Dear Dr. Buckingham,
Thank you in advance for considering my advice question! I’m a 34-year-old woman dating a 35-year-old man. We’ve been together for 2 years and I’m twiddling my thumbs waiting for 1 of 2 things to occur…either he pops the question and/or we finally move in together.
We’ve spoken about marriage, looked at rings, he’s asked my dad for my hand (a year ago) and we’ve talked about moving in together yet neither has happened. We’ve been talking about these things for over a year. At this point, whenever I ask him about moving in, he gets frustrated. I am ready to take this relationship forward but I feel he is dragging his feet. Do I Need to Be Patient or Move On? Your advice is welcomed.
Warm regards, Stuck in limbo
Dear Stuck in Limbo,
Please be patient and take the time to figure out if this is the right relationship. A large percentage of people might think that two years is a long time to determine if a relationship is right. I would argue against this perspective because quantity is the same as quality. You made reference to how long you all have been together, but you did not mention the quality of the relationship.
Just because a man proposes does not mean he is ready for marriage. In my latest book, “You Deserve More: A Single Woman’s Guide to Marriage,” I inform women that some men like to take the path of least resistance. This means that some men will take the easiest way to reach our aims and solve problems, especially in relationships. We engage in this behavior to help save time, and, most importantly, to reserve emotional energy.
Don’t be quick to jump into marriage if you are not sure about how to sustain a marriage.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of men I see in therapy and in my consultation business tell me that they got married because it was the easiest thing to do at the time. This is not to say that they were not in love, but they took the path of least resistance. Understanding what that means can be difficult because every man operates differently. For example, if marrying you will shut you up and take the pressure off, then some men will do just that—path of least resistance. If men can get sex without commitment, then some men will do just that—path of least resistance.
You do not want a man to marry or commit to you because you want it more than he does. Also, some women make the mistake of thinking that moving in together is a form of commitment. This is not true. A man can live under the same roof with you and still treat you like a second-class citizen. Nevertheless, some people argue that living together will help determine compatibility because they believe that you do not know someone until you live with them. This is partially true. I teach couples how to pay attention to issues that will surface while living under the same roof. Also, if you believe in living righteously according to God, living together is wrong from a biblical perspective.
If I were you I would focus more on his motivation for wanting to get married, not your time frame. Your time frame might be different than what he had in mind or from what he feels comfortable with. You stated that he gets frustrated when you ask about moving in. This is an indicator that something is not right. Don’t be so quick to jump into marriage if you are not sure about how to sustain a marriage. Spend time seeking to understand his motives without nagging him. If you are not able to discern please seek professional counseling or move on if you do not want to invest additional time or energy.