Ask E. Jean - Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by confusion?

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9 years, and no ring. Iím 51 beautiful years young, do I keep waiting?

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    That depends. There are a lot of factors here that aren't in your question.

    Is it really and truly important to you to be married? Why? Will marriage be a positive material change for you two? I mean, besides the societal opinion aspect? Are you two otherwise fully committed to each other? Has your significant other been talking about marriage in theory, but has been putting off the actual practice? Have you talked about this at all?

    All I can recommend is that the two of you have a discussion about this. After nine years, the two of you should be on the same page or understand the reasons why it hasn't happened.

    reply to Jill
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    If you are seeking permission to end it, because you are not happy?

    You get to end it if you are not happy.

    If you believe your wants and expectations have been made fully clear to your partner in plain, unambiguous English, and they are being ignored?

    Then yes, it's probably reached the point where it's time to move on.

    But as Jill rightly points out, there are a LOT of variables here that need to be considered. First and foremost is communication. How much have the two of you discussed this? Is each party fully aware of what the other believes is the ideal future? And is either party making assumptions about the appropriate way to get to that future?

    There is no "right" timetable for this -- except for the timetable where the two of you are both in agreement. So if *you* have a timetable in mind, you need to talk to your partner, and see what their proposed timetable might be....

    reply to Kal
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    I guess my question is why are you waiting? You're not a child, you have the right to have a say in your life circumstances.

    As Jill said, it's important to understand why you want to be married. Once you have that straight in your mind, you need to talk to your SO about it.

    Life's too short to wait for anybody. Sometimes there are exterior reasons for not doing a thing right this minute, but if that is not the case, then it's time to talk it through.

    reply to Robynne
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    Thank you all for the very thoughtful answers! ☺️ Weíve discussed it from time to time over the years. Iím a third generation single mom (1 15yr Old), and I feel very strongly about a SECURE future with my SO. Wedding many years down the road, but the whole point of at least a ring (the investment) means youíre moving FORWARD together. I feel very strung along by a great guy who gives me hope, but then year after year goes by. Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than just words, right? A dowry (old times) or a ring, or whatever you want to call it shows INTENTION. He knows exactly how I feel and says he agrees he wants the same, then...... nothing ever changes.

    reply to anonymous
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    It seems to me that he's telling you what you want to hear so that you'll stay. I'm sure he loves you and wants the two of you to stay together, but he does not want to get married. Even if he gave you a ring, it wouldn't bring you any closer to marriage than you are now. It would more likely be more of putting you off yet again, indefinitely.

    reply to Jill
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    Yes, it's now pretty clear you've talked to him about this, though it may still just be faintly possible that you haven't made it clear how important it is to you -- and more critically, WHY it's important to you.

    But if you make (or have made) the WHY crystal clear, and there's still no action? Marriage is simply not something he wants.

    More precisely, it's something that he very much *doesn't* want. And there is no way to make someone *want* to get married if they don't want to.

    That doesn't necessarily make him a bad person, but it does mean you need to examine your own wants and needs. Marriage, as any number of married and divorced people will tell you, in no way guarantees security. If you're worried about the future with this guy, and expect marriage (or an engagement) to change his overall behaviour, or to solve some longstanding issues? It won't.

    Again, there's no trick you can perform, no sequence of words you can utter, that will magically make him want what you want, if he doesn't already want it.


    He may be self-aware enough to be able to explain why he doesn't want it -- or maybe he isn't. But if you've already talked it through with him several times? Well, you know the answer....

    It's not going to happen. At least, not in the way you want it to happen.

    Perhaps you can adjust to that. But if not ... it may be time to look elsewhere.

    reply to Kal
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    Anon, I am so sorry. He doesn't want to marry you. The two of you are not on the same page about a hugely important issue. This is a problem.

    Also, as far as "moving forward" ...

    Relationships are not trains. Many, many people stay together forever without making it legal and that's okay.

    Stop thinking that investing in an engagement ring is proof of anything, too. It's not.

    Since what you're looking for is security -- and the ONLY security in this world, when it comes to relationships, is the kind that can be legally enforced -- figure out how to get that. Make out wills stating what each one of you will receive if the other one dies first. Give each other limited power of attorney over life and death medical decisions. Put property in both your names, or take out insurance that ensures if one of you dies than the home is paid off and belongs to the survivor.

    Talk it out again, but focus on these details. If he is not willing to do any of those things then it's pretty clear that he wants all of the benefits of a marriage without any of the responsibilities. That's not a partner. That's a life-long booty call.

    reply to Robynne
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    Is he waiting for his Senior's discount at JJ Jewellers?

    Go out and buy yourself a 'right hand' ring. Set the bar high. His reaction will be VERY telling.

    reply to Amy
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