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Married Life
Having a conversation about The Future
By Angelinamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 10300, member since Mon May 06, 2002
On Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:05 PM

I've not been around DDN much recently, as life has generally got in the way, but I find myself in need of some life-advice which DDN is always so great at!

I have been with my boyfriend for just over 10 years - we were 16 and 17 when we got together. We have lived together for the past 4 years and things are going well. Recently I have been wondering when he's going to finally get round to proposing. I though it might have been on our 10 year anniversary - he booked a table at a really nice restaurant without me even prompting (which is REALLY unlike him), and since it didn't happen then, I've found myself thinking more and more about it.

I don't know if the thought has even crossed his mind, but he DEFINITELY knows I want to get married. We've talked about it before in a "one day" sort of way, but I want to know when "one day" is going to become more specific. I mean, it's not *that* long before I/we turn 30, and it feels kind of ridiculous now that we've been together for this long... if he doesn't know by now that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, then when will he? I get a bit embarrassed sometimes when people ask "so how come you're not married yet?" and my honest answer is that I don't know.

So, I know we need to talk about it, but I don't know HOW to bring it up in the right way. I don't want to make him feel like he hasn't done something that he didn't even know he was meant to do, because even though I feel like I've dropping some big hints, maybe they were not big enough, and that's my problem, not his. Its not like I want to get married tomorrow and I don't necessarily want to turn the pressure on (yet, anyway), but the time for making jokes about it has passed... I just want to have a conversation about it so we both know where we stand.

What do I do?

19 Replies to Having a conversation about The Future

re: Having a conversation about The Future
By Nyssasisticmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3643, member since Sat Sep 20, 2003
On Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:30 PM
My sister in law, before she and my brother got engaged, decided to kind of take matters into her own hands. She found a ring, showed it to my brother, and said "Get me this one". That's not a hint, but it's not talking marriage either- just engagement.

It may not be a perfect strategy on it's own, but doing something like that may help facilitate a discussion in a non-confrontational way.
re: Having a conversation about The Future (karma: 1)
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member Comments: 7417, member since Sun Apr 18, 2004
On Wed Jun 19, 2013 02:47 PM
Have you thought about proposing to him?

Really, the best thing you can do is find a time where he doesn't have to be anywhere or get ready for anything and tell him that you want to talk seriously. You can approach it by asking how important he things marriage is, or what requirements he would have before marriage, or you can bring it up like "I'm ready to call you my husband, whenever you're ready to call me your wife". It doesn't have to be what he has or hasn't done, but what he wants and is ready for--because really, that's what you want to know. You know where you stand, but you're not sure where he stands.
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 34891, member since Wed May 22, 2002
On Wed Jun 19, 2013 03:08 PM
If there's one thing about your guy that I've learned over the years, it's that he doesn't do hints. And I mean, no guy does (I've said that repeatedly...), but your guy really, REALLY doesn't. So if you're doing anything in the realm of subtle, he's missing it all together.

He also doesn't do anything on any time table other than his own, as evidenced by the years you spent trying to get him to take a shower (!)

So as much as you don't want to just come out with it, you're going to have to.

I have a guy that is not unlike yours in a lot of respects (minus the personal hygiene, he's positively anal about that, he considers it "rushing" out of the house if it takes less than 45 minutes to get ready...), and after five years of looking at engagement rings, and hemming and hawing over it, I finally had to go "Look, if this isn't happening with you, then I need to know, cause I want this in my life eventually, and I need to go find the person that it will be happening with."

He never said so in as many words, but he found the idea of getting engaged pretty daunting. For whatever reason, he'd convinced himself that like, if we got engaged today, we were getting married tomorrow. Aah, hardly. We were engaged for two years and some change! I didn't want to run the guy down the aisle, I just felt like we were too old for that "boyfriend and girlfriend" business. :/

So I'm advocating the "just say it" approach, cause you're never going to know where you are if you don't stop to look at the map.
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By Angelinamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 10300, member since Mon May 06, 2002
On Wed Jun 19, 2013 03:26 PM
HA, you have a good memory, T! He has got a lot better in the hygiene department since he's been working full time :)

I tried to start a conversation last week - I found out that someone at work is married (which is notable because he doesn't look old enough) so I said "I can't believe John is married... he looks about 15, so how come he's married and I'm not?", and the response was along the lines of "oh right". So I pushed a bit more and said "you do know I want to get married, right?" and he said "mmhmm". So I don't feel like that's a particularly subtle hint, but maybe still too subtle.
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By saaammiemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 440, member since Thu Apr 01, 2010
On Wed Jun 19, 2013 03:31 PM
Why can't you propose?
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Wed Jun 19, 2013 04:46 PM
^ It's not on every woman's agenda. I would NEVER have proposed and I don't know any women that have/would, either. It's also not an ideal solution if the woman wants to find out if her partner wants to marry her or not.

A couple of things happened to us that meant I didn't have to have any kind of talk - firstly his mates got engaged after eight years together and my reaction was "I'm not waiting that bloody long". Secondly at another wedding his aunt was bugging us about when it was our turn and must have asked me five times when we were next or why weren't we engaged. I just kept batting it back to him - "well it's up to him really isn't it auntie?" He ended that night by telling me it would happen. I think things happening around you give you an innocent enough cue to start the conversation. When he hmmmhed, I possibly would have pushed a bit more and said "what's that now? I didn't hear what you said" or something.

Trouble is, I know many women that have started the "talk" with their fellas only for it to turn into a bit of a row and the bloke drops the bombshell that he's neatly finished paying off the ring and so they've spoilt their own surprise by being pushy. Perhaps a risk worth taking?
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By Gioiamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3024, member since Sun Jun 20, 2004
On Wed Jun 19, 2013 05:03 PM
I like the idea of women proposing, I see no reason why they shouldn't. However, I also believe that anyone who is proposing shouldn't go in blind. I mean, you want to be reasonably sure that the other person is going to say yes, right? So, maybe your guy isn't the type that wants to propose, it can be really hard and overwhelming for some people! I think the best course of action is to let him know that you are ready to get engaged and ask if he feels the same way and envisions himself proposing to you. If he sounds like he is on board with getting married, but has been nervous about the proposing part, then you can figure something else out. Do you need a big proposal? If so, you are probably going to have to tell him that. If not, then you can extend the conversation to going ring shopping together and planning your own engagement together. Or you can pop the question.
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By Sakura_Efreet Comments: 707, member since Fri May 02, 2008
On Wed Jun 19, 2013 05:44 PM
I have also been in my relationship for ten years, but we have been engaged for nearly 2 (too dang broke from uni to afford a wedding :( ).

Everyone has a different relationship dynamic, but when I need to talk to him about something serious, we usually get out of the house so he has no reason to be distracted. We go to a quieter restaurant and I make sure to sit across from him. After we have our food, I look him in the eyes when I am addressing him, and say something along the lines of "I'd like to discuss something with you."

My guy is also terrible with subtle hints. It just didn't and still doesn't work. But we talked marriage extensively the year before and up to when we got engaged. I am very vocal, and I tend to say whatever I am thinking at that moment with him, rarely holding anything back (within reason, of course).

You should try to speak up if the hints aren't working. Don't come off on the offensive; try to explain it calmly. "I really love you. I really do. And I see us spending the rest of our lives together, and I think we are ready for the next step." At least, that is what I would do.

It seems like, from what I have experienced, guys who live with their girlfriends sometimes take a longer time to propose because they are already living together, and a wedding certificate is just a piece of paper. In their mind, it doesn't prove or change their love for their lady. Which is great in guy logic, but not so much for us!

Please let us know what happens. :) I wish you all the best.
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Wed Jun 19, 2013 06:17 PM
I think there is a fine line between being too pushy and not being clear enough. You don't want to be so pushy that a guy proposes just to get you to stop bugging him, but you also don't want to be disappointed year after year on valentines day with no ring.

Have you asked him what his time frame of when he wants to get married? If he says " 5 years" you can either try to change his mind or at least have that knowledge so you won't be disappointed.

A guy I went to high school with wanted to propose to his girl on their 5 year. He took her to Hawaii but he forgot to bring the engagement ring! From what he told me, she threw a huge fit about how he is a useless loser and how she wanted to break up, and actually slept with someone else on that trip just because she was upset that he didn't propose. Needless to say he is thankful that he didn't marry her, but can you imagine breaking up over something like that?
The point of the story is, try not to get too upset that he didn't propose to you on your 10th. For all we know, he is saving the proposal for even a more special time or maybe he is trying to save up to give you the best ring possible. Or maybe, he just didn't catch the significance of the 10th. Guys aren't stereotypically as sentimental as women.

I say, try to get a timeline on when he wants to get married. Once you get that down, you are at least on the same page.
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By UberGoobermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6414, member since Sat May 15, 2004
On Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:47 AM
I would stop hinting an strt asking about a timeline: "How do you see the next five years of our life playing out". I have also met several men who don't necessarily understand or immediately recognize that at least a year frequently passes in between getting engaged and getting married (if you are planning on having a wedding too).
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By dancin_til_death Comments: 4381, member since Sat May 08, 2004
On Thu Jun 20, 2013 05:11 AM
There are a couple of ways to do it.

Make a time frame with him, and direct the conversation. This is my way of approaching it. I love to plan... We frequently have conversations about what the next few years look like. Especially with regards to travel plans and financial plans. Its all at my own prompting though, none is initiated by him. Our last conversation was about moving in together. We've fixed it to a goal to move in mid 2014-2015. I found what works for us is one radical idea at a time. eg.
conversation 1 - we'd probably move in together one day" conversation 2-5 "it'd be fun living together"
conversation 6 "what kind of place would you like to get"
conversation 7-8 "these are the problems we'd have to overcome" etc

The ultimatum approach - My brother's girlfriend told my brother he needed to decide and propose whether he wanted to marry her within 2 years or she'd leave. As my brother's sister - this was not pushy - this is exactly how you handle my brother. My brother has no qualms with it as he sees, and we think she's pretty awesome.

Propose yourself
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11321, member since Sun Nov 23, 2003
On Thu Jun 20, 2013 07:09 AM
Edited by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2013-06-20 07:10:13
After being together for 10 years, do not feel for a minute that you are being "pushy" or a wedding-obsessed harpy by having a conversation about getting married. I get that vibe from your post, I guess because it's such a common (and really gross, sexist) trope, but if this is important to you, it is high time y'all sat down and had a serious conversation about it. "Hints" are just too passive-aggressive for my liking.

The day we got married my husband and I had been dating for exactly 6.5 years. And part of that was getting him to understand it was NOT too soon to talk about it when we were both grown ups (he's 8 years older than me, and very much the type that takes a LOOONG time to decide anything). We had several conversations, including about timing, because like UberGoober mentioned, I don't think he realized that planning takes time. If your guy is anything like mine you're going to have to talk about it a lot, so that's where my "you're not pushy" reminder comes in. IT'S NOT PUSHY. It's just how you have to communicate to him.

I think the final kick in the pants for our situation was my kid sister getting engaged. He bought the ring pretty much right after that happened and we were engaged three weeks after them.

Just because he takes a looong time to come around to a decision doesn't necessarily mean that he doesn't want to get married, either. Our married life so far is great, and my husband has absolutely no regrets about our wedding / getting married and is actually really enjoying it.

And just because it bears repeating again: DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. This is important to you and it needs to be addressed, and not in snarky comments or hopeful clues.
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By Angelinamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 10300, member since Mon May 06, 2002
On Tue Jun 25, 2013 01:41 PM
Thanks for all your input, I appreciate it. Dani, you're right, I was feeling like I was being pushy, but I guess after 10 years, he shouldn't be super-surprised.

I'm with Louise on the proposal thing - I wouldn't propose myself. Partly because I don't really know how he feels about it... I know I want it to happen, but I wouldn't want to take him by surprise or make him uncomfortable.

I DID mention it again last week... again, I was saying something about another friend who has recently got married, and followed up with "what do you think of the idea of marriage? Do you think we will get married" and he responded with his usual stupid answer of "yeah, let's get married in Buckingham Palace and we'll invite the Queen and the corgis can be the ring bearers" (or something to that effect). So I said "no, really, don't make stupid jokes about it... what do you ACTUALLY think?" and he said it would be cool to be married TO ME. So that's a pretty good result. I didn't want to push it any further there and then, but we'll see what happens.

I kind of feel like his mindset has changed a bit since that conversation... nothing specific, just a feeling.
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By Coccinellamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5930, member since Sat Jan 25, 2003
On Fri Jun 28, 2013 08:19 PM
I'm with the others that say you have to make things quite clear. I think that people have this idea that if women voice the things they want in life that they are being needy or old-fashioned or any number of other titles. I had this conversation with a friend a couple years ago before I got engaged. We came to the conclusion that there isn't anything wrong with quite clearly stating your plans for your future.

"I value marriage and it's definitely something that I want in the near future. I love you and see a future with you. I would like to be engaged by this time next year."

Secondly, don't despair. I have close friends who were together 9-10 years before they were engaged and married. He was the least romantic person I've ever met yet he managed to arrange a large birthday dinner out with lots of friends and propose to her on bended knee with a cake that said, "Will you marry me, Shelagh?". We, especially her, were shocked.

Tell him your dreams and that you want him to fit into those. :)
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By GetRhythmmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 4773, member since Mon Jun 20, 2005
On Fri Aug 02, 2013 04:04 PM
My husband and I were together for four years before he proposed (and we were both in our 20s and had been living together for three years). I eventually told him, "Look. We've been together almost four years. We're buying a house. If you want to have children before we're 40, you better freakin' propose to me soon! I'm not getting any younger, so *bleep* or get off the pot!" :) Boys are NOT good with hints, so sometimes you just have to be forceful. We got married just after our five year anniversary when we were both almost 27 years old (which is pretty old where I live).
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By imadanseurPremium member Comments: 16604, member since Thu Dec 04, 2003
On Fri Aug 02, 2013 07:52 PM
I was in your shoes...but I was older. I met a guy at age 24, we moved in together when I was 25. My condition was that I was only moving in if he thought this relationship one day could turn into marriage. He said, "okay." That okay meant he understood what I was saying, not okay he thought we'd get married, but I didn't find that out until almost 7 years later.

At the age of 29 I started "hinting", by 30 I was asking him about marriage and he said he wasn't ready (he was 40), by 31 I gave him an ultimatum. If you aren't going to marry me I am going to move out, and he said he didn't want to be married. He also didn't want to break up, he just wanted to continue as things were. I had to finally decide if being married was more important or staying with him, and being married in a committed partnership was far more important. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

His comments are so dismissive, and is a deflection of talking about it. He is trying to appease you, and he's figured out you aren't going to make him have a serious conversation, and maybe that is a theme in your relationship (because it was in mine.) Eventually you need to say, "We need to have a talk. I want to be married, what do you want? I don't want to go another 5 years without any further commitment. Why are you hesitant?"

Pushing or not, you don't have to walk on eggshells with this subject. You've given him space, and given him time to mull this over. Too bad if he doesn't want to talk about it, half of the relationship is about you and you need this conversation and that should be respected.
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By dancemomtoo Comments: 2643, member since Fri Jan 09, 2004
On Fri Aug 02, 2013 08:07 PM
^^^^ Agree 100% with the half the relationship is about you and what you want-have the talk or you will be back here four years later with the same question
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By smileywomanmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11032, member since Sat Sep 17, 2005
On Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:39 AM
A 10 year old relationship where the two of you (or at least you) mentioned marriage more than once isn't pushy.

Ultimately, actions do speak louder than words and he does need a push. I'd nicely ask him point blank about marriage plans.

DO NOT recommend you proposing to him. That is a MAJOR no, no for most of the guys I know...actually had that question and got a "oh no, not a good idea to propose to the guy."

You NEED to find out NOW IF he does want to get married. What is his assessment of your relationship?

How about this:
_____, we've been together for 10 years now and I feel that our relationship is ready for the ultimate commitment. I want to get married by ____. Where are you on that?"
re: Having a conversation about The Future
By AprilMaria Comments: 23, member since Mon Jul 29, 2013
On Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:29 PM
I dont know why or understand women who tip toe around their men over issues like this. He knows you want to get married you have talked about it, ye are together 10 years it is a crazy situation, my openion in this is ask him bluntly if he wants to marry you and explain that you have invested a lot of time in this relationship and you want to know if it is going anywhere. You need to be blunt he has had 10 years of hints and they havent gotten you anywhere.

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