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Parallax - Advice

October 20, 2003

Time for a ring

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!My boyfriend and I have been dating for eight years (he's six years younger than I am.) I recently told him that we needed to make a decision about the future. He's upset I'm pressuring him and says he doesn't want to rush such an important decision but I think he's just afraid. I understand his position but I can't wait another year. Please help. Any ideas on how to talk to him would be truly helpful. Email to a Friend


Her view:

Dear Pressure Point,

There is no magic potion for managing the discussion around marriage. He is not ready and you cannot push him. Six years is a substantial age gap and he is significantly behind your thinking. You will be waiting not just one year, but several years for him to catch up or decide he just does not want it. With eight years of dating, there is no rationalization for waiting a bit longer to see if he just needs some more time.

One thing you can try is to see if he can live without you. However, if you truly cannot wait (and he cannot catch up) there is only one option: You need to move on with your life and date someone you have a hope of marrying sometime in the near future.

This may goad him into reaching a decision sooner. More importantly, it allows you to take some control of the situation and stop begging for that which he is not willing to give. Date some others. He is not as irreplaceable as you think.

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His view:

DearPressure Point,

I think you've spoiled your little baby for too long. You've patiently listened to his excuses, you've indulged his procrastination and you've sheltered his immature punk ass for too long.

Look yourself in the mirror and admit that the days of the carrot have ended. It is now time for the stick.

Beware. The stick will be as hard on you as it will be on him. And it will only work if you really mean it when you say you 'can't wait another year.' It will only work if you are ready to walk away from the relationship.

Don't give him an ultimatum, either. Don't give him a last chance. Just tell him that you've thought it over—long and hard—and you realize the best solution is for you to move on. Bye bye. Adios. Arriverderci.

Then give it a few weeks. If he meant all that he said about wanting to marry you, he'll come back, begging, with a rock in his back pocket.

If it was all BS, then you know it, and you can stop fooling yourself.

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