The Proposal – Excuses and Delays

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engagementAsk Alea: My boyfriend still has not proposed what should I do? 

It must be the holiday season and all the engagements we see on TV, facebook, and twitter, but since love seems to be in the air it has left some questioning “why not me?” Two readers recently asked me about why their beau has not proposed:

Dear A, My bf said he would ask me to marry him before the holidays, but he didn’t. Then he said he was going to wait to talk to my dad when he was here, and then he didn’t. Now he says it is just a financial issue with our move and then he’s going to ask me. But he hasn’t bought the ring. I don’t know what to think. -R (29, F, CA)

R-You have listed quite a few excuses which is a red flag. From the description I get the sense he may not be ready to commit. His lack of follow through does not show respect or compassion for your emotional experience and feelings. I’m wondering if you are feeling vulnerable and invalidated?

  1. Safety within the relationship is number one. If you cannot rely on him to follow thorough, be predictable, and consistent, then it will be very difficult for you to feel safe within the relationship. Having a clear and stated proposal date without follow through is painful and confusing. It may be important for you to express these feelings to him in a kind and nondefensive way. If you are met with hostility, anger, or defensiveness, it will be important for you to reevaluate your ability to communicate with him. And thus reevaluate if this is a good time to become engaged to someone who cannot respect your feelings of sadness and vulnerability when they have not kept their word.

  2. What is not being said–It may be time to reevaluate his commitment to you and the relationship? Does he fear commitment?-What does commitment mean to him? What are his thoughts on marriage? Is he having doubts? Is there something not being said? What conversation is he, you, or both of you avoiding (children, finances, commitment, location)? Can you both express your needs and desires in a positive and respectful way? Can you communicate and compromise on certain aspects of what you both desire?

  3. I wonder if you are distracting away from admitting what you feel, think, or know about the relationship by blaming him for not proposing. Potentially there are relationship questions that need to be addressed and resolved before either of you would be ready to be engaged, such as communication and follow-through.

 If you have further questions, or want more examples just go to the contact us and Ask Alea!

1 Comment
  1. AndrewCrave 3 months ago

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