“My Girlfriend Refuses to Move in With Me”


I met my girlfriend a little over two years ago while she was interning with a forensic psychologist who frequents my precinct. I wasn’t a believer in love at first sight before, but I am now after meeting her. Despite what could be obstacles — I’m 34 and she’s 22; I’m white and she’s black; and she lives about two hours away — our relationship has continued to flourish. She’s gorgeous, extremely smart, and personable. We’ve been through a lot together and I’ve been a better man in every way since meeting her.

With all of that being said, you should understand why I’d be devastated to lose her. She recently received a scholarship for a great graduate program in the city near where I live and plans to move here since she’s tired of commuting for school and work. The apartment hunting was getting frustrating for her and I thought it’d be great timing to ask her to move in with me. She said it’s a nice thought but immediately shot it down because I never want to get married and that’s probably a deal-breaker for her. She said she never brought it up because when I’d mentioned my feelings on marriage before, it was in passing and very early in the relationship when it didn’t matter. Since she’s only 22, marriage isn’t in her near future and she didn’t think it was something that needed to be talked about anytime soon and wanted to “play it by ear” and “do what she needs to do” if/when the time comes and we still don’t agree.

My parents didn’t have the greatest marriage and I haven’t seen a marriage that has made me want it for myself. Not to mention the divorce rates tend to be higher for those in law enforcement. I’m not totally opposed to the idea of marriage so I tried to compromise and said we can get married if we’re still together when I’m 40 but she laughed and said she refuses to be someone’s “why-the-hell-not wife.” I’ve never been with anyone whom I’d even consider spending the rest of my life with so saying that was a big deal for me. She never wants to talk about it and when we do she laughs it off and says nothing is ever guaranteed and we should focus on being happy now. Last night, we had a huge argument and she accused me of not being realistic enough and selfish for trying to pressure her to give up on something so important to her when she’s not pressuring me at all. I haven’t heard from her since (which isn’t like her) so, yes, I am in panic mode.

What do I do? She’s the love of my life and the thought of losing her scares me. We’re damn near perfect besides this issue but I don’t want to wait around to see if she will leave me. I would love to come home to her every day and start a family with her but I don’t think we need a piece of paper to do that. Am I pressuring her? Should I just go with the flow like she wants or is this relationship doomed? — In Love But Anti-Marriage

Short answer: yes, you are pressuring her and yes, you need to just “go with the flow” if you don’t want to scare off your girlfriend. You’ve asked her to move in with you and she shot you down (immediately, I might add). When you discuss marriage or your future together, she laughs it off. She has flat-out told you that you are pressuring her. What else do you need to hear? BACK OFF.

I get that she is the love of your life and you don’t want to lose her, but, dude, she’s 22. She was basically still a kid when you started dating two years ago. And now she’s about to move to the city and start a “great graduate program.” She’s on the cusp of real adulthood while you’ve already been there for at least a decade. Give her some space. If she wanted to move forward with you now, she’d already be addressing what could likely be a deal-breaker for her, but since she’s not ready to, essentially, make a deal, it doesn’t matter. The fact that she doesn’t seem ready to discuss your thoughts — or even her thoughts — on marriage in great detail and the fact that she immediately shot down your invitation to move in with her despite the frustrations of apartment-hunting means SHE IS NOT READY TO MOVE FORWARD. She wants to keep things as they are, which is great since it sounds like you’re both pretty happy.

In the meantime, you need to give some thoughts to marriage. If you aren’t opposed to life-long commitment and having a family with someone, what difference does a piece of paper make? What is it about “making it legal” that scares you? Do you believe you can be truly committed to someone without a marriage license? And if so, what is it that you believe a marriage license changes in a relationship? Do you think it’s possible that it could change a relationship for the better? Or only for the worse?

It’s not a bad thing to be anti-marriage, but it could eventually spell the end of your relationship with your girlfriend if she’s unwilling to move forward with someone who says he doesn’t want to be married. If that’s a deal-breaker for her, then you’re basically screwed. So, I say figure out why not getting married is such a big deal to you and decide whether it’s a bigger deal than your girlfriend is. You have time to think this over. Remember: she doesn’t want to be pressured. And, as she said, she isn’t pressuring you. But the day may come when she will start pressuring you — when she’ll want to know whether you ever plan to marry her (and not just in a vague, “Eh, maybe when I’m 40” kind of way, but in a, “Yes, let’s do this, I want you to be my wife now and forever!” kind of way). Trust me, things will go a lot more smoothly if you have a definitive answer for her by then.


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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. She seems like a very smart girl, and more people should actually be like her, and not jump into things they aren’t ready for just because somebody is trying to pressure them into it. She’s a keeper for somebody who is looking for the samethings as her.

  2. Yeah LW, your girl actually sounds like she has a good head on shoulders. And I agree with bagge— ~more~ people should be like her, & have that same self-possession to NOT leap through the steps of commitment, just because someone who cares about them asks.

    She’s young. She’ll be in school. She should get to experience that, instead of playing house with you, hoping you’ll change your mind about marriage. She is making the right decision for herself, for your relationship, & yes, you are pressuring her (like Wendy said, she explicitly TOLD you that you’re pressuring her—time to back off.)

    I don’t doubt you love her, but try to see things more from her perspective? rather than flounder in confusion at why she isn’t moving in with you, even after you made the difficult-for-you declaration that you’d *consider* marriage at 40? Maybe by then you WILL want to get married, & maybe by then she’ll be so settled in her life & career to ALSO want to marry you (like you said, if you’re still together), but right now, it IS best to hold off on living together.

    And look on the bright side; she’ll be in your city, if not living in your domicile…

  3. She said she’s not interested in a commitment. MOA And that’s derived under the DearWendy “when they tell you no, believe them” theorem. Sorry

    The age difference means that you are at a strong disadvantage in this deal as the window to get “married have kids” is narrowing quicker for you than for her. She might be ready or decide she’s not interested when it’s going to be very late for you.

    It sounds like what you want is her deal breaker for her. That sounds like a tall hill to climb.

    1. I don’t really think he is at a disadvantage since he really isn’t looking for the whole marriage thing anyways, he pretty much has all the time in the world to wait around for her so why try to move it quicker than it needs to go. She is smart to play it safe knowing that she has plenty of time to find somebody else, and get married if things don’t workout with them, and she is smart to not trap herself in a situation where she could be living with this guy for 6 years not knowing how to let go, because he might want to get married at 40.

      1. I agree. But I think that her refusal of moving in is like on par to him as a rejection of marriage would be to a lot of people, which is why it’s the biggest thing to him.

      2. Yeah I can see that, because that is pretty much the last step you can take in your relationship. Which if you think about it like that, would give me even more reason not to move in with him, if I were her hahaha.

    2. The “get married have kids” window isn’t as narrow for men as it is for women. Men can produce children for most of their lives, so I disagree that he is at a disadvantage for that reason. If for any reason, it’s that she has more of her life ahead of her and thus more time to decide who she is and what she wa Ts.

      1. AliceInDairyland says:

        Men’s sperm can be effected by aging just as women’s eggs are. Not quite as profoundly, but eventually the mitotic mechanisms break down and you get less than ideal sperm that can have genetic alterations. This is earlier than you might think, (40 in some studies).


      2. I know that’s true. (Name me one part of the body that isn’t starting to break downin your 40s. :)) Nevertheless, men don’t feel the same pressure that women do, at least not any of the men I’ve known. They tend to think marriage and children is something they can put off til their late 30s or 40s and in most cases, they can. Whereas, a woman in her 30s would definitely feel the pressure to have kids if she wants them. There are plenty of documented cases of men in their 50s and beyond having perfectly viable children with no medical intervention.

  4. I guess I have a hard time understanding how you could say she’s the love of your life, the thought of losing her scares you, and you want to come home to her every day and have a family with her — but you’re willing to risk all of that because you’re threatened by a piece of paper.
    As Wendy said: “If you aren’t opposed to life-long commitment and having a family with someone, what difference does a piece of paper make?”

    1. TheOtherOtherMe says:

      I wish I could like this a million times.

      1. This wasn’t here when I wrote mine! I came to say the same, basically.

    2. Avatar photo rosie posie says:

      I agree with this completely. It never makes any sense to me when one partner believes in marriage and the other one says “a piece of paper means/changes nothing” but then says they will make a life long commitment without marriage. If something means nothing to you but the world to the person you love wouldn’t you want to give that to them? If the love of my life coveted a pair of socks and buying them for him would mean the world to him then I would buy him the *bleeping* socks. It means nothing to me but he’s happy as a clam, which would make me a happy clam too.

      1. Yeah people who are against marriage, think that it is that piece of paper that actually ruins the relationship, when in reality, I think it just makes it harder for some people to actually leave the relationship.

      2. Avatar photo rosie posie says:

        I agree. Just having that verified commitment also makes a relationship that much stronger. It may not be explainable but you really feel more united once it’s “official”.

    3. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Exactly. I think it’s fine to not want to get married, but own up to that for what it is instead of saying you don’t want to do it because it’s meaningless. If you truly thought it was meaningless, it would be no big deal to just do it. The reality is that when someone is so opposed to getting married that they’re willing to give up the love of their life for it, they’re against what they perceive is the meaning or substance of marriage, which means that they’re probably on a very different page commitment-wise than their partner who dreams of marriage anyway.

      1. Or (and obviously not in this case) you can be against marriage because of its patriarchal traditions, the fact that you must “register” with the government at all (which can also feel silly), and feel that it’s based on an entirely messed-up system to begin with.

        On the other hand, you can also just not like it in the same way someone who has a bad experience with a certain food might not like that. For instance: I threw up once after eating french toast. I probably just had the flu, but I avoided it for 19 years afterwards, because I associated the very idea of it with negative emotions. Now, I realize I was probably just sick at the time, anyway. But it stuck with me. If you’ve had a really bad experience with something (or transferred a bad experience you had to something), that’s plenty of reason not to do it. Marriage is WONDERFUL for dozens of reasons, but there’s plenty of actual, legitimate reasons to not want to do it (whether financial, political, social, etc). I’ve known a number of people who were married young, regretted it, and decided not to get married again – despite moving in with significant others in later life. That doesn’t invalidate their relationship at all, or make it any “less than.” In fact, many of them are in much lengthier, seemingly happier relationships than the married folks I know.

      2. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Absolutely. It’s completely legitimate to not want to get married. I hope you didn’t think I meant that. In your example about it being patriarchal, that’s an argument about the substance of marriage. It’s not just refusal based on personal apathy. If it’s based on prior bad experience, that’s not apathy-based either. I’m just saying that people should examine why they don’t want to get married and own up to that instead of using the tired reason of it’s “just a piece of paper.” For that matter, people should also examine why they do want to get married.

  5. Can I give the girl in this situation props? She has clearly stated what she wants and isn’t jumping into moving in with the guy hoping for more.

    While it sucks for the LW at least there are no guessing games as to what she wants in the future and it is up to you to decide if you can give that or rip the band aid off now.

  6. This was actually a great letter for me to read. (Sorry LW, I’m threadjacking.) This could almost be a description of my relationship. My boyfriend is anti-marriage for many of the same reasons as the LW (except for having a bad example in his parents — his parents’ marriage is very strong, but what gives him qualms is that his dad gave up his major passion in life, football, to get married). My boyfriend is pro-lifetime-commitment but gets huffy about “why do you need a piece of paper to make it real?” And I decided, much like the LW’s girlfriend, that I’m not feeling the marriage bug strongly at this time in my life and I’m really thoroughly enjoying this relationship, so I’m going to ride it out a while and see where things go.

    I guess, from my perspective, I’m grateful that my boyfriend has never pressured me to change my mind on marriage. We’ve kind of just tabled it for the time being to focus on the present. And because we have that major thing hanging over our heads (not in a dreadful way, but it’s there), we didn’t move in together even though we were both apartment hunting at the same time this summer. Because that’s a big step that you definitely shouldn’t take until you’re both on the same page about the future. And I don’t mind going slow in that respect. If your girlfriend doesn’t mind going slow either, then LET HER. You’re escalating things in a way that is totally unnecessary. You’re not a marriage guy, but instead of rushing her to the altar you’re trying to rush her to the Non-Paper-Oriented Lifetime Commitment. Don’t. Just don’t. If it’s not a good idea to rush people into marriage, it’s not a good idea to rush them into undefined lifetime partnership. Just give her space.

    1. Yea, this is a great point- rushing and pressuring is never good, whether into legal marriage, living together, woodland commitment dance party, whatever- it’s not good.

      1. AliceInDairyland says:

        Woodland commitment dance party!!

      2. I knew you’d like that one! Haha

      3. AliceInDairyland says:

        I am imagining squirrels and the hokey pokey being involved…

      4. Dude, I’d settle for a woodland commitment dance party, hahahaha.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      So I’m not anti-marriage per se, but I just didn’t think it was something for me. I get scared. Whatever. But, like a weirdo, I became ok with the idea of buying a house together, so we did. I can’t even begin to tell you how different I feel now that we share that. Its so weird, and surprising. I feel like I imagine newlyweds feel. Just a little different, more committed? The whole thing has totally made me rethink getting married. Baby steps, people. It works sometimes!

      1. I feel you. Being married just feels different, and I can’t put my finger on it. And buy a house felt different, too (even though we were already married when we did it). It just makes it more real?

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, its so surprising to me. We’ve lived together for a long time, he’s been playing “dad” for a long time too. I wasn’t just waiting around knowing I plan to break up one day, meaning I knew I was in it for the long haul. Something just feels different now. And I like it, which is even more surprising. I was afraid I’d feel suffocated or something.

      3. Thanks LBH. That’s actually a really encouraging story. I don’t know if you meant it as encouragement or just as “Here’s my story!” but I really like seeing things from your POV.

        The thing with me and marriage is I’m not super sentimental about it. I see it as two-pronged: the emotional commitment (to me, as weird as it sounds, I really feel that if you’re going to make a lifelong commitment to each other, you kind of need a moment where you say to each other, “Okay, here’s where we start!” and marriage is a convenient milepost for that) and the legal commitment.

        So I’m not super sentimental about marriage and weddings and stuff. And it’s not a religious issue for me either. I primarily see it as a legal protection for both partners, for our individual property and our rights as a couple toward each other (next of kin stuff). I just don’t want to combine my assets and future with someone without that protection. If it weren’t for that, I’d be cool with a Woodland Commitment Dance Party or whatever. Or even just buying a house with someone as our act of commitment. But I’m a wimp and I’m scared of putting it all in like that without the legal marriage protecting us both.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        I did mean it as encouraging! But I’m a weirdo, so don’t put all your eggs in my hope basket…or something. Sometimes I don’t like telling my story, because it gives some hope that people might change, and we all like the ‘believe who they say they are’ on here, or however that line goes. But it is what it is. I’m scared of marriage, rational or not. I’m getting there though, and I’ve been very lucky to have a partner who is ok with it.

        I love the way you look at marriage, especially because I’m not into the wedding stuff either. For me, I just figure if shit hits the fan, we can sell the house, or buy the other one out. So its a commitment still, but easier to end than a marriage. You are smart for wanting the legal protections.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        1 more thing – if he didn’t want to wait for me to decide, I’d totally respect him leaving too.

      6. Thanks. I really appreciate the story. And I know what you’re saying — don’t worry, you’re not creating false hope. I went into this with eyes open. I’m not trying to change him, or expecting him to change. But at the same time, I wouldn’t still be with him if I hadn’t observed the many many ways in which he is capable of change and compromise. As our relationship has evolved, so has his attitude about relationships in general. He told me that on this topic he’s “Stubborn, but not resolute.” I know that piling on the pressure would only increase his stubbornness. (And trust me, I am aware of how unattractive that is.) But I’m also oddly optimistic that with time, as we build our relationship even more and plan our futures, eventually there will be enough there to topple the stubbornness. I’m also not taking that as a certainty, either. But I don’t feel myself running up against a decision point on staying or going anyway, so it doesn’t bother me right now.

      7. That was really rambley but I hope I got my point across. I’m not in denial about his feelings about marriage, and I’m not being unrealistically hopeful either, I’m just focusing on what we have together right now instead of big future decisions.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        You did. I think you’re being smart about it. I love his stubborn, but not resolute attitude!

      9. Banana, can we chat on Saturday about marriage? Because I think you and I are in rather similar places, at least about a lot of it – gf doesn’t want to get married, I realized pressuring her (now or in the future) would be bad, I’m mostly interested in the woodland dance commitment. And I won’t get legally married until it makes everything simpler, not more complicated (with the various state laws).

        But we’re basically twins.

      10. YES. Yes and yes. So much yes. I am sooooooooo looking forward to Saturday! Also if you guys didn’t have evening plans I’m meeting Banano at Black Cat later that evening for a show (I think I mentioned it on the MeetUp thread too) so if you wanted to come meet him and bring your gf that would be awesome if you guys are into it! But yes, very much let’s talk.

      11. We have a dinner party with a few library school marrieds, so we’re booked, sorry! But we can totally do other meet-up-y things later on!

  7. Lily in NYC says:

    I get the feeling OP is immature for his age (it’s not a good sign when your much younger girlfriend is the only one acting like an adult). Honestly, get over yourself. Any time I hear “I’m never going to get married because my parents had a bad one” I roll my eyes. It reminds me of those guys we all knew in HS/college who said “I know I’m not going to live until I’m 30” – I can’t believe how many times I heard some dumbass guy say that because he thought is made him sound tough and mysterious. I just get the same vibe from this OP. It’s fine not to want to get married because you are asexual or just prefer being alone – but if you are with someone who makes you happy, then you are only hurting yourself. Honestly, do her a favor and let her get on with her life if you have so many hangups.

    1. I get that feeling too. That or he’s underestimating her (and Wendy and us) a lot.

  8. sarolabelle says:

    It is not just a piece of paper! My husband, the minute I signed that paper became my NEXT OF KIN. Seriously, I was in a car accident on Saturday. He signed papers, he talked to doctors, he has been handling insurance, he has 100% control of what happens to me. HIM. Not my parents anymore. Do you really want a life where your girlfriend of 20 years and her parents are in a room and they go to THEM to ask about donating organs? NO! It should be YOU. YOU should have every legal right to her.

    Good luck LW. Now is NOT the time though to change your mind and propose to your gf. Slow down and eventually allow her to pressure you on the subject.

      1. sarolabelle says:

        Yeah, me and the baby are okay. But it was super scary. And now I don’t have a car. Which also is kind of sad. 🙁

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Yes, are you okay, sarolabelle? That’s so scary! I’m glad you had your husband to take care of everything.

      And absolutely yes on what you said about marriage. One of my relatives was in a long term, live-in relationship with his fiancée, but they were postponing the actual marriage for a few years while they dealt with a major tragedy in the family. They were practically married but just hadn’t taken the legal step yet, and when he found her dying in a hotel room last weekend, he didn’t have any of the legal rights to make decisions about her healthcare. When she passed away, her parents were the ones to take care of everything rather than him – her long-term partner. Now he’s not getting the acknowledgment of all that he’s done for her either because he was just a fiancé, not a husband, even though he played the part for years. Her death is actually rather public, but he’s not mentioned at all in any of the articles about it at all, and his grief isn’t being acknowledged in the same way. There are real life benefits to marriage, and it’s fine to opt out of them, but they do exist.

      1. sarolabelle says:

        Sorry to hear about her death. 🙁 Hope she was not too young.

    2. mellanthe says:

      So I work in the medical field, and this actually happens sometimes. We had a patient who hadn’t married his partner of decades (they had teenaged kids), and his partner and parents couldn’t get along on where he should go after his hospital stay (he had some longterm needs after a tragic illness), and it was just so sad. We felt so bad for the partner, because she wasn’t next of kin, and ti made the whole situation really awkward. I’m not saying it would have been much better if they’d have been married, but it seemed particularly harsh this way.

      Obviously, parents love their grown adult children, but it’d break my heart if I was with someone like, 20 years, bore their kids, and then had their parents make all the decisions about the man I shared every day with with my feelings bearing no weight at all. I hope that my parents and eventual partner would be able to agree if the worst were to happen, but if I was truly committed like they were, I’d want my life partner to take the lead.

      *Yes, I know thread necromancy, but I figure marriage is a topic of permanent interest. Please feel free to delete if this is too old.

  9. Also, there were two things I really loved in this letter. I loved that the letter writer said “I’ve been a better man in every way since meeting her.” I would love it if a man said that about me.
    But what I loved even more was that his girlfriend said she refuses to be someone’s “why-the-hell-not wife.”
    I think I want to be friends with her.

    1. Maybe he could send her a link to DW and she could come hang out with us in the comments!

  10. 34-year-olds who still blame their tendency to ask for cake to eat and to keep too on their parents’ crappy marriage. *facepalm*

    Also if you really considered marriage just “a piece of paper” you’d have no trouble signing it for this girl you call “the love of my life”. It’s ok to not want marriage for yourself, but don’t go the “a piece of paper” route because it diminishes other people’s right to make it a big deal and that’s not kind, and it makes you sound a bit like a coward. what are you affraid of if it’s just a piece of paper?

    I’m impressed at the girl’s social/relationship skills, I must say. I think she handled the situation in a brilliant way.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I’m really surprised by all the hate on ‘my parents’ marriage sucked, so it turned me off from marriage.’ How is that NOT a legitimate reason?!

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I used to be one of those people, so I have no problem saying that it’s kind of a knee-jerk and irrational reaction. It kind of goes without saying that marriage is what you make of it, and if you choose to not have a marriage like your parents’, you won’t. If you know someone who was kicked and injured by a mean horse, it’s a little paranoid to refuse to ride a horse who you already know to be gentle and tame.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I guess. I think I’m just looking at it like a fair reason. Like katie said, you can not want to get married for no reason at all, but that no reason is still a good reason. If your parents’ marriage turned you off of wanting to get married, I think that’s ok. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t want to go on a horse ever if I were Christopher Reeve’s wife either, so what do I know.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Sure, you can decide not to get married for whatever reason you want to. That’s totally legitimate, but it might limit your happiness in life if you’re willing to give up something that could be amazing just because you’re afraid. If you choose that kind of fear over a great relationship where marriage is a dealbreaker, that’s really sad to me.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, I agree with that.

      5. Avatar photo meadowphoenix says:

        Because it’s terrible logic. Extrapolating from one instance, or even just a few instances, isn’t rational or intelligent even if its natural. It suggests that you aren’t your own person with your own needs and your own ability to make judgments.

        I think it’s different if you’re suggesting that the reason you don’t want marriage is because you noticed things in your parents marriage which you know you would mirror. But a relationship between two people who aren’t you isn’t a reason to suggest that most marriages occur in the same fashion or that a marriage with you in it would occur in the same fashion. It literally makes no sense.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        I guess I just don’t look at it that way, which may or may not be wrong.
        If all you see is shitty marriages, sure, you can say your’s will be different, OR you could say jeez, I never want that. I never want to be locked in or stuck, or forced to work through things, or whatever. You can (all of us can, really) HOPE your marriage will be different, and do everything in your power to make it different, but you are STILL depending on one other person doing all that too. For instance, my mom would’ve done anything for my dad to make him happy, but she just wasn’t enough, so he walked. THAT is scary to me. That no matter what YOU control, you don’t control what that other person can be like or what they will change into. So, I think seeing that in my parents’ marriage scared me from wanting marriage. Make any sense?

      7. Avatar photo meadowphoenix says:

        Yes, of course that is a reason for your fear, and in that way it makes sense. But your fear seems to be more about control than marriage. I’m just wondering how that fear, that someone simply can’t make the other happy, is ameliorated in any long term commitment even without marriage. Like your reasoning is a reason to keep things casual, or to not want a long term commitment of any sort, not just marriage. So to make your fear about marriage itself doesn’t make sense.

        But honestly, I think that goes to my point about finding out something particular to you that a parent’s marriage can show you, not that your parents marriage itself was a reason to swear off. You found out that you’re not willing to trust, which is perfectly valid, to the extent of what you think marriage would require. But why wouldn’t that be true even if you’re parent’s marriage was great?

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh its absolutely control. The idea of not having control over what happens to me/my life is the scariest thing ever to me, which probably is a bad thing. And illogical since I’m long term committed. The thing I hate most about relationships is that another person’s mood affects your’s. Like if my boyfriend wakes up in a bad mood, then my mood is changed. I hate that. In a way, that is scarier than someone just walking out.
        All your points here are good and make sense. I was just trying to explain why I feel like its a sometimes logical reason.

      9. It’s totally a secure thing, but it’s a sensible one. I’d MUCH rather have dated someone who told me upfront that they didn’t want to get married, and gave me (what to them) were valid reasons why (I actually briefly DID date someone who didn’t want to get married for really valid reasons, and even though it’s legal in her state, she’s now chosen to go the civil union route) – than date someone who didn’t want to get married but did it anyway to make me happy. Gross. If you don’t want to get married, don’t get married! There are some things that shouldn’t be forced by other people. If it really doesn’t matter one way or the other to you, fine, do it to make someone happy, but if you really genuinely don’t want to, definitely not a good way to go. Because those kinds of fears can really eat at relationships, and it’s much, much harder to get out of a marriage than a long-term relationship. Sometimes gut instinct is enough to tell you that this person at this time just isn’t right for you, even if you DO like the idea of marriage, eventually – and that’s a worthy reason to avoid it, too, even if you ARE in a long term relationship (of course, that’s probably a good reason to break things off, ’cause better to be single than with someone it’s not working with, but WAY better to be in a long term, unmarried relationship than married to someone you’re not right for).

  11. Gotta side with the girlfriend here. Moving in together is a big deal (at least it should be) and more people should take it this seriously. She’s got her head on straight.

  12. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    I don’t understand being anti-marriage. I get thinking that’s its not a big deal or it is unnecessary or not wanting to get married if you aren’t 110% sure but I just don’t understand being so against it.

  13. Also, it’s icky that you would list different races as the same size of dealbreaker/con than being 34 and 22 or living in different cities.

    1. Nah, I actually didn’t have a problem with that. Depending on where you live, interracial dating can post some big difficulties in being accepted by people. I’m not saying that it’s right or acceptable that society in certain regions is so hard on interracial couples, but the reality is life can still be kind of hard for them in some places. It sounds like the LW was just saying that maybe because of that, he wouldn’t ordinarily have *sought out* an interracial relationship — in a “why ask for trouble?” kind of way. So I think it actually speaks well of him that he was able to enter this relationship despite the pressure and bad attitudes of the society around him.

    2. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

      They might live in an area of high racial tension, like Memphis or the Deep South. I don’t think he meant it was a deal breaker, I think he just meant it could be viewed as an obstacle. Unfortunately, some people still lose familial support if they decide to date/marry outside their race.

    3. Avatar photo theattack says:

      It clearly isn’t a dealbreaker for him since he wants to be with her long-term, but it is legitimately a major obstacle for some interracial relationships, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that.

    4. Yeah, I’m with those replying to you. Interracial relationships have their own set of obstacles- and regardless of geographic location, I might add. There are other factors- like family and friends with varying levels of racism present in them (welcome to my life). Of course this isn’t a reason IMO to not be in an interracial relationship. But it can be an obstacle, for sure.

    5. I’ll reply in general: I understand it’s difficult, but what sounded icky to me is the fact that he sort of threw it together with the other two when it’s a whole different kind of issue. A huge age gap and living apart are about the people in the relationship and about what they are available to give to each other. Being different races only matters if you’re surrounded with shitty people and you plan on humoring them or wish to tolerate their racist bullshit. This man is 34 years old, it’s not like his parents will get mad and kick him out and stop paying for his education.
      If you don’t keep racist people in your life no one will frown at your interracial relationship. It’s only when you failed to speak up on time and ended up with a collection of racists as friends / family / workmates that you find yourself in situations where being different races is as important as being an adult and a kid.

      1. To sum up, the way it’s worded makes it sound like he fell for her in spite of her race, instead of independently of it.

      2. “Being different races only matters if you’re surrounded with shitty people and you plan on humoring them or wish to tolerate their racist bullshit. If you don’t keep racist people in your life no one will frown at your interracial relationship. It’s only when you failed to speak up ond time and ended up with a collection of racists friends / family / workmates that you find yourself in situations where being different races is as important as being an adult and a kid.”

        Wow, way to blame the victims here. I kind of don’t even know what to say, when you want to 1) discount the very real challenges that interracial couples face and 2) are convinced that those who have been affected brought it upon themselves (!!!).

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        WWAPSS. To add on to that, you don’t get to pick everyone in your life. You don’t get to interview your child’s teachers beforehand and only get the non-racist ones. You don’t get to go through the non-racist checkout lines at the store. You can’t design a world where you’re safe from judgment and nasty remarks from other people, or where your dream job is with a company who is completely void of bias. You can’t decide whether the cranky old racist man is allowed to move in the house three doors down from you.

        Sure, you can theoretically “toughen up” and not let a comment get to you, but it hurts when your child has her heart broken over those remarks, and the effects on your life are sometimes out of your control completely.

      4. Bittergaymark says:

        Rainbow, sorry. But your thoughts here on this issue are absurdly naive…

      5. “Wow, way to blame the victims here. I kind of don’t even know what to say, when you want to 1) discount the very real challenges that interracial couples face and 2) are convinced that those who have been affected brought it upon themselves (!!!).”

        I don’t think you’re reading what I’m saying correctly. I don’t know why you assume I’ve never been in an interracial relationship (or even that I’m white) or that I’m “convinced that those who have been affected brought it upon themselves”. What I’m saying is that if you’re the kind of white person that never spoke up when their white friends said racist shit you’re going to have a much harder time getting the people in your life to accept the relationship, because you have to start the weeding out from zero. If you had no social conscience around race before and you only care about it once you’re in the relationship then it will be much more problematic than if you have already constructed a tolerant space for yourself. I don’t know what’s so outrageous about it, don’t get where the !!! come from.

        It’s true that you can’t pick neighbors or teachers, I get that, but you can pick your friends, so if you have racist friends it’s 100% on you. And you don’t have to talk to everyone in your family just because they’re blood, you can cut out the POS.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m curious of how many of you guys would cut off your grandparents over this.

      7. My grandparents are dead but I’ve cut off my aunt and uncle over this.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        I think that’s different. Most people grandparents are very old and you have little time left with them.

      9. Just because YOU (might) have been in an interracial relationship does not mean that you can extrapolate your experience to somebody else. It sounds like it was at least somewhat of an obstacle for him, and it’s kind of crappy for you to say that if he experienced that, it’s because he didn’t do enough to prevent it. And I didn’t say that you hadn’t been in an interracial relationship OR that you are white….

      10. I mentioned your assumptions because it sounded like you gave me some general outraged “you don’t understand privilege” stock answer that didn’t fully apply to what I was saying.

        We extrapolate from personal experience a lot here, and we go with our deductions and gut feelings a lot, and my deduction / gut feeling (based on the words he picked) is that he doesn’t have much experience talking about race, and that race politics are an issue for him only now that he’s in an interracial relationship. And that’s problematic because you’re supposed to care about oppression when it doesn’t ruin your day too, specially if you serve the public. Again, this is part deduction, part gut feeling. Like most of what we say around here, and I hope we can continue saying.

      11. I get that it felt off to you the way he said it, but honestly, it really is an obstacle in a lot of places still. I don’t know how much you follow US news, but there are a number of people making a stink about the fact that the newly elected mayor of New York is in an interracial marriage. And that’s New York!

      12. Also…in a rebuttal article I read talking about how people are more accepting of interracial marriage now, they quoted that something like 90% of people are okay with it. In 2013. So 1 out of every 10 people you meet is still judging you. And you’re lucky if they’re doing it silently. Depressing.

      13. Ok… Your initial comment I just thought “hey we disagree on LW’s meaning here. I think he meant ‘obstacle’ she thinks that means ‘deal breaker’.”

        But then you said, this: “If you don’t keep racist people in your life no one will frown at your interracial relationship. It’s only when you failed to speak up on time and ended up with a collection of racists as friends / family / workmates that you find yourself in situations where being different races is as important as being an adult and a kid.”

        Oh really, now? I’m responsible for enlightening all the prejudiced people in my life not to judge my interracial relationship? And if they’re not enlightened enough then they must be cut out? Yeah… I’ll get right on never talking to my grandmother again. That is way oversimplifying the reality and it minimizes the very real challenges interracial couples face.

      14. Bittergaymark says:

        EXACTLY! Very well put.

      15. You’re not responsible for enlightening all the prejudiced people in your life but you are for not making excuses for them. People raised in all kinds of environments changed their minds by themselves, it’s just a bit of critical thinking. There are people your grandmother’s age who are not racists, so if she wants to be it’s 100% on her. If you cut her out or not is something for you to decide, she’s not my grandmother.

      16. You do realize I was making a point that not talking to my grandmother ever again is a. unrealistic and b. only one of a myriad of problems that an interracial couple faces, don’t you?

        Look. I get it. You think racism is bad. Me too. Super bad. Not nice.

        It would be nice to say race isn’t as big a factor in a relationship as an age gap, but that’s just not true. It would be nice to say that always standing up for what you believe will end racism, but that’s just not true either. It’s a start, it’s the best thing most people can do to help end a problem, but that’s just it: it IS a problem. It continues to be a problem. LW recognizing that does not make him a racist, it makes him a realist.

      17. hold on- i think your missing an otherwise important little fact…. all he did was acknowledge that their differing races *could* have become a struggle (“Despite what could be obstacles”). he isnt saying that they even had problems as an interracial couple, just that it could have happened. and, really, even if they did have that issue and he did have to cut out grandmothers, preachers, best friends, whatever- thats fucking hard! even if he “did the right thing” or however you want to look at it in the name of racial justice, that is still hard to do! is it an obstacle, or *would be*, had they run into it. and admitting that, admitting that having to navigate people’s sometimes shitty opinions about the people you date is/could be/was an obstacle to get past is not a bad thing.

      18. I… don’t know where to stick my feelings on this whole shebacle (shebang-debacle? I dunno) but I think people are reacting in an oddly strong manner to rainbow? Her interpretation of the LW’s inclusion of race differed from mine, ya, & I see how her latter comment ~can~ be argued as a simplification of the struggles of interracial couples, BUT I honestly don’t think what she said was as problematic as some are making it sound. Just my 2+ cents… .. . (ellipses forever)

      19. I agree with everything you say (I’d like to mention though that having a non white partner and a racist friend is the very definition of having your cake and eating it too and it’s not justifiable at all in my opinion). My original comment was just about how his choice of words rubbed me the wrong way and sounded insensitive / uninformed (I think someone with more experience talking about race would have given the situation a context, like “it’s complicated because we live in X place, because it can have X consequence on my career, because my family does X”). Like this it just sounded like “I had never even considered the possibility of dating outside my race but well, what can you do about love”. Again, it’s mostly a gut feeling, but it reminded me of the part in Pride an Prejudice where Darcy tells Lizzie that he loves her even though he wishes he didn’t and she gets mad.

      20. I don’t think people can just cut someone out of their life that simply. For example, my white coworker’s dating history is mostly black men. Unfortunately, this is a big deal where we live. One of our coworkers told her “at first I didn’t like you because you’re one of those white women that steals the good ones from us, but now I know you’re not a stuck up bitch”. Another coworker straight up said “Ewww” when he found out who her ex was. (He was a pretty decently known college athlete and is now pro). She can’t just stop talking to these people because she works with them and otherwise has no problems. Her view is “Well this is typically what happens when I accidentally mention my ex’s name or when people look at old pictures on my Facebook, and I don’t feel like I should have to justify or explain my relationship to try and enlighten them”.

  14. Avatar photo IDreamofElectricSheep says:

    I agree with Wendy’s advice. However, on a related topic, I think the “if people think marriage is just a piece of paper and a formality, then why is either being married or not such a big deal?” point makes sense but doesn’t take some things into consideration.

    That piece of paper DOES make a big difference. I said recently that it should be the other way around: much harder to get married than divorced. From my personal experience, I had the most civil divorce ever, but I still had to go through a lot of work, documentation, debates, etc. etc. to get through it (so far).

    I can’t think of a good explanation. The closest I can come up with is that two things -a and b- being equal, if b is or can be more complicated than the other, why would you choose b instead of a? Does that make sense? I guess a somewhat applicable analogy is either renting or buying. Buying a house is an immense commitment. It binds you to so many responsibilities, legally and otherwise. And it is much harder to get out of an ownership than a lease. Renting doesn’t give you the long term investment or as much legal protection, but there are fewer legal and logistical issues to deal with in all aspects.

    I’m not saying that people shouldn’t get married. Maybe one of these days I will get married again. I’m not saying if one partner wants to get married and the other doesn’t, that the one who does is being unreasonable. Every person has the right to want to get married or not and be with someone who wants the same.

    For the LW, that piece of paper probably represents something else (most likely) he is not addressing, such as fear of rejection/abandonment. So I think Wendy’s advice is right on in that he should figure out what it is about being married that scares him. I don’t think Wendy thinks that “the piece of paper” is not a big deal, I’m saying that people on either side of this particular discussion should take some of the consequences of marriage – even in the strictly legal and logistical sense – into consideration when talking about the difference it makes in a relationship. (emotional and mental consequences are another topic althogether).

  15. Avatar photo landygirl says:

    This letter creeped me out. Dude is Peter Pan.

  16. The main problem here is that you went into panic mode, LW. You found out that your gf had different ideas about relationship stages and marriage, and that she therefore didn’t want to follow your plan of moving in with you, and instead of considering this and thinking about it, you went into panic mode. This may have been a turn off for your gf, unfortunately. You should probably take a step back, apologize for pressuring her, and signal that you’re ready to leave things as they are for now, and do some soul searching about your thoughts on marriage.

  17. My one biggest regret from getting married so young? I never got the opportunity to have my own place. I always lived in dorms, with roommates, or with Mr. Othy. At 22, she’s still trying to figure out adulthood, and it’s perfectly reasonable that she wants to live on her own. So let her!

    1. Yes to this! I never got to live alone either, and that’s h my only regret about moving in with my husband right after college. He’s the worst decorator and a huge TV hog and I really wish I would have a time in my life to look back on where everything in my place was “me” and not shared with someone else, like him or with the three roommates I had in college.

      At 22, I think the girlfriend is more mature in this aspect than the 34-year old LW.

    2. AliceInDairyland says:

      I turned down my SO when he asked me to move in together. Why? I was 21 going on 22, and I had never lived alone before. So I took a year to live on my own with my 2 cats in my favorite neighborhood and it was AWESOME. And after another year of dating I felt much more ready and we had a more solidified “where is our future going” plan at that point.

    3. I’m pretty pleased that I got to actually buy my own place and live on my own before I got married. My now husband and I were broken up at the time and I look back fondly on my tiny townhouse and how I was able to do it on my own without the help of a guy. I didn’t ever have any money after my mortgage and bills but it was totally worth it. I actually think back often about how I didn’t have cable or the internet and used to drink green tea at night and watch my Sex and the City dvd’s. I would never want to give up the great life that I have now with my husband but I miss it sometimes.

      1. I’m in my apartment with my cat and was just thinking “I should really break out my Sex and the City dvds” right before I saw your comment. Haha.

    4. I have my own apartment, and I love the idea of living alone (and I definitely pay all the bills) but I still spend all my time with gf. Like, I have an apartment to decorate on my own, but I’m not doing it 100%, you know? Like, I would spend a lot more time in the cheesecake place, just hanging out and drinking decaf, or I would go to the (AWFUL) library more, or I would generally just strike out on my own more, if I were actually living alone.

      But what am I going to do? Not spend time with gf for the sake of having this alone time? I’d rather spend time with her.

  18. i think some people are being really unfair to this LW. its fine for him to not want marriage. thats perfectly fine. he doesnt even have to have a “good enough” reason- if he doesnt want it, he doesnt want it. and its shitty to say some of the things that have been said about that.

    now, for the LW, future advice: you need to be acclimated to the POA of a relationship- the price of admission. the price of admission for your relationship might be marriage. it might be the other way around, and your girlfriend’s POA might be giving up marriage. personally i think there is always a middle ground between “legal marriage” and “nothing”, and i think you guys should explore that. i think you personally should explore what exactly it is or isnt about marriage that you dont want, and become able to articulate that very well. you should also encourage her to do the same about marriage, so you two can ultimate start a good dialogue about the whole thing. i think that you guys should start communicating much better- and thats on both of you. her hearing that you arent a fan of marriage and just doing nothing about it is not good.

    advice for the now, the RIGHT NOW: WWS. keep going on your relationship. your girlfriend has stated that she isnt worried about marriage right now and she doesnt want to move in with you. that is the POA of the right now. you dont get to move in with her. accept that or dont.

    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Yeah I kind of agree with the marriage love today. I think it’s perfectly OK to say you don’t want to get married. His reason is pretty immature (wah I’m traumatized by my parents) but I think it’s perfectly fine to say that you don’t think you need a piece of paper to be together forever. You can essentially benefit from all marriage perks without being married. Plus, the government can really bum a girl out. Fuck those guys. Tracking me and my life. Spying on me through cell phone companies. I don’t need to give them my relationship status on top of that. Fuckers.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      I love your first paragraph! All I’m seeing is power of attorney when you say POA. haha.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Haha that’s what I was thinking too.

      2. haha, and the power of attorney POA is something for them to talk about too!

  19. lets_be_honest says:

    I don’t really get the whole ‘give her space’ thing. They don’t want the same things. Shouldn’t he just MOA?

    1. Yep. Maybe to someone a little closer to being ready to settle down and move in with him and have a family. There are some 22 year olds out there like that, I’m sure, but I’m guessing he’d have more luck starting with someone closer to his age.

  20. Bittergaymark says:

    That’s the problem with dating “children.” Eventually, they DO grow up, and — surprise, surprise — eventually, they DO outgrow you.

  21. If you want to come home to her every night and have children with her, and she needs to be married to someone to do that with them, marry her. You say you’re not totally opposed to it, so why are you trying to bargain with the when-I’m-40 thing? (It really does sound like a “if neither of us are married by the time we’re 30 we’ll marry each other pact… I’m not surprised that it bugged her, particularly when she’s only 22 and has a lot of time to find a man who can’t WAIT to be her husband.)

    But if you’re only trying to convince yourself you’re ok with it because you’re afraid to lose her, you’re better off dropping it and letting this relationship die its natural death.

  22. I think this is a great example of two people who are in two completely different places in their lives. Quite honestly, 22 and 34 is a pretty big age gap. The LW is thinking about settling down with her and the girlfriend is in a place in her life where she doesn’t want to settle down and it sounds like she wants some independence.

    LW, if you truly want to be with her for the long run, one of you is going to have to change your stance on marriage. Obviously everyone is entitled to their own view on marriage…but if she wants marriage and you don’t but neither of you is willing to compromise, you will have to MOA.

  23. I stopped reading when he told her he didnt want to get married. everyone girl knows thats code for “HES JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU”. Smart girl, she wants her own place and will probably move on from that relationship. Shes still young, so she will most likely find someone else who wants the same things. NOT the OP.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Hahaha, I guess all those people in lifetime commitments are ‘just not into’ their partners.

      1. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        If the two people in the relationship have an agreement about not getting married, that’s great but people probably shouldn’t be in a relationship with someone who has a different view of marriage than your own because it will only create issues.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Of course, but that’s not what either of us said. I was responding to “he told her he didnt want to get married. everyone girl knows thats code for “HES JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU”.” which is bullshit, in my humble opinion.

  24. “If you aren’t opposed to life-long commitment and having a family with someone, what difference does a piece of paper make?”

    Yeah I just really don’t understand the extreme fear of a piece of paper. I get not caring either way or not needing one, but being afraid of it? When lifelong commitment doesn’t scare you? That’s not logical to me. The paper essentially exists to benefit couples who make a lifelong commitment. To me it’s like saying you’re not opposed to having kids, but you don’t want a birth certificate because you don’t need a “piece of paper”. Huh?

  25. Tinywormhole says:

    WWS about her not being ready. But in the meantime… I know this has already been addressed in the comments above. But I hate hate hate it when people describe marriage as a “piece of paper.” That’s like saying the Constitution is a “piece of paper”.. what a load of ignorant crap! Some reasons to the contrary:

    Not only the legal reasons, but being married shifts how you feel about the person you’re married to. If this person is the right person for you, the knowledge that they are now your family is just the best thing ever, IMO. It also legitimizes the permanence of your relationship in the eyes of others, including your family. Whether that’s right or not it is true.

    Coming from divorced parents (and rocky second marriages), I get that it’s hard to look upon marriage favorably when you don’t learn by a good example. It’s worth it to get past those feelings. Therapy helps. So does marrying the right person – trust your gut.

  26. She sounds like someone I’d like to be friends with. So, there are a lot of big issues here. One, you guys want completely different things, and since it sounds like neither of you is willing to compromise (saying you’ll marry someone if you’re still with them in 10 years doesn’t count — and like, what the hell does that even mean? why would that suddenly make marriage palatable?), then I’m not sure how you can expect to settle down with her. “Settling down” isn’t about wearing down the other person until they give in to you.

    Second, she’s 22. She doesn’t want to settle down and have babies with you yet. If you are at the point where you can’t go with the flow, then move on to someone who is ready to settle down. I get that the idea of losing her seems really bad, but the fact is, people have to make logical decisions about their love lives sometimes, no matter how much “love at first sight” and “love of their life” feelings they feel.

    Finally, you’re going to have to decide if your dissatisfaction with the institution of marriage is worth losing someone over. Not necessarily this girlfriend, because I just can’t foresee you guys staying together long enough to where she will be ready to settle down, but just with anyone. I mean, my parents had a crappy marriage, but I never extrapolated that to the entire population. I am wary of it, and could see myself doing without it, but I know that what my parents did doesn’t dictate what I’ll do. And I’m not trying to judge that you don’t ilke marriage, but just consider whether the principle is worth the actual consequences.

  27. Agree. Decide whether getting married is a bigger deal than your girlfriend.

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