(Closed) Would you rather be with someone you love who won’t get married, or move on?

posted 9 years ago in Waiting
Post # 3
2022 posts
Buzzing bee

Quick question – do you want kids?  If so, would you have them with him without being married?  Does he want kids?

Post # 4
3363 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Honestly, I would move on.  He is committed to you, but can’t make it legal?  I would think if he was sure about this relationship, then he would want to marry you.

But guys are different sometimes.  They don’t think the way we do.  What does he say his reason is?

Post # 6
796 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

This is a tough one. I think you really need to get to the root of what his reasoning is. If he is unable to give you one, that would be a warning sign to me. Also, like you said, if he is willing to be with you, unmarried, forever (which I am assuming he is based on the way you wrote your post), what is stopping him from taking that last step, knowing how important it is to you? How does he feel about kids? I don’t know your relationship, obviously, but he just seems a lot less serious than you do about this. And at 36 he should be more serious, if anything.

Post # 7
484 posts
Helper bee

A lot of people make life long commitments (the gay community comes to mind) without marrying. If it’s just the institution he opposes than its not necessarily a huge deal. If he isn’t sure he can stay committed to you for the rest of his life, that’s another story completely. I think you have a right to press him for a more detailed answer. If he can’t verbalize it, perhaps he can write it down?

I think his uncertainty about children would bother me more than the whole not sure of marriage thing. You are correct to be concerned about your finite amount of time to have children. It’s something all women need to take into consideration. Would you be ok not being a mother? Would you resent him if the decision was entirely his?  Do you feel like the decision to be child-free is a decision you are making together?

I get the feeling from your post that if he wanted children, you would absolutely put that goal on your life timeline.

Personally, I couldn’t be with anyone long term (married or not) who didn’t want children. It’s an absolute deal breaker for me. I would spend some time with yourself and really decide if you want to be a mother. If you do, you need to find a partner with the same life goals.

Post # 8
672 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

This is a really personal decision, and a very difficult one!  It sounds like it would be good for you personally to sit down and think long and hard especially about the kids thing – whether or not it’s important to you to be married if you choose to have them.  

If my Fiance didn’t want to marry me or didn’t believe in marriage for whatever reason, I’d still stay with him.  So I guess I side with your mom’s opinion.  Being with him overall is the most important thing to me, lacking the ‘wife’ title wouldn’t be enough for me to leave.  But that’s just me, and I’m not particularly traditional anyway.

Overall, I also just want to say that just because someone doesn’t want to marry doesn’t mean they’re incapable of being serious about a relationship.  For as many valid reasons people have for wanting to marry, there are also valid reasons for not participating in the institution of marriage. 

It’s a hard choice but you’ll figure out what makes you happiest in the end!  Good luck!

Post # 9
45 posts

I had to answer this question myself a few years ago, and I chose to walk away.  It was really tough at first and very scary, but I know I made the right decision, and I have no regrets.  Now I’m happily married to a man who wasn’t afraid to fully commit to me.  I knew 100% that I wanted a family and a marriage, and walking away was the right choice for me.  I think the only person who can answer this question for you is yourself.  You need to look very hard at yourself and your needs.  Keep in mind that marriage isn’t for everyone, and I know many people who are perfectly happy together not being married.  You also need to ask "Would he be happy married to me?"  Because if he gives in and gets married to you simply for your sake, that could cause some resentment in the future.

Post # 10
14183 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I’d move on. Simply because if someone can’t figure it out that they want me forever, then I feel like I could do better than that. I want kids and a family and someone who is committed to me, not someone who is only committed to me forever if he has the option to back out b/c there’s no ring on my finger.

After 3 years, he should have figured it out by the age of 36. Who knows, maybe he never will? But the fact that he’s in his mid 30’s and STILL a committment phobe? Red flag for me. 

Sorry, hun! 

Post # 12
484 posts
Helper bee

I think it’s plenty fair for you to see him in a different light! He hasn’t gotten to the level of maturity that you thought he would (at this point in your relationship and at his age) so I think it’s perfectly "fair" of you to re-evaluate your relationship with him.

I think at this point, it seems fairly cut and dry. You want certain things from your life partner. He can either give them to you or not. I know that seems simplified but it really shouldn’t be to complicated. I was with someone for a very long time when I finally realized that no matter how much we loved each other or how much fun we had with each other, we were Never going to have the same life goals. 


Post # 13
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

What comes to my mind is this: there’s fear of commitment, and then there’s fear of commitment to you. I am worried that your guy knows that he doesn’t want to marry you, but he is afraid to lose you (because losing someone always hurts) and he doesn’t want to hurt you because he loves you, so he is putting off the inevitable by stalling with these excuses. Maybe he is hoping that he will change too and come around, but my guess is that in his heart he knows that he doesn’t want to marry you.

If you give up your dream of marriage and family to be with him in a committed living together relationship, you will probably regret it. Marriage is more than just living under the same roof and having a joint bank account and having children together. You can technically do all these things without marriage but it’s not the same. And if you do choose to do these things without marriage, what matters most is that both partners agree, and that’s not the case for you. Even for gay couples who can’t legally marry in many places, the partners in the most successful relationships probably agree that they would be married if they could (or conversely, that they would not be married even if they could). Legalities aside, agreement is key, and you two don’t agree.

Given that, I don’t see how this relationship can go forward happily. You’ll either have given up your dream of marriage, or he will have made a commitment that he is not ready to make and that his heart is not in. You deserve to be with someone who can commit himself to you 100%. It can be a scary thing to get married (read some of Miss Cheese’s posts) but what matter is that at the end of the day the desire to commit yourself to this person and your hopes and plans for the future outweigh the fears. If he can’t give that to you, then I think it’s just not meant to be.

Post # 14
2640 posts
Sugar bee

So sorry you are having to deal with this.  I have some thoughts about your situation.  One thing you haven’t mentioned is if you live with him, right now.  Just curious.  If you are, he is getting the "best of both worlds" now.  You know the saying out there involving the words, cow -milk- free).

Personally, I couldn’t stay with someone who wouldn’t be willing to commit.  But I need to disclose that I feel I’m a pretty religious person.  So marriage is pretty important.  I don’t know where you stand on religion.

"But…as someone else mentioned in another post…it is like a Catch 22. I love the person who is committed to me, who values my happiness enough to make a few sacrifices, who is a mature adult that I respect. Yet if he is really edging closer to 40 and unable to do this for me, then, some of the qualities that make up the person I love seem like they come into question.  And I have to ask, is he really the person I thought he was?"  It doesn’t seem like he’s the person you were hoping he’d turn out to be. (Whether or not he is the person you thought he was.)  You want marriage, if he does not… and if you are interested in kids, and he is, unenthused…….. then you two don’t have as much in common as you really need, to maintain being a couple.

Or…am I being unfair? Is love love, no matter what, with or without a ring, and something you fight for at all costs? Can a wonderful, mature man who is willing to really take my needs into consideration still be a man who just can’t get married, for whatever reason?  You aren’t being unfair.  You want what you want out of life.  You shouldn’t need to settle (which is what your mom is advising that you do.)  Sure, love is love, but as the song goes, "Sometimes love just ain’t enough."  A lot of people who love each other, break up, because they are not on the same page, at the same time.  If you stay with him, you will soon come to wonder what else might have been out there?  Would you have met someone else, gotten married, and had kids?  You will always be wondering.  You won’t truly be happy if you stay with him.  You might feel safe, or grateful to have someone, but not really happy.  (And therefore, also, frustrated, angry, resentful).  I can understand if you’re nervous that you might not find someone else, while you still have time to have kids.  But if you stay with him, it’s likely that you won’t have kids anyway.  (I think that is some of the fear your mom has.  Not wanting you to be alone.  "Being with someone who gives you 50% is better than being with no one =0%."  The problem with that is that all you will get is 50%.  You can’t try for 100%, EVER.)  And really, if you and your Boyfriend or Best Friend are meant to be  together, in the end, I think you’d end up together again.

As for can men really not want to commit..  I think some men have issues with wanting to commit.  I used to date someone whose parents got divorced when he was a teen, and felt that no matter how happy your marriage is, you can split up at any point.  That was his perception of his parents’ marriage.  I guess guys can be against the institution of marriage, but I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that.  I kind of wonder if they really are just scared of officially committing to one woman.  I don’t know if he’s scared to commit to you specifically, or saying yes to one woman forever, regardless of who it is.  But I’m not sure it matters.  Either way, it is not the way you want to live your life. 

Would you want to be sacraficing and giving your life to someone, who would feel uncomfortable being with you if he didn’t have the freedom to dump you if "something better" comes along?

Good luck.  I wish you nothing but happiness.


Post # 15
139 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I’d like to add a different perspective.  I am American, but have been living in England for the past 5 years.  I have SO many British and European friends and colleagues who are in long-term (we’re talking 20 years!) co-habitating relationships with no desire or plan to marry.  It seems to be much more culturally acceptable here and there’s really no taboo against not getting married as long as you are committed to each other.  I think you need to ask yourself whether you are taking his disinterest in getting married as a sign that he’s not deeply committed to you, and also whether you highly value the legality of marriage. My personal answer is I would have stayed with my (now) husband if he hadn’t wanted to get married, but I think it would have been difficult for me for awhile.  

Post # 16
2022 posts
Buzzing bee

I have to agree with Chelseamorning. There would be a difference if he was telling you that he wanted to marry you at some point, but was not quite ready to take the plunge. If he was telling you this, then I would say that you can wait it out and figure out how long you could wait. It does not sound like that is the case here.

One of my best friends went through this about 4 years ago with her boyfriend of 2 years. She was I think 26 and he was 31. In her head, he was “the one” and she expected it was the same for him. We were graduating law school and she was going to move in with him. The topic of marriage came up and he told her he did not think he ever wanted to get married. She, on the other hand, wanted to be married and have children. I suspect they had not had many of these conversations previously.

Ultimately she ended up leaving him because she could not reconcile the fact that he loved her and was committed but could not commit to marriage. A year later she met a great guy and they are getting married in September.

I agree with others that you should try to find out from him whether it is the concept of marriage that is freaking him out or whether it is marriage to you. Once you have more information you will be in a better position to make a decision…

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