You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
Hi. I've been with my boyfriend for five years. We own a home and we both have a child from other relationships. I was married before and I’ve been divorced for many years now. We are not young. He is 44, and I will be 40 soon. We have a very strong relationship and we are amazing partners. Two year ago, we picked out rings and envisioned our dream wedding day. Since then, we still talk about it and a year ago he purchased the ring, but still there hasn’t been a proposal. Recently, all my dreams of marrying the perfect man were shattered when he told me, "I don't have the need to ever be married." What!? He is my world. I love him unconditionally, but I feel like he holds my future and my fate in his hands. It's not fair and I feel lost. I can't imagine life without him but marriage is important to me, I can’t deny that.
Why give my false hope for over two years if that’s how he felt? I'm lost. I’m angry. I don't know what to do. Please, help!
Emotionally Crushed and Scared
Unfortunately, you have given your boyfriend every reason not to have a need to marry you. I am sure you have heard this old cliché a thousand times, but I’m going to tell you once more: Why should he buy the cow when he can get the milk free? Why should he marry you? This is not to suggest that he does not love you or that you’re not deserving of being his wife. However, you have made it very easy and comfortable for him to remain single and still have a relationship with you. The two of you have been together for five years and, as you say yourself, you have a very strong relationship and are amazing partners. From his perspective, what more could this man want? Your boyfriend appears to be very happy and content with the way things are now with no plans to change them. He has everything he could want in a relationship and a happy home life with you. So essentially, he feels he has it all without ever having had to commit to a marriage. He even purchased the ring but didn't put it on your finger. That’s just no good.
Honestly, it sounds like the conversations about marriage and him purchasing a ring were nice ways of keeping you in check and emotionally engaged. I am sure he knows that you love him and want to marry him. But, you are giving him far more control of your life than he desires. Allowing him or anyone else to hold the future to your fate has the potential to be dangerous. Never give any control to someone that is not going in the direction you want to go. It’s time to have an open honest conversation with your boyfriend about your future expectations and desires for your relationship. When you have the conversation you must be emotionally prepared to walk right then if he really does not want to be married. Do not fall for the line men often give in this situation: “We’ll get married one day.” Without a date and a clear commitment of a marriage plan, you are still left with a vague pipe dream.
You can love him forever but are you totally fulfilled or are you just settling? If he does not want to marry and commit to it, you will continue to play house without ever getting any of real benefits you desire. After five years in this relationship, you deserve to have your happiness too. Good luck! – Dr. Sherry
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