It’s a catch-22; we can’t win either way

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  • This topic has 2 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 6 years ago by Mark.
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    I’m a female and I’ve been with my boyfriend for 2 years. We currently live together and have met each other’s families. He’s 32 and I’ll be turning 30 in several months.

    I love him very much, I feel that we’re compatible and have the same values.

    Our issue is that I want to get married and he doesn’t want to get married yet. He says “I’m the person he wants to marry… he just doesn’t want to yet.”

    This subject has caused us so much pain… to the point where now there’s resentment. I told him that I’m trying to understand his need to wait, but it honestly feels like “a slap in the face.” If he’s so sure about me like he says, then why wouldn’t he be more excited to marry me?

    He only talks about when he’s prompted to or when I initiate the conversation. He doesn’t willingly bring it up (but he maintains he does want to marry me, just needs needs a little more time, like about “1-2 years” and he’s “almost ready”).

    From a cultural stand-point all of my close friends are now engaged or married. Even my sister who is 5 years younger than me is getting married in 3 weeks and I’ll be the “oldest” sister standing up in the wedding without a true commitment to my relationship with my boyfriend (i.e. an engagement).

    It’s been extremely difficult to be so sure about my feelings and future for him and to see his lack of excitement toward looking at rings. He said he will take me to look at rings, but I know deep down he’s only doing it for me- not because he feels excited or because he’s initiating it on his own.

    People have asked me “why don’t you just wait?” That’s a good question. Maybe because in my cultural I’m already up there in age for getting married and I also wanted to take our time planning an engagement, enjoy it, enjoy being married just us two, and also move because we want to live in a different city. And starting a family. My biological clock is ticking and to pack all of this in within the next 5 years feels urgent. Like at this point I’m going to have to start picking and choosing and the whole child-bearing thing maybe be the first thing to go because it might get more difficult as I get older.

    I’ve calmly explained all of this to my boyfriend, but I truly don’t think he understands where I’m coming from.

    So it’s a catch-22, I’m unhappy because we have no plans to get married (and quite frankly whenever I bring it up I see the frown on my boyfriend’s face, the forced conversation, and the promises he makes just to keep me happy… it honestly hurts sometimes that he doesn’t share my enthusiasm). He would be happier if I didn’t bring it up right now, if I stopped pressuring him, and if I let him move at his own pace (whether that’s 1 year or several years from now).

    I’m just very sad. I’ve celebrated my younger family member’s engagments and weddings. I’ve celebrated my friend’s engagement and weddings. I feel so sad that my boyfriend looks at me and is content with just calling me his girlfriend and I’m not someone he’s jumping at the opportunity to marry because he’s so excited about a future with me.

    Maybe all of the talk and pressure is making him not excited for a future with me.

    I feel like withdrawing and emotionally “checking out” of the marriage stuff. He said he wanted to take me to look at rings on Sunday… but it doesn’t feel natural. It feels forced and he doesn’t have passion and excitement behind it. It’s almost like a chore so he can check it off the list to keep me off his back.

    I can’t win in this situation. There are only two viable options: 1) Accept that I’m not getting married anytime in the near future and wait OR 2) Leave him… and 2) isn’t an option. I don’t want to leave him because I love him very much and have invested in our relationship.

    So this brings us back to acceptance. I’m going to be 30. I’m not going to get proposed to or married anytime in the near future. It’s important to me, but it’s also important to him to wait until he’s ready (whenever that would be) and for me to stop pressuring him.

    I think I’m mostly just really sad he’s not jumping at the opportunity to marry me. It feels like a blow to my self worth because I see all of my friend’s fiancés making them custom rings and showing their love and want to get married in incredibly special ways. One friend’s fiancé couldn’t wait to get married. He did it probably 1.5 years into their relationship. My boyfriend doesn’t feel that way about me.


    Dear dreaming715:

    If he is the decent, trustworthy, reliable man he has been so far, as I understand it, better no longer bring up marriage and rings. Really let it go until the end of 2020, I am thinking, Dec 31 2020.

    Unfortunately, a few of your friends with the custom rings on their fingers may be divorced by the time you celebrate your ten year wedding anniversary. Happily-ever-after is not real.




    You have been together for 2 years.   You have not said whether you are living with your boyfriend or not.  Your biological clock is ticking.  I see in most live-in situations that men have no motivation to marry since they are getting the best of all worlds of marriage without getting married.  He knows you won’t leave him.

    I don’t know if anyone really knows if they are ready for marriage.  I find that as a bulls**t answer myself.  What happens in 1-2 years for him?  What will change in that time?  What is he doing to “get ready?”

    You are focused on marriage but I wonder if your relationship with him is ready for marriage?  How you two communicate, how you two deal with issues, how you two are on the same page for life goals and values, are all key in making a good marriage work.  It does not make sense to get married if you two are not doing that well now.



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