What to do When He Hasn’t Proposed

by Gladys Diaz

Marriage Proposal_FDP_ID-10037878

If my boyfriend of 4 1/2 years says he bought me a custom made ring two years ago but hasn’t proposed, yet still talks in terms of ” we ” about the future and says he is so grateful to finally get “free” of his son late at night when we are both available that he forgets to bring the ring because he considers it a mere formality, should I be kicking his proverbial rear to the curb? This is a beta male who has ADHD. Any thoughts?

There are a few points in this question that I’d like to address.  The first is that your boyfriend announced that he bought you a ring and is then explaining why he’s forgetting to bring it when he comes to see you late at night.  I’m wondering if you’re the one who brought up the ring in the first place.  The reason I ask is that men rarely announce that they’ve bought a ring before they actually propose.  The “surprise factor” of the proposal is part of its sweetness.  So I’m wondering if you were bringing up marriage a couple of years ago and he said he got a ring to deal with the pressure.

If he did, in fact, get the ring of his own accord and shared with you that he bought it, the fact that he keeps explaining why he’s forgetting to bring it makes me think that you’re bringing up the fact that he hasn’t given you the ring yet.  This, again, could occur as pressure and could actually be causing him not to want to give you the ring until it’s his idea. If this is the case you have been bringing up the ring (or lack, thereof) to him, my advice would be to let it go.  Don’t mention it for a month or two and just allow him the space to choose when to give it to you.  When/If he does ask you to marry him, you want to know that it’s because he wants to be with and can’t imagine living his life without you, not because he feels like he has to give it or propose to you.

The other thing that stood out was when you said that he comes over when he’s “free” from his son, late at night.  Is this the only time you two see each other?  Who is staying with his son when he comes over at night?  Are you 100% certain he is not married?  I don’t want to instill any fear, but given the limited amount of facts in the email, it’s hard for me to understand why he’s explaining why he didn’t bring the ring with him late at night, once he’s free from his son. I’d be happy to set up a time to talk with you privately, if there’s something I’m missing.  And, again, I apologize if I’m making any incorrect assumptions.

The most important part of this situation is how you feel – about both him and the relationship. 

You refer to him as “a beta male who has ADHD.”  For me, the bigger question than whether or not you should kick him to the curb because he hasn’t proposed is whether this is a man with whom you’d like to spend the rest of your life.

In my experience, when women refer to men as “betas,” there is a level of disrespect for who the man is – as if he is somewhat “inferior” to a man who is more assertive.  It’s also been my experience that women who refer to their men as “betas” see themselves as “alphas,” which usually means that they are very controlling and tend to be the ones making all of the decisions in the relationship. The more “alpha” the woman acts, the more beta the man appears, and the less likely he will be to step up, make decisions, and take the lead, as a way to avoid having their ideas criticized, contradicted, or dismissed.

The comment about him having ADHD also comes up a lot.  Whether he’s been diagnosed officially by a medical practitioner or not (many of the women I work with self-diagnose their men), there are things about him and the way he acts, makes decisions, etc. that you may not agree with.  While you may not agree with every decision he makes or how he goes about making them, for this relationship to work, it’s going to be important that you respect his ideas, thoughts, and decisions.  In other words, it’s critical that you respect him and who he is as a man.

My clients have found that the moment they begin treating their man with respect and trusting in his capabilities to think, solve problems, and make wise decisions, the same man who once seemed passive, indecisive,  or incapable begins to show up as a strong, determined, and confident (dare I say “alpha”) man!

So, my advice to you is to let go of the attachment to having the ring presented to you, and focus on whether this is a man with whom you can envision yourself with for the rest of your life. Is he the man who you can trust with your heart, who trust will be there to care for you, and who you will be proud to respect and honor until death do you part. If the answer to all of these questions is “Yes,” then step back from mentioning the ring and focus on being the woman he fell in love with and for whom he chose to design a custom-made ring.  If after a month or two there is no mention of marriage, then you can let him know that you love him and that, for you to be happy, you need to be married.  That for you, it’s more than just a formality – it’s what will make you happy.

If the answer to these questions is “No,” “I’m not sure,” or “Not yet,” then, again, let go of the idea of the ring and get clear about what you want. If it’s not him (exactly the way he is and exactly the way he’s not), then gently let him go and make room for the man who is perfect for you to find you!

I’m actually leading a group coaching call this Tuesday, June 11th on “How to Honor Your Desire to be Married Without Making Ultimatums.”  If you’d like to learn more about how you can participate on the call, you can do so by clicking here.


Comments?  Questions?  Let us know!  We love hearing from you!


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