I appreciate you taking time to read my email and thank you in advance for your help.
I am having doubts if my boyfriend will ever make it a priority to propose to me. I am a 29-year old white female and my boyfriend is a 25-year old black male. We have been friends for over 11 years, but decided to start a love relationship about four years ago.
I approached him two years ago about the idea of marriage and we both came to the conclusion that this was something we both wanted with each other, but my boyfriend is a HUGE procrastinator and TERRIBLE with money. I am seriously doubt that he will ever overcome these shortfalls to save the money to buy me an engagement ring.
He has NEVER done anything on time during the entire course of me knowing him. He is always late or waits until the 5th hour to get things done. Even if it is something that is important to him. He just can’t get right with doing things in a timely manner. I am in no way trying to bash him (nobody is perfect), but marriage is something that is very important to me and to be perfectly honest I do not want to be an old bride. Nor, do I want to be like so many other couples around our area that have just been playing house with each other for 13 years. I want this thing to be legit and I want my love to be validated with a ring on my finger.
I told him a year ago that if he did not get a ring and propose to me by my 30th birthday that I would have to call off our relationship. I hated to give him an ultimatum like that but I have done similar things with him like this in the past and he seems to work better with a serious deadline. Problem is, I’m turning 30 in February and I know he hasn’t saved up a dime for the ring. Yes, I have reminded him off and on and every time I mention it I can see where he is like, “Awww, -ish, I have GOT to get on that.” But, thinking about it is as far as he gets with it.
I like to get things done well in advance so that’s why I am coming to you now so you can give me your honest opinion and I can think about it for the last few months that I have before “D” Day. Should I really call off our relationship if he doesn’t propose to me by February? Was it fair for me to even give him a deadline like that? Marriage is so important to me, but is it really worth losing my lover and best friend? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. – Ringless
Dear Ms. Ringless,
You created this. You set this into motion. You accepted this from the very beginning. You said, “He has NEVER done anything on time during the entire course of me knowing him.” So, if you know this, what do you want me to say? (Giving you the side eye) And, now you want me to give you advice on how to get him to change. Why? You’ve been allowing him to do this for 11 years as your friend, and then 4 years in an intimate relationship. Ma’am, HE IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE. He will always be a procrastinator and he will always be terrible with money.
It appears that your “boy” friend is content. That is how I would sum up your relationship. It’s contentment. Why does he have to work for anything when you’ve given him the comforts and luxuries of having everything before getting married? You’ve accepted his behaviors for nearly 15 years. For fifteen years he’s been this person, and now you want him to change because YOU want to get married, and have a ring by YOUR 30th birthday. Bwahahahahahahaha! Good luck with that!
Think about it: You were friends for 11 years before you started an intimate relationship. For 11 years you knew one another so well, that to him you were just like one of the guys. You were cool, someone he could chill with, and he enjoyed your friendship. He was comfortable with you. You were comfortable with him. Therefore, he didn’t have to do much work in getting you. Thus, he developed a lackadaisical attitude and simply figured I can be myself with her.
Four years ago when you decided to date seriously, I’m sure he was like, “Okay. Sure. It saves me the work of having to prove anything, spend money, and court and date her because she already knows me, and I know her.” He simply went with the flow. And, why would he have to put his best foot forward, work hard, and be about his business when, “You’ve been my friend for eleven years, and I know you, and you know me.”
Then two years ago, it was you who approached your boyfriend about marriage. And, again, I’m sure he was like, “Okay. Sure. Why not.” But, he didn’t think it through that he would have to propose, get a ring, set a date, plan a wedding, and all the other stuff required for a wedding. Why would he? You basically proposed to him when you asked him about marriage. Again, you fed into his lackadaisical attitude. He is content with how things are going, so why disrupt what is already working. You’ve made it too easy for him!
You live together. You do everything a married couple does. You feed him. Sex him. Wash his clothes. Clean after him. Pay the bills together. You treat him like he’s already your man-child-husband, therefore, why is he going to change? For what? What motivating reason is there for him to change? Life is good, according to him. So, he is content.
You do realize he is still the 14-year old boy you met 11 years ago. He has not grown. He is still the same 14-year who needs to be told what to do, when to do it, and why he needs to do it. If you were smart, wise, and really reflected on your relationship, then you would see that he is still that young teenage boy who procrastinates, and is terrible with money.
I suggest marriage counseling before getting married, and I also suggest couples therapy. Yes, couples therapy because this relationship is about you keeping and maintaining the relationship with a teenager. He doesn’t have to do anything but simply show up whenever he wants or likes, and he goes with the flow. I’m sure he loves you, but he doesn’t love you enough to make the necessary changes to get his act together.
On two different occasions in your letter you said marriage was important to you. Well, Ms. Thing, is it important to him? You said you don’t want to end up like the other couples in your area who are playing house for 13 years. Uhm, what the hell do you think you’re doing now? You also mentioned that you don’t want to be an old bride, and you want your relationship to be legit and validated by a ring. WOW! A ring will validate love for you? Okay. Yes, you need some serious therapy. You want marriage and a ring to not only make you feel validated, but to prove to others that you were able to get a man to marry you. You want to prove to others that you are not like them. You are about the show. I know your type, ma’am. And, you know what, you will have the man, and he may very well marry you, but you will forever be complaining, unhappy, miserable, and trying to change him into the man YOU want him to be.
I want you to realize that if you marry him you will forever have to give him deadlines to get things done. You will always have to give him ultimatums, threats, and other ramifications to get what you want, or to get any results from him. And, you nailed it on the head when you said he is your “lover and best friend.” You are absolutely right. He is still your 14-year old best friend, and the only thing you’ve done is introduced sex into the mix. You have to ask yourself: Is he marriage material? Is he reliable? Can you count on him with money, and to handle the finances of the house? How will he be with children? Will he be responsible enough to get them to school on time? I’m telling you he is not going to change. You’ve allowed him to be this way for so long, and co-signed this bull-ish for 15 years. You have to decide if you’re willing to commit to another 15 years of co-signing this, and putting up with his procrastination and terrible finances. – Terrance Dean
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Follow Terrance Dean on Twitter: @terrancedean