Is He Thinking Marriage? How Can You Tell? - Relationship Advice

Dear Veronica

I was browsing advice sites and I found yours. I will just cut to it... I think my boyfriend of 1 year and 2 months may be thinking of marriage but I do not want to read too much into it. I need help deciphering what he has been saying to me and the signals he has been sending out.

We talk about the future and both agree we want our futures to include each other. Lately he has been talking about wanting to get a house together. I told him a little while back that I wanted him to be the one I had wheelchair races with when we are in our 80's and he said he wanted that too. I sign my "love notes" to him "love forever and always" and he always says how sweet they are. Here is where I get a tiny bit unsure of his thoughts... I started wearing a ring on my wedding ring finger so customers at the liquor store where I work would stop hitting on me nothing more nothing less. He saw that and said it made him a little nervous for me to wear a ring there.

We have talked about marriage before and he has said he is not sure he wants to be married again (we both have been) but he has also said that he is not ruling it out. I would love to marry him and have told him as much. I told him that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him and he said he wanted to spend his with me. I even told him once that if he were to propose he wouldn't have to stress about it I would say yes. I love him and am so in love with him. I really want o marry him, not right this second but I would like to know if you believe his mind is leaning towards or away from it.

Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

He's not thinking about marriage. You are. And you're thinking about it a lot.

You said, "We have talked about marriage before and he has said he is not sure he wants to be married again." Your answer is there. He's not sure.

Nothing you've shared contradicts that clear statement.

However, your answer is buried under the plethora of things you do and speak. You sign your notes with love and forever. You tell him wheelchair races and always. You tell him if he proposes not to worry about what the answer is. You do a lot of reinforcement regarding what you want. Are these things on your part daily? In the mix of not hearing what he said, are you pushing on him what you want all the time? Doing it happily and sweetly is nice, but it's still pushing your agenda, and not hearing what it was he said.

The big kicker is you wore a ring on your ring finger. Eeeesh. Of course that made him nervous. It made me nervous just reading about it. You can make whatever excuse you want about the liquor store. I'm sure it's very annoying to be hit on all the time. I also know there was no difference for me from the guys that hit on me before I wore my wedding band, and the guys that hit on me after. I think many women would agree. Jennifer if you're a pretty girl you're going to get hit on, whether you wear a wedding ring or not. And on some level you know that too. Additionally, if you didn't have someone in your life you "see" yourself marrying, you wouldn't have done the ring thing. No truly single woman would. It's just not in the design.

The reason you did it is projection. You see yourself as married. You want to be married to him so badly that you want everyone else to see it to. Create the future you want by seeing it. Making it so. It's like active visualization, and it is a very empowering and healthy thing most of the time. But in this case, you have a boyfriend who is telling you he doesn't know if he ever wants to marry again, and that doesn't seem to have any effect on you.

When he saw that ring on your finger, he saw that you're not listening to him. You don't consider his feelings as valid. You are saying to him, what you want doesn't matter. I want to be married. Every time he sees it, he sees how you've taken the decision away from him. Every time he thinks about it, he questions your ability to be a partner if you only hear yourself and not him. Seeing that ring on your finger was a symbol to him that you aren't listening.

He said he doesn't know if he ever wants to get married again. And you wrote to me, "I think my boyfriend of 1 year 2 months may be thinking about marriage..." He's right. You aren't listening. And the ring was proof.

Right now you're reading this and thinking, No, the ring really isn't a big deal. "Nothing more nothing less." The fact that he was nervous enough about it to say something to you proves otherwise. And your denial of how it made him feel is exactly my point.

Your email says you don't know how to decipher him, and that you think he's thinking about marriage. But nothing you've shared says he is thinking about marriage. Where are you getting that from? What has happened, what was said, that made you state that you think he's thinking about marriage? He said he doesn't know if he ever wants to get married again, and you're saying you think he may be thinking about marriage.

I always say that actions speak louder than words. If he's talking about wanting to get a house together, then he is building his future in his mind with you in it. That's a significant thing. I don't doubt from what you've said that he's in love with you, and that he's planning his life with you. He even said to you he wants his future with you.

However nothing here indicates that he's thinking about marriage.

You are the one that brings up marriage, not him. You are the one that pushes this issue, not him. You've left me nothing but to think this is you projecting, because nothing he's said or done has to be interpreted. It's all pretty straight forward and clear.

If he has said he's not ruling marriage out, that is a far cry from "I want to marry you." It means exactly what it means: he isn't saying a definitive NO, but he is certainly not wanting it, hoping for it, thinking about it.

Maybe part of your problem is that you are myopic about the future. You don't see there is a difference between marriage and a future. Since they are so wrapped up as one in the same with you, you can't hear him as he's telling you he wants one and he's not thinking about the other.

There are people that don't want to get married. For may different reasons, there are people that do not want marriage in their futures. He's been married, he knows what it is and he really may not want to do it again. He's prepared you for that. He says clearly, I don't know if I ever want to get married again. He may not be ruling it completely out as he told you, but listen to that. Hear what it says instead of what you want to hear.

Just because he doesn't want marriage doesn't mean he isn't committed to you and serious about a future with you.That is a viable option for a future together. That is a possibility, and it's not a bad one. You're allowed to want something different, but please be clear - you have to at least acknowledge what he's really saying. You have to allow him the same equal footing in the partnership you share. You have to hear him, and you've expected him to hear you over and over and over. He can't get away from hearing you. Put some of that effort into hearing him, instead of repeating yourself or coming at him from all angles.

You said you sign notes to him with all that love and forever sentiment, and he says that's nice. But you don't mention how he signs his notes. I get an overall tone of non-reciprocation here.

However, if he did say he's thinking about the two of you together buying a house and being together in the future, that's very significant. Maybe his hand going up on other aspects of the relationship are indicative of how he feels about not getting married. Maybe he knows you're not listening to him, or respecting how he feels. If he thinks you're pushing the subject, he's definitely going to put up some guards and stop signs.

Feeling as if your partner only wants to speak and not listen to you is a very difficult thing to process. He may be expressing it in different ways, he may be shutting down and pulling back. He may be just trying to appease you because he just doesn't know anymore what you're doing. And I would understand his feeling like that. If he's stating he doesn't know if he wants to ever marry again, and you're stating to me that you think he's thinking about marriage, that could indicate the kind of, "What is she talking about?" feeling he could be experiencing.

There is nothing wrong with your wanting to get married. You have that right. I totally get it. But you can't always have everything you want. Sometimes you have to pick and choose. You may choose to be with this man and the future he is trying to build. Or, you may have to choose moving on from this relationship and finding someone else to be with who actively wants to be married someday.

As much as you have the right to get married, he has the right not to. He is valid in wanting a committed forever relationship but not marriage. That is his choice.

I will say that it may be the pressure that has blocked him. He may not think he will ever get married again because he feels pushed and not listened to. When he stops feeling pressured and sees instead a partner that respects what he says and listens to him, he may be able to relax and start building his future with you. It may reach a point where, like he said, marriage is not completely ruled out, and he feels willing to revisit that subject.

But again, that's a lot different than his telling you right now he doesn't know if he ever wants to get married again.

If you decide the relationship you have with him is what you really want then you're going to have to do some rethinking. You are going to have to start listening and then processing what he actually says as a partner. You can always give him some kind of time frame on your needs and what you want out of life. But your problem here isn't about your not communicating what you want. You're doing that loud and clear. Nothing you do going forward is going to be valuable to the relationship if you don't also acknowledge that he is communicating his needs as well. He's being pretty clear. Nothing he says needs to be interpreted. He's not thinking about marriage. He doesn't know if he ever wants to get married. That's what he said. Right?

Good luck to you both.

"If you're istening..."

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3 comments

donnaleemason profile image

donnaleemason 6 years ago from North Dakota, USA

You definitely make some good points!


Veronica profile image

Veronica 6 years ago from NY Author

Thank you donnaleemason!


brandrocker profile image

brandrocker 6 years ago

Beautiful read! Thanks! :)

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