DEAR NATALIE: I recently turned 31 years old and have been dating this guy for about a year and a half. I have hinted that I want to get married and start a family, but Christmas came and went (I thought he was going to propose then.) Then, Valentine's Day came and went, and then my birthday came and went. Still no ring. How can I get him to commit? My girlfriends told me that I should give him an ultimatum. What do you think? -- RING PLEASE
DEAR RING PLEASE: I'm not a big fan of ultimatums and here's why. Unless you are 100 percent going to follow through with the threat of leaving him if he doesn't put a ring on it by a certain time, he may call your bluff, see what you do, and then react accordingly. So, don't promise to leave unless you mean it. Otherwise, he knows he can basically do whatever he pleases and you won't stand up for yourself.
On the other hand, I have to ask, why are you chasing someone who doesn't want to get married right now? Is he focused on his career? Well, maybe he wants to wait until he can give you the ring he thinks you deserve. Is he oblivious to your needs? Well, then he isn't hearing you, and that trait may never change. (Do you want to put up with that?) Is he purposely ignoring your requests because he doesn't want to marry you at all?
You have to figure out what the motive is that keeps him from proposing. At the end of the day, you need to decide whether you want to be married or be with him (because they may not be the same thing). So, if marriage is your goal, find a guy who wants that life, too. If not, you will be banging your head against the wall and probably start resenting him.
Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)