem 6 months past that point.

    He might sound like an asshole in this scenario because he is but he’s also attentive and I love him. I think we deserve a few more fights to see if we can make it work.

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      anonymousse April 24, 2019, 4:03 pm

      It’s been six months and nothing has progressed. I thought after that sentence, the next one would be you concluding to move on from him, not maybe you’ll move in together. If you haven’t learned anything new about him after eight months, that wouldn’t necessarily mean you know everything about him.

      Two years isn’t a time limit,(it’s a suggestion)but please tell me- what is there to lose with getting to know someone really, really well before committing to them for life? Why are you so rushed to get married to someone who is telling you and showing you in multiple ways that he’s not ready?

      How do you bring up these concerns? You sit down and talk to him about it and be ready to listen to him as well. This probably isn’t going to be one conversation, it’s will be many. You keep saying why wait, when you know him so well, but you should wait because:

      1) he’s moving around from base to base, all over the country
      2) you’re working on a 4 year degree
      3) you are not on the same page for your future, including marriage, babies, money.
      4) your communication skills as a couple are not great
      5) he is reluctant

      That is the real big issue and reason you should wait is because you don’t know how to talk to him about this stuff. I mean, it’s kind of funny because everyone just really has these conversations. It’s not a fight. It’s not a battle. If he honestly won’t talk about these things or gets really defensive, that’s your sign he’s not ready for any of this. If he can’t or won’t talk about it with you, he doesn’t want it.

      And you might feel love for him, but you’ve been together less than two years. There’s not really that much time invested in this.

      How long will he be moving all over? Are you going to be good in a long distance relationship? There are so many unknowns here. It’s silly to rush it, and smart to wait and see.

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  • CurlyQue

    CurlyQue April 24, 2019, 1:01 pm

    I’d like to also point out that a 30 year old dating a 25 year old, is probably doing so because they’re NOT ready for marriage. If he was, he’d probably be dating somebody in their late 20’s. He thought dating someone 25 would make sure the marriage and baby pressure would stay away and then he picked the LW whose from a culture where that happens earlier, what a surprise for him.

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    Ron April 24, 2019, 2:58 pm

    The update adds a lot of info. The guy seems to lack focus and self-initiative: a student with 2 different degrees up to age 26, neither of which he wants to use for work and then he joins the military. Guess what? When he gets out of the military he’s going to face the same question as he did at age 26: what am I going to do with my life? One thing I’d try to discuss with him is whether or not he is any farther along in deciding what he wants to do with his life than he was when he joined the military. Or perhaps he plans to stay in the military.

    I can well understand that being in the military for X more years and you having 4 more years of grad school, that he doesn’t see either of you as being in a place to consider marriage now. It’s not that a year isn’t long enough, it’s that neither of you is settled in life yet and won’t be for years. You’ll be in pharmacy school and he doesn’t know where he’ll be.

    Another thing that struck me is how much both of your parents are pushing your relationship. He took you ring shopping, because his mother told him that is what he should do. In other words, all the meaning that we might associate with this action are void, because it was his mother’s idea, not his. Same with your target date for a proposal. You have chosen pharmacy school, which I think is a great choice for your future, but that fixes you in a location and neither of you know he will be able to be in that location any time soon.

    I don’t agree that you’ve already learned all that you can about him. It sounds he doesn’t even know what future he wants for himself. Before considering the marriage question, if I were you, I’d want to know: 1) when is he planning to leave the military, 2)can he live in the location of your pharmacy school at that time, 3) has he decided what line of work he intends to pursue and is it realistic (not one that requires yet another degree — he sort of sounds allergic to the world of work) 4)FINANCES! They are important. You say he evades this topic. Until you have had a solid discussion and agreement on what your future finances look like, you most certainly do not know all you need to know about him.

    You both need to think for yourselves and not let others do your thinking for you. Likely why he chose the military after 2 different degrees and not wanting to pursue work in either. Both of you still let your parents guide you more than is appropriate for people on the cusp of engagement, which suggests to me that waiting until you are both more independent of mind and settled isn’t a bad thing.

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    Ron April 24, 2019, 3:00 pm

    And to follow up on what CurlyQue said: what 30-year old guy who is unwilling to discuss marriage/finances etc. with his gf takes said gf ring shopping because his mother told him that is what he should do? The word infantile comes to mind.

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  • avatar

    SuperPeachy April 24, 2019, 3:20 pm

    Thank you Ron for your update and empathy.
    He is receiving an update on his next location soon and I have my fingers crossed that it’ll be good news. I feel that the reason I haven’t brought up some questions about our future might have been because I didn’t know where I stood with my college admissions and my future career so I felt like an ass for asking them. But now that he’ll know what his trade will be and I know what career I’m working towards, it might be a good time to start.

    I’ll start by asking him what are some of his concerns and expectations with regards to us moving in together, having kids and sharing expenses. And I’ll tell him where I want to see myself in 5 years and ask him where he sees himself in 5 years from now as well.

    I’m a little worried that us moving further and seeing each other less. I know that it’ll be even harder to move forward or get more serious if that happens. I’m really scared and don’t know what to do. He seems worried too and says four years can be very long. He asked me to give up the pharmacy program and go with him to Ontario so we can be together. I’m already accepted to a two-year nursing program there but pharmacy is something I’ve worked hard for and it’s my dream.

    The last few months have been very confusing because we’ve been sitting on our asses to hear back from these people about what we’re going to do with our lives. And now that we’ll know soon, I like to know what I should do with my life.
    He will start his training soon and that means he can be posted to anywhere and he’ll be gone for months. I’d wait for him but there’s this fear in me that even if he’s a good guy it might be too soon for him to get serious and if I trust him to figure out his life by giving him space I’ll waste mine because it might never happen.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse April 24, 2019, 4:08 pm

    There are so many unknowns in both of your lives. You shouldn’t give up what you’ve worked for to move to be with him, you should stay in your program. Time will tell what happens. That is exactly why neither of you should rush into marriage.

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  • CurlyQue

    CurlyQue April 24, 2019, 5:48 pm

    LW, it sounds like you want to rush the seriousness of your relationship because you think once he moves to a new base that your relationship will be over. If that’s what you think, then your relationship isn’t serious enough for a long term relationship and it would be better for you guys to break up .

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    Miss MJ April 24, 2019, 9:27 pm

    This one’s not going to work out, LW. You want a husband, a set future, home ownership, possibly kids, etc. within the next few years. You’ve got a Big Life Plan, for better or worse, and you’re looking for a co-star. Unfortunately, your BF cannot even decide on a career at age 30. He’s nowhere near ready for marriage, kids, and home ownership. The fact that his mom made him look at rings with you jumps out. (How did that even happen!!!) Combined with his jabs at you about you being after his money (of which he seems to have little to none) and his obvious resentment toward your planning a future, screams that this relationship, for a host of reasons is bad news. Cut your losses. I’m not gonna bag on you for wanting your life to work out like you want it to go, you do you, but your goals are only attainable with someone who shares them. This guys is not that person. MOA.

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    ron April 25, 2019, 9:19 am

    Yes, this really isn’t complicated. By thinking of him as her ‘white boyfriend’ letter writer is mentally putting so much of this down to cultural differences. Most of us are white and judging him by the standards of white culture. By those standards he comes across as immature, lost, and unwilling to discuss your future (which makes sense since he’s been unable to choose a personal future.) LW, I think this is good advice as a mental exercise: forget his culture and skin color; judge him, his readidness for marriage, and his suitability as a spouse for you by the same standards that you would judge a man of your own background. List his pluses and minuses. Of those minuses, how much could possibly be due to your misperceptions due to different culture and skin color? I’m guessing not very much. Then consider this: marriages across cultures, religions, different skin color certainly can work extremely well (I think we all could point to many examples within our families and friend groups), but they can impose extra stresses on a relationship. That means you have to be very well suited to make a go of it. Can you honestly say that you and bf are well suited. You are younger than he is, but quite a lot more mature. I really don’t see him catching up to you in maturity. Based upon his ring shopping because his mother told him to do it, I’ll ask. Are you looking to be someone’s wife and partner, or a second mother to an older man?

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