Post # 1
Hello! Some background is that I’m American and my boyfriend is Swedish. I’m 28, he’s 29. I moved 2 1/2 years ago to Sweden to be with my boyfriend. Before the move I brought up engagement and that I would ideally like to be engaged before moving across the world. Since we had been long distance, he was uncomfortable with it and wanted to live together first so I “gave in” so to say. I did say that under no circumstances would I be a live in girlfriend forever.
Fast forward to today and I am so emotionally drained waiting for a proposal. I’ve brought it up recently and gave a semi-ultimatum of a year. We had a talk today and he said he feels stressed about it and that he doesn’t see the point in marraige and doesn’t want to spend the money on a wedding as we are also saving for a house (I would go to courthouse if thats the case!). In Sweden it’s not common to get married and none of his friends are or probably will be. They have put this idea in his head that I’m crazy for wanting it and tell him not to do it. He claims he doesn’t listen to them but I’m sure it is stressing him as well. Also legally, were “together” so everything is in my name as well, if we split it would be just like a divorce anyways so a marraige wouldn’t change that. Which is probaby why not many people marry here as well.
My issue is this: I feel so guilty for expecting marraige. I know that it’s all about compromise and I feel that I did that by moving to be with him and asking for marriage is not a huge ask. I know he truly doesn’t care about marraige and he will only do it to please me which makes me feel like I’m pushing him to do something he doesn’t want to. I will admit that I’ve bring bringing it up more lately than maybe I need to. So many of my friends and family are engaged and planning weddings, I am feeling jealous. He talks constanlty about having kids, were in the process of buying a house together, ect. I feel so unwanted though. Like getting engaged is such a bad thing, useless thing to him, it really gets to me.
I guess I’m just curious if others have been in the same situation. Was your SO not thrilled about marraige but did it for you? Any advice would be helpful. I’m starting to get crazy.
Post # 2
I’m not sure I have understand the situation fully … What does it mean to be legally together?
Post # 3
ah sorry, that was confusing. In Sweden we are “Sambo” which basically means in a domestic partnership (best way to translate it). Getting married wouldn’t change anything legally in Sweden, they see that as the same level as marraige here. So according to the Swedish government, we’re the same as being married it wouldn’t change anything. Part of the reason he doesn’t see the point in doing it.
Post # 4
So do you plan on staying in Sweden for eternity? You may be “sambo” in Sweden but that doesn’t mean dick anywhere else.
I get where he’s coming from, but you aren’t Swedish. What if you go to the U.S. to visit your family and something happens. If you’re not married, he won’t be able to make medical decisions for you, to take ownership of any American property, or anything else. It seems insane that he’d expect you to just accept the Swedish way of doing things without any consideration of what it means to you as an American, as a part of your culture as well as the legal structure in the U.S.
Post # 5
My SO also does not find marriage important but is doing it for me. I also grappled with feelings of feeling “unwanted” or worrying that I’m forcing him in to something.
There is a difference between him being indifferent to marriage, and him actively not wanting it/ just being talked into it. In the end, I realized my boyfriend was indifferent; happy to never marry, but aso fine with doing it if I really wanted since he wants to be with me permanently anyways. So I think the key is to determine whether your boyfriend really doesn’t want to or not.
The way I saw it in the end is that if he wasn’t actively interested in marriage and was happy with how things were, I would never get asked… I figured it was therefor incumbant upon me to propose instead! He said if I wanted it, he’d happily do it for me! I know it feels weird since society has basically conditioned us we need to wait around and be sad while we wait for our boyfriends to never propose, but you can ask him! And then you will have your answer! I understand that it’s hard to get past the feeling of not feeling chosen or wanted since he wasn’t the one to ask… I tried to look at it as proof of his commitment to me that he’d do this thing that he knew was so important to me.
That’s just my experience, I know having the women propose is not what feels right for every couple. But just thought I’d share since I was in a similar situation =)
Post # 6
It sounds like your SO doesn’t respect your culture & traditions. You two need to talk. Things don’t always need to be about him & his Swedish expectations.
Post # 7
It sounds like he’s neutral to the idea. So, not that he wants to NOT get married, but he just doesn’t care either way. So you’re not forcing him to do something he doesn’t want to do, you’re taking him up on his offer to do something he doesn’t care about either way. It’s natural that you want him to want it as much as you do, but you can’t make him want it. He’s willing to do it because it’s important to you. That’s not a bad thing.
Post # 8
He says he’ll do it though. How is that disrespecting her? I see it as the opposite. By saying “this isn’t important to me but I’ll do it because it’s important to you” he IS respecting her. You can’t make someone value something they don’t see as valuable. He’s not saying he’s opposed to it or that marriage is stupid and she’s stupid for wanting it. He’s saying it’s not a big deal to him and if it is to her, he’s cool with it. How is that disrespectful?
Post # 9
honestly if he’s willing to go to the courthouse even if he doesn’t get the point- that would be enough for me. it’s the guys who say it’s just a piece of paper and yet won’t get said “silly” piece of paper that are not trustworthy. If he wants to have kids and have a life with you, but will marry because it means a lot to you then move forward and make it happen or break up and move on. I would not budge on it- no marriage, no kids. He doesn’t have to “get” it personally, it being so very important to his partner should be enough.
Post # 10
It sounds like you’re already pretty much married by Swedish standards, so he doesn’t see the big deal in having a formal ceremony. He has essentially already made the commitment of marriage to you (re: legal protections), which from my perspective is a good thing because it shows he is serious and does want to make that commitment – he alrady did. It sounds like other factors – whether the American symbolism, religious tradition, or just the idea of having a wedding and a ring – make marriage attractive to you, however, and he should respect that.
I don’t think that means he needs to see marriage/engagement as important though – he can understand why it is to you without needing to embody those values. I think it’s fine for you guys to marry because it’s important to you and he is indifferent/sees you as already married. Personally I want to get married, but I’m not the type who fantasizes about my dream wedding or proposal. I just wasn’t brought up to value those things. I want to get married for the marriage, and I could take or leave the wedding. I’ve talked about it with my SO, and HE wants a wedding and proposal. I’m happy for him to propose to me and to plan a wedding, but the wedding at least would be more for him than for me – I’d just assume elope. I certainly don’t think that has anything to do with my level of commitment.
Post # 11
You can’t force someone else to change their values, and his views on marriage don’t mean that he values your relationship any less than if he were thrilled with the idea of marriage. I think you have to accept that you have different values on this topic, and accept that that’s ok. He’s willing to accomodate you, by getting married even though he’s not convinced you need to; I almost said “he’s willing to compromise” but he’s not even really comprimising, he’s coalescing. This is also ok– to him, it’s more important to make you happy than to get his way on this.
My advice: don’t hold him to the impossible standard of wanting marriage as badly as you do; have a wedding, don’t go overboard (remember, he’s really setting his feelings aside to get on board, so be mindful of his priorities when it comes to budget), have a happy life together.
Post # 12
I didn’t see the point but got married for my husband. It’s not a huge sacrifice to make someone happy.
Post # 13
I guess I’m confused. If being “sambo” is legally the same as being married in Sweden, then why not get married too, since that has cultural significance for you? You say he’ll do it for you, but you also say he’s stressed about it and his friends are pressuring him not to. That makes me think that marriage IS something bigger/more serious than being “sambo”…which is why he’s hesitating. Why are his friends putting the idea in his head that you are “crazy” for wanting marriage, if marriage is not different at all from what you already have?
I guess another question would be: why is marriage so important to you? What will that give you that being “sambo” does not?
Post # 14
As of now, yes we plan on staying in Sweden forever. And you bring up some very valid points. It hadn’t crossed my mind what would happen if I was traveling to the US with family and something happened. I think I’ll bring this up to my boyfriend. I think he doesn’t see the legal side of it at all but that is a large part of it also.
Post # 15
Thank you for sharing!! I’m glad to know someone else went through the same thing. It really does make you feel unwanted and honestly a little crazy too for “demanding” it. I like your idea! While right now I don’t have the nerve to do, down the road may be a different story. I think I need to alter my thinking to him showing me his commitment by doing it. Thanks for the help!!
Yes I definitely have the no marraige no kids rule. And he knows that if getting married isn’t on the cards, were not going to work out. I think the same. If he feels it’s silly and doesn’t mean anything, whats the big deal? That’s the most confusing part to me.
You have some great points. It’s not so much that I want him to be excited about it, it’s jsut that I feel guilty for basically forcing him into it. But maybe I need to see it as he mor doesn’t care about it. Good advice to take it easy on the wedding planning! I just want a simple wedding so it won’t cost much but I also think I need to remember not to be offended if he isn’t excited to plan…I could see that also being an issue in the future. Thanks for the advice!