Pushing Him Into Engagement a Bad Plan

Hi Karen,

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for two years, and when we started dating we were both on the same page about marriage (we both want it).  I’m feeling really frustrated because he hasn’t proposed yet, even though I’ve been reminding him that it’s been two years.  My parents ask him all the time when he’s going to pop the question.  When we’re at our friends’ houses they all ask, too.  Why won’t he get off his butt and just ask me, already?  Has he changed his mind, and he’s just too afraid to tell me?  Help! — Jill, NJ

Hi Jill,

I’m sorry you’re feeling so frustrated.  I’d venture to say you’re probably feeling a little scared, too, huh?  You’ve invested a lot of time (and heart, and maybe a few tears) into this relationship, and it’s not where you thought it would be by now.

Most women would probably be feeling like you’re feeling, and doing what you’re doing, to try to “fix” it.

And they’d be in the same boat: frustrated…and not engaged.

The first thing I want you to do (and this is going to sound nuts, because it’s the opposite of what you’re feeling like you should do) is to R-E-L-A-X.

If the hinting, and the questions, and the pressure, and whatever else has been happening isn’t working – and it’s clearly not working, right? – then you need to have a new approach.

If you’ve chosen well, and this is the man you want to spend your life with, then all that matters is that you two are on the same page.

PLEASE keep the rest of the world out of your business (they mean well, but it’s really none of their concern).

Here’s what I’d recommend:

  1. Tell your well-meaning family and friends that the subject of your marriage and future plans is off-limits, unless you (or your man) bring it up. That, right off the bat, will relieve so much of the pressure you’re feeling!
  2. Apologize to your man for the pressure he’s been getting from everywhere, and tell him it’s been handled.  Everyone – including you – is now off his back about it.
  3. When you can have a connected, loving and trusting conversation with him, tell him you just need one thing from him, and that is to know whether or not he’s still on the same path with you about being married – at some point – so you can feel secure.  He’s most likely going to say “yes”, to which you can reply “Great!  That’s all I needed to know – thanks!” (Note: “When?” will not be a good reply!)
  4. Enjoy this stage of your relationship, because the next stage (engagement) will happen, and then you can enjoy that stage of your relationship. It’s a pretty good way to live your life: be with what is, and be fully present…(it tends to take care of what’s coming next in the best possible way).

One final thing: by backing off and letting him navigate the proposal in his own way, and in his own time, you’ll be giving yourself the gift of never having to ask yourself whether you forced him into it. It’s yummy to be wanted, to be chosen, and to be asked!