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What do you do if one of you wants to get married and the other doesn't?

(67 Posts)
RitaMorgan Sat 28-Jan-12 20:43:44

Anyone else been in this situation? How did you move past it?

GwennieF Sat 28-Jan-12 20:47:21

I know ths is probably not what you want to hear but in my opinion if your expectations of the relationship are that different it is (in the long run) doomed. The question is now, how long do you want to spend/waste waiting for them before you leave?

I know this will be painful to read - sorry....

leeray Sat 28-Jan-12 20:49:08

If the one who wants marriage, would not be content without it, then it will always be an issue

purpleroses Sat 28-Jan-12 20:54:00

If you're the one that wants to get married, find out why the other person dosn't. If it's just a dislike of big ceramonies, tradition, etc and they are fully comitted to the relationship (and in fact see themselves as effectively married already), it might be OK and you could compromise. But if not there's a problem.

(My DC's father never wanted to get married, I thought this wasn't really a big deal (and wasn't big on tradition for the sake of it) but over time his reasons kind of morphed into not really believing in monogamy.... He is now my ex. With hindsight I think I should have read more into his lack of interest in marriage)

Yama Sat 28-Jan-12 20:56:09

Is it a 'never want to get married' thing? I suggested marriage to dh about a year before he suggested it and he said he wasn't ready. He's been through two parental divorces and my parents are still together. Hurtful yes but I knew that he was just being honest. .

Don't know what I would've done had he never wanted to get married. I honestly don't.

izzyisin Sat 28-Jan-12 20:57:59

The one who wants to get married leaves the one who doesn't and sets about finding someone who wants to marry them.

The happy couple then scrimp and save like mad for a 'dream' wedding, have 2.5 kids, and live unhappily ever after or get divorced.

izzyisin Sat 28-Jan-12 20:59:35

How is he your 'dh'? Did you overcome his objectons and is he now complaining that he never wanted to marry you?

sillymillyb Sat 28-Jan-12 21:06:29

Hmmm, I was engaged for 5 years to my ex and found it incredibly hurtful that he wouldn't actually, ever, marry me. He would say various things starting with , "I will marry you when...." and I just hated that he could quantify it, and that loving me wasn't enough of a reason.

It really effected my self esteem, and in the end I left (there was other reasons too) which was the right decision. He was devastated at the time and offered me marriage on a plate, but by then it was too late, and to be honest I was angry that I had to leave in order to get him to realise how much he had hurt me, if that makes sense?

RitaMorgan Sat 28-Jan-12 21:07:11

I suppose DP objects to marriage in a political/moral way - he never wants to get married. When we were first together I didn't want to get married (in an abstract way) either and I think he feels a bit cheated that my feelings have changed over the last 4 years!

I do want to marry him but for reasons I find hard to articulate. Partly to tie up some legal loose ends and partly just because I'd like to. I wouldn't be changing my name or being a Mrs or anything like that.

I don't doubt DP's commitment though, and I guess I don't feel strongly enough about it to end the relationship.

origamirose Sat 28-Jan-12 21:19:49

I would like to get married but DP won't. He's always been straight with me about it. It bothers me a bit because he was married before but it's not make or break. He gives me the love and support I need and I'm not sure marriage would change that. Sometimes I wonder if marriage might even change my expectations of our relationship and if all I really want is to do what all my friends and family have done.
However deep down I believe that I could convince him to marry me but I don't think that's a good foundation for forever...

Yama Sat 28-Jan-12 21:20:40

Yeah, I didn't change my name and becoming a 'Mrs' is a no-no for me. Far too respectable. I don't like the implication that being married is superior to being unmarried so I'm a Ms, sometimes a Miss (when I can't be arsed explaining).

Sounds like your dp is committed. Maybe get wills drawn up (if you haven't already). People do change. Your dp shouldn't feel cheated.

exoticfruits Sat 28-Jan-12 21:28:52

I don't think there is much choice-you don't get married.

MissCoffeeNWine Sat 28-Jan-12 21:34:27

You don't get married, and live a long, happy and mutually satisfying life together instead.

DP knew from when we met I'd never marry him. He'd very much like to marry me and loves the idea of getting dressed up and having a ceremony in front of family. The idea makes me feel a little sick. So no marriage for us.

I'd be very upset if he moved the goalposts and decided he suddenly had a burning desire to marry me and if I didn't say yes he'd leave me - that is horrific emotional blackmail and one of the worst ways to go about it IMO.

LikeAnAdventCandleButNotQuite Sat 28-Jan-12 21:34:31

Rita do you have any other commitments to him? Kids, joint bank account, joint ownership of a home? If he is not willing to do any of these, I'd be concerned (if they are what you want, of course). If it is simply a matter of 'no marriage' but there is plenty of other commitment shown, is this sufficient?

I would think a man who is not prepared to make any commitment is a lot more worrying than one who is prepared to show commitment in all ways but marriage.

BandOMothers Sat 28-Jan-12 21:37:21

My DH wasnt that struck on it and neither was never seemed important to us. Then I decided it WAS important. He was a bit hmm but he said "If it matters THAT much then of course I will because I love you." he decided that WE mattered more than his thinking marriage was pointless. he's not religious and didn't feel the need to show our love off and all that...but then he got right into the idea... wanted a small do and he was into a big one. People should be able to change.

GlitterKitty Sat 28-Jan-12 21:45:28

You dont get married.

DP is like this- I have always wanted to be married to him, and he has been against it from day 1. He says he will 'one day'... hmm

I will not force the issue becaise as somebody said upthread- its no basis for a happy life together. But TBH yes, I do grudge it. A bit.

Having said that- he is a great father/ partner and committed- I am not losing out. It does niggle though. Its important to me and I cant do anything about it- so it feels unfair. But, it IS possible to move beyond feeling annoyed all the time- having kids helps!

But to reassure you, if you are in this situation- DP and I have been together for 15 years, with one much loved DS, and we are very happy together. I cant say the wanting goes away, but it can work!

beckyboo232 Sat 28-Jan-12 21:47:57

Me and my dp have been together 6years we have 2 children I always said I never wanted to get married, he did it means a lot to him. I finally realised well I love him and I want him to be happy more than I care about a ceremony. When i hinted that i would if it was that important to him He asked me to marry him Christmas day all properly and everything it means so much to him. We are marrying this spring, a small wedding and he is really excited bless his heart. I think it a all about compromise at the end of the day my desire not to marry was outweighed by my desire to make him happy. smile

RitaMorgan Sat 28-Jan-12 21:55:59

Committed in all other ways - kids, finances etc.

MissCoffeeNWine Sat 28-Jan-12 22:00:50

My DP feels it's pointless to marry someone to whom marriage means nothing. Marrying me would not make him happy unless I had a total personality makeover and was able to attach any kind of meaning to the ceremony or see any kind of importance in the officialdom - he would also want me to have all the traditional fripperies and unnecessary conventions which I would not want to do (like bridesmaids, hen party, wedding dress, cake, name changing, ring wearing, title changing and such). Some just make me cringe and others I am vehemently opposed to, and for him it's just not a wedding unless you get all that stuff.

RitaMorgan Sat 28-Jan-12 22:03:57

I think DP would be quite happy with a wedding (even a ceremony!) so long as it wasn't a legal marriage grin He would probably agree to a hippy hand-fasting type thing in a field, but actually I don't see the point in doing all that without tying up the legal side - next of kin, parental rights, widow's benefits and the things that a will won't do.

MissCoffeeNWine Sat 28-Jan-12 22:10:32

We are each others nominated next of kin, and each have parental responsibility, I'm named beneficiary to his private pension and work benefits, life insurances, we're both on the mortgage, and we have joint wills.

I have told him I'll marry him without frills as and when his or my personal estate exceeds the inheritance tax band, but that's unlikely to happen any time soon, unfortunately I'm not worth £325k, yet.

purpleroses Sat 28-Jan-12 22:13:04

Could you do the legal bit quietly on the side? And then the hippy hand-fasting bit in the field for everyone to enjoy ? (so all his hippy mates don't have to think he's gone straight on them by getting married grin)

RitaMorgan Sat 28-Jan-12 22:19:10

Inheritance tax won't be an issue for us either!

The issue with parental responsibility is that DP only gets it once the baby is registered. If anything happens to me before that then it could be difficult for him. Bereavement/widow's benefits only go to spouses too.

attheendoftheday Sat 28-Jan-12 23:15:02

Surely you have a calm conversation about it? I would try to establish if marriage or remaining unmarried is a dealbreaker for either party, if it is for both then you call it a day. If for one of you it's just a preference (even if it's a strong preference) you suck it up to make your partner happy.

I never wanted to get married, for similar reasons to your dp, but if it really mattered to my dp I would do it to make him happy.

If your dp can't live with getting married and you don't want to end the relationship, it might be worth working out what you want to get from the marriage and if it can be fulfilled in other ways. I had similar concerns regard pr before we'd registered dd's birth, you can appoint your dp as guardian of any children in your will, so he would have them in his care until he got pr.

2rebecca Sat 28-Jan-12 23:38:13

I don't think it's emotional blackmail to leave a relationship because you want marriage and the other party doesn't. All relationships have deal breakers and if one person feels marriage is important then they may choose to find someone who has similar opinions to them.
I would never have had kids without getting married, and as I wanted kids if their father hadn't wanted to get married our relationship wouldn't have lasted. I would have seen it as a lack of committment on his behalf.
If my current second marriage fails I doubt i'd want to marry again, but I wouldn't have more kids. If a future partner really wanted to marry me though and I loved him and wanted to be with him I can't think of a sensible, logical reason why I'd say no, and think people to whom marriage isn't important are churlish and unkind in refusing to marry people they profess to love who view marriage as important.

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