My boyfriend proposed during COVID, and after three years there is still no wedding planned. Am I wrong to demand some action?

·4 min read

Apr. 29—Dear Wayne and Wanda,

My boyfriend proposed during the COVID-19 pandemic when we were in lockdown. We had only been together a few months, but it felt right. We were spending literally all our time together and were completely in love. He even proposed with a beautiful ring that was just perfect for me, which I saw as evidence that it wasn't a spontaneous proposal and he'd put thought into it.

We talked about eloping or doing a small ceremony but then the pandemic was winding down and things were opening up again so we decided to wait until we could have the wedding we wanted. Well, here we are almost three years later and there is still no wedding planned.

He wants to save more money because he's seen too many of his friends go into debt over lavish weddings. I respect his realism and practicality, as I can be a bit of a dreamer. But I really want us to be married and would be happy to sacrifice aspects of our event to bring the budget down. When I say this, he's fairly dismissive, and says we'll get married "when the time is right." I'm starting to worry his reluctance to plan is actually a sign he doesn't want to marry me after all. Any advice would be appreciated.

Wanda says:

Those COVID lockdown days were a real pressure cooker for couples everywhere, with varying results. Global reports of increased weight gain, dog adoptions and divorce rates signaled a widespread wave of struggles to find comfort and happiness in a truly weird and wobbly reality. And there were bright sides: some people formed healthy new habits, all those dogs found homes at last, and some relationships actually flourished — yours included.

According to the wedding wizards at The Knot, couples who put off weddings during the pandemic were engaged for about 24 months, longer than the 14-month average engagements of couples who went ahead with ceremonies during COVID times. But the matrimony website points out there is no right answer when it comes to the duration of engagements, and in fact, waiting does indeed often result in saving money and even finding the best deals on vendors because you have that extra time to do research and compare costs.

What you need to feel better here is a date. Maybe it's not next month or even this summer or fall, but if you can get your fiancé to commit to a date in the future, that gives you peace of mind, settles your anxiety, and also provides you with a target so you can launch on that planning and actually land a budget. This is a compromise for both of you: you'll likely have to wait a little longer than you'd like, while he has to commit to a plan.

Wayne says:

Not too long ago, everything about this wedding seemed easy, organic, and meant to be, just like how your relationship developed. Sure, maybe the engagement happened quicker than most, but the choice to get married was a lock for both of you. So what's changed? Well, everything. The world's opened up again, your fiancé is seemingly flaking, and there are endless wedding planning options available to you now, as well as associated decision-making and costs that come with that planning, and so much added stress from all of the time, energy, communication and money you're investing in the wedding planning.

Giving your future groom the benefit of the doubt that he isn't getting cold feet, I'm guessing that the event evolving from "eloping" or "a small ceremony" to the good-old-fashioned, swing-for-the-fences wedding bash is probably freaking him out and he doesn't know how to handle it or communicate his feelings, leading to his pushing back and pulling away.

So, how much are you willing to compromise on your current dream wedding fantasies? Far enough to rewind to the good old COVID days and your original vision of a ceremony with the closest-of-close friends and family or even eloping somewhere fun or important to you that you couldn't access during COVID? And even if you don't have a big wedding, you can still have a big party. Throw a reception during one of Alaska's tourism shoulder seasons (spring or fall), when venues, DJs, food and other hospitality costs are lower and access is better.

Run that by him. His response will give you a clear indication of where he's at with the wedding timeline and maybe even his commitment to marrying you.