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LOVE LETTERS

Why aren’t we married yet?

‘Just hard to see other people around us moving on to next steps when they all met after us.’

Love Letters

Love Letters

Q. I met my boyfriend online more than 3½ years ago. We rented a small house together about six or seven months into dating because we knew we were soul mates. Which I believe.

We are perfect together and our worst fights always end in laughs. After celebrating our second anniversary, he bought us a home. Of course we’ve talked about marriage and a timeline, but it always seems to be pushed back. Our dearest friends just got engaged last week — and they met a year after us. A cousin and good friend of his met his (now wife and mother to his child) about six months after we started dating. Both our families will come up to me asking why we aren’t married yet. It’s just become uncomfortable and apparently noticeable to everyone around us. When I try to get more timeline details, it’s always about the money and him wanting to get me a very nice ring, and that he must save up for so much.

I have told him that I don’t care about a big ring, and he keeps buying things like more project cars. I know he loves me and I know he does want to get married. What, if anything, should I do/say? Just hard to see other people around us moving on to next steps when they all met after us.

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NEXT STEPS

A. He’s been responsible for the big financial decisions in this relationship, right? He bought the home. Maybe it’s in his name.

If you want to make decisions together — and to have a say in financial priorities — that needs to be a discussion, before marriage.

And that’s what this is really about, right? You want to better understand how money is spent and how you both save. You want to be involved in making important plans. Ask him to consider your role in decisions right now. You might be soul mates (hey, if you believe in that, let’s go with it), but even people who are madly in love get tripped up by money and priorities. It’s good to have a system for taking big steps.

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As you talk about this, explain the marriage delay is making you unhappy — and it’s getting worse. All you need is a timeline that you understand, one you know he’ll honor. The decision to get married is big, and despite what movies tell us, it doesn’t feel very romantic to wait, passively, to be surprised. Coming up with a plan together doesn’t delete the romance of it all.

Also know that the ring might be a bigger priority for him than you. You might be fine with something modest, but maybe this represents something more to your partner. (I have no idea — just throwing it out there.) Maybe the guy with project cars also thinks a lot about what jewelry represents the relationship. Ask about that.

MEREDITH


READERS RESPOND:

Is your name on the deed (regardless of whether you are contributing toward the mortgage)? That would be a tell as to how long-term he views your relationship. His excuses about money sound like that — excuses. If he’s got money for a down payment on a house and project cars, he’s got money for a modest ring. I doubt this is about money. He’s just gotten comfortable with the status quo.

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DANGLEPARTICIPLE


He keeps pushing the timeline back and making excuses; not a good sign. Someone who really wanted to marry you would be happy to go to city hall, elope, or hold a small wedding and reception at your home, with modest rings.

JIVEDIVA


Believe me, if he’s the one and you do get married, it will eventually come to feel like an eternity. How’s a few years of living together going to change what you feel is a committed relationship? If this is just about a “have to because everyone else is” feeling, you should work on overcoming that. Feelings that shallow will only cause issues down the road.

LUPELOVE

Send your own relationship and dating questions to loveletters@globe.com or fill out 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.

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