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Living Together Didn't Work, And It Is All His Fault - Relationship Advice

Updated on March 23, 2011

Dear Veronica,

I am writing to you to ask for your advice. I’ve been with my lady for 4 years. We’ve been living together for 2. When we hit that 2 year mark she told me she wanted to get married. I really love her. She’s a good girl and she’s very good to me. We were together so often anyway I told her let’s move in together and take things one step at a time. she was very excited about that. After about a year it wasn’t enough for her anymore and she began harping on getting married again. I was able to put it off by saying things like that I wanted to wait until we after our trip to Costa Rica this last winter, and wanting to wait until I got a certain promotion at work. She went along but we’ve hit this point where she feels enough is enough. She says we are in our 30’s and we should get married while we can still have children.


Now I know you are sympathetic to this so I am writing to you because I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from. I don’t want to have children. I see what having children has done to my brother and to all our friends. I don’t really see a reason to get married if we aren’t going to have children. I don’t want to get married. If I did I would marry her. She’s terrific and I love her. I don’t want to lose her. I just want things as they are. I don’t see why she has to push this. Why can’t she just be happy with the relationship we’re having? 



Dear SW,

She said she wanted to get married and you responded, let’s take this a step at a time and move in together. In other words, you said, let’s take a step toward marriage. You knew she wanted to get married, she told you what she wanted, and you moved in together. So, you knew exactly what she wanted. You knew that wasn’t going to just go away.

She took that step with you and your invitation, and after a year she stated what she wanted again. No surprise there. You lead her on again stating after a vacation and a promotion. These things came to pass, so naturally, by your word, she believes you’re going to marry her.

According to your own words. you never said you didn’t want to get married, and I assume that you neglected to mention that you do not want children since she’s still talking about having them with you. You had several opportunities to tell her you aren’t on the same page as she is. But instead you chose to tell her what she wanted to hear. In essence, you lied. Telling her moving in together was a step toward marriage, telling her you’d talk marriage after certain events came to pass; these were lies since you never intended to follow through on your words.

I wrote another Hub in response to an email from a guy also in a living together situation that isn’t working. That one is stark contrast to yours. Maybe you should check that one out too so you can see the difference.

You girlfriend is clearly looking for a committed relationship on it’s way to marriage. She demonstrated patience and an ability to be a partner. She listened to you, she believed you were both working towards the same goal and she took your needs and plans into consideration. She took the steps she was asked by you to take. She valued your thoughts and she went along with them. The problem is, you were lying.

SW, as you pointed out I am someone that chose not to have children, and like you I see so many people that have had kids and are now miserable. I see many more people have kids that had no realistic clue what was really involved and are now depressed, broke, and trapped. I do support anyone that writes to me saying they do not want to have kids. That’s a very valid choice. And it follows sound logic that people that do not want kids, should not have kids.

However, SW, I would never advocate leading your partner on. I would never support your lying to your girlfriend about the future she’s planning with you. I think what you did was incredibly selfish. Here she is telling you what she wants, and demonstrating wonderful partnership skills by listening to your responses and taking those steps with you. And there you are, misleading her every step of the way.

What was your plan? Where did you think this was going to go? You’re now cohabitational, together 4 years, you know she wants marriage and you don’t. How did you think that was going to turn out?

You said, why can’t she be happy with the relationship she has. I’ll tell you why. The relationship she has isn’t an honest one. I am all for people that mutually agree to enjoy their lives together without getting married if they don’t want to. I also understand that when two people really love each other, and one person wants something different than the other, that there can be compromise. Sometimes it is necessary for someone to realize the relationship they have is everything they want, and that the piece of paper they are festering about is not worth leaving over. the nuances of those relationships are much different than yours though.

If you moved in with your partner feeling unsure, hoping you’d become sure, believing you were on your way to keeping the promises you were implying, that’s one thing. I doesn’t sound like that was you, but if it was, I’d still say you should have communicated better but I’d back off from being quite so harsh with you. I do acknowledge the difference between feeling confused, and with lying. But in either case, you should have communicated the truth about what you were actually thinking.

SW, you need to tell your girlfriend the truth. You need to tell her you do not want children, and you do not want to get married. You need to talk to her about why you feel the way you do. You have to stop misleading her, putting off the inevitable, and lying about your intentions. She deserves better.

You state that you love her and that she’s terrific. It would be wonderful if you two can find some kind of compromise for your lives. I don’t know, maybe a commitment ceremony and becoming foster parents? I really don’t know. But if it were me, I’d can’t imagine getting passed being so misled and put off for so long.

Please understand that while you have the right to want the future you want, so does she. Your decision not to marry or have kids is perfectly valid. Your decision to lie to her about it, isn’t. If you two can’t work through this it will not be because she’s had unreasonable expectations. It will be because you weren’t truthful. 

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  • Lindsey79 profile image

    Lindsey79 6 years ago from CA

    Excellent article, Veronica. This is a fairly clear cut case of a guy not being honest with his gf about his feelings/intentions, and I'm surprised he wrote into you. Perhaps he was hoping for your help on how to get his gf to change in the way he wanted (i.e. not wanting marriage) -- man, did he have you pegged wrong. Though I feel very terrible for the gf -- after 4 years, this has to be pretty rough (especially if she ever finds this page and interprets it the same way -- that he's been misleading and deceptive for a long time). Ouch. I don't envy her.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 6 years ago from NY

    Thanks Lindsey. Since I completely understand and validate people that choose not to marry and not to have kids, he thought I'd support him in this. I do support those decisions completely. But I dont support lying. He sent me this a while ago, but I wanted to wait to post it until I had one in contrast, and I received that one today. My thought was to work them together but both required responses so long that it would have been too much. So I just cross linked them instead.

  • Niccels profile image

    Niccels 6 years ago from Iowa

    Wow, he's got himself in a tough spot, but one of his own making...she's going to be heartbroken. However, women usually have a sixth sense about these things, I would feel pretty secure in betting the conversation that is coming won't be a shock to her whatsoever. By this time, she's got to know something's wrong. It's a shame, he's possibly going to lose someone very dear to him.

  • Amber Korn profile image

    Amber Korn 6 years ago from Los Angeles County

    Although he wanted to move in together with his girlfriend, I think most women and assume to much in the sense of wants and needs. I'm going to say something that may offend women and men ( I am an equal opportunity offender) Men usually live in the here and now. While most women have long term goals. Misunderstandings are bound to happen, while he is thinking..."This will be nice to have someone who cares and is a really good housekeeper, cook, lover, great personality", (whatever the benefits are to moving in together). These are a motivated and selfish response.

    Most women on the other hand are motivated for the long term goals of marriage and children. Here's the deal...If you are going to live together, you might want to see where these issues stand on both parts. For the boyfriend, tell her you do not have intensions on having kids or getting married. If she still wants to be with you she will accept that. If she doesn't she will move on. It may hurt to lose her, but you will be hurting her to give her a false hope. If you love a person, It is best to be up front from the beginning. Otherwise there will be a resentment on both sides that will eventually drive a wedge in the relationship. So, there are already resentments in the relationship and to prolong a situation that is comfortable to only one partner, is very selfish. If one or the other gives in to a situation that is not a mutual agreement, you or your partner will most likely drift apart and the relationship between the two becomes tried and tolorated. When children are involved, it damages their perseption of relationships. It causes antisocial behavior, which will affect every aspect of their life. Most often than not, They will have problems relating to other people and relationships. There are always exceptions to the rule however, who wants to take the chance? As always Veronica's advice is sound and honest. I love reading what she has to say. thank you Veronica.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 6 years ago from NY

    I like to think you're right Niccels, and that she has figured out the truth. I hope so.

    Thanks Amber Korn, that all goes to exactly why I believe you can't just make a huge life move like becoming cohabitational without first having a very good grasp of where the relationship is going. Many very serious and truthful talks about each other's plans and goals is a necessary precursor to living together. And you're so right, when it comes to having kids it's all greatly magnified.

  • Lindsey79 profile image

    Lindsey79 6 years ago from CA

    Veronica -- I totally agree with you on the living together thing. That was definitely something I had to learn the hard way. The first time around, we weren't explicit but I also wasn't envisioning marriage and kids when we first got together. The irony was that when we moved in together he was pro-marriage and kids which is the reason I assumed he still was -- just waiting for me to come around -- but I didn't check in with him to make sure that we were on the same page -- just assumed it too much. It was a shocker to me to learn that he had changed his mind somewhere along the way.

    The second time around, I knew very clearly that I was looking for marriage and kids in the future and made sure that living together was a step in that direction. That approach is soooo much better. No big surprises or frustrated expectations. Better to have the "hard talks" before investing even more.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 6 years ago from NY

    I'm sorry you had to go through that Lindsey. Everyone, especially guys, go through those two major changes. Frontal Lobes developing at around age 21 - 23, and the Saturn Return of age 28. Everything changes. Anything discussed before those things can change. It's really wise not to marry anyone prior to those two life shifts especially if you want kids.

  • Lindsey79 profile image

    Lindsey79 6 years ago from CA

    Well, it was true that he was pro-marriage and kids the whole time, he just changed his mind about me at some point and didn't let me know. I think he liked the abstract idea but when we got closer to making it a reality, he freaked out. And I didn't differentiate between the talks of getting married someday and all the benefits to noticing that he wasn't really saying anything explicit about me -- I figured if he's talking about it with me, then it has to apply to me, right? Unfortunately, not so much. I think there was a lot of confusion on his part at some point and then deception, but can't really say when that all changed exactly.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 6 years ago from NY

    Ugh. Oh Lindsey, that's rough. And it's also very insightful of you. I've written so much about everything you've learned through your experience. There's nothing like knowing what you want and what you're doing going forward. Raising my glass of wine to you right now, girl.

  • Lindsey79 profile image

    Lindsey79 6 years ago from CA

    Thanks, Veronica. Your advice and insight has been invaluable to me and I really appreciate it. Trust me, when I get married, I'm sending you wedding pictures!

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 6 years ago from NY

    I'll look forward to that Lindsey79 :D

    SW, I got your email. i encourage you to post on the thread here so people can read what you have to say. And thank you - actually I have written about why people are mean in comments. Here's the link.

    Good luck to you, SW, take care!

  • susannah42 profile image

    susannah42 6 years ago from Florida

    Relationships are really complicated. This one is. Very well explained.

  • Mommy Monologues profile image

    Mommy Monologues 5 years ago

    Just found your profile while skimming some hubs, really useful advice in this! I'm in the opposite situation with my hubby actually, our life together began rather quickly and has since led to our wonderful daughter. I've always wanted kids, but feeling how much work it is I'm not sure I want to do it again, at least not consider it for another few years, so I understand why some people chose not to have kids (after all, you're not just raising a child, you're raising a person!). Love the fact you have an advice column on hubpages! Very classy.

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