The Rules of Engagement

Dear Sugar
I have been dating my boyfriend for three years but we have been in each other's lives for the past ten years. We are each other's high school sweethearts and although we have had our moments apart, we have always made it back to each other.

It seems like everyone around us is getting engaged but me, and although we are only 24, I am ready to take our relationship to the next level. We have talked about marriage many times in the hypothetical sense, but my boyfriend always says we are too young to talk about it seriously.

Just last night I found out that yet another friend of ours is engaged after knowing his girlfriend for only six months and I just flipped out. I finally told my boyfriend about all the pressure I have been feeling and that his reluctance of talking about our future is extremely disconcerting and something had to change.

After hours of conversation and tears, he finally told me that he didn't want to lose me and although he isn't ready to pop the question quite yet, he loves me and knows I am the one for him. He is my best friend, my lover and the only person I want to be with too, but it is like pulling teeth to get him to open up and be honest about his feelings.

Am I being foolish by staying with him even though he can't make a commitment to me or should I take this behavior as a sign of a lifetime of more and more waiting and get out of this relationship now? I am so upset that I have been with him for three years and he is still unsure if he wants to marry me. Wishful Thinking Wendy


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Dear Wishful Thinking Wendy
I am sorry you are feeling this conflict with your boyfriend. Is he from a broken home? Something tells me he has issues with a life long commitment. Feeling like you are the only one without a ring on your finger can be disheartening, but try not to get too carried away, and stay focused on the relationship at hand.

There is no right time to get engaged, everyone is different, but is important for you both to be ready. It sounds like you need to make sure you are on the same page for your future. Since your boyfriend is having a hard time expressing his emotions, try to make him feel safe and secure when you open the lines of communication.

The pressure of engagement can be extremely overwhelming so I understand your desire to want more security from your boyfriend. Since you have no doubt that he is the one for you, he needs to figure out if he feels the same way ASAP.

Three years is a long time to be with someone so let him know that although you understand he isn't ready for an engagement, you deserve to know if he feels his future lies with you. Good luck, I hope everything works out for you.

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