One of the hardest things about being in a long-term relationship is seeing your friends get married before you do. There’s no contest or race, but after seeing other couples committing and starting to build a life together, it might make you wonder if your guy will ever pop the question. If you envision this kind of connection in your future, it’s hard to face the fact that your partner’s wishes differ. Sometimes, the best thing to do is leave the guy who won’t commit before too much time passes by. Here’s what you need to do.
Have a big conversation. Marriage shouldn’t be something you compromise on. Both marriage and kids are two important, life-changing topics that both parties need to be in full agreement on. It’s possible your boyfriend may be worried about marriage if his own parents ended up getting a divorce. It also might seem like a hassle if nobody else in his friend group is shopping for rings. Communication is the most important thing in any relationship. Sit down and talk about what you want. Try not to fight since both of you have a right to want different things.
Figure out if this is really a dealbreaker. For most people, it is. It can be sad to leave a relationship that’s good aside from this one difference, but it needs to be done. Otherwise, two things will happen. Either you’ll always be an unmarried couple and you’ll have to live with that, or he’ll eventually marry you out of guilt and feel regret or anger over the situation. A bad marriage is worse than no marriage.
Try hard to work towards a friendship. You might be frustrated that your future plans don’t align, but you need to have faith in the fact that you’ll both be happier down the road. It’s not out of line to remain friends with someone you had a decent relationship with. It may be tough and it will definitely take some time, but a friendship will show others that you both respect each other. If you’ve been together for years, there’s a good chance that you share mutual friends and experiences. That said, if you really need some space, don’t force something for the sake of it.
Or, just break it off completely. “Commit” doesn’t just mean marriage. If your guy won’t even make you his girlfriend, that’s a big red flag that he never viewed you as seriously as you did him. It’s a shame that you got dragged along for so long, but if he never gave you any sort of respect, you should feel okay with cutting contact completely.
Remember, it’s normal to have doubts. In your heart, you may think that your partner will change their mind eventually. But it’s not fair for either of you to further prolong something that won’t work down the line. Can he have a change of heart? Of course. But that’s on him, and it’s not guaranteed. Your true match will have all of the same joint milestone goals as you. And the older you get, the less awkward it is to ask these questions on the first or second date to make sure you’re compatible.
Remind yourself that you’re still girlfriend (or wife) material. If he never wanted to make it Facebook official, it doesn’t mean that nobody will. One of the most toxic patterns for a woman to get into is to date a guy who finds ways to belittle them. If he’s ever used you as an excuse as to why he won’t commit, then this relationship was far more abusive than you might have thought. Congratulate yourself for seeing the light and moving on.
Set up an online dating profile. It can be hard to jump from one long relationship into something new, but at least setting up a dating profile is a good reminder that there’s more out there. Even if you aren’t active on dating sites, it’ll be nice to have your profile already set up when you’re finally ready to move forward and meet someone new. Make sure to be honest in your profile about what you’re looking for.
Book your social calendar with events with your friends. If you feel like you’re still hanging on to him after fear of loneliness, then you know what to do. Dump him, then make sure that all of your weekends are filled with at least one gathering with a friend. Catch up with the people who make you feel good about yourself. You never know what might happen when you’re out on the town. You might end up meeting your actual soulmate if you’re open to it.