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evry1luvzaazngrl's avatar

What should I do if my bf is unsure about getting married one day?

Asked by evry1luvzaazngrl (268points) October 9th, 2010

Hi everyone, my bf is 22 and I’m 21. We’ve been together for 4½ years and have a good relationship. We don’t live together, no kids, we never really seriously talked about marriage until today after all these years.

I asked him about it and he said he is unsure about marriage and never really gave it a lot of thought. I was upset and he said he had no idea it was important to me. I told him when he knows for sure he doesn’t want to get married tell me and he said, “Why? You goin to break up with me?” and I told him maybe. I do know he wants kids when financially (he’s broke!) ready but there’s no way I’m having his kids if he won’t even marry me.

He said he honestly doesn’t understand marriage…what does it do for a relationship. Part of him thinks it’ll change our relationship for the worse. He is in the military, so marriage would definitely be a lot of help which is a plus.

He’s been very committed to me and he even told me I was his “life line” and I’m always there for him. He says his day can’t be normal without me and having someone to share his day with.

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16 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Don’t marry him until he’s sure about it.

lillycoyote's avatar

The two of you are 22 and 21. That’s very young. I don’t think its uncommon or at all unreasonable as a matter of fact, for someone that young to be reluctant to commit. It’s a big deal. It’s supposed to be a commitment that you make for the rest of your life. If you love him and he loves you stick with it for a while. If you get to a point where you feel that it is the right time for you to get married and settle down and he still can’t do it then you may have to move on. You can’t make him do something he doesn’t want to do and if you could, what would it mean?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I think he has a good point. You need to explain to him why marriage is important to you, and if you present it in the right way he may become open to the idea.

More the the point, why would you break up (or even suggest that you might) with a guy you obviously love just because he doesn’t want marriage? I’m on his side with this one (although slightly more radical) – I don’t like the idea of marriage, and I cannot see why it would be important to the survival of an otherwise successful relationship.

downtide's avatar

You said “we never really seriously talked about marriage until today”
That is why he never thought about it before or realised it was important to you.

You are both very young. I was 22 when I married, and I often regret that I didn’t leave it longer. I don’t think you should break up because he’s not ready for it yet: give him time. The average age for men to marry is 27, or thereabouts.

Is living together without marriage an option?

BarnacleBill's avatar

You’re both very young to have been in a relationship that young without having dated other people. Are his parents divorced? I’ve noticed that among my daughter’s friends, the young men with divorced parents seem to be less enthusiastic about marriage.

Are you in school? Working full time? Perhaps the idea of settling down, that this is the future, hasn’t hit him yet, and he thinks that somehow life is going to be different.

Marriage can be hard work, is hard work, in the long-term. Don’t be in any rush to get yourself into it. Wait until both parties are sure.

One thing is for certain, do not move in with him without a sincere commitment on his part. Statistically, relationships where people live together do not end in marriage, or if they do, the end in divorce. Some guys, it takes a long time to get to the point where they feel like they are in control of what happens to them, let alone being responsible for contributing to the happiness and well-being of another person.

Cruiser's avatar

I don’t blame you for getting upset…and if a man cannot tell you straight up if you and him have a future I would try to get to the rock bottom of why. The long and short of it though is you are still very young and marriage is a serious endeavor and I couldn’t begin to imagine having all the ducks in a row that marriage truly requires at your age…not to say you couldn’t.

Again I would ask him straight up what is up and be prepared to bail and find a man who can commit to you without having to think about it.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Cruiser Why equate marriage with commitment? Can’t someone be committed without wanting marriage?

john65pennington's avatar

After all this time together, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

I wonder what the stats are for couples that dated a long time and were happy, then married and divorced soon after?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Why only stay in relationships that ‘might lead to marriage’? Don’t fall into the trap and enjoy life.

evry1luvzaazngrl's avatar

Well, I don’t plan to marry for another 5–6 years…so it’s a LONG way from now. In no way am I ready to get married soon or have kids haha. He just kind of confuses me because he used to talk about what he would do for his wedding or how he’d propose. We actually came to this topic when he was sad about life (going through rough times..) where he’s at so I guess it wasn’t the most optimistic converseation..

Cruiser's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Good point but I think outside the context of what the OP was asking since it was about marriage and not just a committed relationship. He obviously has issues with the marriage part and perhaps rightly so as being in the military is stressful enough and to pile on the responsibility of marriage is something both here have to be sensitive to.

tranquilsea's avatar

If this is the first time you’ve talked about it then, if I was you, I would leave it. He needs to time to think about what you’ve said. If you feel you haven’t articulated the reasons why marriage is important to you then you may want to do so at some point.

IMHO, there is nothing wrong with feeling and wanting a deep commitment from someone you love. I don’t agree with the thought that, “he’s with you so what more do you want?” I’ve never searched for the statistics and perhaps they don’t exist but my gut tells me that only a very small portion of guys who never want to solidify the commitment go on to have long lasting relationships. Most guys say that because they want to keep their options open.

But this is new information for him. Give him time. I wouldn’t throw down any more ultimatums and you may want to apologize for telling him you may want to move on.

Trillian's avatar

Since you don’t live together, I think you’ll be ok. The minute he wants to “play house” without the benefit of the clergy I would hesitate.
You can “say” you’re committed to a relatonship all day, but living together is really no more than playing house, and when the fights happen, the only source for overseeing fair and equatable division of responsibility cannot help you since you have no contract.
Hold out for what you want. If he doesn’t want to give it to you, ask yourself serioously if you can live for the rest of your life with what he is willing to give. If you feel ok with it, then stay with him. If you want more, well, you know what to do.

Smashley's avatar

Everyone else has better points than me, so I just wanted to add a tiny adendum. Sometimes, particulary for males, the idea of marriage is wrapped up with the idea that there will have to be a wedding. These events can be quite expensive (and boring and idiotic, in my opinion) and for a lot of men in their twenties who have very limited financial means, the fact that they feel an expensive wedding/expensive engagement ring is expected whenever someone gets married, precludes them ever seriously considering marriage. At best they toy with the idea and put it off until that vague point in the future when they think they can afford to do it.

It’s silly, I know, since a marriage should be about the relationship and not jumping through these ridiculous hoops, but a lot of men think it is expected of them, and frankly, a lot of women actually do expect it.

llewis's avatar

A) As others have said, you are still really young. As long as you don’t “play married” by moving in together, be patient. (Living together is all the headaches of marriage without the benefits – and in some states you ARE married once you live together!)

B) That said, for future use, you can use this to decide what to do if you want to get married and he doesn’t/may not. Think about if you could have the “ideal” relationship with someone else – someone who would say the things you want said, do the things you want done, be the person you think you want your mate to be. Would you rather be with him, or with your bf in the relationship you have now, or that he thinks he wants? If you want your ideal, then don’t marry the bf no matter whether he asks you or not. If you want your bf, then take him as he is – he WILL NOT change.

I was in a similar situation (at about 15 years older than you are, by the way). Once I realized that I would rather be with my mate as he was than with anyone else doing what I thought I wanted, it got better. I relaxed and was able to just accept him as he is, and enjoy what we had. And eventually, after we had been together for about 12 years, we did get married. I won’t say it’s perfect, but I still would rather be with him than with anyone else on the face of the earth. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

I understand that you are younger and and have parenthood ahead of you. But you want a stable, happy home for your children. Maybe my “formula” won’t work for you, but maybe it will give you something to think about, at any rate.

Good luck! Stay true to yourself!

Iclamae's avatar

I’ll throw my two cents in but it’s kind of similar to the others here.

~You just introduced the idea to him. Give him some time to think about it and talk about it some more.
~You do need to decide why you want marriage. There are a lot of people who make life long commitment work without marriage. Personally, I like the traditional aspect of marriage but there are a lot of government related benefits that come with it. Especially when one of you is in the military. Also talk to him about why he doesn’t want marriage. If he has some philosophical disagreement with the concept… well that’s tricky. If he just doesn’t want to commit… well… I personally would be upset. Either way, you two have to discuss it more and your reasons for feeling the way you do.
~I disagree with @Trillian about living together and marriage. I personally think living together is an important step to take before you decide you want to be in a relationship with this man (and possibly have kids with) for the rest of your life. That kind of environment will tell you new things about him and vice versa and it’s important to know that you can in fact life with him for the rest of your life. It’s often hard and requires compromises and work but sometimes there really are people that just shouldn’t live together.
~Remember your goals for the future. Often times, a couple can compromise their goals without losing them entirely or interlace them so that both are satisfied. This is not always the case though. In the event you and your boyfriend realize that you both disagree about where you want your future to go… you may need to break up. It really is a matter of whether the person who’s going to lose something in the compromise can be ok with it, forgive the other’s feelings on it, and accept the decision. If not, the hurt and anger that will build from it are terrible to put anyone through.

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