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You Asked: I Want Marriage, He Doesn't

You Asked: I Want Marriage, He Doesn't

Dear Sugar,

I have been in a relationship for about seven years, and we've lived together for nearly four. I have been trying to talk to my partner about getting married, but he just doesn't want to go that route. We each have our own children from previous relationships, as well as two that are ours together. I finally feel ready to settle down and get married, but he doesn't even see that as an option. We have both been married before; he is 39, and I am 31. This is the longest relationship I have ever been in, and I love this man more than I have ever loved anyone.

I just don't know if I am selling myself short. Don't I deserve a wedding to the man I want to spend the rest of my life with? Or should I just accept the fact that he doesn't think we need to get married and keep everything the way it is? I have been losing a lot of sleep on this one and feel as if I'm not as good as his exes. What do I do?

— Ready to Settle Down Sasha

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Ready to Settle Down Sasha,

This is not a matter of what you deserve; it's about what you want. If you want to be married, and your boyfriend doesn't, that's a big problem. Although the idea of acceptance sounds nice, actually doing it is very challenging, which is why you're dealing with this dilemma in the first place. You need to decide if marriage is something you can live without while still being happy in your relationship.

But before you make that decision, it's important to realize that it should have absolutely nothing to do with his exes. This is about you, him, and your family together; he's not with his exes, he's with you, and that should speak volumes about how much you matter to him. Your feelings about marriage and staying with your partner should not come from a place of insecurity, because those kinds of concerns are unlikely to go away just because you've had a wedding. Talk to your boyfriend. Find out where he's coming from, and then use that information to determine the right path for you and your children.


Join The Conversation
dyemysoul dyemysoul 8 years
Unfortunatly in most US states common law doesn't exist anymore. Unless you have been in a common law arrangement starting before 1991. It's how they regulate gay people not getting the same benifits etc. as straight folks. Marriage is nothing but a piece of paper, and the divorice rate is actually higher than 50%. I have been with the same man for over 6 years and living with him for 5.5yrs and yet we are more married than most married couples I know. We are more commited, more loving, more everything that a marraige should be but without a "marriage". A wedding shouldn't be a deal breaker espically since you have'd think since you decided to have kids with this man that you would be more committed to the realationship. I really don't think it's at all possible for you, in 7 years, not to have talked about marriage or the idea of spending the rest of your lives together. If you really didn't then sit down and have that talk, without getting defensive and try really hard to open your eyes and see his point of view and then maybe he'll see yours.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
Carak, I don't think children outside of marriage are okay either, and i also think, regardless of the kids, she should move if she isn't happy with it because 1)if she isn't happy, the children won't be, and 2) it isn't a good example to set for the children.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i have to agree - if you want to get married then you should be able to get married and if your boyfriend has a problem with that - then you need to have a real conversation with him. my fiance was married before and said for the longest time that he had NO INTENTION of getting married again, and it was really painful for me to deal with that, but in having the conversation i was able to tell him what the importance of it was to me, and how i wasn't willing to settle for anything less. i think that if you sell yourself short to compromise and not get married, then you'll resent him and that's even worse than being apart even if you have children together.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
This is too complicated for people on here to answer. You need to speak to a relationship counsellor or somebody who is qualified and in a better position to qualify a good response. It's not really much use saying "I wouldn't live with somebody before marriage" because she's already done that and had kids. Having children is a major responsibility and so I am kind of confused what his objection to the legal piece of paper to protect said children is. Did he have a bad divorce? Did you have a bad divorce? Are you worried he is straying? Like I said - too big for this site to answer. Please seek advice from professionals.
mix-tape mix-tape 8 years
This seems to be more common now a days. People can be just as committed without being married, however, it does seem MUCH easier to escape a relationship that doesn't have a ring attached to it. You have kids now, I don't see a break up in the near future for the two of you. It seems like a pretty stable relationship most women would be happy with! I don't think you should settle though. If you are set on a wedding then you should strongly consider your options and also remember the children would suffer a split too! There is a family that frequents the museum I work at on a regular basis. They have probably 5 kids and are not married. They seem like one of the happiest families I've ever known, so don't think a ring and legal papers qualifies every couple as being happy ever after.
sunnyheart sunnyheart 8 years
Hmm. Normally I don't comment unless I drastically disagree with advice already given, but today I do. "What's going to change if you get married?" A lot, especially if only one parent currently has health insurance, life insurance, a will, etc. Marriages used to be financial partnerships if nothing else and in some ways they still are. OP, if you're looking for a marriage, I would approach the father of your children by asking about what would happen to them if something ever happened to you. Ask about life insurance, wills, health insurance... explain how these things can sometimes be easier if you are married. A friend of mine, his parents lived together for 7 years and had him, and then decided they wanted to "make it honest" for their son. So on their lunch break one day, they went to the courthouse, got married, and went back to work. It doesn't have to be a huge deal with a dress and a cake if you don't want it to be. Bring that up to your boyfriend, and see if that is an idea he would be open to.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
If it were me... well that's not going to be me. Not that long and with kids involved. Like nearly everyone said, ask yourself what's it going to change? Is it necessary? I do know that once men get comfortable they don't like to rock the boat...maybe that's his ain't broke so...
geebers geebers 8 years
I don't think the living together is what is the big issue at all. Jazzytummy wrote "The fact is, you decided to live with this guy and have two kids with him, and NOW you want to get married? Sorry, but if had you wanted it that badly, you would not be in this position seven years later." I agree with this wholeheartedly. If marriage is what you want- then guess what- you ARE married according to law. It is called common law marriage - giving you all the legal benefits one would get with marriage. If you want a religious ceremony then by all means tell him you want something in a church (although even here I question how important this is to you). BUT if you want a wedding then I can tell you that you are asking for expensive day of partying and if you don't get it you are willing to leave the father of your children. I think you should think about what is most important. Are your children part of a happy family? If so -why is this one issue such a big deal?
LuciLu LuciLu 8 years
why the negativity towards living together? i for one, couldnt imagine marrying someone without living with them first. you have to be compatible on many levels for it to work, including cohabitation. living together doesnt mean you wont get married. after 7 years and 2 children, is it really the wedding you want? or are you upset that while you live together and have children, the "exes" managed to marry him? marriage wont change anything other than a ring on your finger and a signed document. marriage is not the be all end all to every relationship, look at how much you have with him, and the exes simply have a divorce.
carak carak 8 years
well cravinsugar, what about "dont have kids if you aren't married"??? hmm?? you are full-on ready to knock down anyone who lives with their SO, but the fact that they have 2 kids together & are unmarried, you don't even mention that. what about those kids? as for Sasha, if you feel like you need to be married, you need to have a serious conversation with your SO. are you afraid that he's going to leave you, or do you just want a wedding & a marriage certificate? because isn't common law marriage usually 7 years of living together. you're over halfway there already! if you've lived together for 4 years and have 2 kids together, i don't know how you could 'settle down' any more than that except for getting married. i don't know how you could think that you aren't as good as his exes unless he is constantly comparing you to them.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I agree 100% with Marseeah. You are in a common law marriage already - what are his objections to getting the piece of paper? Are you just wanting a big wedding? Or would it be okay with you to go to City Hall, to give your family more coherence? I think you deserve more as the mother of his children. He should at least consider making it legal, for your feelings. However, it seems strange that you two lived like this for years and had kids together before this came up. I know perfectly happy people in your situation, but they were both agreed upon being anti-marriage from the start. I think there must have been some miscommunication issues in your relationship. Good luck!
babysoftpink babysoftpink 8 years
Tony Leung ( in 2046) just married his long time girlfriend of 20 years. He dated her for 20 long years and they just got married this year! Ask yourself do you have 20 years to wait? If so, it is a risk that you are willing to take. There is no guarantee in love or in life. If you feel that you can continue this with this man and there are true *love* in the relationship besides that one commitment of marriage then just stay the status quote, you are still young and could wait a few more years before you revisit this matter again. Maybe after a few years events that happened in his life may change his mind, Tony changed his mind when he hit 46. I am saying to count on those events to happen but people change things change every minute so you just have to decide if he is worth the wait. best wishes to you. good luck
Marseeah Marseeah 8 years
Do you want a wedding or a marriage? You seem to already have a marriage (and you probably already have a commonlaw marriage - two kids together, living together for so long.) Ask him why he doesn't want to marry you - what specifically does he object to? And really listen to what he has to say, and don't interrupt. And take notes - and take TIME to digest what he says. And you seem happy - why don't let the marriage label ruin your relationship with the father of your children.
Jammi Jammi 8 years
I agree with ljawgirl, if he has multiple ex-wives he might think marriage is what killed the relationships [if he lived with them before he married them]. I know I have friends/family who expect different things from their husbands even if they've been living together for years, they have a big ceremony, get a ring and then bam they expect things to change. And no one -deserves- a wedding. Do you deserve to be happy? Yes. Do you deserve to know that you're going to spend your life with that person you love forever? Yes. But you don't deserve a wedding since weddings don't give you that. He might also be reluctant because he thinks you want some massive affair [did his exes have big weddings?] and you guys can't afford it. I say talk it out with him more, find out why he doesn't want to get married without getting emotional, guilting him, or asking if he doesn't love you enough because marriage=ultimate love is ridiculous and I'm getting that vibe from you. Good luck with this.
gidigirl gidigirl 8 years
I notice you said "as good as his exes" Does that mean he has more than 1 ex-wife? This might have EVERYTHING to do with him not wanting to get married again
gidigirl gidigirl 8 years
I agree wholeheartedly with jazzytummy. If marriage is this much of an issue for you then you should have disccused this BEFORE the two kids that you had with him. So now you have 3 kids, 2 different fathers.. I dont want to be harsh, but you need to start thinking about your choices.. It will be hard to have the "WEDDING" you seem fixated on... IF, you decide to move on.(with 3 children) It is hard enough to meet great men let alone one who will take on 3kids. You already HAVE a marriage of sorts.. not a textbook marriage. But basically a marriage and a family. You did not say anything about the way that he treats you or if he has something to do with your insecurities about his ex. If his behavior, (other than not wanting to get married) is in someway making you unsure about his feelings for you, then you must address this. After 7 years you should have an idea (by now) of what you and the family you have created with him, mean to him. His feelings about you and his feelings about marriage might be two very separate issues. I wish you clarity and wisdom.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
what is going to change if you get married? what is going to change if you don't. it sounds as if you already have a commitment from him so i don't really see what the actual ceremony would do. as far as not feeling as good as his ex's; he left them and is with you.
sierra16 sierra16 8 years
Having children (whether they're planned or not) is an even bigger step than getting married. You could always get divorced but your children are with you for life. With that said I absolutely agree with the other girls who say he probably has no intention of ever marrying you. But that doesn't mean that he's not devoted to you and your children.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
btw the divorce rate isnt 50% , that rate doesnt take into account all the people who remarry, so actually its lower.
CYL CYL 8 years
I agree with LadyAngel and javsmav. Why do you want to get married? You are now common law anyways and enjoy all the rights of a married couple more or less (though this might be different in the Canada that is certainly the case). Besides if the reason of getting married is for security and etc...newsflash have you checked the divorce rate? Just because you get married it doesn't guarantee a happily ever doesn't guarantee you won't have problems, it doesn't make leaving you any harder, it doesn't make cheating go away if he is going to. Him not wanting to get married doesn't mean he loves your ex more or doesn't think you don't "DESERVE at wedding". But the whole idea of deserving a wedding is odd...I agree with another poster...sometiems I think weddings and such are so romanticized by movies and tv shows...liek that is the end all and be all of relationships and somehow if you have a big beautiful one it means your relationship will last forever or you're relationship is better than someone else's who didn't get married but have been together in a perfectly happy relationship for just as long. You should communicate with him about why he doesn't want another go. He might see it as a waste of money...esp since you have so many children to be responsible for..than if that is the case you can discuss having a small civil ceremony...or he is gun shy because of past experiences or because he thinks it will jinx it. Bottom line you need to communicate with him... If you really really want to get married and it is something that is important to you and you can't compromise on...than it might be a deal breaker. But personally I would not give up my man just for a piece of paper that recognizes us as 'married"
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 8 years
The question I have is why does a piece of paper matter so much? Are you going to gain anything legally? Tax credits, etc. Actually most of that gets worse for most couples after you get married. A lot of people get married before they move in together and usually they get married so they feel they can move in with them. Seven years and you've never talked about marriage... sounds like you weren't ready then and he's just not ready now. He may be later or he may never be, just because you changed your mind doesn't mean he has, or that any of his feeling about you have either.
javsmav javsmav 8 years
Do you want to get married or do you just want a wedding? I understand your desire to get married, but the deserving a wedding question is just bizarre. I also agree with Cravin & Caterpillar Girl. At the very least you should be talking about marriage before you move in together (or you agree that marriage is completely out of the picture) Unless your guy is lying to you about wanting to get married, I really don't understand why this situation even happens any more. Communicate, people.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Cravin, I agree, this is why living together is a bad idea. Now, you will either have to accept the arrangement as is, or try to find a way out and start over, or just be a parent to your kids and when they are grown and gone, then go after a relationship because goodness knows you dont need to make their lives more difficult with another dude in the picture.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 8 years
I think you have to ask yourself what you would be gaining by marrying Acceptance from others? A bridal gown? The fact is, you decided to live with this guy and have two kids with him, and NOW you want to get married? Sorry, but if had you wanted it that badly, you would not be in this position seven years later. Now you're 31 with kids and are potentially going to make this a dealbreaker. Guess what, the dating world for women like you with kids is not a piece of cake....are you going to find something "better" if you find a guy to marry you and make it legal? I am not so sure. If having a ring on your finger now is so important, when it wasn't before, I agree with DearSugar...there is something else going on in that relationship to make you feel insecure, and that is what you have to face and figure out.
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