I have been with my boyfriend for almost 7 years (since we were in high school) we have had our ups and downs but we are doing fine now. We both work and go to school you know the same routine every week. He asked me to marry him on our one year anniversary I said yes but when someone asked us about it he denied that’s what the ring was for. Now he says he does want to marry me but hates if I say anything about it…it’s been a long time, do I wait longer?
I don’t want to pressure him because I don’t want him to do something he doesn’t want to do. Also we never have sex…we are still young I just don’t get it and being a woman of course I just think he isn’t attracted to me anymore or he is thinking of someone else. How do I address these things without him getting angry or offended?
Dear Taylor A,
Tackling how to bring up sore subjects with your partner can feel very risky. There can be a sense of extra sensitivity that you want to be aware of and also not want to hurt him or her. However, there comes a point where you’re hurting him/her and yourself by NOT bringing up what’s burdening you. And I think you’ve got some legit issues that have to be dealt with. After all, we’re talking about your husband-to-be, not a one nighter.
There are constructive ways of addressing what’s bothering/irritating/pissing you off and there are destructive ways of bringing it up. In this case I’d recommend doing it privately, since he established talking about your engagement where other ears and eyes can hear and see gets him on the defensive. The other suggestion I’d make is to put some thought into HOW you phrase your concerns. It’s incredible the different the response you’ll get from saying something like, “What’s going on with you?” versus, “I’m having trouble understanding why you feel this way and it makes me feel like this…can you please help me understand it?” One’s accusatory, not that it wouldn’t be deserved but you might not get much more than a fight out of it, and the other’s trying to be more clear and less sounding like you’re blaming him. Yeah he probably does deserve some blame but that’s not the point, you don’t want him to feel blamed, you want him to open up!
Marriage is a complicated issue. Some people don’t want to get married and others do. Some don’t want all the fuss about getting married, in which case I’d suggest you run off to elope or at least just head to city hall with a couple close relatives and friends. Others love the attention. It sounds like he’s got some issues about how and why he wants to get married. Being engaged isn’t something you should feel like you have to hide. If you want the world to know, or at least to be able to acknowledge, “hey, this amazing thing that’s going to be one of the biggest moments of my whole life is happening!” It’s unfair of him to handcuff you after giving you a ring and making this commitment. If he wants to get married but doesn’t want the pomp then you can deal with it quietly, discreetly, and maybe even quickly. Just go get married! Why wait? If it’s something bigger than that or something he can’t even put into words then you need to ask the hard question: “Why did you ask me to marry you if you want to avoid anything having to do with getting married?”
SEX! Lets forgo marriage a bit and talk about SEX! Some people are more sexual than others, so it’s not unheard of for their to be one partner more into it than the other but NONE? Now lets put your fear to rest: Just because you’re not pushing the bedframe to it’s breaking point doesn’t mean it’s because he no longer finds you attractive. Most likely, like the wedding stuff (I know, I know, I promised we wouldn’t talk about it anymore but hey, sex and marriage, sometimes they overlap), it’s his own issues. A couple questions though: is there nothing happening or just you don’t have intercourse anymore? Have you been trying to initiate? If the answers are “not even a handjob before work” and “I covered myself in whip cream and jumped him while he was asleep” then, yeah, there’s a problem. But again, it’s on his end and you’ve got to…COMMUNICATE.
Which brings us back to where it all began. Now, these can be separate conversations and resolving one might impact the other. You don’t need to tackle everything at once. But you do need to pick your priority and say, “honey, I’m worried about X because of Y and Z, I just want to understand what’s going on because it feels like we’re not on the same page.” In your own less Dr. Phil-ly words, of course.
Your partners, that means it’s SHARING TIME!
May your first child be a masculine child,
[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall? We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to askthedude [at] collegecandy [dot] com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time. So bring. it. on.]