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Boyfriend Not Ready to Get Engaged

Group Therapy: Boyfriend Not Ready to Get Engaged

This question comes from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and almost 8 months.  He is 31 and I am 29, and we do not live together.  I love him dearly and most of the time we have a great relationship; he is very patient and nurturing, and we have so many common interests.  The problem is that I feel we are ready to be engaged, but he is not ready.  This has started causing substantial problems, with him almost breaking up with me on several occasions because he says he doesn't want to keep hurting me over and over again with his unreadiness for engagement. 

He has started going to counseling because he feels he has an overall lack of motivation in his life and a desire to play it safe that causes him to avoid taking any kind of big steps in his life.  I worry that the counseling won't be enough, though, and that he will never be ready.  He also has a hard time saying "I love you," and doesn't say it very often, which is extremely hurtful (he says it's because it makes him feel too vulnerable and open to being hurt).  I am having serious anxiety with being almost 30 and unmarried, and feel as though everyone I know has already found someone and is having kids.  I am wondering if I should move on, but the thought of not being with him is devastating to me.  Does anyone have any advice?  I am really struggling here.

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dikke-kus dikke-kus 5 years
Love is BLIND. It really is.
dikke-kus dikke-kus 5 years
Love is BLIND. It really is.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 5 years
Wow, dana....just wow. :( I hope you are taking care of yourself. I would also add, people are talking about how a year and 8 months is not a long time and "rushing it". I heartily disagree. If she was 18 or 23, ok, but by the time you are 30, you have to have some kind of plan if you want to be married and have your own children. Sad, but true. I am not saying you need to be engaged at this point, but after almost 2 years, you should at least have some idea if you are on the same page regarding marriage as the guy. It is NOT too soon at all to start asking those questions and making those decisions....if you don't, someday you will wake up with the guy you have been with for 7 years and you are 35 and wondering where all of the time went. And to all of you who will say, you can start having kids into your 40's, trust me, although this is possible, it is not ideal.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 5 years
Wow, dana....just wow. :(I hope you are taking care of yourself.I would also add, people are talking about how a year and 8 months is not a long time and "rushing it". I heartily disagree. If she was 18 or 23, ok, but by the time you are 30, you have to have some kind of plan if you want to be married and have your own children. Sad, but true. I am not saying you need to be engaged at this point, but after almost 2 years, you should at least have some idea if you are on the same page regarding marriage as the guy. It is NOT too soon at all to start asking those questions and making those decisions....if you don't, someday you will wake up with the guy you have been with for 7 years and you are 35 and wondering where all of the time went. And to all of you who will say, you can start having kids into your 40's, trust me, although this is possible, it is not ideal.
danakscully64 danakscully64 5 years
And to put the icing on the cake, he just wrote me a letter saying he was sure he didn't want to marry me. Beware, be VERY careful.
danakscully64 danakscully64 5 years
To the OP: I've been dealing with this for 5 1/2 years now. My boyfriend has told me numerous times that he's just not ready and has even gone to counseling (he has issues of his own). If you decide to stay with him, be prepared for a possible long term relationship and possibly never marriage with him. He might be getting counseling now, but that doesn't mean he'll want to get married anytime soon. I think if I was told in advance that it might be a very long processed, I wouldn't have felt so much resentment and anger. I got into the relationship looking for marriage, I possibly may have gotten out sooner. Just keep that in mind, for your sanity. Good luck!
misskimberly misskimberly 5 years
Anxiety about finding someone, getting married, and having children is no reason to get married. It's how so many people end up divorced. Forcing someone to do something they are not comfortable with will not have a good result. Also, what's the big deal about being 30 and unmarried? Im almost 31 and still unmarried, and running my own business - I do not think I could do that if I was married with children, and establishing my own financial independence is important to me. I know there is a stigma and so many people I know are in fact married, but everyone is different and what's right for one person may not be right or be in the cards for you right now. I also don't think that just because you date someone for two years means that engagement and marriage have to happen right then or that it's not going to happen, or that you should be stressed out about it happening.
misskimberly misskimberly 5 years
Anxiety about finding someone, getting married, and having children is no reason to get married. It's how so many people end up divorced. Forcing someone to do something they are not comfortable with will not have a good result. Also, what's the big deal about being 30 and unmarried? Im almost 31 and still unmarried, and running my own business - I do not think I could do that if I was married with children, and establishing my own financial independence is important to me. I know there is a stigma and so many people I know are in fact married, but everyone is different and what's right for one person may not be right or be in the cards for you right now.I also don't think that just because you date someone for two years means that engagement and marriage have to happen right then or that it's not going to happen, or that you should be stressed out about it happening.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 5 years
I agree with spacekat completely... I would not want a dramatic foundation for a marriage. I would want one that is happy, loving, and stable. It worries me a bit that he has trouble saying "I love you"... how can someone who can't even say that with ease possibly be ready for marriage? So maybe put the marriage idea on the backburner and ease up on persistence. A lot of times that kind of pressure just makes someone pull even farther back, not forward. To most guys, persistence=nagging. How long has he been going to counseling? It's great that he is willing to work on some issues. A lot of people (and I hate to stereotype genders here), but especially guys, are unwilling to identify weaknesses and work with a therapist on them. If you are really in love with him, maybe sit tight and see how he responds to counseling. Is it positive? Does he make positive strides toward his goals with counseling? Or is he not making progress at all? Is he even regressing? If the thought of ending the relationship is devastating to you, I think you should stick with him for a bit and see how he responds to counseling. If it is not producing any promising results, maybe it's time you let him go and find someone who is on the same page as you as far as settling down and making a marriage commitment. Good luck :)
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 5 years
I agree with spacekat completely... I would not want a dramatic foundation for a marriage. I would want one that is happy, loving, and stable. It worries me a bit that he has trouble saying "I love you"... how can someone who can't even say that with ease possibly be ready for marriage? So maybe put the marriage idea on the backburner and ease up on persistence. A lot of times that kind of pressure just makes someone pull even farther back, not forward. To most guys, persistence=nagging. How long has he been going to counseling? It's great that he is willing to work on some issues. A lot of people (and I hate to stereotype genders here), but especially guys, are unwilling to identify weaknesses and work with a therapist on them. If you are really in love with him, maybe sit tight and see how he responds to counseling. Is it positive? Does he make positive strides toward his goals with counseling? Or is he not making progress at all? Is he even regressing? If the thought of ending the relationship is devastating to you, I think you should stick with him for a bit and see how he responds to counseling. If it is not producing any promising results, maybe it's time you let him go and find someone who is on the same page as you as far as settling down and making a marriage commitment. Good luck :)
medenginer medenginer 5 years
If you think this relationship is worth pursing I would look into couples counseling if he's willing. I think after some sessions you should see results that will help you make a decision about continuing the relationship or not. I don't think he's the only one with issues and you could benefit from individual sessions. You have goals, dreams, wants, needs and while that's understandable you also have to be realistic that you can't live on your own mental timeline when others are involved not on your timeline. The more you push him for marriage the worse off this relationship will become. No amount of insistence is going to make someone ready when they're not. He will grow resentful of being pressured and things will break down.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
It sounds like you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself and on him to get married before 30, a common but nonetheless arbitrary deadline. I don't think men respond well to pressure to commit (obviously, since he almost breaks up with you over it). I think you should forget your "married by 30" deadline and logically evaluate if he is "the one" for you or not.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 5 years
I agree with those that say is not that long. He doesn't give me the impression of playing games. He has some issues and is working on them. However, I do think you should ask him whether he plans to marry you, you don't want to be with him when he doesn't want to marry you. Ask him if he wants to eventually marry you or take things to the next level.
snarkypants snarkypants 5 years
YES bailey, i totally agree with you! that is not long AT ALL!! MAYBE if you were dating for a while, it would be understandable, but even then, i don't see much good in ever pressuring somebody into marriage. why do you want to get married so badly? that is a very important question you need to answer before continuing this relationship. is it him who you want to marry, or do you just want to get married?
snarkypants snarkypants 5 years
YES bailey, i totally agree with you! that is not long AT ALL!! MAYBE if you were dating for a while, it would be understandable, but even then, i don't see much good in ever pressuring somebody into marriage.why do you want to get married so badly? that is a very important question you need to answer before continuing this relationship. is it him who you want to marry, or do you just want to get married?
Bailey-Bloom Bailey-Bloom 5 years
If you get married for the sake of getting married you are doomed. If you think being almost 30 and unmarried sucks, imagine being married to someone who doesn't want to marry you or realizing you are wasting your time marrying the wrong person. People need to think about that. They are all desperate to get married and they will marry the next guy in line just because they want a marriage and they really don't care who the guy is. BTW, does anyone think 1 year and 8 months is sorta rushing it? I think if it was around 4+ years and he isn't thinking about marriage then you should be worried. My friend told me that when people get to that age 6 months is like 1 year already! I don't know. Honey, don't pressure this guy into marrying you. If you succeed, he will resent you in the long run for doing so.
Bailey-Bloom Bailey-Bloom 5 years
If you get married for the sake of getting married you are doomed. If you think being almost 30 and unmarried sucks, imagine being married to someone who doesn't want to marry you or realizing you are wasting your time marrying the wrong person. People need to think about that. They are all desperate to get married and they will marry the next guy in line just because they want a marriage and they really don't care who the guy is.BTW, does anyone think 1 year and 8 months is sorta rushing it? I think if it was around 4+ years and he isn't thinking about marriage then you should be worried. My friend told me that when people get to that age 6 months is like 1 year already! I don't know. Honey, don't pressure this guy into marrying you. If you succeed, he will resent you in the long run for doing so.
elramos elramos 5 years
You've only been together for a year and 8 months. He obviously has emotional issues, and I think you putting the pressure on him isn't making the situation any better. If anything you are probably pushing him farther away and hurting him. I would say if you really love him and see yourself being with him for the rest of your life, give it more time. If you're going to stick it out for life, what is a couple of years without a ring. Either give him the time he needs, or move on because you're probably hurting both of you. Hurting yourself because of your ideas of how your life should be, and hurting him by pressuring him into something he's not mentally ready for.
Missy626 Missy626 5 years
Doll, reading what you wrote reminds me of myself once upon a time... Move on from this guy. He does not want to marry you, but The love of your life will. Forget about what everyone else is doing( found someone, married, etc.) marriage isnt a goal.. Its a tremendous step in a loving relationship the guy should be just dying to do more than you. If hes ambivalent about "major steps" in his life.. Why should you have to compromise your happiness for his ? You must be selfish about your happiness & only your happiness. Hes doesnt want to get engaged.
Missy626 Missy626 5 years
Doll, reading what you wrote reminds me of myself once upon a time...Move on from this guy. He does not want to marry you, but The love of your life will. Forget about what everyone else is doing( found someone, married, etc.) marriage isnt a goal.. Its a tremendous step in a loving relationship the guy should be just dying to do more than you. If hes ambivalent about "major steps" in his life.. Why should you have to compromise your happiness for his ? You must be selfish about your happiness & only your happiness. Hes doesnt want to get engaged.
heyitsjas heyitsjas 5 years
You have to ask yourself why you are so intent on getting married. Be truly honest with yourself. Is it that you'd like to spend the rest of your life with him, better or worse, that true kind of commitment? Or are you simply interested in "being married" because you're almost 30, and you're afraid of being lonely? It's okay if you're afraid of being lonely - you're not the only one with that fear. The thing you have to realise is the value of being married - having someone there for you, a real relationship, having someone to love you and you to love - is not the same as the goal of being married, which can be more about status. You can be in a loving, healthy and supportive relationship with him without being married, being married doesn't automatically make a relationship any stronger, more supportive, loving, or "real". It sounds like he has trouble committing because he sees marriage as a very real, very big, commitment - and it is. Let's face it, a lot of marriages do break up and a lot of people are in unhappy marriages, but most people marry with the intent of being with someone for the rest of their lives. You don't marry someone just because it's what you're supposed to do because you're almost 30 - that won't result in the kind of bond you seem to be after. Ask yourself if you're hanging onto the relationship because you think it's near the marriage stage, or if you're hanging on because you can truly see yourself spending the rest of your life with him. If it's just because you're at that stage where you'd like to have a family, then give him an ultimatum. It's always hard, and I've been in so many relationships where I couldn't imagine not having the other person, but it's not true. You were fine before you met him, and you will be fine without him. Remember that. You have to ask yourself, and again, be honest: do you love him enough to be with him if he has no interest in marriage at all? Would you rather marriage or him? If you would rather have him, then be patient and give him time to work through his issues. Remember, it's the value underlying marriage that you're after, not just being able to say 'hey I'm married!'
heyitsjas heyitsjas 5 years
You have to ask yourself why you are so intent on getting married. Be truly honest with yourself.Is it that you'd like to spend the rest of your life with him, better or worse, that true kind of commitment? Or are you simply interested in "being married" because you're almost 30, and you're afraid of being lonely? It's okay if you're afraid of being lonely - you're not the only one with that fear.The thing you have to realise is the value of being married - having someone there for you, a real relationship, having someone to love you and you to love - is not the same as the goal of being married, which can be more about status.You can be in a loving, healthy and supportive relationship with him without being married, being married doesn't automatically make a relationship any stronger, more supportive, loving, or "real". It sounds like he has trouble committing because he sees marriage as a very real, very big, commitment - and it is. Let's face it, a lot of marriages do break up and a lot of people are in unhappy marriages, but most people marry with the intent of being with someone for the rest of their lives. You don't marry someone just because it's what you're supposed to do because you're almost 30 - that won't result in the kind of bond you seem to be after.Ask yourself if you're hanging onto the relationship because you think it's near the marriage stage, or if you're hanging on because you can truly see yourself spending the rest of your life with him. If it's just because you're at that stage where you'd like to have a family, then give him an ultimatum. It's always hard, and I've been in so many relationships where I couldn't imagine not having the other person, but it's not true. You were fine before you met him, and you will be fine without him. Remember that.You have to ask yourself, and again, be honest: do you love him enough to be with him if he has no interest in marriage at all? Would you rather marriage or him? If you would rather have him, then be patient and give him time to work through his issues. Remember, it's the value underlying marriage that you're after, not just being able to say 'hey I'm married!'
Rasberry-Sorbet Rasberry-Sorbet 5 years
My question is, did you both discuss your intentions for the relationship once you became committed? I wonder if that ever took place. Its often common to want to be married especially once you turn 30. Guys move a lot slower than women when it comes to life committment. I think for some people, it causes a lot of anxiety to think about spending the rest of their lives with someone. I would not push him. I would instead consider why you want him to be with for the rest of your life. Can you honestly look at him and say you want to grow old with him? I think you should want a man who is absolutely sure about you. He may have issues with abandonment or something from childhood that he needs to work through. I would give him the space to do that and if he really wants to be with you, he will move heaven and earth. Dont let society dictate when you should marry. It should be right according to how you both feel and the divine plan for your life. Forget about the timeline and who's getting married around you. The grass is never greener so you dont know what your friends went through or going through in their current relationships. Good luck.
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