By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK
DEAR WHYS GUY:
I have been with my boyfriend for four years now. And for the past two years, he's been saying things like, "When we're married..." or, "I'll have to make you my wife soon." But he shows no sign of actually committing to getting married. About a year ago, we went through a really rough time and almost broke up. In order to keep our relationship intact, he actually proposed. The problem is that he planned it about two hours beforehand, and he asked me while we were in a huge fight, and he did not have a ring. After I accepted, he asked me not to tell anyone-he wanted to wait to tell our friends and family when the time was right. I agreed to this. Since then, every time I bring it up, he avoids the issue or gives me an excuse: He's too busy or it isn't a good time to talk about it. He introduces me to everyone as his girlfriend, and when we are in public around guys, he makes jokes about how bad marriage is.
He will be attending OCS [Officer Candidates School] for the Marines in the fall. I am so happy that he is living his dream, and I want to stand by him, but I can't take the empty promises anymore. Pushing him into marriage is not what I want to do, but I feel as though all my skepticism is making me drift away from him. He is a great man, and I love him more than anything. But I don't know how to tell him that I'm not willing to move all over the country and possibly the world unless he makes it official.
DEAR REDBOOK READER:
I think that you should say exactly what you said towards the end of this letter. In fact, you'll be doing yourself a great disservice if you don't. Don't make it a conversation about guessing his intentions, and don't make it about impatience or hurt feelings or whatever- this is a practical issue. You can't commit to following him to the ends of the earth, to totally overhauling your life, without making sure that he is willing to make a similar sort of commitment to you.
Related: 5 Dresses Every Woman Should Own
You're right: It's not about a ring or a fancy proposal. It's not even about him telling his friends that you're engaged. All guys are gonna act differently when it comes to getting married; some will be better at it than others. When you clear the decks of all the fantasy engagement and marriage stuff, what you're really left with is the fact that you have financial, geographical, and (I imagine) professional concerns that need to answered before you can move on with him, and you both need to be clear about what your expectations are before you take another step in either direction.
Need help decoding odd male behavior? Redbook columnist Aaron Traister, who lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two kids, is our resident male who is happy to answer any questions you might have about the mind of a man. Either leave your questions in the comments or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Whys Guy in the subject. Letters, emails, and comments may be edited for clarity and length.
More from REDBOOK:
Could You Go a Week Without Yelling?
Have the Hottest Sex of Your Life…with Your Husband
- 6 Shocking Reasons Why Men Stray
- 101 Date Night Ideas
- Get More on Love, Family & Fashion - Subscribe to REDBOOK & Save Up to 84%!
Connect with REDBOOK:
- Become our Fan on Facebook
- Sign Up for REDBOOK's Free Weekly Newsletter
- Follow Us on Twitter
- Enter to Win FREE Daily Prizes
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.