Phoenix, AZ

"When I ask for a ring, he reminds me he doesn't owe me anything," woman on boyfriend

Amy Christie

*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission

Wanting to get married to your relationship partner usually means you're ready to commit long-term and are considering a family and a life together. But what do you do when every time you let your partner know about your expectations, they turn around and say they don't have to do anything for you?

Could you still love them if they didn't want to make a promise or a proposal, no matter how long you've been together?

My friend Alicia, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, has been dating her boyfriend Jim for five years. They started out as friends in college and stayed in touch after they graduated. It took a while to decide to be together since each of them was usually in a relationship, and they just focused on being friends for about three years.

"I don't think we lost time because we couldn't date sooner. When I was in a relationship, he was single, and then the other way around. But beyond that, he was always there for me and helped me feel better when things didn't work out, and I had to stay positive. And I did the same for him. That helped us get to know each other without the pressure of making a good impression while dating," Alicia said.

Three years after they met, none of them was in a relationship, so they felt it was the right time to move forward. Jim asked her out for dinner, and they went to her favorite restaurant in Phoenix.

"We made it a casual date, and we didn't dress up. We just wanted to feel comfortable about being together and decide if it was ok to be in a relationship or we should just stay friends like before," Alicia said.

Things went very well, and they had a good time, so they went out again the following day. They kept dating two or three times a week for the next two months, and the more they saw each other, the more time they wanted to spend together.

"I didn't get bored or feel stressed out as it happened with my other boyfriends. This time, I thought Jim was really making an effort, and I could be myself without being told I have to dress differently or don't tell jokes anymore," Alicia said.

Six months after they began dating, Jim asked her to move in together. Alicia doubted for a few weeks since her parents had always advised her to wait to be at least engaged before doing that. So, she and Jim went to see them at their home in Phoenix and let them know they were together. Alicia's parents were a bit surprised because they thought Alicia should have a longer break after her last relationship, but they realized they were happy, so they agreed to have Jim visit them whenever he wanted to talk.

"I liked that they were open to him and didn't criticize us for doing things too fast. I also let them know I was thinking about moving into his apartment in Phoenix. Dad was doubtful, but mom said to try if I felt he was the right person for me," Alicia said.

One month later, Alicia packed her things, ended her lease, and went to live with Jim.

"It wasn't just about convincing mom and dad. I wanted to be sure too. I mean, Jim and I had a good time, but living in the same place was very different; adjusting to habits, cooking, cleaning, chores, and work schedules while still having a good time was going to be important to see if our relationship could last," Alicia said.

Both Jim and Alicia woke up early, so they didn't argue about leaving on time. They also shared chores and cooked during the weekends. The rest of the time, they got takeouts and watched movies or played games after getting back from work in Phoenix.

"We didn't argue or even shout at each other. I kind of expected a bit of tension in the first weeks, but it was ok, and Jim actually did more around the place than I did. When I had to do overtime, he ordered food and set it up nicely on the best plates we had, and he made waffles every morning over the weekend. He also got me surprise gifts, and I could tell how much he cared about our relationship," Alicia said.

The way Jim behaved made Alicia think there would be no delay in getting a ring, but the proposal didn't happen for a good while. And when she asked her boyfriend what his goals were for their relationship, Jim just said he wanted things to go on the same way and avoid imposing obligations on each other.

"I wasn't sure I liked that. It was fine to be together and all, but I needed commitment, and I wanted to have my own family one day. A proposal and a wedding were on my mind, obviously, but he didn't seem bothered at all," Alicia said.

As time went by, Alicia went from casual reminders to open talks, and she let her boyfriend know how much getting married actually meant to her. Unfortunately, Jim didn't feel the same way and didn't think it made any sense to spend that much on a ring to propose.

"To him, planning a trip and paying for it mattered more than buying a ring and proposing to me. I tried to understand, but it still felt offensive. Wasn't I a priority too? Did he just want to have a good time for the rest of his life?" Alicia said.

The more she pressured him about getting engaged, the less interested Jim was. And it got to the point where he told her right out that he didn't have to do anything for her.

"When I ask for a ring, he reminds me he doesn't owe me anything. This is not like he would pay me; it's part of loving someone. I don't get what's going on. And I don't know what to tell my family. They've been asking me about our relationship almost every month, and I'm out of excuses. I want to get married, and our relationship has been going on long enough for that step. Why can't he make up his mind and ask the question already?" Alicia said.

On the other hand, Jim is getting bored with the whole situation and has been questioning if he even wants to be together anymore.

What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for Jim to avoid any kind of commitment and expect his relationship with Alicia to stay the same for many years to come? Should Alicia wait longer and avoid mentioning an engagement ring so often?

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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