Is your Facebook newsfeed filled with wedding photos, engagement shoots and “save the date” videos? Does everyone around you seem to be getting hitched? Is your girlfriend hinting that it may be time for you to settle down, get married, start a family, and the whole shebang?
Men, hold on to your horses, because when the wedding bug has infected the mind of a woman, only the sweet sounds of wedding bells can get rid of it. But that doesn’t mean you have to give in and marry her just because you’re pressured to.
Marriage isn’t all just tuxedos, flowers and tons of planning. It’s starting a whole lifetime together! You’ll have to deal with bills, joint bank accounts, marriage licenses, and a ton of other responsibilities you’ve probably never thought of before!
But if you’re caught between wanting to enjoy your life as an unmarried dude and wanting to make your girlfriend happy, here’s what you should do.
For starters, find out WHY you don’t want to get married yet
The most common reason for not wanting to get married is because the circumstances aren’t “right.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with your life now. You’re probably just not prepared to commit to one person for the rest of forever, because you’re focused on your career, you want to earn more money, you want to do things without tagging the missus along, and a bunch of other things.
Another reason you may not feel ready is because you simply don’t feel it in your gut that you want to marry. You may have already done the things most single men do, but deep inside, you may not feel like marriage is right for you… maybe not yet, maybe not ever.
This can stem from seeing miserable married people, people who lose themselves in their partners or the rising divorce rates. It can also be a decision where you want to spend your life with one person, but there’s no marriage involved. Just look at Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn!
Lastly, the most hard-hitting reason you may not want to marry is because you don’t see your partner as the one you’ll be marrying. This can sting both you and her, but when you don’t feel that it’s right, you can’t just force yourself to want something.
What to do when she wants to get hitched, but you don’t
Knowing why you don’t want to marry her yet is one thing, but what can you do to keep her and appease her without a fight? Here are a few suggestions.
#1 Think again. The thought of marriage may have caught you off guard, and your initial instinct is to get defensive. You just got home from a stressful day, and your partner wants to talk marriage?! You’re broke until payday, and your girlfriend wants to start planning a huge wedding?!
Once the shock has subsided, the best thing you can do is give it a little time to simmer in your noggin. Maybe your girlfriend has a point. Maybe the time is right for marriage, because your life goals are being met and it just feels right. Just think it over, list down the pros and cons, and who knows, you may start to warm up to the idea. [Read: 20 reasons to get married and live happily ever after]
#2 Stall and buy some time. The previous point requires some time. But you may need more than just a couple of days to think things through. Be honest with her and tell her that you need some time to warm up to the idea.
Remember not to make it sound like you want a break, otherwise she might think that you’re so averse to the thought of marriage that you’re breaking up with her! Give her a timeframe like a week or maybe even a month. At least that way, she’ll know when to expect a proposal or the “I don’t want to get married yet” talk.
#3 Don’t use promises of “soon.” The word “soon” is like a ticking time bomb. You’re going to get her hopes up for days, weeks, months without a definitive answer! Soon for you may be a matter of years, but she might think that you actually meant you’ll come to a decision within a few weeks. Vague promises of “soon” will get either of you nowhere, and it will probably make your girlfriend feel like you’ll end up forgetting the issue. And you know that’s just a fight waiting to happen.
Keep in mind that if you stall too much, your partner may end up feeling exhausted from all the waiting. What’s worse is if she thinks you’re mulling things over, when in fact, you’ve already come to a decision without telling her. Man up, say what’s on your mind and don’t keep her hanging!
#4 Find out if it’s really marriage your partner wants. Sometimes relationships need a “level up.” When you’ve been with your partner for a while, things do tend to get a little monotonous. It’s possible that your girlfriend thinks that the only way to get rid of the monotony, and to give your relationship an upgrade, is to immerse yourselves in planning your dream wedding, getting hitched and going on a super fun honeymoon.
But try to see if it’s possible to placate her by doing a different kind of upgrade. Instead of marriage, you can move in together, you can get a joint bank account, or maybe even get a pet that you can call your baby.
You can both get a taste of the responsibilities of marriage without the actual trip down the altar, so it’s a win-win. This way, you can also find out if you’re right for each other now or if you need to work on a couple of issues first.
#5 If your partner is doing something to keep you from marrying her, say so! Does she spend too much? Are her finances out of her control? Does she seem emotionally immature? Does she count on you for all the housework? Instead of just ignoring the problem and saying “It’s not you, it’s me,” why not start having the relationship assessment talk. No one should be married before having this talk.
The relationship assessment talk allows you to discuss where you are in a relationship. Have you both grown together? Can you take care of each other? Is there something either of you are doing that would keep you from having a successful relationship? Is she bothered by your snoring as much as you’re bothered by her morning breath? No relationship is perfect, but at least you can explore your relationship in depth to help you come up with ways to make it work even better.
#6 What if you don’t see yourself marrying your partner? As mentioned above, this can be the most heartbreaking thing you could tell your girlfriend. Though being in a relationship is a prelude to marriage, there can come a time when you know you love her, but you just don’t want to marry her.
There are tons of reasons for this. You may not see yourself staying with her for more than a handful of years. Or maybe your relationship is built on something that won’t hold up for the foreseeable future. Maybe she feels like the right one now, but once you get ahead in your respective careers, you’ll just drift apart.
Maybe it’s genuinely not her that’s the reason you don’t want to get married. Maybe you’re just completely averse to the idea of marriage after seeing people you love tear their marriages apart. Whatever the reason may be, you have to be completely honest with her, so that she doesn’t get her hopes up.