If everything is good except for the lack of proposal, at what point do you call it quits?

Looking for some advice. I’ve been telling myself for months that I’m crazy to care about this, and that my relationship is otherwise amazing. I do care still though, so I’m not sure where to go from here.

We’ve been together for almost 4 years, and I explained very early (when talking about dealbreakers) that I did want to get married eventually and that is what I was looking for in a partner. He told me that it was important to him as well and I thought we were on the same page.

About 1.5 years into our relationship he, unprompted, started talking about rings and if I’d say yes if he asked. I told him I would say yes and that I’d prefer a simple style of ring. I suggested he get a specific close friends advice (she knows my preferences well).

A year goes by with no proposal. In that timeframe we’d traveled to 4 different countries and done a *ton* of romantic stuff. There was so much opportunity. I asked him if everything was okay in our relationship and what was holding him back. He said he was just saving for a ring. I mostly understood because all that traveling was pricey, and assured him I didn’t want anything expensive. The pandemic hit shortly after. The pandemic did not impact my career and it positively impacted his.

Last summer, I wanted to buy an investment property (real estate is really booming here, and an opportunity presented itself). He said that he wanted to purchase it with me and I told him that while I loved him, I wasn’t comfortable making such a big financial investment without any real commitment from him. I told him it would be different if we were married or engaged, but without that commitment it was something I felt I should do on my own.

He assured me that we were getting engaged, but it wouldn’t be before the winter.

When he still hadn’t proposed in February 2021, I purchased the property on my own. It was a stretch for me financially but I didn’t feel that I should be going into something so big with someone I wasn’t married to. I admit that I did not discuss this with him much ahead of time (other than to say I still intended to purchase in the months leading up). He seemed hurt, but said he understood.

In April, the discussion came up again and he told me that the only reason he hadn’t asked yet was because of the lockdowns. He said he wanted to shop in person. I told him I understood, and that it was not so important to me anymore.

I acknowledge telling him this was dumb. At the time I was genuinely trying to convince myself that I didn’t care because it’s ‘just a piece of paper and it shouldn’t matter’.

He told me that it was still important to him and not to be silly, that we were obviously getting married.

Retail stores have been open for several months now and still nothing. He was researching a new car last night, it just made me so damn sad thinking about how he’s been telling me for actual years now the only thing holding him back is money or ability shop but it really seems like that can’t be the case if he’s able to test drive and buy a new car. It feels like every time I’ve brought it up he just tells me what he thinks I want to hear regardless of whether or not it’s the truth.

I do love him, and otherwise he’s perfect for me…but I also feel very much that he is stringing me along. It’s definitely starting to affect our relationship. Family and friends are always asking what the hold up is and I don’t know what to tell them. I’m starting to feel like if I don’t leave him now, our relationship will just sour over him ‘leading me on’ like this anyways. It will just be a slower breakup, which isn’t ideal at this age really.

I feel like I’ve brought up the topic enough for him to know how I feel. However, I don’t think he understands that it’s something I’m willing to end things over. I’m also not 100% sure it is something I’m willing to end things over either. After all, it is just a stupid piece or paper and I probably shouldn’t care. The thing is…if he had told me when we first started dating that he wouldn’t be proposing for this long, I never would have continued our relationship. Now I love him though, so I don’t know what to do.

TL;DR: I, a person who thought that marriage was really important, fell in love with someone who assured me that they felt the same. He has been telling me for 2.5 years now that he was planning to propose. I don’t think that it’s really his intention anymore even though he insists that it is, and am wondering if I should just call it.

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