When the Holidays Are Over and He Didn't Propose

3 years ago

I knew I wanted to marry my husband long before he asked me to marry him, which presented a problem: He was taking too long to propose. To compound this problem, he also made the mistake of asking me what shape of diamond I liked nearly a year before presenting me with a ring.

About eight months after the shape-of-the-ring conversation, I took him to a park and asked him about his intentions. I also said something like asking about ring shapes and then not asking me to marry him was akin to take me to a puppy store and then not getting me a goddamn puppy.

You know what he said?

"Your expectations are not in line with my reality."

A few months later, he proposed to me on top of a mountain in Steamboat, Colorado. The day I'd dragged him to the park, he already had the ring bought and hidden in preparation for our trip.

Eh, I married him anyway.


Image: Public Domain via Pixabay


What to Do If He Didn't Propose

The holidays are over, and you thought you were getting a ring but your left finger is still empty. What should you do?

Are you sure you don't have wedding fever?

When I'm honest with myself, I realize I totally had wedding fever right before my husband and I got engaged. My college roommates were coupling up and getting married right and left.

And ... my husband and I had recently moved in together, something I swore I would never do without a ring on my finger, but after that whole shape-of-a-diamond conversation, I had been positive I wouldn't be living in total sin for long (in my mind, engaged didn't count, so sue me).

There's nothing wrong with having wedding fever unless it's making you crazy. It made me crazy in a way I didn't like.

Is he that into you?

You may be eying your man for husband qualities without realizing he's got you squarely in the fun zone. Does he avoid discussions about the future? Does he tell you or show you often that he loves you? Have you met all his friends and at least some of his family?

Are you sure his hesitation isn't a symptom of a bigger commitment problem?

Even if he is totally into you, he might not love the idea of marriage. If he's dead set against the institution because of his parent's ugly divorce or his own former marriage, your chances of making progress down the aisle aren't great.

Unfortunately, if that's the case, you need a hard conversation with yourself instead of him. How important is being legally wed or spiritually wed? If it's a dealbreaker, you must be honest with yourself about that. It is okay and in no way weak to want marriage, patriarchy be damned.

Does he think he needs to reach a certain place in his career/have enough money/travel the world before he gets married?

Some people think their lives will end after marriage and/or kids and that they must achieve greatness before they let other people share their bank accounts. If you suspect this is the case, why not ask?

It's a great opportunity to talk about your hopes and dreams for your lives. Even if it turns out you guys don't belong together, understanding and vocalizing what you want from life is a great exercise for you. And sometimes people are afraid of something but they don't know what it is; putting a name to the fear is the first step in figuring out the fix.

Is he too broke to buy you the ring he thinks you want?

Be honest, girlfriend. If you've ever said anything about carats in his presence, you could have intimidated the hell out of him with your high standards ... and if you are fixated on ring size, see the first question.

So what happens now?

If you've gone through that list and still want wedding bells, you have three options: Wait, give him an ultimatum or leave.

In my scenario, I decided to wait six months and see what happened. I knew I wanted to marry my husband, and I'm glad I didn't have to figure out what to do next if he didn't ask me.

However, I knew from past relationships that I only wanted to marry someone who wanted to marry me. You are worth someone who wants you and only you.

So many times the media makes a woman who wants a serious relationship out like a visitor from Needy Town, and that's not fair.

Never apologize for knowing what you want from your life partner. Just make sure you're both on the same page before you dive into anything.

Do you have a "he didn't propose" story? Share it in the comments!

Rita Arens is the author of the young adult novel The Obvious Game & the deputy editor of BlogHer.com.

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