A common path to Charlotte is following your partner here.
It’s got to be intimidating to leave behind everything you’re used to and go somewhere you’ll only have each other. The decision is easier, though, when you know you’re following the person you want to spend your life with.
But what happens when they’re taking their sweet time starting that life?
You held up your end of the bargain and uprooted your life for them. Now they can’t uproot themselves from the couch long enough to go buy a ring. What do you do?
Eventually, you can start to feel like your time is being wasted, like you’re being strung along. Internalizing those valid fears will only lead to resentment and lashing out.
Here are six points of advice to help you when you’ve changed cities with your partner and you’re still stuck in the girlfriend zone.
1) Evaluate your reasons.
Why is it that you want to get married right now? Yeah, true love, yada yada yada, but what’s the real reason it needs to be now?
Some transplants want to rush into marriage because being young and attractive in a new city is exciting. It’s more exciting in some ways if you’re single. No one wants to waste their prime years in a relationship that goes nowhere.
Others might be feeling bored after the newness of the move and job search wear off. Plus, with a smaller, developing social circle, you’re probably spending more time alone with your partner. It’s natural to start to feel antsy and want something new to look forward to, like a wedding.
Marriage doesn’t solve problems though. It just creates new ones. Take a sec to do some deep self-reflecting on why you’re rushing for a ring or you’ll end up with a permanent solution to what was a temporary problem.
2) Don’t turn on the pressure.
Boyfriends are way more fragile than we let on. We love making our partners happy, and it’s a total blow to the ego when we feel like we’re failing. You’ll probably get a ring out of him if you turn on the pressure, but it likely won’t end pretty.
He’ll propose to you to make you happy but not because it makes him happy. And he’ll second guess that decision for the rest of his life.
He’ll second guess it after every fight, after every time he has to order his pizza without that favorite topping of his that you hate, and after every lost argument on dinner plans.
Coming to his own decision to propose based on love will give him something positive to look back on when things get hard. He’ll have no ownership of it if you goad him into it.
3) Go on more dates.
Like I said before, boredom and feeling as if your time is being wasted are two reasons you might be pushing for marriage. Going on more exciting dates solves both of those problems without the need for a prenup.
Being in a relationship with someone isn’t wasting your time if you’re both having fun. Explore your new city a bit more, or take a day trip out to some of the amazing hiking destinations nearby.
Dates will keep you focused on what you liked about him in the first place. He still makes you laugh. He still dresses well. He’s still always nice to strangers.
Plus, maybe you’ll be having so much fun together, he’ll start to realize this is exactly what marriage can look like. Suddenly, getting down on one knee will be a lot less intimidating.
4) Give him time to get settled.
Moving to a new city can be exciting and romantic, but it’s also stressful. You’re getting a new orientation, furnishing a new apartment, and meeting new friends.
The idea of throwing a wedding to plan on top of all that can be overwhelming.
I’ll tell you something my girlfriend said she’d never heard about men before: we want to be the perfect partner. It’s possible your guy is waiting to propose until he’s certain he has the time, money, or even mental energy to make the process perfect for you.
Getting settled in a new city isn’t just about getting all your stuff out of the boxes. It’s about a mental state when you can finally say Charlotte feels like home. Give him time to get there and you’ll probably love your wedding more for it.
5) Ask for concrete reasons.
But it’s not all about what you can do for him. Here’s one thing he can do for you. Get him to give you concrete reasons for why now isn’t the right time.
Some guys have difficulty expressing their feelings. Don’t let a vague “I’m not ready” cause you to wonder whether or not he ever will be. Take some time to ask him why.
It could be as simple as him wanting a better salary so the wedding is less of a financial burden. Feel free to ask him exactly how much more he wants to make, or exactly how much he thinks a good wedding should cost.
Marriage is about love, but that’s not all it’s about. Taking your discussion of marriage out of the realm of emotion and into something more concrete will put both of your minds at ease.
6) End the relationship.
There’s no shame in calling it quits. We all know that. However, the pressure of having changed cities with your partner makes it harder to walk away. Maybe you’ve spent so much time and money in the move, you feel an obligation to stick it out until your investment pays off.
But dumping more money into a sinkhole isn’t smart investing.
It’s a scary thing to consider walking away from someone who was your one and only when you first moved. But there are better things to do in Charlotte than stew on your couch staring at your empty ring finger.
You know better than anyone when it’s time to walk away. Don’t hesitate! Dating in Charlotte may be a solid C, but it’s worth seeing what’s out there. And hey, maybe seeing your bags packed will make homeboy reconsider whether or not he’s ready.
Bonus: Roll the dice and pop the question yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with shucking the traditional gender role and asking him to marry you. It’s a pretty dangerous move though, especially if he’s already suggested he isn’t ready.
The pressure of the proposal itself might be causing him to delay. Taking the pressure off the plate by surprising him with an engagement Rolex might force him to focus on you and your love.
Then again, you just might get a no. Imagine the reverse situation. What if you told a guy you didn’t want to get married yet and he asked you anyway? Think boundaries.
Proposing yourself is a Hail Mary worth considering if you’re the gambling type, but just know it might be an all or nothing move.