Hmm... could he mean?

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JenMae Posts : 4 Registered: 3/9/11
Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 9, 2011 5:49 AM

To give everyone a quick background of my bf and I, we've been together 4 years now, and talk of engagement started around this time last year. Our stipulations were to graduate from college, get jobs, and be completly independant (money wise, etc.) from our parents. Well, 5/6 of those requirements have been met, and the last requirement is my job. I was hired by a school, but about a month into work I was notified I was being laid off due to budget cuts (last in, first out thing). So I have a job until school lets out and am applying like mad trying to scoop up another job. He is 25 and I am 24 by the way.

So basically, that is our situation. My bf's job requires him to travel for training and he's been gone for about a month and will be returning soon. In our most recent conversation he told me that he has a suprise for me when he gets back and he just knows it will make me happy. The catch is, even his hand-made Valentines cards make me happy, so its really hard to guess as to what he could mean by that. However, he's said a few times that he's told people in his class that he plans on marrying me (he tells me that too) so I started thinking, even though it might be a long shot, he might be planning on proposing when he gets back. Squeal, eeeee, cheer right? Wrong. With my impending termination of a job, I don't feel secure enough financially to take the next step. My parents no longer give me money and while I was waiting to start work my bf helped out, but I still required help, and if I don't get hired I still will. Not the ideal situation for planning a wedding under, right? Don't get me wrong, I love him to death and definately do see myself marrying him, I just don't feel like I've met my side of the bargin yet. So if his suprise IS a ring I am not sure what I should do.

Do you think it could even be that, or do you think he's on the same wave as me and knows that we've yet to really achieve our goal and is just planning a nice dinner or a weekend get away or even just has another homemade card for me?

Honest oppinions are really appreciated, about both situations (my worries and what he could mean). I thought engagement was around the corner (within a year) once I got hired, but now that I am being laid off I am not sure. I am on the fence here 1/2 of me wants to get engaged and the other 1/2 is more reasonable and says wait. (I mean we do have our whole lives to get married, but how do you say no when the man you love more than anything and do in fact want to marry proposes to you?) And if you think I am just working myself up for nothing please tell me! I won't be upset at all! (Probably relieved that you think that!)



Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 9, 2011 9:35 AM Go to message in response to: JenMae

Dear Jen,

I admire your desire to be financially independent before you get married, I truly do. I am a financial analyst and am 56 years old.

The two main causes for a marriage failure are arguments about (1) children and (2) money. By working so hard to get your financial house in order before you get married, you are doing your best to minimize the arguments about money. Excellent. Yay for you. Terrific.

I'm going to throw out a thought, here. What if...

What if you were both employed, both had money in the bank, met all your goals, got married AND THEN one gets laid off or one gets injured and has to spend time in the hospital, etc? Would the marriage cease to exist because your pre-marriage goals of full employment no longer exist?

What would you do, then? In my 35 years of marriage, I can tell you what we HAVE DONE, when faced with such a situation. We stuck together and worked it out as a team.

I suggest you consider the same line of reasoning, here. If he wants to marry you and you want to marry him and both are on track towards your goals of financial responsibility, then stick together as a team and work it out.

Finally, I have another suggestion for you. There is a book about finances for the engaged couple that I have plugged endlessly on this message board:

"Financially Ever After" by Jeff D Opdyke.

Mr Opdyke is a personal finance journalist for the Wall Street Journal. (IOW, he's not some random blogger.) The book discusses, in depth, the process of "opening the kimono" and examining each other's financial life before marriage, then outlines various approaches to budgeting and saving after marriage. It's an excellent book, and I think you would benefit greatly from reading it with your boyfriend.


WellWisher Posts : 175 Registered: 1/2/10
Re: Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 9, 2011 10:52 AM Go to message in response to: Aunt

Here's a tidbit of advice: put it in your head that he is NOT going to propose. That way you won't be disappointed if it IS only a nice date or a card. Proposals can be stressful on brides-to-be who are so stuck in the "I'm waiting... I'm waiting... STILL waiting... what is WRONG with you?!?" stage that they can actually BOTCH their own proposal. I would know. I did it. Totally screwed it up, hurt my (now) fiance's feelings, the whole bit. Luckily he came up with a plan B two weeks later so I still have a nice "engagement" story to tell everyone. No one knows he had to do it twice, and thank goodness because we would be mortified if they did. Maybe we'll laugh about it in fifty years. Maybe.

To quote Aunt in some great advice she gave another young woman:

Imagine you're sitting down to dinner. You think he's going to propose, but in reality he's not. He asks,

"Cynthia, would you..."
"...pass the salt?"


This point you're currently in, where you're waiting for him to propose, is really exciting but can also wear a person out. TRY TO FORGET ABOUT IT, as impossible as that sounds. And don't forget to give yourself a break. Take a bubble bath, have a glass of wine, whatever it is you do to relax and remind yourself that you are a beautiful and successful and worthy woman. Having a ring on your finger would be great, but remind yourself that you're a pretty awesome person right now!

As far as the finances go, I'm with Aunt. The most important thing about money is that you know how to take care of whatever you have now so that it can take care of you. It's true that you don't have much saved up in the bank now, but if you did you would know what to do with it and that's half the battle. You have the responsibility needed in order to handle money and that's worth just as much as the money you want to have in the bank.

I like to say that it's a good thing our grandparents and great-grandparents didn't wait to all their debts paid, own a house, retirement fund, savings etc the way some people choose to today, because a lot of us wouldn't be here if they did. I would say yes if he proposed and you didn't have a job because as I said, the knowledge and perseverance you already have towards being financially responsible is just as valuable as what you want that number to be.

Good luck waiting and I hope everything turns out well for you!


JenMae Posts : 4 Registered: 3/9/11
Re: Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 9, 2011 2:47 PM Go to message in response to: WellWisher


I hadn't even considered the fact that this lay-off could have happened after we got engaged/married. You're absolutely right, I would not call of the marriage then. We would work through it, but I am glad you see where I am coming from. I would say that about 75% of my friends from high school are already married and/or with kids, and those that I still keep in touch with really don't understand my reasons for waiting. 2 years into our relationship I was being asked "Why aren't you two married yet?" At that point I'd considered the idea, but we hadn't spoke of it together. Like you said, 2 big reasons marriages don't work are kids and money. Though we haven't really sat down and had the "when would you like kids" conversation, we've both, in passing, mentioned we'd like kids a little further on down the line. And the money, well, I've personally seen marriages fail because of money issues. My cousin got married to a nice guy, but he liked to spend his money buying fishing poles and going on expensive fishing trips. She was having a hard time finding work, and was going from job to job, so for a while he was the only one bringing in money. According to my cousin he felt he could do whatever he wanted with his money (even if it was finacially irresponsible for the team), and ultimately they didn't have enough for mortgage and a huge "you're not holding up your side" argument insued (at Thanksgiving dinner last year, oh joy!).

You've given me quite a bit to think about, and put things in a new light. I've also just purchased "Financially Ever After" for my Kindle! Should be a good read! Thank you!


I think you might have gotten the wrong idea, but regardless your advice is sound for brides in the "waiting" stage. As for me, I am not biting at the bit to get engaged, sorry if I made it seem that way, I guess maybe I am an a-typical waiting girl. In fact, I was (and still kind of am, though Aunt set a lot of worries to rest) more or less gunning for a nice date or handmade card, because then I wouldn't have to stress about being engaged and being laid off. One thing you really got right though was that I should just destress. I'm not stressing over the fact that he hasn't proposed yet, but that I was afraid I wasn't meeting my 'goal' and that his proposal would come too soon. (Again, Aunt really helped cover some of those issues).

Currently, I am happy with where our relationship is now. Talk of getting married, a strong bond, and it doesn't need a ring to be valid. Not saying that in 2-3 years, if not engaged/married yet, I will still feel this way, but right now I am fine not being engaged.

Like you said, being too eager can botch your own propsal, or even worse, pressure your guy into proposing before he is ready. In all honesty, the chance that he is planning on proposing is slim, and more than likely it is something else (kind of fingers crossed for a mini vaction - since it is spring break right now!) of course though, I had to consider the fact that he might propose, which is why I came here for advice.

As for your financial advice, you and I think the same way. Being responsible with money is something I consider very important, and you make a good case that being responsible with the money you do have is as important as how much money you have in the bank. It is nice to know that there are those who support me (Aunt too!) in this decision and can bring valueable things to consider to the table. I was very stuck on "my goals" and wasn't really looking at the bigger picture.

If he does propose, I will probably say yes. However, I am still gunning for that mini vaction!


PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 9, 2011 4:07 PM Go to message in response to: JenMae

JM - I think what WW was trying to say was - when we get the girls/ladies in here who are OMG is it now, do you think, etc etc - one of the things a number of will say is - Try not to get your hopes up because a number of ladies have come back and said they ruined some GREAT moments thinking MAYBE THIS is IT and were disappointed when it wasn't.

The same could be true for you but in reverse - don't ruin something because you're worried it is a proposal.

But it also sounds like you have a much better outlook on the whole thing after Aunt's post - who I have to agree with.

There's a reason it's for Better or Worse (if you choose to use those vows). As long as you both are open and honest about finances, you'll be good.

Though I also really recommend that book too - I got it (on Aunt's suggestion), read it and loaned it to a friend who is using it now.





Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 9, 2011 7:16 PM Go to message in response to: JenMae

Dear Jen,

You have a Kindle! You are a woman after my own heart. I have a Kindle, too, and love it.

I think you are on solid ground, here.

I have one further suggestion.

Live your life, deal with everyday issues, continue to look for a job, stash savings away, read the book and enjoy your life now.

Make an appt with yourself to discuss various deal-breaking issues, such as finances in detail, conception timetables, etc., after you are engaged, but before you set a definite date and start planning in earnest.

Your schedule would look like this:

-Live your life. Enjoy being single.
-He proposes. You accept.
-A few days later, after the "Hey, World, WE ARE ENGAGED!!!" excitement, tell FH that you need to go over a few things.
-Make a list, so you don't forget anything. The list might include: plans for children (or no plans for children), financial issues, suggest he read the Opdyke book, plans for home ownership, etc. In other words, the biggies. The deal-breakers.

-Leave the small stuff for later. You need to get the deal-breakers out of the way.

-Talk about each item in turn. Listen to what he has to say and speak your piece.

Are you in extreme disagreement on anything? ("I really want to own a house." "I really want to NOT own a house.")

If so, then reconsider the engagement.

If not, then continue on down the road. Set a date, meet with the officiant, scope out venues.

You may need some time to go through all the deal-breakers. Take all the time you need and all the time he needs, but don't do stuff like set a date or other wedding planning items during that discernment time. After you both feel you are in agreement about the deal-breakers, then move on to more definite planning.

The really prudent would wait and publically announce the engagement after the discernment period. I, personally, just don't have that kind of self-control. I wanted to tell the world when I got engaged. Fortunately, for me, I didn't have the embarrassing duty of telling the world, later, that we had called it off.


JenMae Posts : 4 Registered: 3/9/11
Re: Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 10, 2011 2:26 AM Go to message in response to: Aunt


Ohh, I see what Well meant. I completely missed it the first time, yeah, I would hate to ruin a proposal because I am worried about it. Oh boy, I can see it now:

-Kneels to the ground-
-horrified look on my face (because I was worried)-
"Uhm.... will you...."
-still looking horrified-
"... well, uhm, marry me?"

If I hadn't come here, and he proposed, I would have probably been trying to sort everything out at once and would have completely ruined the moment. What a smart group of women here! I feel much better now after reading everything.


I absolutely LOVE my Kindle, it was a Christmas present from my bf.

Thank you so much for that list too, it is nice to have that now, before the rush of being engaged hits (whenever that might be), so after the buzz dies down, I've already started thinking about my deal-breakers. We've never sat down and had a heart to heart about some of those things, including children and a house. Of course, they've been mentioned in passing, but I don't think getting married, waiting a few years and then saying, "Hey babe, remember about 7-8 years ago that you wanted to have kids sometime down the line? So let's get started!" is the correct way to go about it.

I do have faith in our relationship and do believe that we will feel the same about these issues, so I would probably go ahead and tell people about the engagement before this heart to heart. And if not, well... it is better to know now than to find out after 10 years of marriage that he never wants kids or never wants the responsibilty of owning a home, especially since I certainly see myself being a home owner and a mom at some point in my life.

Thank you so much!

So, more info about this 'surprise', or well lack of information and it super confuses me (but makes me think its not a proposal and more so a special trip/gift) so I can't pin point what it might be. Basically he refuses to talk about it. The only things he will tell me are "Dress nice and pick me up at 10:30 and I want to drive on the way home." He won't tell me anything else about the day. I ask, "Should I eat something?" and he says "We're not talking about that day." I ask "Casual nice or dressy nice?" he replies "Just dress however you think nice." When I ask "Do I need to get someone to take care of Sam (my cat)?" He replies "We're not talking about it." Argh! He can't just say "We're not talking about it" If we're going out of town I have to make arrangements! Pack my bags!

The only thing I've wiggled out of him is that he is taking the Monday after he gets back off, because he had to call me to get his supervisor's number. ARGH! I just want to know what the surprise is! Whatever it is! The suspense is killing me!


Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 10, 2011 9:30 AM Go to message in response to: JenMae

Dear Jen,

"Whatever it is! The suspense is killing me!"

Put it out of your mind. Think of anything else.

Put. It. Out. Of. Your. Mind.


08divabride Posts : 831 Registered: 11/17/07
Re: Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 10, 2011 11:20 AM Go to message in response to: Aunt

I must whole-heartedly(sp) agree with Aunt's first post. Why, because I was in the same predicament that quoted for an example.

My husband and I got engaged, and started planning our wedding, putting non-refundable deposits down on our venues and guess what? He got laid off. Did I call off the wedding, no I didn't. Was it a very tough time for us on so many different levels, yes it was. But we stuck together, and worked it out as a couple. Like I said, it wasn't all rainbows and roses, but we ended up having a beautiful wedding and it made us stronger as a couple.

Fast forward, almost two years later, and I lose my job. Once again we stuck together and made it through as a married couple. It wasn't easy, and some days I wanted to choke him (and vice versa!), but we still made it through. Like Pharn said, if you decide to go through with the for better or worse vows, well sometimes the worse part can come sooner than anticipated. Good luck and try not to work yourself into a frenzy about a proposal, just enjoy your relationship as it is and of course, keep us posted!


JenMae Posts : 4 Registered: 3/9/11
Re: Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 14, 2011 5:30 AM Go to message in response to: JenMae

Thank you all for answering! Well, he's back home and no, I am not engaged (don't worry I am not upset at all about this!) but I am going to Orlando! Disney World here I come! I am so excited! Apparently he has a class there around the time of our 5 year anniversary (in May) and is going to put in some leave time after his class is over so that we can have a nice 3-4 day vacation! Of course, I'll be saving up leave time... so that I can join him after the class is all done. Oh I am so excited, I definately didn't think he'd be taking me to Disney World (and of course the other surrounding tourist sights). It was certainly worth the wait and quite the surprise too!

Just thought I would let all of you know. I was also reading Financially Ever After on my Kindle and he asked what I was reading and said it sounded interesting and "like us". Haha. I think he's going to read it after I am done. Thanks again for the help ladies.


Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Hmm... could he mean?
Posted: Mar 14, 2011 10:10 AM Go to message in response to: JenMae

Dear Jen,

" I was also reading Financially Ever After on my Kindle and he asked what I was reading and said it sounded interesting and "like us". "

Good. Sounds like you two are moving in the same direction.

I'm glad you are finding the book useful. I sure did.


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