Question: Very early on in our relationship we discussed marriage many times. I told him I would not date anyone for more than three months if the relationship had no signs of moving in the direction of marriage. He seemed to understand and even agree that that’s where we were heading. Well, we’ve been together for over two years and no signs of getting engaged or anything. So last week I brought up marriage.
I was very hurt when he said that the relationship is great and marriage is only a piece of paper and it doesn’t make a difference because he wants to be with me even though he does not want to get married. I told him to me marriage means a symbol of our commitment to each other and that’s when he told me that he just needs time to get to know me much better. To be fair, his work takes him out of the country several weeks at a time and we don’t spend that much time together. I can understand that part. But he also said he wouldn’t want to commit to anyone until he was absolutely certain that she is “the one” What concerns me is that he seems to have changed his mind about marriage and may be has doubts about marrying me. It doesn’t really make sense to me if he thinks that the relationship is great why he doesn’t want to get married?
The Love Doctor’s Answer: I can see why this is so confusing. In my understanding, it’s one thing if he is putting it off until you’ve been together a little longer and he knows you better, and it’s another thing if he simply doesn’t want to marry you – or does not completely believe in marriage.
Based on what you’ve said, I take it that he now wants a little bit more time to be sure that when he commits, it’s to the right person. It’s also possible that he just has cold feet and needs some time. Of course he may later on, after knowing you better decide that he does not want to marry you but right now it seems that’s where he is at – and I think it’s fair to give him some time.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t set a time limit for yourself — how long you will wait for him to come around. I think that you should also explore more on his position on marriage in general especially his statement “marriage is only a piece of paper and it doesn’t make a difference”. People just don’t change their mind about what they think about something as life changing as marriage overnight.
That said, there are many couples in very long-term, committed relationships, some that have lasted a lifetime, who don’t want to get married. So it’s really up to you – what you want and feels right for you.
The most important thing to remember is that the reason someone wants to marry you should be because he wants to spend the rest of his life with you and there is enough love there to sustain the relationship long term. I’ve heard many men and women who get married say, “Well, if it doesn’t work out we can just get divorced.” That kind of mindset already guarantees failure.
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