I Want To Be With My Boyfriend Forever, So Why Do I Freak Out Every Time He Mentions Marriage?

My boyfriend is the only guy I’ve ever been with that I seriously thought I could marry. In fact, I do want to marry the guy. That being said, there’s a part of me that starts to panic whenever he starts talking about taking the plunge, and it’s made me come to some important realizations.

  1. I’m getting older but I don’t feel older. I’m 28 years old now. Sure, I’ve noticed plenty of physical signs of aging and know way more now than I did at 20. However, for the most part, I still feel exactly the same inside, like I’m still waiting to grow up more before I do something like getting married. I’ve never really wanted to get married before I turned 30 anyway. Call me immature, but it’s just who I am. It also doesn’t help that my boyfriend is a couple of years younger than me. The fact that he seems to have no hesitations about getting married right now leaves me mystified and makes me worry that something’s wrong with me.
  2. Big changes scare me. I really enjoy life as it is right now, but I also admit that I’m intimidated by major life changes. They open up a whole new range of possibilities, but along with the opportunities here for good are those that have the potential for new problems. No matter how in love you are when you get married, there’s still a certain level of uncertainty about the future that comes with it. Besides, life is going well overall right now and I’m not too eager to go stirring the pot just yet.
  3. My boyfriend and I have our differences. I don’t think anyone should like all the same things as their partner. I mean, what fun is that? I’m thankful for the fact that my boyfriend and I balance each other out well with our contrasts, but then there are the ones that are fine for now but could complicate marriage: my desire to live in a warm climate versus his love of colder temperatures, my workaholic ways versus his unambitious work views, my need to keep arguments between us in private versus his need to solve things right then and there no matter who’s around, etc. To be honest, it’s hard to know right now whether or not our differences will be a problem down the line.
  4. I see marriage more as an end rather than a beginning. For much of human history, marriage was seen as the start of adulthood for women, with most marrying in their teens or early twenties. Now that we don’t need marriage in order to be successful in life, it feels to me like the institution is kind of symbolic of the end of youth and true freedom. After all, I’ve spent the last decade traveling the world and not having to consider another person while making big life decisions. Logically, I know that my boyfriend is nothing but supportive of my dreams and goals and marriage shouldn’t change this. Still, there’s a side of me that is still a bit afraid of even the slightest possibility of being held back just by being a wife.
  5. I don’t want to be defined by marriage. While our culture has definitely come a long way when it comes to seeing women as people who can achieve things on their own, there’s still a certain level of social prestige that comes with being married. It’s still viewed as some kind of achievement, but that’s not a status that I want people to focus on when they think of me.
  6. Weddings just seem like a big hassle anyway. When I do get married, I know I want a big party with all of our friends and family there. But I’ve also worked in catering and have seen up close what a big pain in the butt weddings really are. I’ve also witnessed a surprising amount of couples spend so much time and money focused on the wedding only to have their relationship fall apart in the end. Sometimes I think, “Why bother?”
  7. I like having my alone time. I spend just about every day with my boyfriend and love being with him, but I need my space too. I suppose that part of the reason why I’m panicking is that I’m concerned I won’t get the same kind of alone time and personal freedom if I’m married. This isn’t a bad thing to want, right?
  8. I sometimes question whether or not I want to have kids. Sure, I know that marriage is no longer a prerequisite to having kids, but they are often related to one another. I personally love kids, but sometimes they just annoy the crap out of me, and it’s common knowledge that they’re a ton of work. In spite of this. I’m pretty certain that I do want kids one day. Still, I also know that bringing kids into the mix can complicate any marriage.
  9. I get more stressed just by being stressed out about marriage Just like a lot of forms of anxiety, just the fact that I’m stressing makes me feel even more anxious. Do other people worry about marriage like this? Is it a bad sign? Why do I still feel like I want to marry him despite my body going into panic mode? Is this just what love is? I’m stressed even as I write this, and the whole situation is exhausting. I think I’m going to have to tell my boyfriend that I love him and the way things are right now, so we need to cool it on the marriage talk for the time being.
Brianna Gunter is an NYC-born Jersey girl now living in the Rocky Mountains. A graduate of The College of New Jersey's journalism program, her work has appeared in a multitude of publications both online and in print. When not writing about life as a millennial, she can be found hiking, hunting for pizza or making new dog friends.