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Dear Poll: What Happens When You're Ready to Marry and He's Not

Dear Poll: What Happens When You're Ready to Marry and He's Not

After sifting through the statistics, it looks as if both those couples who move into together for love and convenience (rent, proximity, pooling joint resources) and those couples who felt they needed a trial period are, in fact, more likely to divorce. However, those couples living together with active plans to marry do not divorce more than those who haven't lived together.

I get lots of questions about how to handle the marriage impasse. You've been together for several years, very likely living under the same roof, and you thought you'd be married by now or, at the least, engaged. But he seems to always have a legitimate reason to wait, or a way of ending the discussion that unsettles you.

Do you know anyone who is or has been in this situation? How did it turn out? And what do you think is the best way to handle it, when -- after several years -- you're ready to get married and he's not?


Join The Conversation
yankeeswin yankeeswin 10 years
My boyfriend and I don't live together - although he has mentioned it a few times - but I don't believe in it before marriage, or at least engagement. We've been together over four years, and been good friends for 11 yrs. Whenever I try to talk to him about marriage he gives the old "not ready" and even goes as far as to say "I want to get to know you better" line. I'm frustrated because I can't get some type of answer out of him as to a reasonable time frame, what needs to change in order for him to "be ready", and even if he does in fact plan on asking me to marry him - just "not yet". If I knew he was going to ask someday I would wait patiently as possible, I don't want to push and regret later. I love him dearly and while we are still in our mid-20s and have "lots of time" the most encouraing news from him was maybe in five more years, while he is still sleeping in his parents I wasting my time here?...!
workin9to5 workin9to5 10 years
Designergirl -- wait and enjoy the ride! Can you imagine the strain you could put on your lives by dealing with wedding planning and other such issues, like perhaps buying a house, etc. as he goes through med school? I understand how you're feeling, you want that commitment. But give it time and work on improving your relationship each day and getting closer to each other, just as you would if you were engaged or married. If you do that, the time will come.
smith3 smith3 10 years
I suppose what I meant to say in my comments above was also that I think the expectation of getting married can sometimes be oppressive - when one half of the couple gets too hung up on societal expectations it can perhaps stop them enjoying the beauty of what they have.
smith3 smith3 10 years
I think it verges on the offensive to suggest that couples who don't get married aren't as committed as couples who do. I love my boyfriend, we've talked seriously and often about our feelings for each other, and I know that both he and I are in our relationship for the long term, and take our relationship just as seriously as any married couple (more so than some we know). I want my kids to know that the things that kept their parents together were love, respect and communication - and those virtues aren't restricted to married couples.
designergirl designergirl 10 years
I completely understand what ou're going through. I have been dating my boyfriend for three years and have lived with him for 2. We talk about about marriage a lot- as a future inevitabiltiy. However, my boyfrend is applying to med schools right now, so I know it will be a long, long time until we get married (he wants to wait until we can support a family). I have already graduated, and I'm ready to just at least get engaged and make a commitment to each other. Things are fine now but I just want to really give my whole self to him. I guess I'll jsut have to wait it out for several more years. Funny, but I never pictured myself as the type who would get married or "need a piece of paper" until I met the right man... By the way, I'm not saying marriage is for everyone and i totally understand those people who view marriage as needing a piece of paper. Everyone has their own views; I know I have serious issues wth marriage being the child of divorced parents. All I'm saying is that it changed for me. As for the advice, I'm eagerly reading responses to find out what's best- wait and enjoy the ride or give an ultimatum?
workin9to5 workin9to5 10 years
I heart monster, living together is not the same level of commitment as marriage. Sharing a living space does not equal a promise to be one another's best friend, lover, and family for life. I agree with Valeri that divorce should not be so easy and marriage does need to be taken more seriously. However, I don't think there is anything wrong with living together, and for us it has taken the relationship to a wonderful new place. What's so wrong with enjoying a relationship for a while before getting married? What's wrong with becoming closer to someone and learning more about them before you get married? Marriage is not about gaining the "specialness" of living with a person for the first time. It's not about "playing house" before or after you get married. It's about being committed to the person you are totally confident is the right partner for you. To simplify, what if your husband was sent to Iraq or even just to another country to work indefinitely? Then it has nothing to do with living with him does it? That is one part of the equation, but it has to be about much more when you get married. And I for one am happy to start with that part of the is only making us stronger before we do make the full "leap."
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
if you look at marriage as "just a piece of paper", yeah you don't get it and you shouldn't get married. the study about divorce rates being higher for those that lived together before marriage showed those couples had a more casual attitude toward "that" relationship. if the relationship is treated as one that will be permanent the couple wants to get married, if it isn't they don't. going steady is for high school. there is only one real commitment and that is marriage. if it were otherwise do you think there would be such a huge debate on same sex marriage? the intention is that marriage is FOREVER. how people treat their marriage is a reflection on them, not the institution of marriage. divorce rates show the number of people who forgot what "till death do us part" means. if i were dating someone for more than a couple of years that didn't view our future the same way i did i would end the relationship; regardless of which side i was on (single/marriage). and as for the argument that the kids are better off with happy parents who get divorced; suck it up mom and dad. kids don't need to know that you are unhappy. if i had my way divorce would be a whole lot harder to get. we are a selfish society that thinks everything should feel good all the time. if you aren't always happy with the choices you yourself make, why would you always be happy with the choices someone else makes. people fail, they make mistakes, they stumble. we are all imperfect. you learn to forgive, to give more and you become more through these things. struggle is part of the human experience. seems like we forgot that somewhere along the line. (****i'm not talking about marriages where abuse is going on)
aistea311 aistea311 10 years
whats the point of rushing into something? so many people get married for the wrong reasons, marry for the right reasons, because you feel in your heart you cant be without this person. Why should you just become another statistic?
Pinkgirl88 Pinkgirl88 10 years
I would like to know the divorce rates on couples where one person feel pressured into marriage - it must be high. TINA!
workin9to5 workin9to5 10 years
I have been living with my boyfriend for six months and we've been dating almost 5 years. I won't lie, marriage is on my mind. We've talked about it a little and I know he isn't ready for now. But we're still young (mid-twenties) and living together has been better than I ever imagined, so I figure, why rush? He is incredibly trustworthy and we have a wonderful relationship, so I don't feel worried. I do know that I will most likely have to be the one to bring up the topic again at some point, probably near the end of the year. It sucks but I know he will drag his heels, mostly because none of our friends are in serious relationships and it's hard to step up and be the first to grow up! For now, though, I'm trying to just enjoy the ride. I will never pressure him to do it, but I will eventually have a frank discussion with him about it if he doesn't bring it up (or just propose) first.
wiggle wiggle 10 years
Some people take longer to make a committment such as marriage. It is a big deal and it really good to enter it open eyed to all that the partnership means. In my case, I was the one dragging my heels. My husband was patient with me and not pushy. But he planted the seed and I though about it and knew that we could do it. 6 years and 2 children later we are doing great, most of the time. :)
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
Martini - I agree that there are plenty of reasons people would choose to wait to live together until after marriage. All I was saying was that of the people I know, the ones who waited were religios. I was not trying to state that was true across the board. I also agree w/ you about playing house and the specialness factor. I don't think too much will change in our daily lives if we get married. But I do think I will feel a more special connection to him if we were to marry. I guess I'll have to wait and see!
martini-queenie martini-queenie 10 years
pop, I'm not religious but I would never live with a boyfriend before I was married. Part of that is because I'm an only child who really enjoys independent living, and part is because I can't see any reason to get married if I was already "playing house" with someone. I think it would take all the specialness out of actually being married. Of course, there are a thousand factors in the creation of a lasting marriage. This is only one of them.
katie225 katie225 10 years
i'm totally with smith on this, and completely agree with pinkgirl. being committed to a relationship does not need a piece of paper. it's something you work on, something you do everyday, something that you value. personally, i find that staying together because i love him means more than those who stay together just because they're married. i could go my whole life without ever being married, all the while doing all of the things i really want to do (such as have kids, a nice home, a fulfilling sex life). however, my boyfriend won't have it that way. he's the one that wants to be married - and that's fine with me. i don't NEED to be married, but i'll still get married some day and love it. the key to it these situations is communication. a lot of girls don't want to talk about marriage for fear that they'll drive the guy away. but do you want to be with a guy that doesn't value the same things as you? if you value marriage, you need to be upfront and honest about it. the guys that get freaked out shouldn't be forced into something they don't want to do. just because you might value marriage doesn't mean that he does! also, just because a guy doesn't want to put his relationship into legal status doesn't mean you need to dump him. think about the institution of marriage as a legal document: is that romantic to you? will you be more prone to leave him just because you're not married? do you REALLY care what other people think?
Stella10 Stella10 10 years
This is my life. We dated for 3 years and lived together for 8 months. After 8 months I started putting pressure on I want to get married, and buy a house and have kids one day far down the road. But he freaked after 3 years we broke up in 30 mins I was moved out of the apartment 2 hours later. If I did it all over again I would be clear about what I want from the begining! The breakup has been so difficult on both of us that we are not even on speaking terms and not because were fighting, it's just too difficult for us to be friends. I lost the person I loved most in this world and my best friend in 30 mins. And I can't go back because instead of being clear about what both of us wanted forom the begining I thought I would wait it out. . .Waiting can be very very stressful, living in limbo can be a nightmare if you know what you want and waiting is not always the answer. . .
Pinkgirl88 Pinkgirl88 10 years
I live with my boyfriend, and used to let that statistic bother me and the thing is everything said above is so true. That is a correlational figure... you can't prove that one causes the other. I have been living with my boyfriend for about 6 months now and waking up and going to bed with him is the best feeling int he world. It makes me excited for the rest of our lives of doing the same thing. It jsut makes me feel better about the marriage we'll eventually have. As for the marriage issue... flat out talk about it- let him know where you are and ask where he is. Be prepared to find out he isn't ready. If he isn't going to be there for a while either make piece with it or leave- DON'T GIVE AN ULTIMATIUM I don't think it would feel good to hear "I'll right I'll marry you just don't dump me" TINA!
smith3 smith3 10 years
What's the big deal about marriage anyway? If two people love each other, are committed to each other, and are happy living together (and making all the commitments that go with that like joint finances, buying a house, maybe having kids) then why should either of them feel that there's some kind of time-bomb ticking away until they make it 'official'?
Romai Romai 10 years
I would give it time, since not everybody is ready at the same time. A lot of times, it really is better to wait. People change over time, and that's why I'm getting divorced. If you've been together a long time, you're still happy and nothing happens, talk to your SO about it. Communication is important. Then if they're not ready, think about what you want to do. Some people won't commit and that's all there is to that. My estranged husband and I had the opposite problem from many, he was ready to marry early on, and I wasn't. We had lived together for about seven months prior. I would definitely recommend living together before marriage unless you are specifically against it for whatever reason. Some of you girls are very right, things can be much different when you are around a person 24/7.
puddinpie puddinpie 10 years
There are too many other factors behind the couples who live together before marriage/higher divorce rate statistic for it to be considered with any legitimacy. Couples who live together before marriage are perhaps more liberal and less prone to staying in an unhappy marriage. Personally, I would have to live with a person before considering marriage, as people can change once you start seeing them 24/7. If you can put up with all their annoying little habits once you live with them, I think you have a better chance of succeeding in the long run.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
The couples I know who waited to live together until they were married are very religious. The women in the relationships have all told me that unless the relationship becomes physically abusive, they will stay in it no matter what because of their religious beliefs. So I wonder if that has something to do with the statistic. My boyfriend and I are coming up on 2 years and we live together, so we don't really fall under this category. I am a little bit commitment phobe (not him!) so if we wait it will be because of me. I guess I'll see - I'm not worried about it right now.
chlyn chlyn 10 years
Oh boy, do I know this situation. I'm embarrassed to say how long I was with a former boyfriend while he made excuse after excuse. It turned out the problem was he didn't like the type of wedding I was planning, but by the time I found that out, it was too late - I was too angry and had moved on emotionally. It's very hard to walk away from someone that you're crazy about and who is very good to you, but it's even harder to walk away after 5 or even 10 years have passed. Better to rip off the band-aid early on. If someone's not ready, they're not ready. Some people say an ultimatum is the way to go, but it has the drawback of being unromantic - you both want him to give his heart freely. A good friend started dating again when she couldn't get a commitment from her long-term boyfriend. He flipped his lid, and eventually proposed. I wouldn't expect too much in the way of lasting romance from guys younger than their late 20's. Definitely have a timetable in mind. Three years is about how long it takes people to reach a commitment, but you might not want to wait that long. Judith Sills, Ph.D., wrote an excellent book called "A Fine Romance" which explains why people pull back at different times in a relationship. She tells us not to take it personally. The book, or counseling, can help you have the courage to break away from a stalled relationship. I knew within a couple of days that my husband was the man for me. He proposed after two weeks. Both of us had been in long-term relationships before, which helped us to be "ready" for commitment. I wish all women (((HUGS))) and the best of luck in relationships.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 10 years
How about none of the above. If you are in a relationship - the only healthy thing to do would be to talk about it. If your significant other is scared of commitment, then he either needs to seek professional help *shrink* or you need to move on. What I don't understand...If you are already living together - then it's just a piece of paper making things official, so I don't understand why people who live together hee and haw over the marriage thing. They've already made the same level of commitment that married folks have, so why not get the marriage license and get married? Valeri is right about the divorce statistic for those who have lived together before they are married...
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
Well, I wouldn't even be living with a man I wasn't married to, so option C does not apply. I would never give anyone an ultimatum because they are kind of like a treat rolled into a temper tantrum. "Marry me or I'll hold me breath!" Just plain childish. I'd probably put all the blame on me "It's not you, it's me." and break up with him. If he really wants to be with me for life, he'll step up. If he doesn't then I'm free to see find the man who really loves me. -the ceeg
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
ladies, your men have made a decision, it's just not the one you wanted them to make. and btw, couples that live together and actually end up getting married have a higher divorce rate than couple who don't. i think the "when are you getting married" questions are probably from people trying to see if you're paying attention to the fact that you are no closer to a commitment now than you were several years ago. as another popsugar poster once said; i guess we all know what we deserve. "heh-hu-ha-hu-heh-he-ha-hu; that's the woody wood pecker song"
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