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What makes men decide to get married?

(123 Posts)
JessieMcJessie Tue 22-Jan-13 17:37:57

Any men out there who can speak from experience? Or women whose husbands have explained it to them? What is the trigger between being in love and wanting/hoping it will last forever? I am fed up waiting, I am 100% sure he loves me and can't get enough of me, I make sure he knows I feel the same, we're in our thirties and it's been nearly 2 years.... What can I do to (subtly) tip him over the edge? And please don't say I should ask him, that may work for some people but not for us.

DameMargotFountain Tue 22-Jan-13 17:39:37

if asking him outright won't work, how will you manage any other burning issue confused

CailinDana Tue 22-Jan-13 17:41:42

If you can't ask him, then he's doing the right thing by not proposing. Saying that actually communicating with your partner "doesn't work for you" means you are absolutely not ready to be married.

dippywhentired Tue 22-Jan-13 17:43:46

Do you mean you can't ask him to marry you, or that you don't want to discuss the issue with him?

Anniegetyourgun Tue 22-Jan-13 17:46:13

If you're looking for subtle ways to cajole a man into popping the question, you're probably on the wrong discussion board.

CheeseStrawWars Tue 22-Jan-13 17:48:03

I don't think 2 years is that long to be together before getting engaged/married. That said, if you're thinking you want kids soonish, then that is a conversation you need to have - establish where he seems himself in 5 years time. With you? With kids? Check your expectations are roughly the same, then worry about the marriage thing. Or just ask him.

Msbluesky32 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:51:25

Doesn't seem that long, in fact I'm not sure we were even having a conversation about where we wanted to be in five years time after two years of a relationship. Is there a big hurry?

AnnaLou82 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:53:11

I agree I wouldn't want to propose to my DP either grin

I felt the same as you, DP and I live together and very happy but no signs of a proposal so sat down and had a chat with DP, told him I want us to be together forever, told him marriage very important to me and not something I am prepared to wait years and years for. Also reminded him of my age (30s) and that if we do want a family time is limited. He assured me he feels the same and that he does see us getting married in the not too distant future etc.
I didn't put a deadline on him to propose or twist his arm, I was just honest about what I want. Because at the end of the day if he doesn't want the same things I need to know now!

IdaClair Tue 22-Jan-13 17:54:59

I am neither a man nor married but I would suggest possibly the same things that make women decide to get married?

You don't need to ask him but you do need to be able to talk about major life decisions and plans for the future.

What makes you consider marriage?

lemonstartree Tue 22-Jan-13 18:06:32

I think AnaLou82 has the right idea.

If you are saying you do not want to propose to HIM then that's fine - as above.

If you are saying you don't want to / can't discuss the future , your needs and priorities then that's a big red flag. Which is it OP??

Charbon Tue 22-Jan-13 18:17:21

I don't think couples should get married if it's such a big deal in their relationship that the man does the proposing. It's unlikely to be an equal partnership but one that is based on outmoded sexual stereotypes.

tigerKesha Tue 22-Jan-13 18:35:46

Have been married to DH for 6 years but we'd been together for 1year 2months before we got married. I knew we were in love & I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I didn't give him ultimatum but I told him where I see myself (am not one of those people who would stay for over 6 years happily until he proposes or we break up) I wanted to have kids after being married & before I had reached a certain age. I did not ask him to marry me but I did tell him it was best to separate if he does not see himself with the same direction/vision I had for us. If the relationship is right it doesn't matter how many years you've been together. My sister & her husband were married within 3 months of meeting & they have been together happily for 11 years. You need to let your DP know what you want without being too forceful & be ready to evaluate your relationship & personal needs if he does not want the same things.

Our 25th Anniversary is this year so been a while since I asked her. We met at Uni / college so did not get married until all the courses were done and into first jobs.

For us it was just the right thing to do - plus PIL would not allow us to sleep together until married grin.

Do you go to other friends weddings - could you not bring up the subject then? What about children - is that something he wants / doesn't?

yellowenvelope Tue 22-Jan-13 20:15:48

DH said that he decided to ask me to marry me when he felt reasonably confident that he'd get a positive response! It was quite a surprise when he did ask, we have never been that big about discussing the future, always quite content to muddle along as we've both got busy lives. He also had to get a few practical things into place (work, home, finances) and wanted to get all of that sorted first.

I don't think two years is really that long either, I'd been with DH for four years before he popped the question and hadn't really thought about it. My circle of friends have tended to co-habit rather than marry though, so it just wasn't on my radar. I did say to him though that I would never consider living with a man unless we were married (I have read too many horror stories about women left stranded after moving into their DP's home and not having any rights when the relationship breaks down). But I wasn't angling to get married at the time, in fact I preferred having my own place. It is something to consider if you aren't already living together.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Tue 22-Jan-13 20:38:17

Introduce the topic (if you are really hung up on the idea of him proposing). Have you discussed marriage at all? Some people have perfectly valid objections to the entire institution. Others feel that there is no need to rush into it - though I appreciate that a woman in her 30s who wants children needs to organise her priorities rather than hang around hoping indefinitely. So you should be able to say to him that you are starting to think about having children, and ask him how he feels about that? If you don't feel you can discuss the future with him at all, then you shouldn't marry him anyway.

GiveMeSomeSpace Tue 22-Jan-13 21:18:48

I decided to propose because I was sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life with DW and was sure she felt the same. We had both been brought up in families where marriage worked and so it was a natural progression.

I think I would have been a bit put off if my wife had tried to "tip me over the edge". I would have been happy if she'd proposed to me but I think I would have felt a bit pushed into it if she had been hinted or steering me down the line of proposing to her.

If you are thinking that the clock is ticking for other reasons (children etc) then have those discussions openly without discussing the subject of marriage. You'll soon find out what he thinks.

HTH smile

dequoisagitil Tue 22-Jan-13 21:22:51

If you can't talk about your future together, you have no future together.

garageflower Tue 22-Jan-13 21:35:01

My dp proposed after 5 months together. If someone had told me I would have been in that situation I would have been horrified. However, I have been feeling that it's what I've wanted for a while (we're noth in our early 30s so have a lot experience to compare to).

I did ask him what made him propose as opposed to moving in together and his words were that he wanted to show he loved me and he wanted to marry me. He said he had had 'stirrings' and it hadn't crossed his mind before with anyone else so I suppose it was a way of setting apart the relationship from past relationships as well as making the 'grown=up' conversations more acceptable for want of a better word.

Fairenuff Tue 22-Jan-13 22:24:58

There are loads of issues I would want to discuss before agreeing to marriage. Obviously children is one of them but also the work/childcare/housework/free time balance, finances, where to live and how we would decide. What the 'deal breakers' would be, etc. Have you discussed any of these yet?

Abitwobblynow Wed 23-Jan-13 07:33:54

I think people are being a bit unfair to JessieJ. If she is 32 then baby wise she needs to get going.
I don't think it is at all unreasonable to want that level of commitment. Whereas the institution of marriage does not automatically guarantee eternal bliss, that doesn't undermine the concept of marriage which is two people saying to eachother 'I find you so important to me that I am prepared to enter into an exclusive commitment'. Whatever the progressives say, women AND men still want to get married.

But Jessie the red flags that people are bringing up are valid. Why can't you talk about this? What is with the silently wishing and hoping - where are YOU in all of this? Have you brought up the idea of children together, and what is his reaction? (if you definitely want to have children and his reaction is not good, DON"T deny it. You will be making a choice between taking the risk of finding someone who does want to have children with you, or choosing him and childlessness).

And the fact that he is into you and can't get enough of you is meaningless. That is sex, not love. So maybe you need to work out what love is, and whether you have it.
This is what I have found (we were also hugely 'into' eachother. Means nothing when the conflicts start and you have no communication):

A relationship is the space between two different, separate individuals who ARE going to clash. Because they are different. In this space you should be safe enough to say what you really think, want, feel (in a respectful way) and the other person care enough about you to hear you. Then they put what they want, think feel into that space, you hear them, and you negotiate for a mutually beneficial outcome. It is a rising spiral of growth and connection, each wanting the best for the other and each giving a bit to get it.

I have been married for over 20 years and I don't have it. Take great care JessieJ for what you wish for. Spend time thinking about what you want, and then when you are sure, speak clearly and non-manipulatively. He has the right to disagree with you if that is not what he wants, and you must accept his needs too. (walk away if they don't agree with yours. 20 years of frustration and hurt is behind that advice!)

Weissdorn Wed 23-Jan-13 07:40:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnnIonicIsoTronic Wed 23-Jan-13 09:21:23

Tbh - I think my Dh is the 'marrying kind' - we married young at his suggestion & he's treated it as a great adventure.

A lot of my friends dp have a view of marriage as a burden and limitation - and drag their feet. I can't really suggest what to say that can alter such deep 'programming' - other than having the 'goals, hopes, values' chat early & frequently - to avoid misunderstandings and wasted efforts.

Squitten Wed 23-Jan-13 10:07:14

If you can't discuss it with him and can't ask him yourself, I would suggest it's not time to get married.

Have you discussed the important future stuff like children, careers, running your household, money etc?

Tuliprosa Wed 23-Jan-13 10:33:51

I'm in a similar situation to you in that DP and I are in our 30s (I'm 34 next month and he's just turned 33) and we've been together for almost 2 years.

I've known from the word go that he is THE ONE and I know the feeling is reciprocated. Therefore it has always felt natural to me to want to get married - to set this relationship apart from everything that has gone before.

However, while he as said that he definitely sees marriage as part of our future, I'm not expecting a proposal any time this year. First of all, before he met me, he had never even had a relationship lasting more than a few months, so even moving in together was an enormous deal to him (and that had nothing to do with him not being committed to me, it was just a huge lifestyle change to him) The last thing I want to do is push him at a pace he's not comfortable with and scare him off. Secondly, there's no way we can afford to get married at the moment and I'm not keen on a long engagement - I was engaged to my ex for 3.5 years, with the wedding date always being pushed back -it became a complete joke. With hindsight he know he was completely wrong for me - he may have wanted a wedding, security, etc. But did he love me even half as much as DP? No way.

I think whether or not you want kids plays a huge factor in how long you would be comfortable waiting to get married. DPs younger brother and younger sister both got engaged a year after meeting their partners, married after two years and now less than a year after that the brother has a son and the sister is TTC. On the other hand, DP's twin and his partner have been together for 10 years and are as committed as ever but have no intention of getting married and are resolute that they don't want kids. As for myself and DP, we're still on the fence about having kids (yes, I know I don't have much time left!) As much as I think I might look back and regret not being a mum, I have such an amazing life at the moment that I'm not sure I would want it to change!

superstarheartbreaker Wed 23-Jan-13 13:44:09

You don't have to be married to have children you know; many people aren't. I know it is more stable to have the relevant paper work etc and you want proof of his commitment but if your biological clock is getting to you then mabe talk babies first. Many of my friend's dp proposed AFTER first baby was born. One lady I know had twins and another child before SHE proposed to her then husband.

However I would hate to propose to the man. I wouldn't have kids with someone who wasn't commited again (been there; done that). I think many people don't want the expense of the wedding.

NutellaNutter Wed 23-Jan-13 13:50:02

I will get flamed for this, but OP you really need to read 'The Rules'!

hestonbloomingdale Wed 23-Jan-13 14:05:36

2 years isn't that long really. How long have you been living together? How much of your free time do you spend together? Is there a sport that he plays alot that takes a lot of his time up? and what stage are your mutual friends at?

OneMoreChap Wed 23-Jan-13 15:15:42

Why men marry?

Societal conditioning is a poor but common reason.
To protect any children & putative spouse in case of death or accident.

Why wouldn't a man get married?
Cynically, it gives a woman far greater claim on his assets and vice-versa. If he isn't absolutely sure, or your capital/earing potential is far lower than his... why risk it.

Because he doesn't - yet - want children. Marriage in certain classes (and amongst anyone with a desire to protect their children) is seen as a good precursor to procreation.

He doesn't believe in it. Fine, but the required protection requires a bit of lawyering up with wills & trusts and stuff.

fluffyraggies Wed 23-Jan-13 15:21:06

DH is interested in answering your question, OP, but has asked 'why is she so desperate to get married though?'


So, what would you say?

Lavenderhoney Wed 23-Jan-13 15:36:46

Op, if you have been together 2 years and haven't discussed the future, what have you been talking about!?
Men don't decide to get married - they decide to with their partner.
If after 2 years you still have no idea if he sees a future with you be careful about waiting for him whatever he says or playing house by living together with no plans ( doesn't have to be marriage but commitment and planning a future into old age)

Why are you so keen to be married? Does it matter to you that the man proposes and it's a romantic surprise? Life isn't really like the movies- it would be nice if it wassmile

JessieMcJessie Wed 23-Jan-13 16:29:46

Thanks for all the replies. To clarify, we have talked about children and he tells me he is not sure, but tending towards not wanting any. I am also on the fence, but am sure that I want to be with him. If he doesn't want kids then fine by me as long as he commits to me. I am 39 so he knows that children with me cannot be delayed a moment longer. What scares me is that he says this now then in 5 or 10 years changes his mind and leaves me for a younger woman. Hence I'd like to be married. The best I can get from him is "I'm very happy". We are just about to move in together- I had big plans to refuse to do so without being married but when he suggested living together I realised that I was not prepared to end it if he wasn't yet ready to marry, and if he needed to take it in stages then so be it. I just wish he was in a place where he wanted us to be married. I am financially secure (earn more than him) so won't be putting myself at risk in that sense. He is 5 years younger and I am his longest ever relationship.

InsertWittyUsername Wed 23-Jan-13 16:42:17

What scares me is that he says this now then in 5 or 10 years changes his mind and leaves me for a younger woman. Hence I'd like to be married.
What on earth makes you think that being married will afford you any protection from him leaving to find a younger woman to have children with? It won't and this is especially true if you manage, or even just want, to "(subtly) tip him over the edge".

Hence I'd like to be married.
So then do what a man is expected to do when they want to marry someone. You ask them. Like a grown-up person.

You are far from being alone in waiting for a man to ask you, angsting and complaining about it, refusing to ask yourself, but being willing to accept a non-spontaneous and non-genuine proposal obtained through game-playing and tactics - I find it baffling as I do unpleasant.

JessieMcJessie Wed 23-Jan-13 16:54:55

I never suggested game- playing - I was just genuinely interested in what others could tell me about what triggered them/their husbands to take the plunge. If I am somehow unwittingly putting up barriers, a bit of insight would help me understand how my behaviour might be deterring him from asking. That's all. No matter what any of you say, I am not going to be proposing to him- I know him well enough to know that he would find that emasculating, and I respect that.

fluffyraggies Wed 23-Jan-13 17:00:29

Insert has it spot on there really.

Being married isn't glue that keeps you together. Being married is for as long as love lasts between you. IMO.

Ragwort Wed 23-Jan-13 17:01:57

If you are moving in together are you discussing legal issues - will/who owns what share of the house/life insurance etc etc? If I were you I would make sure everything is sorted legally.

To be brutally honest it sounds as though he doesn't particularly value marriage, clearly for him it is nothing special.

Only you can decide if you are happy with that decision.

He either doesn't want to get married, or he doesn't want to marry you. He's already said he doesn't think he wants children. TBH this sounds like a man who considers you a 'will do for now' partner, but he wants to keep his options open for the day Beyonce declares herself single and knocks on his door. Sorry.

usualsuspect Wed 23-Jan-13 17:05:31

Do women really still wait for men to propose?

How very 1950s.

Can't you just discuss getting married?

InsertWittyUsername Wed 23-Jan-13 17:09:03

If I am somehow unwittingly putting up barriers, a bit of insight would help me understand how my behaviour might be deterring him from asking.
OK, well seeing as though you asked ... In my experience (of being married and being with people who wanted to marry me) and observations of others, I think it is pretty unmistakable when a man wants to marry a woman and not much will deters him if that's the way he feels.

JessieMcJessie Wed 23-Jan-13 17:20:22

We're renting so no big legal issues to worry about - we are both expats working outside the UK and I own a property in London. I can see from the snapshot of our situation that I have described here how it might seem that he is only in it for the short term, but I'd bet a lot of money that's not his thinking. I think he is just not ready after only 2 years- others up thread have confirmed it's not all that long really. That's why I wondered how others crossed the line to "ready".

Ragwort Wed 23-Jan-13 17:24:24

I think if marriage is that important to you then why move in with your boyfriend? Agree with what SGB say. If you are renting together it sounds as though you are just going to be housemates who share a bed - is that what you want?

ArtVandelay Wed 23-Jan-13 19:10:31

We got married more or less for legal reasons. We are expats and had plans that would be potentially explosive in the event of not being covered legally in the case of a split. Romantic eh! It is both of our first marriages but DH has 2 DCs from a previous relationship. Funnily enough the SDCs said they were pleased we got married - they seem to associate marriage with security even though their mum has been with her DP for years unmarried. DH and I are very in favour of marriage when DCs and property are involved, not so much for 'the big day' and romance (sorry romance fans smile )

qumquat Wed 23-Jan-13 19:13:33

I can understand you not wanting to propose as such, op, but why can't you discuss marriage and get his concrete views on it? If you can't discuss marriage and when/if it will happen, then I agree with others this is a massive red flag for the relationship.

Hanging around waiting for him to 'tip over the edge' renders you absolutely powerless over your own future. That's a lot to give up for the chance of a brief romantic moment.

fluffyraggies Wed 23-Jan-13 19:24:08

Just been over your posts OP and i can't tell - have you actually discussed marriage directly with him at any point? Just in conversation. This should tell you 99% of what you need to know about how he feels, and how likely you are to be receiving a proposal anytime soon.

DH and i discussed marriage in general, our feelings towards it as a concept, if you like, and what we observed about other peoples relationships; married or not, way before our relationship was old enough to even think about marriage for us.

With DH and I, since you've asked for examples, - I've been married before, but was always open about the fact that i was not anti-marriage at all, just because i'd got a failed one under my belt. DH was adamant from 'day 1', him he would never marry!

He is younger than me, i have 3DCs, he has none. I love him more than the idea of marriage. After 2 years 'going out' we moved in together. I think he had been viewing marriage as some sort of 'man trap' through his twenties, and early 30s. I had no expectations from him, he knew that. I never thought he'd propose. I guess he kind of mellowed, felt settled and happy. Three years after we moved in together he suddenly proposed! I've never quizzed him too hard about what changed in him.

His proposal was a lovely surprise. Not entirely out of the blue however - a month before he had casually asked me one evening: 'would you say yes, do you think, if i asked you to marry me'. shockhmmgrin

Why doesn't he want to get married? As SGB said: either he's not into marriage or he's not into marrying you.

Why do you want to get married? Because you're scared he'll leave you in 5-10 years time for a woman he wants to and can have kids with.

Not a very attractive proposal for him, is it?

scottishmummy Wed 23-Jan-13 19:36:06

why can't you ask?are you scared he says no?
he doesnt want kids (he's told you) doesnt want to marry you,that's obvious.he evasive to you
you need to be clear you're with a man who doesn't want to marry you or have kids,is that ok

scottishmummy Wed 23-Jan-13 19:40:03

my dp and I had the big conversation early on eg children,working,marriage,nursery
from this we established our preferences,our values and that it was significant relationship
you two have had the big conversation,he's told you his preferences

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 23-Jan-13 19:49:34

I think you need to ask why marriage is important to you. I lived with someone for four years. I wanted to get married - we were expats and it would have made life easier. He didn't - I tried discussing it with him, he put his fingers in his ears and walked away. He claimed he was committed to me and the relationship, but his refusal to discuss marriage, or even the future, as in what would happen when our contracts finished where we were living and would we go elsewhere as a couple, made me think he wasn't.

So I continued to live with him (it was convenient; his flat was more central than mine) but carried on looking. I wasn't faithful. By this point I saw no reason to be, as there didn't seem to be any commitment on his part. And I finally finished it, at the point where we were barely speaking to each other, never mind having sex. And he was shocked. He genuinely didn't see this coming, and tried to win me back. It didn't work. I started seeing his best friend someone else. I didn't live with him - I wanted some space, so we were "dating" properly. We knew fairly early on (within weeks) that this was "real". He proposed within a few months, we married the following year and have now been married for twenty years.

I'm still in touch with my ex! We stayed friends. He married last year, at the age of 47 - she is much younger than him, and comes from a strict Catholic family. As she put it - they "had to" get married - her family would not have been happy with a baby out of wedlock. And she freely admits that had she not got pregnant, he would not have married her. He is really happy now - he adores his son, and wishes he had done all this years ago. confused

My now DH did not want to get married. We met quite young but we both knew that we had found "--one of-- the one". We took things slower as we were younger but we moved in together etc... and had many conversations about what we expected in the future.

At first my dh (who grew up with both his married parents) did not want marriage because he associated it with hotel weddings, tops hats and tails etc... and had not given any thought beyond that, to what marriage meant. I had never given any indication that I wanted a "wedding" confused

I grew up with my dm and ds-f (who were divorcees and never married each other but 25 years later they are still going strong) but had a clear idea of what marriage meant to me. Marriage means different things to different people. I explained my interpretation to dh and he was on board BUT I kept getting "in 10 years" and while I was in no rush, as each year went by, the "10 years" never reduced

So after a few years, I told him that if we weren't on the same page I would like us to go our separate ways so I could find someone who wanted the same as me. I honestly meant it. I wasn't trying to hold him to ransom or force his hand. We separated for a brief while and dh had a think and decided he was ready for marriage and children. I rejected his first proposal as I really didn't want it to be forced from him. We became officially engaged after a discussion one evening about our plans for the next 5 years. DH booked the ceremony and we had a very low key wedding, which is exactly what we both wanted, a couple of months later.

I made myself VERY clear to him what I expected from marriage, children, working, finances, home - everything!

Hmm reading that back it does come across as a bit conniving and dictator-ish on my part blush

dequoisagitil Wed 23-Jan-13 22:01:57

I'm not getting conniving or tin-pot dictator from that at all, petty - you just knew what you needed & wanted in life. That's a good thing.

OP, you seem to be asking what you can do (in terms of bigger tits, better blowjobs, cooking more, doing cartwheels in lingerie) to make him want to marry you. The answer is: Fuck all. He doesn't want to marry you. Turning yourself inside out in an effort to become the Woman He Proposes To is a total waste of effort. And turning yourself into someone else just to get a man to marry you is a really bad idea, because you have just handed all the power in the relationship to him, and he might well misuse it.

JessieMcJessie Thu 24-Jan-13 04:57:40

Really? Why would no proposal within 2 years mean he definitely didn't want to marry me, ever? Many happy marriages have happened after a proposal more than 2 years into the relationship, have they not?

To those who think I am deluded to think that our being married will stop him leaving me for a younger model down the line, of course I not that naive. Bit surely someone who has made a public commitment is a bit less likely to do so?

Chubfuddler Thu 24-Jan-13 05:46:03

You're looking at this this the wrong way round.

Men aren't less likely to cheat because they've made some big public connutment - they make a big public commitment because they feel so strongly about the relationship. Ditto for women. With the massive caveat that some people just do jot want to get married to anyone ever.

Being married isn't going to keep you together if everything else falls apart. It sounds like you're prepared to make a trade off between children and marriage, and if he won't give the the former he owes you the latter. Sorry but this sounds doomed to me.

Lueji Thu 24-Jan-13 05:56:15

It feels to me that you are panicking a bit because you are 39.

He has no rush.

I have met a few men like this.
No marriage or children, until they met the one...

Lavenderhoney Thu 24-Jan-13 05:56:32

A proposal means nowt if it's not backed up by major plans and actions to be together for ever. Marriage would be a natural progression. If you are still waiting for the big talk or it's not part of your everyday relationship to discuss where you are going, plans etc in a normal relaxed manner then it's not really going to happen.

A public commitment means nothing if you are unhappy and would rather be alone or met someone else. The social convention nowadays is not to stay and be miserable, thank goodness. Divorce is not a dirty word.

JessieMcJessie Thu 24-Jan-13 06:09:36

Chubfuddler, I think we are agreeing actually. What I meant was, someone who feels strongly enough about a relationship to make a public commitment is less likely to up and leave than someone who never felt strongly enough to make that commitment. So when I say I'd like him to make it, I mean I'd like him to WANT to make it. I'm not entirely sure that it's all about doing my own sweet thing and accepting that I can't control how he feels about me. For example, say I told you I was always travelling for work so we didn't spend as much time together as we would like to. It would be a reasonable suggestion to make changes so we could spend more time together, giving him the opportunity to experience my irresistible charms more often and come to the conclusion that he wanted them in his life for good.

OP this doesn't sound great to me. I think the fact you are asking this question means your intuition is telling you he might not want the same things as you.

I think you should talk to him openly and honestly about how you feel. You will get your answer.

Mosman Thu 24-Jan-13 06:48:04

The number of men I've known say they aren't ready in relationships that go on and on for over 5 years in some cases, they then meet somebody else and marry her within the year and have babies.
Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and say look mate are we doing this or what ?

Abitwobblynow Thu 24-Jan-13 07:01:26

[Wince] Ooh, the red flags in this: To clarify, we have talked about children and he tells me he is not sure, but tending towards not wanting any. I am also on the fence, but am sure that I want to be with him. If he doesn't want kids then fine by me as long as he commits to me. I am 39 so he knows that children with me cannot be delayed a moment longer. What scares me is that he says this now then in 5 or 10 years changes his mind and leaves me for a younger woman [and will have children with her]. Hence I'd like to be married. The best I can get from him is "I'm very happy". We are just about to move in together- I had big plans to refuse to do so without being married but when he suggested living together I realised that I was not prepared to end it if he wasn't yet ready to marry, and if he needed to take it in stages then so be it. I just wish he was in a place where he wanted us to be married. I am financially secure (earn more than him) so won't be putting myself at risk in that sense. He is 5 years younger and I am his longest ever relationship.

Read this Jessie! Read what you, yourself, wrote. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME MEEEE.
And you red flags (as to how you are selling yourself short) are even worse: 'sure that I want to be with him. Fine by me no kids but I am running out of time. I am scared he will leave me for a younger woman. He says nothing of real commitment to me other than how happy I make him feel (at the moment). I am ignoring my gut telling me not to move in because he might need it in stages. So be it. I wish.... I earn more than he does.

Read what you wrote! Aren't you worth so much more than this very immature and taking younger man?

Partridge Thu 24-Jan-13 07:03:23

Please be careful that you aren't subverting a real desire to have children because it doesn't fit with his "plan". I think, at the age of 39 you need to come off the fence about this issue - try to visualise your life in 10 years time either with or without children and appraise what you really want.

If it is children then please don't waste any more time in this relationship trying to manipulate him with your "considerable charms" into marrying you and assuming that you can change his mind about kids.

If it is not children then I still think that 2 years down the line you can expect to at least have an idea if the relationship is heading towards marriage.

The sad truth is that he has years to change his mind about what he wants - and yes - I know people who have been in committed relationships both adamant that they don't want kids. Five years down the line the man decides that he would like a family after all and it is too late for the woman - so he has left her for a younger model and lived happily ever after. Remember at 34 a lot of his mates won't have kids yet - wait til he is approaching 40 and everyone else is starting families.

Abitwobblynow Thu 24-Jan-13 07:04:29

I would like to warn you that I know someone who lived with a man for years, and then when she started talking about marriage and children he said, I dont' want any children and I don't want to marry you. I know two people actually (but one was young enough to find s/one else).

She will now never have children because of someone else's selfishness, that she went along with.

Be your own best champion, Jessie. Stick up for yourself, no one else will. You earn more than he does?

controlaltdelete Thu 24-Jan-13 07:13:27

Interesting because I have a theory about this.

Based on my observations of family and friends I think there are 3 types of men.

1) Those who need coaxing into marriage e.g. gentle push/ ultimatum. I think there are lots of women out there who have done this.

2) Those men who are clearly going out with someone who is out of their league and they know it so propose as soon as they can. I know a few of these people!

3) The woman is about to do her own thing e.g. go work in Australia/ move back home and the bloke wants her to stay - hey will you marry me!!

You may not agree with it, but everyone I know falls into one of these 3 categories. I don't think any man gets married unless he has something to lose by not doing so.

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 24-Jan-13 07:27:03

Really, control? You don't know any men who are genuinely in love and want to make a permanent and public commitment to this person? hmm

I have a friend who went out with someone for two years. She wanted marriage and babies. He stalled for a bit and then said he didn't want either. They split up. Six months later, he married someone else. Five years later they are still happily married with three children. I think what he was trying to say was that he didn't want to get married and have babies with my friend. She was absolutely gutted when she found out - he called her and asked her to meet him for a drink. She thought he wanted to get back together - no, he wanted to tell her that he had met someone else and was marrying them.

I wish we had civil partnerships for heterosexual couples in UK, like they do in France. I'm sure they whole big thing of the wedding itself puts a lot of people off.

controlaltdelete Thu 24-Jan-13 08:06:03

Perhaps he falls into my no.2 category?

Ragwort Thu 24-Jan-13 08:27:20

Agree MrsSchadenfreude - its such a shame that so many people (and I hate to say this but it does seem to be mostly women) get mixed up between the idea of marriage and a wedding.

It is perfectly possible to get married quietly, with very little expense, just two people wanting to make their comittment to each other, rather than a great big showy wedding - I did (twice grin).

Fairenuff Thu 24-Jan-13 08:48:37

My dh doesn't fall into any of those categories either control.

We were together for 12 years before we married. We lived together in a committed relationship until we decided that we were too old to be referring to each other as 'boyfriend' and girlfriend'. We decided to marry and did it six weeks later in a beautiful civil ceremony with a small group of close family and friends. We got on a plane that night and flew off for a honeymoon in the sun.

A year later we had our daughter, and our son was born two years after that. They are now teenagers and we're still together.

We always had a five year plan. Where do you see yourself, how are you going to get there? We still do it now. If it doesn't work out, hey, plans change and you adapt and move forward, but at least you both know where you are ideally headed.

If you want it, you make it happen and that's what makes people propose.

Jayne266 Thu 24-Jan-13 08:52:28

I told my DH I wanted to get married and had to kinda guide him all the way but we have a lovely marriage and DS. I didn't get the surprise proposal like some people get but I knew where I stood.

JessieMcJessie Thu 24-Jan-13 08:59:25

Thanks to everyone for the replies, lots of food for thought. I am genuinely not bothered about having children so won't be leaving him to find a man who does. Control, I am glad that you don't think the idea of a bit of coaxing is completely abnormal!

JessieMcJessie Thu 24-Jan-13 09:13:13

Jayne, how long has you been together when you told him that?

Katisha Thu 24-Jan-13 09:16:14

I had to tell DH that if he couldn't bring himself to commit then it was over. At that stage he would have varied on bumbling indefinitely. So yes the issue was kind of forced. He then decided to go for it and says he was mightily relieved and happy to have made the decision and became something of an evangelist to other friends who were planning on faffing about indefinitely. We have been married for 14 years. Of course the next issue was children which he wanted and I thought I didn't. So I said well if it happens it happens - I was very late 30s. We have 2 DSs who are the best things ever to have happened to me...

controlaltdelete Fri 25-Jan-13 07:27:52

I had to laugh when one of my DB's came home for the weekend and told us that he was going to ask his DP to marry him because she said if he didn't by christmas their relationship was over. He was very reluctant. When they got engaged she sat there and told us how surprised she was and how totally out of the blue it was wink

maleview70 Fri 25-Jan-13 08:31:16

If you are genuinely not bothered about children then I don't see what the big deal is.

I didn't propose for 7 years and even then I think it was more a case of making my dw happy by doing so. I was overly bothered by it.

I am not the type who needs big public commitment.

The fact we were not married for the first 7 years didn't make me any more committed. In the time I never cheated. 3 of my married friends did.

OneMoreChap Fri 25-Jan-13 09:25:21

I asked my first wife to marry me, and even asked her father if it was OK, because I felt it was the right thing to do.

The only good thing(s) to come from that were my children.

My 2nd, current and last wife I married because I loved her, wanted to be with for good - and yes, a bit, because I knew it would please her. I've now been with her longer than the length of my first marriage and no signs of real problems.

JessieMcJessie Fri 25-Jan-13 10:07:29

One More Chap, thanks. How long had you been with your current wife before you realised you wanted to be with her forever?

JessieMcJessie Fri 25-Jan-13 10:21:10

Control, that is funny, and it just goes to show how society still expects a "proposal story" - sad that she felt the need to fake it though.

Maleview, for me the big deal about marriage is that I would always feel he was hedging his bets, making sure he had an easy exit, of we were not married. It's great that you treated an unmarried long term relationship as utterly solid commitment, bit how did you reassure your DP about that? Why not just get married?

I am not at all the type to insist on a big wedding (boyfriend knows this) though we'd need to have immediate family there or they'd be terribly upset. So it would be relatively easy to make the gesture.

OneMoreChap Fri 25-Jan-13 11:30:18


DW was the OW in an affair I had before I left my wife.
About a year after our affair ended I left, and we got together a few months later.

She supported me through a messy, difficult divorce.
We lived together, and I knew then. The change between 2 partners was astonishing. One kind and supportive; one not

3 years later I asked her to marry me. I would have asked earlier but my divorce was delayed by XW, taking me to court for ancilliary relief. [Which ended with her having to pay me quite a lot of money, and her solicitors being ticked off by the judge]

Near 15 years later we're still together, still happy; and much to XWs irritation I probably see the kids (now adult) more than her.

BadLad Fri 25-Jan-13 11:43:29

Thanks for all the replies. To clarify, we have talked about children and he tells me he is not sure, but tending towards not wanting any. I am also on the fence, but am sure that I want to be with him. If he doesn't want kids then fine by me as long as he commits to me. I am 39 so he knows that children with me cannot be delayed a moment longer. What scares me is that he says this now then in 5 or 10 years changes his mind and leaves me for a younger woman. Hence I'd like to be married. The best I can get from him is "I'm very happy". We are just about to move in together- I had big plans to refuse to do so without being married but when he suggested living together I realised that I was not prepared to end it if he wasn't yet ready to marry, and if he needed to take it in stages then so be it. I just wish he was in a place where he wanted us to be married. I am financially secure (earn more than him) so won't be putting myself at risk in that sense. He is 5 years younger and I am his longest ever relationship.

It's a very unhealthy view of marriage - to want it because you are scared of being left for a younger woman. That said, your unease is understandable, because he isn't actually giving you any definite answers at all, even if they are his honest opinions.

I got married the first time because I really loved my then girlfriend, and could easily imagine spending the rest of my life with her. We were happy, but never got over the kids problem (she wanted, I didn't).

Second time round was much the same, although I made sure to discuss kids thoroughly beforehand. However, my wife had always been a live for the moment person, and said that she didn't see herself getting tied down. But after I was sure, I sort of wishywashily asked her something along the lines of "do you think you will ever want to settle down", and that got her thinking about marriage, and then a month or two later, sloshed on my delicious margarita, she said she was ready to become BadLass.

It doesn't really sound like your partner wants to, and I would advise that if your partner is excited about marrying you, then don't marry him.

JessieMcJessie Fri 25-Jan-13 12:16:23

Thanks Bad Lad. I presume you missed out an "isn't" in your last sentence ! Fair point, but do you think that maybe 2 years (actually it's 22 months) is perhaps still a bit early for him to have made up his mind, or should I assume that if he hasn't asked by now he'll never feel that excited about me?

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 25-Jan-13 14:19:11

Have you clarified yet why you can't just ask him?

TBH you sound like you're not confident of his love. Why would seeing you more make him like you more? That might sound harsh but I just mean, either he does or he doesn't like you enough to settle down with you, marriage or no marriage.

AnuvvaMuvva Fri 25-Jan-13 16:48:51


I'm serious. It's a total step away from marriage. You'll lose any bargaining power (if you needed any), all your freedom, all your mystery and charm... He'll smell your poos, hear your snores, overhear every phone conversation you have... Meanwhile you'll feel like you are auditioning every day to qualify for an "upgrade" to wife status. Very stressful.

It's not a sign of commitment to live together - it's just something men do because it is more convenient than living separately.

Do read The Rules. Not because it'll teach you tactics to "get your man", but because it'll spell out - far more brutally than anyone in your life would ever dare - that men marry women when they love them and can't bear the idea of life without them. Not because the woman has cooked them a million breakfasts, shagged them every night, been nice to their friends and waited patiently.

AnuvvaMuvva Fri 25-Jan-13 16:53:57

Listen to the voice in your head that is screaming at you: "after 22 months, my boyfriend knows whether or not we'll ever get married."

He knows. He already knows. The fact that he has dodged all your direct questions about it is telling you, he doesn't want to marry you but is scared to tell you that because he thinks you'd chuck him. (Because that's what a woman with self-esteem would do.)

Instead, he is offering you "living together" which basically means he gets 24/7 access to you and loads of sex and company and food, and gives you the false impression of forward-motion. It's NOT forward-motion, it's just a side-step.

You know this! Don't come here to be told it! You're 39, you know how relationships generally work by now. You know the answers but you're scared you won't meet anyone else if you let this one go.

AnuvvaMuvva Fri 25-Jan-13 16:57:48

You're in a great position right now. Just say, "I've thought about this and I'm sorry to change my mind but I just don't feel comfortable living together without marriage. It's just not something that'd make me happy.

"I have had a wonderful 22 months with you, but when I look into my future, I have always seen myself married. You make me very very happy, but if we are not at the marriage stage yet, I can't give this relationship any more of my time. I love you and I will miss you, but marriage is something that I need."

Then you get the HELL out if there and don't contact him again until he turns up with a diamond. This is not pressuring him or giving him an ultimatum - it's just being brave and courageous and sticking up for yourself. He'd respect you for that. And so would I.

OneMoreChap Fri 25-Jan-13 16:58:32

AnuvvaMuvva Fri 25-Jan-13 16:48:51


Errr... bollocks, largely.
I don't know anyone who has got married without living with their partner in the last 20 years.

I'm serious. It's a total step away from marriage. You'll lose any bargaining power (if you needed any)

RED FLAG - if you need bargaining power to "get him to marry you" you shouldn't be marrying him anyway!

all your freedom

If you do, dump him.

all your mystery and charm... He'll smell your poos, hear your snores, overhear every phone conversation you have... Meanwhile you'll feel like you are auditioning every day to qualify for an "upgrade" to wife status. Very stressful

Surely he should be hoping you'll upgrade him to husband and not dump his sorry ass.

It's not a sign of commitment to live together - it's just something men do because it is more convenient than living separately.

and it's not something women do for that very reason? I've lived with girlfriends when we both know we're not going to marry.

Do read The Rules. Not because it'll teach you tactics to "get your man", but because it'll spell out - far more brutally than anyone in your life would ever dare - that men marry women when they love them and can't bear the idea of life without them. Not because the woman has cooked them a million breakfasts, shagged them every night, been nice to their friends and waited patiently.

or read The Rules if you want to learn a very cynical approach, which will encourage any sensible bloke to dump you as a gamesplayer/

Katisha Fri 25-Jan-13 17:10:22

I agree that this is a junction that perhaps you should use to see where the land really lies. In my case DH got a job some distance away ( we were already living together) but he started going on about getting himself a flat during the week and coming back at weekends. I thought that was pointless and basically said if we could actually commit I would move with him, but wasn't going to just drift on.

I married my wife because I loved & wanted to spend my life with her,have children & enjoy family life. I may have been driven by my own childhood experiences, My father died when I was a youngster ,& it was so hard & painful, growing up . I always wanted to be there for my wife & future children. Unfortunately it does not have the ending I wanted, I have the children & grandchildren, but my wife wanted a life elsewhere .

badguider Fri 25-Jan-13 19:42:02

IGNORE the poster who said a man won't marry you if he's smelled your poos!
Better to really know each other than build a marriage in a facade I say. Everyone I know who has married in the last ten years lived together first for a couple of years.

ArmyOfPenguins Fri 25-Jan-13 19:59:37

You respect his view that your proposal would emasculate him?

What does 'emasculation' even mean?

Doesn't sound like an equal partnership at all.

Fairenuff Fri 25-Jan-13 20:01:23

It's great that you treated an unmarried long term relationship as utterly solid commitment, bit how did you reassure your DP about that?

A marriage is a legal contract. It is no guarantee of commitment or fidelity.

A commitment is something you believe in and feel in your heart and mind. It does not suddenly happen because you sign a piece of paper. It cannot be forced or faked.

A solid commitment is based on mutual love, trust, friendship, compatability, communication, honesty and all those other things which are important in a relationship.

The only real difference between marriage and living together (religious beliefs aside) is mostly the financial implications.

I would also like to know why you feel you couldn't ask him? Is it some romantic notion or are you afraid he would say no?

ArmyOfPenguins Fri 25-Jan-13 20:03:38

Because he would feel 'emasculated' apparently. Which is worthy of respect. Hmm.

Fairenuff Fri 25-Jan-13 20:06:07

Oh, sorry I missed the 'emasculate' bit.

If that's what he really believes then don't marry him. He is not treating you as an equal in this partnershp and that's always a very bad sign.

Two years probably isn't long enough for him to have shown his true colours but something like that is a big red flag.


MidnightMasquerader Fri 25-Jan-13 20:06:48

In my experience, men know very early on. Very early on.

Lavenderhoney Sat 26-Jan-13 03:51:06

I think women know very early on and so do men. Sme people get married as they have children/ want them and they feel more secure in a legal binding relationship. This is up to the couple.

Maybe as you and he ( at the moment) don't want dc so be cant see why you would marry and tie himself to you.

But he doesn't want to get married does he, he wants to move in with you and carry on as before. You have told him you want to get married, he doesn't want to talk about it apart from to say he is "happy now" which would suggest he sees no need to change.

How does discussing the future emasculate him, unless you just focus on discussing the big proposal and wedding day and not your life after which is the important thing? still not emasculating though!

As you earn more than him, are older than him and want to get married to him I suggest you say that you are in the relationship with a view to engagement after 3-6 months and marriage after that within a time frame. don't spend all you pr money doing up his place and hold onto yours. Don't rent it out just yet.

I hope you don't mind, but how much younger than you is he and does he have a good career?

Dottiespots Sat 26-Jan-13 04:44:29

If he wanted to marry you he would have proposed by now not asked you to live together.

Fairenuff Sat 26-Jan-13 08:20:39

What do you expect to get out of being married that you don't already have now?

JessieMcJessie Sat 26-Jan-13 08:33:28

He's 4.5 years younger Lavenderhoney. He has an excellent career and when he's 39 he's almost certainly going to be earning more than I am at the moment, I'm just ahead through working for 4 years longer. We have similar amounts of disposable cash and I don't bankroll him, in fact he treats me often. The only reason I mentioned that I earned more than him was to emphasise that I am not hung up on marriage for financial reasons.

Neither of us own/occupy as we are working outside the UK, so no inequalities about one living in the other's place, we're just terminating individual leases and renting a place together.

To be clear, I haven't told him I want to get married. However I have always been clear that I believe in marriage (we both have happily-married parents) and am very happy for friends who get engaged. So I would have thought that it would go without saying that marriage was where I would want a serious relationship to be heading.

I brought up the subject of kids because I thought it only fair to make sure he knew that time was tight because of my age. Not all men are aware of this. However the way I put it was that I had no strong feelings one way or the other (true) so it was his decision. Maybe his "tending towards not wanting any" was code for "I'm not going to be with you by the time I do but I am not ready to tell you that yet."

Going back to my belief that the woman proposing is emasculating, I mean this in the sense that it's as traditional (to us) for the man to propose as it is for him to lead in a ballroom dance or carry the heavy bags in from the car. This is particularly important in our scenario where he is younger and earns less.

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Sat 26-Jan-13 08:45:56

It sounds as though he is already comitted to you, he has asked you to move in!-That is a big step in itselfsmile

I think you are over-anaylizing what marriage means, after all it is just a piece of paper. It won't stop him running off, cheating, etc as you can be divorced as easily as you are married.

You need to sit down and have a frank discussion with him or failing that propose yourself as marriage means so much to you.

You say he 'doesn't know' about having children, you are 39 i think you need to put your feelings first on this part. You say you are on the fence?, do you are don't you want kids? Because if the answer is yes tie isn't on your side and you may need to go in search of a man that wants the same things as even if you marry this guy, it sounds as though he is quite clear on his non-commitel to wanting children.

You need to find out now whether you both want the same things.

Marriage is not just a piece of paper!!.

Think your man jessie wants to live with you and that's it; that is what he is offering you. He does not want to take the plunge with you by getting married because he is ambivalent about this as well as having children (which he does not want by you). I would agree with other comments made to the effect that you have sold yourself short.

You are his "she will do" partner for now until somebody else younger comes along. He will benefit far more from you moving in with him; he'll get you doing perhaps more than your fair share of chores soon enough. Also cohabitation splits can be horribly messy and complicated.

JessieMcJessie Sat 26-Jan-13 08:58:27

Pumpkin I am very sure that I am not suppressing my own desire for children. If they were something he wanted I'd gladly embark on the adventure with him. If he doesn't want to have any then I'd rather stay with him and not have any than go off to find a man who does. If I were single I would not be going down the sperm donor path.

Fairenuff Sat 26-Jan-13 10:08:11

I disagree Attilla. Marriage is just a piece of paper.

It's the eixsting relationship between a couple prior to marriage which makes it special, real, genuine, committed, etc. If you don't already have that, you won't gain it by marrying.

Almost any two consenting adults can and do marry for all sorts of legal, religious and financial reasons. But for love? Marriage is not necessary for a successful, loving, faithful relationship. It's traditional but does not make anyone more committed than they already are in their heart and mind, imo.

What, essentially, is different after marriage? Why would a person you love and trust enough to marry be more faithful or more committed one day than they were the day before, because of a ceremony?

tumbletumble Sat 26-Jan-13 10:22:55

My DH and I were together for 5 years before we got engaged. I got a bit upset when my best friend got engaged to her boyfriend of 9 months, and let DH know I was upset. 3 months later he proposed. Still together and happy 10 years later (and my best friend is too!). We were both in our 20s at the time.

BadLad Sat 26-Jan-13 10:23:37

As it means as much as it does to you, you should definitely tell him you want to get married.

If he is ever going to do it, then he will certainly have considered the prospect by now.

MmBovary Sat 26-Jan-13 10:35:36

OP, I think if you're in really solid relationship, being married or not doesn't make a difference to you as individuals. It makes a difference on a social and legal level, and I think that is very important too.

DH and I lived together and even had our first child before getting married. The relationship didn't change one bit, the problems that we had, we continued having, the happiness that we had, we continued having.

However, if you're going to be taking such a high level of commitment with another person, you might as well have the law behind you to back you up.

In the case of separation, or death, women tend to be very unprotected by the law if they're not married.

We live in a very patriarchal society, and not matter how liberal we are, we have to operate within their laws, otherwise we will lose out badly, and our children too.

You should be able to talk about your partner about this without feeling embarassed.

Katisha Sat 26-Jan-13 10:38:45

It's all very well about being ambivalent about children - I was. But you are at the age where you need to decide NOW. Sadly you don't have the luxury of waiting and seeing how it all goes - he does.

I just don't want you to be in the position in a few years where you can't have children, because you have been waiting for him to take the lead and either a) it dawns on them you wish you had or b) he has gone and had them with someone else.

Lavenderhoney Sat 26-Jan-13 10:51:33

Jessie, i think telling him you would like to be married is a lot different to him knowing you like the idea of it. and I think men are aware women are not fertile for ever, with the publicity about it!

Have you been to any weddings recently or engagement parties where nosy relatives ask you about when you two plan to name the day? If you live abroad you tend to be isolated from old friends who can ask questions as well.

I would be inclined to say are we getting married one day or is living together going to be it? Then you can plan your future and get married or live together and see a solicitor to arrange wills etc.

LadyLapsang Sat 26-Jan-13 15:22:58

OP, I puzzled by your ambivalence towards having children, especially at your age. Ideally do you want children with him or not? I suspect you do. All the women I know who don't want children are very clear on this point and are at pains to tell the guys they date - in fact one of my colleagues split up with her parter because he did want children and she didn't.

If I had to guess what is likely to happen in your situation, I would say you will have a few more years with him, he will get promoted, you may get promoted too. You will both be busy and successful. You will spent quite a lot of time apart because of work. You will then split up. Soon afterwards he will meet a women his own age / younger. They will have a few children together and he may ask her to marry him first (if he thinks she won't have children before getting married or if he thinks he needs to get married to stop someone else nabbing her first). If this were to happen, how would you feel about choosing to delay having children and putting him first for the next few years? If you could honestly envisage that you would say we had a great few years and I don't have any regrets then stay, otherwise go.

With regard to my situation, my DH asked me to marry him because he said I knew you wouldn't be available for long! We were together for about 8 months before he proposed and that was nearly 3 decades ago.

AnuvvaMuvva Sat 26-Jan-13 16:13:36

The age-gap in this relationship isn't very big - it's only 4.5 years. I think the comments like, "he'll marry someone younger!" are a bit... Well, all I mean is that the OP is already feeling she's old at 39, and terrified he'll leave her for someone younger, so I'm worried that comments like those will only make her tighten her grip on him even harder.

Awful to stay with someone because you're suffering from "last man on earth" syndrome.

I'd prefer the OP to wake up and realise that SHE has other options, that she is totally putting her motherhood eggs into this one uncommitted basket, and have the guts to lay it out straight. No trying to be coy and bashful about the M word if you're going to LIVE WITH HIM! So say it straight - are we ever going to get married? And if he hedges and fudges the subject again, leave.

AnuvvaMuvva Sat 26-Jan-13 16:23:17

OP - please have the guts to finish this relationship if it's not heading towards marriage. Marriage, to this man, is what you want. You're not going to be happy living with him, because it'll only make you like him MORE. Men (IME) are opposite: they fall in love during the time they don't see you. When they miss you and can't get enough.

If you want him to want marriage, you have to create a need for it. Living with him takes AWAY the need for marriage, because it provides all the fun bits of marriage (sex, sharing, companionship, convenience, company) with none of the "bad" (financial commitments, divorce proceedings, assumption of duration). It's like renting vs buying.

If you had the courage to ask him flat-out what he envisages for your future, instead of staying in this murky cloud, you'd put yourself in a great position. You'd KNOW what he wanted and could then decide if that matches with what YOU want. And if it didn't, you'd still only be 39, no baggage, no financial commitments to anyone - you'd still be a total catch on the dating market! The longer you stay, the older you'll be when this does come to a head. I'm 41, nearly 42, and I can tell you that that feels a lot older than 39. It hasn't affected my love life (touch wood!) but it has made me see myself as a LOT older.

So... Have The Talk. Do it. If you're scared of what he'll say, that's even more reason to do it! Have some guts! You can't lose. I promise, you can't lose.

AnuvvaMuvva Sat 26-Jan-13 16:24:32

And if he respects you enough to tell you that no, he's not the marriage type, then we'll all be here to comfort you. You're not on your own.

AnuvvaMuvva Sat 26-Jan-13 16:28:45

"Why Men Love Bitches" by sherry Argov deals with this exact situation. She has a script for the talk, and how to handle the aftermath. It's all good.

Please SLAP YOURSELF if you are willing, eyes-open, to put such massively important parts of your own one life -- kids, marriage -- into the hands of this ONE BLOKE, rather than taking any personal responsibility.

How do you think he felt when you told him that your own decision about whether or not you wanted children was HIS choice?! How would you feel if a man said that to you? Really pressured, in some ways, and kind of contemptuous in others, I'd imagine. "My life is in your hands." Eww.

Be someone who knows what they want. Have an opinion, even if (god forbid!) it's different to this bloke's. he's not going to marry a Yes-girl.

LadyLapsang Sat 26-Jan-13 16:54:46

Anuvva, I agree OP does have options, but if she wants children then the reality is on average she doesn't have as much time as he does - simple biology. Much as things are changing, when there is an age gap, the man is likely to be older (obviously not all the time but on average). Of course marriage and children aren't everything and shouldn't be. A good friend of mine met the man of her dreams when it was just too late for children. They are very, very happy together (nearly 20 years on) but by the time they moved in together etc. it was too late for children together. My friend was the one her partner wanted to be with so it was not a problem for him but I just suspect the situation may be different for OP.

ILoveBagels Sat 26-Jan-13 17:41:31

OP, i'm sorry to say that i'm also picking up on something in your posts that says you do want children and you are just trying to convince yourself you dont - because the alternative is the awfulness of breaking up. Please take some time to really evaluate what you want so you know 100% that the choices you are making are right for you. No man is worth living a lie - you will end up despising both him and yourself.

QueenofPlaids Sat 26-Jan-13 18:53:30

I asked DP (dear fiancé I suppose, but I always think DF is 'dear father') and he said he knew within months. We bought a place together which delayed the ring etc. considerably (long story, painful and expensive) but we've always known we're in it for the long run. FWIW we've just it engaged (officially at least) after more than 9 years BUT we've been having dialogue for a long time.

This includes the kids thing because we're pretty much of an age (he is slightly younger).

Can't really fathom how you can move in with someone you can't have an open and honest conversation about the future with tbh confused

rhondajean Sat 26-Jan-13 19:27:27

Thing is, with a lot of men they know pretty quickly. Im sure that statistically you are less likely to be proposed to the longer s relationship goes on for.

Some men just don't want to marry for whatever reason obviously, but personally I don't think two years is a short time. It's certainly long enough to have worked out if you are in for the long haul, and it's definitely enough time for you to have built a relationship that means you can at least both introduce discussions about what you want re marriage.

You need to talk to him, not us!

Anna1976 Sun 27-Jan-13 00:31:55

Find out what he finds really attractive and desirable. If you're not it deep down (or even at the surface), you probably never will be attractive or desirable to him. You will just be convenient.

Speaking as someone who cohabited for >6 years without much discussion; who moved abroad with him, started talking about marriage and kids and discovered he didn't want to get married to me - I would say don't move in with him unless you are damn sure that you are, deep down, what you want and you are what he wants, and that you both want the same thing.

We separated for 4 months, got back together again for all the convenient reasons... and at the first hurdle - it has fallen over again. Because i am not what I want to be, and I am not what he wants.... and no matter how hard I try, I will never be what he wants. Good thing I didn't move back in.

Anna1976 Sun 27-Jan-13 00:34:16

I should add that you shouldn't cohabit unless you are damn sure that he is what you want as well - I was taking that as read. Cohabiting with someone with whom you do not have a damn clear 5-year plan, is a very bad idea.

achillea Sun 27-Jan-13 00:44:24

I wonder if what's happening is that your hormones are kicking in and that your subconscious is telling you that you want to have children. Your conscious mind is slighly obsessing about marriage when your unconscious knows that what will really give you both a future together is having children. Very amateurish late night psychology, I know.

delilah88 Sun 27-Jan-13 10:39:10

I agree with the last poster and in fact was going to say that perhaps you do want children, or at least to be with someone who makes you feel damn sexy and super-wanted in the autumn of your fertility, even if you're not going to act on it. He sounds very ambivalent. My experience of men that age is that they experience time in a very different way to women. He may see himself as extremely young.

I have a friend with a partner like yours. He seemed very uncommitted at the start but she has stuck with him and he is now moving clearly in the right direction. It may take time for this man to embed himself if the committed life, it just depends whether you want to wait or not.

I think the children issue is at the fore here. It's not a take it or leave it issue for women really -- you will end up feeling strongly about it whatever you choose. Talk to him about the next five years, and where he sees himself and you. If he just talks about his career or travelling etc. I think you should then give him the kind version of an ultimatum talk. Commitment will make you happy I can tell.

chucksaway Sun 27-Jan-13 11:20:58

OP who suggested you move in together anyhow - is it because you both expats and it is therefore more convenient to do so being abroad surrounded by a foreign culture? And would this be happening if you were both still in UK? I think you have come to this site for clarification and I sense your insecurity in knowing if hes really into you. I always had a sense my now husband would propose. I knew he was the marrying type and I knew because I sensed a real happiness between us. Do you not have any sense of that yourself? If I was you I would have the frank discussion with him ... for how many years are you posted there?

It is the one great unfairness of life that we can't blame the patriarchy for - the fact that women have less time than men to decide whether or not they want to have children. So a man can spend his 30s in a relationship that's 'fine' - he likes the woman, he enjoys having sex with her, they have lots of good times, he may well consider that he loves her but all along, at the back of his mind, is the feeling that someone better is out there, so he doesn't really want to commit to the extent of marrying her or agreeing to start TTC with her. He doesn't want her to leave him - why would he? She's 'fine', good sex, good company etc etc, and he doesn't really want to be single.
So when she starts trying to Have The Discussion about marriage and babies, he stalls. He avoids it. He fobs her off. If he's not completely selfish, he might say that he doesn't want to settle down yet and he might tell himself that he's mulling over the possibility of marrying and impregnating her if no one more appealing shows up in, say, the next year or so. The more selfish he is the more likely he is to set conditions, which he can keep on changing - we need to be earning more, I need to get promoted, we'll think about it when we can afford a bigger house. Or he might drop vague hints that a proposal is imminent, and then just not propose. The nastier he is, the more he will build on this idea that he might propose as long as the woman behaves herself and pleases him, as this gets him the additional bonus - not only does his comfortable, acceptable life with a perfectly OK woman continue, but the woman is now tying herself in knots trying to accomodate his every desire in the hope of getting the doggy-treat of a proposal.

JessieMcJessie Sun 27-Jan-13 14:47:19

chucksaway it was him who suggested it. I like your expression "real happiness between us". I feel that too and I honestly don't think it's one-sided. delilah I most definitely do feel "damn sexy and super-wanted", though obviously I'd feel even more wanted if he proposed. He's very excited about the move and is proudly telling everyone we see socially. This is definitely not a case of us only being together because we are expats in the same country with limited choices: in 6 years of singledom in London I never met anyone who came close to making me as effortlessly happy as he does and his older friends have commented the same about how happy I make him.

As for the baby thing, we went to visit friends yesterday to meet their month-old daughter. I was burping her and he sort of dived in at one point to catch her head because he was worried I wasn't supporting it right (to be honest, I probably wasn't, I have very little experience of babies. Neither does he though....). I don't think he sees me as the maternal type at all, which may be a red flag but is also a perfectly valid opinion because I'm not. I suppose that after the visit would have been an opportunity to bring up the subject again and get a more definite answer from him, but I just didn't want to initiate the conversation.

I'm interested that AnnuvaMuvva thought that it was unfair of me to have told him that the having children decision was entirely his - all I did was tell him the truth. I appreciate that a Mumsnet board is not a likely place to find people who can understand that I have no strong desire for a baby, but would embrace it wholeheartedly if it was what he wanted. Yet in the couple we saw yesterday I know for a fact that she wanted a baby (she's my age) and he had to be talked into it. He's clearly smitten now, but I thought she took quite a risk. At least to my boyfriend I am offering ambivalence, not resistance, so if he does want kids he can rest assured I will embark upon the adventure with enthusiasm.

We're having fun flat hunting, he's definitely moving forward. I am encouraged by what you have all said to have a more frank conversation with him, and i won't just cohabit indefinitely and let him get too comfy with the status quo. Thanks.

LaraInTheSky Sun 27-Jan-13 15:27:20

SolidGoldBrass, we can't blame the patriarchy for our biological set up, but we can blame the patriarchy for creating an institution, marriage, which chains human relationships to "one fit all" model.

I'm a woman and, to be honest, I never wanted to get married. I finally did when I had children because both myself and my husband felt that if we remained single, we could end up in a real mess in the event of death, for example. So we did the reverse, we didn't get married because we wanted children, we got married because we had a child.

It's a shame that even in this day, in this modern society, there is such huge pressure to get married, like in the old Victorian times, when it was the only way a woman had to secure a roof and food for herself for the rest of her life.

I completely understand why a lot of couples don't want to get married. They feel they are mature enough to be able to commit to each other without the weight of tradition or convention. Unfortunately, the patriarchy will punish you at some point, when it comes to inheritance, pension and decisions to be made at your hospital bed.

achillea Sun 27-Jan-13 16:20:25

I don't think he sees me as the maternal type at all, which may be a red flag but is also a perfectly valid opinion because I'm not. I suppose that after the visit would have been an opportunity to bring up the subject again and get a more definite answer from him, but I just didn't want to initiate the conversation.

About the baby thing. It concerns me that you are making decisions about having children based on what he thinks about you. Nobody is born the maternal type, you become maternal when you become a mother, it just happens. You should decide whether you want to have children or not and then find the partner who will either give you what you want. Mostly this happens naturally and usually the man goes along with what the woman wants and I'm sure if you made your choice he would too. It concerns me that you are not making that choice for you.

chucksaway Sun 27-Jan-13 21:17:47

its difficult to get a total insight into anyone's relationship totally from a board like this but i think you are getting some fair responses here on your particular situation - best of luck with everything really hope it all works out for you both ... and why should it not!

TDada Sun 27-Jan-13 21:38:12

Why do you want to spoil a good thing with marriage?

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