Waiting For Your Boyfriend to Marry You

For all my talk of avoiding young marriage, I’m fast reaching an age where that remains irrelevant to my situation. Next year, I will turn 25, effectively completing a fourth of my life. Saying I’m avoiding young marriage is hard to say when you’re not that young anymore. So why do I remain unmarried, especially after being with my boyfriend for nearly 6 years? How can I remain unbothered when I really do wish to be married some day?

Waiting For Your Boyfriend to Marry You

The truth is, I want a lot of grandiose, risky things. I want to own a home, to make a living off of writing book, to travel the world and, yes, to get married. While I want all these things and can take steps toward achieving them, I can’t drop everything to make them a reality. Without stability in our careers and finances, buying a house carries too much risk. If I were to quit everything in order to pursue my dream of being an author, I would inevitably make myself a burden on my family and probably on the government with no idea if I could make my dream a reality.

There is a right time and place for everything. While you can’t wait forever and there’s no chance of eliminating all risk, I am a firm believer in gut feelings. You know when a risk is worth taking. The time will come for everything and there’s no reason to apply unnecessary pressure.

Pressure is the next topic here. One thing I never want to do is force my boyfriend into something his gut says he isn’t ready for. Over these six years, I’ve learned I am often ready for the riskier decisions in life before he is. There’s nothing wrong with this and I have no problem waiting. I’d much rather wait then force him into something before he feels ready. I’ve seen enough relationships ruined that way. I can think of a number of people whose relationship/marriage might have been one of the happiest ever. Yet, due to pressure from themselves, family or society, they made a commitment to marriage earlier than they should have. That alone can destroy a marriage. We all know the right time to get married.

The right time is when you’re ready.

I have made it clear to my boyfriend (in the least pressure-filled way I could think of) that he does not have unlimited time. There will come a moment where I am not only ready to get married, but I am ready now. When that time comes, I will take the steps necessary for my happiness, even if that means finding someone else who  is willing to take the chance of marriage with me.

If I thought that dismal future was likely, I wouldn’t be with my boyfriend today. We hadn’t been dating for a month before I told him I was dating to find a life partner. No matter how much I like, love or care for him, the moment I decide he will not be a good husband for me will be the moment we go our separate ways. That hasn’t happened and I don’t believe it will.

Somewhere, there is someone reading this who thinks I’m crazy. They think my boyfriend will never want to marry me and that I’m wasting precious time I could be using to find someone who will. Life is a journey my friends. Even if the unlikely day comes where we go our separate ways, I can’t regret these happy years I’ve had. They got me where I am today, made me who I am. I will always be grateful for the progress this relationship has granted my life.

We’ve also discussed the big issues and even have names picked out for a potential boy or girl (although whether I’ll give birth to a child is still up for debate). Wedding concepts are discussed and it’s not uncommon for me to show him a wedding dress I see on Pinterest and ask for his opinion.

Once, he woke me up in the middle of the night and asked if I’d like to be proposed to on a mountain. I then realized he was talking in his sleep, but that still means a part of him was thinking about something. ^_^ Another night, we both had our share of drinks at a friend’s house. I was happily playing a game of Cards Against Humanity with a few strangers (and laughed out loud when I drew a card that read, “How did I lose my virginity?”). At some point on this night, my dear boyfriend told one of our friend he had two years. Two years until marriage? I’m happy with that. Whenever he thinks he is ready is fine with me.

I’m not in this relationship for a ring or for a frilly, white dress. I’m not in it for the title of wife or to complete some societal obligation to form a family unit and pop out 2.5 kids. I am here, in this relationship to find a life partner. Marriage will happen when the time is right. I am happy to wait.

Do you know people who got married before they were ready? What happened to their relationship in the future? Would you break up with someone if it took them too long to ask you to marry them? How long would you date before making that decision? 


Photo Copyright: akz / 123RF Stock Photo

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55 thoughts on “Waiting For Your Boyfriend to Marry You”

  1. I’m twice your age and looking back 25 is oh so young. I took a traditional route, marriage at 23, kids, family and work. My kids are my greatest accomplishment but today with them out of the house, I am pursuing my dreams and bucket list. In some dark moments of my marriage, I dreamed about what “coulda, shoulda or woulda” happened if I hadn’t gotten married. It would have been a vastly different life focused on career, travel, adventure. Who knows. You have to follow your heart and your gut and create your own life. Don’t be tied to a clock or timeline. Why do you need a ring?

    Dan Savage talks about how difficult it is to expect one person to meet all your needs. Perhaps your boyfriend is your relationship for your 20’s but something else awaits you. Be patient. You have a loooong journey ahead.

    1. This is all very true, which is why I’m not worried about “wasting” my time with my current boyfriend. We are perfectly happy as we are and, while marriage is a thing we both want for our future, I see no reason to put pressure on that step. It will happen when we’re ready and not before. I’ve seen too many people jump in without thinking it all through and it rarely seems to work well that way.

      As for my boyfriend being what I need for my 20s…. I suppose this might make me sound young, but I sure hope not. And yet, if that is the case, that is the case. I know girls who put a limit on relationships. One friend of a friend told me she broke up with any guy if marriage wasn’t happening or seriously being considered within 18 months of dating. Really? 18 months? That seems crazy short!

      But maybe I’m simply the kind of person who wants to look at something from all angels before saying yay or nay. If I were more religious, I might be in her boat, but I’m not. I’m more concerned about having a healthy relationship than a ring.

  2. Hi, I know you’ll probably want to ignore me because I’m so much older than you, but I’m going to comment, anyway, because your post really bothers me on so many levels. 1) Why are you “waiting” for anything? If your current lover does not want to get married, or want to marry you, you have many choices besides “finding someone else who is willing to take the change of marriage” with you. You could decide that marriage isn’t a goal, isn’t necessary, isn’t a badge of honor, stamp of approval, guarantee of anything or “life goal.”
    In our current culture, marriage is a ZIPPER: people get in, get out. Like jobs. Like homes. Almost NO ONE commits “for life” anymore, to anything or anyone. You are either incredibly naive or inconsolably self-centered if your idea of marriage is forever when you can just look around, especially with people around YOUR age, and see that it is NOT.
    2) You are NOT just now finishing “one-quarter” of your life, any way you do the math. Most USA women live to be in their late 70s, now, and if you’re lucky by the time you get there, late 80s. By that reckoning, you are PAST 1/4. However, you have been an “adult” for only about 7 years, or 4, depending on how you start “adult” attainment. You have only lived about 1/8 of your adult life, unless your life is unexpectedly cut short. So, relax.

    3) When you want to have a child, have one. Many people do and marriage has nothing to do with that. It can, but it does not have to be a part of your decision to be a parent.

    4) It is unconscionable and something you will ultimately regret that you are putting so much power into your boyfriend’s hands and NONE into yours. Marriage should be a partnership. You are not a Princess waiting to be rescued by the Prince. You are an adult woman with a good mind a body, with options, with ideas. If you want to propose, do it. If you want to be single, be it. If you want to continue the way you are, do it and stop whining about “waiting.”

    Stop “waiting” for a “lifetime partnership,” which marriage probably won’t provide, anyway, to become the adult you want to be. Just be that woman, NOW.

    Best to you,

    Sally (age 60, partnered with several but never married, parent of one adult son)

    1. I appreciate your comment, but I think you may have misunderstood me (perhaps I should have added more content).
      1. Waiting isn’t something I do sadly. I am perfectly happy where I am. If I wanted to get married right this moment, I’d propose to him myself (and he knows that well). Instead, I’m at this point where, if he asked me, I’d say yes, but I’m in no rush for him to ask. I mostly wrote this because I talked about waiting for marriage in the past, but wanted to make it clear that I still want that to happen at some point.
      2. Haha, well, I tell people my goal is to live to triple digits. Maybe that’s a tall order, but a goal is a goal. I have good DNA to work with. I have a grandmother who died in hear early 90s and a grandfather who is 98 years old. So, yes… more than likely I won’t reach that, but I much rather treat my goal like I will achieve it. Stay positive ^_^.
      3. I agree. I’m not even sure I want to have children in the first place. In or outside of marriage, it will happen when it should (although my family will make my life a million times easier if I have a child within marriage).
      4. To say I am passively waiting is incorrect. My boyfriend and I talk about marriage often, what we both want and what we both expect. We talk about when, why and who will come. It’s important to me that we have these conversations to double check we are still on the same page.

      So, in the end, waiting it not something I loath or wish to avoid. I am simply waiting because I am comfortable waiting. I could get married today or tomorrow, but I’m in no rush. I’m far more concerned about other goals and maintaining a healthy partnership than I am about a single ceremony on a single day of my life.

  3. Reblogged this on Sally Ember, Ed.D. and commented:
    My response to this post: Hi, I know you’ll probably want to ignore me because I’m so much older than you, but I’m going to comment, anyway, because your post really bothers me on so many levels. 1) Why are you “waiting” for anything? If your current lover does not want to get married, or want to marry you, you have many choices besides “finding someone else who is willing to take the change of marriage” with you. You could decide that marriage isn’t a goal, isn’t necessary, isn’t a badge of honor, stamp of approval, guarantee of anything or “life goal.”
    In our current culture, marriage is a ZIPPER: people get in, get out. Like jobs. Like homes. Almost NO ONE commits “for life” anymore, to anything or anyone. You are either incredibly naive or inconsolably self-centered if your idea of marriage is forever when you can just look around, especially with people around YOUR age, and see that it is NOT.
    2) You are NOT just now finishing “one-quarter” of your life, any way you do the math. Most USA women live to be in their late 70s, now, and if you’re lucky by the time you get there, late 80s. By that reckoning, you are PAST 1/4. However, you have been an “adult” for only about 7 years, or 4, depending on how you start “adult” attainment. You have only lived about 1/8 of your adult life, unless your life is unexpectedly cut short. So, relax.

    3) When you want to have a child, have one. Many people do and marriage has nothing to do with that. It can, but it does not have to be a part of your decision to be a parent.

    4) It is unconscionable and something you will ultimately regret that you are putting so much power into your boyfriend’s hands and NONE into yours. Marriage should be a partnership. You are not a Princess waiting to be rescued by the Prince. You are an adult woman with a good mind and body, with options, with ideas. If you want to propose, do it. If you want to be single, be it. If you want to continue the way you are, do it and stop whining about “waiting.”

    Stop “waiting” for a “lifetime partnership,” which marriage probably won’t provide, anyway, to become the adult you want to be. Just be that woman, NOW.

    Best to you,

    Sally (age 60, partnered with several but never married, parent of one adult son)

    1. For the same reason I do anything, because I want to ^_^.

      There’s also some spiritual symbolism and the symbolism of uniting to familes, but mostly I want to get married because it’s what I want. ^_^

  4. If you’re content waiting, then wait. Time is something we never have enough of, that’s true, but still, don’t rush it, and don’t plan everything. Live. At 34 and single, I vividly recall 25 and how incredibly young that is. Trust me, your perception and approach to things will change to some degree, soon. It’s the late 20s effect lol. Just go with the flow. I completely painted myself into the karma corner at 25 and am still reeling from those effects today. Don’t make that mistake lol.

    1. When we first started dating, I thought I’d want to be married by now. As time goes on, I find I can want marriage without wanting it right this second. I think marriage should be the celebration of a healthy, long lasting relationship, not the start of trying g to have a good relationship.

      I’m starting to realize there’s not an age or timeline. Something like marriage should happen (if it happens) when the time is right.

      1. There are social norms which are tough to get out of your head, and there’s your background and assumptions which are tough to look beyond…

        I met the woman who would eventually become my wife at 37, we lived together for 6 years, then got married and have been married for 20 years. Had I met the very same person earlier in my life I doubt I’ve have known enough to make it work; I had numerous great girlfriends earlier in my life and while no relationship is perfect, a number of them could have become my wife. But, I wasn’t ready then and that was that.

        For me, it was less about learning how to live with someone or to be in a healthy relationship, it was about my work and learning how to balance a relationship with a huge amount of business travel.

        There are many ways to look at this but from my perspective, getting beyond social norms and family expectations is an important piece of personal process to work on. After all, no one commenting here and no one in your family will have to live with the person you marry, only you will.

        When the person and time is right, you’ll know it. And, I realize as a guy it’s not my place to say this, but don’t hook up with the wrong person because your biological clock is ticking. Of course, at 25 you have a lot of time to work through this stuff.

        Good luck.

        1. I completely agree. I’ve moved beyond putting a set date on anything. Once upon a time I thought I’d want to be married by 25 and now that I’m nearing that age, I don’t feel that way. Now I think I want to get married at least before I’m 30, but if I don’t feel like it by the time I’m 30, fine.

          All the family and societal pressure is less here in the city. When I’m around my parents in Iowa, it seems like everyone is married and my boyfriend and I are the odd ones out.

  5. So while I was reading this blog, it kinda hit me that what your discussing kind of mirrors what I was told about loosing my virginity. “Pressure…One thing I never want to do is force my boyfriend into something his gut says he isn’t ready for. We all know the right time to get married {or insert have sex}.The right time is when you’re ready.” These quotes taken from your blog pretty much makes up what I was told about loosing my virginity. Don’t let someone pressure you into it, the right time is when you’re ready. lol

    1. It was true then and I think it’s true now. Those things hold true for a whole relationship. Part of a partnership is having the patience and respect not to pressure your partner to do something they’re not ready for.

  6. I agree. Marriage is not something to be rushed into. If and when it is meant to be, it will happen. I agree with the others that life is short, but making a mistake by marrying the wrong person is life altering.

    1. True. I think as we move away from the idea a woman must be married to be happy, it will be easier for couples to take their time deciding when and if they want to get married.

    1. I can totally see that, which is why I think it’s important to focus on the relationship, using marriage to celebrate that. I dont think using marriage as a way to guarantee a relationship’s success works out well for most.

  7. J’s cousin S got married before he was ready. He proposed to his roommate’s ex-girlfriend 3 months after the night they hooked up. J’s whole family was like, “NO S!!!! Don’t do it!” But he did and they separated 1 month after the wedding. Their divorce was just finalized this month. He still wants to be with her but she wants to do other things/people.
    Last year I told J that if he didn’t propose to me that year, then the next year (this year) I would bitch about it every chance I’d get. I’ve held up my end of that deal pretty well. I keep it comical though. I really don’t care how long it takes him I just like to give him shit and get a good laugh out of it. After 10 years I think I deserve to cause him a little strife. He knows it’s all in good fun. J will say something like, “I wish you’d play Smite with us T.” And I’ll hold up my hand, turn it over several times in the air and say, “Yeah. I wish I had a ring on this finger.” I’m so hilarious, I crack myself up!
    I think 10 years of dating, for me, is long enough to wait for a ring. I don’t even care when we get married after that. I just think I’d like a ring now and J agrees. He already knows how he’s going to propose, he’s just out of work now so… bad timing.
    I would propose to him myself but that jerk made me ask him out the first time we started dating because, “the guy doesn’t always have to be the one to ask first.” So it’s totally his turn now 🙂
    I hope that no matter when your time for all this stuff comes that you both are in a comfortable position with your lives and that it brings you a crazy amount of joy. All of my friends who are in long term relationships are waiting till later to get married. We, like you, see the importance in timing. Get your life in order, then worry about formalities. Honestly, that’s all marriage really is as far as I’m concerned. You don’t need a ceremony and a change of name to know that you want to spend the rest of your lives together. It’s just a party to let everyone else know.
    Great new graphics by the way.

  8. I actually applauded as soon as I finished reading this article. It is so reassuring to find someone who is in the exact same boat as myself. I too am nearing my 25th year and have been with my boyfriend for nearly 5 years. I know he is my soulmate, and I did make it clear to him when we started dating that I was looking for my life partner.

    We’ve talked about the same things, marriage, what the ceremony would be like, how many children we would have, but as of yet he doesn’t seem to be in a big rush to “pop the question.” Sure I’m getting a little bit impatient as I creep towards the quarter of a century mark, but I know it will happen eventually, and I’m happy that I know it will be with him.

    I know other people who have rushed into marriage, whether they be young, or have barely met the guy. In fact a good friend of mine recently got engaged and she has only know the guy 1 year. Was I jealous? At the time. Now I wonder whether she forced him into it or not. Another woman I know of got engaged to a guy after 2 years (seems fine) but they are totally incompatible, and I believe she was just afraid because she was turning 28 and she had already spent 8 years with another guy who she though was the one. I don’t know, maybe I’m making assumptions. Their wedding though does seem to be more about the expense and the extravigance, rather than the love.

    I’m happy waiting. Being honest, I would love to be engaged now, but I’m content to wait for marriage another few years 🙂

    1. Yay! I am also happy to find someone in my same position. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get married any more than not wanting it. It’s important to our happiness for the same reason as anything else, because it is.

      I would also love to be engaged right now but my boyfriend doesn’t like long engagements. That’s fine. Relationships are about compromise, right?

      1. Compromise is right! I don’t mind compromising on certain things, and this just so happens to be one of those things =]

        As long as we are happy at the end of the day then what else matters? At least the boyfriend and I (and also your boyfriend and you) can talk about the future, and we’re not with people who won’t even hear of future talk. I was with a guy like that once before and it was terrible. He couldn’t see to the end of next week, let alone even 1 year down the line. Talking about the future always gives me hope. It would be when he stops talking about the future that would give me cause of concern lol

  9. As I have shared before on your blog, my husband and I married young (20 and 21). Neither of us anticipated finding a life partner at 18 but we both knew pretty early on in the relationship that we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives, grow old, wrinkly and crotchety together. Therefore, you just know when you know that you have meet the person that is perfect for you, who complements you, makes you the best version of yourself and makes your soul sing. We married young for pragmatic reasons. We were ready for marriage, of course, otherwise we would not have married. However, we could have waited an undetermined period of time before actually marrying and have been just as happy living together. For personal reasons, I wanted to be married before we had children but don’t see any problem with other people making the choice to have children outside marriage. However, we were together for a decade before we had our first child so even by that ruling we could have remained partners rather than spouses for much longer. We always discussed getting married together. There was no actual popping of the question, therefore, or one of us waiting with anticipation for the other to ask. As in all things in our relationship, it was about joint participation. I did, however, ask him to surprise me with the presentation of the ring (which we chose together) just so I would have a story to tell the grandkids. Since we have been together for 21 years now, I guess we are doing something right and can assume that listening to our gut instinct was justified.

    1. I feel my relationship will be similar in how we go about getting married. Actually, I’d prefer it that way. I’d rather have a discussion about where we both are and come to the conclusion we are ready. Then… well, yeah I’d like the actual proposal to be a surprise. The way I see it, the story of when the L word was first said is too personal to share. I want a story to share with this one ^_^

  10. Thank you for posting this! I totally get it and am in a similar situation. My best friend was told by his girlfriend of 11 months (off and on) that if he didn’t propose to her by Thanksgiving (just shy of a year) that she will leave him. And ya know what? He proposed! So much for the whimsical romance!

  11. “I’d much rather wait then force him into something before he feels ready. I’ve seen enough relationships ruined that way.”

    There are many kinds of pressure working on this topic. Society, your family, his family and some times even other little details like being from different countries and needing visa to meet. Yes, many things can force the situation, rush the marriage and keep this haste mood building the stages that should be the base of the marital life but are still missing: Job, stability, living some time together can help, communication and understanding of each other… Without some of these steps the married couple to be can just ruin this “to be” and turn it into a “not to be anymore”.

    1. I agree. Those relationships I reference… I’m sure they would have worked out had that pressure not been there. There’s nothing wrong with taking a logical approach to marriage. Why not wait until we are both comfortable? It seems only right.

      1. It is! There are two parts involved on a marriage and both of them should have all clear and be determined to take the next step.

        The case I was thinking about was pressure coming from the father of groom to be and even if the marriage occurred, as the circumstances surrounding it were still not the best ones and there was no stability at all, it didn’t work.

        So, take your time, TK and give him his time. He may surprise you when you less suspect it 😉

  12. There really is a right time for marriage and I don’t think that it is appropriate before the age of 25- of course there are exceptions to EVERY rule.
    I feel like you’re still getting to know yourself in your early 20s and bringing a marriage into that can be a recipe for disaster. On the other hand, I am 28, have been with my boyfriend for 5 years and we are not getting married anytime soon. Do I think there is an expiration date on our relationship if we don’t? Yes I do. We are both 28, have been through ups and downs for the last 5 years and we live together. Eventually I want to have a family and start a life together and lets face it, a woman only has so long until there are so many risks involved.
    I understand what you’re saying when you say you don’t want to pressure him, because I totally understand. But you don’t want to be with someone who seems unsure and is just stringing you along either. If my boyfriend and I are not in the next stage of our relationship over the next 2 years (to be generous), I believe it will be time to go our separate ways.

    Great blog post and thanks for the thought provoking questions!

    1. I can see myself being you at 28. The whole point of this post is that you can want to get married and even know who you want to marry but not be ready to marry right at this moment. That should be okay.

  13. I remember back to my twenties…. I asked my mom how I’d know when the man I was dating was THE ONE. She told me that every pot has a lid, and when the man I am with is the right one, I won’t need to question it. I wasn’t sure what she meant at the time, but years later when I met the man of my dreams, I completely understood. We had all the important things in life in common, felt strongly about our families, and supported each other’s dreams. And no, we didn’t have children right away. We were focused on our career goals, on creating a home together, and on being together, able to come and go as we pleased without the constraints of a child’s needs to work around. But then fourteen years later when we were complaining about the monotonous routine we had fallen into, we found we were going to have a baby.
    Our little girl is nine now, and I am so thankful we have her. In all my life since birth and marrying my best friend, our daughter has been the best present we ever gave ourselves. I smile more. I laugh every day. I love more than I knew was possible.

    Here’s a little piece of my own advice…
    Never marry someone you can live with.
    Instead, marry someone you can’t live without.

    1. That’s great advice. I think that’s a great way to look at marriage that more people could use.Marriage is not some step into adulthood. It’s not what you do when you’re ready to settle. It’s what you do when you can imagine living without someone.

  14. Currently I’m happy with waiting on marriage, not putting a date or deadline on it seems like a good solution to not be pressured into marriage. I realize though, as I get older my opinion may change. Honestly though, right now I feel more pressure on entering motherhood first. I’m only 23 and I know I want children of my own someday, but someday is within childbearing years. Biological deadlines, lol.

    1. Oh yeah. I get the motherhood pressure, too.

      The odd thing is, when you talk about marriage, it seems people want you to make a decision right now. If you want to get married, they assume you want to be married now or have a date in mind. If you don’t have a date in mind, they assume you don’t want to get married. Who says anyone has to make that decision right now, though?

      1. That’s almost like wanting to know what sex your baby is before you’ve decided to have one, haha. I think they use the saying, “you wont be young forever” to justify that kind of thinking and expectation.

  15. TK, I waited for him to marry me from age 24 to 30 when I fell pregnant. After baby number one, he promised for the next three years to pregnancy two. During my big belly period second time around, I decided to divorce him before I even married him. So I gave birth, two years on, nothing changed. I walked with the babies. This is what I think. The man who will marry you – will marry you, regardless of your age, situation beliefs etc. He will accept you as you are in any and every condition and situation. He will have no reasons, no excuses. 🙂

    1. I can totally see that. Once I am at the point where I feel I want to be married not just eventually but right now, I will ask. If he says no, it’s done. He already knows that’s my plan. I’m totally cool with waiting in this moment, but I won’t be fine forever.

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