Hesitation about getting engaged?

My boyfriend has openly told me that he plans to stay with me until I'm ready to get engaged. The thing is, I'm not ready, and I won't be ready for several years. We're just in our early twenties -- I'm finishing up college and didn't plan on getting married until I was financially independent. We've been dating for almost two years.

I'm nervous about our differing opinions on when to get married, and also that we might have differing views on having kids (he wants some, I haven't decided if I want any). Everything else in our relationship is great; we're long-distance for now but everything has been going fine and we love each other. He's my best friend and I don't want to lose him. At the same time, once in a while I have doubts because I feel like I need to figure myself out and grow up before I make such a big commitment to someone I care about. It makes me feel guilty and selfish.

Does anyone have advice on this? I don't know what to do. :( Thanks in advance.


Most Helpful Girl

  • If you're feeling pressured into marriage when you're not ready then you're more likely to pull away rather than be drawn toward him.

    You haven't said that you want to explore other options. You've just said you're not ready to move as quickly into marriage as he is. Hopefully you 2 can find a common ground because you are both going to grow and change a lot. You may grow apart, but then again you may grow together. That's not likely to happen if he tries to push you into something you're not ready for.

    It's clear you're not ready and you've been honest about it. He's agreed to be patien so you have nothing to feel guilty about because not being on exactly the same page at exactly the same time is not wrong. It's just how it is and you both have to find a way to be OK with that until things change. He says he is so just take him at his word unless his actions say otherwise.

    Don't borrow trouble or stress from tomorrow. Just enjoy your relationship with your best friend and boyfriend for what it is, and be grateful that if/when you are ready, you've got a guy who loves you and has proven he'd stick with you.


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  • Are you sure your hesitation doesn't come from not seeing him as your best bet? Are you sure you would be hesitant if you were being asked by someone you'd consider a "perfect" man? Do you think you can do better than him?

    If you can confidently answer this in a way that shows you want your guy, ask yourself what would happen if 10 years from now you are still unsure about kids, yet he's asking to marry. What would you say as a woman unsure about kids, with her biological clock ticking?

    If you're unsure about him, say no to marriage.
    If you don't want kids now, say no to marriage.
    If you want him and you want kids soon, say yes.

    In the end, to me marriage is commitment meant to be announced to the world when you wish to build a life and start a family.

    If you love one another so much you can't wait to start your "happily ever after" as soon as possible, even if you can't build a family now, I say it's romantic, so sure get married.

    But still, to marry randomly until you're done with preparing for adulthood is as silly as it is romantic. It's silly because, if we ignore the romantic bit of the getting married so fast, all you're left with is two people who did nothing but sign papers. If you're in school, you're not starting a life together, you're not starting a family, you're not able to... You're only married on paper and I see no point in that.

    If your love is strong enough for you to want to marry some day, it's strong enough to survive without any papers signed. It's strong enough that the only proclaimed commitment you need is the one expressed in words. If this is not enough for the commitment to stand, papers won't mean anything anyway.

    The worst case scenario would be him treating this ceremony as a coping tool for fear of loosing you and you being guilted into it.

  • You'll never be able to adopt someone's feelings and goals in life as your own. If he's ready to be engaged and you aren't, you won't be happy if you go ahead and make such an important commitment. Have you told him that you're wanting to move at a little slower pace?

    • Thanks for your response - yes, we've talked about taking it slow. He's very understanding and knows that I'm not ready to get engaged, but he still mentions it once in a while. I would only get engaged if I were 100% committed to marriage, so it feels kind of strange to think about dating for several more years just to wait and see. He doesn't want to pressure me, but I still feel disingenuous and less committed than he is.

    • Well, in one sense, you shouldn't let him go if you really could see a future with him. On the other hand, it wouldn't be fair to keep him around if you strongly feel like you won't be ready for marriage when he is. Because you also aren't sure about your stance on children yet, you guys could be after totally different things. If you think he's going to want you to make a decision about your future sometime in the near future, go ahead and talk about it. Alternatively, you ARE in your early 20's, so I'm with you on not seeing a rush for marriage. If you guys really care about each other, you'll find a compromise in good time.

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