Ask Dr. Gilda-Am I Being Strung Along?

First he proposed, then he wanted to delay things…how can this woman know if he's being truthful?

By Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D.

ear Dr. Gilda,
Three months ago, I reunited with a man I'd been engaged to and lived with for three years. We broke up because of our youth and inexperience. Shockingly, our relationship was rekindled after being matched up by a dating service! We have had a lovely time together since our reunion. A month
He said he has to refinance his home in order to buy me a ring.
after reuniting, my sweetheart said he doesn't want to waste any more time. He wants to get married and start a family (we are both in our late 30s). He suggested we take a honeymoon overseas after a small marriage ceremony. I happily agreed.

Now, my boyfriend still wants to go on the vacation but isn't ready to be married first. He said he has to refinance his home in order to buy me a ring. He suggested that we continue as planned with the honeymoon, even though it would come before the wedding, which would be a few months later. I did not consent or disagree. I told him that having a fancy ring wasn't a priority. We both have great jobs with great incomes. Should I call off the trip?
– Feeling Duped

Dear Feeling Duped,
Something is not right about this story. Your guy wants to be able to afford to buy you a fancy ring, which you don't even want. Then he wants to take a trip he'll call a "honeymoon," which will come before the marriage, which he's delaying for a while. You're not comfortable with that arrangement. Since you say you both have terrific jobs and incomes, there does not seem to be a plausible reason to postpone the marriage only a few months—except that he may have cold feet! If this is the case, you will return from your trip expecting to get married, only to discover that he's not ready. Going away together on this trip could be fun. But his telling you that you will
He's enjoying the romance without the responsibility and commitment.
get married a few months later, and then postponing that, would be setting you up for pain.

You say the two of you were immature some years ago when you were engaged and living together for three years. You hoped your rekindling would accompany a more mature mindset. But it seems that this guy is ignoring your desires for a marriage above all else. And you're aiding and abetting him by admitting, "I did not consent or disagree." Neither of you is communicating his/her truth.

What worries me most is that your boyfriend is playing with your heartstrings. It seems like he's in love with love, and he's enjoying the romance without the responsibility and commitment.

This is what I suggest:
  1. Before you do another thing, level with your boyfriend! No marriage should ever begin with subterfuge. Let him know with total clarity how you're feeling. I'm not saying to lay into him and blame him, but it's time to start communicating.
  2. Since you're not happy about going on a "honeymoon-less" honeymoon, tell him you will not go.
  3. Listen intently as you invite him to share his feelings about marriage, commitment, and being ready for this stage of his life. If you hear any wavering, read it as ambivalence.
  4. Depending on what you hear, create a timeline of how you both will proceed next.
You don't need a second breakup with him, but you also don't need a marital disaster. Find out exactly what your fiancé's intentions are before you plunge into an uncertain future. No matter how this goes, you will both be that much stronger for discovering the truth now.

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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