Skip Nav
JK Rowling
32 Ways Harry Potter Taught Us the Magic of Love
Wedding Decor
100 Ideas For a Summer Camp Wedding
Why Quitting His Dream Job to Travel With His Girlfriend Changed This Man's Life

DearSugar Needs Your Help: How Can I Wait Patiently?

DearSugar and Sick of Waiting Willow need your help. She wants her boyfriend to pop the question but he's not ready. He doesn't feel that the timing is right, but Willow doesn't know how to wait patiently. Do you have any advice for her?

Dear Sugar,

I have been dating my boyfriend for over three years. We've been living together for at least two, and we are at the stage in our relationship where I feel like we're already married. My boyfriend and I are in our mid-20s and everything feels intact expect for one problem — he's not proposing anytime soon! No matter how many talks we have, the only straight answer he gives me is, "The timing isn't right. You don't have to wait forever, so why worry?" He's right; I know it will happen one day, and I'm lucky enough that I've found "the one," but what is all this timing talk about? It's starting to overcome my every thought. I keep faking myself out, thinking a proposal is coming, only to feel constantly let down. I don't want my impatience to cause a rift, but I don't know how to remain calm about it. Do you have any advice? — Sick of Waiting Willow


Join The Conversation
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
roxtar, I agree she's a far, far cry from dealing with that problem. I just wanted to put some numbers out there to clear up possible misconceptions.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
25 and anxiously anticipating and engagement w/someone who's "not ready" vs 35 and worried about downs syndrome is a big leap...
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
Janine you are correct that 35 qualifies a woman as "advanced maternal age" in terms of their risk factors. But Amanda is kind of right as well that in general the older the mother, the more increased risks. These risks don't just start at 35. BUT, something like Down Syndrome, the risks are about 1/1000 under 30, 1/900 at 30, but once you reach 35 it's 1/400. At 40, it's 1/100. In other words the risk becomes much much greater as age increases. Not to bring politics into the mix, but at 44, 1 in 35 babies are born with Down's so it is not too surprising to me that Palin's son has it.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
Or you could be close to forty (twenty eight) have no problems getting pregnant (being surprised by it in fact) have a great pregnancy and then have a wonderful baby w/out downs syndrome... or any birth defects at all... i think it's so disheartening to hear all of this "after thirty your chances drop" pressure.... it's not necessarily the case. your genetic history and your overall health play a bigger part in your fertility and ability to deliver a healthy baby than your age. (stressing over a ring can't be good for that btw) and yogurt... you've shopped for rings, i really don't think youre in the same situation as the original poster.... i also think it's smart (or prudent or whatever the word is i'm lookin for) that you decided to wait to look at houses until you're engaged... good luck! and the more you help your friend w/her wedding... the more you'll be prepared when it comes to planning yours. every wedding i went to before really planning ours... i would remember... OH i really liked that... or oh, i didnt like that so much... totally helps when you have a really good idea what you want and what you dont! ;)
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
I guess I am not really understanding why you would want to marry someone who doesn't want to marry you, or isn't ready to get married? If marriage is your ultimate goal, then find someone who wants that too. But I don't understand why marriage is such a big deal to so many women. If you main priority is being with the man you love, then be with him. But if you feel that you must get married by a certain age, then find someone who wants that too. But ask yourself, is getting married more important to you than being with the man that you love? Because if you issue an ultimatum, be prepared to follow through on it if he doesn't propose by your deadline. But honestly, what's your rush? You are still young, and as someone else mentioned, the younger that you get married, the higher the chance of divorce. I wouldn't propose to him, if I were you. Because if he has already told you that he is not ready, then he might say no. Or, even worse he might say yes out of guilt but not really be ready. I really don't understand what the big deal is with being married. It's not going to change your relationship, except that you have to pay for an expensive wedding. I don't understand why so many women have some ridiculous schedule set up in their head about the specific age they must be married by and have kids by. Why not just enjoy life and take things as they come? RE: AmandaKrups- I have never read that having kids after 30 increases the chance of birth defects, I don't think that that is true. However, I know that after 35, this is the case and also a woman's fertility rate start to drop. Also, after 35, the rate of down's syndrome increases for each year. But I don't think this is even an issue for the OP, as she did not mention children and she is only in her mid twenties.
Jacinthe Jacinthe 8 years
Why don't YOU propose marraige to HIM? Women are allowed to do that, you know. ;) My mom did. :)
yogurt8743 yogurt8743 8 years
I'm also waiting... trying to be as patient as I can! We talk about our wedding and buying a house and getting a puppy all the time! I wasn't going to move in with him until we got engaged but he moved here from another state for me and it just kinda fell into place and is going great. Now I'm even more excited and just want it to happen already. We are renting now and I keep telling him I don't want to actually go look at houses until we are engaged bc i just need that further commitment. We have shopped for rings and I found the perfect one ( I know he is just saving money but I'm going crazy! It doesn't help that my best friend is planning her wedding now and I hear about it all the time. I'm trying not to nag but I feel as though its the next step in beginning our life together and I cant just forget about it or skip it! So I guess just hold tight and know that you are not alone! If he is the one it will happen... hopefully right haha!
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
Look, as far as the children thing.... ladies, let's not get ahead of ourselves. As a 29-year-old coming out of a longterm relationship that I was positive would lead to marriage, of COURSE I'm heartbroken that I may not be having kids in the next couple of years. But seriously? having them with the wrong person is 1 million times worse! children are great - I'm dying to have several! - but it all comes down to who you choose as a partner, and I POORLY choose partners in my 20s. So despite the scary "biological clock" business, I'm quite happy that life has led me here and to a better place - without children from a broken or unhappy marriage!!
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
I agree that if you're ready... dont wait... (not many people are lucky enought to know like that) we got engaged & were married in 6 months (we lived together for about 5 months but yeah i knew when we met). And when I say... having the "talk"... i'm more of the mind that if it's moving and progressing forward, you dont HAVE to talk about it... if you DO have to have the "talk" then there's something wrong, it's not moving... it's not progressing. and i dont mean the future and what we want from it were never discussed... it was just never a sit down "where is this going" we knew where it was going right from the start... i also think... for some people 25 is young to be pushing engagement or worrying about waiting it out, and i say that because it would have been for me. not because i think it's too young for everyone... i just think a guy saying "i'm not ready" w/out saying... lets talk more about it at the end of the year when i get my bonus, or around our anniversary... or... when i find my courage (cause i hate to say it, that's the feeling i get w/this)... i also think living on your own and supporting yourself is a great way to figure out if he's worth waiting for in the first place.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 8 years
I'm with princess and wilds. You're basically telling my exact same story, too. Except we were engaged for 3 years and then never did it. I dunno girl, sometimes I think people get married just because they feel like it is something they're 'scheduled' to do, i.e. they were together at a certain point in their life etc. My best advice (altho I know it is easier said than done), is to move out, and try to fill as much of your time without him as possible, just in case he never does pop the question. Then at least you will have a support group built and a life outside of him. Just in case. This would also help you be patient, too, because you would be preoccupied with other things. So it could kinda kill 2 birds w/ one stone.
AmandaKrups AmandaKrups 8 years
Well, Roxtarchic, I think the point is that the poster IS ready. It's just that her boyfriend isn't. And if you never have a talk about where your relationship is going, then you are just at a standstill. What is the point of that? And if you never talk about marriage before the guy proposes (or the girl, if you want to be all feminist about that), then he is just doing it blindly and has no idea if she will say yes or no. My husband was completely sure that I would say yes before he proposed (and yet he was still terrified I would say no). I'm not saying you should get married just because all your friends are getting married; I'm just saying all my friends my age are getting married because they are ready and don't want to wait. Seriously, I hated dating. Never found ANY enjoyment in it. So the day I started dating my best friend was the best day in the world (until my wedding). We already knew we got along well and didn't have to deal with the whole "getting-to-know-you" thing (which I know some people actually enjoy). So we knew we would make it. We already waited eight years to start dating; why wait eight more to get married?
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
so mid twenties is a good age range for getting married... if all of our friends are getting married? who i imagined myself marrying when i was in my twenties (twice, yes i was engaged twice in my 20's)... changed as i became older and YES WISER and even tho i'm not a day over 28 (and will never been)... i think the biggest part of all of this... is if youre ANXIOUSLY WAITING... then you know in your heart it's not happening the way you want it to. if you have to have a "talk" about it, then something isn't right. besides there's nothing a man likes LESS than a "talk about the relationship and where it's going" the bottom line is he knows what you want... and he's not READY... that's him putting himself and his feelings first. he's not saying maybe in 6 months, he's sayin i'm not ready. and y'know what that's not who you'll want to be w/when you're in your "mid twenty eights".... you want the guy who puts YOU and YOUR FEELINGS FIRST... that's who "the one" is. and while some kids complain that their ancient parents were too old and too tired from working to play with them... some children benefit from the fact that their OLD and TIRED parents were READY for them... financially and mentally... i could NEVER have been able to handle all that i'm handling now w/my son... and my husband (the third ring was the charm) and my job... if i wasnt who i am... NOW... and who you are in your twenties and who you are in your mid-twenty-eights are very different people. and i think meloD is completely right... enjoy your OWN LIFE from your own place... that's huge!
AmandaKrups AmandaKrups 8 years
Marci, I'm not saying you should use age to nag someone into doing something. I'm just saying it's something women need to consider. My sister was always complaining that our parents never played with her; it's because they were older and exhausted when they got home from work so they didn't end up playing with her as much as they did when I was a kid. Yes, I know my sister can take out loans, but considering my college experience cost $150,000 (with help from my parents, my parents taking out loans, me taking out loans, and some of my own money...and no financial aid), if her college costs that much, she definitely won't be able to pay for it all herself. Oh, and mid-20s is not too young to be getting married, especially if you have been together for three years and live together. I got married earlier this year at 25. I was just at my friend's wedding this weekend. Four weddings last year. Two the two years before that. Basically every one of my friends who is in a relationship (except the one mentioned before who wants to get engaged) is now married. Sure, all of them may not last, but I bet most of them will. Why wait until your 30s if you are already with the person you want to be with?
Marci Marci 8 years
I'm with snowbunny11 here. My Mom was 45 when I was born and I have a younger sister! Age doesn't mean anything in the big picture. I wasn't even vaguely aware that my parents were so much older than my friends parents until I hit around 24. And age is NOT a good argument to nag someone into doing someone they obviously don't want to do.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Amanda- I just read your post. Your sister can take out college loans, many of us do. And 62 is seriously not that old today, I was raised by my grandparents, life doesn't end at 50, I promise! But I do agree that the finances thing can only be used up to a certain point, I mean getting married when you have huge credit card debt, or no assets or income is a bad idea. But beyond that, I don't get that reasoning either. My friend is waiting desperately for her bf to propose to her, they have lived together for 3 years, own their home, have great salaries, and are buying an investment property together. He keeps saying that he just wants to wait until their finances are more settled. They have no debt, and are investing in real estate together! I would be so over that.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Wow there is a lot of different advice here... My only thing to add is that I really hate the idea of a woman sitting around praying her bf will propose to her. Is this 1950 or something? The thing is, if one of you isn't ready, there isn't much you can do. You don't want to force the other person, or there will be a ton of resentment. Remember: every time a man pops the question, it is a sort of ultimatum. There is no reason a woman can't do the same thing. However, you already know he doesn't feel ready, so if you want to go ahead with it, you need to figure out why. Is it finances? Then work on your finances, etc. If there is no good reason, then why not split. You don't need to sit around pining for him to marry you. That being said, IMO no reason to get married in your 20's!
AmandaKrups AmandaKrups 8 years
My friend is in exactly this position. She is 25 and they have been dating for 4 1/2 years. They also now live together. She is desperate to get married and he keeps saying he is not ready and wants to get his career all settled first. But why does he have to get his career all settled first? Why can't they be married while he figures things out? It's not like he has no money. I never understand that logic. Also, she has a legit reason. She wants a lot of kids and she says the chances of birth defects really start to increase after the woman is 30. So she wants to start having kids BEFORE then. All those women who get married in their mid-30s and wait until they are 40 or whatever to have kids are really taking a chance. And you know what? My mom was 40 when my sister was born (luckily no birth defects). But she is going to be 58 when my sister goes to college and 62 by the time she gets out (if she graduates in 4 years and doesn't go to grad school). My mom wants to retire around then but there is no way she will be able to do that with the cost of college. So there's another reason to get married and have kids in your 20s. None of this is helping the OP. I'm sorry, but a bunch of other people gave some good advice.
forestrygal forestrygal 8 years
I too could have written this post, only the reason we aren't engaged is we are both finishing graduate school in different locations at the moment. However, we've been together three years and things are great. It really upsets me when I read comments like "If he hasn't proposed after 2 years he isn't going to." There are many different kinds of people in this world. Some men are commitmentphobes, many are actually eager to settle down and some fall in between. While I do believe that both men and women can quickly decide whether they are with someone that they think they could marry someday, I really don't believe that proposals happen within that short of a time frame or not at all. It doesn't say anything about you or your relationship, it just means he's not ready. Many men still feel they need to have certain things like career and finances in order before proposing, and if you two are still in your 20s he may just not be ready. If he says he wants to be with you and the time isn't right, just trust him. Rushing him won't help and if you let things progress naturally it will turn out ok. Good luck!
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I agree 100% with popgoestheworld. I should also add that having been in this situation, you need to just live day to day and make sure that your relationship is the best it can be (on your end) and that you face and solve problems as they come up. Treat it like a successful marriage, in other words, and you'll reap what you sow. I didn't, and I regret it.
miriah15 miriah15 8 years
three years really isn't that long :S
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I see absolutely nothing wrong with telling him that marriage is something that is important to you and that you want to be engaged within the next X months. But once those words escape your mouth, you have to be ready to back them up by leaving if it doesn't happen. Honestly, you have nothing to lose. If this guy isn't really into you and he's hedging his bets, better to know in 6 months than in 3 more years. Sometimes people have to be put on the spot or they'll just keep dragging things along because it's easier to! Good luck.
quitecontrary quitecontrary 8 years
Wait. Plain and simple. If you love him and being with him, it shouldn't matter. It seems like you've made it pretty clear what you want. BUT BUT BUT, if you feel that you can't wait anymore, then he's not really "the one" because if he is, you wouldn't mind waiting.
TheMissus TheMissus 8 years
Th article in the NY Times I referred to above says the age is 25. Sorry I left that out.
lilCROAT03 lilCROAT03 8 years
if you were in your 30s i'd understand but you're still young. pressuring a guy about marriage at this age is pretty rough on him. western society makes marriage out to be 'the end of your social life as a dude', 'ball and chain', so you can't really be surprised that many guys ward off marriage until later. if this is really something you are set on, make a deadline, if it doesn't happen by a certain time, then it's over. i mean if it's really that important you'll be willing to leave him right? see what i'm saying? the whole 'idea' of marriage becomes even more important than the person you're in the relationship with! i guess my point is you're over-obsessing about one thing and it might make him scared to even ask you- what if he doesn't ask you creatively enough, what if it's not perfect? what if it changes things? he doesn't want his guy-dom to end. guys get insecure. you will, if you haven't already, create this whole bad feeling about the whole event by nagging. seriously, reevaluate and concentrate on a hobby. that way, if it comes, it will come when you least expect it. that's how it's supposed to be!
girlnone girlnone 8 years
I feel like this kind of question gets asked a lot on dearsugar, so maybe this is a common problem? Are there legions of young women out there who are trying to figure out ways to browbeat, convince, or otherwise finagle their boyfriends to propose? I honestly do not understand why anyone would feel that a loving, stable relationship is meaningless without a proposal. I'm always reminded of Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice, who advises Jane Bennett to "secure" Mr. Bingley as soon as possible. Ladies, it doesn't work like that. Marriage guarantees nothing. Just because you sign the certificate and exchange rings doesn't mean you'll have a family, or that he'll be faithful, or that you'll even see your fifth anniversary, so please just enjoy what you have without nagging your boyfriend.
#IBelieveYou Supports Sexual Assault Victims (Video)
Bald Bride's Wedding Photos (Video)
Surprising Things About Living With Your Significant Other
How Lemon Water Affects Sex Drive
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds