I’m running into a problem with my boyfriend. We aren’t having cheating problems or anything, but he wants marriage and I’m not sure that I do. He and I have been together for four years and I love him so much, but he keeps talking about how he wants to get married. I usually either dodge the topic of conversation when he brings it up, or say stuff like maybe one day.
A few nights we got into an argument because he asked me straight up if I envisioned us getting married or engaged in the next year, and I finally told him straight up I don’t know if marriage is for me. He wasn’t feeling that answer, because he said if we aren’t working toward marriage, then what are we doing? I’m committed to him and all, but I just don’t know if I want to marry him or anybody. Also, I don’t think it’s fair to be pressured into marriage just because my boyfriend wants it.
I’m not sure what to do here. Really don’t want my boyfriend to leave me over this. Your advice is appreciated.
-Not Ready for Marriage
Dear Not Ready for Marriage,
Thanks for writing to me. I can’t even lie, this is a situation that hit close to home a bit because I have a history of not being a strong advocate of marriage for my own life. To be clear, I have nothing against the institution of marriage. I think it’s beautiful when a couple chooses to celebrate their love in that way. However, I’m a big fan of the Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn couples of the world who have committed their lives to one another, yet didn’t see the need to solidify their love with the business arrangement of marriage. Not too sound cold, but in America, marriage has often been reduced to tax returns, insurance benefits, and next of kin status for legal purposes. And again, to be clear, I may not be rushing to get married, but I’m not completely against the idea. Anyway, this is about you and your situation, not me.
One of the first takeaways I got from reading your letter is the fact that you said you and your boyfriend have been together for four years. I’m shocked your true feelings about marriage haven’t surfaced in your relationship before now. I know you claimed to get through conversations with him about marriage by dodging his questions or saying “maybe one day”, but four years and no argument about the topic until now, that’s interesting. Well, maybe not that interesting. It’s pretty clear that you’ve been misleading your boyfriend.
You kept the idea of marriage alive for him every time you dodged the conversation or gave him false hope, which wasn’t fair on your part. Your boyfriend feels you lied to him, because if you felt that strongly against marriage, you never communicated that. And now four years later, your boyfriend is left to wonder about the direction of your relationship, and the fulfillment of his dream. So yeah, your man is pissed off, and he has a right to be.
Look, I’m not trying to make you feel bad. I just want you to realize that you helped set up the foundation for this argument you’re currently in with your man. With that said, it’s time you and your boyfriend have a real face-to-face conversation about what your relationship looks like in the future. But before you go into this conversation, figure out why you don’t want to get married, and if perhaps your feelings about marriage are rooted in true opposition of the concept or fear of it.
Suggestions going forward
- Again, have a face-to-face conversation with your boyfriend about your future. Be sure to ask why marriage is so important to him, because it may sway you in your feelings on the topic. Also, think about what an equitable compromise might look like if you discover you both can’t agree on marriage at this time.
- In the future, remember, it’s best to just be upfront about your feelings on such big life decisions.
As always nothing but love,
Oh, and make sure you check out my new scripted show, Majoring in Me the Podcast.