Nicolette Schumacher, 26, a successful software sales associate in San Francisco, began dating her boyfriend in 2007 and moved in with him in early 2009. She believed her guy had kept from popping the question because he was struggling to give up the single life. Though her boyfriend was 36, "it's hard to let go of the 'cool bachelor that lives in the city' persona," she said. Not wanting a timeline, he told Schumacher that he'd like to marry her and have children with the ultra-ambiguous "when we're ready." Should I Wait For Him Or Move On?
Beyer warns that "if you've been dating more than 12 months, and you think you're seeing all the right signs for six months and he hasn't proposed, your signals might be off." She advises women to discuss their desire to get married, but this is hardly a revelation. Both Torkelson and Schumacher had done so, as had 76 percent of ProjectWedding's survey respondents reporting they still did not know when their man would propose. Only 3 percent of respondents had never discussed the topic.
Should You Use An Ultimatum?
So if a woman has broached the subject, but the guy isn't making any fast moves, is it ever appropriate to give a guy a take-it-or-leave-it? "It is appropriate if the ultimatum is coming from an authentic place," says Beyer. "Because if you're not really ready to leave him, it's going to come across as a threat."
That's how Robert (who didn't want to be identified by his full name) felt. The 40-year-old photographer had been dating his girlfriend for two years when she sprang an ultimatum on him. "She said, 'I'm going to have kids in the next two years whether it's with you or not.'" The Lure of the Engagement Ring
That conversation marked the beginning of the end for the otherwise-happy Bay Area couple, with Robert feeling like his girlfriend was more interested in being a mom than being with him. "I felt like she was being pushy, and I don't take well to being told what to do."
Beyer's seen similar moves by other women also lead to breakups, when in reality a lot of times, the girlfriends are just looking for validation: "It's not about the ring—it's about wanting someone to say 'you're the best I have.'" In Robert's girlfriend's case, however, it might not have been how she asked; it might just have been her. Robert eventually admitted to me, if not to his ex, that their relationship, ultimately, "wasn't the right fit."
Schumacher, meanwhile, has given an ultimatum—to herself. "I'm going to live with him for a year. If, after two years of dating and one year of living together, he still doesn't know if he wants to marry me, then I'm going to move on. It's not something I'm threatening him with—it's my own timeline."