Ask Dr Gilda-Will he ever propose?

A woman is waiting (and waiting!) for her new guy to ask her to marry him. Will that day ever come?

By Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D.

ear Dr. Gilda,
I love my boyfriend. This is a second serious relationship for both of us (as we are both divorced). He is a great person — responsible, reliable and mature — all the things I’ve been holding out for since my previous mistake.

Anyway, we moved in together about six months after we started dating. During our house hunt we had a conversation about marriage, and I made it clear
How long is TOO long to wait for something we have already agreed upon?
that I wanted to get married, not just live together forever. At that time he agreed with me and he said he would like to buy the house and then get married the next year.

His proposal is now overdue. We have talked about marriage since then. He claims he wants to get married, and that he wants to surprise me with his proposal. But the only thing that surprises me so far is his lack of care for how this prolonged wait makes me feel. My question is, how long is TOO long to wait for something we have already agreed upon?
– Still Waiting

Dear Still Waiting,
During the throes of new love, promises gush wildly, while under calmer conditions, two rational people might adopt more of a wait-and-see stance. For you, things are more complex because you guys purchased a house after only six months of dating. Risky business!

When you and your boyfriend “talked about marriage,” did you specify a date or was it a discussion in
I am disappointed you have not made plans toward that end.
generalities? He concurred that he wanted to get married, but without a definite “when,” the term “someday” is the prevailing assumption. “Someday” can take on many different meanings for different people. So now you have a communication faux pas where you’re steamed about waiting for him to sweep you to marital nirvana.

I assume your guy invested some money in this permanent domicile, so he’s already made a financial commitment. You say you love him. It’s certainly not productive for you to harbor an undercurrent of resentment. This is what I suggest you do:
  1. Get your living parameters back into the communications realm where they belong. Instead of waiting in anger, tell your boyfriend, “I moved in with you under the condition that we would get married—to which you agreed. I am disappointed you have not made plans toward that end. Please tell me your thoughts on this.” You’re not giving him an ultimatum, and you’re not threatening to leave. You’re simply sharing your feelings and requesting closure by clarifying his intentions. End. Of. Story. No more games.
  2. While your boyfriend says he wants to “surprise” you with his proposal, you’re not appreciating his lag time. Do you truly trust his spoken intentions? Do you think he’s feeling pressured? Do you believe that the “surprise” excuse is just a smokescreen? Do you sense he’s stalling for time? Do you honestly think he wants to marry you, ever? You may have to probe your guy for his honest answers—which even he may not know. It is also possible that he’s just plain scared to make a lifetime commitment.
  3. You may have been putting off this issue because you’re scared of commitment, too, or you’re terrified of a possible rejection. Deal with your own fears before you project onto him your personal issues.
  4. Listen, listen, listen. Your guy’s response (or non-response) will tell you all you need to know.
As my Gilda-Gram says, “Nothing is more powerful than a partner who is sure of herself.” Show your confidence by getting a reality check—whether you like the answer or not. The objective now is less to get a wedding band than it is to live a happy and prosperous life with the dude or without.

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., gives Instant Advice throughout the world via Skype, email and phone. She is the 30-Second Therapist for Her best-selling books include Don’t Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her website at (
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