my boyfriend doesn’t want to get married
In 2020, I recorded a YouTube video answering this exact question as a response to a reader’s e-mail. Back then, I was able to sympathize with her but could not really imagine what it must feel like.
I’m writing this blog post from my own perspective this time around because I know exactly what it feels like.
I recently went through a breakup because my boyfriend was not ready for marriage, but I am. And even though I am a dating & relationship blogger that has studied this topic, it is still hard.
Every part of me wanted to find a way to hold on to him and “make it work” because I really thought he was the one I would marry. But as you will understand after reading this blog post, that would have been the wrong thing to do.
Here is what I did when my boyfriend didn’t want to get married.
What does it mean if your boyfriend never wants to get married?
If your boyfriend tells you that he never wants to get married, it means exactly that – that he never wants to get married.
Too many women ignore the writing on the wall and try to convince themselves that he does not really mean it or will eventually change his mind. Unfortunately, that clingy behavior will only lead to heartache.
And yes, he may one day change his mind but that does not matter right now. Instead of rationalizing reality, you have to accept his words as the truth.
I know it is hard to accept the truth because you are scared that it won’t be you when he decides to get married one day. But that’s better than the risk of wasting your time waiting for someone to change his mind when there is no guarantee.
How long should I wait for him to propose before I leave
Of course, the answer to this question depends on two things. How long you have been dating and what are his objections to marriage is.
My ex-boyfriend and I had known each other for three years and had been together 1.5 years when he shared with me that he did not feel ready for marriage. While 18 months may not seem long to some people, it is to me.
But time is subjective.
If you know that you spend enough time together and experienced enough life together to get to know each other intimately, however, the conversation has never gone towards starting a life together, then he may not need more time and waiting for him is doing you a disservice.
So, the question remains. What to do if your boyfriend doesn’t want to get married, but you do?
My boyfriend doesn’t want to get married – What to do?
I’ll be honest with you, when a man says that he doesn’t want to get married, there isn’t much you can or even should do. Not because everything is lost and he will never change his mind.
But because “doing” anything about it, would mean that you are trying to influence his decision. And that never goes well.
The decision to marry you should be something he wants to do and is excited to do, not talked into. Therefore, the following steps will not focus on how to manipulate him into marrying you, but on how to deal with his decision.
1. Believe him
As hard as this may seem, the very first thing you need to do when your boyfriend tells you he doesn’t want to get married is to believe him.
It can be very easy to ignore his hints about marriage and commitment and assume that it will change down the line. Or worse, that you can change his mind by disregarding your own needs while catering to his.
Unfortunately, you can’t. And doing so will only set you up for heartbreak.
When a man tells you that he doesn’t want to get married, you have to accept that he knows what is best for him. Meaning if he has thought about it and believe me he has. Then he has come to a decision that meets his needs and is best for him.
Therefore, the best thing you can do is to believe him and respect his decision.
2. Don’t take it personally
The second thing I want you to do is to remind yourself that “you are enough”. <sUrgh, this is the worst part about any type of relationship argument or breakup. We start to question our worthiness.
Trust me I know. When my ex-boyfriend and I had the dreaded conversation, my mind immediately started spinning. I felt so abandoned and took his rejection personally. It felt like I was not good enough to be his wife, which I know now is not true.
His decision not to get married had nothing to do with me he explained later on.
It was simply that he had envisioned his life differently and did not want to give up on that dream. Which I honestly understood and respected. After all, that was the same reason why I didn’t want to bulge. I have a vision and dream for my life too. They just happened to differ from each other.
In addition, you have to remember that many men are reluctant to get married for multiple reasons.
Maybe he has a fear of lifelong commitment because he has witnessed divorce in his family. Or maybe he is not financially ready to take care of a family and needs more time to prepare. Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with you and your ability to be a great girlfriend and wife one day.
3. Identify your core values – why do you want to get married?
The next step is that you have to get clear on why you want to get married.
I know many women grow up just knowing that they desire marriage and I am undoubtedly one of them. But when I talked about marriage to my ex-boyfriend, he asked me “why did I want to get married to him?” and I had to stop and think.
And I want you to do the same. You have to ask yourself how much of a priority marriage is to you and why? Is it out of fear and insecurity? Or is it out of social pressure? Or is it a core value of yours?
Wanting to get married is a noble and beautiful thing and you don’t have to explain yourself. However, the clearer you are on the “why” behind it, the easier you will be able to decide whether to stay or leave.
4. Make a decision based on your well-being
I already hinted at this in the last point. But yes, at one point you may have to decide whether you want to stay with someone that doesn’t want to get married or leave.
For me, it meant that we had come to the end of the road. As much as I loved him and he loved me, marriage is important to me and something I don’t want to miss out on.
I knew that staying in the relationship without a clear commitment for the future would compromise my well-being. And that is an important one to consider. Even when you love someone and want to be with him, you always have to make sure your needs are met in the relationship too.
If you fail to honor your needs and desires, you risk getting anxiety, depression, and becoming resentful towards him. Which will make the relationship even more painful.
So, take some time to yourself and think about what it is you want out of life and then choose to go for that.
5. Communicate your desire without guilt-tripping him
Once you know whether or not marriage is a dealbreaker it is time to communicate that. Have an honest conversation with him, in which you explain your feelings towards him and marriage.
Make it clear that marriage is important to you and express why. But also allow him to express his feelings and concerns. By giving both of you the space to be vulnerable you may be able to find a solution.
However, if you cannot get to a compromise, then it may just be time to part ways.
Try to communicate your decision respectfully, remembering that he is allowed to make the best decision for him. While you may be angry and upset, don’t try to convince or guilt-trip him into changing his mind.
You deserve to be with someone excited to marry you. And if he isn’t then breaking up is the best thing you could have done.
What is the purpose of marriage?
I know when my ex-boyfriend said he didn’t want to get married and asked me why I did, it took me a while to gather myself and come up with an answer.
Even though there are multiple reasons why someone may want to get married, here is what I believe the purpose of marriage is.
The purpose of marriage is to share a life.
It’s a lifelong commitment in which both of you vow to be there for each other through thick and thin. It’s a way of declaring your love to each other that brings emotional, physical, and mental safety and security.
I believe that marriage opens the door to a new level of vulnerability and comfort as well as love. Which is personally something I look forward to. Having that one person that I can rely on and trust with no matter what.
Is marriage just a piece of paper
Of course, when we talk about the purpose of marriage, many people will argue saying that it’s a government-made institution that is overhauled.
And I understand that perspective. However, I don’t believe that marriage is just a piece of paper.
Just like the deed to your house, the title to your car, and your college diploma, your marriage certificate holds significance.
It is a symbol of the vow you make to each other and ensures that both of you take on the responsibility, commitment, and investment that comes with it.
Because the truth is, without marriage it is easy to just give up and leave at any time. The stakes aren’t high enough, so why bother. But in marriage, both people will be inclined to work on the relationship and do everything they can to make it work.
Will he ever marry me, or am I wasting my time
Now that you read what to do when your boyfriend doesn’t want to get married, I’m sure many of you are worried. You don’t want to accept that you have to give up on someone you have invested so much time into. And I get it.
However, before you settle for less than what you want, I want you to think about your future.
Would you be more upset if you look up one day and realize you didn’t get married to hold on to him? Or would you be more upset if you broke up, took some time to find a man that wants to get married, and now are living happily ever after?
I’m sure just reading those two scenarios evoke very different feelings inside of you.
And that is to be expected.
Of course, you can stay with him hoping, wishing, praying that he will change his mind. But at the end of the day, there is no guarantee. And I know you don’t want to wake up every morning wondering: “will he ever marry me or am I wasting my time?”.
If that is even remotely your fear, then why do that to yourself?
You can’t control anybody else’s actions, but your own. So take your love life into your own hands and choose to remain on the path that leads to marriage.