I'm a woman in my mid-twenties, and I'll be a college graduate in a few months. I have two questions. Is there a deadline in a relationship to move on to the next level? (Like, for example, is five years too long to wait for a relationship to progress?) Secondly, I am in a committed relationship, and I am waiting for my partner to propose. Should I just take matters into my own hands and propose to my partner myself?
It's amazing that, even after all the gender-role smashing we've done, the most independent of women still get caught up in the engagement game - some to the point of mania. Anticipating a proposal can turn an otherwise smart, confident woman into a self-conscious pile of passive mush.
While there's nothing wrong with your proposing to your partner, be sure you're not acting out of a desperate need for validation in your relationship. Furthermore, forget the Hollywood notion of the surprise proposal on bended knee - it just doesn't work that way for most couples.
Generally, couples communicate about their hopes and goals surrounding marriage and family. Have you talked with your partner about the future? If you can muster up the courage to propose, why not dial it back a notch and simply say, "I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I need to know whether or not we're on the same page." Start there and see what happens. If you're both in love and intend to stick by each other, who really gives a care about a ring?