I sometimes hear from women who are very disappointed because they had hoped that they would be engaged by now and they are not. Often, their boyfriend has led them to believe that a commitment was imminent, but that has not turned out to be the case.
I heard from a woman who said: “we've been dating for about fourteen months and things have gone wonderfully. We are very in love. My birthday is coming up in two weeks. For the last couple of months, we have talked about getting engaged and me getting a ring on my birthday. He had even asked me which type I favored and we've had long conversations about it. We've even talked about what kind of wedding we wanted and started throwing out times of the year when we might want a wedding. He told his parents and I told mine. Every one seemed very excited. I even bought a few bride's magazines and started talking to my boyfriend about who we might want in our wedding. A couple of days ago, I was at the mall and I went by a jewelry store window. I saw the most perfect ring that was in our price range. So I took a photo of it with my phone because I wanted to show it my boyfriend so he could get it for my birthday. However, when I showed it to him, his face fell. He was obviously very upset. I asked him what was wrong and assured him that it was in our price range but I said if he would rather pick out the ring on his own, that was fine too. He looked at me and said it wasn't really about the ring but that he wasn't proposing on my birthday. He said that he just isn't ready yet, although he assured me that he would eventually want to marry me. Now I'm so confused as to what went wrong. We haven't fought. There doesn't seem to be any new issues. Everything was going along like normal and then, out of the blue, he just changes his mind. Why would he do that? And what can or should I do about it?”
There are actually many reasons that a man might change his mind about a proposal or commitment. And many of these reasons don't have anything to do with your relationship or even his feelings for you, which I'll discuss below.
All Of The Planning And Excitement Over the Engagement May Be Making Him Feel Pressured And Therefore Reluctant: This situation is not uncommon. Many men see you buying the bride's magazines and planning the wedding that he thought was very far down the road. And now, suddenly it looks as if you are planning it in the very near future. Suddenly, he realizes that the future may be much closer than he thought and this can lead him to feel a little uncomfortable. Some men consider approaching their girlfriends about his concerns, but he sees your excitement and he doesn't want to disappoint you so he says nothing until things build so much that he just decides to delay things until he can get control over the situation.
This doesn't mean that he no longer loves you as much as he always has. It's just that he might feel as if the proposal and the commitment has become more of a focus than what should matter the most – and that is your love and your relationship. I've heard many men say that they feel as if the ring or the engagement was more important to their girlfriends than the relationship. And this can become a problem because he can begin to wonder if he's been manipulated.
How To Handle It When He Wants To Postpone The Commitment Or Engagement: Many women in this situation want to know how to change his mind. They want that ring on schedule. It was understandable that this particular woman wanted to find a way for him to go right down to that mall and get that ring in time for her birthday. And, there was nothing wrong with her feeling this way. But, if she placed her focus here, it may well appear to her boyfriend that the ring was more important to her than his concerns. As difficult as it may to turn your focus away from your timeline and from the ring, that's what you should do. Because by doing so, you can ensure that you eventually do get the ring. But if you handle this incorrectly, you run the risk of never getting it at all.
The best thing to do is to show compassion and concern. You want to make it clear that your main concern is not for the ring, but for him. You want to make it clear that his happiness and his comfort is your main concern. You want to make it clear that he and your relationship are the most important variables to you – even more important than your birthday, or the engagement, or the ring.
I know that this is a difficult strategy. But do you know the good news? This makes it likely that you will get the ring eventually and when you do, he will willingly give it to you because he knows that the relationship is as important to you as the ring.
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