How Long Should You Stay With A Boyfriend Who Does Not Believe In Marriage?

How Long Should You Stay With A Boyfriend Who Does Not Believe In Marriage?
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Dear Evan,

First of all, I love your advice. In fact, it’s because of your advice that I’m in my first serious, long-term relationship. (We’ve been together a year and a half and live together.) Now, however, I’m confused about the state of my relationship.

See, ever since we started dating – even before we started dating and knew each other through friends – I knew this guy didn’t believe in marriage.

I know you’re going to say: “Why didn’t you pay attention to the negatives?” I can honestly say I didn’t realize at that point that it mattered to me. I’m fairly young (late 20s) and it is just beginning to dawn on me that I’d like to get married. Now I realize how much I do want to get married to the person I love. He still doesn’t believe in it. He believes in long-term commitment and family, but not marriage (his family history is pretty rocky). I said to him that I don’t want to wait, and if I weren’t engaged after a couple years together I would think of moving on.

This really hurts him – to him, BECAUSE I want to marry him and wouldn’t just want a relationship, it means I love him less. He’s offered the following compromise: in a few years, when we decide to have kids, then we can get married. I’m scared, though. Is it stupid to wait that long? And is it a bad idea to marry someone who is basically like “fine, fine, we can get married.” I know he loves me and is committed to me, but I wonder how healthy that is.

Now I feel that this big difference in values is constantly hanging over me, and is making me feel negatively about things.

For a point of reference: our relationship is pretty good. We rarely argue (I would say we’ve had about 3 large arguments in our relationship, and maybe a smaller disagreement every couple of weeks.) We both want kids. We both have our irritating habits but we accept them. —Katie

Dear Katie,

Thanks for your kind words. I’m thrilled that you found a serious, long-term relationship using my advice, and I’m candidly delighted that you even quoted the advice you ignored about “ignoring the positives and believing the negatives”.

It would be easy for me to tell you to run from him. But I’m not so positive that you would be closer to achieving your goal that way.

Except now the chickens are coming home to roost. Or something like that.

Listen, I can’t tell you anything about your relationship that you don’t already know.

I think it’s unfortunate that he has such a distorted view of marriage that he’s given up on it as an institution.

I think it’s great that you’re trying to understand where he’s coming from — how it hurts him that he feels that HE’S not enough without a ring on your finger.

I think it’s telling that he attempted to come up with a mutually agreeable compromise, especially since it’s one where, apparently, you get exactly what you’ve always wanted: a husband, a ring, and a baby

So you’re faced with the timeless dilemma that all women face — should I stay or should I go? This very question was the topic of an hour long FOCUS Coaching call so believe me, I’ve got a lot more to say about it than I can compress into a single blog post.

It would be easy for me to tell you to run from him. I’m sure some of the other readers will say just that. But I’m not so positive that you would be closer to achieving your goal that way. And what we’re always trying to figure out here is effective vs. ineffective — what’s the best way for Katie to achieve her dream of marriage and kids with a man she loves?

So here’s the reason I think you might want to stay and make things work:

As Dale Carnegie pointed out many years ago, people don’t want to be sold; people want to choose.

You meet a pushy car salesman who wants to give you a great deal and won’t let you off the lot until you buy…and you’re not gonna buy from him.

That same car salesman takes the time to ask you what you’re looking for in a car: speed, price, mileage, safety…and you WILL buy from him, because you’re getting to choose on your terms, without any pressure.

The way you have the greatest leverage over your man is if he can’t imagine his life without you.

This is what women routinely forget when they’re angling for marriage. The more you pressure him to know that he wants to spend every day of the rest of his life with you and give you half of his income if he’s wrong, the less he’s going to want to do it.

So your arbitrary timelines: six months, nine months, one year, a year and a half… they don’t mean anything to your boyfriend. They’re arbitrary ticking clocks that you’ve created to justify your insecurity about investing time in one man. If you push for marriage too soon, before he’s ready, you will not get married to him. The woman who does get married to him will be the one who is patient enough to let him choose her.

The way you have the greatest leverage over your man is if he can’t imagine his life without you. One and a half years into knowing my wife, I could easily imagine life without her. Three years in, and I would be a hopeless, lonely, drooling idiot without her.

Your age, Katie, is a considerable factor. If you invest two or three more happy years in your boyfriend and decide to have kids at age 32, then you will likely get everything you want.

If, for some reason, your live-in boyfriend of 4  ½ years — a man who is virtually a common law husband — a man who says he loves you and wants to be a father someday — if, for some reason, he balks at marriage before kids, THEN you dump him.

However, unless your boyfriend is a liar, such behavior would be entirely illogical and inexplicable. And since he’s your boyfriend, I’m not counting on him being a liar.

I think he’s a good man who loves you, wants to be a dad, but wants to make sure he’s not making a huge mistake like so many others he knows.

Enjoy your relationship, become indispensable to him, and he will voluntarily want to lock you in for life when you’re both ready to have kids.

Remember, men act in their own self-interests and it’s in his self-interest to keep the woman he loves the most.

If I’m wrong, you would still be 32 and have your prime dating years ahead of you.

This woman and this woman gave their relationships 2-3 years to fully cement and ended up getting the marriage they always desired. It just took a little more patience.

If you think he’s “the one,” then I think it’s worth the risk. Good luck.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    EA

    Regarding marriage – I think there’s something wrong either with the man or the relationship if it doesn’t happen. I believe one hundred percent that men are programmed to marry and if they won’t marry the woman they’re with, something is up. What is it? I haven’t figured that out, but as women, I think we do a disservice by trying.

    I will run screaming (and I have) from any new man in my life if he starts telling me he doesn’t want to get married. It indicates to me that he is controlling the future of your relationship without consulting you. That he doesn’t even need to get to know you or experience what a relationship with you is like before he makes up his mind. He’s  basically  TELLING you, like it or leave it. Doesn’t sound like much of a partnership to me.
    My story:  

    I took the track of waiting for my guy to come around to marriage and I’ll tell you what happened.

    We developed a close and loving bond. His family loves me. I’ve been with him during health problems and the death of his father. I feel that I can be my real self with him, ALL my best memories include him and losing him would feel like committing suicide it would feel so wrong and self harming.

    The problem? All this has happened over 16 years of waiting. We don’t live together and in fact, I moved three hours away for college 10 years ago and now we commute. There are no plans to live together, there are no plans to marry. Although he claims if I got pregnant that would “force” him to get over his “issues.” (religion is his biggest road block, which I think is super ironic).

    I am now 36 years old and suddenly, time no longer feels like it’s in endless supply. I have tried dating in the past, but I am so entangled with him that I probably need major time alone and therapy first just to be a suitable partner to someone new.

    I am trying to escape the relationship because I am tired of being alone 95% of the time. I don’t have a real partner or even a real life – I live with one foot in two cities. All the back and forth just adds stress and compromises my ability to handle my responsibilities.

    No matter how great you think someone is – there is something extremely important to be said about their ability to be a partner.  

    1. 21.1
      Miss Nene

      Agreed.   The best thing I heard once was “No woman has to ‘make or convince’ a man to marry them!!” And that advice came from a man! He said that, when men really want you, they don’t need to be ‘convinced’. They will go to the ends of the earth.. who wants to be married to someone that they had to ‘convince’ to marry them? He will likely be resentful of this and mention it down the line.

      Man’s natural instinct is SUPPOSED TO BE to want to protect, provide for, and love a woman. Men that do not have this desire to have some issues within themselves that they need to A. Work on or     B.   Stay single.

    2. 21.2
      Vincent

      EA, I have little doubt that a vast majority of psychology research refutes your contention that men are programmed to marry. That sounds more like the point of view of an entitled woman who’s trying to pathologize men who don’t affirm her entitlement. Psychology and everyday experience tell us that people are a combination of nature and nurture. In this context, nurture is a person’s individual experience with marriage, divorce, relationship dynamics, religion, life goals, and so on.

      Each person is an individual and is free to enter a pair-bonding relationship on his or her own terms. The only obligation is to be clear from the beginning about one’s intentions and expectations.

  2. 22
    Jane

    Another thought: Marriage is not the most important thing to me. I was unhappily married for many years, and as much as I want to great relationship in my life, getting married again, in my 50’s, isn’t on the top of my list. However, if I met the right man and marriage was really important to him, then of course, I would marry him. These choices and trade offs come up all the time in life. Katie’s boyfriend knows how much she wants to get married and he’s not stepping up. That could be an answer unto itself.

  3. 23
    Dan

    Let me get this straight.
    1) The guy has “such a distorted view of marriage that he’s given up on it as an institution.” 2) The guy is psychologically damaged because he doesn’t want to get married. 3) EMK came around and got married, and all guys are like EMK, so this guy will come around and get married, too.
    This is a whole lot of BS to dump on a guy who isn’t even speaking for himself here.

    1. 23.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Yeah, you got that completely wrong, Dan. The guy DOES have a negative view of marriage from his childhood. You can act like that won’t negatively impact his worldview, but, by and large, everything that children see when they have poor parental role models negatively impacts their worldview. So there are your first two points. As for the third point, that if I got married that every man will want to get married, that’s obviously not the case.

      What is the case is that a man is more likely to get married when it’s on HIS terms, because he’s built a life with an indispensable woman who gets him, loves him, appreciates him and isn’t asking him to change. And if he moves in with the OP, has an amazing life, and wants kids – and the only way for him to do it is to get married, then I predict he’s going to get married. What exactly is wrong with that line of reasoning?

  4. 24
    Greg

    @Katie,

    I’ve dealt with women who “didn’t like confrontation.” I tried to  accommodate  this.   It led to disaster.   If you avoid talking about small problems, they will become BIG problems later.   One woman in particular didn’t like confrontation because she grew up in a family that couldn’t have civil, calm discussions.   Maybe your BF is like that, but its something that will have to change for there to be long term success.

    It’s also sad that so many women feel like they have to beg men to marry them.   Begging men, issuing ultimatums and the like are recipes for disaster.   If you pressure a man into marrying you, he will eventually resent it and it will likely lead to divorce.   A man has to want to marry you.   If a man doesn’t want to marry you, but  marriage  is important to you, you should end the relationship.   Find a man who does want to marry you.   Otherwise, you will never be happy.   Deciding whether marriage is in your future is a major deal, and I don’t think it is something you can compromise on.

  5. 25
    AllenB

    @EA 22
    If a man tells you he doesn’t want to get married he is telling you his boundaries regarding his relationship with you. This is not about him controlling you, it is about telling you what he believes he has to offer. It is up to you to accept what he offers or leave. I am sorry you lost as much time as you have understanding this. Now that you have, you will move on if you want that.
      
    For some people a three hour commute relationship might be acceptable for a few years if you have a definite plan to end it (the commute part or the relationship part), but certainly not an ongoing 10 years, because it does impede growing roots outside of your relationship.
      
    No matter how great you think someone is — there is something extremely important to be said about their ability to be a partner.
      
    That is very well said. I add that what each person needs for a partner will be different depending on life circumstance and individual preference so there is no single partnering-ability litmus test.

      
    @Gem 21
    In many places when you “move in, set up house, mix finances, and do every other conceivable ‘married’ behavior sans the   marriage” you become married in the eyes of the law with all the rights, responsibilities and headache it takes to get out. All that is missing is the rite of passage ceremony. I believe there is value in that ceremony; the promise before friends and, if you are religious, God,   but many married people do not.
      

  6. 26
    Goldie

    Re living or not living together before marriage, I’m biased in the other direction – we couldn’t really live together before marriage, so we didn’t. We took vacations together, visited each other when he was in school and I worked in another city, but that was about it. We moved in together a few months before getting married, but by then we were already past the point of no return — we’d agreed to get married a long time ago, he’d relocated for me and there was no way for either of us to back out. Pretty much as soon as we started living together and running a household together, I realized that we were so incompatible, and our ideas on how things should work in a family were so different, and our ability to negotiate and compromise so non-existent, it was never going to work. We kept trying for eighteen years, but never really got things to work the way a healthy marriage should. So from my experience, I’d rather be missing a ring on my finger than be stuck in a bad marriage with no easy way to get out. And there’s really no way to tell how the person is going to handle the “domesticity” until the two of you are living it.

  7. 27
    Stacy

    Ok, here goes the rant.

    Evan, “become indispensable to him?” If she’s no indispensable after 4+ years, she never will.

    I always wonder what women who agree to open-ended living together arrangement are thinking, it just makes my blood boil when i hear these stories – “oh we’ve been living together for X years but he doesn’t want to  marry me”.  Honey, why would he? Why??

    Of course he’s never gonna put a ring on her finger, he already got her where he wants her – she is a de facto wife and provides domesticality and regular sex (hopefully) and financial help through shared expenses, yet he has no responsibilities towards her whatsoever. He can dump her like a hot potato if anything goes “wrong”. And, because she wants marriage so badly, and she gets advice such as this one – to become “indispensable” – she will be so much more eager to please and get his approval to get that ring, that he will definitely enjoy it wholeheartedly!

    To make it absolutely clear  – the OP should’ve never moved in. Never. It is her call what to do now, but  one way to figure out how much he really is into her is to distance herself. Not saying move out completely. Get a share house. Go on a long vacation w/o him. Start going out more with friends. Remind him that he doesn’t own her and that she won’t always be there waiting for him necessarily. She’ll have her answer soon enough – it may not be the answer she likes, but better that than finding herself disillusioned, bitter and single at the age of 32.

    1. 27.1
      Ella

      @Stacy Doesn’t it make sense that she could do the same thing to him? Leave him when things go “wrong”?    In eessence, what you’re suggesting is to leave temporarily and make him think she does not need him to test the waters. I just think that’s bad advice rather than actually talking about it pretend you are someone you aren’t if these behaviors aren’t normal just to see how he reacts. It’s manipulative.

       

      If the kind of marriage is one where one partner can even begin to start thinking they “own” the other–as you suggest she needs to remind him that he doesn’t–who would want to marry anyway? Your idea of marriage is gross and why people don’t want to sign a contract in the first place.   Because you sign away half of your life in the process if people decide to start manipulating each other. Why would this guy want to be with her if she suddenly stopped showing interest in being with him? Silly.

       

      I believe in love holding two people together, making the decision to love someone everyday of your life. Marriage is important to me but the legal contract never has been. When I thought about marriage as a child it never meant my parents had to do this had to do that had to do anything because I wasn’t exposed to the perversion of marriage as a contract. If love is not enough then fine, it obviously is scary trusting someone to invest time and effort in with no guarantee that they’ll get screwed over if they decide they don’t want to love you anymore, but then again maybe that will actually give you an incentive to maintain a healthy relationship.

       

      And if you do spend time together and things don’t work out without a marriage, you can rest assured that a majority of other people that decided to marry, ended poorly too, even with the contract…

       

       

  8. 28
    Stacy

    Helen #18

    While marriage may mean different things to different people, I think it is important to recognize what it ACTUALLY, factually means in this country where we live. Simply put, it means no freedom to bail when you want to and to do whatever the hell you want.  If your spouse gets hit by  a bus you can’t just leave them sitting in an empty apartment in a wheelchair and move on with your single life. Nope, no such luck.  If you want to take out half of your 401K and spend it on gambling – surprise you can’t without your spouse’s consent. You can’t change your name without your spouse signing off on that. You can not take your kids on a vacation abroad w/o your spouse signing off. There’s limits on how you can will your assets. There’s so many limitations that come with marriage, that all this fluff about “statement to the world” and other stuff is really secondary. Personally, I don’t give rat’s ass about any statements to the world or any of those things, what concerns me is the actual implications of marriage. And I am a woman.

    I think a lot of women just tend to romanticize marriage and make it 99% about feelings, while men are more acutely aware of the actual implications, and therefore they marry only when they feel they have to and they are massively into you. All other b/s such as “don’t believe in marriage” is just a boatload of BS. It is marriage. What is there to believe in. If you just don’t want commitments and limitations that come with it, or you feel the woman in front of you is not worth it  – just say so.

    1. 28.1
      GoWithTheFlow

      Here’s a benefit of marriage that my dad received:   Survivor’s benefits when my my mom died and he became a widower with three school aged kids.   That money meant we could stay in our home  (my mom earned a little more than half of the household income) and we could still participate in sports, school activities, and take the occasional trip to Disneyland or the beach.   If my parents had decided that they didn’t need that “piece of paper,”   my father would not have received those benefits.

      It seems that on any blog post discussing marriage, there are a few men that always post a comment that goes something like, “Marriage does not benefit men because after a woman divorces a man, he will lose all his money plus his kids.”   The problem isn’t marriage;   the problem is who these men married.   If a man is so concerned about financial losses if a divorce should occur, maybe he should date women who have solid careers they want to continue in.   (Ironically, these men usually have nothing but disdain for career women)   Or maybe they should put aside the all important characteristic of “She’s really hot!”   for a moment and really look at the woman’s character.   My beautiful-when-young sister dumped her husband after many years of marriage, and yes, he got screwed and he didn’t deserve it.   But the fact that my sister was selfish, not interested in working, and has an entitlement complex a mile wide was right there to see.   He now admits hetotally ignored  all of the warning signs.

  9. 29
    nathan

    EA – no one is “programmed” to marry. Where did you get that idea from anyway? Secondly, there are plenty of couples out there who are great partners to each other, but aren’t – for various reasons – married. Furthermore, I have known married couples with situations fairly similar to yours. One person got a job in another city. They rarely see each other. And the connection has weakened over time. Even if the guy you are with agreed to marry, you’d still have all the other issues to face. Getting married will not solve all your problems. That’s a fantasy.

    1. 29.1
      petitlapin

      @nathan: Yes! This. Again, we’re so focused on marriage being the endgame. I just want to remind everyone that it doesn’t have to be. And it doesn’t imply a soddy lack of commitment if you don’t do it. Eesh. Been there, done that. Might do it again but meantime? I’m enjoying every second of my incredible non-married relationship (and no, we don’t live together since we both have houses from our previous marriages). 🙂  

      There is more than one way to be happy and committed! 🙂

      1. 29.1.1
        Jo

        Now you’re talking!         If you’ve been married before, the idea of getting into something yet again that may be difficult to get out of is very unsettling.     I don’t believe I would co mingle assets with someone else (again) even with a prenup – I’ve seen friends have 2nd marriages fail and go through incredibly painful experiences with yet another costly failed relationship.             Why get married  all for the label of “Married”?         I personally think that if you want to raise a family then it makes perfect sense to tie the knot – its better for children.     But if that is not your goal – then why stress over it?
          
        petitlapin has a great set up –  maybe someday they will change it, maybe not.      Sounds  like they are comfortable and enjoying one another as is.               Good for you!

  10. 30
    Dan

    [email protected]: 1) That’s what she says. You know, the one who wants to marry a guy who doesn’t want to marry her. 2)  Who said anything about his having  poor parental role models? Even she didn’t say that. 3)  Unlike you and this woman, I don’t try to  psychoanalyze folks from my armchair. As others have pointed out, this  idea that people (especially men) are scarred  animals  who aren’t able to “sustain relationships” because of something that happened  in childhood  is both overblown and simplistic. People are a lot  more complicated than that, and we develop our own unique “world views” using lots of different inputs.  Most of which are our  own thoughts and desires, not our parents’. We aren’t hapless pieces of clay in their hands.  

    The end of the story is this: He doesn’t want to  get married.  Those are his terms. Why don’t you and the girlfriend just leave  him alone? This seems like it’s her problem and yours,  not his.   

    1. 30.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Dan, this is my JOB. If you don’t like the way I do my job, go find a blog that you DO enjoy.

  11. 31
    Angie

    Hi Katie,

    I feel there are certain genuine reasons that individuals may oppose marriage that is beyond their personal experiences, for example people desiring marriage equality with the gay community.   If your boyfriend’s childhood experiences are still personally affecting him and his marriage-views and he can’t differentiate your relationship from his parents’, you are in a different kind of situation.

    I have seen people in your situation, where one person is ready to commit while the other is on the fence, and the usual course of outcomes.   If the ready-to-commit partner is patient,   the other person eventually comes around… be it months or years.   I saw one guy promise his girlfriend a ring “in the spring”, “when he’s saved up the cash”, “well, he just bought a house so soon”… and after 2 years and a lot of distress, she got the ring and is happily planning her wedding.   I’ve seen other individuals – men and women – lay on too much pressure, too many threats, that the other person just bails.

    Just accept that you and your boyfriend are on different timelines.   Would you want to date a 21-year-old?   Probably not, because he wouldn’t be on your timeline.   And not only is your boyfriend not on your timeline, he doesn’t know what timeline he is on.

    Threats are pointless.   Accept your situation, enjoy your relationship, and know that it may or may not go anywhere, or leave.   

  12. 32
    Lara

    Nathan & Dan: Thanks for the guy point of view. I get what you’re saying and agree.

    Well, it seems that the consensus on this one is that the guy probably won’t marry her, but she doesn’t lose by sticking it out a bit longer just in case he changes his mind.

  13. 33
    Soul

    I believe people who don’t believe in marriage (for whatever reasons) have the same rights to be heard and understood than people who do believe in marriage. And I do not understand why it is always the ones who do want to get married who should win in this power struggle. I should probably add that some day, I myself wish to get married because my man does believe in marriage.

    One of my best friend had been going out with her boyfriend for 7 years. He did not believe in marriage whereas she did, very strongly. However, as she said it herself, she “loved him, and she wanted to be with him for life, everything else is icing on the cake”.  

    They had (and still have) a great relationship based on love and respect for each other, and acceptance  for who they are. She had given up on the idea of getting married altogether (but she was happy and did not resent him: she understood that he could see the world differently and still be a good man).
    Well, completely unexpectedly, after 8 years, he proposed to her…an extremely unexpected and romantic proposal that he had been preparing secretly for 6 months!!! That was 5-6 years ago, and they now have 2 little boys.  

    When you ask him, my friends’s boyfriend says that he still thinks that marriage is like being in prison, but he adds that it is a great prison that you choose and enjoy because you have chosen it for your own reasons. tHen again, he adds that preparing the marriage proposal and knowing how happy he’d made her is a grat souvenir that he is going to cherish for a lifetime…

    People do what they want to do. If you love him and he is a great person, accept him as he is. Love him for who he is. He will love you for who you are in return.  There is no greater gift on this earth. Everything else is icing on the cake.
      

    1. 33.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Soul – all it means is that the man who doesn’t want to get married to the OP is going to lose the woman of his dreams and the ability to have kids with her.

      That’s not a judgment. That’s a fact. It’s very hard to convince a woman who wants children to have kids out of wedlock because “he doesn’t believe in marriage”. She’ll find someone else to marry her. He’ll have a harder time forging a successful nuclear family unless he rethinks his stance on marriage.

      Personally, I don’t give a crap who does what in one’s personal life, but marriage is a signifier of stability and a commitment to the commitment itself. And one who is afraid of that, who wants an “out”, is probably not an ideal lifetime partner for a woman who is looking for someone to be present to raise children.

      1. 33.1.1
        Jackie

        So true.   I’m in a similar situation and I DON’T WANT TO WAIT ANYMORE.     I just want to give the ring back because I feel he’s disregarding my feelings and not taking me seriously at all.   I had even made an appointment at the county clerk to get the marriage license.   Then I cancelled it and he was okay with that.   I’m tired of being played around like this.   If he wants me to wait he’s going to have to put a chastity device on or something, because apparently he’s not needing me sexually as much.   That I will not stand for.

      2. 33.1.2
        Evening

        I feel this rings so true…”marriage is a signifier of stability and a committment to the committment itself. My boyfriend and I have a blended family together. We bought a house together (joint mortage) and he made a substantial down payment and I have the substantial income to make the monthly mortgage payments. Those are the important financial details. We have an amazing relationship and he and I are both very committed to each other. However, he has divorced once and I have divorced twice. He thinks that marriage has no value and I disagree. I worry about the legalities, such as,   if one of us dies in a tragic accident or becomes severely injured. His ex-wife is horrendous when it comes to money matters. If marriage is just a piece of paper that adds to the (already present) committment then why is he holding back? This has led me to become resentful. I puts a thought of “why” in my mind. I try not to entertain that since we have a great relationship but it is hard to shake. Nevertheless, the resentment has reared its ugly head recently and I fear that our differences on the idea of marriage will be our ruin. I have it all right now…the home, the job, the handsome man, the kids, etc and this one thing is turning me sour no matter how hard I try to ignore it. It does…it means something. It means something to me. This is definitely multi-faceted and not a traditional situation…I get that. However, I really don’t get my boyfriends logic. Not at this point.

    2. 33.2
      petitlapin

      Soul – you’ve said it beautifully. Thank you. 🙂  

      As EMK says, though, if the OP is really, truly set on the idea of marriage as more important than the actual relationship she has with this particular guy – then that is her right. She can go find a great guy to marry her.   She’s young and will have loads of options, I’m sure. Lots of guys would probably want to marry her.

      But if she pushes the marriage there’s a chance she will lose *this* guy.   Is that a big deal? Depends on what’s more important. Like you said, for me, after 10 years of marriage, I no longer see it as the absolute sign of total commitment. Ha, not at all. 🙂 The relationship I have with the man I’m with is more important than the idea of getting married to him (but that’s just me). I ended up being less committed in my heart in my actual marriage than I am to my now-boyfriend (and we’ve been together a few years now).   

      As you say, Soul, I have met someone who is a great person and I accept that he probably wants to get remarried even less than I do. This love? For me, there’s no greater gift. Everything else is just semantics. It’s indeed, as you say, icing on the cake. 🙂  

  14. 34
    Stacy

    Soul #36

    In my opinion,  a guy who thinks marriage is like “being in prison”, but enjoys the benefits that cohabitation provides  has no valid point and his moral character is qustionable and so NO he does not deserve to “be heard”. If marriage is “prison” – be a  lifetime  bachelor – that is a respectful lifestyle choice. But actually living with a woman, having kids with her but no marriage? I’ve got a word for it: douchbag. He wants to have his cake and eat it too. I guarantee you that he’s got it aaall figured out in his head.

    Men are not “scared” or “don’t believe in”  such things like  being married, commitment, responsibility. They just chose not to give them, because they can get all they want without giving those things in return.

  15. 35
    Soul

    # EMK – I do agree that marriage is a commitment to the commitment. That’s a very smart definition!

  16. 36
    Soul

    # Stacy

    This guy did marry my friend. So I do not see why you are so angry in your answer.  I am afraid my English phrasing might have misled you, I am sorry.  

  17. 37
    Scorp

    I just had a breakoff with my boyfriend. We were together for 3  years he was not ready for commitment, i tried my best to make this relation work but had to left him when he said you go and get married to someone else and we will still be in relation.I felt disgusted with this man.

  18. 38
    Angie

    Personally I don’t totally agree with the following statement in the post…“…marriage is a symbol of their love and commitment, made public to the world…”
    I think as long you are happy with each other in the relationship you have that should be enough. You are committing to eachother with love and wanting to be together…
      
    So why (as stated earlier) should you make a commitment to a commitment?
    All that matters is being happy together and hopefully have some lovely little ones in that loving relationship too.

  19. 39
    Daisy

    @Soul: your friend’s story is very much like my friend then, except her boyfriend/partner proposed after 5yrs. After being married, he doesnt think of it as a “prison” though. He thinks that it was the best decision he’s ever made 🙂

  20. 40
    Lara

    [email protected]: If he doesn’t want to get married and she does, maybe she isn’t the woman of his dreams. As other people on here have said, I don’t get it why he has to be made wrong because he doesn’t want to get married, or why people are making the assumption that he does but he just needs to get around to realizing that. Doesn’t no mean no for men, too?

    And there are many examples of stable family forms that don’t involve the American definition of marriage. In Scandinavia only about 35% of couples are married, and childrearing seems to work pretty well there. A lot of sociologists are saying that this is the direction the US is headed in because already most kids in the US are not raised in  homes with 2 biological parents, only about 25% are. That’s not my opinion or my values talking–that’s the US Census. So don’t hate on me or tell me to go find some other blog just because I’m  pointing out something that we all already know but that kinda goes against what you’re saying.   

    1. 40.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Because, Lara, as he said: he loves her and wants to have kids. In fact, he said he would marry her to make that happen. You caught that part, yes? And, as I pointed out a few posts ago, there aren’t many women that are going to stick around to be a “baby mama” for a guy who won’t put a ring on her finger.

      As a result, he doesn’t get the family that he craves. Which is why SHE has greater options than he has. She’ll be able to find another marriage/kids-minded man. He may have a harder time finding a woman who’s willing to bring children into the world without a formal commitment.

      This is not about what I believe, Lara. And saying that only 25% of families contain two biological parents doesn’t negate the fact that this is the chosen and optimal way to bring kids into the world. The fact that 50% get divorced and 25% are irresponsible enough to have kids out of wedlock doesn’t make the case that the OP should just give up on the idea of marriage, like they do in Scandinavia.

      1. 40.1.1
        Shaukat

        I realize this is a bit of an old thread, but in light of the more recent post on marriage and stability, I wanted to offer a response, especially to this comment: “In fact, if the state of the U.S. is any indication, the destruction of the nuclear family has been devastating.”
          
        I’m assuming you’re referring to social decay, dysfunction, crime, etc. IMO, this is a false and rather dangerous argument which is constantly being parroted by right wingers who, as Marc Lamont Hill once put it, engage in victim blaming by suggesting that it’s possible for individuals to “marry their way out of poverty.” However, there is an abundance of scholarly literature by sociologists, political scientists, and economists which suggests that broken homes are the dependent, as opposed to independent variable in this equation, causeed not by alternative life styles or subcultures which somehow only affect certain margimalized communities, but rather by labour market variables such as interest rate policy, ghettoization induced by capital flight out of urban centres (among other things), deindustrialization, mass incarceration, etc. These are the underlying factors.
          
        I’ll also repeat what I said in the more recent thread: in order to demonstrate that marriage has an inherent stabilizing effect on families, or is a more stable environment to raise children, you would need a highly controlled study of similar couples which holds all other relevant variables (such as financial and economic stability, level of committment measured using criteria other than marriage, education level, etc) constant.

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