Elephant in the Room: Will He Ever Marry Me?

shutterstock_79607809Dear Cora,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for over five and a half years and I love him so much. We’ve been through a lot together, including a clingy ex and a pregnancy scare. We live together now and we are on the same page about wanting to stay together long term – but I want to get married and he doesn’t seem as anxious about it as I am. There’s always a reason to put it off – we need a new car, or a new place, or he wants to go back to school. These are all legitimate reasons not to talk about a wedding, but if we know we want to spend the rest of our lives together I don’t understand what we’re waiting for. I’m starting to wonder if he’ll ever propose, and what do I do if he never wants to marry me?

Sincerely,

Ringless Finger

Dear Ringless,

Sometimes the best thing to do when you get wrapped up in a singular issue is to take a step back and look at the big picture. Five and a half years of commitment with one person is no easy feat – and it sounds like the two of you have gotten over your fair share of hurdles together which I commend you for. It shows you two know how to handle undesirable situations that come up with any long-term relationship and see it through to the other side. That gives me hope you’ll make it through this as well.

The great wedding debate. That’s what you’re in the middle of my dear and many of us, especially those who used to pretend to walk down the aisle with pillowcase veils over our heads when we were five, have also been there. I’m not saying there aren’t men out there who also look forward to getting married, but women tend to take it to a whole other level. Both my brother and my uncle are serial monogamists. They are at their most comfortable in long-term relationships, but say the word marriage and they go white in the face. We’ve had many debates about it because it doesn’t seem to make sense that if they are willing to make the commitment, why not have the party to celebrate? For some people, both men and women, the idea of making it legally binding scares them to the core. That piece of paper adds a level of responsibility they can’t wrap their minds around.

It’s possible your beau falls into that camp. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you or that he isn’t in this for the long haul, but he has a mind block around marriage.

It is also possible that it’s the financial burden of the situation that is causing the “delay.” Weddings are expensive, no matter how intimate they are. You’ve had some legitimate expenses come up in your time together and maybe he’s right – there hasn’t been a right time to spend that kind of cash on a ceremony.

Or there could be something you’ve been overlooking. The key to finding out is laying all the cards out on the table. I know that sounds “so not romantic.” It isn’t, but it’s how adults in committed relationships deal with problems. The two of you need to sit down, face to face, and have a long conversation. This is not a chance for you to beg or coerce him into proposing, but an opportunity for both of you to tell each other what you want, what you’re afraid of and look at the obstacles together. It’s also a chance for you to ask why do you want to get married? Is it just because it’s something you think you’re supposed to do or because you want to legally commit yourself to this person forever? Being open and honest without pressure will allow him to open up to you as well and share his reservations.

Don’t fret, Ringless. This isn’t a sign of the end but merely a chance to grow closer. You and your love just need to get on the same page. I wish you the best of luck!

Best wishes,

Cora

PS. I’d love to hear from you all on this one, especially those that have been in long term relationships. What’s your take? Tell us in the comments below! And remember if you need any advice or want to share a trouble you’re having email your letters to editor@intent.com!

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About Cora The Elephant

Cora the Elephant grew up in the grasslands of India, a great land enriched by sage wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. As she got older, Cora heard more and more that her keen observation skills and endeavor to always be honest made her a great elephant to ask for advice. It's a role she takes very seriously. Send your troubles, predicaments, and heartbreaks to editor [at] intent [dot] com, who will forward them to Cora for a weekly advice column specially tailored for our Intent audience. Further guidelines for submissions can be found at: http://intentblog.com/new-advice-colum-draft/ Go ahead and do it instead of letting your worries take up all the space in your life - Cora wants to be the only elephant in the room.