Q: My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other for two years. We have the most wonderful relationship. He is kind, considerate, helpful, affectionate, and loving. We have both been married before -- and they weren't good marriages. I have heard my boyfriend say to friends that he never wants to get married again. I would actually be OK with that since I don't think I am ready for that either.
Here is where I get confused. A few times, he HAS made hints that he wants to marry me. Example: We were driving through New Hampshire and I read aloud a sign that said "danger falling rock," and he responded, "Good, I hope it lands on your finger." The comment went over my head and I gave him a look like, "What, you want a rock to fall on my finger?" His response was, "Yeah, then I won’t have to buy you one." Another time around the holidays, he told me that his cousin said that he should by me a ring. He told me he laughed at his cousin and said "yeah right." Then he told me, "Maybe next year, no need to rush things, I don't want to put a time line on something like that."
Since he has said those things, he continues to tell people he doesn't want to marry again. I’m confused. What is your take on this? I will eventually bring it up if the topic ever arises again while we are alone. I just hope I'm not a dimwit and miss it like I did with the last ones.
– Curious in Love, Mass.
A: Don't bring this up "eventually," CIL. Bring it up now. He's making weird passive-aggressive comments about proposals, but you can respond like a grown-up. After two years, it's fair to talk about what you want for your future. If it's not marriage, fine. No need to make weird jokes about it.
This is a pretty childish way to deal with the subject of commitment. And my guess is that this is how he communicated with his ex-wife. You must say to him, "We're not kids anymore. If you want to talk about getting married -- or never getting married again -- just tell me how you feel, and I'll do the same. I'm not sitting around waiting for you to propose. I'm sitting around wondering what you mean when you make all of these weird, loaded comments about our future. Just talk to me like I'm your friend. We're in this together."
Something tells me that he does want to get married but that he wants to feel as though he's doing it to appease you. There's less accountability in that kind of decision. But you can't let him get away with that.
Don't put off this conversation. Tell him that if he wants to talk marriage, that's fine. But no more "rock on finger" jokes. (And for the record, it took me a while to get that one, too.)
Readers? How do you deal with someone who's making weird comments about marriage like this? How can she talk to him about the issue without being critical? Do his comments suggest that he wants to get married or that he doesn't? Anybody else want to write her a speech? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.