Dear Wendy: “I’m Dying For My Boyfriend To Propose”
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost seven years. We’ve talked about getting married and having kids constantly, but nothing’s come out of it. We’ve even set a tentative date and picked colors. We’ve picked colors!!! But he still hasn’t proposed. I’m getting really frustrated and wondering if all the talk is just that: talk. Things are really great with us, but I’m losing patience and losing my mind. What should I do? — Not-so-patiently waiting
Maybe your boyfriend doesn’t see the point in asking if you’ll marry him when the answer’s been so clearly established already. Would you expect him to officially ask you on a date this weekend if you’d already chosen what movie you want to see, where you want to see it and what showing you want to go to? That would be silly. Of course, marriage is slightly different than a movie date, but my point is: maybe your boyfriend doesn’t realize you’re expecting an official proposal. Maybe in his mind it’s already done and done and he’s just waiting for you to decide on invitations. I’d say if it’s such a big deal to you, tell your boyfriend, “Hey, I know we’ve basically set a tentative wedding date, but I still want a traditional proposal to make it official.” You could hurry things along by going ring shopping together or, if you prefer to be surprised, ask someone close to you — your mom, your sister, a good friend — to touch base with him and ask if he’d like any help picking out a ring you’d like. Of course, if you’re that anxious to make the engagement official, you could always ask him.
I have been with my fiancé for a little over a year. When he proposed, I was so thrilled and surprised, and immediately said “yes.” Ever since the initial excitement began to wear off though, I find myself constantly wondering if marriage is actually what I want. I love him more than anything, but I can’t see myself being perma-bonded to one person for the rest of my life. I thought only men got “cold feet,” but when I bring up my concerns and try to find out his, he claims that he is 100% positive that I am “the one.” How do I figure out if my concerns really are just cold feet, or if marriage isn’t for me? — Cold Feet
First, understand that “cold feet” or anxiety or whatever you want to call it is perfectly normal before getting married. Lots of people have it and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re with the wrong person or that marriage isn’t for you. Maybe you’re a little freaked with how quickly things are moving. Or, maybe you really ARE freaked that you’re making the wrong decision. To figure it out, it may help you to make a list of what, exactly, scares you about the idea of marrying your fiancé. Then make another list about your fears of marriage (and see how implicitly those fears are linked to the man you’re contemplating marriage with). If it seems like you’re more afraid of marrying your fiancé than getting married in general, well, better you find out now that later. If, however, it seems your fear hinges more on the idea of marriage itself, that’s a talk you need to have with your fiancé. Maybe he’d be open to being non-married committed domestic partners for the foreseeable future, but you’d have to discuss what that means for the two of you. Would you have kids? Would you combine your finances? If these are topics that make you want to go run and hide under the bed, well, the answer for you is easy: you’re not ready for marriage. Likewise, if you’re OK talking about this stuff but your fiancé balks at these ideas or continues to dismiss your fears, I’d definitely hold off on putting a deposit on your reception venue. Marriage takes lots and lots of open communication. If you can’t discuss your concerns for fear of being judged or offending your betrothed, things won’t be any better once you’re legally bound to each other. There’s no shame in making sure you’re making the right decision.