Another Holiday Passes, and No Proposal | Ask Athena | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Another Holiday Passes, and No Proposal


Published January 18, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated January 18, 2017 at 5:12 p.m.

Dear Athena,

I know I'm not the only person who feels this way — in fact, some of my close friends do, too. Every holiday, I try desperately not to feel crushingly disappointed when there's no engagement ring. My boyfriend and I are too poor to get married anytime soon. We have been together for over three years and struggle to get by. I have suggested the idea of us buying a cheap ring together, or not buying a ring at all. He talks about getting married all the time and what he imagines our wedding to be like. And yet, no proposal.

My question is, how do I not feel sad after a holiday? I'm generally not selfish, and I am great at setting low expectations and being thankful for what I do have. It's hard to see friends getting engaged all around me. I just want to enjoy each holiday without a twinge of sadness that this is another year without a fiancé.



Dear Waiting,

There are plenty of reasons people shouldn't get married, but being "too poor" shouldn't be one of them. Maybe you can't throw a big party at a fancy hotel or get that chocolate fountain or designer dress, but you can celebrate in many other unique and inexpensive ways. I think the question you are posing is really for your partner.

If you think he should be the one to propose, why not ask him why he hasn't? It's not selfish to want to make your expectations clear. And it makes perfect sense why you'd be ready and eager to hear — out loud — the words, "Will you marry me?" Tell him that talking about getting married is nice, but you're ready to plan that special day. If you don't, the passage of holidays or birthdays won't be the only times you feel let down. Your brooding disappointment might turn into resentment.

We all experience moments when we think everyone else is getting ahead faster, or is happier or better off. And there are times when it might be true. But each of us is on our own path. It's possible that things happen at the time that suits us best, even if we wish someone or something would pick up the pace already.

Know this: If you continue to define yourself based on what other people are doing, or not doing, you'll remain unsatisfied. That kind of disappointment can go on forever if you let it.

Instead, focus on what you do have and what you can control. And if you fervently want something, figure out how you can get it. Talk to your partner. Tell him your heart's desire. And, heck, why not abandon traditional roles and pop the question yourself?