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Woman gives BF an ultimatum to propose by year 12 of the relationship, 'marriage is just a box.' AITA?

Woman gives BF an ultimatum to propose by year 12 of the relationship, 'marriage is just a box.' AITA?


"WIBTA if I leave an 11 year relationship if he doesn’t propose by year 12?"

I’ve been with my boyfriend (33m) for almost 11 years now (I’m 28F). We’ve been living together for about 9ish years now, and I feel like we have reached a point in our relationship where it would be reasonable to get married.

I feel like I’ve been ready for that step for at least 5 years now, and I have asked on more than one occasion if marriage is still something he is interested in/willing to do.

When I have in the past, I remember it as him just laughing it off and saying “yeah, I guess.” His tone and expressions made it feel to me as though he wasn’t taking me seriously, but I don’t know what he would say about what his intentions were with how he responded. I just know how it made me feel, not however he viewed it from his side.

A few years ago now I directly asked if he had thought about engagement rings and his response to that was “well I could either have bought a new car, or gotten you a ring.”

The truck he’d had since before we had met had finally died, and he had needed to buy a new vehicle. I replied with “why the f would a ring cost the same amount as a car?!? That seems ridiculous.”

That was the first time I had ever looked at engagement rings and their prices, and as it turned out you could find an engagement ring that cost upwards of $15,000. I also found examples of rings I thought were pretty, and sets with a wedding band, that costed less than around $1,500 and showed him those as an idea instead.

But I also didn’t pester him about a ring again for at least a couple of years because he was making vehicle payments and I didn’t have any expenses like that at the time.

Time passed, I finished my university degree (which had been another reason he had brought up before, that getting married wasn’t a priority while I was in school). He finished paying off his vehicle, and I thought "maybe now that he isn’t making vehicle payments, he might take that money that used to come out of his account and put it towards a ring instead."

But it’s been a few years now. And I think he put that money towards tattoos and a PS5 instead. Which is fine, it’s his money to spend how we wishes, I just have to make note that he prioritized those things over the next step in our relationship. And the last time I brought up getting married he said “marriage is just a box people feel like they need to check off, just like having kids and buying a house.”

I replied with “I want to check the box. I want to get married, and have a wedding, then have kids.” I feel like I have made my position clear, and it doesn’t feel like he cares or places any value in something that’s important to me. I don’t want him to become a groomzilla and go wedding crazy, but I want him to think it’s an important next step in our relationship, even if it’s only important to him because it’s important to me.

I don’t want to throw out an 11 year relationship because he didn’t buy me something shiny. But I also don’t know if I could compromise getting married, and not end up resenting him for it down the road if I stayed and started a family with him without the marriage first.

Would I be the ahole if I set a time limit for how much longer I’m willing to wait? Would I be a bigger ahole for telling him I have a time limit, or if I didn’t say anything and just let him play the year out like he always would have if I hadn’t said anything about it?

Am I the ahole for placing value in the symbol of an engagement ring and proposal in the first place, even if I don’t expect the ring to have a high monetary value in itself? Sorry for how long that got… and if there’s any formatting weirdness?


It seems a lot of people are stuck on the age gap/how old I was when we started dating. I was already moved out of my parents house and living on my own at 17.

I had finished my first semester of university and was a month shy of 18 when we got together, and he was still a student as well. Was I a fully mature adult, no. But at 21 he wasn’t either, and we’ve both grown up a lot both individually and in the relationship over our time together.

We’ve spoken much more extensively on the topic of children, how many we want, hard boundaries with parenting styles and that kind of thing and we are on the same page.

Neither of us are ready to have kids yet, but the only difference between us on the kid front is that I want to be legally married (with a small wedding because I do want the celebration) before we have kids, for the stability of it, and honestly for ease in all the associated paperwork and insurance that comes with children.

I believe it would prevent a lot of potential problems if we all had the same last name, if there was court and government validated power for each of us in the event of something tragic happening to either of us.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

darksilverhawk said:

Hold on, are you two not on the same page with kids? That’s a way bigger problem than a wedding- if he doesn’t want kids and you do, this relationship is dead in the water even with a wedding.

Ok-Boysenberry1022 said:

He doesn’t want to marry you. Find someone who does. The “sunk cost fallacy” applies to relationships too. This guy couldn’t be more clearer … he does not want to marry you. An ultimatum is just desperate. He’s already told you that your goals are not aligned. Why are you still pursuing him? Have some self-respect.

Prize-Bumblebee-2192 said:

Please leave this relationship. Setting a time limit will do nothing for your cause. Marrying is not a priority to him. AT ALL. Even though it’s important to you - it’s not important to him. He has shown you who he is and he had told you what he wants (and what he doesn’t think is important) - believe him.

Do not set a time limit - it’s already way past expiry. Do not worry about time invested either. Cut your losses and get on with your life. Time to move on to someone who wants marriage just like you do. He is not going to EVER come around. Also, Nta.

dravacotron said:

NTA but it's actually on you that you took 11 years to sniff out the fact that your partner does not place the same significance on the institution of marriage as you do, and in fact obviously sees more cons than pros about signing on to get married and has no intention of ever doing so.

This is the kind of thing that gets discussed and aligned (along with children, career goals etc) in the first year of the relationship. You're clearly fundamentally incompatible. Next time stop dropping hints and just have a straight discussion about it.

Godiva_33 said:

You are being strung along by the sunken cost fallacy. It's perfectly fine to want to get married (you). It's perfectly fine to not want to (him). Its not fine to live with a partner who wants the opposite.

Because you aren't happy. It would be one thing if you decided to play the docile lamb and never bring it up, that would be on you for then springing it on him when you left. But you gave him more than ample hints. NTA.

Desperate_Swimming_5 said:

NTA. He is not going to marry you. People should not have to fight this hard to get a proposal.

Everyone here felt that the relationship was doomed either way. What's your advice for this couple?

Sources: Reddit
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