I’ve been dating my partner on and off for seven years. He says he loves me, and has always thought that one day we would get hitched. When I’m with him, he is the perfect man. Funny, witty, makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, but he doesn’t seem to want to take the next step. I really love him and would love to get married and start a family. What should I do?
Susan, via email
Is Your Partner Ready to Commit?
Most men have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish before the get married and start a family. For many men that includes a stable income as well as a place to live. It goes back to the traditional notion that before a man has the right to ask a woman for her hand in marriage, he must first be “worthy” of the husband tag. That means stable job, comfortable lifestyle, white picket fence – you name it.
It could be that your partner isn’t ready to commit to forever until he knows he has it in him to be the kind of man that you deserve.
What concerns me most is that you mentioned you had been dating on and off for seven years.
Seven years. That’s a long time.
Do Your Values and Vision for the Future Line Up?
You two have been drawn back to each other for the better part of a decade. Whether this is for comfort reasons or the right reasons remains to be seen. The most important question you both need to ask each other is does your values and vision for the future line up?
You both deserve a chance at happiness, and you resenting or questioning your partner’s fidelity and commitment while at the same time standing by his side rules out any chance for a happy and healthy relationship.
Do you need to be married to be happy in your relationship? Does he need a free ring finger to feel more comfortable?
Whatever the answer, trying to force an engagement will do no good. If he agrees to marry you, he might feel like he had to. And you would never want to force someone into that. It will constantly be brought with every argument or fight that is inevitable throughout marriage.
At the same time, seven years is too long to simply sit back and continue to wait. By now he should know if he wants to make that commitment. So find out. Drop a few subtle hints here and there to let him know that it’s ok.
Remember; nothing changes if you change nothing!
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