Q. My boyfriend and I have been dating for six years, living together for five years, and just recently bought a home — all great things, except that anytime I bring up an engagement, he freaks out. We have openly talked about wanting to get married and have a family, and it is definitely something we both want. Recently, if I bring it up (which honestly is not very often), I get responses like “the more you ask about it, the longer it will be put off,” or he’ll make excuses like, “I need to make more money first” or “We just got a house.” He keeps acting like he is waiting for the perfect moment, but he doesn’t understand that it is never going to be the perfect time and bills will always be there. Worst of all, he dangles the carrot in front of my face a lot by hinting at my ring size, mentioning that the has priced out some options, and talking about having babies. When I show intrigue or ask questions, he backs off again. I am getting impatient, but I would never give him an ultimatum or leave. What should I do?
A. You need to have a talk about the weird dangling carrot. You’re not a child, so you shouldn’t be punished like one. When he says, “The more you ask, the longer you’ll wait,” is he kidding? Or is he really treating you like a teenager who’s asking for a bigger allowance? You need to explain that this is not cute to you, and that you want to be a part of the decision-making process. Let him know that if you both develop the grand plan, it’ll be less stressful for him. He shouldn’t be the only accountable party. No matter what, he should treat you with respect.
I do have some empathy for the guy, of course. Buying a house is a big deal and he might need to sit with that change for a bit before contemplating the next one. You can let him know that you understand that this was a big move. It was so big that you want to make sure that you’re both on board for the next step and that you’ve talked it through before it happens.
Really, your issue isn’t about the proposal, it’s about communication. You want to know what’s happening instead of waiting for him to make decisions for both of you. Let him know that after six years, he has to treat you like the co-pilot because that’s what you are.
WHY DID YOU BUY A HOUSE TOGETHER??? Classic cart before the horse.
I understand that you want to get married, and have a fun wedding, but isn’t how the relationship feels more important than how the relationship looks?
This guy is both telling you and showing you that he has no intention of getting married at least not to you. The real question is, when are you going to believe him.
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at email@example.com.