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DearSugar Needs Your Help: I'm Ready but He's Not!

DearSugar Needs Your Help: I'm Ready but He's Not!

DearSugar and Next Step Nina need your help. She and her boyfriend are very happy and in love, but she's ready for marriage and he wants to wait another two years before even talking about it! She's not a fan of ultimatums, but she doesn't want to wait around for him. What should she do?

Dear Sugar,

I have been with my boyfriend for over two years, and we live together. I'm 24 and he is 26. We are both about a year into our great jobs and are doing well financially; we are even saving for a down-payment on a house. We've traveled together and visited both our families who seem to like us as a couple. We love each other and really push for each other to be the best we can be.

We talk about how we will raise our children, where we want to travel, where we want to live, and what we want from our relationships. Overall, everything is great, but I'm feeling more and more ready for marriage. I'd like to be engaged and perhaps married in one to two years. When I brought this up, he was a bit nervous and said that he doesn't see himself married for at least two years from now — the exact timeline I have, but while I am ready for an engagement now, he doesn't want to start talking about marriage for another two years, which means more waiting for me. When his family asks him about us, he also sidesteps the topic of marriage. He says he loves me, he says I'm the one for him and he sees us together forever, but the word never comes out of his mouth.

Should I just be patient and wait? If so, for how long? I hate ultimatums, but should I give one anyway? It's been two years and four months since we were official, and I just want to know! — Next Step Nina


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Janine22 Janine22 8 years
If you truly feel that he is the man that you want to be with, then you wouldn't care exactly when the marriage happens. If you care more about getting married by a certain day/time then about being with this particular man, then what makes you think he is really the man for you? You are still so young, stop being in a rush and let things happen naturally. I am not understanding the whole "I must get married by this age and then we must have kids by this age, etc..." Your life is not a script, if you truly want him as your life partner, then friggin chill out. Do you really want to pressure a man into marriage when he is not ready for it?
SaucySassy SaucySassy 8 years
Oh AND remember this when you start letting him know that you are relaxed about it - he will suddenly be more interested in it. Remember no pressure is the key here. He doesn't want to be forced to make this major decision - he wants to do it freely. So when you starting relaxing about it, putting no pressure on him and letting him know yes I do want to live with you before we become engaged - you will see a major change. He might be worried that if you live together - you will reject him! Men have that fear too.
SaucySassy SaucySassy 8 years
I actually read that letter as in he wants to get married in two years. So its not like he cant see himself married - just not now. Which is fine, frustrating yes but 26 is young for a man, so wait till he is 28 if he doesn't figure it out then... have a serious talk and figure out what you want to do from there. However, do tell him that you need to know from him - in a clear way that he does see you two getting married in a few years. Thats all. Don't buy - just rent together. I am in the same position here.
jenwils jenwils 8 years
Amen sewsweet. Poor "Nina" is damned if she does, damned if she doesn't. By that I mean she's called selfish & immature for wanting to get married now; HOWEVER, if bf was ready now, and she wasn't, she'd be selfish too. What it amounts to is it's still a man's world, and the women on this post would have you sacrifice your desires to make sure you don't lose your man. I guess finding a man that can actually meet your needs is out of the question. ?? Here's how I see it: if you really want to get married, then you deserve someone who wants the same. If like the other posters, you are young & unready, then wait. Nina's ready and I think she can find a man who is too.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
There's a classic little song that comes to mind by the Georgia Satellites that cracks me up everytime I hear it, but I'm sure it offers a make or break solution to marriage. :sneaky-evil:I got a little change in my pocket going jingle lingle ling Want to call you on the telephone baby, I give you a ring But each time we talk I get the same old thing Always “No huggie, no kissie until I get a wedding ring”:raspberry: My honey my baby don't put my love upon no shelf She said “Don't hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself”:rant: Cruel baby baby baby why you want to treat me this way You know I'm still your lover boy:love: I still feel the same way That's when she told me a story 'bout free milk and a cow:pepino: And said “No huggie no kissie until I get a wedding vow”:raspberry: My honey my baby don't put my love upon no shelf She said “Don't hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself!”:rant: You see I wanted her real bad and I was about to give in That's when she started talkin' about true love started talkin' about sin:evil: I said honey I'll live with you for the rest of my life:halo: She said “No huggie no kissie until you make me your wife!”:raspberry: My honey my Baby don't put my love upon no shelf She “Don't hand me no lies and keep your hands to yourself!”:rant: If nothing else I'll see if I've got my emotions figured out.
richandfamous10 richandfamous10 8 years
I think you need to wake up and smell reality. It is people like you that ruin relationships because you have to have it on a piece of paper by a certain time period. Honestly, 2 years isn't super long - and he is only 26. I completely disagree with jenwils01...6+ years is not absurd! Why is one time period okay and another not? I have been with my boyfriend for 5+ years and we are not planning on getting married anytime soon. I completely agree with Berlin - I want more time to acquire some stable wealth, not start a marriage with a brand new mortgage and have paid off my car, etc. Both my bf and I want to pursue further studies, we could end up anywhere in the country for grad school. Should we sacrifice and try and go to less reputable schools to stay in the same city? Um, no. If we get married after grad school, we'll have been together for like 9 years. God forbid!!! OP - Let your boyfriend breathe and live his life, while happily being in a relationship with you! You were forward thinking enough to live with him before marriage but are traditional enough to want to get married after 2 years. I don't get it.
sewsweet sewsweet 8 years
I agree with jenwils and bransugar! There are an awful lot of judgmental people posting here who seem unable to sympathize with next step nina. Calling names ("baby" "fool" etc.) and using such a condescending tone (telling her to "chill out") just indicate that these people are not committed to giving constructive advice. I don't know why they wasted their time. I am currently in Nina's position (well, similar) and I can understand this problem. It's not a good feeling. It certainly doesn't help to be pegged as whiny, needy, or uptight simply because you feel love and commitment for someone that you believe only marriage will truly dignify. (Obviously marriage isn't for everyone, but for those who feel this way, it's a given.) It's a struggle to be forced into a role you never wanted and to handle it gracefully. I don't know why so many posting here are more than willing to give the guy what he needs (two years) but refusing Nina what she needs (at least to talk about marriage). Both bf/gf relationships AND marriage are about balance. If the guy really cares, he will come to some sort of compromise in order to meet Nina halfway. Maybe this just means talking about it right now. My point is that it's a give and take. Sounds like the guy is just taking right now, everything is on his terms, and so many women here seem so willing to allow it! Crazy. Makes me wonder about your relationships. I don't have the solution - I'm still in the midst of this scenario myself - but I know that the judgmental responses are not the answer. My bf has come a long way to understanding how I feel and why, including the frustration that comes from being put in this "whiny need gf" role (which btw I would have thought came from men...but this post suggests maybe women create that even more). Hope you don't take them too seriously Nina - give your own feelings some credit, and I'm sure your bf will too.
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
I guess maybe I'm a weirdo but I see where the OP is coming from. If indeed he wants to be with you for the rest of his life for sure then what's the hesitation about. It can be really frustrating waiting for something you feel is so right. I would say to talk to him tell him how you feel and ask him how he feels and why. it may just come down to financial situationsor soem other idea he has about marriage. Let him know that you are willing to wait for him to feel it's right but point out how you feel about his stipulations. Make your case soemtimes we all need a new perspective to help us move along. If he is just using this as a stall tactic then let him loose because no matter how much you love him if he doesn't love you the same way wiating or not won't change that
GinaSnyder GinaSnyder 8 years
Maybe he's just trying to surprise you. :)
sunnyheart sunnyheart 8 years
Sigh, as someone who has been 7 years into a relationship, with an engagement ring, I have to agree with jenwils. After enough time, you know or you don't. 26 is certainly old enough to know if you want to get married. This lovely woman is faced with a man who isn't even willing to *talk* about marriage for 2 years at a minimum. While you shouldn't throw away a good future, resentment will continue to build if you feel this man is it and he doesn't necessarily feel the same way about you. If in one year, he hasn't changed his stance any and is still unwilling to even talk about the future, you shouldn't overlook that. If he's telling you "I'll live with you, I'll buy a house with you, I'll promise you things," but all of his actions are saying the opposite and he does not value marriage... that's important. Good luck.
gossipqueen gossipqueen 8 years
SLOW DOWN! as much as you want have given yourself 2 years also....WHY? do you want to drop the "wonderful guy" to start over with some stranger that you haven't even met??? Unless you're out of love with your bf...stay where you are. You're 24 and could be getting married at 26-27. Start a new relationship and you could be getting married at 30! Instead of pushing 100% sure your guys is THE GUY! What's the point of stressing? there's no logic in your question...
lawchick lawchick 8 years
I have been where you are emotionally. I don't know if your guy has made some sort of secret decision that he will never marry you, or whether you're just at different places. Time will tell. Don't wait forever, but don't just assume the first scenario is true either. I have a great marriage, but I was ready WAY before my husband. It hurt my feelings at the time, but didn't cause any irreparable harm to our relationship. We eventually made a mutual decision over dinner to get married. If I had waited for a traditional proposal, we still might not be married! It ended up being a bit of a compromise for both of us, and it worked out fine. While I was waiting for him to come around, I went on and bought a house. It was empowering to do that on my own! It's different with each couple, and I certainly don't think there is anything wrong with livin together before marriage, but in our case I wouldn't have agreed to buy the house "with him" without some pretty definite marriage plans. Good luck.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
I have to completely agree with what Berlin said ... down to not wanting to get married until I'm well into my 30s. I personally have never understood women who are my age (early 20s) and write into magazines and websites like these saying "WHEN IS HE GOING TO MARRY ME???" But hey, whatever floats your boat. But to think that you'd be willing to walk away from the person you love just because he won't commit to you on a piece of paper and/or in front of a congregation in a church within a certain deadline ... I don't get that. But that's just me.
foudini foudini 8 years
jenwils, 31? Really? This is considered old and wise? I thought 31 was young... guess not. Maybe you are the one who is bitter because you got jerked around when you were "in your youth." Berlin made a good point about referencing relationship advice sites: don't. As a wizened 31 year-old, shouldn't you know that already? How many people in their early twenties (including yourself) do you think knew what they wanted in hindsight? There is nothing wrong with a six-year relationship. I'd put a lot more faith in a six-year than a two-year. Infatuation and being in love with being in love don't last very long. Regardless, maybe a six-year (or whatever it may be) isn't right for you but that certainly doesn't make it "absurd." I don't think Berlin meant she'd be a multi-millionaire at your old age but that she'd have her financial goals well on their way. A variety of factors could make her goal realistic. Perhaps your life is wrought with poor decisions that have put you in a less than desirable position in life. Planning ahead to protect numero uno first, before any spouse or fiance, is vital. Anyway, to answer the letter: She sounds like one of those whiny girls who want to be married for the sake of being married. They started dating when she was 22. Good grief, why not wait and experience more life? She's just a baby. What does she fear by not getting married NOW? This sounds like a validation issue. Constantly pressuring someone (including allowing your family to pressure them) is not going to give you what you want. Agree, etc. with all the ultimatum folks: bad idea. Just enjoy the ride and chill.
designerel designerel 8 years
From your description it sounds like your boyfriend has every intention of marrying you-- just not as soon as you'd like. If that is the case, it would be very unwise to give him an ultimatum-- what is that going to accomplish, other than drive a stake between you guys? He will just feel pressured into proposing and he's already expressed he's not ready yet. Do you really want a proposal from someone who is not ready to be married? Why is it so important to be married, anyhow? What matters is that you've found the love of life. Be happy with what you have, and be patient because he will ask you to be with him for the rest of your lives. Don't mess it up by pressuring him into doing anything he doesn't want to do just yet.
courtneyh courtneyh 8 years
Let him go. Men aren't so much about finding the right woman-as they are about finding the right time in their own life. So, go find some guy who thinks you're worth marrying now
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
Most women want to live the dream of marriage and what they dream it entails, and there are statistics that indicate 50 percent of first marriages survive, but if they don't it can be very expensive. I hate to say it, but I think Angelina Jolie and Goldie Hawn have it all figured out ~ although it took them both two marriages before realizing that a marriage certificate does not guarantee bliss. I have an environmentalist friend with two small children who makes an above average salary whose divorce has cost her $36,000 so far. I would suggest that if you are able to talk him into marriage, you may want to consider a prenuptual agreement to ensure that should you ever be divorced it can be accomplished without going to court because the one with the most money wins. I know someone who lived in an upscale neighborhood whose husband (on the sly) put all their assets in his father's name, and then bought a new house, under his father's name, and let the house they live in go into foreclosure. Luckily she was able to cash in her 401k to obtain a divorce lawyer, but there he and his new girlfriend sit in his new larger home that can't be declared as a mutual asset...and she has nothing after 18 years of marriage. So believe me marriage guarantees no financial protection and does not guarantee faithfulness.
Fushaa Fushaa 8 years
I agree with much of the previous comments. You are both still young, don't rush it. Though it seems like 2 years is a very long time, you are both still getting to know each other. Take your time to fall in love. Good Luck :)
Marci Marci 8 years
cuba-dog took the words right out of my mouth. He isn't ready and nothing is going to change that. Do not buy a house with someone you may not be with in two years. And yes, realize there's a LOT more to life than getting married. Explore yourself and put your thoughts and efforts into that instead of trying to get a reluctant boyfriend to the altar.
lms lms 8 years
I definitely would not buy a house with him until I was married. However, I am different from a lot of the other posters in that I would not have been living with him already anyway. I just feel that if I am good enough for you to play house with then I am good enough for you to marry. This is strictly what I feel for me and for those that don't feel that way it is fine. But you obviously want to be married and he won't even discuss it. I don't think 2 years is too short to expect it either.
tspoppy tspoppy 8 years
Ultimatums are certainly distasteful, so I'd avoid this if at all possible. But discussions must certainly be had, especially if the two of you really are on a journey of betterment together. He should be able to fully explicate why HE is on a timeline as much as you are. Perhaps you ought to both consider what your views of marriage are in the first place. Is marriage a matter of legality, milestones, chapters, and romantic titles? Is it an emotional/spiritual commitment to an individual, a unified life, family? Whatever it is, you must do what comes naturally, and what you can hold yourself to. In my opinion, "scheduling" life is a waste of energy. Be it an engagement now or two years from now. On a more personal note, what's so unsettling about being married if you guys are already sharing a life together and intend on further fusing your dreams (house, children, etc.)? If it's nerves on either part about wanting out later, perhaps marriage ought not to be in the cards at all. o.O It is, by definition, a commitment for life. Don't bother making promises you'd rather not keep. How does one talk about rearing children, sharing dreams, and building a life together without a discussion about its foundation? Or maybe the actual wedding event seems like too much to handle at present?
LibbyEAW LibbyEAW 8 years
If it ain't broke don't fix it dear. Don't be in a rush to get to the next step, it sounds like you guys are a great couple that is really on the same page for your life goals. You may not believe this, but you're going to miss this time! This time to be just the two of you and travel and sleep in for hours on the weekends and date and have fun. I agree, with the others don't buy the house until you're engaged. But there is nothing wrong with saving together (in separate accounts) for a common goal. I think its mature of your boyfriend to realize he's not ready to take that next step, and I don't think its a reflection of how he feels about you. Enjoy this time!!
jessie jessie 8 years will happen when it happens. don't put everything on a will work out for the best. good luck with you and your man. :)
jenwils jenwils 8 years
Berlin, my dear, you sound bitter and young. Let's talk in 6 years after you've accumulated all this "wealth", and your bf who doesn't talk about marrying you has magically decided to. 6+ years of dating is absurd, unless you truly don't care about being married, and I have met very few women who truly do not care.
Meike Meike 8 years
Ultimatums like the one you are considering giving are not only stupid but incredibly selfish and imature as well. Do not make an ultimatum you are not willing to keep. You are already assuming it'll work out in your favor. Do not assume that. However, if you are willing and if you think by ending your relationship with this man you supposedly love will get you to the alter quicker with someone else, you are thinking quite foolishly. It's already clear that your love is not withstanding with your current boyfriend if you are ready to give an make or break ultimatum. You are not ready for marriage like you think you are. As I see it, he has already made it quite clear to you that you two will be married someday. You are only 24. Should you get married later at 27 or 28 and granted you have a long and healthy life with him, you are going to be spending about 50-75 years with him if you consider marriage is for life. Doesn't that make the 4 years of waiting to be married sound small in comparison to the life after marriage?
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