Submit your questions for Meredith here.

Q. I’m a 23-year-old woman and have been dating a 30-year-old man for more than two years. I’ve been thinking about proposing to him.

We moved in at the one-year mark. I told him about four months ago, “I’m going to marry you one day,” and he said that sounded nice. I’ve mentioned it a few times since then. I asked him if it made him uncomfortable and he said a little, but in a good way that made him think about things he hadn’t really thought about.

A month ago I bought a ring with a plan to propose on our third anniversary. The other night I asked, “If I proposed in the future, would it be weird?” He said, “Not really, just like if I proposed to you in the future it wouldn’t be. But it’s not something I want right now.”

We’ve talked about getting a house together, but now I’m afraid if I propose, he might say no. He has said he wants to spend his life with me. I don’t understand the line between that and marriage. I’ve told him I don’t want to get married until I’m done with college, a few years away. I’m confused.


 — The Proposal

A. Let’s pause for a second. This man told you that an engagement is not something he wants right now. You say you don’t know how to feel about his response, but my advice is to believe it. If you have questions about what it means, ask. Do not ignore his very clear statement and offer him a ring. All that would tell him is that you’re not paying attention.

I do love romantic proposals — they’re fun to hear about. But they’re also a little meaningless if two people aren’t on the same page about commitment. I prefer a proposal that comes after two people have talked about their timeline and what marriage means to them. It should be like the kind of awards ceremony where you’ve already been told you’ve won, but they call you to the stage to make a speech anyway.


Think about why you want to propose now and sit with your feelings for a bit. If it’s because you’re psyched about this relationship, try to enjoy it. If it’s because you’re concerned about buying a house with someone without that commitment, have a conversation about what the next steps might mean. Remember that it’s a partnership, so you should be making the big decisions together.

— Meredith


Take it from someone who did the whole Hollywood romantic proposal only to have it fail in the end. A proposal should not come out of the blue; it should be a question you’re 90 percent sure you know the answer to already. THATGUYINRI

It’s not something I want right now. He’s not ready. He couldn’t be more straightforward. He has said he wants to spend his life with me. Why can’t this be enough? Spend time enjoying your life rather than manipulating it to fit an arbitrary timeline. JACQUISMITH

I’m all for women proposing to men. But this guy doesn’t want to marry you. I’d suggest you move out, start dating again, and propose to a guy who is far more likely to accept. BIGSIGH


Catch Season 3 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast. Get it at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.

Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.