You may not be a girl who sees marriage as the ultimate crown of a woman, but it is something you aspire to, someday. You didn’t have a timeline for when it had to happen, you just know that you want to get married soon. Now you have a boyfriend, and six months down the line, you already feel like he’s the one.
He’s intellectual, thoughtful, has a great sense of humor, not to mention the great genes that contributed to the spectacle of his being. You connect on a deep level, he comes from a good home and is on track to do really well for himself in the coming years.
Basically, your boyfriend checks most boxes on your ‘The One’ list, and you are starting to think you might be ready to settle down with him.
The marriage topic has even come up at some points during your long-term relationship, and he appears to be on the same page as you. He wants to marry you too, but it’s been a couple of months since then, and you are starting to feel restless because he still hasn’t popped the big question yet. If you are wondering why, here are some possible reasons.
Starting with the most obvious one, he may not have proposed yet because he is simply not ready to. Note that there’s a difference between willingness and readiness, even though it is possible to mistake one for the other. You may have mistaken your boyfriend’s eagerness to agree to the idea of marriage as him being ready to take that leap with you.
There are several reasons why a man might not be ready for that next step yet. According to John Molloy, author of Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others, you should consider age in context before using it to judge whether a guy is ‘ripe for marriage.’
In an excerpt by Today, the author’s research shows that about 90% of guys who have graduated from college usually start getting ready for the next step in their relationship between 26 and 33. The majority of men in that category have their peak commitment years and are most likely to propose between 28 and 33.
However, even if that were true and your man falls under this category, there are still other factors to consider. Like his line of work, how attached he is to being single, financial and emotional capability, and whether or not his friends are already getting hooked.
Another possible reason your partner appears relaxed about taking your relationship to the next stage is that you two are basically married. Apparently, every relationship goes through about four or five stages before marriage, from the initial attraction to engagement.
During that penultimate phase of dating, some couples decide to move in together for logical reasons like pooling resources, especially when they already spend most of their time together. There are also conversations about where the relationship is going and what their plans are.
You and your boyfriend may have reached this stage and moved in together years ago. And unlike many couples whose relationship fails at this stage, yours seems to be thriving. Not only have you hacked the ‘living together thing, you’re even getting parenting practice with a pet you adopted together.
You two are already living as a family, and have probably even had conversations about what your wedding would look like. While this is not in the least a bad move, the fact that you already do everything together does not exactly inspire an urgency to change anything. However, this is no reason to assume that he won’t ask or that you should issue an ultimatum.
There’s no use sabotaging what you have by pressuring him to do the right thing. For all you know, the proposal is already in the works, and bringing it up might even cause him to hold things back a little so that it comes as a surprise when he finally does.
Many people view the level of commitment marriage requires to be a lot higher than that of a regular ‘committed’ relationship. Men who are used to a carefree lifestyle and relish not being accountable to anyone might particularly find it hard to take that step.
Guys who have been playboys for the better part of their adult lives might be hesitant to get hitched too because of the knowledge that marriage restricts their freedom to ‘play.’ People like this feel claustrophobic even thinking of getting married; it’s the small black hole they don’t want to enter.
However, the fear of not being able to continue with his lifestyle might not be the only thing holding him back. If he is not emotionally ready to settle down, he knows that a proposal consolidates the reality that he’d have to sign those legal papers someday. And making that move takes away the option of just backing out on a whim when the need arises.
No one likes to feel pressured or obligated to get married. On the other hand, it’s not nice to think that he’s going to propose, and get earrings instead of that diamond ring on your birthday.
Unfortunately, this dynamic can be so frustrating because he gives you just enough to think the big day will be soon, and then it just never comes, leaving the relationship and you in limbo. If this sounds like your partner, consider having a conversation with him that affirms his fears, but also addresses your desire to settle down without demanding or pressuring him to do what he doesn’t want to do.
Maybe he’s yet to propose because he’s not sure he’d be making the right decision. All that talk about wanting to marry you could just be him saying what he thinks you want to hear and what he believes he has to say to keep you around.
This is an extremely selfish move to use something you want to tie you down, but you may have also contributed to it. Letting a guy know you’re pressed for marriage is not always a good thing. The less than honorable man can leverage and milk your desire to get married for as long as you let him. I’m not saying your man is like that unless the shoe fits.
You need to ease off him, you don’t want him to lie just because he’s under pressure or has an ultimatum. He may buy into the idea of living in the now, so much that if something makes him as happy, there’s no point worrying if they’ll be there tomorrow. Especially when something better might come along then.
That said, I feel like you’d know by now if he was against marriage altogether. If he isn’t, and nothing else to the best of your knowledge is tying his hands, then the odds are he has no intention of moving things forward with you.
I don’t know if you are aware of this, but ladies are not the only group of people who look forward to getting married; men do too. He could have a whole picture of what the ceremony would look like and is being held back by not having the means to bring that idea to life yet.
From the proposal to the wedding reception and of course the marriage itself, he could have envisioned how everything should go. Even down to the smile on your face when he pulls out the ring with the stone that matches your eye color.
Unfortunately, planning is one thing, but being able to afford it is another ballgame. Maybe all that’s keeping your man from realizing his dream of officially asking you to be the woman he spends the rest of his life with is the number of zeros in his account.
He’s probably still saving up for a ring or trying to reach a certain level in his career before taking a step that big. And if your boyfriend is financially comfortable enough to be able to afford the kind of proposal you think he’d want, then it very well might be something else keeping him.
Another possible reason he hasn’t proposed yet is that he has reservations about the kind of future the two of you would have together. While he may love you with every fiber of his being, who you choose to spend the most important part of your life with is not a decision one makes lightly.
Perhaps your relationship isn’t the ideal representation of what he wants the rest of his life to look like. Maybe he has noticed some traits in you that don’t fill him with enough confidence to forge ahead with you. Or you disagree on a fundamental yet major deal-breaker like whether to have kids or how to raise them.
In the same way that you are antsy about the engagement, he’s probably caught in a dilemma between marrying a woman he loves and being unsure if that’s the right decision. If this sounds like your boyfriend, you can try and figure out if the bone of contention is something both of you can compromise on.
He may or may not come to a decision soon, so depending on how long you’re willing to wait, you might need to make a decision of your own sooner or later.
Maybe he isn’t afraid of committing to you per se, but he’s just not big on the reality of being married. This could have stemmed from the series of experiences from childhood. If your partner comes from a broken home, for instance, his experience from his parent’s marriage could have negatively influenced his opinion about matrimony.
Growing up around a tense marriage where the parents were barely keeping it together to give the kids an illusion of a complete family could also have that effect.
So he may have been talking about getting married because he wants a family of his own one day and if there’s anyone he’d rather do it with, it’s you. However, the little voice in his head reminding him how bad things were in his home growing up won’t let him go ahead with it.
He’s probably going through life, hoping that something profound happens that clears his doubts. And until that happens, you’d probably get an “I don’t know” response if you asked about his time projection for marriage.
This might be a case of cold feet, something that will go away with time. However, he needs to unlearn and heal from some of the lessons he unconsciously picked up in his childhood.
A proposal is something that should happen after both parties involved have agreed to spend the rest of their lives together. Anytime he asks the question is fine, as long as that conversation has taken place. However, some studies put the ideal waiting time between 1-2 years of dating.
Technically, it is possible to wait too long to pop the question, but it is relative. Some couples are comfortable dating for years without an official engagement, while tension may start to build in another relationship of nine months with no ring. In the end, the important thing is to be on the same page with your partner.
It could mean exactly what he said, that he wants you to become his partner in life. It can also mean he is trying to test the waters to see how you’d react to the idea of making your relationship permanent. Nevertheless, some men say it to keep you from leaving them.
Despite equality campaigns in recent times, many guys still feel like they are responsible for providing for their families. If a man doesn’t feel financially secure enough to start a family, he might hold off on getting engaged. Fear of commitment and indecision are some other reasons.
Reasons why some men don’t propose can range from a strong attachment to their bachelorhood to not being a believer in the concept of marriage. In between, however, are those men who are only biding their time until they are emotionally, financially, and/or mentally ready to take that step.
I hope this list helps put your boyfriend’s reluctance to propose into perspective. More importantly, I hope you see beyond the proposal itself and focus more on the quality of life you’re building with this guy. As usual, let me know what you think in the comments section, and share the article if you liked it.