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Should I Start Over?

Dear Sugar--

I've been with my boyfriend for over five years. I am 29 and he is 30. Everything is great about the relationship -- he adores me, I adore him, he's understanding, we communicate well, blah blah blah. The problem is, I feel like I'm still dating in my early 20s. He isn't ready to take the relationship to the next level, aka marriage. While he reassures me I am the one for him, and that it will happen eventually, I am starting to lose my patience.

His excuse is that he is not financially stable to be in a marriage yet, which I can respect, but he isn't giving me any time line here. So should I wait around for him to become financially ready or should I just look else where? If I look else where, it will still take a good few years for the relationship to get to the level where marriage is in the question, not to mention the possibility that I may not find another good guy who I want to be with. I feel stuck here! --Ready for the Ring Rachel

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Ready for the Ring Rachel--

Building a relationship and starting a life together isn't a sprint, it's more of a marathon, and so my first bit of advice for you is to slow down. I understand you are ready to walk down the aisle, but you must be on the same page as your mate or else your relationship is bound to suffer.

Your boyfriend sounds very responsible when he says he isn't financially stable to get married yet. Job insecurity is never a good feeling, especially for a man, so I think you need to be a little more understanding of his financial situation. I am sure he wants to be able to provide for his wife and have an established career path before he melds his life with yours.

Is there a specific reason you are in such a rush to get married? I can understand why your antsy, 5 years is a long time to be together, but if you love this man, your answer should be a simple yes -- yes, you wait for him to be ready to take the next step. But, if you are strictly looking to be married, then by all means go out there and find yourself a husband! A lot of women struggle to be in a relationship likes yours, where you share mutual love and respect for each other so while you might not have the ring yet, you have a boyfriend that loves you. Take a few steps back and have faith that holding out a little longer will pay off in the end. Good luck.


Join The Conversation
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 10 years
It sounds like even though he's not ready for it, he thinks you two will head in that direction. You should talk to him to see if this is the case. Also, you shouldn't be in any rush to get married anyway; Did you know the average age of women of women getting married is getting higher and higher? I think the latest statistics I've heard puts it at 35. At any rate, the problem is you're not on the same page about the whole marriage thing and it sounds like you're not sure you ever will be. True, if it seems like he will never marry you, maybe it's time to move on... but what if you just have to wait a bit longer than you thought? Is asking for more patience too much for your ticking clock?
Designgirl Designgirl 10 years
I once had someone tell me that if you wait until you're financially ready to get married, you'll never get married! I think what he meant by that is, there is always something you could be doing better financially, and that if you're emotionally ready, and fairly financially stable, go for it! Every young married couple struggles-I think that's part of the job description! But, don't get so hung up on being legally bound that you cast off an amazing guy just because he isn't where you're at marriage-wise. The money could just be an excuse for something else he's scared of. I would just try to talk to him and feel him out on what he's really thinking. If he's truly not confident financially, sit down together and devise a plan to get stable. It will benefit both of you, single and as a couple. And it will also help you learn how you will handle finances as a couple, and what trouble spots you need to iron out before you walk down the aisle.
tinywhale tinywhale 10 years
Hi Andaman! Of course it is okay to cherish the idea of marriage. Personally I am not a fan, but as I want others to respect my decisions about my personal life I do respect their own decisions about their life also. It was more the general social pressure about marriage women have to live with, I was referring to in my recent post (but I agree that it came over a little bit stronger than I realised at the time). Of course I had no intention to criticize anybody! Sorry if I sounded somehow fanatical (which I hope I will never be about anything!!! - Quel horreur!).
andaman andaman 10 years
I understand why the concept of marriage sounds very off putting to some people, I don't think it is neccessary for a healthy relationship (in fact I think the idea is sexist) but some women cherish it and that's okay isn't it?
rubialala rubialala 10 years
if you really love him, wait for him.
nessabum nessabum 10 years
don't get married for the sake of being married. get married because you want to be with him, you want to grow with him, and you want to share your life with him. if you love him, like Dear says, wait until he's ready. although, i'm not highly religious, there is that passage in the bible that says "love is patient." be patient :) nurture him, support him, be there for him, love him. good luck!
tinywhale tinywhale 10 years
what is it with this obsession about marriage? We have the luxury to live in a time and culture which allows living with somebody outside marriage. If you really love this person, you should be happy. A marriage is a licence for something that you have already. There is no need for stress, you are just making yourself unhappy without real reason.
angelbaby2 angelbaby2 10 years
i think pinup has good advice-perhaps you could get engaged and then have a long engagement. I know how you feel. I dated a guy for 5 years and never got close to marriage. That was what i wanted-or just a sign that we were going to have a future. Long story short-I dumped him and years later met hubby and got engaged within 3 months. good luck
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I agree with DearSugar. You both need to be ready. You don't want to marry a man you are forcing to get married when he is not ready. I understand he wants to have everything ready and not have to pinch pennies. But at the same time you don't want to wait to have get married and have kids when you are almost 40. I know there is no rush - but in a way there is a timeline. Do you really need to have a ring and the wedding? Some couples are perfectly ok with no being married. I am 25 and my boyfriend is 27 and we both want to wait at least 5 more years before we do anything big. But that is the way we are. Do you think your boyfriend would be willing to have a long engagement instead? There is the promise to get married - but you both have the time to get ready for the big day and get your ducks in order. Work with your BF before you throw everything you both worked for down the drain. Good Luck!
blogsap blogsap 10 years
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't "money" and one of the top reasons for divorce? i think you found a smart, caring guy and you should let him know how you feel. Marriage isn't out of the question for him, right?
kiddylnd kiddylnd 10 years
I disagree with those who say dump him. I've been in a loving, committed relationship with my BF for 7 years now. We've had many ups and downs, and are both still growing as people. Neither of us wants to ever be divorced, so we don't want to rush into anything this big. Marriage IS BIG. It's not just something you do because you want a fancy dress and a party. In our minds, we are one. We have been for some time now. Yes, there have been times when one or the other of us though that the ring was important, but now we realize that it's not what makes our union. One day we will get married, but we have already committed ourselves to each other. A ring and a ceremony don't always equate to that bigger commitment. Make sure you know what you want - a life of love, companionship, and happiness; or a ring, dress, party, and to call a man Husband.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
have you ever seen the TV movie "The Christmas List"? This reminds me of your situation. The main character is a woman in her mid-30s, I guess, and her boyfriend has this plan and marriage is at the far end of the plan. The girl really wants to get married and so she writes out a list of what she wants for Christmas. She decides to make things happen for herself, dumps the boyfriend, and ends up finding a new guy who is willing to give her what she wants.
SwtAsSgar SwtAsSgar 10 years
If you really mean everything that you said about your relationship, then I think that you should definitely stick it out. But if you are doubting his commitment to you, then seriously consider whether your relationship is that wonderful. He sound like a really good guy so don't throw it away, but maybe set some groundrules about what you need to be happy.
cubadog cubadog 10 years
If all your looking for is to be married then you need to start looking for someone that just wants to be married. I don't have a problem with the fact that he wants to be financially stable before he gets married at least he has the balls to admit that he needs to get his financial house in order before buying a ring and planning a wedding. I am the same way after being unemployed for over a year not too long ago I am finally at a place where I am starting to get my financial feet back under me and feel like I can start planning my life to include someone else. Money is one of the biggest arguments in married couples. I agree with Lucky you need to sit down and figure out what financial stability means to both of you I guarantee you are both on different pages.
runnergeek runnergeek 10 years
you should ask yourself why you're in a hurry to get married. if the reason is commitment, then i believe you already have that. if the reason is wanting to start a family, then that's more of a reason you should wait until the two of you are more financially stable. I guess the bottom line is i would wait. he sounds like a good guy and if he's the one you want to be with, it will happen soon enough.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 10 years
Its sounds like you have an awesome relationship- but your 'blah blah blah' remark in addition to the fact that your dying to get married (and are willing to leave your partner to do so...) leads me to believe that a marriage and a ring is more important than living your life with a great partner. What would you rather have- a marriage with just anyone, or a life with someone you love? But if the comments about your man not being 'financially ready' makes you beleive that maybe he doesn't think marriage with 'you' is a good idea (HE is having doubts) and he is making excuses to buy time- then I would save yourself and move on.
LuckyGrl-83 LuckyGrl-83 10 years
I agree with Kendalheart and fab4... I understand that many ppl are late bloomers when it comes to financial and career-related stability but I think he might be playing the financial card to hide a deeper reason why not to get married... You dont have to be rich to get married, part of the fun and a great bonding opportunity is building a financial life together... For some, financially stable means a hefty savings account and owning a home, for others it simply means a steady income and a place to live... Maybe you guys should sit down and figure out what financial stability means for you... Maybe he doesn't realize that he doesn't need to bear 100% of the financial responsibility since you would be contributing too... That, and when you sit down and talk you can get a better feel as to what each other wants out of life in 5-10 years... Its no fun playing the waiting/guessing game when it comes to your future, and by opening up you can communicate these frustrations AND find out what he's afraid of... Good luck!!
Eternity Eternity 10 years
Don't get hung up on the wrong details...marriage occurs in the heart. Why do you need a ring and a cake? A lot of men really dread that and don't want to go through it. Do not put unneeded pressure on what sounds like a rare find...its difficult to have harmony like you do. If you are already living together, making financial decisions together, have ever joked about naming your kid after a super hero, etc...the spiritual marriage has already happened. Evaluate how his parents act or came to be together (or divorced) and you will understand more about why he feels the way he does. Next,I believe taking an inventory of your own commitment and values in this case would be a wise step.
fab4 fab4 10 years
Who really EVER has enough money?? If that is his excuse, you may be waiting longer than you want. Five years at your age is long enough. Marriage doesn't have to be something extravagant and expensive. If he really wanted to marry you by now, he would have done it sweetly and simply without all the money.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
LOL. Rachel, I have been dating my boyfriend for over 5 years. I SOOOOOO know how you feel. Sometimes I wonder why I am still in it. But then he calls, just to say hi, tell me he loves me, good morning, and hangs up. Or, I have a crumby day, and am reasy to fight, and he, he disarms me, and waits for my attitude to go away. I have to be honest with you. I think sometimes I should give him an ultimatem, and it may come down to it. We are long distance now, and have been for a year. I graduated and got a good job about 3.5 hours away. He doesn't graduate from school until spring '08. I am financially stable now, although i am renting and don't own, and i know he wants to be-and i know that has held him back in the past. If I dont' have at least a serious conversation, when he graduates, if not a ring, I am going to let him know what I want and where I want our realtionship to go, but deep down, I know I won't have to because I just KNOw he will pop the question by then. I guess what I am saying is, I know how you feel. Imagine your life without him as your best friend/boyfriend. Woudl you like it? Doy ou want to kiss/hug/be with anyone else? If not, wait it out. When he comes around, it will be worth it.
cams cams 10 years
I agree with fluffy....I mean, if you're going to be together, who cares if you're married or not
andaman andaman 10 years
You know this marriage concept means different thing to different people, depending on their own situations and backgrounds. I don't advocate it as a necessity but I understand some women feel very comfortable with the idea. I think in this case you really believe in it huh? If you do, it is quite healthy to ask yourself why it is so important to you. It's getting to know yourself and it's cool.
katie225 katie225 10 years
i agree with dearsugar. if being married is more important than being in a healthy relationship to you, move on. but if you value a healthy, mutual relationship, marriage will be a natural step rather than something forced because you feel a clock ticking.
sparklestar sparklestar 10 years
What is this obsession with marriage? He says you are the one for him but he is not financially in a position to give you the security of a marriage right now. I would say that is fair enough and stop pressuring him to stick a ring on your finger. Marriage means.. what? You've been together for five years and you are willing to throw away a caring and sweet guy just because he won't walk down the aisle and would prefer to be prepared before he does this? If you are willing to throw it away then he deserves somebody better than you anyway, simple as. ~
andaman andaman 10 years
It sounds like you don't like the waves you are riding. Well this one is a tricky one cause only you know how you truly feel about the wait. I personally would wait for at least another year and see how I feel. What he has to say make a lot of sense. But if you are only staying because you think you won't find another one like this, I say take a little break and prove yourself right.
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