“He’s Suddenly Changed His Mind About Marriage”

I met my partner online last February. He lives in Jamaica and I live in London. My plan was to meet someone online, get to know him, and then eventually migrate to Jamaica. Since I first pursued him online a year ago, we have spoken and video-called nearly every day. I visited him for the first time in November and stayed with him and his family for two weeks. It was perfect, and his family really seemed to like me.

When it was time for me to leave, he asked how was he going to manage without me, and I said, “We could get married and then you could come to London.” He agreed, and so, since December, we’ve been discussing wedding plans. He told me he wanted something small because his finances were not good at the moment. He then said we’d have something bigger in London once he arrived and got a visa to settle with a spouse.

My family and I were planning to go to Jamaica in May, so I suggested we get married then. He agreed, and I brought the dress and the engagement ring because he said he’d buy the wedding bands. He told me he had booked the registry, but, when I called to change the date, I was told there was no wedding booked in our names. I asked him about it, and he acted surprised and said he would call to straighten it out. But later he said the location was horrible and we should book a different location for the same date. He was dragging his feet, so I took the initiative to find a cost-effective venue and he agreed that the price was good and he’d go inspect that place and book it it if were up to standards.

A few days later I asked him if he had been to the second venue, at which point he began to say he’s been thinking about it and he feels we are rushing and this could affect our marriage in the long-run. I was devastated and told him I had already bought my dress and told people. He said I’m still going to use the dress but that we need to get to know each other more and that two weeks is not enough time. He said that he doesn’t want this to be a marriage of opportunity where he can get to come to England and that he doesn’t want to feel like he’s selling his soul and committing to things he wouldn’t normally commit to. He said that if we were in the same country, he wouldn’t be marrying me so quickly. He then said he’d call me back later, but he didn’t. He messaged me the next day asking how I was and what I was up to. We had general chit-chat. I didn’t mention anything about weddings or why he had made the decision he had — I just asked if I should return the ring, to which he replied “not yet.”

So I am really confused, disappointed, and upset.

Today I messaged him and it’s been an hour and I’ve had no response from him. He’s at work, but he normally replies promptly. I don’t know if I am over-reacting, but my mind is racing and I feel like I need to know why he so suddenly made the decision he did. I asked him if there was someone else, but he said no.

I am not sure whether I should continue in the relationship as my ultimate goal is marriage and I don’t know how long he will drag this out or if he’s even serious. I am even wondering if he WAS only planning to marry me for a visa and now he has a guilty conscience and doesn’t want to hurt me.

I am going to visit him in May and will be staying with him until my family arrives, but now I feel awkward. And I am annoyed that he only spoke to me briefly about his decision to postpone our wedding plans and didn’t call me back or even console me. I feel like he doesn’t care at all. — Ready or Not!

Two weeks of in-person time, serious communication issues, feeling awkward staying with him in a few months, feeling like his wanting to get to know the person he might marry is “dragging things out,” and worrying about being used for a visa? Yeah, sounds like maybe you aren’t so ready for marriage, after all.

I have no idea if this guy is using you or not. Seeing as it was your idea in the first place that he marry you and move to London, and he’s the one who’s put the brakes on the fast-track marriage, my gut feeling is that he had no intention of using you, that his feelings are most likely genuine, and that his “sudden change of mind” is due to the whiplash fast path you’ve pushed this relationship down and that he’s barely had a chance to process what’s happening. As soon as he realized you were totally serious about the marriage thing and that it wasn’t just something you said in reply to his very innocuous comment about missing you when you returned to London after your visit in November, he probably started freaking out about how to deflect you without seeming like he was flat-out rejecting you.

Could he have handled this much better? Absolutely. The lying and the avoidance are red flags — not that he’s using you for a visa, but that he’s freaked the fuck out and isn’t ready for this shit. And I don’t believe you are either, no matter what you say your “ultimate goal” is. Marriage isn’t a race. You don’t “win” the second you sign that license and lock it down. Marriage is about building a life together, hopefully on a strong foundation that you lay in the months and years before you tie the knot. You do not have that foundation. And it doesn’t sound like you’ve even discussed much what kind of life you want to build together. Where will you live? How often will you visit the other’s home country? Will you try to have kids? If so, when? How will you support them? Do you have any clue what your boyfriend’s finances are like? What kind of debt he might have? Have you discussed these and other issues you should know before marrying someone? My guess is no. My advice is no. Just, no. Slow down. Continue getting to know each other. If you need to lock someone down in order to keep him in your life, he’s not the right one for you.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. artsygirl says:

    LW – I am really confused by your reasoning for online dating in the first place. You state that you wanted to find a partner before immigrating to Jamaica. Why would you not move to Jamaica first and then pursue relationships when you are in the same location and have endless time to actually get to know someone. Also, why did the plans suddenly change and now he is moving to England – did you decide that you actually were not ready to move to a new country? I completely agree with Wendy regarding the whole situation. You have known this guy for a total of a year and only been in contact person to person for two weeks while basically on an extended holiday. Pump the breaks and follow Wendy’s advice.

    1. artsygirl says:

      Anyone else also confused by the ring situation? The fact that she went out and bought her own engagement ring while separated from him (since she would have already returned to London) seems strange. Why even bother with an engagement ring if he does not have the money to purchase it – and I know plenty of poor college students that bought inexpensive rings since it was more a symbol of commitment. Since the engagement was expected to be very short (6 months) and they were not even in the same country through the entirety of it, why go to the trouble?

      1. To make it appear legit to family and friends?

      2. artsygirl says:

        Katie I bet you are right. The ring seems really symptomatic of the whole relationship. The actual act of proposing should be more important than the ring – and honestly it sounds like she did the proposing and steamrolled him into wedding plans. If he was as invested in the relationship or taken the “engagement” as seriously as she is, he could have mailed her a ring (even if it was not expensive).

      3. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Mailing an engagement ring shouldn’t have been necessary because you should actually see your SO in person more than once before you marry them! They’re literally talking about getting married the second time they see each other. Sorry, but that’s crazy. There should be time to give an engagement ring in person.

      4. Yes I brought the ring because we’re going halfs he was suppose to buy the wedding bands which he said he would do at the end of Feb when he got his money together so I brought the engagement ring because I had told people I was getting married so I needed a ring to represent that. He told me he would buy it when I got there I didn’t want to wait

      5. RedRoverRedRover says:

        So it was more important to you to have a ring to show people, than to have a ring he bought you out of love? Do you see how your priorities are out of whack here?

    2. I wanted to migrate to jamacia then he told me because I didn’t have a degree it would be difficult for me to get a job in jamacia. I would have to take a low paid job and I wasn’t willing to do that. I said he should come to England because he will make more money and he has a degree and wanted to do a masters. I didn’t want to move to jamacia first because I don’t know anyone there and I might have difficulty adjusting. But I have taken Wendy’s advise and pumped the brakes.

      1. Northern Star says:

        Everything your boyfriend is saying makes complete sense. You are lucky he’s keeping you from making rash decisions like uprooting your life without knowing what the heck you are getting into (how in the WORLD did you not research job possibilities in Jamaica before deciding to move there?)—or tying yourself to someone you don’t know all that well for LIFE. Thank goodness he’s looking out for you, because your decision-making is pretty shabby.

  2. I’m just struck by the first paragraph of your letter. It feels like you may be trying to follow “the plan,” at the expense of giving the relationship the time that it needs to grow. You talk a lot about the dress, the venue, etc, but less about him, what he means to you, and your life together. Your orientation may need to change. Wendy’s advice is sound – there is no finish line to get to. If you love him, let the relationship develop before rushing to the altar.

    1. Yeah this was the first eyebrow raise moment for me…why so focused on the plan and not the man?

  3. I think the “doesn’t want to feel like he’s selling his soul and committing to things he wouldn’t normally commit to” is a huge red flag. Are you completely desperate? Did you ask him what he meant by that?
    You need to dial this waaaaay back, stay home in May, and let him do some of the work here to see if he is actually into you because so far his actions don’t match his words.

    1. he said to me if he wasn’t in jamacia he wouldn’t be marrying me so quickly wee would be getting to know each other first. So he doesn’t want to do anything out of character just to please me or because I think we will have a better life together in london

      1. That’s a pretty reasonable thing for him to think. I can understand why it might scare you because it seems like he’s pulling back…but he’s showing that he’s capable of actually thinking logically about a situation and not just rushing into things.

  4. I’m confused, too. First you say you were looking to find a guy online so you could use him to move to Jamaica. I assume it’s to get around some immigration requirement, or you’d be moving there on your own. Then you find this guy and after two weeks together (no, the online chats don’t count), you’re rushing him into moving to London and marrying you.

    So, what’s the plan here? You figure if you marry him in London and live there awhile, the immigration authorities in Jamaica won’t catch on that it’s a sham marriage?

  5. You’re confused? I’m really confused reading this. At the beginning it sounds like your plan was to find a Jamaican guy, pusue him, and get him to marry you so you could move to Jamaica. Ambitious, but ok. So you’re still sticking to that plan, you go to Jamaica, and you suggest the two of you get married. Still with you, you want a Jamaican husband so you can live in Jamaica. But then you tell him he should move to London… hmm.. that’s misleading/dishonest if it was never your intention to settle in England. Why did you say that? So far this sounds pretty manipulative.

    Then you’re pushing the wedding date, location, venue, ignoring the fact that he told you he has no money, and not slowing down even when it becomes clear that he’s trying to put the brakes on the whole thing. What are you doing???

    Everything he’s saying sounds totally reasonable and honest. You DID plan this whole thing out and drive it from the very beginning. He’s telling you this feels rushed and possibly not genuine / authentic, which, yup, it does. Do you even love and care about this guy? Your letter doesn’t say so. It just sounds like you want a Jamaican wedding. He’s trying to get you to slow the hell down, and you’re like, well let’s just call it off.

    Either slow down and get to know this guy, or start over with a new Jamaican dude. You probably should have had a few different guys you were talking to on that Island and not put all your eggs in one basket. The guy turned out to be able to think independently, oh shit!

    1. Yeah it seems more like she’s using him for a marriage/pass to Jamaica, not him using her for a VISA! It was her idea in the first place for him to move, why would he be using her for a visa if that wasn’t even his idea?

  6. I think you moved way too fast. If I were him, I’d feel freight-trained by the speed of this. You say your goal is marriage. You sound like a goal-oriented person, which is fine, but I don’t think you should pursue marriage the same way you pursue a business deal. You break everything down by what you’ll do and what he’ll do. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but do you even love the guy? Do you envision getting old with him? Raising a family with him? I got none of that from your letter. It sounds like a business merger, not planning a life together. Maybe he got that vibe, too.

  7. dinoceros says:

    He sounds like the only sane person in this relationship. “Meeting” someone online, visiting them once, and deciding you should get married is ridiculously dumb. The fact that he’s saying that it’s not good to rush into things and you are totally stunned by that makes you seem a little bonkers. You cannot learn enough about someone in one visit to determine if you should marry them. There’s a reason people date and spend time with one another prior to marriage. It’s to make sure it’s the right person (and also because it’s enjoyable, but whatever).

    Were you not using him yourself? You stated that you were on a mission to meet someone so that you could move to Jamaica. Isn’t that using someone?

    You should end the relationship, not necessarily because of him, but because you need to learn how relationships work and become less impulsive.

    1. Skyblossom says:

      I was thinking he just seemed to be her means to an end. He’ll do well enough for her to marry and move to Jamaica.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Except the plan at least initially is for him to come to Europe and now *she’s* worrying about him using her for a visa. So she shows up in this guy’s life for 2 weeks, then decides they will get married the very next time they see each other and he’ll move from Jamaica to England where he has no friends, resources, etc.
        Yikes, I’d be getting cold feet, too!

  8. I seriously need to know how old the LW is and how old the dude is. Like I have a hunch, but I still need to know.

    1. You thinking like, 25 and 38? She being the older one?

      1. I get that reading her letter, yes. She has money and resources. She’s clever and hands-on (she called the registry behind his back to change their wedding date!). Not that a younger person wouldn’t be so determined (or crazy), it’s just the way she goes about everything.
        And the guy seems a bit naive and sweet – a bit young I think.
        I could be wrong!

    2. artsygirl says:

      I was wondering the same – if she is older, it would somewhat explain why she feels she needs to rush the relationship especially if she wants children.

  9. I really don’t think a person should have the intention of being married prior to knowing which person you want to marry. You have to know a person for a long time, and know that it is right to make a life-long decision about being with the person. I never started a relationship with any deeper intention than making a friend (and, ok, maybe getting laid). Marriage as an idea didn’t enter my mind until i had known my now-wife for a few years.

    1. Even if you really want to chill out permanently in the Caribbean?

    2. anonymousse says:

      Yes! Who knows their end goal before the person?

      1. Oh gosh, lots of women I’ve met in my time and a few men. I’ve heard of many ‘i want to be married by such an age and have kids by this next age’, it doesn’t really end well.

        One of my oldest friends was like that from the age of 19. She finally got married at 33 to a dude who was ticking life boxes like she was. They had lots of issues before and after marriage but she had that baby she always wanted and it seemed to paper over the cracks for a while. I don’t know how they are now as she ditched all her friends the second she found a MAYUN.

      2. Yeah, I think there’s a good amount of overlap between people who know their end goal before meeting the person and people in not-great relationships.

      3. Ange, what’s a MAYUN?

      4. anonymousse says:

        I guess, it’s more every g is planned and she just needs a random to fill in the MAYUN part, you know?

    3. RedRoverRedRover says:

      Well, I don’t think that’s necessarily true. People can know they want a life partner. I did. I didn’t know who they were, but I knew I’d like to be married. Is that not fairly normal? That being said, I didn’t “make a plan” to get married. I wasn’t specifically searching for a husband. I was dating, hoping to find someone who was the right match, but not knowing who he was or if I’d ever find him.

      1. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

        But I think the difference between y’all is that your end goal was to spend your life with someone. That actually requires that your spouse be a good fit for your life and what you want out of a relationship.
        The LW’s end goal is marriage. It really doesn’t matter if the person is a good fit or not because she just wants to have a wedding and/or be married. That requires nothing but finding a man who will stand at the altar.

      2. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Yeah, I was just disagreeing with Diablo’s comment that you shouldn’t have the intention of being married before you meet the one you want to marry. Not everyone has to meet the right one before the idea of marriage crosses their mind.

      3. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

        True. It’s the intent behind the action that really counts here.

  10. Bittergaymark says:

    I would suspect if he TRULY was using you for a visa… He’d be racing you to the alter.
    Slow. The. Fuck. Down.
    Many have said your letter is confusing — but it bears repeating… Almost nothing here makes much sense to both the casual outside observer and your “boyfriend.”
    You worry about him using you — hah! Yet it’s almost like you swooped in from London with all your money and resources and tried to buy a handsome young buck at the market like one would (gee, I dunno) BEFORE the civil war. Yuck. Your letter is SO oftputting.

    1. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

      Or she was trying to re-enact the low rent version of ‘How Stella Got her Groove Back’. 😉

      She ain’t Stella, and he is ain’t Taye Diggs.

      1. artsygirl says:

        And the real Stella ended up with broken heart anyway since it turned out he was gay

      2. No I wasn’t

      3. Mmm Taye Diggs… I might understand in that circumstance.

        Just kidding, this is nuts. But Taye is fine.

    2. Okay so I wasn’t the only one who was sort of creeped out by this. Thank god.

  11. Northern Star says:

    The only reason you believe he might have been trying to use you for a visa is because your entire letter is about how you made plans to use HIM—even before you knew him.

    I don’t think you even love him.

  12. Guinnessue says:

    And she said she “pursued” him online…

  13. Ummm….LW, seek counseling…..And. Use. Birth control.

    1. bittergaymark says:

      Oh, God, yeah…. B I R T H C O N T R O L ! ! !

      1. RedRoverRedRover says:

        Nah. It would work better for her plan if he got her preggers. More leverage.

  14. for_cutie says:

    Lets also highlight the fact that she’s visited one time, he has visited none. No shit he doesn’t want to leave his home and family for a place he’s never even seen. In the least you should have him visit – even pay for it yourself if he cannot afford it. Seems only proper, if you truly love someone…

    1. I am just confused as to why I am being made to be the bad person when his the one that cancelled my plans. Are you people not understanding that he agreed to all of this then cancelled at the last minute?

      1. At the last minute? The wedding date you decided on is months away.

      2. By your own admission, he didn’t propose ( you did that after just two weeks holiday and even went & bought your own engagement ring), he wanted to slow it down & he “forgot” to go to sort of marriage licence etc. He’s even admitted to not having the money for all this. He may not be brutally honest, but he’s trying to slow it down as he doesn’t know you well enough. You’re the one who is driving the unstoppable train! You need to pay attention to actions & not words. You’re actions are: “GO GO NOW NOW!”, his are: “hey take easy…let’s think about this”. For some reason (that letter doesn’t show you in a good light), he seems to like you enough not to run in the total opposite direction; but you’re pushing too hard. Slow down, forget marriage & actually get to know him. Or find someone else & learn from this.

      3. I don’t think people are saying bad as in you are not usually a good person. For some reason, you have blinders on when it comes to this particular situation. You know what’s worse than reneging on wedding plans? Marrying someone you don’t love. Committing yourself to someone without truly knowing them. There is not a right or wrong when it comes to this, he is not wrong for backing out of a very serious commitment. Take off your blinders and realize marrying someone after barely a year in another country is just….odd.

      4. Ruby Thursday says:

        No, we do not understand. He appears to be the only reasonable one.

      5. I think he agreed – passively. Not *actively* which is a huge difference. Every made decision was YOURS while he was “dragging his feet”. Surely you must have suspected something was off? That you were moving too fast and he didn’t know how to stop you?

      6. SpaceySteph says:

        He is not “the bad person” because the right thing to do when you’re not sure you want to marry someone is to call off or at least delay the wedding. *Your* plans are somehow more important than the guy’s entire life?

        And I don’t think you’re being made out to be a bad person, just someone who is rushing into something and needs a bit of a wakeup call.

      7. dinoceros says:

        It doesn’t matter that he canceled because you should haven’t been engaged in the first place. WAY too soon.

      8. We’re not saying that you’re a bad person. But you don’t seem to understand how relationships work, or why people get married, or even what the purpose of an engagement ring is.

        Your “boyfriend” is being sensible. You’ve only been together for two weeks. You barely know each other. You’re rushing headlong into marriage with a near-stranger.

      9. “He cancelled my plans”. A marriage takes two people. It was his plans too. He is allowed to cancel, postpone, run for the hills, whatever. This is not being done to you. You are not a bad person, just someone who needs to think a little more about your decisions and the repurcussions.

      10. Also, I would thank the Dear Wendy gods for not going in on your harder! I’ve seen us all go in for blood on people, and I think the commenters are being pretty fair and honest with you. It might not be pretty, but that’s why you asked for an outsider’s opinion. Wendy is the advice columnist you write to if you want a swift kick in the ass or the backhand of truth!

    2. Hmm…if I had to choose between living in Jamaica and living in London? Well London is nice and everything but IT’S JAMAICA.

  15. Boobs Magee says:

    “I am just confused as to why I am being made to be the bad person when his the one that cancelled my plans. ”

    That sentence says it all right there. “YOUR plans.”

    1. RedRoverRedRover says:

      Good catch!

    2. SpaceySteph says:

      I think this further cements the speculation that what she wanted was a Jamaica wedding, not necessarily to spend her life with THIS guy.

  16. Morecoffeeplease says:

    If you step back and look at this situation like an outsider, you have to see that you were really rushing things! You have not known him very long and have not spent much time together in person. It’s just too quick to get married. I’m sorry he canceled on you…that is hard, but really I think it is for the best. From what you wrote I think he is the clear headed one saying that he thinks you should both slow down. I agree with him that this is the right thing to do. I think you should spend a year or two dating (in person!) before even thinking about marriage so you can really get to know each other. Anyway, I’m sorry for your disappointment, but really this is for the best.

  17. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    “I am just confused as to why I am being made to be the bad person when his the one that cancelled my plans. Are you people not understanding that he agreed to all of this then cancelled at the last minute?”

    When you are ready for marriage you won’t talk about your plans you will talk about our plans. As you spend time with someone and move toward marriage you develop shared plans and shared goals and shared dreams. The two of you haven’t reached that point. This is all about you and your plan and how he ruined your plan. He’s backing out at this point because you are rushing him too fast. You have a plan but what about trust, love and respect? How much have the two of you talked about where you want to live and what jobs you would each have and how much income and what you could afford and if/when you would have kids and what you would do if you couldn’t have kids? What are his hopes and goals and dreams? What are his plans? Does your plan leave room for him to be himself meaning that he is able to strive for his goals and dreams. Maybe his goals and dreams don’t include living in London.

    Does he help support his family? Does he have obligations in Jamaica?

  18. I don’t think he changed his view at all. I also don’t think most posters are saying you’re a bad person. They are saying you are wrong to blame him for not following your plan fast enough.

    You definitely are trying to rush him and he is defensively foot-dragging in self-defense. You need to learn the difference between somebody freely agreeing to a plan and somebody not saying a strong ‘no’ as you drag them along the path you have chosen, as their dug-in heels leave big marks along that path.
    It’s not that he is moving slowly, it’s that you are moving way too fast. You also totally changed the plan you first talked about. Initially you were going to move to Jamaica, now he is expected to move to London. That’s a huge difference in the plan. The things you’ve never explained: 1)why are you in such a huge rush to marry 2)why do you think one in-person meeting is enough to decide to marry 3) why the change from living in Jamaica to London?

  19. West Covinaaaaaa…..

    1. Lolololololololololololololol

  20. If this had been switched, and he had been the LW asking for advice on the situation, I bet Wendy would have pointed out the serious red flags that she sees in you! The rushing, the pushing for marriage, not to mention the laser focused intention on getting married to someone in Jamaica…I don’t know. If he had asked me for advice I would have said that you might be a scammer! I think he’s being perfectly reasonable in wanting more time to get to know you and not rush into marriage just because you want it. Sure, maybe avoiding it wasn’t the way to go about it, but you should slow your roll and listen to his concerns first. I’m sure everything will be fine, just don’t pressure the dude! You only met him in person once!

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