What was your reaction all of those times he brought it up? Sounds to me like he was testing the waters, so to speak. With something this huge, it is common for guys to throw out 'what ifs' to see if the woman they want to ask is interested. In your own words, "actions speak louder than words." Really think about how you reacted. You don't need to give me an answer,just think about it. What did your words say and what did your actions say? Did you shrug it off? Blush? Get excited? Change the subject?
Ask him. Tell him, and only if you want to marry him for the right reasons not the 'everyone else is getting married' reason, that you were disappointed there wasn't a ring or a question asked on Christmas. Ask him point blank where he stands and what he wants.
I'll admit I don't know if I ever really express my feeling correctly, but usually when he brings it up I would engage in the conversation and have told him that I have never been this happy in a relationship before, and usually he would end these conversations with "Don't worry, I won't make you wait long. I know what I want." We have had a talk at one point before this happened where he asked me where I stand with marriage and him and I made sure to look him in the eye and say "I know I want to marry you." Saying stuff that direct and open is not easy for me. But when he mentioned the "present" I didn't really respond in an excited manner. I always think it's bad luck for me to be confident in those situations, like it will come back to bite me.
He was acting strange on Christmas day though. He kept looking at me and stroking my hair. And when we turned in for the night he asked me if I was happy and I said "I am happy." I did mean it, I really am happy and that's why I want to be sure that if he is saying these things that it is how he really feels and not just what he thinks he should be saying to keep the happy vibe going in the relationship.
The only person who can tell you is him. Tell him your concerns and talk to him. It isn't easy but most important things aren't.
But when he mentioned the "present" I didn't really respond in an excited manner.
That might've given him cold feet at the time -- it can be an emotional thing for a guy to propose (or a gal) when they are really sure of the response. If they're not sure that you really want to take that further step? I can see him backing down.
You may want to tell him that when you really want something, you may under-react because you're worried that you'll jinx it. (And admit that sometimes you're not reacting because you're not that into the idea. Yes, it's mixed signals; at least acknowledge to your partner that sometimes you're complicated. O:> Stars know, my fellow knows I can be...)
I guess the main thing is... What are his and your role models for How Married People Behave? Getting married can spring a whole bunch of subconscious surprises on people, so they start "turning into their parent" and/or expecting their partner to act like Mom/Dad. If either or both of y'all have bad role models, have you addressed this with a professional of some sort, and/or do you have strategies to keep your subconscious from ambushing you with cruft?
Do you feel that you have Established Relationship Energy, or are you still in New Relationship Energy mode? How do you feel about kids? How do you feel about raising kids, and do you know where you might disagree about kid-rearing? (E.g., do you believe in co-sleeping and he believes in cribs?)
Do you feel that he treats you right? And that he treats other people right? How does he behave to waitstaff, store clerks, and people below him in work hierarchies? How does he behave towards people who are technically above him in hierarchies? How does he behave towards kids and pets?
As objectively as you can... Would you like to spend forever with him? Would "forever" be too short a time?
These are questions that are useful to ask when contemplating the legal bindings of marriage, and some of the social ones as well. If you're comfortable with the answers... I'd flat-out tell him, in person or in a letter. Good luck!
I generally agree with your "actions speak louder than words" statement, but I think the list of possible actions is slightly more refined. I'm also 29, and 2 years ago I went to my friends wedding with my current partner at the time. We had a lovely time, they looked so happy, and she's currently in the process of filing for divorce and I dumped the bullying guy I took to the wedding with me!
I appreciate I don't know you at all from this post, but I'm not really sure why you want to get married? I guess it also comes from my own views on how marriage doesn't really mean the earth so I'm sorry if I've misread you from my own bias. I reckon he did the good things, wanting you to move in shows commitment to being with you and having a future together (after all, who wants to move again?!).
Is your question is he committed to you, or is it how do I get him to propose?
I agree that in today's society marriage isn't the end all be all. And I will be honest and state that part of me is jealous that all of these people are experiencing what I want to experience. But what really bothers me is that he is saying all of these things but it's worrying me that he is just saying them and not really being honest. I've been in a relationship before where my ex would always talk about how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and raise a family, only to discover that he was cheating on me and verbally abusive through out our relationship. When I tried to break up with him, that's when the ring appeared but at that point I knew he didn't really mean it, he just didn't want me to walk out. I'm just afraid that I am reliving that scenario again.
This time around it's really bothering me because things really are so good and I don't want this to be another case of him just saying these things to keep me around. I want to be sure that these are his honest feelings.
Then I agree entirely with Mary's "talk to him" comment above. Good luck.
You are both right. I should talk to him. I just needed to vent and collect my thoughts. Looking back he has backed up what he has said with action (wanting me to move in and making space to do so). Perhaps I am over reacting a bit.
Everyone has baggage from previous relationships so I think it's important that you talk to him about it so you can rest assured. These are the things that can bring couples together, he sounds nice I am sure you can talk to him about it.
Two years together isn't very long.
It's possible for a girl to ask a guy.
It looks like he's been testing the waters and looking for your reaction.
I'd be patient if I were you. I wouldn't jump into marriage. I wouldn't compare yourself to your friends either.
I'd appreciate the moment, not looking for the next step, but enjoying the one you are on now. And enjoy your relationship with him. If it's right for you both it'll happen. But I wouldn't have the wedding ring as a focus!
As others have written here, you need to be open about your feelings about what he's been saying and ask him what his intentions are. I might say something like, "in the past year, you've mentioned getting married and having a family to me several times. I'm happy to know you feel that way, but when you hinted that my christmas gift might have something to do with getting married, while I love the gifts you gave me, I was surprised and hurt that I didn't receive an engagement ring. I like the idea of being married to you, but I don't understand your intentions when you make a very loaded statement like that, and then don't follow through."
While I agree with aiwendel
's assessment that your boyfriend is most likely "testing the waters" to see how you feel about marriage - specifically marriage to him
- if a guy is going to ask me to marry him, I expect him to step up and actually DO IT, not play with my emotions by hinting around about it and then not following through. Yes, asking someone to marry you is very scary and puts all your emotions out there on a gilded plate for someone to either refuse, stomp all over, or accept with love. But if you're going to do it, no matter your gender, have the strength to DO IT and don't play with your partner's emotions because you're afraid of getting rejected. That's the kind of behavior you should expect from your boyfriend, NOT this playing with your emotions b.s.
If you do talk with him and are open about your feelings with him, hopefully that will resolve the issue and he won't play with your emotions like that in the future. Keep in mind, though, it may be a pattern for him, and if so, do you really want to spend your life with a guy who behaves that way?Edited at 2012-12-28 07:01 pm (UTC)