Pressured Into Getting Married? Are You Really Ready?
Does she want you, or does she just want to be married?
I received this comment on my HUB "When Your Girlfriend Wants to Get Married and You Don't" from KLChicago:
What a great topic and advice Veronica. I hope you can shed some light on my situation. My girlfriend is 32, soon to be 33, and I just turned 32. She was previously engaged but broke it off because her ex fiancé was a druggie and this is really the first serious relationship I have had that lasted more than 9 months. We've been together for just over a year now. We recently went on a break about a month ago for various reasons. One of these reasons was that she expects me to talk about our future more but doesn't really hear it from me. We love each other but I am the type to only talk about things like moving in together, marriage, children, etc. only when I am ready and when I can truly see that happening (maybe its just a guy thing). Anyway, I make a very decent salary but have always had money/credit issues since college...trying to dig out of debt, etc. We had a discussion tonight that ultimately drove me to search the internet and find your website. It went like this: We go out to eat A lot and I almost always pay the bill (dinner for two in Chicago can get expensive). She wanted to go to dinner this Friday at a very nice Italian place and I told her I felt like we shouldn't go out as often because I need to really start saving money for my debt issues and to be able to be comfortable for the future (I know, I'm 32 and should be there already but I'm a late bloomer and have always had an issue saving $$). She brought up the fact that I spend money on other things (golfing, etc) that can get expensive and I agree I need to budget better all the way around. However, the conversation led to the fact that she looks around at all my friends and they are almost all married with kids and she feels "behind" and that she's "not getting any younger" and she doesn't want to be like some of her friends that are in their late 30's/early 40's with no family or significant other. I agree with this but I am not ready financially and want to be together for another year or so before I even start thinking of marriage and to be able to give myself some time to really fix my money issues. She wondered out-loud what I'm waiting for (to start saving for a ring, etc) and I'm thinking "what heck, we've only been together a year and most of my friends dated for 5 - 7 before getting married". I feel she is pressuring me before I even have a chance to be ready to marry her and if I tell to wait a year I'm not sure how she'll react. Any advice on my rambling? Thanks!
Despite the ages, your girlfriend is not as mature as you are when it comes to the future, relationships, and marriage. If she were better equipped her first priority would be getting you out of debt, even if it was to manipulate you into marriage.
Let me put it to you in an example. If you had a girlfriend that wanted to marry you for all the right reasons, really cared about you, and was mature and ready enough to enter into this next phase of life, she would be behaving much differently. Number one, she would be thinking about you and what's best for you and what will make you happy, as any loving potential life partner would. She would ASK you what some of you concerns are, and she would take your debt situation seriously. She would view it as her problem as much as yours. I'm not saying she would pay your debt, I am saying she would handle your "now" with her much more like a partner. She would pick up the check half the time. She would encourage picnics, hikes, and lower cost excursions where you can still be together which should be her priority. She would be trying to help you budget, glad that you make a decent salary, and she would be working in golf to that budget since you obviously work hard and deserve to play at something that makes you happy.
She would not be trying to go out for dinner so much. She would not be letting you pick up the check most of the time. She would especially not be suggesting expensive Italian places and giving you a hard time when you said something future-conscious like it would be better to watch spending right now. She would be happy that you are aware of how to move into the future comfortably. She would be cooking, teaching you how to cook, and trying out other cost saving ideas. When eating out she would be suggesting places where you get a good bang for your buck, and maybe even planning out how you both could fix good lunches for the next day out of leftovers if you order right.
When she talks about marriage, she would be telling you how she feels about you, how she sees her future with you, how she can't imagine having children with anyone but you. She would not be talking about your future by the barometer of other people, like your friends that are married or the women she knows of that are 40 and without families of their own.
KL, what makes me nervous about your situation is that she sounds like that classic myopic woman that wants to get married more than she wants to be with you. While I don't doubt that the two of you love each other, she is clearly much more in love with getting married. She wants what she wants and that seems to be more important than you are in her world. She was willing to take a month break from your relationship because she is so focused on what she wants rather than what she HAS, in the present, with you. Nothing of what you said shows sacrifices she is making toward her goals or toward her commitment to you and the future; it only shows what she wants you to do, like give up golf and take her to expensive restaurants, and talk about things you aren't ready to talk about.
There are bad signs all over this situation. Dating for a year, (with a one month break over exactly this problem,) is not long enough for her to be freaked that you aren't talking future. Don't get me wrong. Some people know quickly that they want to get married and that's great. But clearly you aren't there. Clearly you would like some time. Clearly you have some reasonable financial goals prioritized. And clearly, your feelings on this don't actually matter to her.
She's picking and choosing the facts that she likes and ignoring the facts that she doesn't. Like, she brings up that your friends are married without adding that they dated for years and years first. This goes to her inability to rationalize and think things through.
You said you're hesitant to even tell her to wait a year because you don't know how she'll react. Honey, if that's the case, then you know what to do. Is that how you want to spend your life? What you see now is a foreshadow of things to come. You think you're being pressured now? You think you can't talk to her now? You think she doesn't understand money management now? You think she doesn't listen to you or care about your feelings now? Wait. Just wait until you're married. I guaran-damn-tee you, all those behaviors will be magnified exponentially.
She has a very narrow and incorrect view of marriage. She sees it as something she wants, and isn't looking at your debt, your needs, your goals, or what life would be like with someone she's pressured into making this commitment. You, on the other hand, see marriage for what it is: a huge life altering step that needs to be entered into with preparedness, thought, and mutual goals.
Look, if you really want to make this work with her, give her some goals and a solid timeline. Tell her you will start planning for marriage in 2 years after you have X and Y paid off completely. And that means no more expensive dinners. Period. If she truly loves you this will calm her anxiety and she will accept this very reasonable timeline. If she doesn't truly love you, she will end this on her own.
But I don't think you really want to make this work. I think you're seeing how she behaves as a partner. I think you are seeing. See clearly.
You can't build a "tomorrow" with someone who can't even build a "today." You asked for my advice KL. My advice is to find someone that will work with you toward common goals and care about your feelings and concerns.
Be with someone that appreciates you, that communicates, that values your needs and your happiness in return for your appreciation of theirs. Take your time and don't let anyone pressure you into anything you aren't truly ready for.
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All text is original content by Veronica.
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