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What do you do when your partner doesn’t want marriage but you desperately do?

(25 Posts)
Oddish Sat 18-Nov-17 15:13:21

I have a child with dp, plus 2 other dc who he loves and they love him. I was married before and it was loveless, he has never been married.
I so want us to marry, to show our commitment, all the lovely reasons people marry. He says ‘not yet’. We have been together for 4 years, I will be 40 soon, I am feeling very emotional about this, perhaps unreasonably but it’s real and painful to me. What do I do? I feel there is nothing I can do. I obviously can’t force him and wouldn’t want it under ultimatum anyway. I could wait sadly until the time is right but that could be many, many years and we will be older.
He knows how I feel but I’m tired of talking round in circles so that’s why I’m asking here if anyone has been in this situation or can put a positive spin on it for me.

Catalufa Sat 18-Nov-17 15:17:55

You can’t force him to marry you, but you deserve to understand why he doesn’t want to.

Does ‘not yet’ really mean ‘not ever’? If so, can he articulate why he is anti marriage? If not, isn’t four years and a child enough to convince him?

In the mean time, make sure you are financially protected in the event of bad news. Are you the beneficiary of his will? Are your assets jointly owned? Does he have life insurance with you as the named beneficiary? Are you working and splitting childcare with him equally?

Oddish Sat 18-Nov-17 15:22:18

Thanks catalufa. He just says he wants things to be right, but can’t expand on that, so I have no idea what that means. Things are good between us so if he wants things to be ‘better’ then I don’t know how to do that.

Finances are separate and I’m his next of kin, we share childcare, I know he wouldn’t do me over so I’m not too worried about that.

RaindropsAndSparkles Sat 18-Nov-17 15:25:54

Well, I wouldn't have had children with home before he married me so I think you have rather made your own bed on the point and lost your negotiating power.

Oddish Sat 18-Nov-17 15:33:07

Thanks for that Raindrops, really helpful. Can I have the sparkles now please?

jeaux90 Sat 18-Nov-17 15:35:22

My suggestion in the meantime is to maximise your earning potential and if he doesn't do any of the childcare to help with that then you need that to change. You are in a very vulnerable legal position here OP unless you are financially independent

Oddish Sat 18-Nov-17 15:40:17

Thank you jeaux but I have my own income and savings and would certainly cope if things ended, as I have when first marriage ended. It’s definitely the emotional side of things I’m concerned with.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 18-Nov-17 15:56:16

The best thing to do is re-frame this in your own head; ie. come to terms with either:
1. Marriage being really important to you, enough that you will find you won't tolerate this situation any longer and will either kick him out - or leave yourself - and find someone for whom marriage is just as important,
OR
2. You accept that actually, he is the one in the driving seat and he doesn't want to marry you. Not now, maybe not ever. Everything that you've said screams that he doesn't want to marry you.

Neither scenario is what you would have chosen but I'm sorry to say, you have no bargaining chips because you are the one who wants this so desperately and he doesn't care enough for you to give that to you. That's irrefutable.

I'm sorry, you sound very sad about it. I would be too in your position. flowers

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 18-Nov-17 16:02:27

I think if he wanted to marry you he would have done so by now. I think in some respects he has already done you over and you have really handed over a lot of your own power to him.

Saying not yet to you is unfair and seems to be a carrot and stick approach. All this "wanting things to be right" is just a nonsense really. Are the two of you not right now?.

I would try and make him expand on why not yet; he may not actually want to get married at all or actually to you also because he does not want to share (these may be reasons why he is reticent). You need proper answers and should not expect anything less than that from him.

The measures you have in place seem quite limited; are there wills in place for instance?. I ask as I see no mention of this, all I have read is that you are his next of kin (has this been formalised?) and finances are separate. That in itself could be a problem going forward. What is the situation re the property?. I would actually sit him in front of a Solicitor and get this person to properly explain to you both the legal position in the event he precedes you because your legal position is very vulnerable. If he truly did love you he would take all this into account.

As it stands today you will not be able to open Letters of Administration for him or even claim a widows allowance. Accessing his pension pot may also prove problematic. You could face real financial hardship and be reliant on his family as well as dealing with your own grief.

jeaux90 Sat 18-Nov-17 16:09:10

OP I love my other half dearly. But I wouldn't marry him. And I don't want to live with him full time either. Why?

I don't believe in marriage I think it's not worth it unless your a SAHP.
I don't want him to get my assets, these are for my dd8 (not his)

Does this mean I don't love him? No

Maybe he really just thinks this and doesn't want to say? Maybe he genuinely doesn't want to do it yet.

You need to talk to him.

And if he says he never does, is this a deal breaker for you and why?

Good you are independent financially by the way (you go girl grin)

Oddish Sat 18-Nov-17 16:31:13

I really am not worried about finances, I have a house, I am in his will, he helps with childcare and facilitates all my needs.

He doesn’t say ‘never’ but he wouldn’t. He does love me, but as some of you say perhaps not enough to give me this. I do ask why but I feel so shit about it, like I’m begging for a proposal and it all seems so desperate and sad. I want him to want to marry me, he says he does but it’s clear he doesn’t.
It seems dramatic to split over it but the alternative is to put up and shut up, it’s frustrating that I can’t find a happy medium.
I posted here today as we had another fruitless discussion and I’ve told him I feel sad and unwanted and need to think about things. He is upset that he has upset me but now we are back in that stupid cycle of even if he asked tonight I’d say no because it hasn’t come from him. Sigh.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 18-Nov-17 16:43:29

You can't go on like this, Oddish. If things are generally good between you then you'll have to stop prodding the hornet's nest because that's what you're doing.

In my opinion there's no way for you to 'win' because if things are going well, the other person thinks, "Why upset the applecart?". There's basis for that too as many couples who were fine unmarried, suddenly break up after marriage. Of course there are many other couples who don't but that's immaterial. A dissenter has rightful evidence that this could happen.

And, if things are getting tetchy because you're not getting this one thing that you want, the other partner could be thinking, "Well, we're a bit shaky, keep arguing about this and she's not letting it go so there's no way I want to make this a formal thing".

You can't win.

You want the romance, that he wants to marry you more than anything and I just don't think you're going to get that. The time, as other posters have alluded to, was before you had a child together as most men understand that women generally won't have one before they marry if this matters to them. It didn't so it doesn't, as far as he is concerned.

The only sensible thing to do is put marriage out of your head as an option. You don't want to leave him so the only chance you'll have to make him consider this is to be happy with what you have. Sounds counterproductive but it isn't really - if you're generally happy with your lot then celebrate it.

I don't think you'd be happy with a marriage that you feel you've wrenched out of him because you'd always know that you did... so re-frame now. You don't need to be married and you don't want to marry somebody who doesn't want to marry you. His loss. smile

Movablefeast Sat 18-Nov-17 17:56:28

I would not stay with someone who did not want to marry me.

MyBrilliantDisguise Sat 18-Nov-17 18:20:18

I wouldn't stay, either. You've told him this makes you unhappy and he's taken no notice at all. He doesn't want to commit to you - I'd take that that ultimately he's not on your side.

LittleWitch Sat 18-Nov-17 18:49:44

You don’t dream the same dream, want the same thing. You’ve put all your cards on the table and now you need to decide whether it’s a dealbreaker or not. If not, then as lyinwitch says, reframe. If it is, tell him and move on.

SottoVoc3 Sat 18-Nov-17 19:07:47

Hi OP, I am wondering what is so important about marriage for you? You already have the commitments of a child, a step family, a home together, shared financial arrangements ( tho you are still dreadfully vulnerable without the legal status of marriage- I am speaking as someone widowed with young children).
Is it the romance of the proposal or the public demonstration of your commitment? A ceremony? The wedding, rather than the marriage?? Can you analyse a little more?

Are there other ways to ‘show your commitment’ that would satisfy you both?

Oddish Sat 18-Nov-17 19:54:56

Well, I started this post because I was desperate after yet another fraught conversation and asked him for time and space. He took the kids out and when he got back he got down on one knee and tearfully asked me to marry him shock
I told him I didn’t want it to be this way and he said he can see how much it means to me and that waiting for the right time might make him lose me. But the main thing he wanted to do was sit down my older two and asked if they wanted him to officially be their step dad. Which they immediately agreed to and there were many happy tears and shouts of joy apparently! He also already had the ring, which is beautiful and unusual and very me.
So now although I do feel a bit like the toddler that got what she wanted I also feel all the things I wanted to feel.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sat 18-Nov-17 20:00:20

Congratulations then, Oddish, best wishes to you. smile

Movablefeast Sat 18-Nov-17 20:02:31

Good for you - glad you both have the commitment you need. Congratulations x

Viviennemary Sat 18-Nov-17 20:07:14

I think you are entitled to ask why not and then listen to his reasons and take it from there. Most times when folk don't want to get married is that they are very happy with how things are now. I just see that you have updated. Well that's good news. Congratulations.

BackInTheRoom Sat 18-Nov-17 20:10:27

🎉OMG congratulations! 🎉

crazyhead Sat 18-Nov-17 20:19:59

Ah! Problem solved. Nice to have a thread conclude that way. I honestly think marriage means different things to different people (me and DH were lax about it) am glad you've resolved it

Oddish Sat 18-Nov-17 21:39:14

Thanks everyone, I’m very happy smile

RaindropsAndSparkles Sat 18-Nov-17 23:16:40

I'm vèry pleased for you Oddish. Being married is lovely - hard to say how or why. Glad It's worked out. flowers

Catalufa Sun 19-Nov-17 08:14:41

Fantastic update! Congratulations flowers

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