Why You Shouldn't Worry if He Hasn't Popped the Question Yet

hourglassA friend of mine recently broke up with her long-term boyfriend, and another friend consoled her with an expression that seems to get thrown around a lot when it comes to guys dragging their feet toward engagement: "If he hadn't asked you to marry him by now, he never would have." My friend agreed those words applied to her situation. Maybe her now-ex is the kind of guy who would have ALWAYS had an excuse as to why he couldn't move forward. But all too often, that expression becomes the all-too-rigid, sometimes unreasonable rationale behind breaking it off with a guy who seems to be taking a longer-than-"average" length of time (which is what? Three years? Five years?) to pop the question.

It's a little funny, actually, how some people seem to have a prescribed "time frame" they deem appropriate for couples to be together before they most definitely have to be hitched.


I've become more acutely sensitive to it as my boyfriend and I have gone from the two-year mark to three, four, and in several months, five ... Earlier this year, a waitress in a restaurant -- yes, a total stranger! -- even had the audacity to CONFRONT my boyfriend when she found out we had been together over four years and living together for over two years without a ring.

"How old are you?" she asked him. (Thirty.) "How old are you?" she asked me. (Twenty-seven.) Then, to him, "What's wrong with you? What are you waitin' for, man? McFly, anyone home?!?" After feeling mortified by this woman's ridiculous behavior, I wondered, "Since when is it a stranger's business to say when two people she doesn't even know are ready to walk down the aisle?" Even the closest relatives and friends of a couple don't really know what goes on in that relationship or what the guy's thinking about getting engaged. And they shouldn't try.

Everyone has their own pace when it comes to marriage. Some guys just take longer than three years, five years, maybe even seven years to get their acts together to ask the big Q, and it doesn't necessarily mean that they're stringing their partner along, that they're not sure that person's The One, or that they never plan to ask. There could be health, money, or emotional issues, and it's not necessarily that they're waiting for the "perfect" time, but they're waiting for the right time.

Case in point: I know couples who needed five-plus years -- plus a break-up in the middle! -- before they blissfully said "I do." I know a couple who lived together for seven years before getting happily wed, because they wanted to have a child. What if they had been given and thought there was truth to that "if he hasn't by now ... !!" advice? All the more reason that's a belief that should only be reserved for the couples for whom "never" truly applies. The ones who never had the intention of ultimately committing to one another in the first place. 

Do you believe there's a certain cut-off time by which if a guy hasn't popped the question, he never will?


Image via Jamiesrabbits/Flickr

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