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My Boyfriend and I Disagree on Marriage

"I Want to Get Engaged, but My Boyfriend Doesn't"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our community. Add your advice in the comments!

Hello. So a little background on us: we are both 27, have been dating for a little over two years, and have been friends for nine. We have a great relationship, and I really think he is the one. 

The problem? He does not want to get engaged. Anytime soon. Unlike him, I want to start moving forward with my life. I don't want to get engaged, get married a month later, and start to have kids a month after that. I want a nice long engagement, a few years of married life, and then to start thinking about kids.

I tried to explain to him that women have a clock, and he doesn't seem to understand. I don't want to be having babies when I'm almost 40. He said he's "just not ready" to get engaged. I understand — I am not ready right this moment either, but I think that we should put some type of time frame on the table. He said he will not do that. That it needs to happen "organically" whatever the f*ck that means. He said also that some of his friends didn't get married until they were 30ish, so he's "doing OK." I really don't care what anyone else is doing, to be completely honest, especially 'cause I don't really consider those friends any type of role models for anything. 


I am very upset. He told me the usual things — he loved me, he wants to be with me, he thinks I'll be an excellent wife and mother, blah, blah, blah, but won't give me any type of time frame for anything. It's driving me crazy. I am totally invested in this relationship, but I need to know that it's going to happen. He won't even look at engagement rings and freaks out if I even mention anything. I asked what his mother said, and she said he should "take his time." To be honest, I don't believe that for five minutes because I know she's ready to be a grandma when we are ready. 

Anyways, I was thinking of distancing myself from him. I don't know if this will get him to see what he is missing or what, but I am getting anxious and don't want to keep waiting around. If he likes it, he should put a ring on it, right? Two years seems like enough time — we are not teenagers. I think that he takes me and our relationship for granted sometimes. Not like he cheats on me or anything, but just that he doesn't have to make that commitment to me, and I will still be around. I think this is very selfish of him to not respect me and talk about the future and such, so I am thinking that I may just take some time for myself to be selfish and do whatever I want and not worry about what he's doing. I'm not asking for a magical spell that I can cast on him to propose — I'm just asking for some advice on what to do so that I can keep my sanity in this relationship, or if I should just end it, move on, and find someone that wants the same thing as me. Thanks. 

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously in Group Therapy for advice.

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mix-tape mix-tape 4 years
It sounds like you are focusing too much on your future life with him rather than your own goals. Maybe you are set in your career at age 27 and only have marriage and kids to think about? However, if that's not the case you need to take care of your personal priorities first. On a side note, I once read somewhere that the typical dating length before engagement is usually three years. I know not every couple operates within this time frame, and that even those that do don't always end up together forever. Basically, don't stress about the years that have passed. You want to make sure you marry the right one and don't rush into it anyways.
arparker23 arparker23 4 years
The bottom line is that you need to figure out what you want. If you want to spend the rest of your life with this man, then do that. That's all. Don't play games or give him ultimatums. Distancing yourself from him will ultimately just confuse him and probably won't bring you any closer to what you want. Have a serious conversation with him about getting married and about your future together. Do not bring up the purchase of a super-expensive ring in this conversation. This conversation has nothing to do with a ring, which isn't a requirement for getting married. This conversation is about making sure that both of you want to move towards marriage. He can know that he wants to marry you without feeling ready to do so. Also, I agree with your boyfriend that time tables are stupid—life doesn't really work like that. Besides, why are you even worrying about this? You said that you aren't even ready, yet. I have no idea why you are even thinking about breaking up with your boyfriend because he's not ready to get married when you aren't ready either. It makes no sense whatsoever. You have no idea when you're going to feel ready. Stop thinking about how old you are, how long you've been dating, when you want to start having kids, etc. None of that really matters, and it's different for every single person. Enjoy this time in your life, and stop over-thinking it.
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