What do I do about his marriage anxieties?

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 2 years. About a year ago we agreed that we both wanted to get married sometime in the future. When I asked what his ideal timeline was for an engagement he said a few months to a year.

We moved in together 3 months ago and I made it very clear before we did so that I was expecting to be engaged sometime in the near future (I'm not some sort of floozy after all lol). Now it's getting closer to the time when he told me he would be proposing and of course we've been talking about it a little more. After bringing up the other night that his brother might be proposing to his girlfriend of one year soon, I asked him about our potential engagement. He revealed to me that he would have already proposed if it weren't for his anxieties over the social aspect of marriage. The pictures, everyone watching, the whole being the center of attention thing really makes him anxious and if it were up to him he would elope and do the entire thing without family or friends.

He has a small amount of social anxiety issues (but he's gotten much better) and really does not like being the center of attention so I can understand why he's so nervous about the whole marriage process. We talked about it and I assured him he would have a say in everything and that we wouldn't do anything he felt really uncomfortable with, but he also knows I want all of my family and friends to be there.

I'm worried that his anxieties will delay our engagement and cause issues between us. I understand that every relationship has it's own timeline and I can't compare when we get engaged to anyone else but if his brother does get engaged before we do, I will be happy for them but I will also be really hurt (no matter how much you try and rationalize it, it will happen). I thought for a while that maybe he was getting ready to propose but after the talk we had the other night, I don't think he has any plans to propose any time soon. How do I handle this situation? I'm completely ready to take that next step with him and to be his wife (I know he's ready for that too) but he's letting his anxieties get in the way of any movement towards marriage. What do I do?


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What Guys Said 1

  • Let me see, how can I put this delicately... umm, you DO want to keep talking about it, but you DON'T want to push it.

    Rather than focus on a hard push to get to the altar or the justice of the peace, drift the discussion into what matters most to you: him. What is causing all this social anxiety? Is there a history of emotional inadequacy for him towards his family?

    Be his counselor and his soulmate, and help him deal with these issues, because you want a healthier and happier him. If you show him your love and prioritize the issues, the marriage will fall out of the woodwork on its own, especially considering you both have already had that discussion about being ready.

    • thanks! I've been trying harder to put myself in his shoes and concentrate more on making sure he's comfortable with what's happening, but it gets harder the more time goes on and the more friends and family get engaged .

    • Remember I'm married myself. Generally the more people talk about a thing, the more normal that thing becomes to them. So keeping up the discussion is good, but in a positive way. Feeling pushed into marriage just "because of what others are doing" might leave behind emotional consequences you'll just have to deal with later on in the marriage, since obviously you two aren't going anywhere.

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