(Column originally published here.)
What happens when a good love isn’t enough to fill you up? That’s what this week’s letter writer wants to know.
My boyfriend and I have been together for about two years. Everything is going perfect. We have a new baby, a new house and a nice life overall.
There’s just one thing. We’re not married or engaged. He has not asked, but if he did, I would say yes.
The problem is, I really want to be married. Even though we have all this, being married does matter to me. He’s never said much about marriage, although I would say that he’s the family man type.
I’m just not sure if we want the same things out of this arrangement. Is my boyfriend ever going to ask me to marry him or should I get out of this relationship?
- Sadie Hawkins
Could you hang on a second? I’d like to pull up a rocking chair and grab my corncob pipe.
You see, we’ve got a classic case of putting the cart before the horse here. Well, it’s either that or the timeless conundrum of why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Maybe if I chewed on this piece of straw a little more thoughtfully, I could cluck-cluck-cluck between the two schools of thought more deftly.
Now that my urge to pummel you with useless adages has been satiated, let’s move on so that I can pummel you with useful ones.
Disclaimer: I’m not a traditional girl, by any means. So if you’re expecting a lecture on “doing things out of order,” Joel Osteen’s holding an appointment open for you this Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
Nor am I too modern to question your desire to have your boyfriend make an honest woman out of you. There are plenty of practical reasons (hello, legal rights!) for wanting a more perfect union.
But I would like to spank your flanks for not squaring yourselves before life started happening. At some point, you most likely had lengthy discussions about procreation and purchasing real estate. What happened to the chat about holy matrimony? ‘Till death do us part pretty much completes the ideal of that circle of life trifecta — and perhaps something you might’ve prioritized when making decisions about the other two.
You’re heavily invested in this relationship, and things seem to be going swimmingly. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Wrong. If marriage is important enough to you to consider leaving what is otherwise “perfect,” it absolutely must be addressed.
Right now, it sounds like you’ve got a lot of “new” going on. New addition to the family, new digs, and by many standards, a relatively new relationship (in the grand scheme of things).
You’ve had a lot happen in a generally short period of time. Your boyfriend may be just as mired as you are in adapting. He’s probably struggling to keep his head above water with all the big changes your relationship has gone through since the outset.
He may also have his own ideas about timing and finances — and it might not add up at present.
I’m confident you didn’t reach any of your previous milestones by reading each others’ minds. This one should be no different. If you want to be married, talk with him about it. Communicate this need to him — as you would with the groceries in the refrigerator, diapers for the baby, or whether he or you gets to be on top.
I know that isn’t particularly romantic, but you’re past the cutesy will-he-or-won’t-he stage, whether you realize it or not. It sounds to me as if you need him to shit or get off the pot already. Because if he ain’t ready to shit, you’re about to take your pot elsewhere.
Unlike many pre-engagement relationships, there’s so much to lose here that you really can’t afford to rely on clairvoyance. So start doing some talking — before you start walking.
My advice is sage and better than any old adage. Send an e-mail email@example.com, message me on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a question in the comments below. Look before you leap — and ask me first.