I’m Getting the Silent Treatment instead of a Ring

Question: Dear Luise: I have been dating a guy for a year and a half. He’s fun, intelligent and successful. About two months ago he told me that he wanted to go out and look at engagement rings. As you can imagine, I was very excited. I love this guy and I want to be with him for the rest of my life. Since that discussion, he has not so much as muttered a word about it. In the beginning, when this was all brought up, he told me that he was really excited and that he was ready for this next step. I don’t understand what is going on. I told him recently that I was hurt by his lack of interest in this area, as he brought the issue of marriage up to me! I told him that I was hurt by his being reckless with my emotions. All he could say was “I’m sorry.” Nothing more was offered. We were in a location that was not ideal for a discussion of this magnitude, but even since then, this is something that he is not willing to talk about. I don’t know what to do. Do I walk? Any insight would help. C.

Answer: Dear C. Without communication, you have no foundation to move either forward or backward. You’re stuck. However, it is better to find out sooner than later that your guy is capable of stonewalling you with the silent treatment.

It is time to pick a supportive location and confront him with your need to interact. Let him know that you appreciate his apology but you need to understand what is going on with him. Make it clear that after a year and a half you know you are deserving of that. Perhaps talking about getting engaged set some serious fears in motion for him but right now you’re stuck in a futile, one-sided guessing game.

Be as non-threatening as you can. Ask him how he felt about the way things were before he brought marriage up and where he feels he would like to take the relationship now, if not into marriage. I have no idea what your beliefs are about commitment without legal ties but you must know people, like I do, who have been very successful in such an arrangement for decades.

What won’t work is silence. An apology doesn’t justify that. And the future is bleak indeed for the two of you if that is his answer to conflict resolution. It isn’t time to walk but it is imperative that you talk. Blessings, Luise

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