“If He Wanted to, He Would” Is a Selection Tool

Use it with caution.

Renata Ellera Gomes
Heart Affairs
Published in
6 min readMay 11, 2024

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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

She’s wearing her hair in a ponytail, with a baseball cap on top. Her eyes are framed by large, black-rimmed glasses and her lips shine with freshly applied lipgloss. She appears to be in her mid-to-late twenties.

She’s sitting in her car as she talks directly to the camera. In the age of social media oversharing, TikToks like this one have become commonplace.

The story she’s telling isn’t unique. You might have heard it before from one of your girlfriends over coffee or wine, or even seen similar versions of it floating around on social media. This young woman has been with her boyfriend for five years and they have a kid together, but he has yet to propose even though she’s been asking him to for years at this point.

Whenever a story like that gets out there, whether IRL or online, one advice always sticks out above the rest: if he wanted to, he would.

Screening for decisiveness

There’s no universal consensus on what’s an appropriate timeline to date, get engaged, and get married. Plenty of online advice will point towards a two-year timeline, implying that if you’re not saying “I love you” by the six-month mark, not engaged by the one-year mark, and not married by the two-year mark…

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Renata Ellera Gomes
Heart Affairs

Writing about love, relationships, culture, and life in general. Get my book, Acid Sugar, at shorturl.at/hvAVX