Post # 1
This is my first ever post here and I guess I’m just looking for an objective sounding board so, here goes (please be gentle)…
My SO and I have been together for almost 9 years and he is definitely the love of my life. We have good jobs, have lived together for around 7 years (joint mortgage) and have been lucky to travel the world together.
I am 31 (never married and don’t want kids), he is 43 (divorced with 2 adult sons). He told me right from the beginning that he would never remarry and I accepted that (I was 22 when we met). We are happy, faithful, committed to each other etc and regularly talk about our retirement together and growing old etc..He has always maintained the ‘no marriage’ stance though and, until recently, it honestly wasn’t an issue for me.
This year something in me changed though, I’ve seen lots of engagements / weddings etc and I’ve suddenly realised I really do want to get married! I have been dreaming a lot lately about a wedding on our tenth anniversary and have tried talking to my boyfriend about this but he won’t even discuss it with me. He says he was open from the start and nothing has changed for him – be wants to be with me forever but point blank refuses to get married again.
I guess realising its definitely NOT gonna happen has just made me want it even more and I am now utterly devastated. I’m ashamed to say I tried the emotional blackmail and issued an ultimatum which just pushed him further away. He is angry that I have changed the goalposts, I am angry that he won’t even consider this…we are barely even speaking. Yesterday I wrote down all my feelings in a letter and explained that I don’t see a future without him so just need some time and space to come terms with this but will try to move on from this WITHOUT marriage.
I know he has read the letter but neither of us has mentioned it yet. I am trying so hard to accept this…I love him with all my heart and can’t bear the thought of leaving but I am also crying myself to sleep at night. Can we get past this? Will I end up resenting him forever? Anyone got any advice at all? My heart is breaking 🙁
Post # 3
- Wedding: July 2014 - Prague
I would try couples’ therapy. Seriously. This is something you guys need to explore without ultimatums, blackmail, OR %100 no negotiation.
I think in therapy you can have the discussion and really find out if it’s a deal breaker.
Post # 4
@SellyJo: First, welcome!
Yeah, I kind of think it is a deal breaker if neither of you could compromise or reach and agreement on what you will both be content with, be it a courthouse marriage or a legal agreement or a commitment ceremony or the security of knowing that you already have a deep social and financial commitment to each other.
I also think it is unrealistic for him to think that as you grew an matured that this wouldn’t be something you could potentially change your mind on. There are a lot of 22 year olds that aren’t thinking about getting married. Just like how at 28 I’m saying that I’ll think about kids maybe when I’m 30. There used to be a time when I said I would never have kids. At 34 when you met, he had gotten through most of that self-discovery that seems to hit full force in the 20s, but you were just entering that time period. So I don’t view it so much “moving the goalposts” as your ideas growing and evolving as you matured.
And also, I don’t fully understand why this isn’t something he would consider either. You’ve been together 9 years. So he’s been divorced for roughly 25% of his life. This isn’t someone who has just gone through a divorce. I understand being gunshy, but you have already stuck with him for the long haul and your relationship has lasted longer than some marriages.
The funny thing is in my state you would be considered married by a common-law marriage. You have a domestic partnership and own assets together, so the government here would view you as married.
The two of you may consider couples conseling to see if this is something that can be bridged. Is it the legal benefits of marriage or the symbolism of a ceremony? Is his aversion to marriage because of the ex-wife or because he has deep problems with the entire institution of marriage?
Post # 5
Although I understand why your SO would be upset that YOU’RE now upset and angry with HIM for something he has never for a moment misled you regarding, I also understand your desire to be married.
There are many people who want to reduce the significance of marriage to a piece of paper when comparing it with being in what they consider to be a committed, long-term, monogamous relationship that involves living together and having joint assets. However, I believe there is a significant difference between what your nine-year relationship has provided for you and what marriage is.
I think you’ll find that most people will tell you that your relationship is more important than being married. However, I am not one of them. For moral and spiritual reasons, as well as legal and practical ones, I could not ever have settled for the type of arrangement with which your SO appears to be satisfied.
As much as you say that you love your SO, and as painful and traumatic as leaving this relationship may be for you, it’s clear that, if marriage is your goal, you will not ever achieve it as long as you remain with your current SO.
I wish you the very best!
Post # 6
I think you should go to therapy by yourself. He has already told you he won’t get married and men don’t usually change their minds on things like this.
Post # 7
You have the right to change your mind, but he has the right to stick to his stance on marriage. If you truly want to get married, it doesn’t look like he’s the one to do that with. Have you explored why you want to get married? Do you sense a lack of committment on his part? What has made you change your mind?
(Also, I am glad I don’t have to stick with decisions I made when I was 22! That’s pretty young to know that you DEFINITELY don’t want to get married.)
Post # 8
@SellyJo: Well, neither of you are necessarily wrong here. He was honest with you from the beginning and I’m sure you respect that. And you admit you’ve changed your stance on wanting to be married, which is understandable and your right to do. But, try to see it from his point of view, he thought you two were in agreement about it. So, he’s going through trying to see things differently now, perhaps.
I say give him some time to come around. But in the long run if you really want marriage and he won’t change his mind, then you may need to take a huge step away from this relationship. If you both have some time apart to think things through it could help you see more clearly. For me, I know I’d need a breather if he wouldn’t at least try to see my point of view.
Post # 9
Oh that’s tough.
I know one couple who are in a similar situation (in their 30s, both never married though, she wants to be married and he WILL NOT) and I honestly am not sure why she stays with him knowing this. She can’t accept it and is somehow deluding herself into thinking he will eventually one day marry her…no, he won’t. It’s a dealbreaker for her, but she can’t see what’s in front of her.
I know another couple who are in their 20s, she wants to get married and he doesn’t, but even more complicating is that she wants children so so so badly and he absolutely, positively does NOT want them. Again, an obvious dealbreaker for her, but she seems to think he’ll come around soon. I don’t think it’ll happen.
I think what it comes down to is whether or not it’s a dealbreaker for you. Marriage isn’t for everyone, that’s the truth. But is it something you need? Only you can answer that.
I second the therapy suggestion.
Post # 10
I’m so sorry you are going through this. This is a hard situation and I think instead of blackmailing him you need to calm down for a few days and go to therapy like prahajess said. If it was me and I knew I wasn’t going to have children MAYBE I could look past it, but it would be difficult. The bottom line is you have to decide how important marriage is to you. You will get a lot of different answers, but just follow your heart. If you really think you can look past him not wanting to get married and continue your realtionship that is fine! But if not, this may be a deal breaker for you.
Post # 11
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
That’s hard. It sounds like you want a wedding / celebration of your love just as much as you want to be married? Sorry if I’m reading that wrong, but there’s nothing wrong with that at all! If so, maybe you can plan a huge 10-year anniversary party with all your friends and family. You could explicitly say something like “We’re not interested in getting married, but we want to throw a once-of-a-lifetime party” to have people understand how important it is.
I got married after 12 years together with my guy, and if it makes you feel any better: I respectfully disagree with @Brielle: and think it’s really not that different. The wedding was totally amazing and one of the happiest days of my life (but I think you could get that with a diffferent kind of party). The marriage itself feels about the same level of comfort and committment and happiness we had before (which is to say a LOT – we were definitely life partners before the wedding, similar to you and your guy).
Good luck, I’m sorry you’re going through this. xox
Post # 12
This would be a dealbreaker for me. There are plenty of people who will tell you that marriage is just a piece of paper. It’s not (I know, I lived with my now-husband for quite a long time before we were engaged). It is so much more. You’re still young, you still have time to move on and find someone that will give you the level of commitment that you’re looking for. I wouldn’t wait around, you will just end up resenting your SO and prolonging our own unhappiness. Good luck and so sorry you’re going through this.
Post # 13
You have known how he felt all along, but you are certainly free to change your mind. What are his reasons for never wanting to remarry, because he has already been divorced once? If your feelings are changing than I think a couples counselling session wouldn’t hurt so you can both talk about everything with an objective third party.
Since you have been ok with this situation for the past 9 years and are only now starting to feel differently, only you can decide if this is going to be a deal breaker or not.
Post # 14
@lolot: Sorry for any confusion. 🙂 I just want to note that I don’t disagree that many other people feel that being married is not all that different from how their lives were prior to marriage, especially if a couple was already living together and sharing assets. I was attempting to say (based on my faith, values, and belief system) that I believe marriage, from a spiritual and moral perspective, as well as a legal and practical one, is very different from not being married.
Also, your point about marrying your SO after 12 years of being together is a good one. It’s certainly possible that the OP’s SO eventually could change his mind in the future. I just don’t think she can ever count on that happening, because it may not ever occur.
Post # 15
If you’re not planning on ever having kids, I wouldn’t consider marriage a dealbreaker, but that’s just me!
Do you NEED marriage to be happy? If you do, it’s time to move on. (As much as that sucks)
Post # 16
@SellyJo: I actually respect guys who lay it all out there in beginning. I really do (even players who let the women know they aren’t the only one) then the women are educated and make their own choices. That being said… People grow and change and what was good for 22 year old you is not making you happy. IMO he should want you to be happy. Why not marriage? If not what about a commitment ceremony where you still make your commitment and have a party to celebrate/acknowledge with friends and family??? I mean your half of it and goal posts change- it is part of life. good luck:)