Pressuring your boyfriend into marrying you can be equated to trying to corral a rabid wolverine into a small cage; it's technically possible, but the results you get may not live up to your expectations and may not be worth the effort. A boyfriend who is pressured into a marriage may decide to propose to you but may do so only to prevent losing you, not because he wants deeply to be committed to you and your relationship. Feeling pressured to propose may also cause unstated resentment within your relationship that can ultimately lead to the marriage ending before it ever gets off the ground. By avoiding placing pressure on your boyfriend for a proposal, you can give him the space to make the moment special when he decides to pop the question.
Stop talking about marriage. While you may believe that throwing subtle hints about which engagement rings catch your eye or how beautiful you think that wedding dress at the mall is will coax him into proposing, chances are your boyfriend is well aware of your desire to get married. In addition, he may have already picked out an engagement ring for you, and pointing out other rings may cause him to second-guess his decision about the ring he purchased.
Talk to your boyfriend to firmly establish what you expect out of life together and your relationship. In her 2013 study published in "Sage Open," Tamara Sniezek suggests that woman are more likely to bring up marriage but can do so in ways that don't ask the question, "Why aren't we married yet?" You can talk to your boyfriend about future plans, such as where you'd like to travel, if you plan to move in together and even where you see your relationship in five years. Doing so provides a clear indication to your boyfriend that you are concerned about the future of your relationship without pressuring him for an engagement.
Set benchmarks to determine if your relationship is progressing at a pace that also suits your needs. This ultimately means setting an internal outline of what will need to happen in your relationship to keep it satisfying, while subsequently defining when you will no longer be happy simply being a girlfriend. Sharon Sassler and Amanda Miller suggested in their 2010 examination of 30 unwed couples, published in the "Journal of Family Issues," that milestones leading up to engagement included financial stability, completion of school and deciding on whether to live together before marriage. These, along with other major mile-markers you establish, can be used to determine if your relationship is on the right path.
Enjoy your relationship for what it is. As long as you remain fulfilled in your relationship, the presence of an engagement ring won't necessarily make the time that you share together any better or worse. Being happy in your relationship can reinforce to your boyfriend that you are the one for him.
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- If your boyfriend asks to look at wedding rings, or if the subject comes up in conversation, give him a range of options. Your boyfriend may not have proposed yet simply because he is saving up money for an expensive engagement ring when, in reality, you may be happy with anything that he chooses for you.
- Marriage will not fix underlying problems in a relationship, such as a lack of respect, lying and infidelity. If your boyfriend has not proposed, or met other crucial relationship milestones that are important to you, you may want to consider leaving the relationship before expending any more time or energy on it.
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.
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