- Gender and Relationships
Life-Long Soulmates, But He Says No To Marriage. What Should She Do?
I have a situation I would love feedback on. I apologize, in advance, for this being so long, but there is a lot of history that needs to be told to understand the story.
Seventeen years ago, I dated a man that I absolutely loved. He was it! But, he was divorced with two small children and wasn't ready to commit to me. I remember the entire time he kept telling me please don't give up on me. Well, I did. We split up. We got back together on and off for 3 or 4 years. Never exclusively like we were at first. But, we always seemed to find our way into each other's lives. Well, I eventually met someone and married. He did too. We both married different people within six months of each.
Ten years passed with no contact at all. We both divorced within one year of each other. He had kids and I had kids. Well, via the internet, we reconnected. We have now been dating almost two years. He truly is the love of my life! It seems like our souls are connected.
He constantly talks about future, retiring together, etc. We take family vacations together with the kids. Really and truly, we are a family without the marriage certificate.
In December, he gave me an engagement ring. I was elated! I brought up marriage to him the other day, and my heart was crushed. He told me that he wasn't ready yet. I asked him why he gave me the ring and he said that he knew that I was the one but that he had been married twice, divorced twice, and he just had to be sure.
He said that he wanted to wake up one morning and just know. He said that he thinks about it from time to time but is always able to "shake it off". I don't understand that at all! Why would you want to shake it off?
I don't want to be the fool that hangs around thinking that this man is going to commit to me one day when he isn't, but I also don't want to give up on this man when it could be fear that is keeping him from this.
Our relationship is so wonderful. We are truly just missing the marriage certificate. He told me the other day that he knew without a doubt that he was going to marry me he just didn't know when.
Please be honest with me. Am I being that fool that I said I would never be? Why would he give me the ring? Is it like a hold tag? Will he ever really be ready? Why am I not good enough?
Thanks for this question, sent through my Hub - When He Says He Isn't Ready for Marriage - Yet.
Your situation is very different. Life long soulmates, that have returned to each other after having had failed marriages are usually some of the best bonded and strongest loves. Normally they are not willing to ever risk being apart again, and rush into marriage too quickly.
I need some clarification on the ring-giving. Upon presenting it to you, did he get down on one knee and ask you to marry him? Are you engaged?
I almost have the feeling that no, he did not. I almost feel like had you been proposed to, you would have said so.
Giving you a ring, and telling you later that he wasn't ready when you brought up marriage, doesn't make alot of sense. I almost want to ask you if you're sure it's an engagement ring? Could it have been a promise ring? Or, a, "I'm An Idiot" ring?
Tanya let me say one thing that hopefully will feel good to hear: I don't think this ring/marriage wah-wah means that he isn't sure about you. After two marriages and having a family, two divorces, he refinds you, and you take family vacations together. That is very significant.
Honestly, I don't think it's you he's not ready about at all. I think it's him.
Men tend to be much less confrontational than women in relationships. Especially when we're still in the girlfriend stage, men want to avoid conflict and avoid arguing as much as possible. That's why you were the one that had to bring up marriage - he's not ready for the confrontation.
There's probably several reasons for this, and I'm basing this on his two prior marriages. In addition to feeling a failure, he is probably in that mid-life "too much reality" phase. You didn't tell me anything about his first two wives, but I'm going to guess that his first was someone he thought would be a good wife and mother. She was a logical and responsible choice. The second was probably someone he dated and then felt pressured, or obliged to marry.
I am in no way saying he wasn't in love with these women. I'm saying, when he told you he wants to just wake up one day and "know" for sure, that you're the one, what he's really telling you is that he's never felt that before. He didn't wake up one day and just feel overwhelmed with passion for his wife, and popped the question. He probably loved her, and decided the time was right to start a family. Don't forget, men tend to marry when the time is right. Women marry when the man is right. She was the person that was in the picture at the right time for him, and he made a reality based choice. Men do that. That's not a poor reflection on him, it's just insight.
I think what he was trying to say, is that with you, it's not about timing, and it's not about choices. It's not about reality, and the things you have to do to have a nice life. It's not about logic or anything else rational. With you, it's more. With you, it goes beyond time. I think what he's saying is, he wants the magic. He's learned alot in his two marriages, alot about love and about what truly matters.
He told you he gave you the ring because he knows you're the one.
But that he's not ready yet. He's waiting for that magic moment. And I don't know, Tanya, it sounds like after two marriages he's earned that.
A man's actions speak louder than words. Always. Always always always. So look at his actions. He gave you a ring. He goes on family vacations. He plans retirement with you. These are not just words, these are serious indicators of a life plan with intentions of being with you.
As to why he shakes it off, I think what he's saying is, he's waiting for that moment where he can't shake it off anymore. It's piss-poor wording and I see why you're all "ugh" about that. But I think in his own way he's saying, he wants to be more than in love with you. He wants to be head over heels can't resist any longer in love with you.
How long will that take, will he ever get there.... this I can't tell you.
But I will tell you this. A ring, family vacations, retirement plans, and a reconnection after years apart - adds up to my bottom line advice for you. Which is, give him some time. Relax. Enjoy him. Enjoy the relationship. Let him keep showing you how he plans his future with you. I think you have a good chance at getting everything you want.
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