fb-pixel Skip to main content

You don’t have to get married to be happy

Love Letters

Love Letters

Q. I have been dating my boyfriend since just before the pandemic hit. At this point, I have been divorced for almost five years and living with New Guy for about nine months. I adore him and I love our life together. I don’t think I would have been able to appreciate all the wonderful things about him had we met years ago. For that, I am grateful for having gone through all the ups and downs of my previous relationship.

The thing is, I can’t imagine getting married again — ever. I see so many divorcées moving on and doing it all over again, and honestly I can’t think of anything less appealing. My boyfriend is not putting any pressure on me. He says he’s happy being together in any way that makes me comfortable (he’s awesome). My question is: Do I not want to commit to marriage again because somewhere in the back of my mind I might think he’s not The One, or do I just have trauma from a bad marriage and subsequently painful divorce?

Is something in me broken to not want to be legally bound to another human being again? Is it OK to feel happy and fulfilled the way things are, or am I cheating him out of something more?



A. By the power vested in me by ... the Boston Globe Media company, I guess ... I hereby pronounce you happy and fulfilled — without marriage.

The institution isn’t for everyone, especially when a person has had a bad experience with it. There is nothing wrong with your way of thinking, and it sounds like your relationship is fantastic. Congrats.

Based on what you said in your letter, this isn’t about you being sad, incapacitated by trauma, or less in love than you should be.


There are many ways to be committed, coupled, and together in bliss. Trust me, there are also many other forms of paperwork that can tie people together without it being “marriage,” specifically. Movies, TV, fashion, and various institutions tell us that happiness looks like getting married, but it doesn’t have to be endgame. (This is why I loved the end of the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral” when I was younger. No spoilers, but check it out if you’ve never seen it.)

It sounds like your lack of interest in doing this again is about knowing what makes you comfortable. Now all you have to do is trust yourself.

To be clear, it’s not that anyone else is doing it wrong either. It’s just that one size has never fit all.

Take a deep breath and think about the answer you’ll give the next time someone asks if you plan to get married. I recommend something simple. Maybe, “It’s just not my thing.” Don’t worry about depriving your partner of anything. Instead, when he tells you he’s happy, believe it.



If you don’t want to get married, and New Guy is happy with the status quo, this doesn’t mean that you’re broken in any way. That being said, you’re only nine months into the living arrangement so why do you feel the need to make “never” statements, as in I’ll never get married again?


1. There is no “The One.” I’m guessing you thought your ex-husband was “The One” and look how that turned out. 2. You have no idea how you may feel in the future about this guy or any other guy. You may never want to get married again, you may want to marry this guy, or you may want to marry some other guy. None of this needs to be decided right now, today. Just enjoy things as they are and deal with this when/if it becomes an issue.



When things are great, some people have to go spooky and overthink/analyze to create doubt/fear/negativity.


I do not blame you one bit. After a rather sad divorce in my past, the thought of being legally bound to someone kinda makes me ill. Enjoy the life you are living, and stop overthinking.


Send your own relationship and dating questions to loveletters@globe.com or use this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.

Open the tab and fill out the form and hit submit. That's it! Keep a look out for your question in the next Love Letters.