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So, you’ve found the perfect guy and you’re happily planning your life together – until you reach the big topic… marriage.
If you’ve just found out that you want to get married, but your boyfriend doesn’t, you might feel very confused and conflicted.
Do you still have a future together if you want different things?
Will he change his mind?
Will you change yours, or are you now doomed to break up?
Firstly, slow down! We’re here to run you through the next steps in your relationship and how to address the situation.
What does he actually mean?
This might not be the massive drama your mind has created in your head.
You need to have a serious conversation and figure out what exactly is going on.
Was it a throwaway comment or something said in an argument? If so, there’s a chance he didn’t actually mean what he said!
We’ve all said things in the heat of the moment that don’t reflect how we feel.
You can still bring it up, in a calm, mature conversation, and ask if he meant what he said.
Go from there – he might say he didn’t actually mean it, in which case you can move on.
If he says that he did mean it, the conversation will need to continue…
Talk it out.
Find a good time to talk about it all in the open. Make sure it’s at home or somewhere private where you won’t be distracted.
You might have never talked about this with each other before, or it may be something you’ve gone over a few times in the past.
Either way, be open to his opinion and create an environment where you both feel like you can share and be honest.
A lot of men who don’t want to get married feel uncomfortable talking about it. They may know that it’s something you really want, and therefore feel guilty for not wanting it too.
That can make it really hard for them to be honest, so you need to do your best to keep level-headed and rational.
If you start getting angry and upset, he may be even less likely to be honest with you for fear of hurting your feelings.
In order to have a productive, honest conversation, you need him to feel comfortable sharing his thoughts.
Go deeper – ask questions.
Don’t be scared to ask him why he is against marriage or why he feels it isn’t right for the two of you.
Be mindful not to use an accusatory tone as this will just push him further away. Again, do your best to stay calm.
You can ask if it’s to do with a previous relationship, or maybe it’s because his parents separated when he was younger.
Maybe it’s a financial issue or an aversion to religious traditions.
Either way, by asking about his thoughts and feelings, you can start to move to a better place in your relationship.
Explore and explain your feelings.
If you’ve very keen to get married, explain why. Don’t try to guilt-trip your boyfriend, but make it clear why it’s important to you.
The more that you can be honest about your expectations or intentions, the more likely you are to find something you can agree on.
For example, if you want to get married for legal reasons, he may then be willing to have a civil partnership, for example.
If it’s to do with honoring your religious background, he may then argue that his religious background is very different – and you can work toward finding a ceremony that works for you both.
The more you can express how you feel and why it’s so important to you, the more likely you are to find a resolution.
You’ll also end up uncovering things you might not have even considered before!
You might realize that you want to get married because you want a huge party, but that the actual ring and piece of paper are less important – so, have a huge party!
Maybe you’ve felt pressured by society, your friends around you getting engaged, or your parents’ expectations of you.
The more you explore your feelings around marriage, the more you’ll realize which elements of it matter most to you, and how to replicate those in a way that suits both you and your partner.
Give it time.
People don’t change their opinion overnight. Give your boyfriend some time and space to think things over once you’ve had this big discussion.
Just as you are not going to suddenly abandon your dream of marriage, he’s not about to book a wedding venue!
You both need some space to think about how much this means to you (or not, as the case may be).
Agree to chat about it again in the near future – maybe give each other a month or so. This takes some of the pressure off and means that neither of you will make a snap decision or lash out based on your mood at the time.
Meet in the middle.
Be open to change! When you revisit this conversation, you might both feel slightly differently.
You can talk about a compromise, for example, and find something that works for you both.
You might have realized that you want to get married for the commitment – he might suggest buying you a ring to show this, which may satisfy your needs.
He might be avoiding marriage because his parents divorced – you might both agree to see a counselor to help him deal with those unresolved feelings, and will agree to put any wedding conversations on hold.
If things don’t feel like they’re going anywhere, you need to have a serious think about how you feel.
Don’t be scared to ask for help.
Talk to your loved ones – preferably those that are your friends (or family) and not direct friends of your boyfriend!
They’ll know you very well and you’ll be able to trust their opinions. They might offer a different perspective, or ask questions that cause you to either re-evaluate or strengthen your existing views.
Encourage your boyfriend to talk to his friends and/or family too. He deserves to chat about it and come to his own conclusion, and you’re showing him how much you respect him by giving him the space to make his own mind up about this.
You could also try couple’s therapy – no, this doesn’t mean you’re in a failed relationship, it just means you could both do with a little bit of fresh perspective.
If you find yourselves going over and over the same issue, getting someone objective involved can be a big help.
A good relationship counselor will be able to guide a conversion and mediate it, meaning you’ll both feel listened to, and you’ll both feel comfortable being honest.
They’ll have had hundreds of couples in similar situations turn to them for help, so they’ll have plenty of advice, conversation prompts, and support to help you both reach a resolution, whatever it may be.
The happiness scale.
If you decide to stay with your partner and accept that you won’t get married, think about your happiness level.
Sure, there will be days where the ‘bad’ side of things massively outweighs the ‘good,’ and there’ll be days where you’re somewhere between ‘happy’ and ‘sad.’
You need to think about what this scale will look like overall – if, on the whole, you think you’ll be happy with your partner and in your relationship, great!
If you think you’ll spend more time resenting them for ‘stopping’ you from living your dream life, you know what you need to do.
If it’s something you truly can’t move on from, you will never be happy in the relationship. It’s sad, but you need to put yourself and your needs first at this point.
Is it worth the wait?
If leaving your boyfriend because he doesn’t want to get married feels a bit extreme, it’s okay to wait it out for a while.
Their decision may be due to a lot of other factors – maybe things at work are unstable and they feel uncomfortable committing to a wedding when they worry that they may lose their income.
Maybe their friend is going through a divorce, or they’re having a hard time with their mental health.
There are lots of reasons why someone might not want to get married, and many of these are circumstantial as opposed to set in stone.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to wait it out. You may find that the longer you stay together, the closer and closer you get – to the point where they may then change their mind as it begins to feel more and more likely that you’ll be together forever.
Equally, you may start to feel that what you have together is enough – that celebrating another anniversary of being together, or buying a house together, is enough of a commitment and makes you feel secure enough that you no longer need to get married.
Is it a deal breaker?
You need to be frank with yourself – is this a deal breaker for you? And is it a deal breaker for them?
If you can’t find a compromise and you’re both adamant you’re not going to change your minds, you need to take some time to figure out what this means for your relationship.
Are you willing to give up on your wedding dreams because you know that you both love each other anyway?
Or are you willing to risk losing the perfect partner because you’re so keen to marry someone?
If you’re more focused on just getting married than you are about getting married to him, you may need to think about your relationship in general.
If you’re willing to lose your boyfriend just so you can get married to someone (anyone!) else, you might not be in a great relationship and should consider your reasons for wanting that commitment but not that person.
Equally, if you realize that you want to be with your boyfriend so much that you’re happy to let go of that dream wedding, you know you’re with the right person.
That in itself is a huge commitment and is a ritual in its own sense – you’re choosing a life of love with the person you care about most, and that is enough.
Still not sure what to do about yours and your boyfriend’s differing views around getting married? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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