Ask Amy: Advice for the Real World

DEAR READERS: A recent letter from “Wannabe Fiancee” described a familiar situation. Wannabe had lived with her boyfriend for five years, and despite dropping lots of hints and telling him she wanted to get married, he had not made any moves in that direction.

I suggested it might be time for an ultimatum. This prompted hundreds of responses from readers who wanted to share their wisdom and experiences. Many readers suggested that if Wannabe wanted to get married, she should pop the question. Following is a sampling of responses:

DEAR AMY: I had been living with my boyfriend for two years. I told him I wanted to be engaged within one year or break up. Then I dropped the subject. Six months later, he proposed. I think giving it that much time gave him time to come around to his own conclusion. We’ve now been happily married for 28 years. — Happily Married

DEAR AMY: I felt “pressured” to propose and we had a big fight right after the honeymoon. It went quickly downhill, and she divorced me within two years.

I always joke, “For my birthday, she told me she wanted a divorce. For Christmas, she served me the papers. For our anniversary, she gave me the final decree.” — Been There

DEAR AMY: If “Wannabe” wishes to marry, she should propose. She should say she wants to get married and ask him to say yes or no, just like it would happen if the man did it. No threats. No ultimatums. Such a question always carries the implication that a negative reply might have consequences. It is then up to Wannabe to act on those consequences. — Pro-proposal

DEAR AMY: Some men just need a gentle push.

After five years of dating, my girlfriend said, “I’m going to have children. ... Would you like to be the father?” I got the hint. — Happily Married 30 Years

DEAR AMY: This 65-year-old male thinks this woman should just pop the question herself and go from there. — D

DEAR AMY: My girlfriend 39 years ago gave me an ultimatum, to the effect that if I didn’t make a decision to marry in the next three months, she would move on.

About a month later, I proposed, she accepted, and we have been happily married for 38 years.

Frankly, a marriage commitment was necessary in order for me to really invest in the relationship. Over the course of the next two to three years, I fell head over heels in love.

Without the ultimatum, I might have gone on indefinitely without proposing. — Happy

DEAR AMY: We both felt that we were “the one” for each other. So I gave the ultimatum. We have been happily married for 42 years. Many of my high school and college friends are divorced, and we still chuckle over the fact that my ultimatum proposal succeeded. — It Worked for Me

DEAR AMY: “Wannabe” needs to move out with every intention of going it alone and finding a new life with someone who shares her vision of the future. If her current beau knows she is serious about her decision, he’ll either come around quickly to formalize their relationship, or not. And she’ll be on the road to finding what she really wants, either way. — A Guy who Knows

DEAR AMY: “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” Maya Angelou said that.

If I had heeded that warning before I married my Mr. Ultimatum at 28, it would have saved me a lot of heartache. — Divorced at 49

DEAR AMY: It’s 2016. “Wannabe” should propose. If she wants hearts and flowers, she should supply the romance herself. Pick a nice place to propose and get down on one knee. If he says no, then she has to make a choice, but at least she knows where she stands.

I lived with my husband for 10 years before we tied the knot. He said yes the first time I asked him. We’ve been married 21 years, and it still makes a good story. — A Decent Proposal

DEAR AMY: I asked my dear husband of 36 years, “When were we getting married” after only six months of dating, and it worked. Be brazen and just ask. Be ready to move on if the answer is no. Don’t waste your time on someone who won’t make the same commitment to you that you make to him. — Worked for Us

Contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamy@tribpub.com Follow her on Twitter @askingamy or like her on Facebook. Dickinson’s memoir is “The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them.”