Ask Kari: I’m tired of waiting for a proposal! What should I do?

Dear Kari,

I am unsure about what to do with my relationship with my boyfriend. We have been together since high school (over 10 years). We are in a place in our relationship where I feel we either need to get engaged or at least move in together. My boyfriend disagrees. I should also share that he still lives at home with his parents. How can I get him to better understand my feelings and convince him to make a more permanent commitment to our relationship?

--Tired of Waiting

Dear Tired of Waiting,

Ten years is a long time to be in a relationship and be at the point you describe, each of you wanting different things. I wonder if you felt a desire to have a stronger lifelong commitment earlier, but denied those feelings based on your partner’s desires. Either way, now is the time to seriously review if you have common goals in life. Do you have similar ways of viewing your path through life, e.g. do you want to work/have careers? Have children? Travel? Own a house? Have friendships/ connections with others? The most successful couples do not have to be identical in personality, but they do need similar goals to help with the harmony of a long-term relationship. If your partner is content with living at home with his parents, view his choice as a sign of who he truly is. He may find living with his parents is less stressful, so he’s chosen the path of least resistance or effort, modeling a slow path to maturity. He may not have the same drive as you to move into adulthood. This will play out poorly long-term. Many times, we have signs of the truth in front of us, we just choose to look away. I really suggest you do a deep assessment of your compatibility for the long haul now versus forcing the issue and having a different outcome from what you hoped. I know my answer is cautious, but I think it is the best plan for everyone’s personal and professional lives.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and the owner and Clinical Director of Issaquah Highlands Counseling Group (IHCG), which is now Kari O’Neill Counseling.

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