Q. I started dating my boyfriend when I was 20 and he was 29. He has been a lifelong friend of my family, so it was very exciting for everyone when we started dating. We moved in together about eight months into our relationship and have been together ever since. We’re both successful in our careers, we have a wonderful group of friends, our families are incredibly supportive of us, and we truly enjoy each other (most of the time!).
I am now 27 and he’s about to turn 36. We’ve had many conversations about marriage and children and agree that it’s something we both want. My girlfriends have lost hope that he’ll ever propose . . . and quite frankly, I’m getting there. As cliche as it sounds, he is truly my best friend and I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it. So the thought of leaving because he won’t propose sounds incredibly selfish to me. However, that’s the advice that everyone keeps giving me. I don’t like to bring up the topic of marriage too much because I don’t want to pry or push, but I’m at the end of my rope.
IMPATIENTLY WAITING,SMALL TOWN, VA.
A. Talking about your future doesn’t mean that you’re prying or pushing. You’re allowed to discuss this stuff, and there’s no reason to feel like a nag.
Tell your boyfriend that you’d like to come up with a timeline. It’s not about finding out when he’s going to propose, it’s about working together to devise a plan. He’s already said that he wants what you want. Now that you’re 27, you're ready to get specific about when.
If he won’t talk about this stuff, explain that you’re concerned that he no longer shares your vision for the future. Don’t spit out any ultimatums. Simply ask: “Do we still want the same things?”
After seven years, you shouldn’t feel like you’re waiting around for a boyfriend to propose. You should feel like you’re working with your partner to figure out what’s next. This is supposed to be a team effort.
I think after seven years you have every right to have this discussion. . . . I think this discussion is long overdue, but that’s just my take on it.
Maybe he felt that you were much too young to marry while in your early twenties? Nine years is a gigantic age difference.
He’s your “best friend.” Best friends are supposed to be able to talk about things. This is a thing. Talk about it.
I find it a little odd that you don’t actually say that you want to BE married anywhere in your letter. It sounds more like your friends expect you to get married so you think you should.
You can ask him to marry you. Stop waiting and take control of your life.
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.