To marry or not?-that is the question

Dear Guys,

HELP!!!! I am in a relationship of 5 years (we’re in our 40’s) where I thought we were very compatible on the subject of marriage–in past conversations we’ve discussed that we both wanted to marry again. We moved in together over 2 years ago, and I was clear before doing so that if it was a positive experience for both us, I would eventually want to get married. Now fast forward two years later and to my surprise my wonderful man no longer feels that marriage is important to him. He  says that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but does not feel that marriage is “necessary”. He also now says that when he said he wanted to marry again, what he really meant is that he wanted a life long commitment with, not marriage. This feels like a little bit of a “bait and switch” to me!

What do you make of this? How do two people who really adore each other, and who have a strong relationship in every other way, get past such a fundamental difference? Also, Is this really just a guys way of saying “you’re not the one”?

Thanks in advance for any male wisdom you can provide on this!


Dear Keira,

Thanks for writing to us.

It doesn’t seem like he’s changed his mind about you, just about getting married again. So the question is, is that good enough for you? Are you really upset about not getting married again, or just the fact that you feel kind of tricked? Those questions would be important to sort out.

We can’t tell you what’s good enough for you, but we can tell you that the relationship sounds imbalanced, mainly because you’ve moved into his house, his domain. It’s possible the reason he doesn’t feel marriage is necessary anymore is because he already has everything he wants and needs.

You need to find out from him exactly why he no longer wants to get married. He may give you a very reasonable explanation. Remember, you two have done this dance before and know how difficult marriage can be. Maybe he’s worried that getting married might change things between the two of you. However, what he doesn’t realize is, things have already changed because his waffling has caused you to pause and wonder.

Guys often say exactly what they mean, but unfortunately we’re not always good at understanding how our words might be interpreted. It’s your job to help him explain to you the nuance of his words.

As far as friends go, both of you should be able to have friendships outside of your relationship, but only if you’re both very upfront about it, and none of these friendships make either of you uncomfortable. The most important relationship you both have, besides the relationship you have with your child, is the relationship you have with each other. It seems from what you say that he understands this. He also seems reasonable enough, and reflective enough, to have a heart-to-heart conversation about all of your concerns.

Good luck and keep us posted.


ps. Getting a place together might help things become more balanced. However, we realize these are tough economic times so that might be something to consider down the road.

8 Comments on To marry or not?-that is the question

  1. If marriage is very important to you and you don’t want to be with him without being married, walk away now. It is very, very unlikely you will change his mind. Also, I agree with the guys, since you’ve already moved in with him, he might have decided that’s all he wanted and feels no need to marry you. If the marriage thing is a deal-breaker, tell him now, he might not know how imprtant it is to you.

    Also, I agree that if it’s possible, move into a place you pick out together.

  2. At one time, I guess I felt like your guy feels about marriage. I have changed my mind, though. I have seen what can happen down the road. A catastrophic illness can make one’s life hell, and a death can bring up all sorts of headaches with regards to a will. I know this is not something that people ordinarily think about, but these things do happen, and your life can change in a second!

    Getting married is a committment, and maybe that’s what he is afraid of for some unknown reason. It’s time for everyone to lay their cards on the table, and tell the truth about their feelings. It’s easy to get married, but sometimes it’s very hard to stay married.

    I agree with what Raven said, as well.

  3. I am in the same situation, I am 47, he is 56; we don’t live together due to convenience reasons, although we do spend the night together at least once a week usually more, and see each other every night for 2 years. I cannot understand why if someone is so in love, they do not want to get married. I know I was pretty jaded after my second divorce, but when I met him, that all went away. That’s why I find it hard to believe I am truly the one for him as he says he wants to be with me forever. My heart is broken, It is not easy to just walk away either.

  4. I agree with the Guys: you two need to discuss it and see what the real reasons are behind his not wanting to remarry. If he realizes that not marrying you could mean losing you, perhaps he’ll do it. Maybe he just doesn’t want another big wedding, if that’s what he went through before. Maybe something small and intimate wouldn’t be a problem.

  5. I have known people who have experienced marriage and have decided they don’t want to do it again. You need to decide if that is something that you can live with. You can’t count on his changing his mind.

  6. I agree with The Guys too. He is NOT going to change his mind. So you need to decided if that’s enough for you!

  7. A lot of the comments so far seem to agree with The Guys. I also agree…since you’ve moved in to his house, your man probably didn’t see any importance in being married. You really should find out what reason he has for it. Communication after all is necessary to keep any relationship in harmony.

    Good luck!

  8. My name is Katie. I asked you guys almost a yr ago about a guy who was interested in me. Well he got engaged but his hobos very stressful he’s a paramedic. He takes his job out on me. His communication has gotten less. I’m scared and I don’t know what to do. He always and if I’m sure I want to marry him. At first I was but lately in confused. If you love someone you shouldn’t take your job out in them with being grumpy . They’re your support system. We have no date for the wedding yet. I’m in no rush to get married.

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