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'My girlfriend of 12 years said no when I proposed to her. What do I do?' MAJOR UPDATE

'My girlfriend of 12 years said no when I proposed to her. What do I do?' MAJOR UPDATE

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In general, it's best to check in with your partner before proposing to them. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a humiliating and disappointing position.

"My (34M) girlfriend (32F) of 12 years said no when I proposed to her. What do I do?"

My girlfriend and I started dating when she was 20 and I was 22. Despite having been a couple for many years, we do not live together, I spend a lot of time in her apartment and sleep there almost all the time. She mentioned marriage after two years we started dating but then she stopped.

A week ago I proposed to her, bought her a ring and made her a romantic dinner, but she said she didn't want to marry me. That she preferred our relationship to continue as it was before. I'm almost 35, and I want to marry her, live together and start a family but now I don't know what her plans really are.

I don't really know if I should continue the relationship or just break up. It hurts me, but I really love her and I don't know what to do in this situation. What would be the best way to approach this delicate situation with my girlfriend, considering our differences about marriage and our future plans together?

The internet had a lot of comments and questions to add.

soyasaucy wrote:

Y'all never talked about it in the 10 years you've been together after she brought it up in the beginning?

Neacha wrote:

He left out a whole decade of relevant information. Why now OP, Why NOW?

Jumpmuch wrote:

You...talk to her? Like you should have before proposing? What do you mean that you "don't know what her plans really are?" Have the questions of whether she ever wants children and whether she ever wants to get married not come up in the last ten years?

OP responded:

Like I said, she mentioned it at first but then she didn't.

JumpMuch responded:

What’s wrong with staying together and not being married?

OP responded:

But she doesn't want us to live together either.

ellyp7 wrote:

"I'm almost 35, and I want to marry her."

Do you want to marry her out of love or because you feel like you're getting old, time's running out and it's a convenient time to settle down for you?

It doesn't take 12 years to decide whether or not you want to marry someone. Two years sound more reasonable to me and she probably got tired of waiting around.

This_Grab_452 wrote:

Why the hell wasn’t there a discussion about the future in the last 10 years?! You absolutely should talk to her and put the cards on the table. However, reading between the lines, I think it’s safe to say that you two are incompatible. You want to get married. She declined your proposal and doesn’t even want to live together.

Gikneepeg wrote:

Absolutely amazed that people can essentially just sleepwalk their way through a decade long relationship and not know if their partner wants to get married or have kids. When you propose to somebody, believe it or not, the answer should NOT be a surprise. The only surprise involved should be WHEN you ask them.

Techramblings wrote:

Have you considered... talking to her? Seriously, just talk to her. Tell her you accept that she doesn't want to get married, and ask her what she wants out of the relationship. Where does she see herself in 1, 2, 5, 10 years time?

I'd point out that it's 2024; there's absolutely no requirement to get married. Millions of people live quite happily in relationships where they aren't married. Millions more even produce and raise children without getting married. It's really not a big deal these days.

But if marriage is important to you, whether for cultural or religious reasons, then that's something you need to talk to her about. Likewise, you need to find out whether she wants to have children with you or not. And if it turns out that what you want from the relationship and what she wants are no longer compatible, then it's for the best if you go your separate ways as amicably as possible.

ETA: I'm also wondering whether you and she have actually had 'the marriage discussion' at any point over the last 12 years. From the OP, it sounds like she mentioned it after 2 years, then neither of them has mentioned it until last week when OP proposed. I can see, from her perspective, that a proposal 10 years after she mentioned marriage might seem like a metaphorical slap in the face to her.

Two days later, OP jumped on with an update.

I spoke to her last night. We had a long and somewhat awkward conversation. She said that before she really wanted to get married and that she didn't expect a ring after two years, she just wanted to talk about it at that time to plan a better future together. When she talked about marriage, I told her it wasn't the time. Still she waited, but when she turned 28 she realized that the ring was never going to arrive.

She said she no longer wanted to get married or live together. She appreciates her own space and even though I spend time with her in her apartment, it is still her own space. Regarding children, she does want to have children but even when the baby arrives we will not live together, it would be like sharing custody and going out together as a family, and still being a couple.

She also mentioned that she needed six months to a year for her body to detoxify from the contraceptive, but she will still consult her gynecologist. She said that these are her terms and that I was completely free to accept them and continue the relationship or break up and pursue what I want.

And I really don't know what to do, I really regret not giving her the ring sooner. Plus she has spent 12 years agreeing to my terms. I do not really know what to do.

The internet kept it fully honest in the comment section.

tlf555 wrote:

You dated for 10 years with no proposal. She gave up on you as a husband, but settled on you as a boyfriend/sperm donor because no one better came along. And they lived "Meh"-ly ever after.

TheSiren- wrote:

I read the first post, and you don’t mention that she stopped talking about marriage because you told her it wasn’t the time. I think she expected you to bring it up when it was time because you shot it down once and she didn’t want to bring it up again. A lot of people are worried they’re nagging.

Did you ever talk about moving in together? Living together at all these 12 years? Or did she bring that up and you also told her it wasn’t the time? Like what happened here? Why did you wait so long and not even try to discuss it first?

genescheesesthatplz wrote:

I don't think you can give her what she wants, in the long run. I think you'll try and convince yourself you can, but it will crush you when she inevitably sticks to her plans and doesn't fall back in love with you when you bond over a baby. Good luck!

failedopportunities wrote:

Quite telling how chill she is about potentially ending the relationship. You done missed the boat buddy! If y’all do go through with having a child, it’s going to be one weird childhood for that kid…

HilMickaelson wrote:

She does love him and wants to have his children; however, she doesn't want to give up her lifestyle after waiting so many years for him to propose to her. I understand that the concept of couples living in separate homes and raising children might be unfamiliar to some, but it can actually work.

I know a couple who has had this arrangement for over 25 years, and their relationship is strong and they are really happy. They are married, have three children, and live in two twin homes. They tried living together for a while until the first child was one, and that almost destroyed their relationship since one has OCD and the other is really disorganized.

Both of them also like to have their own space. They usually joke that they are still dating each other because they have regular date nights, engage in many family activities, do nice things for each other, and truly value the time they spend together.

It sounds like OP and his GF need to come to an agreement or accept that it's just not going to work in the future

Sources: Reddit
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