A big concern among women who have been in a relationship with a guy for awhile, is, why hasn’t he proposed? Let’s discuss the time line of a man, signs he is ready, when (or if) ultimatums are appropriate, when you should walk, when you should stay, and if it’s okay to (gasp) propose to him.
The Man Time Line
It’s pretty common knowledge that men have a much different time line when it comes to marriage. Research has shown that the average guy needs somewhere around two years, 11 months, and 8 days to make a serious commitment. He needs to get his ducks in a row, put a plan together, and then propose to his lady in waiting. Some studies also suggests that even after this pivotal moment, it could take an additional two years to get him to walk down the aisle. If you add everything up, a woman could be looking at five years between the first date and her wedding day if she leaves her suitor to his own agenda. So it’s easy to see where problems can arise.
When He’s Ready
Some men are just not ready for marriage, and require time to get used to the idea and test the waters a little before diving all the way in. Roughly, what this translates to is getting him to commit and an ultimatum. Traditionally, this is telling the guy he needs to either get a jump on his time line, or you’re gone. Unfortunately, this type of ultimatum has a tendency to push guys into doing something they don’t want to.
A healthier alternative is to give him space, letting him know that you are ready for the next step, but if he isn’t, you understand, but will not wait for him. Start by using “we” less and talking about “your” career more. As you slowly slip away, you may soon notice him growing closer. If he doesn’t, the two of you may not have been a good match, and you should consider yourself lucky to have found out sooner rather than later.
When to Walk/When to Stay
Some relationship counselors will ask the woman considering an ultimatum, what’s your hurry? Is the clock ticking, are friends or family applying pressure? As long as things are on track, the two of you are moving towards similar goals, and he is supplying at least 80 percent of your needs, perhaps you can be a little more lenient, giving him the extra time he needs. The catch is, if he is not fulfilling 80 percent of your needs, a marriage ultimatum may be an unconscious attempt to change him into something he’s not. You certainly don’t want to “settle” for someone who doesn’t meet a good portion of your needs, but you don’t want to be too picky, either.
Should a Woman Propose?
This easy answer to this question is, yes, but be aware that complications can arise. Some men are still very traditional, and may become threatened by such a bold move. If a woman takes this step too quickly before he is ready (you remember that big difference in time line), it may bring an early end to an otherwise promising relationship.
A woman has to ask herself several questions, first. How well do you know him? Are you certain he will not be offended (you can bring the subject up casually in conversation if you are unsure)? Is the relationship established enough ? If it is (you are), he may respect your initiative with love and respect. If it isn’t, he may pull away. Are you certain he is not working on his own proposal? Are you willing to let him go if he says no? The discourse of a bad reaction can leave hurt feelings, making it difficult to continue the relationship.
A proposal should be one of the highlights of your life, but some good advice is to lighten up and enjoy the time spent building up to that moment. As long as a relationship is continuing to progress towards a reasonable, mutual, agreed upon goal, there is no reason to rush things.