My boyfriend and I have been together for 3.5 years; I am currently 26-years-old and he is 28-years-old. We have been living together for majority of our relationship, but I feel like we aren’t on the same page about when we will become engaged. I understand that proposing falls on to his shoulders and he has to feel ready before we take that next step, but anytime I bring up the topic for discussion, he becomes agitated. I don’t mean to nag, but I also want to make sure that our future plans align and we both want the same things. How do I have this conversation with him and avoid him shutting down all together?
Sincerely, Feeling Like A Roommate
Dear Feeling Like A Roommate,
I can understand your frustrations and your want, possibly even need, for clarity on where your future stands. One thing to consider is that moving in with your significant is a big step in a relationship. Once that takes place, especially for a male, the timeline for any other commitment tends to slow down. I honestly don’t understand why, but let’s just chalk it up to boys being boys, shall we?
I think the best plan for attack would be to sit down maybe over dinner and be honest with him. Let him know this is in no way, shape, or form, you pushing it to happen sooner, or your need for control (guys like it when you shut that idea down), but you just want to know that this is going to last and you both want marriage to happen. I don’t believe in ultimatums because A. they don’t work, B. they cause conflict, and C. it’s just rude, but I do think you need to express your concern and give him the opportunity to put your fears to rest. If both of your life plans and timelines don’t match up, I think you need to consider what is best for you and if you’re ok with living together with no real concrete commitment. If not, then I think it is time for you to consider putting yourself first and see how he responds. Guys needs time, they have their own pressures on making sure they are in a position in life to provide for their wife and future family. In addition to, there is so much pressure for the “perfect” ring, “perfect” proposal story, etc. They have a real issue with the concept of machismo, so be understanding and allow him to vocalize this to you.
Cut him some slack, but not enough to where your life is being wasted.