I’m having a problem with my boyfriend. We’ve been together for four years, and we have a great relationship. I love him more today than ever, and he says the same. The issue is he won’t commit to marrying me. He told me that he doesn’t want to be with anyone else, but marriage is not something he’s ready to do. Like how does he not know if he’s ready to marry me after four years? I’ve been trying not to blow up at him too much because when we first started dating he said he wasn’t sure about marriage to anyone, but might be open to it. I get that. But damn, what is holding him back? Do you think I should press him on it? Or do you think I should give up on my dreams of marriage?
-Mr. Fed Up
Dear Mr. Fed Up,
Thanks for writing to me. While many people will agree with you that four years is enough time to know if you want to marry a person, I would argue that your boyfriend has communicated with you from the beginning that he’s not really wanting to be married. That for him, marriage is not necessarily the end goal in terms of a relationship and love.
You admitted that when you and your boyfriend started dating, he told you he “wasn’t sure about marriage to anyone but might be open to it.” That was a strong hint to you then that a wedding was not something he had to have or envisioned for his life. (And he’s not wrong for feeling that way.)
Given what you’ve shared, you shouldn’t take his stance on marriage as a personal attack. I get the impression his reservations are more about the institution of marriage and not his love for you. And for someone that doesn’t want to be married, the fact he’s been with you for four years in a relationship and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere should bring a smile to your face.
Now you asked if I think you should press him on marrying you or give up on your dreams? I’m going to advise you to think about why you really want to get married. What benefits do you think you will gain in a marriage that can only be gained in saying “I do”? Also, ask your boyfriend what about marriage makes him nervous? Have his past examples of married life not been good ones, which makes him apprehensive about getting hitched? Self-reflective conversations like these with yourself, and face-to-face conversations with your boyfriend about his apprehensions will really be what helps you determine if you stay in this relationship or leave.
Suggestions going forward
- Again, do some self-reflection on why you want to get married? If the relationship between you and your boyfriend is as great as you say it is, you may have to decide which is more important. A marriage to anyone or a relationship with the possible love of your life?
- If after talking to your boyfriend again he still isn’t sold on marriage, then don’t try to force the issue. Dragging someone to the alter is never a good thing.
As always nothing but love,