Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“He’s Still not Ready for Marriage. Should I MOA?”

I’m 30 and I started dating my 36-year-old boyfriend four years ago. We lived together for a year but I eventually moved out because I decided I didn’t want to cohabitate before being fully committed to someone. So we stayed together, but I got my own apartment. For the first few years of the relationship we never talked about getting married — neither of us are eager to have children and it didn’t seem important at the time. But after about three years I brought it up and it led to some very tense, awkward conversations where I got the impression he hadn’t thought about it at all. The discussions went nowhere, and soon after I decided that in spite of all the love we had, if we couldn’t talk about a long-term future we shouldn’t be together, so I broke up with him.

A few months later I really felt as though I’d let go before trying my best and being clear about what I wanted. So I called him up and we talked and I told him that getting married and making plans for our future was important to me, and while we still had things to work out and address, if he was willing to do that work with the goal of being married I’d be willing to give it another shot. I thought I would give it six more months and see if we could make progress.

We’re at six months, and things have generally been fantastic. We’re closer than ever before and working out issues effectively, but not once in this time has he initiated a conversation about our future or mentioned getting married. When I brought this up with him he said that he sees us being married “some day,” but he hasn’t felt ready to talk about it. Should I give him more time to think it over or has he had enough of a chance? — Tired of Waiting

It’s one thing not to feel ready to get married; it’s another to not feel ready to even TALK about it — and after four years together!! And you’re in your 30s! MOA. You said you were going to give it six months and you did and he’s still not ready to talk about the future. What do you think will change in another six months, or even six years? What more can he figure out that he hasn’t already figured out in the four years you’ve been together?

Look, if what you want is to get married, this is not the guy for you. He can’t even talk about it let alone start making solid plans. Unless you want to spend the next couple years of your life waffling on this issue, you have to be strong and move on. If you do decide to stay with him, you need to accept that he does not want to get married — at least not any time in the near-ish future and you’re wasting your energy and breath even trying to talk about it with him. It would be better to just decide you’re never going to get married and try to enjoy the relationship for what it is than to push something that doesn’t want to be pushed.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

85 comments… add one
  • Starfish13 July 7, 2011, 3:11 pm

    You should read this book I am reading for a book club called “Why Men Marry Bitches” – it has a section about this. Men have no problem saying vague like “I might marry you someday” in order to keep women around (even if they have no real intention of ever marrying you). Definitely MOA!

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    • MissDre July 7, 2011, 3:17 pm

      The problem with that book is it’s more geared to women when they first start dating. It doesn’t really tell you what to do once you’ve already been together for however many years. I found it was just a replay of the first book.

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  • Starfish13 July 7, 2011, 3:15 pm

    Also, this may sound harsh, but the whole reason you guy back together was because you wanted to – “if he was willing to do that work with the goal of being married I’d be willing to give it another shot.” It sounds like he would have been somewhat fine either way, he just want a long for the ride. Nowhere in your letter does it say that he brought up the future, that you were really important to him, that he couldn’t live without you…etc.

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    • G July 7, 2011, 3:35 pm

      Yes. I found myself wanting to read somewhere in your letter that he fought to get you back. That you were of such huge value in his life that he was desperate to get you back and wanted to do whatever it took…
      It was YOU that called him.
      It does seem that he just feels “meh” about the whole thing. Of course your letter was short and I doubt told the whole story.
      I’m staring at 30 myself. The next relationship I have MUST be with someone that is on the same page. I think you deserve that too… someone that genuinely WANTS to marry you.

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  • silver_dragon_girl July 7, 2011, 3:20 pm

    Agree with Wendy. If a 36-year old man isn’t ready, after 4 years with you, to even TALK about maybe-eventually-someday-possibly-if-we’re-ready-kinda-sorta getting married, he never will be. At least not with you. 🙁 This is upsetting and sad for you, but I think you should definitely MOA as quickly as possible.

    The biggest sign, to me, is that YOU were the one to initiate getting back together to try again. That tells me that HE didn’t change at all while you were broken up, and if that didn’t help him move past his “OMG Commitment! Aaaah run away!” phase, nothing you can do will.

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  • kerrycontrary July 7, 2011, 3:29 pm

    Yup! Move on already! I also think that this is why marriage should be brought up early on (like years 1 or 2, I don’t mean 2 months) in a relationship. Some people never want to get married, which is fine for them, except when they are dating someone who does want to get married. Same goes for the topic of children. You’re boyfriend is clearly placating you with vague answers so you don’t leave him again but he’s frankly not on the same page as you. Find someone who is.

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  • Greebo July 7, 2011, 3:31 pm

    My husband and I don’t want to have children, but after we’d been dating for several years I came to realize that I wanted to marry him. He never raised the subject. A couple times, I asked him in general terms what he thought about marriage. His answers were enlightening, and started a series of good conversations between us about what our parents’ marriages looked like and what we would each expect or want from a marriage. For some time, whenever we talked about the future, we talked in the plural “We’ll visit there”, “we’ll buy a house like that”, “we’ll retire at such a time” but marriage never came up and we didn’t live together.

    At about the 4 year mark, I sat down with him and explained that I wanted to be married, and that I love him and wanted to marry him. I explained that it wasn’t wrong if he didn’t want to be married, or if he didn’t want to marry me, but that courtesy and affection require that he be clear about his own intentions. If marriage (or marriage to me) wasn’t in the cards as far as he was concerned, then he needed to understand that I would eventually decide to look elsewhere, to find someone who shared my vision of a future. He proposed the following January, and we celebrated our third year of marriage this spring.

    My rather autobiographical point is that you need to make clear your own desires, and solicit his. Does he talk about your joint future? Do you already make long term plans together? In short, does something about marriage put him off, or is he just not interested in anything permanent under any circumstances? Don’t chase him down, don’t argue with him, don’t try to pursuade or judge. Just state your case and explain what kind of future you want and ask what kind of future he wants. Then work towards that future. If you want marriage and he doesn’t, then you have your answer, hard as it may be.

    Good luck.

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    • Greebo July 7, 2011, 4:13 pm

      To whoever thumbs downed me, may I ask why? Not being defensive or argumentative–I’d really like to hear your perspective.

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      • Greebo July 7, 2011, 4:19 pm

        Now I’m confused. Did I violate a standard of courtesy or something by trying to engage in conversation? Again, not my intent.

      • MellaJade July 7, 2011, 4:28 pm

        @Greebo – don’t worry about the Thumbs Down. Sometimes there are Trolls here that just go through and do it. Personally, I liked your post a lot and I’m glad it worked out for you and your hubby.

      • mel July 7, 2011, 5:12 pm

        A lot of times downvotes can result from touchy phone screens. I know I’ve done my fair share and not owned up.

        I think you have a generally positive response to your comment for good reason

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      Elizabeth July 7, 2011, 4:25 pm

      what did you do between the time you stated this and january when he proposed? did you have like a mental time limit or something? drive yourself crazy? how were you able to be patient for that inbetween time?

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      • Greebo July 7, 2011, 4:54 pm

        Thanks MellaJade. I’m new and thought maybe I wasn’t supposed to ask something like that.

        Elizabeth–I actually never put a time limit on our relationship, even in my head. It’s hard to explain, so I’m sorry if this is clumsy. I’ll try:

        I wasn’t waiting for him. I was living my life, making friends, working, paying bills, traveling, making plans. I wanted him to be a part of those plans, not because I needed him, but because I wanted him there. When I hurt, he makes me hurt less. When I worry, he eases that care. When I laugh, he makes me laugh more. He takes what’s good in my life and makes it better, and takes what’s bad and makes it easier to bear. I love that about him. But if weren’t here, I’d get by.

        In other words, he never controlled my happiness–I did. That means that there was nothing to wait for, no reason to be patient, or impatient. It was just a matter of understanding that we would each walk forward on our road, together…or not. I wouldn’t have broken up with him in February if he hadn’t proposed in January, but eventually I would have left, gravitated towards someone who was able and willing to meet all my needs, who believed I could meet all his.

        Mind you, it helps to remember that even the worst pain is transient. If our relationship had ended, however it happened, it would have hurt. Badly. But love is a risk worth taking. If I lost my love tomorrow, I’d mourn, and part of my would never stop mourning. But I like to think that if I had the chance to love again, I’d have the courage to take a deep breath, close my eyes and leap off that glorious cliff.

    • justpeachy July 7, 2011, 5:11 pm

      I did initially disagree with you (although I never purple thumbed any of your replies). The reason I did was because you situation, although similar, did significantly differ from the LW and I thought you were giving her hope where there shouldn’t be any.

      According to her letter, she has made it very clear that she has let her intentions be known: she had the conversation on their initial go around, broke up with him because of it, and let him know that, in getting back together, she expected a direction for their future. Her relationship differs in that she always wanted more of a committment, she just thought it would develop over time. I don’t think anymore conversation would help at this point.

      Actions speak louder than words and his actions haven’t changed.

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      • Greebo July 7, 2011, 5:16 pm

        Thank you. I guess I can see that; maybe my own experiences led me to read into her letter where I shouldn’t have. I re-read the letter, and I do wonder whether he’s given her any reason to believe he’s committed to the relationship (aside from marriage). I appreciate your response.

    • Princess Bananahammock July 7, 2011, 6:15 pm

      Yeah, I don’t think it is really clear if she has asked him point blank whether he: (a) wants to get married to anyone ever; or (b) wants to marry her. She may have. But, I notice that she says he has never INITIATED such a conversation, and seems to also say that she talked to him about why he hasn’t initiated such a conversation.

      If you haven’t clearly asked him these questions point blank, LW, I think it is worth a shot. I think some women don’t want to take the mystery away and sit around waiting for a surprise proposal. Some guys don’t work like that. When my (now) fiance asked me to move in together, I told him that I only wanted to move in together if he expected to propose in the next year. If he wasn’t in that place yet, that was fine. I just didn’t want to move in together. He said he did expect to propose in the next year and here we are about to be married. It could have gone the other way. He may not have been ready or known that he would be ready soon. But at least I would have had that information.

      Good luck to you!

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    • Nadine July 7, 2011, 8:23 pm

      “courtesy and affection require he be clear about his own intentions”
      I like that. It pretty much sums up communication in a relationship – not because one HAS to be honest, but because one wants to!

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  • MissDre July 7, 2011, 3:38 pm

    This letter brings out all my insecurities. I think this is my biggest fear…,. investing my heart in a man (again) who doesn’t want to marry me.

    I know my boyfriend wants to get married and have kids…. he’s talked about it a lot. But I also know he wants to wait a few more years. And we’ve never said anything about marrying each other. Its scary. Sigh.

    LW… you already left this guy once because he didn’t want the same things as you. And now nothing has changed. Just leave him and don’t look back.

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    • kerrycontrary July 7, 2011, 3:45 pm

      I’m scared of the same thing! I mean my BF and I have talked about specifically marrying each other, but that’s only because I am afraid of the age-old story of the girl who dates her boyfriend for 8 years and then they break up and he marries someone else a year later. I would encourage you to point blank ask your boyfriend if he ever sees himself marrying you if you are really afraid of this. But I also only say this if you’ve been together an appopriate amount of time (as in more than a year, maybe even 2 years).

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      • MissDre July 7, 2011, 3:55 pm

        I already know what his answer would be: that’s he’s not thinking about that right now. His mind is focused on starting his music studio, getting his own house (getting away from his room mate) and building a successful production business. As much as he wants to get married and have kids, I know he won’t even begin to contemplate it before he’s accomplished those things.

        I also know that he moves slower than I do, emotionally. He’s cautious. We’ve been together for one year, I know there’s no way he’d be ready to decide whether or not he sees himself marrying me. I’m only his second girlfriend. He told me that it took him 3 years to be able to tell his last girlfriend that he loved her (they were together for 5 years in total).

        I know a lot of people would yell MOA because I feel uncertain about where things are going. But honestly, there’s nothing that makes me think he DOESN’T want to marry me. I’ve met his mother and family. He spends all his time with me. We’re planning trips together. If you read Wendy’s list of signs a guy really loves you, he does all of those things. He’s the most reliable man I’ve ever met in my life.

        It’s just scary to NOT know what’s going to happen down the road. It all stems from my own fear that I’m not worth marrying 🙁

      • kerrycontrary July 7, 2011, 4:20 pm

        Yeh it’s scary in general to not know what’s happening in your life in terms of career/marriage/kids. Stop thinking you aren’t worth marrying!

      • BoomChakaLaka July 7, 2011, 4:25 pm

        MissDre, why do you feel that way? I don’t know you personally, but I can venture a guess that you aren’t a horrible and wretched human being, which, as far as I know, is the only type of person not worth marrying.

      • MissDre July 7, 2011, 4:31 pm

        I guess because of the way I grew up. Not to say I had a bad childhood, I didn’t. But I have been through a lot. My father abandoned me. My older brother was so messed up with his own issues that he didn’t want anything to do with me. I was never asked out on a date until after high school, I didn’t have any friends in high school, I’ve often felt insecure about my weight, I went through a phase where I slept around a lot because it was the only way I thought guys would like me, and on top of that I was dumped by both boyfriends I’ve had.

        I’ve spent a lot of time in counseling, and I’ve spent a lot of time learning to love myself and building my confidence. Yes, I spent a lot of time being single and celibate. I’m happy to say that most days now, I feel really good about myself.

        But there’s always that voice in my head that says “Every man I ever love is going to leave me and I’m going to end up alone.”

      • Christy July 7, 2011, 5:07 pm

        MissDre, make sure you read Greebo’s post above about *you* controlling your own happiness! It’s great that you’re learning to love yourself, but remember that even if you never get married, you’re not going to be “alone.” You will always have family, and even if your family kind of sucks you can build friendships (with men and women) that can be with you for a long time and be just as fulfilling. Good friends will love you even without a ring! 🙂

      • MissDre July 7, 2011, 6:02 pm

        Thanks girls (all of you). I’ve been sort of struggling to figure out what to do for “myself” so that I CAN live for myself and be happy on my own. I know that being happy with my own life is the most important thing. So, after living by myself for a few years, feeling lonely and financially struggling, I’ve decided to buy a beautiful house on the waterfront with my mom and her husband. I love their company, and sharing the house will ease my financial burdens so that I can travel the world (planning a trip to Spain with my best girlfriend).

        I have also just applied to be a “Big Sister” mentor so that I can perhaps offer some guidance and support to a young girl who needs me. I’m feeling much more optimistic.

        And if things don’t work out with my boyfriend (I hope they do, because I’m very much in love and I think he’ll make a wonderful husband and father), I plan to adopt a baby on my own.

        It’s great to have such a wonderful and supportive community here with all you Dear Wendy readers. I appreciate your kind words, everyone.

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        caitie_didn't July 7, 2011, 6:21 pm

        You seem like you’d make a great Big Sister 🙂 Volunteering in that capacity is such a great way to help others and help yourself at the same time.

      • BoomChakaLaka July 8, 2011, 8:43 am

        That’s wonderful MissDre. Good luck with all your endeavors. You are def taking the right steps to be more in control of your happiness.

        And I heard Spain was wonderful! I need to find time in between work and grad school to go…

      • Greebo July 7, 2011, 5:07 pm

        You sound like a very strong and pretty upbeat person, though. I’ll bet you what you please that someday you’ll find a guy who calms that fear and sees how remarkable you are.

      • Greebo July 7, 2011, 5:10 pm

        And I don’t mean to imply that your current guy isn’t the one who will do that, either! He sounds pretty into you.

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        Landygirl July 7, 2011, 5:15 pm

        Not to be preachy, but don’t take what your father and your brother did to you personally. Sometimes people are too wrapped up in themselves to consider anyone else. It isn’t you that lacked something, it’s them.

        You’re not a loser, your father is for abandoning his family and maybe you should be glad that your messed up brother didn’t have more interaction with you, he could have messed you up too.

        The stronger you are in yourself and your confidence, the stronger your relationships will be. Live for yourself, not for others because in the end, you need to be the one you count on.

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        Skyblossom July 7, 2011, 6:00 pm

        There is a good chance your boyfriend has the same fears that you will leave him and that’s why he’s cautious.

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        Skyblossom July 7, 2011, 6:04 pm

        I also didn’t have a date in high school. When I went off to college I never expected to date there either. I just wasn’t in a popular group and didn’t have a cute hair cut or cute clothes and I wore ugly glasses. I kind of stumbled into looking better and a guy ended up being crazy about me and really wanting to go out with me. He did end up cheating on me which hurt and took a year and a half to get over but that relationship did give me the confidence to feel attractive and wanted and I was ready for a relationship when I met my husband. I did date a few other guys a single date each but I just wasn’t attracted to them and so I decided to just wait until the right person came along.

      • SpyGlassez July 7, 2011, 10:59 pm

        Yet another member of the “didn’t date in high school” club. I had one “boyfriend” then, which lasted like two weeks, and we never did anything. I consider my current BF my only BF, and I’m happy to have him, but I went through the same thing you did, MissDre with wondering what was wrong with me that no man would love me enough to marry me.

      • SpaceySteph July 7, 2011, 11:26 pm

        And me! In fact I first kissed a guy and had my first boyfriend when I was 21, in my last semester of college. It’s not about how many men liked you, its finding the one keeper. These days I’m glad that all my numbers are low (kisses, bfs, sexual partners) and that I haven’t left a trail of broken hearts behind (mine or theirs).

      • demoiselle July 8, 2011, 4:52 pm

        I didnt date in high school OR college and yet it all worked out in time…

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        Elizabeth July 7, 2011, 4:28 pm

        yeah, it’s so hard nowadays. Years ago it was more the norm to marry THEN do all that career building stuff. Now, everyone (at least that I know) does the “wait until I have my things done then we can think about we things.” I don’t think there is one right way or another, but the newer way certainly does present a different set of problems.. mainly the “when the heck is this ever gonna happen if ever!”

    • silver_dragon_girl July 7, 2011, 3:45 pm

      Me too, MissDre. I know my bf wants marriage and kids eventually, but he wants to wait until he’s older than I do. I’m currently contemplating moving across the country to live with him (eek!), and before I do so I’m going to have to have a “where do you see our relationship going over the next 2-5 years” talk, which I am not looking forward to.

      It’s scary to think about all the things that can go wrong.

      Ok I’m done. /downer 🙂

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      • justpeachy July 7, 2011, 3:48 pm

        I think you’re smart in having this conversation with your bf BEFORE you move across the country. So many naive women assume that making some big compromise in their life equates to their boyfriend being more committed to them and it’s sadly not always the case.

      • silver_dragon_girl July 7, 2011, 3:54 pm

        I have learned the hard way, and now my relationship motto is, “Never Assume.” I also often draft fake Dear Wendy letters and imagine what advice I would give myself 😉

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        Landygirl July 7, 2011, 5:20 pm

        Would he be willing to move to where you are?

    • demoiselle July 8, 2011, 12:16 am

      MissDre, one thing which might help you in the future is to find out early/target men who put a high priority on getting married. Not maybe, not someday, but really are interested in finding a wife in the near future. That doesn’t mean that you will be the one, but it might cut down on investing time on someone who just isn’t ever going to get there, or who is willing to dangle you along . . .

      People who really want to get married as a life goal (and soon) seem to have a knack for finding people.

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  • BoomChakaLaka July 7, 2011, 3:45 pm

    There have so many (almost too many) opportunities over your four year courtship for your guy to bring up marriage and/or propose. And he hasn’t. I think you need to stop giving him more “time” when he’s consistently made it clear that he is still “coming around to the idea.”

    You are already at the point, and you’ve decided that this is what you want. You want marriage. Maybe, you want kids too! But, if you want it with him, you have to realize that its not gonna happen. If he wants to dilly dally around, you have to either deny what you want (and dilly dally with him) or move on.

    My vote is to MOA and save yourself the anxiety of will he or won’t he.

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  • Mainer July 7, 2011, 3:48 pm

    The six month ultimatum was one you made to yourself, not to him. So you can’t really get upset at him for not falling within that time table. Actions speak louder than words, so you want to actually give HIM an ultimatum? Why don’t you propose? I know taking the role of proposing is a nerve wracking thing to do, but I guarantee it is the most effective way to get him to seriously talk about marriage. When he actually sees – not just hears – how serious this issue is to you, maybe you’ll get the conversation you are hoping for, if not deserve. If he answers directly, you have your answer. If he says “I’m not ready yet” then tell him you are, and see what kind of time frame he had in mind. If he gives one, see if you can accept it. If he says he doesn’t know, then you have your answer and need to tell him you want to be with someone who does know and who has the same life goals.

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  • SGMcG July 7, 2011, 4:03 pm

    Did you even communicate to him that there was a deadline in place? Among the issues that you guys have solved together, is there any sign at least that he’s making you more a priority in his life? Are you his emergency contact at work? Are you thinking of getting property together? Did he list your name as a beneficiary for any property he currently has? I know with me and my husband, I knew that he had marriage in mind because he did all those things to reaffirm that I am a big part of his life – as well as took me to shop for my engagement ring before he proposed. If he isn’t doing anything and just rolling along as though your prior breakup never happened, same as it was before, just MOA already.

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  • Erika Voska July 7, 2011, 4:07 pm

    I think he definitely had enough time to know and decide what he wants…
    You should listen to this woman’s advice about meeting, attracting and keeping the right man for you. In her audio modules she talks about “buying signs” and other interesting things by which you can tell how much a man is interested in you and whether he wants to marry you…
    Check it out at http://www.securyoursoulmate.com/video.html
    The bottom line is if a man really loves you and wants to be with you he will want to marry you and he won’t need over 4 years to see how a wonderful woman you are…:)

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    • Nora Fuerman July 7, 2011, 4:47 pm

      I understand your dilemma… a lifetime is not enough to learn everything about somebody. Fortunately that is not the goal. The goal is to learn enough to make an informed decision…marry or not? You can learn enough about a person in a half a year. Studies have shown this as well. I am also familiar with the website Erika alluded to in the comment above. It has really good tips on solving problems similar to yours.
      Good luck! 🙂

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      • Jess July 8, 2011, 8:30 am


  • Geoff July 7, 2011, 4:12 pm

    Or maybe you could propose to him? If you want to be married, then ask him if he will marry you. It’s clearly something that is either not important to him, or something that he doesn’t want to do. So rather than telling him he has _ months to propose, ask him if he will marry you. Explain to him what he means to you, and why you want to be married, all the mushy stuff guys are supposed to put into their proposal pitch, and see what he says. And there will be your answer. It’s 2011, there’s nothing on the Y chromosome that makes the sting of rejection any easier to take.

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    • Fairhaired Child July 8, 2011, 12:54 am

      I totally agree with this. I have so many female friends who get upset because of a male not doing something that “is what males should do”. Like, after giving him your number and getting his, is he the one who’s supposed to call first? Or that someone’s been on a date with them for x amount of dates but they haven’t stated if this is “casual dating” or if they are in fact “BF/GF”. I feel that yes it is 2011, and where things used to be initiated more by guys (in our minds/parents life/movies) its now time where we can step up to the plate and go after what we want!

      Rejection sucks, no matter what gender you are. But if no one takes that first step, you’ll always be in limbo. Taking that risk is .. well a risk for a reason, because there’s always a chance of feeling hurt afterwards, but there’s also a chance of being really happy!

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  • justpeachy July 7, 2011, 3:22 pm

    The true problem is that you gave him an ultimatum six months ago and now you don’t want to follow through. You have two options at this point:

    1) MOA
    2) Stay with him and probably never get a serious commitment from this guy.

    He knows a commitment is important to you, you’ve made that clear. At this point, either he doesn’t care about what you want or he doesn’t have the balls to flat out tell you what he wants. But either way, do you want to be with a guy who is either of those things?

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  • AKchic July 7, 2011, 4:34 pm

    You’ve told us you want to be married. You’ve told him you want to be married. He still hasn’t done anything. Honey, he isn’t going to ask and you aren’t getting any younger. If you want children, you need to make the decision to move on and find a guy who does want to marry you and wants to have children with you because if you keep waiting for this idiot, your eggs are going to be powdered before he decides that, and probably only because he gets really sick and wants to make sure you stick around to take care of him.

    You have an adult child who cannot commit. Nowhere in your letter do I see any mention of little things that he’s done in the last four years to suggest that this relationship is a big deal to him. You’ve done the talking, you did the leaving, you did the coming back. You. Not him. He isn’t invested in it, and you shouldn’t be.

    I’m sorry you wasted so much time, but now it’s time to try to reclaim some of that time with someone who WILL cherish you.

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  • Manwich July 7, 2011, 4:35 pm

    If a guy won’t commit this is what he is probably thinking;

    #1. I’m holding out for someone better. You’re just not the girl of my dreams. I like you. We have fun together. You are better than not having a girlfriend, but I always imagined myself with someone blonder.
    = MOA, it won’t get better.

    #2. I love you with all my heart. I love what we have. Why ruin it with marriage? Girlfriends are sexy and exciting. Wives are cold and demanding. Married people are old and fat. If we get married we will have to turn 40 and move to the suburbs. My parents were married. Help, I’m scared!
    = listen to the poor guy and give him some reassurance.

    #3. Unavailable dudes are hot. There’s just something irresistible about shallow, emotionally stunted men. We learn it from our dads. Women have evolved to find cavemen attractive. Cavemen don’t have time for all that girley relationship crap. Weddings are so “gay”! If you need to have your stupid marriage, then fine! I’ll be in the garage brooding.
    = MOA, find a sensitive man.

    #4. Marriage is a meaningless institution that condones a repressive, hetro-normative, paterno-fascist society! My promise of love and commitment should be enough.
    = negotiate, maybe have some Tibetan promise ceremony and call him a husband behind his back.

    #5. I’m afraid to ask about a pre-nup. Uhh, how much credit card debt do you have?
    = negotiate, or MOA if he can’t share.

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    • Riefer July 7, 2011, 5:02 pm

      #6 – I’m terrified because my parents got divorced when I was young and it affected me deeply, and my brother married a horrible woman who he’s in an awful divorce battle with right now.
      = ?

      This one’s not uncommon, I’ve seen people mention it here before, and my husband was the same way. Luckily in my case he realized he wanted to keep me enough to take the plunge, but I can totally see how some guys (or girls!) might not be able to get past the fear. Maybe therapy?

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      • Manwich July 7, 2011, 5:35 pm


        I’d put myself with #2, or #4 because of all the awful things I’ve seen happen to married people.

        Where do we speculate the LW’s boy is? I’m guessing #3 because he doesn’t seem to be putting up much of a fight one way or the other. She could probably coerce him into marriage, but why?

      • Riefer July 7, 2011, 8:05 pm

        I think he’s at #1, or actually there’s a #7, which is that some people are just not interested in marriage. “Confirmed bachelor” was what they used to call the men. There’s a #8 too, which is closeted gay who can’t bring himself to get married. I don’t think that’s the issue here though. I’d say #1 or #7.

      • Riefer July 7, 2011, 8:07 pm

        #8 being different from #4. #4 is more of a railing against societal norms, but people in that category would have no problem with a lifetime commitment. #8 is for people who just don’t want to make that commitment, to anyone, ever.

      • oldie July 7, 2011, 9:27 pm

        Back in the day, ‘confirmed bachelor’ was as likely to mean gay, when families considered gay relatives to be a shameful thing to admit to. That was a silly time.

      • AKchic July 7, 2011, 5:53 pm

        I can understand that one. My SO and I refuse to get married because of a few reasons. His parents were each married (and divorced) 3x, his uncle has been divorced, his aunt is divorced, another aunt is divorced (with a very disfunctional family). My parents are divorced. My grandparents were each divorced before they married, my uncle has been divorced twice (and he has the nerve to look down his nose at me!), I’ve been divorced twice. Also, his mom would literally shoot us both during the wedding ceremony in objection, even if we were to elope – she is that serious about him not marrying me (it was bad enough I made her a “grandma”).
        I’m not going to ruin HIS record by marrying him and making him go through a divorce himself. There’s just no reason to get married. We have our legal paperwork worked out already. When people ask, I jokingly say that I have an inherited allergy to marriage, or that I make a better ex-wife than a wife, or that we won’t get married until we find the right woman to marry the both of us (this usually gets a laugh out of a few of our raunchier friends).

  • Yozi July 7, 2011, 4:40 pm

    I want to preface this with saying that I don’t think relationships should be played like a game. But if this was a game, LW, your strategy is not going to win you any prizes. You moved out of his apartment early on because you didn’t want to live with someone before you had a serious commitment locked down. To me it seems like you were telling him pretty loud and clear that you want a commitment from *him* and if he wants to cohabitate with you he better pony up. Well, he called your bluff. Obviously, you having seperate apartments was no big deal for him. So you continue to date him until you can’t take it anymore and dump him because he won’t give you a commitment. He called your bluff again when he sat still and waited for you to come running back. Then you say you’ll get together for 6 months and if no commitment is made you will break up. He is calling your bluff once again. And he clearly has good reason to, because he knows you aren’t holding any cards in this poker game of love. Anywho, I don’t think you can regain any control in this situation because you have erroded most of your credibility, and ultimatums aren’t going to work anymore. Ask yourself if you can deal with not being married to this man. If you can, then drop these negotations. If you can’t, then give some serious thought to MOA.

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    • melanie July 7, 2011, 4:51 pm

      Spot on!

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    • Blitzen July 8, 2011, 10:31 am

      *slow clap*

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  • LTC039 July 7, 2011, 4:15 pm

    This reminds me of the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” where Jennifer Aniston wants to marry Ben Affleck, but he doesn’t want to get married so she leaves him only to realize she wants to be with him & doesn’t care & JUST as they get back together & she accepts she’ll never be married he proposes to her!! **gush**!!
    Unfortunately, LW, you already left him & he still can’t even talk about it. Make a decision. Whats more important to you, your bf or marriage?
    If you choose marriage, you know in your heart what has to be done. Maybe thinking about why you want to get married will help. Like, is it because it’s something you’ve always dreamed of, something you think would make your relationship more solid, or financial reasons? I think once you’re clear on that you can be clear on your decision.
    Just remember, you already left him once & survived. If you choose to leave again, you’ll be just fine.

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    • BoomChakaLaka July 7, 2011, 4:22 pm

      Ohhh I thought that too. Ben Affleck’s character pretty much hated the institution of marriage and liked being in a “common law” marriage type deal. LW’s dude on the other hand can’t even badmouth marriage – he just doesn’t want to talk about it!

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      • LTC039 July 7, 2011, 5:10 pm

        That’s true! I mean, if he at least agreed to that, then things would be clearer. I don’t think they’re even living together now that they’ve reconciled.
        Idk, people say “He’s so great, we’re doing amazing.” But you’re not! Your bf isn’t even talking to you ab something you’ve shown is important to you. I believe that for a relationship to be truly “amazing” you need to be 100% comfortable with that person & communication is #1! If your bf can’t even have a conversation with you ab something, something’s not right.

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    Miss MJ July 7, 2011, 6:02 pm

    “Should I give him more time to think it over or has he had enough of a chance?”

    This guy doesn’t need “more time to think it over.” He’s made his decision – it’s that he does not want to marry the LW, plain and simple. The LW should MOA. She’s made it clear she wants marriage. He’s made it clear he doesn’t care if she wants to get married or not, he’s not asking. She deserves better.

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  • Elle July 7, 2011, 5:34 pm

    Another bit of wisdom from Dan Savage: “if you can take it or leave it, you owe somebody the leaving”. LW, your boyfriend has shown you twice that he can leave it. As Yozi explained very well, your bf has shown you twice that he’s not that into you. Honestly, he had the chance to show you he’s committed to you when you first talked about moving out. He didn’t take it. When you guys broke up, again, he could have done something, but he chose not to. I agree with Wendy, he won’t come around, and if he ever will, it’s likely it won’t happen any time soon.

    In my opinion, and I’ve noticed this with other couples, many relationships break down around the two year mark. I think it’s safe to say that after four years together, you know each other pretty well, and that it’s highly unlikely for either of you to have any major surprises or revelations down the road. The fact that the last 6 months have been pretty fantastic speaks very well of the kind of relationship you guys might have for the foreseeable future. If he can’t get that, LW, it’s not your fault, and there’s nothing more that you can do. As you said, you tried, and gave it your best shot. Nothing came out of it, unfortunately, so maybe it’s time to cut your losses.

    I know it’s really really hard and heartbreaking to give up a 4 year relationship that seems to have no major problems, but if he can’t give you what you want, at least he can give you the opportunity to look and find someone else that can. Actually, you need to give yourself that opportunity.

    Best of luck, LW, and please, don’t have any regrets. You gave it your all.

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      caitie_didn't July 7, 2011, 6:23 pm

      That’s actually one of my favourite Dan Savage phrases, right behind DTMFA.

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  • Mom of Three July 7, 2011, 6:58 pm

    I was married. And how’d that turn out? Three accidents later and a mortgage, a foreclosed house, a stretched snatch, and six re-occurrences of head lice later I make the realization: Marriage. Avoid it when you can. And that goes for everybody.
    Stay in there, LW- while the going’s good. As long as nobody’s getting ringed up (married) you’re safe.

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    • Lexington July 7, 2011, 11:57 pm

      Wow. Just wow.

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      • Fairhaired Child July 8, 2011, 1:02 am

        I almost burst out laughing at the “stretched snatch” line. Not at all the advice I was expecting to see. But yeah – people can have rough life experiences, not every marriage is a happy one.

        But LW don’t listen to a bunch of us sprouting either unicorns and rainbows about marriage or poison and misery. Do what you feel would benifit you and make you happiest in the long run!

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    katie July 7, 2011, 8:34 pm

    “and while we still had things to work out and address, if he was willing to do that work with the goal of being married I’d be willing to give it another shot.”

    so has he kept up his end of that bargain? have you even asked? i think you need to be much more open and honest with him about what you want. maybe because you guys have this hypothetical marriage that you have discussed that “he said that he sees us being married “some day,” it isn’t a reality to him. make it his reality! talk about the wedding you would have, the person who would make your cake, what your bridesmaids would wear, whatever! I think then you could guage if this is really something he is wanting to do, or just not ever going to happen with him. but i think bottom line you just need much more talking, more honesty, and more communication

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    • oldie July 7, 2011, 9:22 pm

      Make it a reality by asking ‘who will make the cake?’, ‘what will the bridesmaids wear’? That has little to no reality for men. Just as event on the way to being married. About as far as you need to go with him in discussing the wedding in order to make it real is when, where, how big, who will officiate, do we pay for it ourselves, what’s the budget? You’ll get very depressed, very fast, if you gauge his interest in marrying you based upon his level of excitement over who the bridesmaids are going to be, what they’re going to wear, and who’ll make the cake.

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      • MissDre July 7, 2011, 10:30 pm

        LoL agreed. My brother had no interest in talking about his wedding. My SIL cried and thought it meant he didn’t want to marry her. Same with my mom, she would get so frustrated that her husband didn’t take part in the planning. Guys (most anyway) don’t care about the actual wedding.

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        katie July 7, 2011, 10:38 pm

        i dont think i would have agreed to marry your brother if he did that to me… i think that if a man doesn’t want to be involved in a wedding just because it isn’t “manly” means that he isn’t the right man to marry… assuming, i guess, that you are excited about planning a wedding.

        there is so much more to wedding planning then just colors and party favors.. things like who will walk the groom down the aisle, what family members will be present in the “family only” section of the seating, what the groom wants to make the wedding special, ie a speech from his father, or brother, or whatever.

        i honestly think any man who doesn’t think that a wedding is a special day for him as well as his fiancee has no business getting married.

      • MissDre July 7, 2011, 11:33 pm

        I understand where you are coming from. I would hope that my husband to be would be just as excited… But it’s honestly not reality. Some men are really into it… Probably 75% just want to do the bare minimum that’s required of them. And when it comes down to it, if you already know in your heart that this is the man for you, that he’s going to be a good husband, the wedding itself (while special and wonderful) is just not as important.

        A wedding is a special thing, but it’s only one day in the rest of your life. The most important thing is the marriage itself. Not how active a man is in planning the ceremony, but how active he is when it comes to being a good
        husband for the next 50 years.

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        katie July 8, 2011, 12:36 am

        i agree with you, but i just think that if a man is as committed, as excited, and as ready to be married and I would want him to be, taking an active role in the wedding is part of that. it is the day that you announce to world you are a couple forever, it is a day that you pledge to be with the other person til you freaking die.

        im not saying i would expect guys to obsess about the EXACT shade of pink i would want, but take a role as in knowing that is the day that they commit themselves for life to another. i feel like it is a very big deal (maybe i feel more strongly then others do?) to have a wedding, so i would expect it to be treated with respect and given the attention it deserves.

      • spaceboy761 July 8, 2011, 10:19 am

        Straight man says, “Good luck with that”

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        katie July 8, 2011, 6:38 pm

        well i guess i am glad i am with the guy i am, then, and really glad im not with any guys that you people know. while he doesn’t care about colors or centerpieces, he is very happy to be talking with me about where the wedding being held, who is being invited, how the food is going to be prepared and presented (we are both chefs, and our friends are going to end up cooking the dinner), who is going to stand up next to him, and where his family is sitting, and who will be walking him down the aisle.

        any man who doesn’t care about a wedding, doesnt care about a marriage. it is not just about colors and bridemaids dresses, like i said before, it is the day that you pledge your life to another person UNTIL YOU DIE. if that isn’t a big deal to you, then that is reason that the divorce rate is so high.

      • Kate July 8, 2011, 6:41 pm

        I disagree. A wedding does not a marriage make. The divorce rate isn’t high because men don’t care about weddings; it’s because (to some degree) people are not choosing the right partner.

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        katie July 8, 2011, 9:27 pm

        the divorce rate is high because people don’t take marriage seriously. like i have now said 3 times, the day you marry is the day that you pledge your life to someone else UNTIL DEATH. if your partner (man or woman) is not actively participating in that day of decision-making, it is not going to end well.

        like i have said before, a couple times i think, it is not about colors or dresses, it is about the fact that from that day forward, you are a couple; you are commited for life. that is a very serious thing, and i guess i am the only one that thinks that.

        of course a wedding does not a marriage make- thats the entire point. its not about the colors of the dress, or having the perfect hair, or having a wonderful party. those things are all imposed by society that you SHOULD have. even people who dont have those things still BOTH actively make a commitment to each other, and actively participate in the day it happens. would you want to enter into a marriage knowing full well that your soon to be husband couldn’t give 2 shits about the day your were pledging yourselves to each other? it doesn’t matter if you are having 300 people at the big catholic church or just the two of you and a witness at the courthouse. that day should be very signifigant and special to BOTH of you.

        i seriously feel like i am talking to crazy people here, especially after knowing the general views of DW readers (ive been reading for like 2-3 years or so, i think?). there seems to be a general sentiment that marriage should be taken very seriously, gone into slowly and with caution, and never used as a way to repair a relationship or have a day for “you” (usually you meaning the bride).

        like i said before, its not like i would think that men would love to know that exact shade of pink im using, or care about centerpeices, or whatever asthetic peices of a wedding… but the man i will marry better be just as invested in that day as I am, in whatever ways make sense to him to be invested. i would never put up with the guy who just wants to be told when and where to show up. nope. that, to me, is disrespectful of what a marriage is, and what a wedding is supposed to stand for, which is a union between two people forever.

        but apparently, i am the only one who feels like that.

        my only thought to the LW was that if she made this “someday” wedding more of a reality to her boyfriend, maybe it would force him to actually think about it happening in his reality, to the LW. I would think that would either make him head for the hills, or finally realize that maybe this is something he would like to have with the LW. so many people said that she should leave him, but I thought that she was treating her wanting a marriage as he was- it was a “someday” dream that neither of them had made to be anything near a reality. I dont know if it would work for her or not, but better to try and find out, then to just leave him, right? i thought there might be a small ray of hope for them.

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        Skyblossom July 10, 2011, 10:28 am

        Maybe part of the reason many men aren’t interested in the planning is because so many people see the wedding as the bride’s day rather than the couple’s day. My husband and I paid for the wedding together and planned for the wedding together. I think that if the bride’s family is paying for the wedding then the groom feels that he can’t say much. Also, how many men get really excited about looking at dresses, cakes and flowers? It’s just not their thing.

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        katie July 7, 2011, 10:41 pm

        i just meant that if she really starts making this wedding a reality by talking about it, because she said that “he sees us being married “some day,” maybe that will either get his butt in gear that she is serious, or will make him honestly sit her down and tell her that marriage isn’t going to happen.

        bridesmaids dresses were just the first thing that came to my head, being a woman, i guess

      • spaceboy761 July 8, 2011, 10:17 am

        As a happily married man, I can say that constant blather about bridesmaid’s dresses would drive me straight into the strip club. Brides have to realize that most men will care about food, alcohol, religious concerns, and the guests, but there are a large portion of wedding details that we seriously do not care enough to talk about.

        I seriously do not care whether the charger plates on the place setting are Venetian Gold or Fresh Gold. It’s not that I’m not emotionally invested in the marriage, it’s simply the fact that I couldn’t give a shit and I have things to do. Don’t take it personally.

        Having that said, broaching the marriage topic by pinning down details is a pretty bad idea. You’re essentially pounding on the things bound to interest him the least and that doesn’t really spin the wedding concept in a positive light. No good relationship ever started with an ultimatum, so I say that the LW should propose to the BF. Be mentally prepared for any response.

        PS- The whole bit about moving out until she gets a marriage committment and then caving on her own demands is a colossal red flag.

  • The Private Man July 14, 2011, 2:13 am

    What in the marriage contract (it really is a legal contract) is actually for him? Answer that question honestly and accurately and you might find his reasons for being so reluctant.

    If you don’t want to answer that question, then you are being way too selfish to be even thinking about marriage.

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  • Anonymous December 11, 2017, 12:25 am

    I was in the sMe situation before. My ex-boyfriend focused so much on getting a better job and said that he would not be able to think about our future (marriage) if he couldn’t settle his career first. After several discussion throughout a month, I walkes out of this 2-year relationship which seemed good in ant other ways. He did not come around and I got an answer.

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