Could You Stay with a Man Who Never Wants to Marry?

Do you know couples who have been together for years but don’t seem any closer to getting married? Do they seem happy? It can depend on a wide range of factors.

For many people, marriage has become optional. With the social freedom we enjoy today, there are many relationship arrangements. And let’s face it, not everyone wants to get married.

As leading man of A&E’s hit TV show MadMen, Jon Hamm puts it; he just doesn’t have the “marriage chip.” While many women swoon over his good looks, but might boo his lack of marriage mindedness, his gal Jennifer Westfeldt seems happy with the arrangement. They been a couple for 14 years. That’s a long time to be together, especially in Hollywood years.

Can you imagine being with a man for that length of time without walking down the aisle? For some women, the answer is an easy “Yes”, while others shudder to think this might happen to them. Can it work? Absolutely. While I’m not in any way suggesting you shouldn’t get married, there are a number of reasons why remaining unmarried and together can work:

1) For some people, once divorced, they never want to repeat the drama of a divorce again. Not getting married eliminates that concern. And they can be quite happy with a long-term, committed, monogamous relationship.

2) Some people don’t want to give up their independence. Living together, while keeping their unmarried status satisfies this need. It’s often done for financial reasons, but other complications can be a factor.

3) I’ve heard of successful relationships where the couple has been together for years, yet live separate, independent lives. This arrangement provides the freedom to do whatever they want and still enjoy each other’s company.

Living with a long-term partner that never gets the legal acknowledgement  can obviously work beautifully depending on the people. This is particularly true when both parties are honest about their intentions and desires up front and along the way. Then there are no nasty surprises.

Where it becomes a problem is when one person wants the structure of marriage and hopes their partner will come around to this way of thinking. If you have dreams of walking down the aisle in a big white dress with hundreds of people watching you make this romantic commitment, chances are a lot stronger that a causal arrangement will never satisfy you. In fact, it may get under your skin and in time pull the two of you apart.

When working with my dating coaching clients, I always ask that they be honest with themselves. If you are a woman who doesn’t care about marriage or can take it or leave it, that does give you more options. On the other hand, if you feel very certain you do not want to marry, I recommend you share that detail within the first 10 dates. Or, you can ask what your date’s long-term objectives are to see how they match up with yours.  This is the best way to be fair to your date in case he wants to get married.

Lastly, a lot depends on your age. During child bearing years, some feel marriage is a priority. But, in your late 40’s and beyond, or at any age when you know you don’t want to start a family, some folks feel less inclined to make their relationship official.

For the best relationship results, know what you want before you start dating. Once you fall in love, it can be too late. Getting your partner to change his or her mind about a wedding can be an emotional, uphill battle with no winners. You can’t change people, so pay attention if the man you are dating says he never wants to marry. BELIEVE HIM and move on to find a man who has marriage as one of his life goals.

Image courtesy: Luck the Lady