How would you feel if you knew your partner was planning on proposing, but backed out at the last minute? You can't imagine life without them, but you also feel betrayed and confused. What do you do?
Reddit user u/noproposalthrowaway shared their story:
My boyfriend and I have been together 6 years as of this August. We have lived together now for close to 2 years as well. We have had many conversations about marriage, babies, and our future together.
This past winter we had a more serious and strategic conversation about our future than we have had in the past. We decided that we both wanted to get married in late January of 2019. My boyfriend asked me to send him links to rings I was interested in for the engagement. I sent him links by late January of 2018.
I of course wasn't expecting a proposal within a few weeks of our conversation. However, I did assume that a proposal would happen within the first 3 months of the year - considering we would need at least 8 months to plan a proper wedding.
Fast forward to March 2018, and we have a vacation planned for the last week of March/first week of April. This trip was very representative of our relationship, as it was a mainly hiking and outdoors themed trip.
Maybe I was naive, but I was almost certain he was going to propose at some point during our trip. My friends and family were all expecting a proposal as well - despite the fact that we had not talked to many people about our plans for marriage. My boyfriend was seemingly the only person that did not notice what a great opportunity our trip was for an engagement.
I came home from the trip disappointed. I absolutely understand that he is not expected to read my mind, and know that I was expecting a proposal. What hurt is that he seemed like the only person that did not know me well enough to know how important this trip was, and how meaningful a proposal would have been. I started to think he wasn't being honest with me about his intentions to get married.
For the next week after our trip, we had many thoughtful discussions about what to do. He made it very clear to me that he still wanted to get married this year, and that the past few months had gone by so fast he didn't think about planning a proposal in time for our trip.
Fast forward to this past weekend (April 20th) - he tells me that he has an appointment on Saturday but won't tell me what it's for. I start to assume he is up to something regarding a proposal. Sunday night he asks me about my rings again, and asks me which one I really prefer. At this point I am very certain he is looking to buy a ring within the next week. Monday night after work he has another mysterious appointment. As you might guess, I am now dead certain a proposal is happening VERY soon.
Come Tuesday night, he is acting funny. He seems sad, distant, and distracted before bed. I ask him what's bothering him, and he finally admits that he is feeling a lot of pressure to propose. He tells me that he was on the phone that morning about to finalize his purchase of a ring - but he gets a bad feeling and backs out. He tells me that he feels like he needs more time, but doesn't say how much time he needs.
I am completely floored. I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. Hearing that was the last thing I expected to hear from him last week. I feel like he has lied to me this entire year about his seriousness over marriage. I feel like he has betrayed my trust and that we are no longer a team. I feel like he's broken my heart from having second thoughts about proposing.
At this point in the year, it's almost too late to start planning a wedding for January. So essentially our plans have unravelled completely. I feel lost. I don't know whether or not this is a deal breaker for me. Despite my boyfriend wavering on the proposal, he still strongly claims that he wants to spend his life with me and doesn't want to lose me over this.
I'm not sure if this is something I can move past - but I also can't imagine not being with him. Despite being hurt so badly, breaking up isn't something that my brain has even truly considered.
I would really love to hear some advice and opinions on this. I haven't talked to many of my friends about this, and have really been trying to work through it with my boyfriend alone. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
TL;DR: Boyfriend of nearly 6 years backs out of planned proposal, not sure how to react or what to do.nopropsalthrowaway' s thread Me [27 F] heartbroken after my [26 M] boyfriend of 6 years backs out of planned proposal is a call for help: TL;DR: "Boyfriend of nearly 6 years backs out of planned proposal, not sure how to react or what to do."
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Focus on the issue at hand - your partner is scared.Giphy
Don't get sidetracked with discussions about ring shopping, wedding planning, an elaborate proposal, or etc. It would still be a real proposal without a dramatic production or the perfect setting (or even without a ring), you could still have a happy marriage if the wedding is planned last minute, or if you elope.
Talk to him about your relationship, his timeline for marriage, and his concerns. Discuss your similarities and differences, your long-term goals, and timelines for things like having kids (or not) and buying a home. Maybe go to a few sessions of counseling together.
And holding off out of fear may be the safest move.Giphy
This makes so much sense.
If he's uncertain, he is absolutely doing the right thing by holding off. This is one of the biggest decisions you make in your lifetime.
Also, I want to add that it could simply be the pressure being placed on him to create the perfect scenario for a proposal. It's possible that he fears failing you in regard to the actual proposal. Communication is key here. If you're planning to spend your life with this guy, you both need to be able to discuss openly and honestly your thoughts, feelings and expectations. Once decided, the best advice I have is to place much more emphasis on the marriage, if it's what you both want, less on the proposal and wedding is my suggestion.
Not so fast, though. OP values the traditional engagement, so what about her needs?Giphy
I understand what you're trying to say, but all these ceremonial events are meaningful to some people and without them those people feel unappreciated by a partner. And one way of managing special events in a marriage isn't really more right or better than another if it's working for both people.
In this case, one of the people in the relationship wants the tradition and romance component of an engagement and wedding. Those things are meaningful to her. So it's not right to encourage her to give up on them just because you personally don't care for them.
It's like saying forget about ever having a birthday dinner together or getting a present from them, just focus on all the shared breakfasts you'll have every other day of the year.
While the bulk of what's important in the relationship is going to happen during those shared breakfasts, there's something meaningful to celebrating a birthday that makes the special events worth having together too (if birthdays are important to you, that is).
I think it's not really fair to expect someone like OP, who obviously will get a lot of joy out of following these customs with her future husband, to shift her expectations so drastically that she stops caring about experiencing the romance of a proposal and the meaningfulness of a wedding.
It's okay to want those things and it's okay to feel disappointment if one partner is showing cold feet over participating, as in this case. That might point to an incompatibility or an issue that needs to be worked through. We shouldn't just say that weddings are pointless by default, though.
Maybe there's a middle ground.Giphy
I also think he may have the impression that he has to have the VERY BEST, most romantic and perfect proposal ever, which is a ton of unnecessary pressure. OP is that possible? Because months of discussion and buildup seems like quite a lot. He may just be afraid of disappointing you with anything less than the perfect ring and proposal, which would be reinforced by the whole you-didn't-know-me-well-enough-to realize-this-trip-was-the-perfect-proposal-opp thing. And then imagine the extra pressure afterward! No wonder he freaked out. What if it wasn't the exact right ring?? What if he had to blow his nose two minutes before asking you?? Oh God it's all wrong and she'll resent me forever!
Giant gestures are going to matter very little in the decades of life you spend together. Patience, clear communication and forgiveness are so much more important. Make it clear that in your eyes there's no wrong way to do this, as long as you end up together.
One user has experienced this "sunk cost" - it might be best to "cut your losses."Giphy
He sounds a lot like my bf. We're about the same age as you, been dating for 4 years, lived together for 3, and moved 3 different times to be able to live together. First time he said he wanted to marry me was 2016, then early 2017 he said this year because 4 is an unlucky number, then end of summer 2017, then end of 2017. Scattered randomly throughout that he would say, my mom wants to meet with your parents and talk about it.
I've stressed so many times I would be happy with just a $200 or so ring. I said it would even be fine if we just went to the court house, or had a long engagement, whatever. After many talks, it became oh I need a job first, then he got a job, then it became oh you need to improve on this, and that. And then it became questions of "what do you even do for me?" To me it was an endless moving goal post.
I realized living like this was miserable, and I told him it's better for both of us to just break up and find someone that is "compatible" rather than waiting around forever hoping the other person will turn into that. He doesn't see it like that, and will always shut down my attempts at trying to initiate an amicable breakup by saying he does want to marry me, just xxx first. Anyways, this is a long rather pointless rant, so here's my experience:
- Some guys truly are fine just never getting married. It's better for you to see that early, and cut your losses. Right now I'm in the sunk cost fallacy, trying to dig out of it myself.
- You won't realize it, but your excitement and desire to marry him will slowly wither away and it'll be more or less go to "why haven't you proposed yet" and then you'll start trying to justify it, and then the final stage is you trying to convince yourself why you're better off not married.
- I don't believe the whole "well he says he loves you now and wants to be with you forever so what difference will a piece of paper make?" To me it makes all the difference in the world. Family members will take them more seriously, instead of just seeing him as "xxxx's boyfriend" That's just one reason off the top of my head, but personally I'd hate introducing him when I'm 45 as my "boyfriend, who I've been dating for 24 years."
And finally, just now this wishy washy pattern can totally kill a relationship. You go from highs when he mentions marriage planning, to lows when changes his mind, to highs, and lows and then each time it's not quite so high and not quite so low and then you realize you honestly don't care anymore. Don't let it get that far.
Sorry if this is so long. I just had this issue on the back of my mind for a while now too, and it feels good to vent. I feel you, OP <3
Best of luck!Giphy
I always appreciate when people post updates, so thank you for sharing. Much love to you ❤️
It could be as simple as the fiance wanting out.Giphy
I think he's having second thoughts and doesn't know if he wants to marry you at all.
And the magic of planning a wedding has been damaged.Giphy
I think for a lot of people, their partner feeling nervous about marrying them isn't what they want. They want their partner to be happy and excited about marrying them. So it's less about the proposal or marriage and more about the overall experience.
She doesn't want to brag to their friends and family about how he dragged his feet and moved goalposts until she gave him an ultimatum. She wants to brag about how badly he wanted to be married to her and how much thought he put into the proposal, how well he takes care of her emotional needs.
Which means their entire future is in question.Giphy
So it's not about the proposal itself (planning the event), it's doubts about the marriage, about your future together. You can't marry unless and until he resolves them fully. You can leave or perhaps you can work through it but don't get married in January unless you are both certain. Don't risk pushing him into marriage when his gut feeling is telling him it's a bad idea, only to divorce down the road.
I'm sorry. It sucks.
OP could try being the one to propose - or just worry about the bigger picture, which is the marriage.Giphy
My husband f*cked up the proposal but good and we're very happily married today. Like you, we'd agreed to get married. He wanted to propose (and, like your man, had a perfect opportunity) but he got all up in his head about it. I didn't exactly give him an ultimatum, but I told him that if he didn't propose by X date that I would just consider us engaged and start the planning process with his mom. He ended up doing a half-bakeed proposal at the last minute, which wasn't great but got the job done and we had a great wedding.
Here's what I would have done, in retrospect:
1) Tell him "I don't want a proposal, I just want to be married. Can we just go ahead and start planning this?"
2) Propose yourself. Get him a nice token of some kind and make the gesture. See what he says.
Maybe some counseling would help, but that's probably not a good sign.Giphy
I'm honestly surprised about so many of the comments talking about how much pressure and stress it is to be expected to propose. But it sounds like this isn't about the proposal, but getting married itself. You're in your late 20s and have been together for 6 years. What is he waiting for? What will he learn about you next year that he doesn't now?
I would consider if marriage is something you need. If it is, you're going to have a tough choice to make.
But in the end, fiance probably doesn't want to get married, or at least, he's not ready.Giphy
I think it's pretty clear he doesn't want to marry you. After 6 years, he should know either way. The fact that he backed out tells me that he wants to date you but doesn't want to commit. I'm sorry.
Suggestion: use this experience to strengthen your next relationship.Giphy
I know that this will mean nothing to you now but in 3-8 months when the reality of dating again sets in, accompanied by the existential fear of dying alone that everyone (yes, everyone) who was used to a ltr inevitably experiences: you have the most attractive possible background to people looking for a serious partner. You're not inexperienced but you have no problem with committing, you're young but not a baby, you're loyal, and you stand up for yourself and what you want.
Heck, that's probably the best qualities a person can have in many situations, romantic or not.
It's like you took one of the most unpleasant courses in the world but then graduated with special honors.
Others who had a similar experience learned to enjoy being single.Giphy
At 27 I thought dating and marriage was necessary for a happy life and then I wound up single for the next 11 years. I slowly realized those years were better than any of the time I'd spent dating. Met my current boyfriend outside of any deliberate effort to date--it was entirely by chance. I'm not saying that OP doesn't have all those wonderful traits you're saying (I agree, she likely does, way to go OP )I'm just trying to point out that life doesn't require dating to feel fulfilling.
Learn to love yourself for yourself again.Giphy
The best thing that I did for myself after my divorce was not date anyone. I took myself to the movies, got mani-pedis regularly, spent time with my friends and family, got a cute hair cut, spent time at the gym, and started working towards some long term educational goals that had been delayed because life.
It was tough, though. It was weird to live alone. It was weird to sleep alone. It was weird for a long, long time. Like a solid year. But then, I started sleeping diagonally across my queen size bed, made some new (not mutual) friends, got into a new hobby, started really making a dent in those educational goals and it was a really good feeling.
I'm not that much older than you , and I'm telling you, you've got this. It's going to be tough, but it's also not the end of the world. Best of luck to you : )
In the months that followed, the relationship ended.Giphy
3 months later and we have decided to end our relationship. We officially broke up a few weeks ago, and he moved his furniture out of our apartment this week.
I received incredibly varied advice from my original post. I took all of it into consideration, and let him read the post as well.
We tried our very best over the last few months to move past this, but we were not able to. Breaking up seemed like the only option left.
To all of you that told me that he wanted to be with me, but didn't want to get married, you were right. I didn't want to believe it, but after months of circular conversations, it came back every time. He just didn't want to get married, he didn't feel like he was ready, and he didn't know when he would be.
Basically I wanted to post an update on this thread because I needed to get it off my chest. I always figured that maybe some of you were in similar situations and you were hoping to eventually hear the outcome.
Thank you to everyone who had originally commented on my post! You definitely gave me a lot to think about.
TLDR: **6 year relationship ends after disagreement on planned marriage/proposal**