(Closed) He Says He's "Not Mentally Ready for Marriage"…And That Hurts.

posted 5 years ago in Waiting
Post # 32
625 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I’m going to have to agree with PPs and say that, while six years is a significant amount of time, it should not define your readiness for marriage considering you two are only 24 years old. If you had been together six years and you were in your late 20s or 30s and he wasn’t “mentally ready for marriage,” you’d have some cause for concern. 

Unfortunately most men take longer than us women to reach the point of readiness for marriage, and they mature much slower in general. I haven’t known of many men who were “mentally ready” for marriage at 24, so be easy on yourself and don’t take it personally. After all, he didn’t say he didn’t want to marry you. However, to be safe, and as PPs have said as well, perhaps you should ask for a little more clarity about what that means to him. To me, though, it doesn’t sound like a red flag. 

My SO comes from a very traditional family, so I can understand and appreciate where you are coming from with your struggles regarding the progression of your relationship. In this regard, my SO and I had a long talk about our mutual timeline for marriage and how it and our future are affected by respecting his family’s beliefs. Men are very logical creatures, so discussing our timeline reasoning supported with logic really helped us reach a mutual decision.

Perhaps this is something you should consider doing with your SO. He may still not be mentally ready for marriage, however I think you both will come to a better understanding of where each of you is at, and hopefully he’ll be able to give you a bit of a timeline for when he thinks he’ll be ready (after taking all of those logical reasons you have into consideration) so you won’t feel so in-the-dark. 

You should definitely talk to him and, assuming all goes well, be prepared to give him a couple more years. 

Post # 33
1443 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I know one thing that may have helped us, granted, I “waited” a long time and then made up my mind I’d stay no matter if we ever got married (and we finally did), was to ask his family and our friends to lay off.  Nagging never makes anyone feel like doing something, not taking out the trash, and definitely not getting married.  I had to ask H’s family to STOP – I did not want him to feel guilted into it, I wanted it to be HIS choice.  There are easy milestones and then there are the less tangible ones.  H always told me he did not see himself married before 30.  Once he got around to realizing he wanted it, it took him a few more years to be able to propose, and then two more years to get married.  So about the time I decided to try to just be happy with him, with or without marriage, he was ring shopping O_o.

I DO know that 24 may feel like you’ve hit all the main goals in life, but also, I know that I am not the same person I was at 24.  You’ll hate being told it’s young, but it is.  I am not saying you don’t want to marry this man, but I AM saying he may feel too young to get married.  And his feelings matter just as much as yours and need to be listened to.  You can discuss it, and let him know how you feel, but try to stay away from making it a topic every day, every week.  Give him some time in his own head to see how he feels.  Once all the pressure is off, and maybe as other friends get married and/or have kids, it will sink in that life can’t stop at 20, you’ve got to grow up and make some decisions some time, and marriage is one of them.  

For your own sake and well-being, try to stop seeing it as a slight.  He did not say he did not want to marry YOU – he said he’s not ready.  If a woman is not ready to sleep with a guy, we accept this.  If a man feels the same way about not feeling ready to take that deep plunge, it should also be okay.

Also, you may need to explain you want to be his wife – the wedding itself is secondary.  Getting married is not all just the wedding, but so many people get caught up in that, and he may want to avoid all that drama, money, and stress.  

And one more thing – does he have any anxiety issues?  H is terribly anxious about being up in front of people – he can do it for work, but he’s private, doesn’t like to even do social media.  The idea of standing in front of family and friends balked him so badly he wanted to just never do it.  He thought I’d be sad if we did not have a hoopla of a wedding, when I was fine with just us and a Justice of the Peace.  HE wanted a “pretty wedding” and vetoed the Justice of the Peace and I thought we were stuck.  Then we learned about “wedding-moons” where you go have a destination elopement, and all was solved.  Sure, it was nervewracking, traveling to another country for the first time ever AND getting married, but it took a lot of stress off him as far as not feeling his mother and sister were there to criticize how he dressed, stood, etc., and friends were not going to be there to “make fun of the groom”.  It was us, a minister, a coordinator, and a photographer/videographer, and some random beach goers and was great.  So, if anxiety about the ceremony itself is an issue, it’s something to consider.

He’s not telling you never – he’s just saying not right now.  This is kinda normal for today’s 20-something man, and not meant to hurt you – he’s just communicating how her feels.  Let him know you’re listening, you love him, and while you want to be his wife, you want him to want it, too.  And then let it go for a while.  Be happy day to day.  Be someone he WANTS to have with him.  🙂

Post # 34
4572 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

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hafh2016 :  I agree.  OP, I started dating DH at 18 as well and he wasn’t mentally ready to get married at 24 either (honestly, I really wasn’t either, I was still in law school).  I would continue having an open dialogue with him and talk to him about why he doesn’t feel ready.  Mine had a hard time finding a job after grad school and wanted to be in a good place financially before getting married, so not the same situation, but 24 really is young.  We moved in together at 25 and he proposed when we were 26 (just got married last month at 27).  In my (and friends who are with college SO’s) experience, it takes longer for guys to be ready when you’ve been together since you were really young. 

I would buy the house you want on your own if you’re ready for home-ownership and don’t want to live together yet.  You have to decide whether it’s more important to you to marry your SO, but perhaps not as soon as you’d like, or whether your timeline is more important.  There’s no right answer, just what’s right for you. 

Post # 35
1560 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

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rachelrebecca :  I did struggle a bit yes! The ‘waiting’ only really started when OTHERS started bringing it up a LOT and then a friend of mine got engaged who had been with her SO less time.

But to be honest, I only really started to feel ready for marriage at about 23/24. But even in those 3 years I have ‘grown up’ exponentially and I can see that growth in Fiance. He’s a MAN now and I can see a husband and a father in him.

Fiance has always told me knew he wanted to marry ME, but just not yet and we’re young so that is OK. I didn’t see it as a BS excuse at all. He’s a human being and you can be 100% in love and just not feel ready yet. 

The same as how I know I DEFINITELY want to be a mom but not YET – hope that’s a good example. He just wasn’t ready to be a husband and I don’t think we have to force them to justify that. 

Give him another year or two and keep lines of communication open 🙂



Post # 36
299 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

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rachelrebecca :  I experienced something similar, and 10 years later we are getting married. But never discount your desire to be married, it’s what you believe in and want. Just needs a hefty dose of patience. Which I don’t have most days. Take care bee!

Post # 37
9443 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

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rachelrebecca :  Oh I did really struggle with waiting at times and I had my fair share of freak-outs. But the more communication we had the better I always felt about our relationship. I think there’s this idea in society that if a woman is asking her partner about marriage she is going to scare him away or is pressuring him but the reality is that this is your life and your relationship too so it’s completely unfair for your partner to keep you in the dark about what he’s thinking or where he is at with the relationship. And I found that my husband really didn’t mind having marriage conversations with me and was really open about why he wanted to wait when I asked.

Post # 38
900 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

So I think a lot of PP have good experiences they’re sharing with you. Personally, from everything you’ve said though–the fact that he said he wasn’t mentally ready for marriage means he either he’s thought about it and doesn’t really want to (at least for now) or he’s not willing to think about it. Which is incredibly unfair for the plans and relationship you’ve shared for 6 years. 

I would definitely keep moving on with your life in terms of buying a house. I wouldn’t even wait until spring (unless you need to).  

I can’t say if you should stay with him–but personally I think your reaction is right. His response shut you down and told you your relationship is going to be stagnant.

I would be hurt. I would be done. I would tell him I’d thought about what he said, and I’d let him know that I am ready to be married but since it seems it won’t be to him, our relationship has to end and I will hope to find someone who does want to marry me. And wish him the best of luck and thanks for encouraging me on starting well on life. 

Post # 39
614 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

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rachelrebecca :  


The most likely scenario is that he is truly not ready and him being a 24 or 25 year-old man, the urgency just isn’t in him yet. Men tend to get more urgent about marriage and families when they get closer to 30. While women get the itch around 25. You need to have a deeper conversation with him about your feelings on marriage. If you are ready, tell him. Then both of you can start planning for when you will be ready. Set a date. “We want to get engaged winter/summer/fall/spring of 2017/2018/2019 blah blah” or something. This will take the pressure of him and give you something to go on.

In the meantime, go to a jewelry shop together and pick out a promise ring to signify your commitment. This will at least get the ball rolling. It will also help him get more comfortable with the idea of it all.

However, if he flat out rejects the notion of setting up a time-line, you need to be honest with him if this attitude is a deal-breaker. 

Post # 40
6119 posts
Bee Keeper

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rachelrebecca :  OMG, that sounds awful for him! The constant bugging from family I mean. Is it possible to maybe skip the next few family events so you two can just hang out and relax together? 

Post # 41
3791 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Listen to what he is saying.  He told you he isn’t “mentally ready” to get married.  Ummm.  Ok.  He is going back on what it sounds like you have been planning for years and years.  I agree with others that you are young, but on the same token, all of a sudden he is going back on the things you had agreed to.  This honestly is classic “I’m questioning the relationship but not ready to let go yet”.  It happens a lot actually.

I will give you an example: my ex and I had discussed marriage a lot and he was my first love.  He kept on being hesitant on taking the next step in our relationship.  He said “I’m not ready” all the time.  I convinced myself I was willing to do anything to maintain our relationship.  Dreadful idea on my part, by the way.  Sure enough we broke up because we were in different places in our lives.

He is saying how he feels.  It’s time to believe him.  Have a serious conversation as to where things are going in your relationship.  I feel like you are so entertwined in his family’s lifestyle that you are afraid of the possibility that this may not be the relationship you will be in forever.  He should tell his family to back off and honestly if I were you I would back off a bit too…maybe don’t pick up his niece every single week.  Maybe don’t hang out with his female relatives.  I feel like you should be ready just in case because right now he is telling you that you are not his forever.

Post # 42
97 posts
Worker bee

Omg you’re both so young! I’m sorry to tell you this but I’m With him, I too started dating my Fiance at 18, but i knew I wanted to spend my twenties single, and just enjoying my work and my freedom (we also don’t live together), and my bf was totally on board, because of that we were able to have a long relationship without any pressure, and if anyone ever asked when we planned to get serious we just laughed it off. 

He proposed last June and this September was our 10 year anniversary, but actually we’re planning the wedding till 2018, a little after my 30th birthday, and it’s exactly what I want and what I planned, because I knew I wasn’t ready, and don’t even get me started on having kids cause I don’t know if I’m ever gonna be ready for that… 

What I’m saying is, it’s real, he may not be ready to take that step, specially at such young age! And you, well you gotta do you, he can’t force a timeline on you, if his don’t match with yours maybe you should move on, you’re young!! You can meet so many people! Maybe if he sees that he can lose you forever he will change his mind. But just keep in mind that neither of you can force the other one to commit to something you’re not comfortable with, talk it out, and see where you’re both heading. 

Post # 43
5304 posts
Bee Keeper

It sounds like you and your SO are on different pages. That doesn’t mean your relationship isn’t do-able or that one of you is right and the other wrong, you’re just in different stages of moving toward the future. The key will be how you handle it. You have to talk openly for one thing, ‘mentally not ready for marriage’ is too ambiguous for him not to clarify. And respecting how the other person feels is important too. If he expects you to accept that he’s not ready yet he also has to accept that you are and that him unilaterlly deciding or him being endlessly vague is not acceptable. Hopefully you can both come up with a mutually acceptable timeline- if you can trust him to be honest in his intentions and keep his promises, not just agree to a timeline to buy himself some time. 

The one thing that bothers me is his childish obstinance in saying that relatives bugging you guys just makes him not want to propose…..this is very immature and why on earth should you be punished for this? It does sound like relatives are being excessive in their unsubtle hints, but the mature thing to do would be to talk to them seriously and say ‘look I know you’re teasing, but enough. Seriously. Stop it.”

Edit: Actually, two things bother me- he doesn’t get to tell you he’s not mentally ready for marriage and then pout when you want to buy your own home. He can’t expect you to put your own life on hold until he produces a ring, best to nip that outdated thinking of his in the bud. 

Post # 44
10387 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

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theatrejulia :  


I wondered that too. I assumed a typo ,  OP meant 4 between them , not  each?  

Post # 45
67 posts
Worker bee

6 years is plenty despite age. not mentally ready means fears committment. I don’t understand those who say they want to “enjoy their twenties go out with friends etc” if you stop all that once married you.are in a controlling relationship. 24 is plenty old enough and I know plenty of couples married at that age or younger who are doing just fine. if you have good jobs and your life together then I don’t see any reason not to be ready. I would sit him down and have a conversation 

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