You’ve been together for a while and you’re ready to take the next step, so why hasn’t he popped the question yet? We take a look at some of the most common reasons why men shy away from marriage.
Things are fine as they are
There’s an old Indian saying “Why buy the cow when you can drink the milk for free?” If you’re already living together, he has all the comforts of marriage – sex, cuddles, emotional support etc – without the ties, responsibilities or financial burdens. You can’t really blame him for thinking things are fine just the way they are.
What to do: Kate Taylor, relationship expert at Match.com has this advice: “If you live together but you’d rather be married, you’ll have to get super-tough. Calmly ask him his intentions and if it’s to leave things as they are, move out. If it’s to marry you “one day,” ask him to name that day. If he stalls, ask him to move out as you both need time to think. In all cases, don’t see him again until he’s ready to propose, with a ring and a date. Don’t wimp out: the legal support women get from marriage (and divorce) is still head and shoulders above living together. The law might change but it will take many years. There is no legal status of “common-law wife”, you’re either married or single.”
He’s been divorced
Previous experience in an unhappy marriage or messy divorce may have taken their emotional and financial toll on him and understandably put him off the concept of marriage altogether.
What to do: Kate’s advice: “Date him and be a loving partner but don’t move in with him. See him three times a week, maximum, and let him miss you the rest of the time – men tend to realise how much they love a woman when she’s not there! And build up your life so you have goals, dreams, and money of your own. He’ll feel less scared of being taken-down financially if you have your own future planned out.”
His parents had an unhappy marriage
A reluctance to get hitched often stems from the influence of relationships he experienced when growing up. If his parents were at constant loggerheads or he spent his childhood moving between two different homes, his idea of marriage may be tinged with negativity.
What to do: Help him to realise that he won’t necessarily make the same mistakes as his parents. Highlight his strengths and give him examples of happy marriages to strive towards. Pledge together to make yours a happy marital home.
He thinks it’s too soon
He wants to establish himself in his career before tying the knot so that he can provide for you. He’s also concerned he might scupper his chances on the career ladder by settling down too soon due to the many distractions and responsibilities of family life.
What to do: This is actually a good problem to have as it shows you’re with a man who had clear goals which include marriage and family in the future. Kate says, “When it comes to thinking about the Future, women are like Ferraris and men are like Skodas. If you’ve been dating a man for less than a year, don’t expect a proposal. If he REALLY likes you, he probably won’t mention marriage yet for fearing of scaring you away. Between 18 months and 2 years is the usual time men think about getting one knee dirty. If it’s been more than 2 years and he hasn’t mentioned marriage, he’s got too comfy. See him 80% less than you normally would, and start rebuilding your fun, independent life. Don’t mention marriage, just get busy. He’ll either miss you and come back begging for your hand, or he won’t and you can find someone lovelier.”
He’s afraid the relationship will change
He’s aware that weddings can do strange things to women and is afraid you might turn into Bridezilla obsessing over flower arrangements, dresses and expensive candles. He’s also worried about how the relationship might alter both physically and emotionally once that ring’s on your finger.
What to do: Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to convince him of your future sanity but you can reassure him of the fact that you are fully invested in making your future marriage a loving, long-term and fulfilling one.