Beyer cautions women not to move too quickly or make rash decisions because he may just be taking his time to do it right. "I've seen girls go nuts to the point of breakup; all the while he's shopping for a ring or saving up for a ring."
Proposing To The Guy
The other option, of course, is that the woman can take matters into her own hands.
Larissa Eisenstein, a writer and self-described commitment-phobe, was in an on-again/off-again relationship for 10 years before she finally felt ready to settle down and make an honest man of her boyfriend. "I felt like I scared him off of it," she said of the subject of marriage, "so I felt that I should be the one to propose the ultimate commitment."
She discussed her unconventional plans with her friends (one of whom tried to talk her out of it), planned an elaborate proposal, and went shopping for the perfect ring—for him.
But that wasn't an option for Torkelson, who believed her boyfriend was the type of person who would propose when he felt ready. Plus, she wasn't even sure he would say yes. Schumacher, meanwhile, considered herself old-fashioned and wasn't interested in the role-reversal. And of 200 respondents on the ProjectWedding.com survey on courtships, only one woman said she did the proposing herself.
Beyer advises women never to propose to men because "if you want a long-term relationship with a strong partner, you want it to be his idea, too."
Dr. Bibeault, on the other hand, says that "there's no reason that a woman couldn't propose to a man unless each party felt that traditional gender roles were very important to them. But if her goal is only to feel valued and loved, you have to ask if there is another way she can achieve that without a proposal." That option might be to wait it out.
"Talk to your friends, talk to your mother, talk to everybody but him," advises Beyer.
Don't Let the Waiting Game Bring You Down
Of course, anyone experiencing serious symptoms of depression while playing the waiting game should seek medical assistance. "Medications will help even if she isn't overtly depressed," Dr. Biebeault says, "because they can address isolated symptoms—such as having trouble sleeping—so she can be better rested and better able to cope."
Eventually, waiting and talking worked for Torkelson, who got the commitment and validation she was looking for last August—sans medication. But it only happened after her boyfriend's best friend intervened, making him realize that he was about to lose the woman he wanted to marry if he didn't step up to the plate. Their upcoming wedding is scheduled for July 2010.
And Larissa Eisenstein's boyfriend beat her to the punch by asking her to marry him on the same day she was going to propose to him. She's grateful for one advantage the traditional method offers her: "In the end, even though I felt comfortable asking him, there is a stigma associated with asking a guy, and he took that burden off of me." 5 Steps To Take If Your Man Hasn't Proposed