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Avatar universal

I want to get married, boyfriend doesn't

I am 27 and my boyfriend is 34.  We have been together for 2.5yrs and have lived together for 2 yrs.  I love him very much and know that he is right for me.  He treats me like a queen.  Every morning we wake up he showers me with kisses and hugs, among the many other things he does and says that makes me know that he loves me dearly.  

Early in our relationship we used to joke about marriage sending mixed messages about how we eached really felt about marriage.  I know he has some complex feelings about marriage because so many in his family have failed.  But looking at the stats, there have been a lot of successful ones also.  My family has not been lucky in marriage either but for some reason I can look past that and see that we have something different and I am willing to give it my all to make it work.  

A couple months ago I brought up the topic and wanted to discuss it seriously with him but it ended in a big fight because he said he wasn't ready for marriage and didn't know if he ever would be.  After a lot of tears and almost breaking up he told me that he didn't know that I felt so strongly about it and that maybe in a few years he might be ready.   I have a lot of problems with this "resolution" because there is still so much uncertainty.  I didn't know if he just said that because he didn't want to loose me or if he really meant that he was going to think about it.  We still can't talk openly about the topic without him getting defensive, and God forbid we see anything wedding related on tv, he changes the chanel immediately. The deeper problem is that because of the doubt i have that maybe he just doesn't want to marry 'ME', I have now started to pull away from him emotionally.  I feel rejected.  I feel as though I can't talk to him openly anymore, so as to not push the issue and yet there are so many unresolved concerns that this may never happen and that I might just be waiting in vein.

I just don't understand.  Our lives are set up as a married couple as it is.  We share a house, bank accounts and every aspect of our lives together.  One could argue that if it aint broke don't fix it, but my arguement is that if it is so much like the real thing already then nothing should change if we make it official, so why not? He's got front row seats to what our lives would be like after marriage so why is he so scared? I don't need the big party and the rings and the dress and everything, in fact, I don't even want that.  I believe that marriage is a symbol of the committment two people make to each other that no matter what, they will try to work it out and be there for each other.  

Based on this, my only conclusion is that his reservations have a deeper meaning and I don't know how to get to the truth.

Should I wait around to see if he will stay true to his word and maybe in a few years we can move forward with our relationship or should I take the risk and start over with someone else, which might take just as long if not longer. Seems like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place since neither decision will be easy. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
140 Responses
145992 tn?1341348674
I wish I could give advice but I'm in the same situation you are.  The only difference is I've been engaged for 3 years and we share a child already.  A lot of people will say "why should he buy the cow if he can get the milk for free" or "you put the cart before the horse" but you never think that you will never get there and when you keep putting it off because you don't want to argue, you always wonder if it will happen.  I guess this is just a decision that you will have to make on your own.  Do you really want someone to marry you because you pressure them?  Or can you be satisfied with how it is without the marriage license?  You should watch the movie he's just not that into you, I think it's really an eye opener.  If your bf is anything like Ben Afleck in that movie, than just go with it...lol.  Sorry, just had to give a little humor.  
Avatar universal
Thanks for your comments.  I did watch that movie and that is what gave me the courage to initiate the conversation in the first place, hoping that it would end like Jen and Ben...happily ever after...unfortunately the reality is that it is just a movie and reality is rarely so easy.  

What scares me is that we have discussed kids (a much easier topic for him) and he is all for it.  I know if we have kids together then it will never happen and no matter how badly I also want kids I don't want to compromise myself that way.  

I have no regrets about living with my boyfriend before an engagement.  I have enjoyed every moment of it. I love coming home to cook for him, and doing our chores together, and arguing about our finances :)...which is why I KNOW I would enjoy being married to him.  I would never buy a car without a test drive...I would never buy a house without a thorough walk through, maybe 2 or 3...so why would I marry someone before living with them.  It's the best way to learn the ins and outs about a person...bad habits, the way they manage their finances, how they handle stress and anger.  If I could do it again I wouldn't change a thing.
145992 tn?1341348674
I totally agree with you on the living together before marriage.  Some may not but my bestfriend didn't live with her husband before they got married and 13 years later they are on their way to a divorce.  It would've been 14 years this October but they have been separated a year already.  Not that everyone's situation turns out like that but I believe that you get to really know someone when you have to live with them.  Sometimes you click and sometimes you don't.  

True, it is a movie and I don't think men like Ben exist in the real world...lol.

My fiance was the same, ready to have a child but marriage....yikes.  What bothered me the most was that he was so willing to ask me to marry him but yet, isn't as eager to get married.  So basically I have a commitment on my finger at all times, everyone knows I'm taken and he walks around without any symbol of commitment to me.  Bugs the heck out of me.  To the point where I'm about to buy him a ring just to put on his finger....lol.  If you can't compromise about the marriage issue you will feel like something is missing and at some point you will become resentful.  There will be no future there if that's the case.  I know I'm at that point.  Watching all my friends around me get engaged and married after I have been engaged before any of them.  Every show we watch is about weddings to and I can't help but get frustrated.  We've talked about it in counseling and he is just not ready yet.  He was married before and it ended badly but after 6 years with me, he should just know.  Especially after all I've put up with from him.  I guess if you feel like he will never give you what you need than perhaps its best to move on.  
730826 tn?1317946934
Sweetie, I was with my man for 2.5 years when we got married. We had always talked about it though. The situation is different though. He is in the army and we knew he would be moving, his mom said you dont take that girl from her family without a ring. So he proposed before leaving, was gone for 3 months before I could go. We are now  happily married. My sister, has 2 kids from 2 dads. She was left on her a$$ as soon as she told guy #1 she was expecting. Guy #2 came in her life 6 years later. They have been together for over 3 years. They have a child together, have had 2 homes together (he did leave her for 5 months when she was pregnant but cam back before the birth, a$$hole) but when I got married, my sister brought marriage up to him again. He said he never wanted to get married. He said he wasnt ready for that commitment. They already have a home, and a child together, that is a bigger commitment than marriage if you ask me. The verdict: Guys are DUMB. Not all just most.
145992 tn?1341348674
Amen Lucey.
Avatar universal
I know there is no guarantee in marriage.  However I just want to know that at the end of the day I can say that I tried.  We could live together for 15 more years and still end up falling out of love and maybe even hating each other, just as if we were married, but at least I can say I tried it.  Isn't that what our parents have always taught us, "you only fail when you fail to try".  And even if this one doesn't work out, I'll try again, because that's what I am looking for in life.  I'll just use it as life lesson to make better decisions the next time.

I have thought about counselling, at least to try to get to his inner most core and figure out what is holding him back...maybe if I understand it better I can live with not getting married and just living harmoniously with the one I love.  And maybe if he understands it better maybe he can come to terms with it and not be so scared.  But you make me worry knowing now that that did not work for you. Maybe when a guy's mind is made up it's made up and there is nothing you can do about it.  I never set out to try to change anybody. I always looked for the guy I wanted and accepted him for what he was and if he turned out any different then we went our seperate ways.  

I understand your frustration watching all your friends get engaged and married.  All my friends are just about married and all his friends are too.  So when we go out with them, I am the lonesome "forever girlfriend".  Doesn't make me feel too good about myself.  What did they do right that I am not doing ... that I just don't get?  What is worst is that one of my bestfriends who had a commitment fobia and could never date a guy for more than 3 months wihtout finding every reason to break it off is now engaged to be married in Novemeber 2010. Oh and she is the last of all my friends to get married. I am by no means trying to keep up with "The Jones" but when you see everyone around you going through the one thing you long for so much and knowing deep down that you deserve to have it too, it doesn't make you feel very good.
Avatar universal

You are so right...despite what men may think they are not the most logical creatures on this planet.  My BF asked me to move in with him 1 month after we were together and then we bought a house together 5 months later.  Yet the concept of marriage escapes him.  He is eager to have kids, which is a lifetime committment to me and the kids. Whether we are together or not he'll always be their father. Yet the concept of marriage eludes him.  At least with marriage, you can say...oops I made a mistake, sorry! Once you make kids...they are here to stay, even if they decide to start a new family.  
145992 tn?1341348674
I couldn't say it better than if I was writing it myself.  I know how you feel and I still have hope that I will get my marriage.  I've basically taken the topic off the table and won't pressure him anymore.  I give it a year and if I haven't mentioned it or made him feel like it's at the forefront of my mind than I will see what happens.  If by then he finds some other excuse than I really don't know.  He was married before, he was pressured into it by his ex-wife.  She was pregnant and she gave him an ultimatum and it turned out to be the ugliest marriage ever.  They share a daughter and to this day, which is about almost 8 years since they were separated and divorced, they still hate each other.  He doesn't even speak with her and so I think his fears are that.  He wants to do it when he's ready to do it.  I just don't understand why he asked me in the first place if those were his feelings but hey I can't read his mind.  His mom and dad were never married and they had 4 kids together and than his dad left her for another woman and married that other woman.  They were together 18 years.  Same with his cousin.  She was with her fiance for 18 years, had 2 daughters and they split and he right away married the next woman.  So it scares me, that he will do the same.  I think for you, you should also perhaps take the issue off the table but keep a deadline in your head.  What's sufficient time for you before you start to talk about it again?  What are you willing to do if he still isn't ready?  Then you have to say, is this man and the love he gives me enough that I don't need the marriage?  Its all about what you are willing to put up with.  
Avatar universal
I hate to rain on your parade, but i have seen many couples set up housekeeping together, and it will not last forever, one will eventually leave, and it is usually the man  i know i will get a lot of flack for saying this but,. from what i have seen of life, and it has been plenty, the man will respect you more, if you marry, as it is now one can walk out with no qualms, and why shoulnt they, there are no ties that bind you, you do not even get the benifit of saying your vows before God, and saying I DO, would you ladies not like to walk down the ailse with all of your friends and family there, and say your vows, if the man says he does not want to grt married then look out, also since you put the cart before the horse, and a child is there what will the child think, that this is the way of life if a man says no he does not want to marry leave, and if he loves you he will come after you, if he does not let him go he is not worth it  luck to all  jo
686059 tn?1293837427
It sounds as if you have the type of man that every woman wants and he chose you, so consider yourself very fortunate, but he definately is not ready to take the relationship to a higher level of commitment at the moment. You stated that, "Your lives are set up as married couples as it is", but the reality it's not when only one person views the arrangement that way. He is comfortable with his life just the way it is and he made it clear he is marriage phobic, don't wait for that ring to come anytime soon. Also, if he feel pressure by you on the topic of marriage, he is going to push away soon. At the right time approach him and ask him, "Where do you see our relationshp  in 5 yrs" and his response should be a decision factor for you, because you don't want to waste your youth on someone likes the comfort of the relationship, but not the commitment and responsiblities that come with marriage. Good luck
Avatar universal
I'm going through a similar situation, except for the fact that I asked my boyfriend to move out a few years ago.  We lived together for about 9 months and it was great, but I work from home so I need a break from time to time and I like to get out of the house.  We just celebrated our 4 year anniversary.   My boyfriend is a good man but he is says straight up he isn't ready for marriage and he isn't sure when he will be.  It's hard to hear that from someone you love.  Especially when they tell you they really love you and wish they were ready for those things.  But I don't want to pressure someone into marrying me and then they end up resenting me and we end in divorce.  That would really suck.  
Avatar universal
Since you are 27 I don't think you have the clock issues as much as say someone who is 35.   If you are happy and in love I would give it some time.  You already live together and share the bank account so it's only a formality at this point.

My boyfriend is a good companion and my best friend but we don't share those things like bank accounts and a houseand that is what scares me so much.  What if we are not compatible enough to share a bank account or live together.  
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