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I think my boyfriend is going to propose soon; I don’t want to break up, but I’m not ready to get married

  • Author: Wayne and Wanda
  • Updated: December 21, 2019
  • Published December 21, 2019

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I need advice badly. I met my boyfriend last summer. We were both part of a huge group of friends that went on a long weekend camping trip. We hit it off immediately and have been inseparable ever since. By far and away this is the most serious relationship I've ever had in terms of how deeply I love him. From the start I felt like I could completely trust him and be myself entirely. He treats me like a princess. He gets along so well with my friends and family. I would never say something is perfect, because no relationship is, but it's pretty darn close.

He just moved here a year ago and immediately started a Slope job and it's fair to say he doesn't have a ton of friends here, and he has no family here. I think that's one reason our relationship has been so intense. We spend pretty much every moment together that he's in town. We moved in together pretty much right away. Yes, things have moved fast, but I've been fine with that. The fact that he's out of town two weeks at a time for work I think helps with it all in terms of it not feeling like "too much."

So here’s the problem. This past week, he was up north at work and I was cleaning the house, and in one of his drawers I found an engagement ring. It was in the pretty box, with a receipt showing he just bought it — so it is definitely for me, not leftover from some old relationship. And it cost a lot.

The thing is, I love him, and I do see us getting married — some day. But an engagement right now feels way too fast. I am now sure he is going to propose at Christmas or New Year’s and I don’t know what to do. Should I drop hints in advance that I’m not ready? Should I say yes and just hope for a long engagement? I don’t want to lose him but I feel like saying yes to marriage right now is dishonest on my part.

Wanda says:

Your real question is whether one can turn down a proposal and stay together. Of course you can. But it will definitely rattle his confidence in the relationship, trigger a pump in his emotional enthusiasm brakes, and possibly yank your relationship off the fully open, trusting, and loving fast track on to a slow road full of confusion on both your parts.

I can understand his eagerness: it sounds like you provide a tremendous amount of love, support, and friendship to a man who’s life is otherwise fairly solitary. No wonder he adores you! Christmas and New Year’s rank among the top dates for proposals — thank you, Hallmark movies! — so it’s understandable that he’s gone full romantic and wants to make this year one for the books.

Here’s my question: what’s keeping you from saying yes? You love him, you trust him, you see a future with him, and therein lies the key word: future. A yes to a proposal today doesn’t mean an elopement tonight. You have all the time in the world to consider and plan your wedding. Heck, I’ve had girlfriends whose engagements lasted years. And you know what? Most of those resulted in marriages, but some didn’t. And that’s another foundational truth here: saying yes to a proposal is by no means a guaranteed marriage. It’s unromantic to say, but engagements end all the time.

My point is, why not say yes? Say yes, and see where it goes. Let him know you love him and you're excited, but be honest in telling him that it does feel fast and while you see your future together, you want to take your time getting there.

Wayne says:

Hello, spoiler alert! You’re either the most thorough — and possibly intrusive — cleaner in town or he’s the absolute worst at hiding important objects. Either way, this surprise is totally ruined.

Unless … it isn’t really an engagement ring but a really, really, really nice Christmas gift? He’s making big bank now, I’m guessing. Maybe he’s just treating you with a special present? If so, imagine what your engagement ring will look like!

Unless … maybe he scored a killer Black Friday deal and wanted to have the ring around for when the time is right — maybe New Year’s Eve, maybe next year, maybe who knows?

Unless … he wanted you to find the ring? Like he planted it intentionally for you to discover and thus getting the conversation started about forever and ever without having to actually get on a knee, make a big production and possibly get rejected — which could be a real possibility, according to you.

But yeah, more than likely, you’re right. He’s terrible at hiding things — expensive jewelry and gifts, his feelings for you, his intentions on spending every second with you when he’s around. Is this moving too fast? Depends on who you ask. Some crazy kids get married after a night or a week or a month. Some couples take their journey deep into common law territory. But it really doesn’t matter how anyone else proceeds or feels. This is really up to you and him. At the very least, you should take a deep breath, relax a little, and wait for him to come home and hear his pitch and proposal before you start jumping to conclusions and making big decisions in advance.