Post # 1
Hello everyone! New bee here. I’m not sure if this is the right board since I’m already engaged, but still ‘waiting’.
I’ve been with my Fiance for 10 years, I’m 28 and he is 32. Moved in together in 2010, engaged in 2012. There was no proposal or e-ring, we just announced to our parents that we wanted our relationship to be formal, had a big family dinner and exchanged rings. It’s been four years now that I consider myself to be engaged, and so does the rest of the world but people have started to ask questions, including my parents and his parents.
We had a long talk about why our engagement is so long, his main point was that our finances are not good enough to allow us to be married, and I agree with him but only up to a point. We can afford a ceremony but the expenses of actually being married (taxes, bills, house expenses etc) is what’s stopping him. My point was that, the perfect time where we will have our dream jobs and the perfect house may never come, and that I have a certain time frame to start a family.
The reason I’m confused though is what he told me a week ago. He came home and told me that a friend asked him when we’ll finally get married, and he replied that he doesn’t believe in marriage, that it’s only a piece of paper and nothing more, and being married doesn’t prove that he loves me more. On the other hand, he wants to be engaged with me.
When I told him that engagement is just a transition between being in a relationship and being married and it is not meant to last forever, he told me that to him it doesn’t work like that, and that engagement can even last 30 years and that the rest of the world is wrong and I shouldn’t listen to anyone. I really wanted to slap him when I heard that but I held myself back. How can a man be 32 years old and think like a 10 year old child? I really cannot understand his way of thinking, and I’ve started to think that he doesn’t want any real commitment that will formally and legally connect him with me, he just wants to keep me close by being ‘engaged’.
My question is, how can a man believe in engagement but not in marriage? Do you have any advice on how to handle this situation? Any similar experiences from both women and men?
Post # 2
rosettemb: “Fiance” sounds to others like a more serious relationship yet doesn’t require any actual legal commitment on his behalf. Claiming to be engaged to you quieted others’ questions and bought him more years of your time. Now he’s telling you directly that what you have now is all you’re getting. Nothing to be confused about. The word “fiance” is just a useful word to him. He is not going to marry you.
Post # 3
I’m confused now. The expenses of being married, “taxes, bills, house expenses” – don’t you both have those now? I think your SO sees being engaged as a way to placate you without having to go all in, ie., marriage. People get engaged to be married, and I don’t know what world he’s living in where you just stay engaged long-term. A wedding doesn’t have to be a big deal if money’s tight. Talk to him again – let him know marriage is very important to you. If he won’t marry you, then you have a decision to make.
Post # 4
rosettemb: It doesn’t sound like you’re engaged at all, since by his comments he has no intention of marrying you. Finances usually get better after marriage with tax breaks and a combined income. Some men do what your SO has done and get “engaged” to placate their Girlfriend and put off making any kind of solid commitment until it’s too late and their Girlfriend feels she has no choice but to stay with him. It’s very cruel and I’m sorry this happened to you. You’ll have to decide if marriage is more important to you than this man, since it sounds like it’s not going to happen with him.
Post # 5
rosettemb: Ditto what PP have said. My ex, after six years, would talk to me about marriage but would never go further than that. I finally realized a) he was stringing me along and b) I didn’t want to waste any more time on that. Things were going nowhere. I left, he met a new girl within three months and they were engaged 18 months later and married 18 months after that. It wasn’t him not wanting to get married, it was him not wanting to get married to ME. He happened to be a jerk and leaving was the best decision I ever made. My fiancée and I dated for about 15 months, have been engaged for almost a year, and will be getting married in just under six months. If it’s right and the guy is ready he won’t string you along.
Also, marriage does equal tax breaks. So I’m not sure how it could be MORE expensive if you are already living together and sharing bills and expenses unless combined you make quite a bit of money, which somewhat negates the “can’t afford it” argument…
Post # 6
If you’re both making enough to be hit with the marriage penalty on your taxes, you should be pretty financially successful, yes? And you’re already living together, so you’re already paying for housing, bills, etc.
It’s fine for him to not believe in or want marriage. What’s not fine is him misleading you all this time. You have made it clear that that’s what you want. He should at least be incredibly contrite about telling you that he can’t give you that after so long. Instead he’s gaslighting you. This does not bode well for long-term parternship. I’m sorry.
Post # 7
First of all, welcome!
Had the two of you talked about actually getting married at all before you got engaged or just after? After 6(?) years of dating I’m sure you had probably had conversations about it but it’s an important point. A long engagement is fine, but it doesn’t sound like he sees being engaged the same as most of us, ‘engaged TO BE MARRIED’ (When you are planning your wedding/the run up to getting married). But this is the point at which I’m confused, it sounds like he WAS fine with getting married but wanted to wait until he had his ducks in a row for that (fine, that’s something that you can talk about) but from your post it sounds as if he’s just suddenly decided he doesn’t want to get married at all. I think at this point I would question what has made him decide this all of a sudden, and start to consider whether I’d be happy to live the way he wants.
I’d be more interested in WHY this change of heart? If you manage to find out what’s up and maybe that he’d go through with getting married then work out a plan for affording the wedding and for living arrangements thereafter and hopefully set a rough timescale.
Do you live together? (Guessing not from your post) as this would be a major point for me, I’d talk to him about whether during this engagement (not getting married) does he plan to live with you? Have children? Etc? If not I think you have your answer as to where the relationship is actually headed.
Post # 8
I would give him a dictionary and direct him to the entry for “ENGAGED.”
In all seriousness though, this doesn’t sound good. Agree with PPs. You’re not engaged if he doesn’t “believe in marriage” and refuses to even talk about actually getting married. Also his excuses are insulting to your intelligence. As PPs have pointed out, taxes become CHEAPER when you’re married. And cohabitating is also cheaper than living alone. It costs like $60 to get married in a court house and you can walk in that day and get it done (seriously, I witnessed one yesterday and was stunned at the simplicity of the whole thing).
Figure out what you really want (the chance of marriage with someone else, or a life with no commitment from your boyfriend who can’t keep his word), and pursue that.
Post # 9
That guy isn’t going to marry you.
Post # 10
“we just announced to our parents that we wanted our relationship to be formal”
If these are the exact words, he wanted people to take your relationship seriously… But doesn’t say anything about getting married… It sounds like he just wanted people to be quiet about just dating. PPs are right, “fiance” gets taken more seriously than “boyfriend.”
I’ve never heard of someone believing in engagements but not marriage.
Post # 11
rosettemb: Words have meanings. Like, real actual meanings. Definitions, if you will. “Engaged” is not “a transition.” It means to be actively involved in something. The “engaged” in “We’re engaged!” is short for “engaged to be married.” That’s the whole phrase. It’s like how people use “contacts” to mean “contact lenses.” “Engaged” literally means actively involved in planning a wedding. So his explanation makes no sense. But then again, his financial excuse also makes no sense. If you’re living together and living as a couple, then nothing will change financially when you get married. You’ll still have the exact same expenses and bills. There may be some affect on your taxes, but depending on your situation, it could be positive or negative. Either way, unless there’s a huge disparity in your incomes, the change would not be significant enough to stop you from getting married if that’s what you want to do. This guy has been stringing you along and you’ve been letting him.
If he truly believes that marriage is just a piece of paper and won’t change anything, then he should be willing to get that piece of paper if you want it. It’s just a piece of paper, right? So there’s no reason NOT to get it. Tell him you understand that HE doesn’t care about marriage, but you do. So you’d like him to get that meaningless piece of paper. If he refuses, then he’s admitting that it’s NOT just a piece of paper. It means something and he doesn’t want what it means. Once he admits that, you’ll have to decide if you’re ok with that.
Post # 12
I’m sorry bee, but it really doesn’t seem like he’s ready/interested in marriage.
You’ve been living together for six years, so, getting married won’t change your housing or bill sitaution at all.
Post # 13
Being engaged means that you’re planning a wedding. It usually goes something like “will you marry me?” followed by “yes.” It typically doesn’t involve the groom not wanting to get married.
Post # 14
His finance excuses make zero sense to me
You already live together, your house expenses and bills are not going to change
and as for taxes, normally, you get BETTER tax benefits when you’re married!
My ex husband and I made about $140k combined, and filing jointly we got back more than both of us individually
Those excuses alone make it sounds like he doesnt want to be married, but I dont feel like you can ignore what he flat out said to you
We’re always told that Men say what they mean ( I dont find this to be true ALL the time)
If he says he doesnt believe in marriage, and sees no point….. I would take him at face value
is there a chance he could change his mind? Sure. But at 32? Unlikely
I dont typically encourage ultimatums, but at this point, I would flat out say, either we get married, or I am leaving.
IF, that is what you want. If marriage is a dealbreaker for you.
It would be for me. Especially with kids involved.
Good luck bee, its a hard situation
Post # 15
He sounds like a commitment phob who never intends on marrying you. If marriage is a deal breaker for you, well then, you know what you need to do.