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Parallax - Advice

February 24, 2003

The twelve-month itch

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I have been dating my boyfriend for almost a year and we love each other very much. I am keen to settle down and start a family, and so is he (or so he says). However, I recently read a relationship advice column that said, in order to make him pop 'the big Q,' I need to make him want me. The column suggested I not see him everyday and occasionally do things with my own friends, or he'd never propose if he has me all the time. I'd love to put this theory to the test, but my boyfriend refuses to spend time apart. He MUST see me every day. He can't sleep without me, and he even misses me like crazy when we're at work. My feelings are mutual, but I'm worried that, in the long run, this will cause our relationship to burn out. Do you think it would be healthier to occasionally spend time apart, even though neither of us feels the need to? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Voracious Reader,

It is unhealthy to overlay some nonsense advice from books of the ilk, 'How to catch your Man and Such.' It sounds like the two of you have a great relationship and are very much in love. Why would you change anything? By the way, have you ever thought of taking the bull by the horns and proposing to him? Non-traditional and awkward, I know, but in this instance, it might apply.

Barring such revolutionary tactics, why don't you flat out tell him that you want to get married and you are unhappy because you are not engaged? Give him a bit of time to respond to that request. If he fails to respond, then I would suggest you tell him that, as you are not engaged, it might be wise to not spend all your time together. This way, you can have some time to yourself so you can sort out where your relationship is going.

Give it a few months at this new pace. If he doesn't come through on your request after this period, it makes perfect sense to back off for a bit. Take some time to think for yourself, allow him some time to think, and hopefully everyone will reach the right decision.

Game playing will only beget more game playing and inane tactics, which, frankly, are a big waste of time and mental energy.

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His view:

Dear Voracious Reader,

You have two problems. Firstly, you are stressed out about 'the big Q' for no apparent reason, other than the fact that he hasn't asked it. Frankly, twelve months would still be early for many men.

The second problem is you are willing to put some theory to the test in order to force a proposal, rather than taking the more sensible route of discussing things with him. Does he think you two might get engaged? What sort of time frame does he have in mind? If you can't discuss this with him, then you have no business wanting to marry him.

As to your question—yes, I believe it is very healthy to spend time apart, especially if neither of you feels the need to do so. Go away for a weekend; send him out for a night with his friends. Try getting a life that doesn't revolve entirely around each other.

But don't do it to make him propose. Do it because it's smart.

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