Cathy Torkelson, 34, had a good job as a legal consultant, a loving boyfriend and supportive friends and family. She was a good girlfriend in what appeared to be a solid year-and-a-half-long relationship. Yet, internally, Cathy was anxious, irritable, moody and unable to concentrate. The cause? A persistent question: why hasn't he proposed? Signs He's Serious
Torkelson's questioning became "all-consuming," and eventually turned a normally independent, rational woman into a nervous wreck.
"I got in a depressive state where all I wanted to do was crawl into a ball and cry," she explains. Her boyfriend was committed, attentive and she knew he loved her, but because he hadn't asked her to marry him, she doubted her self-worth. "It made me feel like there had to be something wrong with me."
More from YourTango: Is This The Gay Community's Newest Threat?
Sounds crazy, right? But despite all the gender-role changes over the past decades, men asking women for their hand in marriage is a tradition that has remained strong. And for a woman who wants her man to get down on one knee, waiting for that one little question is stressful and nerve-wracking. But can waiting for a proposal actually drive you crazy?
"It creates feelings of helplessness and passivity, which we know are correlated with episodes of depression," explains psychiatrist Dr. Renée Bibeault, a specialist in women's mental health in Kirkland, WA. "Anything that inspires feelings of not being in control of your own life, particularly with something that has enormous impact on you such as marriage, takes an enormous toll emotionally." Marriage. It's Complicated. Is It Worth It?