Q: I've been with my boyfriend for two years. We live together. He is 40 and I am 38. I am growing increasingly impatient with him not proposing. He says we are taking the steps to get there by living together, but I don't understand why we have to wait. I feel like he should know whether I'm the one. He comes from a broken home and seems to have many fears and doubts about marriage. Do you have any suggestions for how to handle this waiting period? At this age, is it a bad sign that he doesn't know already and needs more time? Thanks!
A: Waiting for a proposal only passes the, "It's tradition!" sniff test when both of you think proposing is a man's job.
In your case, waiting for the man to propose is just the end result of two people who are not, not, not in agreement about what they're doing together and why.
You want to be married; he doesn't.
He knows why; you don't.
He thinks waiting is the answer; you don't.
He has fears about marriage; you don't.
He thinks living together is a valid incremental step toward marriage; you don't.
You think two years is enough for midlife adults to figure out whether to commit; he doesn't.
My suggestion to handle this waiting period is to stop the infernal waiting. You don't even know what you're waiting for or why! Not really.
Instead, replace the waiting with talking. Say you have tried to, but don't understand what he's waiting for or why. Ask him to articulate it. Really, really listen.
Whether he articulates it or doesn't, his response will be useful if you regard it as such, because, think about it — you're sharing a home and aren't teenagers and you're asking a fair question. If he doesn't or can't answer you, then what more information do you need about the life you can expect with him?