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You Asked: Is It Ultimatum Time?

DearSugar --

I've been dating my boyfriend for 5 years and living together for 2 1/2 years. Every time I talk about marriage with him he blows me off. I have a 7 year old daughter and she realizes that we are living together and we are not married. I want to be a good example and role model for my daughter, and lately I've haven't been feeling like one. Should I give my boyfriend an ultimatum. Either man up and marry me or I'm moving out. ~ Fed-Up Phoebe

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Fed-Up Phoebe --

I'm really sorry your boyfriend blows you off when you attempt to discuss marriage. Something in that feels really disrespectful and unkind. The first thing I'd recommend is a real heart-to-heart, during which he knows in no uncertain terms that you love him, remain committed to him, and expect to be married to him by [pick a date]. Tell him he has six more months to decide whether he needs more time or is ready to be your husband. That will make a grand total of 8 years together, so I'm feeling alright suggesting some kind of time limit for these deliberations.

Suggest he make two lists for himself, one that includes the reasons why you two should get married and one that includes the reasons why not. Come to think of it, Phoebe, I'd sure like it if you made those lists, too. Now, you need to get yourself prepared for a scenario that might not be altogether rosy. By the spunk in your note, I'm thinking you can swing it. Start setting money aside now. Get organized. If you he needs more time come 6 months, I'd suggest one of you move out. Discuss whether or not you'll date. The point here is that you both need to shift the dynamic and the comfort level, and to create a situation that encourages new priorities, new consequence, and new decision-making.

I don't know if this qualifies as an ultimatum or not. But if your partner won't discuss his fears, reservations or concerns about marriage with you -- and if he won't be available for your needs and concerns -- then it's important to act for yourself and act in alignment with your values, your needs, and your expectations. But think about this very clearly and carefully, Phoebe. It will lead to a crossroads. Good luck, and know that we'll be wishing you the best.

Ladies . . . Anyone been through this? Know someone who has? Think there's a better way to negotiate this, when someone won't negotiate? Please share.


Join The Conversation
honey31 honey31 10 years
I say move on I know easier said than done but you have a right to be happy and if you are not than say bye bye.
honey31 honey31 10 years
There is nothing wrong with marriage!You can do much better my dear if marriage is important to you than do not listen to others make you feel bad about getting married.Good luck
Marci Marci 10 years
I'm not big on ultimatums because I think they are often issued by someone who has their fingers crossed behind their back. You have to really be ready to follow through on any kind of 'ultimatum' or else it's pointless, AND you've shown the other person that you don't really mean what you say. My suggestion is that when you feel really ready for your relationship to go one way or the other - with NO in betweens -then discuss - not ultimate - those feelings with your boyfriend nicely but firmly.
sabrinaland sabrinaland 10 years
Forget about him. Fly to Paris with your daughter and meet a sexy Frenchman who'll fall for you immediately and propose by midnight.
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 10 years
I personally think marriage should be a lifetime commitment that should not be entered into lightly and a lot of people are afraid of making that commitment. You've been with him for 5 years and you love each other but for some reason the idea of marriage scares him. Try to just talk to him and find out what his opinion is on getting married and where he sees your relationship in the future. You both need to know where you stand. I wouldn't say give him an ultimatum just like Dear Sugar said heart to heart an honest conversation where you both feel like you say what you really feel without being afraid of hurting each others feelings.
liliblu liliblu 10 years
Everyone is different. I would never live with a man I 'm not married to. Nor would I raise my child in a home where the man in the house is just my boyfriend. I don't knock people who choose to do so. It just isn't right for me. If it's not right for you, get out. Five years is a long time to wait for a marriage proposal. You may be in different places in your life. If so then seperation may the only way to go. If you want more of a committment and he is unwilling or not ready to give it, then this will only cause problems in the relationship. He shouldn't be forced into marriage, but you shouldn't have to give up your dreams for him.
andaman andaman 10 years
Don't give ultimatum please. It sounds like you've got a nice guy there. Ask him also "what does marriage mean to you?". You two need to communicate a lot on this subject!
andaman andaman 10 years
Girl ask yourself this question "what does marriage mean to me?" If it's all about commitment I think he is commited to you 100 %. A ceremony to mark it wouldn't make any different. Trust me I'm married girlfriend (nothing has changed for us, we had to do because of family). If it's about making your family happy I think you should negotiate with him about having a wedding. Tell him it would mean a lot to your family. If it's about your daughter and legal rights. You should seriously discuss it with him. Good luck.
katie225 katie225 10 years
if you need to be married more than you need to be with him, then get out. he deserves someone better. obviously you value marriage more than love. go find someone who'll marry you, and he'll find someone that will love him no matter what. not being married is not a failure of a relationship. marriage is not the ultimate commitment, either. it's never permanent. it's just as easy to get a divorce as it is to break up with someone you're living with and have shared a life with. therefore, my advice is, like dearsugar recommended, to examine why it is that you (personally, not society, not religion) need to be married more than you need to be with the man that you love (if you in fact love him). it's like that beatles song, "i will": "will i wait a lonely lifetime? if you tell me to, i will." love is love is love, whether you're married or not. love is independent of marriage, it is it's own separate entity. there are plenty of couples out there in that holy, committed, law-binding institution called marriage that are not in love. this is a good example to your children HOW? one does not need to be married to be committed, but if YOU need it, check your priorities. i'd rather be with the man i love forever unmarried than lose him by forcing him into something he doesn't want/need/desire/value.
shopaholic39 shopaholic39 10 years
I can relate but... I have been in a relationship with a man for 4 years and HE has a daughter who is 11. He doesn't talk about marriage, maybe it's a guy thing. I don't care, though, either because I''m certainly not ready. Anyway, I can see the part about setting a good example for your daughter years ago. However, one must remember this is not the day & age of My Three Sons or Mary Tyler Moore. It's acceptable to live with a person these days and it's not inapppropriate as long as you aren't doing a lot of groping, cuddling etc in front of your daughter. You also shouldn't make her feel left out, but it's okay for you to have someone to. You always have a right to take care of yourself, too. I have to wonder why you haven't been feeling like a good role model lately due to this? Did something happen? Did your daughter say something? Do you want to even get married, or are you just thinking this for your daughter's sake? If the latter is the case, don't get married. If you really love him and want to marry due to this, then you might have a problem. I would never get married just because one should set an example.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
no ultimatum; this relationship is over. if he wanted to marry you he would have already done so. do not accept a proposal if it is offered; he will never feel that he went into the marriage with any say. give yourself the opportunity to find a person who thinks you are wonderful in EVERY sense of the word. someone who WANTS to make a commitment to YOU. you already know this situation is not good for your daughter so end it sooner rather than later. 5 years is too much to give to a person who "blows (you) off" when you bring making things permanent. and honestly, what do you expect him to say? i think the answer is painfully obvious.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
Sorry that you are going through this. Admittedly it doesn't sound promising that he keeps blowing you off, but this is a huge topic and he could just be a little scared! I think he owes you a good conversation about your future for sure. Also, I understand your desire to have a more formal family for your daughter's sake, but I think you can still be a great role-model while unmarried! Any good, loving relationship will be a great model for young children, married or not!
ilove2ski ilove2ski 10 years
Try talking to him dear. Five years is a long time. Its up to you and only you. Some people are ready and different times. Just sit him down and tell him how you feel. See what he says. Watch his reactions. Do what you want/need. Good luck sweetie!
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
The heart to heart talk is a good idea, you really need to figure out his reasons for not wanting to get married. It's odd that he can't wrap his mind around a commitment at this point. Maybe you two need some couples councelling? It's not just for married people, and it could really help you work out your issues. If he can't give you what you need and you don't feel right continuing as things are then maybe you need to re-consider the relationship.
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