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!
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.