When your love doesn't want to get married

If you are in a relationship and want to get married but the person you are with doesn't believe in marriage, what should you do? Does it really matter if you don't have the legal document? Why do people feel uneasy when the person they love does not want to marry them?

If you are in this situation, then you could follow Dr Patricia Allen's advice (In Getting to “I Do”), and say something to your boyfriend along the lines of “I understand that you don't want marriage, and that is your right, but I need it, so if you feel you can't marry me then we can't be together any more.”

However, before you do this, you need to decide whether or not you are prepared to end the relationship over this issue. Because when you say this, one likely reaction is that your man will walk away.

Dr Pat Allen advises that eight weeks is the maximum period that it takes a man to make up his mind. “If he hasn't called you in eight weeks, then it's over” she says. A “feminine energy woman” must look for a man who can fulfil her needs, not suppress her own needs in deference to his.

She says that a woman must love herself more than she loves her man. Therefore if her man can't give her what she really wants, she must move on and find another one. You don't make sacrifices for “masculine” men, because men are givers and women are receivers.

Dr Allen's idea is not that a woman should issue an ultimatum, merely that she should not settle for less than she wants from a relationship. If she wants to be married, then she should let the man she loves know that, and let him make up his own mind.

My own experience of men is that the ones who loved me wanted to marry me (and that included one divorcee). The ones who didn't, didn't.

In Staying Married... and Loving It, the sequel to Getting to "I Do", Dr Pat Allen writes:

Nobody needs a piece of paper to get married. But I believe that if you want 100 percent commitment with the physical, mental, and emotional doors shut, you must be married legally.

It pains me greatly to have to admit that I agree with the author of a self-help book about anything, but I do think that marriage shows you are 100% committed more than anything else. I cannot deny the feeling I have that a person who doesn't want to be married is thinking, however subconsciously, that it will be easier to get out of the relationship if they're not married. The doors are still open.

It's not that I disapprove of people living together without being married or anything—that would be absurd. And if both people really and truly don't think that being married matters, I'm sure it could work out fine, but often one person wants to get married while the other doesn't.

If you are in this situation, there is the possibility that if he doesn't want to marry you it is because, as it says in the title of the book Carl recommended somewhere on here He's Just Not That Into You. Years ago I knew a woman who'd gone out with a man for ten years, he'd always told her he didn't believe in marriage, but then he met another woman and suddenly he did believe in marriage, he married her.

If someone doesn't want to be married, then however much they might rationalise it by saying that they don't believe in marriage etc, I would feel that there is a distinct possibility that they might change their mind when they meet someone else.

I know that you can think you want to marry someone and change your mind about that too. When I was getting divorced from my husband my lawyer told me about a woman he had acted for who changed her mind three hours after the wedding. And my husband's niece was jilted by her fiancé three weeks before their wedding day, he'd been seeing someone else for months and she didn't know a thing about it.

In spite of any evidence to the contrary, I still have this feeling that if a man is really committed to a relationship he will want to marry you rather than just live with you. And the same goes for a woman. In my own case, the men who really loved me asked me to marry them; the ones who didn't, didn't. Nobody ever asked me to just live with them. If my husband had asked me to move in with him rather than get married, I don't know how I would have felt, but I think I might have had that feeling that he wasn't really that much in love with me.

My husband and I lived together without being married for several years after we got back together again after our divorce. Things were very turbulent for a while; we were always having a lot of rows and I always had the thought that, since we weren't married, it would be much easier for me to leave again if I wanted to. After things settled down between us and we were much happier, I didn't feel any inclination to leave any more, so when my husband asked me to marry him again, I was quite happy to do so. If I hadn't been, then to me it would have been a sign that I was still thinking it would be easier to get out if I didn't marry him again. To me, wanting to be married means that you have confidence that the relationship will last. I fully admit that that confidence can be misplaced, but I feel that it is nice if it is there in the first place.

Louise C

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Psychologically, if you want to get married and the person you love doesn't, then unless you can find a way not to want it any more, you are likely to be in a state of fearing the loss of the relationship, and when you are in that state, you cannot help preparing for loss, guarding yourself against the loss, and protecting yourself.

Something has to give. This is not a stable situation. With the best will in the world it is not possible to be deeply intimate and connected with someone when you fear the loss of the relationship on an on-going basis. So what tends to happen is that the one-down person—the one who wants to get married—either suffers greatly and desperately tries to extract more love and security from the other—which tends to drive him or her away—or the one-down person ceases to care.

Whilst this latter eventuality makes it possible to carry on, it adversely affects the level of intimate connection in the relationship, and the relationship may then prove insufficiently fulfilling and end.

It is not possible merely by an act of will to stop caring that the other person doesn't want to marry you. You might be able to change your view of things such that you to not any longer find marriage a sign of real commitment, but only through reasoned thought, and only if the other person really is committed. Much unease in these situations is because the other person is actually not committed.

Unfortunately, one can't make oneself feel committed by an act of will. (See also: I want it all, and I want it now!.)

She doesn't Want to marry me NOW but later!

I want to marry my girl friend, but she needs more time to feel better and ready and by that I she means 1 to 2 more years. It's makes me think that she's just using me for the time being. How long should I wait for her? It's already been 3 years. I don't want to lose her but I also don't want to spend my time with someone that I would have no future with.

Kindly Help me,

More time

Three years seems to me to be quite enough time to make up your mind whether you want to marry someone or not. If she is still undecided, then it could be that she doesn't really want to marry you. People who say they aren't ready to get married often mean (perhaps without realising it) that they just don't want to marry that particular person.

If you feel that you don't want to hang on indefinitely, then perhaps you should tell her that you really want to get married, and that if she doesn't, then it would be better if you ended the relationship. This might help her to make her mind up definitely. Perhaps if she realises that you are not willing to hang around indefinitely waiting for her, then it will make her decide that she does want to marry you after all. Or she may realise that she doesn't want to marry you at all. Either way it might be better than hanging around in a state of uncertainty.

If she does decide that she doesn't really want to marry you, then I hope you will soon meet someone else with whom you are more compatible.


I think I'd find out first wh

I think I'd find out first why she wants more time. My boyfriend and I are still not married, there still has been no proposal, and I'm fine with that. I'm not sure what I'd say if he asked. My mother married three times before she found the right guy, I'm not sure if that's why I'm a bit gun shy, but I think it could be. I don't know why he hasn't asked yet. It could be that he's just not that into me. It could be that his parents were never married and he feels the same trepidation. It could be that when you ask someone to marry you, you want to be sure they'll say yes, and he's not sure yet.

She's the only one who can explain herself on this. I'd ask her.

She doesn't Want to marry me NOW but later!

I love this girl, as she is mostly honest with me about anything. However, there's something in our past that is haunting me. She broke up with me after a year and half relationship to go back to her ex whom she truly loved at the time. He proposed, and she accepted. It didn't take long until she realized that he's not the one. "I had to get to the serious part to realize what's right for me" she said. It took me a while to think if I want her back, but somehow I was convinced that mistakes happen and maybe it happened for a reason. So I did take her back and it's been another 8 month that we are back together and of course it's better than before and ever. But when I raised the marriage talk, she temps to run away with these reasons :

1. My sister married early and she keeps on telling me to enjoy my life before I get married.

2. All my cousins tell me the same.

3. I do think of you (me) when it comes to marriage and ONLY YOU but I don't believe in taking this step just after I graduate.

4. Ever since I was a child, I hated getting married after I graduate. I need at least a year.

5. When I said “Yes” before, it was just because he shocked me and caught me at a corner and I was confused and didn’t want to disappoint him.

To me, it seems like she's scared and also she doesn't realize that she is not that into me yet. Just the fact that she said yes before quickly and now it's more of a "Being Smart with making decisions" killing me from inside (Even though I didn't propose yet, just casually asked her). It's funny how much you are willing to take when you love someone. Also, I feel like if the other guy was “the one”, she would’ve been married by now. She did tell me that she will take my concern and think about it while we’re still dating.

Sorry, it was a long read; but I am very confused.

PS: Thank you Louise for hoping well for me.

Not Meant To Be

The fact that you are not married to her by NOW speaks volumes. If
you were meant for each other you two would have been married long
ago. I don't know what her angle is, whether she has too much
emotional baggage that you know nothing about or she just can't make
up her mind, either way, this seems to be a losing battle for you. A
marriage needs a solid bedrock of clear decisiveness from BOTH
parties, NOT ambivalence. Your narrative shows no decisiveness on her
part at all. At present I would say she would not make a good wife for
that reason.

Mike Starre

Boyfriend and Girlfriend for 5yrs and living together for 2yrs

I am confused not sure what to do? I've been in a this relationship for 5 and half years and been home owners for 2 years. I have told him that I would like to get married where it always turns in to a fight. He always mentions that i first need to get counseling do to me being so impatient also due to trust issues that I have from my childhood with seeing my father cheating. I am more than willing to go get counseling. But I believe that this relationship has caused me to feel depressed at times also not worth much. I would think that I have been patient—almost 6yrs and no marriage yet. Me wanting to be married and him not doing it has really made me a depressed angry and mean person. This is not the person that i am. At times i just want to walk out but i can't seem to do it. He is an awesome guy and a totally respects me. But I also believe that I might not be the girl that he wants to marry even though he tells me he does just not yet. Help i feel like am going crazy when i really shouldn't.


I've been with my boyfriend for six years we have an 18mo old and we're still not married. Last year he begged me to move in with him and we did after talking about it. He said that he would be ready to get married after he graduated from college. Well he's graduating this December so I brought up the topic of marriage and he said to me that he doesn't think he's going to be ready for marriage until he's thirty. Mind you-he's 26 now so that means four more years! When he said that I couldn't believe it! I feel like he lied to me in order for me to move in with him I am 25yrs old and I feel that I am still young enough to find someone who WANTS to marry me. I told him that I'm going to move out because I don't believe in long term cohabitation and he's agreed to let me go while still maintaining the relationship. I feel depressed and sad because I don't think he loves me enough to marry me.

Same thing is happening to me

Bamboolized-Same situation is occuring with me minus me not having a child. I can't even imagine having a child being involved. We've been together for 6 years-he asked me to move in with him about a year ago and he was ready to be engaged by the time I was 25(i'm 24 now) and be married by 26/27..well I moved all my stuff last night and I am not at my parents house. mind you I have just recently quit my job because I needed to find something closeer ( I had a one hour commute at his place and it was 10 minutes from my parents place) so I have no income, no home and it is purely my fault.

It's been a month since you posted-are you still in the same situation?

Feeling Your Pain

I can relate on the most part. Me and my boyfriend have been in a 5 year relationship (no kids). However, from the beginning he was telling me that he wants to marry me. Then finally on his birthday of this year he proposed. I was so happy. Now it's becoming worse because he's telling me that he proposed, yes, but that doesn't mean he will marry me. His exact words were "I tell everybody I proposed, not that I'm going to marry you". That really hurt me. He thinks I'm brainwashed by society and that I need a marriage to prove he loves me. But he doesn't understand that he totally gave me mixed messages. I know we're still really young (both 20) and there might be time for improvement but the things he says really hurts me and makes me feel like I'm stuck in a dead-end relationship. He says he"ll marry me one day, and not the next, and I'm so confused and upset I have no idea how to even approach this topic to him without him freaking out about it. I love him a lot, we've had a lot of good years together and he says he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, but I don't know if I can remain a "fiancee" for the rest of my life with no hopes of a marriage, yet I love him a lot and I don't want to rush ending things.


...has respect for his own word. If he promised marriage (a proposal IS a PROMISE!!!) If he dishonors his word, he dishonors himself. Since the promise directly involves you, he simultaneously dishonors you as well.

I suggest you terminate any relationship with him that extends beyond mere acquaintanceship.

A man who dishonors his word values nothing and should be regarded as such.

He values NOTHING! He has NO respect for himself OR you.

Dump him before he destroys you!

Mick McCleod


Gemmygirl—This just reminds me of the Aniston-affleck relationship in the film 'he's just not that into you'. He 'doesn't believe in it' but is committed. In that example, it all works out in the end, but it was an interesting perspective on the meaning of marriage and whether someone can be a proper husband you without the legal status. Some people say 'it's just a piece of paper'. Yes in some ways, but no it also isn't. There are a lot of 'legal rights and protections' that go along with it. Just look at the current debate over those who aren't legally allowed to marry. I have my own feelings on that and am not trying to start a debate about that. If he is truly committed to you, he probably says, 'why do you need a piece of paper to prove it'? But if he is truly committed, aside from the legal things entailed with marriage, why is he afraid to publicly demonstrate that commitment. Which is part of the reason the ceremony is done in front of witnesses I would think.

I Felt Your Pain.......

Dear Friend,

I recently (last week!!) ended a one-year relationship with a man who announced to me at the 10-month mark that he does not have the "Marriage Gene." Those were his exact words.....Marriage Gene!! I didn't know there was a marriage gene!!

He is 50 and never been married (Red Flag). I am 46 with a 13 year old son. A very good mutual friend set us up on a blind date and it was love at first site. After around six months of dating, I flat out asked him if marriage is a possibility for him and he said YES!!! It was discussed a few other times with him always saying it was a possibility.

At ten months, he told me that he knows for sure he never plans to marry ever. He admitted that he misled me. He cried when he told me and he asked that we stay together. He even had the balls to say, "I guess I want to have my cake and eat it, too!" Well, the relationship was never the same again for me. I cried, I got depressed, I questioned my self-worth all while he was just has happy as a lark. We were still having sex and this made me feel even worse about ME.

Finally, I snapped after a month and a half and told him he was simply using me, that he was a coward, that he did not have the courage for a real commitment, etc. I was very, very mean and I regret ending this awesome relationship on such a nasty note. But honestly, that was what it took for me to move on. When I am sad, I become paralyzed with self pity. I'm not worth a toot. But when I am mad, I become very empowered.

I can't tell you how your situation will end. But for me, I knew I loved this man, but I realized I loved ME more. And because I love ME more, I want ME to be happy and free to find what I truly desire. I may find it, I may not. But I know exactly what I would have had if I stayed.

It has only been a week and yes I have been very sad, but I cannot tell you how this HUGE weight has been lifted off of me and how I am regaining the self-respect I had lost by staying and still sleeping with this coward.

Good luck!! You have to decide for yourself what is best for you. I'm sure you have been polling your friends as that is only natural. I did, too. But it comes down to what is best for you and YOU are the only one to decide. I simply got sick of being mad all the time!!!

I need some advice

I have been together with my boyfriend for a total of 5 1/2 years, 2 of which we have been living together. Every time I bring up the conversation about marriage he seems to get uncomfortable and quickly ends the conversations. I love his family and my family really like him also, both our families and friends always ask when we are going to get married. I would like to get married with him, I think he is the one....I would like to think that after all this time he would feel the same but it is not like that. He tells me he would rather wait another 3-5 years to get married, that he is "comfortable" the way we are right now, he feels that step in life is not there for him yet. I am not sure how to go about, I love him but I do not want to wait for someone who might not want to marry me, It might sound horrible but I do not want to waste my time and energy in something that is just not going to happen.

Boyfriend of almost 9yrs 2 kids

My boyfriend and I have been together for 9 years with 2 beautiful girls under 3yrs of age. (We are not in a Taken In Hand relationship.) My boyfriend's father started cheating on his mother over 4yrs ago now, and he continues to do it. Yet my boyfriend does not try to speak to his father about it.

I've always wanted to get married and it hurts me to know my boyfriend doesn't want to. He tells me he does want to marry me, but not now. He tells me he's scared of that marriage title. It's killing me inside to know he really doesn't want to marry me—why else wouldn't we be married already?

I tried to leave him but I can't—I love him—and love our kids but I don't feel any love from him. I haven't heard "you're beautiful" or "I love you" in years. He says his father's cheating is a reason he wants to wait to get married...I know maybe I should leave but I can't bring my self to do it. I'm stuck.


My girlfriend and I have been going out for over 6 years, and I feel I'm ready to get married, but she wants to wait and will only make up her mind after another 6 years. What do I do? I just want us to be 100% committed, I want us to be able to go on holiday together, I want us to be more intimate, I want us to be able to live together, these things and more she will only do once married but married to me? I don't know. We love each other but how long do I wait for something more than just visits every weekend.




Anonymous, the only piece of advice I can, unfortunately, give you is to move on. Your girlfriend does not want to be committed no matter what she tells you. Six years is enough to make up one's mind. If she had asked for another six months it would be understandable, but NOT years.

Waiting six years for someone to get intimate is more than anyone can expect.

Jessica Rabbit