I always felt sorry for my ex-boyfriend's now sister-in-law.
And yeah, I'll give you a second to work out exactly the relation. It took me a second to write it and make sure I had it right.
Back when I met her, she had been going out with my ex's brother for some eight years. For the four years before that, she was fending off a barrage of questions from family and friends about when they were going to get married.
And as she was entering her early thirties, and expressed the desire to get married and have kids, it looked like the opposite was happening.
From a bystander's point of view, it was like it was never going to happen. When you asked her, she confirmed everyone's assessment of the situation.
Years later it did; he popped the question.
But many looked at her and wondered why she stuck around. Why did she wait so long? Why did she put up with years of waiting for him?
And why did she stay despite it being years longer than she wanted to wait?
You could say that my ex's sister-in-law's experience cemented my black-and-white philosophy about dating and marriage. As a woman, if you're waiting over ten years for a ring, get out of the relationship. Here are my justifications.
You have a problem with women wanting the ring?
Let's establish something first.
This argument of mine only applies to the women who want to get married, and want to get married to the person they're dating.
If you don't want to get married, there is no length of time before getting a ring because there will never be a ring. Basically, this whole argument is irrelevant for people who don't want to get married.
And I'm not here to debate whether wanting to get married is a shallow endeavour or not. That's an entirely different issue that's irrelevant to the people I'm hoping to provide some comfort to.
In short, women who want to get married don't care about whether it's socially acceptable right now or not. And it doesn't change the fact they want married and they've waited so long.
Let's move on.
He's making you wait? How rude!
The guy who makes a woman wait for a ring is rude. There I said it.
It's like waiting for anything in life. You only have so much waiting within you. Impatience aside, this person is keeping you waiting and that's rude.
You could argue the guy doesn't know you're waiting so how can you blame them? For those oblivious men, I'll call you out.
How have you not had a conversation about marriage?
How do you not know what your woman wants for your future? If you don't know, that's a whole other issue about the strength of your relationship for another day.
It's more about the man knowing their woman hates this waiting period and yet they continue to do it. They've had the conversation, and they know what their partner wants, yet they deliberately avoid marriage.
For the women out there, why do you want someone who does something to annoy you? Or doing something that deliberately hurts you without explanation? Without a good reason you can understand and that makes sense to your relationship with them?
Relationships are about give and take.
In this situation, your man is taking. He's abusing your patience with every unreasonable day, month, year he makes you wait.
Is this a sign of laziness in your relationship?
There are many reasons men don't propose to their long-term girlfriends. Some are genuine concerns that need addressing through therapy or working on the relationship or something productive like that.
For those reasons, I hope the woman knows them and can then understand the hesitation.
Yet, if they're avoiding putting a ring on it for no good reason, let's call the situation what it is; laziness.
They can't be bothered to put in the effort to propose, plan a wedding and go through with it. Though it sounds oversimplified, like the laziness you experience when you have to do the cleaning around the home, the concept doesn't differ.
The partner is resisting putting in the effort required to make a commitment.
If you ask me, I would feel pretty offended if my partner felt laziness towards marrying me (I'm already married, by the way).
It wouldn't make me feel too good about myself. My feelings aside, it would force me to evaluate my partner's willingness to put effort into the relationship.
If he can't be bothered proposing, how would he behave if we had kids? Bought a house? How would he survive the ups and downs of inevitable health issues?
Not exactly a convincing show of effort.
Is this a sign of indecision in your relationship?
Whilst we're analysing signs in the relationship, let's look at the hesitation. If the reason your partner is holding off on proposing is that they're unsure about their future with you, that isn't good either.
Why are they with you if they're unsure? What do they need to know about you that years of dating haven't already clarified?
I'm not trying to minimise marriage when I say this, but it's not the commitment it once was. Couples who already live together for a certain amount of time (country dependant) are considered married by law.
Couples who entwine their lives with children are legally bound to each other forever. Marriage isn't this huge step anymore. Being indecisive seems redundant if commitment is the issue.
And what about what this indecision represents in the context of your relationship? If they're struggling with this decision, what else is on the list? Is this a preview of things to come?
Will every relationship decision in your life take this long to make?
I think about having kids. If you take this long to propose, you don't have the same luxury of time to have children. The very real biological clock doesn't stop despite decision-making time.
Making you question their commitment sucks
I don't blame you for thinking that your man doesn't actually want to be with you the more time he waits to propose. Though he hasn't broken up with you, it's not exactly reassuring, am I right?
What men fail to understand is that the more time you have to wait for the ring, the more the feeling of uncertainty builds within a woman. We can only assume this hesitation means they don't want to make a commitment to us.
If this isn't the case, this really sucks for the woman.
Why should she go through life feeling like her man isn't truly in it? Why should she have to feel like the man doesn't care?
It's even worse if that's what the woman wants and the man knows this, much like annoying her. It seems cruel to make her fret like this without clarifying to her what the hold-up is.
You shouldn't have to wait longer than you want to
It's not about waiting ten years, by the way.
It's not about any specific set length of time your partner wants you to make before proposing to you. Ten years, one year, twenty years. The number isn't up to me. It's completely up to you.
The number isn't the problem though. It's the waiting.
You don't have to do it.
Despite what anyone tells you, this is your life and your relationship. If you don't want to wait, you understand the ramifications of walking away. You understand what it means to you to stay if you don't want to, also.
You're not an idiot. And you shouldn't have to put up with a relationship that doesn't make you happy.
That's what this boils down to; happiness. Follow the happiness.
If waiting does equate to happiness, don't do it.
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