What to do when you want to get married but your partner is not ready

By Faeza
23 February 2017

Modern girl writes:

DECEMBER has come and gone. This makes it six years since I have been dating my boyfriend and honestly, I’m tired of him being my boyfriend. I guess this is why people resort to calling their boyfriends their “partners” and all these politically correct terms. You just can’t keep calling a 35-year-old man a “boyfriend”. The sad part is that there is just no mention of marriage at all. Not a peep! He tells me he loves me and sometimes he sounds like he is on the verge of proposing. You know those tense moments when a man says things like, “The last few years with you have been the best of my life. I can’t imagine my life without you. You mean the world to me.” And then as I’m holding my breath, there is no proposal! Do you think I would be out of line if I popped the question? I’m tired of dropping hints that I’m ready to get married.

Linda Yende responds:

THERE are two issues here. Yes, clearly you are ready to get married. But is he? What do you think is holding him back? Is he holding back because he is nervous? Or is he holding back because he is not sure if marrying you (or getting married) is the right thing to do right now?


If he is just nervous, then yes, you proposing might be the solution. Your proposal might be the little nudge he needs. However, let us consider the flip side. If he is unsure whether he wants to marry you at all, or indeed to get married at all, then perhaps you are better off leaving things as they are. Have you ever discussed the topic of marriage at all? I don’t mean your marriage, but marriage in general? Do you know how he feels about the

institution of marriage? If it has never come up, then that’s where you should have started a while back. It’s crucial to find out how a person feels about marriage, just so you can determine each other’s values and each other’s reasons for dating.


Some people have relationships for fun – to just pass the time and have somebody to party with, have a plus one at events, and have sex with. While others see relationships as a courtship, where you get to know one another as you make your way towards the happily ever after. Needless to say, if he falls into the former category and you fall into the latter, then you are headed for major disappointment. So begin with the end in mind but that is in hindsight. It’s literally six years too late, so let’s talk about the here and now. Have that discussion with him now. That way you know for a fact whether it is worth your while to even propose. I mean, if he is antimarriage, or if he firmly believes that relationships

are just for “kicking it” as young people often do, then you have some decisions to make.


Do you want to keep kicking it? Or do you want to off-ramp from this road going nowhere and get on a road going to marriage. Every step you take going in the wrong direction takes you further from your preferred destination. And if you change course now,

each day you will be moving towards your intended destination. Now, let’s move on to the next point. Let’s just say that he actually does want to get married and has indeed been hesitant. What effects do you think your proposal will have on his psyche and his ego? You know your man better than I do, so you will know the answer. Let me just give you a hypothetical scenario. Imagine that you have been planning a surprise birthday party for him for the past month. And on the week of his birthday he decides: You know what? Let’s throw a party for my birthday!


Let me give you a different example, and I will talk about myself here. Sometimes, I’ll

be sitting and thinking that I should go wash the car. And as I am thinking that, my wife says, “Damn! The car is filthy. Please go and wash it!” I was just about to wash it but now I’ll be doing it grudgingly because I was told to do it. And I know she won’t believe me when I say I was just about to do it. So if you propose to your boyfriend now, you risk all

of that happening. And really do you want to start your marriage on that foundation?

As I already pointed out, a proposal always starts with the possibility of a yes or no.

Are you prepared for the possibility of a no if you propose to your boyfriend? And does your relationship go on as normal after the no, or do you end it? Think about all of this before you go down on your knee and ask the big question. I wish you all the best and a

happy future!