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How do I broach the subject of not wanting to get married?

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Question - (16 September 2019) 7 Answers - (Newest, 19 September 2019)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Ill try to keep this short and simple. The title probably sounds terrible. So, Im a 30F, my boyfriend is 7 years my senior. We both have children from previous relationships and we are both divorced. Ive known him nearly 2 years, but we only started dating in April. He more recently has brought up marriage. The first time, it was in a meme and I brushed it off 100%. It was a MEME. (Theres a difference between a boyfriend that wants to stay your boyfriend and a boyfriend who has plans on being your husband) I didnt put any thought into it until he brought it up over the weekend. I dont even remember how the conversation came up. We were just sitting and talking general conversation... and I dont even remember the first line of the sentence, but it ended with " you know if we ever get married someday." And then the conversation drifted to rings... more like he was explaning different rings-- metals (gold, silver titanium) , silicone, tattoos as rings ect ect... and I let him carry on because the switch in my brain apparently got jammed end landed me between complete shock and the question "didnt I mention this before...?"

I finally realized we had talked about it before and we had both clarified-- also in general conversation, that niether of us wanted to get married again. But now hes mentioned it and I dont know how to broach the subject? It honestly has nothing to do with him, or how much I love him. My divorce was just finalized this year, and its been tertibly messy. It was also a pretty toxic relationship. I have zero interest in getting married again for different reasons, but all of them concern legalities. Nothing to do with commitment or love.

This man is literally my best friend. I feel so stupid for not being able to find the right way to bring this up. I love him, I dont want to hurt him, and I do want to spend my life with and settle down with him. I just dont want to get married.

View related questions: best friend, divorce, tattoo

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy +, writes (19 September 2019):

CindyCares agony aunt No, it does not sound terrible. Not wanting to get re-married, that is.

OTH, deceiving people or even just stringing them along for your own self- interest, that is pretty terrible. So don't do it. Speak up. Just tell him what you told us: You brought up marriage, but I want you to know that , although I love you and want to spend my life with you, I don't want to be a wife. That's got nothing to with love and committment, just with different legal and technical issues.

Of course , it's a risk. He might say : Ok, fine with me ( and I think he will say just that ). Or , he could say : no marriage, no future for us. But if that is how he feels, and you two are on such different pages, better to know it right now that later on. Delaying could generate in him ( and rightly so ) plenty of anger , hurt and resentment, because, again, nobody likes to be strung along.

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A female reader, suzzzque269 United States +, writes (18 September 2019):

suzzzque269 agony auntI for one never ever ever want to get remarried. Im upfront and honesst in the beginning of a relationship. My one boyfriend did the funniest/sweetest alternative...he gave me a "promise-not-to-marry-me" ring. That signified our commitment until i found out he was lying and cheating lol...this way we didnt have to get a divorce with me losing everything.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 September 2019):

Op here. Please let me clarify the only reason I didnt say anything when we were talking is because I was kind of in shock my mind was racing. It took me a few minutes to make sure I hesrd it all correctly. We also were interrupted by kids and that ended up taking priority ofcourse. I was honestly wondering how to go about broaching the subject. But now you have all got me thinking that maybe Im carrying the fear of marriage from my previous marriage and not giving him a fair chance by bringing that into our relationship? I should clarify that my ex husband I have been separated for 3 years and it was extremely toxic/abusive. My boyfriend and I were honestly besties first. We still are, I just get extremely anxious bringing up heavy topics and wanted to make sure I worded tgings right... I do think he will be understanding. I just wanted to bring it up tactfully and of course a more intimate/one on one setting. Thank you for all your advice. I appreciate it.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (17 September 2019):

Why is honesty so damned hard? If you don't ever want to get married again, then tell him so! If the reason you're avoiding directness is because you're afraid he could lose interest in you; then in all fairness, he has that right.

People are not kept in our lives at our convenience. Relationships thrive on truth and loyalty. If two people are together wanting different things; then somebody has to speak-up and let the other know in no uncertain terms. Playing people along and dangling a carrot might work selfishly; but you're putting another person's life on-hold for you. You're leaving him in a holding-pattern; but that's okay, as long as he's there for you. Sorry, you wouldn't want him to do that to you, if it was the other way around.

You don't want to get married. Then tell him and let the chips fall where they may. You're going to wait until a ring appears with a proposal, then you'll say "no?" Don't do that, just let him know that marriage isn't in the plans. Honesty and truth is what love and trust thrives on. People always want an easy way out. In the world of reality and maturity, nothing worth keeping or having is easy. If he wants a wife in his life, he should have one. You shouldn't dance around it while you can see he may be hinting around at it. Even if he's just messing-around with the probability or possibility, tell him where you stand...NOW!

As for your ex and legalities or whatever...what's that got to do with him??? If you need time to get-over your past, and the divorce; don't put his life on-hold, while you sort things out. If you're not ready for anything too serious, you shouldn't have gotten yourself into a committed relationship; before you were ready in the first-place!

You should make sure you that anyone you date on a long-term basis, or exclusively, has a clear understanding of the nature of your relationship. Over time, an assessment should be made to decide what could come of it. You may not know at the onset; but if you are as adamant about it as you are now, he deserves to know. He may not want to be your emotional band-aid and comforter; while you get-over your divorce. It wouldn't be fair! Using people is selfish, when you know they want more than you're giving.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (17 September 2019):

you: Boyfriend,I wanted to talk to you about how you're feeling because recently you brought up marraige and rings and I thought we were on the same page about not getting remarried. Do you feel differently now?

boyfriend: yes i want to get married and live happily ever after.

you: my feelings haven't changed. I do not want to get married and i think we need to discuss whether this is a deal breaker for either of us in the relationship.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (17 September 2019):

There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, especially as you've already been there and worn the T-Shirt. I have four bosses who are ALL divorced and have been put off getting married ever again. Don't worry it's perfectly normal and your relationship shouldn't be viewed as any different just because you don't put a ring on it.

If your boyfriend loves you he will understand that marriage isn't the be all and end all. He has you, that's the main thing. Plus like you said if it all goes wrong, divorces can be very stressful and messy processes. I wouldn't blame you at all for not wanting to go through the legalities of it all ever again.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (16 September 2019):

Honeypie agony auntAgain, JUST be honest. I can't offer that advice enough these days it seems.

Think about it, he's hinted at marriage a few times, you have AMPLE opportunity to now bring it up. I suggest that the conversation is for a time you two are alone (no kids around) so you can explain in your own words why marriage isn't something you want.

While I DO think it's a bit unfair to judge your "new" BF over something your EX did, I can also understand why marriage doesn't seem all that enticing to you.

Talk, be honest, go from there.

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