General Question

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Weddings make my boyfriend and I argue. How can I prevent this?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5668points) September 22nd, 2017

Every time a friend gets engaged or a wedding invitation comes in the mail, it reminds me that it still hasn’t happened for me. It especially gets me down when the couple has been together for a shorter time than my partner and I.

**Can skip to the TLDR here if you want**

We’ve been together for three years and have lived together for two and are very happy. I’m 28, he’s 36, and was previously married to a woman who cheated and abandoned.

He was divorced when I met him and is now in the process of having the marriage annulled in the Catholic church. The process will take a few more months ‘til he’s free and clear.

More than a year ago, we started talking about the prospect of tying the knot but I’m still waiting—sometimes more patiently than others.

We’ve picked a ring style and he’s taken me to try similar rings on but says that the diamond must be “flawless” (not super important to me) and he needs to save up X amount of money to afford it. I’ve suggested covering half but he won’t hear it. I think that’s silly. It’s 2017 and women earn money and don’t need to be “bought” with a rock.

We agree that we don’t want a wedding and will likely do City Hall, so to him, the ring is very important in terms of something he can provide me (IMO in the service of his masculinity).

The problem is, it’s getting harder for me to wait. I don’t want to be impatient, and I don’t want to be immature and manipulative by issuing any kind of ultimatum. I just want to be his wife.

How can I survive weddings without getting into another tearful argument with the man I love? I try not to bring it up, but it’s so hard to hide my true feelings from the person I spend most of my time with.

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25 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Your husband might get excommunicated if he marries again. Can you settle for being common law married for now ? Marriages are for raising children anyway.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 That’s not true at all. Once the previous marriage is annulled, he’s free to marry again in the Catholic church.

New York State doesn’t have common law marriage anyway. We want to have children someday and I’d prefer to do it before we’re too old.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace . Ok problem solved you just have to wait until the previous marriage is annulled. I’m not a legal expert.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Neither of us have children, but even if he did, an annulment wouldn’t make them illegitimate.

Legitimacy is only determined by whether the parents were legally married at the time of their birth. I know a couple who had a “shotgun wedding” and then had a Catholic convalidation a few years later (basically a wedding) where their two sons were part of the ceremony. They were 100% legitimate and still are.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace Sounds like you know more about the inns and outs of Catholic marriages than me. How can I help? Other than to give emotional support?

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

How can I be patient and not feel weepy and jealous every time I see someone getting what I so dearly want?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace You don’t. We were made to feel the pain. It is the redeeming qualities of humans. You are free to talk to a priest or councillor. I have my own regrets that can’t be fixed even being an immortal time traveling ex-Christian. In a time loop. I keep trying to fix my relationship with a woman that I love when she hates me. Best to drop your desires or else get caught in your personal hell. Be greatful for what you have.

chyna's avatar

You need to practice self control. Perhaps he is hesitant because of the fighting every time a wedding is mentioned.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@chyna It’s not every time a wedding is mentioned, but he notices that I get bummed out when people we know get engaged or married. It’s hard for me to hide my feelings, so it sometimes sparks a tearful argument, but not all the time. I would say it comes up every few months…

It’s not that I’m not happy for other people, I am. But it just reminds me of what I can’t have that seems to come easily for others.

It also doesn’t help that my mom is dead and I’m estranged from an abusive father. I’ve long ago given up the idea of a traditional “white wedding” for those reasons, and I’m at peace with it mostly. But I would at least like my partner to make good on his promise to commit to me.

jca's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace: For the amount of money that he wants to save up, how much longer does he expect it will take?

You can still wear a white dress in a civil service. It doesn’t sound to me as if you are thrilled with the thought of a civil service instead of a “traditional white wedding.”

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@jca I actually do like the idea of being a City Hall bride, especially in a great city like NYC, followed by an extended honeymoon.

My BF has already been through the expensive wedding ringer with his first wife and I don’t have parents so it would be really forced and stressful for us to try to do that. Weddings always look so pretty on Instagram but I’ve rarely been to one that I thought was worth what the couple paid. Just my opinion, of course.

I don’t know how long it will take him to save and I don’t want to nag, especially when he’s in the process of annuling his previous marriage and understandably on edge about the ex making a fuss. He’s dead set on me having what he deems to be a good enough engagement ring and doesn’t like the idea of me paying for half or starting with something modest and upgrading later if he wishes.

I just want the commitment. Not the ring or the wedding.

jca's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace: It seems you have the commitment but not the ring. Does the commitment mean less to you without the ring? I’m gathering that there’s no rectifying the ring situation and no telling how long it will take, as your boyfriend insists on it and you have no idea how long it will take for him to save.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace We are in a committed relationship but marriage would be meaningful to me. Plus we agree that we’d like to have at least one child. I’d like that to happen before I start getting hot flashes!

chyna's avatar

You are only 28. You need to chill.

kritiper's avatar

You worry too much about getting married and you pressure your BF about it. No wonder you argue!! Stop talking about it! If it’s such a big deal for you, find another BF.

JLeslie's avatar

I think do your best to not let these other weddings get to you, but watch for him procrastinating. Does he have to be single to get the annulment? Does the church require it? If not, then that’s no reason for you two not to be planning your wedding day. I don’t know the Catholic rules. If you’re getting a civil marriage then the church doesn’t matter anyway. Maybe I’m not completely understanding all of that. He cares about the annulment, but doesn’t care about marrying you in the church?

As far as the ring. You can get the ring after the marriage. Get a simple band for the ceremony if you want to have something.

Three years is long enough to make a date if you both want to get married. I think he’s reluctant. I could easily be wrong though.

janbb's avatar

There seems to be a consistent pattern in your questions of you comparing yourself or your life to other people’s. Focus on trying to avoid that and enjoy what you have.

CWOTUS's avatar

For someone who claims to be “very happy” your statement of the problem indicates a lot of frustration, impatience and a certain amount of anxiety about your current life status. If you’re happy then you should spend more time being, y’know, “happy”.

“Being married” won’t make you more happy, if you think that’s a particular goal. If you’re not “actually happy” now, then being married won’t really advance that. It should not be – as you put it yourself “in this day and age” – a particular goal. Obviously, people aren’t going to think of you as a spinster because you’re not already married and producing offspring.

Looking forward a little deeper into the future, are you going to be equally anxious when your formerly single girlfriends state having their second and third kids… and you’re still planning a honeymoon? Is it going to be like this forever?

canidmajor's avatar

Maybe go ahead and have a child if you are concerned about your age vis a vis childbearing. At least present it as an option to him.

funkdaddy's avatar

Maybe putting it in a different perspective would be helpful?

Pressuring someone into marriage, or pressuring for marriage on your terms, is exactly the same dynamic as pressuring someone into sex.

You might get what you want, but the unintended precedent and feelings it creates will not be in line with the intent. Neither person should feel the event is out of their control.

You’re asking for forever, but need it right now.

jca's avatar

Good points above. Maybe he’s stalling, maybe not. If you don’t know how much he wants to spend on a ring and have no idea how long it will take him to save for it (the mystery amount), then only you can decide if waiting more than 3 years is something you want to do.

Kardamom's avatar

I think you both are in need of couples counseling.

Even if he gets his marriage anulled, which seems kind of shitty to me (because you, me, your boyfriend, his wife, and the lampost, know that he was, in fact, married) and I’m pretty sure the Carholic church frowns upon couples cohabitating before marriage (or in your case, during someone else’s) marriage. Annulment ain’t the same thing as a legal divorce.

You are in too much of a hurry for all the wrong reasons, and he’s stalling and making up reasons for why you shouldn’t get married as soon as possible.

There is at least a year of problems to get worked out (legally, spiritually, and within your own “relationship”) before you even think about getting married. I think couples counseling is imperative in this situation. There are just too many things that just ain’t kosher.

JLeslie's avatar

Are you the girlfriend immediately following his ex-wife?

Inspired_2write's avatar

“We’ve been together for three years and have lived together for two”
You are already married without the benefit of legality or Church.
He could give you more reassurances by giving a promise ring etc
Its all about trust and comfort in the relationship as it is now.
Perhaps he is waiting to be free of last marriage etc before he commits fully, even though you both have effectively done already.
I think the reason your are tearful is because you fell betrayed and that he is withholding
( making excuses about rings costs etc)..
I suggest that ONLY You go to a counsellor to determine what decisions and things have to be ironed out about trust and commitment.
As for going to weddings..go and say NOTHING about why you two aren’t married.In fact do the opposite remain silent ( resigned) .When you change your approach and stop taling he will notice and maybe will be honest with you about committing.
See a counsellor on your own about your justified fears after placing trust and time and living together investments. If you push someone against there will then divorce will be the result.

Mircat's avatar

Hold on! Theres something something not right about this story. He’s trying to get the martiage annulled in the Catholic church? What Catholic church was he married in? Do you know for a fact he was? Do the 2 of you go to services together? Does he go to confession? Annulment in the church is someone who is very seriously religious. If he is doing this, WHY is he willing to get married at City Hall? The church isnt going to accept this as an actual marriage. Why doesnt he want a church wedding? I think there questions that need answering.

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