My (29F) boyfriend (31M) have been together for 7 years now. I had voiced that I wanted to be engaged before the 4 year mark. He agreed at the time.
When we were half a year from reaching our 4th year anniversary, I had revisited the topic of marriage and told him I was expecting to get married. He was finishing up his master’s program at the time and said he wanted to get out of student debt again and get his finances in order. I bit my tongue and understood that we are partners and I can try to meet him halfway.
He earns good money and we already moved in together 2 years into our relationship, and did long distance when he was in his master’s program. My job is remote, so I moved into his hometown 3 hours away from the OG.
I have been seeing all my friends and cousins get married and it’s hard to feel happy on such a joyous occasion when your ring finger feels so empty and everyone starts asking you. Lately, my partner has been thriving in work and enjoying his new life, and it’s almost as if he forgot about our personal goals.
When I initiated a discussion again, I could sense he was dragging his feet. He didn’t have enough money for a ring or savings for a wedding when he would very well buy the motorbike he always wanted since he was kid.
He said our life is good as is, “why do we need a stamp of validation from the world? You are on your own health insurance so what’s the point?”
All of this just left me heartbroken. Why don’t I deserve to be his wife, after being his gf for so long? Does he not love me enough to make a romantic gesture for me? Choosing me over his useless bike? I talked to my sister who got engaged 2 years into her relationship and her approach was simple yet effective.
She told me to withdraw all wife privileges from him until I get that title, that he has to “earn” me - not cleaning and cooking for him, moving out, not pay for his expenses sometimes - stuff like that.
My boyfriend got mad because I didn’t renew our lease with him, and told me that’s a very poor way of handling things and we need this constant in our life to preserve that intimacy, telling me that’s the kind of precedent I am setting up for our eventual marriage.
“I have been a wife for you without the title. I gave myself completely to you, only to expect you to do this one thing for me. I’ve waited long enough. I don’t really believe in ultimatums - so I am not going to force your hand. I am simply acting as your girlfriend now, if you really want our relationship to go back to what it was, you better give me a upgrade." AITA?
To all the Dense Folks asking me why don’t I just propose: I have something to say: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Some people like things to be traditional - and he and I are certainly that, there’s nothing wrong with wanting that.
In our culture, in 2023, in hetero relationships, a woman making comments about being ready to marry/wanting to get engaged IS HER PROPOSAL. Then it’s up to the man to either accept by proposing formally, or decline by not proposing, and at that stage the woman proposing is embarrassing herself by doing it tbh.
It’s just a dumb "gotcha" where people like to play faux dumb and scratch their heads at how daft cultural norms are and like to pretend that things have evolved to be how they wish them to be in the future.
Similar to the fake disingenuous "wait, you’ve discussed marriage and both said you want it, surely that means you’re engaged? Why are you waiting for a ring? He probably doesn’t even realize you need one, you’re engaged! Just book a venue?" Which pretends that proposals don’t actually exist as a way of formally asking for marriage instead of merely expressing positive feelings towards the idea.
So by your own logic you've proposed to him twice and he's rejected your proposal.
Unfortunately I think it’s pretty clear he does not want to get married and if that is a deal breaker for you I think it’s best to part ways. I know that is hard to hear and easier said than done, but you will get through and you will be ok.
Do you want to be married or do you want a wedding? If it's married your concerned with, make a list of the ways being married would be different than what you are doing now. Then, sit down and explain to him why you want to be married rather than living together. He will either understand and agree or it's time to move on.
Trying to force a man to marry you makes YTA why would you want to make a lifelong commitment to someone who doesn't want to be committed to you?
"I don't believe in ultimatums, so I gave him an ultimatum." You're NTA for wanting to get married. YTA for attempting to manipulate him into a marriage he obviously doesn't want.
ESH - Him: for stringing you along when it seems he didn’t want to get married. You: For using childish tactics to manipulate into a marriage proposal. Not really a way I would want to get proposed to.
You should both sit down one last time and see if both of you are willing to marry, no BS from both of you. If he says he doesn’t want, then you need to either accept it as is or break up. No wifey privileges being removed or anything, just adult open communication like the healthy relationship you actually should want.
Have some self respect. Do you want a proposal for someone you have to threaten and manipulative? He doesn’t want to marry you. It sounds like he has been quite clear on this. YTA.