“Will I ever get married?” Does that seem to be a common theme? Are you in a complicated situation? Are you in an exclusive relationship that has dragged on for years or even decades and you are still waiting for him to get off the fence? Perhaps he proposed to you, but he just can’t seem to make it to the altar. Are you living together, hoping it will turn into permanence if you wait long enough? Did you put the family and the mortgage before the ring? If so, you are not alone!
A Note from a Reader
Dear Ms. De La Mora,
I am completely at my wit’s end with my fiancé. We met at an office Christmas party in 2008 and really got on well. It seemed like we had so much in common. We were close in age (he was 33 and I was 30), we liked the same foods, activities, music, and had the same quirky sense of humor. Amazingly, we could finish each other’s sentences right off the bat! We spent a lot of time together and ended up traveling on most weekends. We had a blast! If we weren’t traveling, we were doing something locally. He was always at my house, so we figured that he might as well move in with me at my apartment. It was convenient.
Three years into our relationship, I decided that it was time for him to make a commitment to me. I spent a lot of time hinting about it, and then finally asking about it. To be honest, to his credit, I really did beat a dead horse. I put most of my focus on it, and I soon found that most of our discussions were centered around or somehow led back to the topic of whether he was going to propose to me or if he had a commitment problem. I have read a lot about guys who are phobic of commitment and I think it can be a serious issue, so I demanded that he get professional help. He didn’t like the idea but I kept demanding for some changes. Needless to say, it affected our relationship and he didn’t seem very happy anymore.
About six months later, we used our vacation days and headed off to Maui for some R&R. In the middle of the trip, we had another discussion about him not committing and I decided I’d had it! I told him that I wasn’t going anywhere else with him and I wasn’t going home with him unless he got off his butt and proposed!
Looking back, I feel kinda bad about it because I made a scene in a really nice restaurant, dumped my drink on him, and then I got my own room for a night and didn’t talk to him for a few hours. I must have done something right though because two days before we headed out, he said he wanted to show me something. He took me to a beautiful wooded area and told me that he had been thinking about us and that I was the best thing that ever happened to him and he was sorry that he had dragged his feet. Then he said he didn’t want to lose me, and he got down on his knee and proposed with the most beautiful opal ring. (He listened!! He knew my favorite stone was opal!!)
I was in heaven! My wish finally came true, but I had to work for it! The rest of the vacation was like a perfect fantasy come to reality.
When we got back, we settled into routine really fast. He didn’t seem the same passionate guy he was on the trip. But, I accepted it. After all, we had made big progress. Maybe he was just second guessing it all. Well, fast-forward all these years and we STILL are not married! I keep trying to get him to set a date and he says it’s just a hassle, just a piece of paper, and more. He treats me like a wife in some ways, but he won’t handle any of his affairs or move forward with the wedding. I don’t understand! We are living together, we are together in every way like a married couple. Why has he been sitting on this for so long?! Some days I want to kill him!!!
What is going on?! Please help me!
Dear Commitment Chaser,
I can understand your frustrations, but sometimes a little inward searching can make a world of a difference! A lot is going on with your story about getting married. I will give you my own opinions on the matter, but ultimately it is your decision about how you will proceed.
First, it sounds as though you put the cart before the horse. Instant attraction is always exciting, but attractions that quickly burn hot and heavy outside of a controlled environment tend to fizzle out just as quickly. Instead of immediately spending all of your time together, it would have been wiser to keep a slow and steady pace so that other aspects of the relationship would have time to develop.
Second, when people decide to move in together, this is a significant step that should not be taken lightly. It should not be considered as a convenient way to combine finances or minimize expenses; it should be considered if people truly are planning to get married. Sometimes the circumstances surrounding a ring can fool us.
There are many reasons for this. One person may have the wrong impression about the status of the relationship, thinking that marriage is in the near future when that may not be the case. Children may form the wrong impressions about the condition of the relationship. It may give family and friends wrong impressions about the relationship. Your possibilities of meeting someone better suited for you are limited. Financial circumstances can get complicated if you share assets and are not married or you decide to split. You could waste time and energy on something that may not be meant to be. The pain of dissolving a long-term, non-committed relationship and moving things out of the mutual living space will be devastating. The list goes on.
Ultimately, if you are the one desiring a commitment and do not obtain it, the longer you stay in such a relationship, the more devastating an impact it will have on your well-being. You will wonder why you do not have the commitment you deserve after you have put in so much time. It also will be harder to split if either of you decides that things are not working out for the best for anyone involved. It makes things more difficult all the way around.
Third, we must keep in mind that men are the ones who present proposals. Men are the pursuers and women merely select from the suitors who are available to them. Feminists have loathed this idea for many decades, but the fact of the matter is that we cannot change nature. When you demand for a man to propose to you, you are controlling him and he will resent it. Sooner or later, one will see clear evidence of this, and you have. Whatever results in your favor will not be genuine on his behalf. Most of the time, he either will revoke his offer and head for the hills, or he will drag his feet, which is what you are experiencing.
When gifts are demanded of someone, those gifts are given under duress and it is not genuine. Men do not see themselves on any time restraint as women do. Men are more than happy to make women wait when being forced into making decisions with which they are not comfortable.
Remember this and never forget it: Anytime a man believes that a woman is willing to wait to get married, he will allow her to do so. I think we both know that you placed a lot of pressure on this poor man. It is unknown whether this man truly has a commitment problem or if he just did not feel that you were the woman for him. Oftentimes, a man will stay in a relationship because he likes her but he does not feel the ultimate connection with her, or sometimes men harbor a lot of guilt and prefer to wait for the woman to break it off.
It is possible that he never would have proposed for whatever reason, but I believe that you have been prolonging the inevitable by continuing to wait for him to set a date to get married. It is likely that you knew the answer on the vacation, and probably long before, but neither you nor he wanted for the relationship to end at that time. This man felt pressured to make a move to get married. Anytime this happens, misfortune will follow.
It is natural for a woman to long for a commitment since women naturally are nurturers and wish to build a happy home with men they love. Be that as it may, however, I think it would be wise to look inside yourself in order to determine why you so desperately wish to obtain a commitment from a man who is not willing to give it so freely. When you feel compelled to behave in such a drastic and disrespectful manner in order to obtain a commitment, it seems more likely that the love you have for this man may not be your priority. Being temperamental is not a mature way of dealing with any situation.
My advice to you would be to find some quiet solitude and to reflect on the matter at hand. Why do you want to be with someone who clearly is not ready to close the deal? After this long, it will not be easy to break away, especially if you are living together, sharing bills and assets, children, pets, routines, etc.
If your situation is not so complex, I think you should consider moving out and telling him that you are uncertain that you have the same goals in life. Then you might find a lot of new interests and people in order to take up your time. If he genuinely loves you, he will come your way. If not, it will benefit both of you. Unfortunately, the years you’ve already invested are years you will never have again. Therefore, why waste any more time? Remember that your actions may have affected his feelings about getting married, but that does not mean that it is not reversible or that you are not a great catch!
By the way, did you know that opals supposedly affect one’s mood for the worse? That may only be true if you have bought your own. Who knows! There are many beautiful stones in this world, but none shine so brightly as the one from a man who truly possesses the love you deserve – and is more than willing to give it to you without request.
Good luck, dear friend. Always here for you!
Danica De La Mora