Okay, so you totally thought he was going to propose during that romantic weekend vacation you took last month, but he hasn't popped the question yet — what's a woman to do? A lot, actually. Here's how to handle that tricky position, regardless of the current situation with your significant other.
Scenario 1: You are already living together but he won't discuss marriage.
The mere fact that you are sharing a home means you are both invested in the here and now of being together. The question, though, becomes, what about the future? Is there anything holding him back from making that final move toward your joint life together? Before you take it personally, consider his career path, specifically where he is now and where he hopes to be down the road. Has he reached his goals, or might be still be striving for financial and professional security before he makes that huge commitment to you and to the demands of planning, and possibly paying for, a wedding and a honeymoon?
Once you have a sense of that, suggest a conversation during which you can talk about all this and each discuss your feelings and hopes, and he might have a chance to give you a sense of his timeline, what he is looking to achieve before proposing, and if he is, in fact, planning on marriage in the first place. With that information you will be able to make an informed decision about if it is worth the wait.
Scenario 2: You are long distance and he wants you to come be with him.
The big question here is if you trust the relationship enough to give up the life you are living now and go join him. Again, a conversation would be in order to figure out what he envisions your future together to be: Does he have a sense of the timing in his mind? Can he map out the next phases for you?
If he is giving you clarity that this is just one of the steps that is on the path toward the engagement, and you both believe him and feel comfortable that he will follow through, then go ahead. If, however, he won't talk about anything beyond your getting there, refuses to look ahead, and won't offer any reassurance that he plans to commit to you one day, then you might consider waiting it out before making that big move.
Scenario 3: He wants you to move with him (for example, he got a new job in another state).
The fact that he is interested in the relationship enough that he wants you to continue to be together even though he has to move is very positive in terms of what he is thinking about your being a couple. But before you uproot yourself and leave your friends and family behind, here are a few things to consider. How long have you been living together? What is the quality of your relationship? Are you getting along most of the time with a few disagreements, or do you end up arguing a lot and doubting yourself and questioning your bond? If you feel you have a solid foundation, and are able to handle some of the differences that come up, that's important because a big move like this can be very stressful and you are going to need to support each other through the process.
Being secure and able to work as a team plays an important role in successfully navigating these big changes. Additionally, you can look back on things you've planned together and see how well they've worked out, such as trips, celebrations, and family events. Have your plans generally come to fruition in a positive way that has given you both a sense of well-being? Considering these factors will give you an indication of how stable your connection is, how committed you both are, and the skills that you have for handling this big a change. Also, it can be helpful to have a conversation to make sure that he is looking to get married down the road. If he is, and it's a matter of just getting your lives set up in this new location, the move can be something that can deepen your commitment to each other. Otherwise, you might end up feeling that you are sacrificing your life to join his and not feel grounded enough to trust that marriage is in your future.
Dr. Jane Greer is a New York-based relationship expert, radio host, and the author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. Connect with Dr. Jane Greer on Facebook and follow @DrJaneGreer on Twitter for her latest insights on love, relationships, sex, and intimacy.