My Boyfriend of 7 Years Doesn’t Want to Move In or Get Married. What Should I Do?


I am 40 and my boyfriend is 36. I have been previously married and have three kids 17, 15, and 10. He has none. We have been together for 7 years now. I have wanted to move in and get married since year two. He always says he “isn’t ready.”    

A year ago he started living with me, kind of. He keeps all of his clothes at my house sleeps there every night and spends his down time there even when I am not home. I recently said I want him to fully move in because I think it would be financially better. He still keeps his apartment with his things in it. He calls it his “studio” (he is an artist) and he, after a huge disagreement, finally agreed it was the right thing to do.    

Well, the day before the big move he backed out. He said he wasn’t ready and that he didn’t want to promise me anything in the future for fear of hurting me. He wants to keep it the way it is. I am so confused. We are really happy as long as we don’t talk about this kind of commitment. I believe he is in love with me but what do I do? Wait? I am confused what is going to change in his mind. He keeps saying he will lose himself and everything he loves to do if he moves in and gets married. He just sounds like a child to me. I appreciate your advice. Thank you.  



This is going to be really hard for you to accept, Cahnie, but there’s no other way to say it:

Your boyfriend doesn’t want to marry you.

He’s never going to want to marry you.

If he actually DID marry you, it would be largely against his will and he’d end up resenting you for it.

And if you twisted his arm to get married and he resented you for it, it would probably not be a very happy marriage.

If he actually DID marry you, it would be largely against his will and he’d end up resenting you for it.

I know you just wrote me a three-paragraph email and I’m telling you to completely erase the past seven years, but, well, what were you expecting?

In fact, I’m going to guess that what I’ve just written only goes to confirm what you already know deep in your heart.

“I have wanted to move in and get married since year two.”  

“He always says he isn’t ready.”

“The day before the big move, he backed out.”  

“He didn’t want to promise me anything in the future for fear of hurting me.”  

“He keeps saying he will lose himself and everything he loves to do if he moves in and gets married.”

Honestly, sweetheart, the writing is on the wall in ten-foot fluorescent orange letters. GET OUT!

The fact is that he doesn’t want to move in with you or marry you — if he did, he’d have done it years ago. He has a relationship completely on his terms, and you didn’t have the guts to walk away in Year 3.

Now’s your chance.

Honestly, sweetheart, the writing is on the wall in ten-foot fluorescent orange letters. GET OUT!

Unless you want to write me this same exact email in one year, which is exactly what I predict if you don’t break up with him NOW.

P.S. If you NEVER want to get married and are content with this arrangement, you can keep seeing him, but you know what? He’s STILL going to break up with you eventually, so you might as well begin the healing process now.

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  1. 301
    Raechel Taylor

    After going through a similar situation, I realized that commitment means different things to different people. I never asked my boyfriend for money, resources or stability, and what he gave to me I always returned with the same or something more meaningful to him. When I realized that commitment for me was about building things together, being a safe harbor for one another to bounce around ideas, flaws and thoughts in a safe, loving environment, marriage became less of a focus for me because he wasn’t even capable of being those things to me as a boyfriend (I was for him though, as I was the one paying for a large house for my kids and I that he enjoyed staying at 3 days out of the week, paid my own bills and was employed 90% of the relationship, he lives at his father’s house, at age 44, has only been employed 4 months out of 5 years and only has a dog part-time as he shares custody of her in with an ex). The way a man treats you when he ISN’T committed is the very best he can and will do. No need to discuss marriage with a man who expresses ZERO interest in being in a rewarding partnership filled with like-minded values, work ethic and emotional intelligence. The worst things that happened to him was when I stopped looking at his commitment issues rejection and started reframing it as his limitations as a boyfriend. From that day forward, the only way we would have an equal relationship where I wasn’t giving him more than I was giving was to stop dating. Boy are we on equal ground now! And I’m loving it!

  2. 302

    Honestly, I am a dude that doesn’t want to get married, cohabitate or reproduce any further, I would rather paint, work on music and have my career and my space, I become toxic when living with other people whether its roommates, family, significant others, the reason I like to live alone is simply because my life can be unstable and I need to maintain autonomy because frankly I don’t compromise well, or trust people, so I prefer not having to compromise or allow anyone to disappoint me (nor I disappoint them)

    1. 302.1
      Gaso line

      I’m with you on that one 100%, I’m not toxic though but I have no desire to be in a lifestyle of managing dependence. Wait till the keyboard warriors come out with shaming tactics hahahaha. Ooh you’re unfeeling, you have commitment issues yada yada yada. Never ever ever apologize for wanting your life to be yours 😉

      1. 302.1.1

        @Gaso line and Matt, I completely understand where you guys are coming from, everyone has a right to live as they choose and do what they want. But is it affecting the other person you’re dating negatively? What do you tell your lady friends? Are you honest with them or do you string them along because well, it’s nice to have intimate relations. Or do you just not date? Or have you found someone who’s like minded and doesn’t want anything either?

        1. Gaso line

          @Melissa, I ask the important questions before I even start dating someone and I tell every lady I date the truth about not wanting marriage or cohabitation. I hate the idea of stringing anyone along because that’s just cruel. The thing is I don’t agree with how the concept of love is scripted by most people. I don’t like the idea of going along with anyone’s important life directions that include me, especially when I have to make them happen. Directions I’m not ready for or I feel wrong about. Some people only push with words and shame (like we see in this comments section) because they biologically can’t push physically. Unfortunately dealing with such people lowers the quantity of other people’s existence (no disrespect!!). I enjoy dating but to be honest, I have absolutely no use for marriage or cohabitation, my life is simple and I like my own living space, so I’m honest enough to not sell any pipedreams. I think most people need to invest enough time into managing their own expectations and insecurities instead of imposing their wants and needs on another human. No one owes anyone marriage or cohabitation and it’s pointless trying to shame someone for not wanting to be in that type of situation. It is better being at one with yourself without the burden of maintaining someone else’s needs. The vast majority of people will never be free because they’re slaves to conformity, materialism and emotions. Freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. I am more concerned about the threat that marriage and cohabitation pose to my future and life, and I would much rather channel my time into pursuits that will benefit me in the long run. Does that make me a bad human?…..well according to some of the comments here…YES!, but who cares! Any man/woman who makes another man/woman his/her goal is a hitchhiker no driver should ever pick up and any sane and rational person can see that way of living life is unsustainable.

  3. 303

    In my case, I’m the lady with no kids and he is the guy with kids. He doesnot want to move in with one year and 7 months. I’m ready to get out sad but ready.

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