Should we still get married?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 28 years old and recently engaged; in fact, the wedding is less than 3 months away. My fiance and I have been dating on and off for almost nine years. We dated (long distance) for most of my college career, and after graduation we moved in together. I was so happy to be done with school, starting my career, and living with my boyfriend in our hometown…I had everything, or so I thought.

As soon as we moved in together, things started to go down hill. He was only home on the weekends, which made it very difficult because he was never around. And when he was around, it seemed that I was always getting upset with him for stupid reasons. It didn’t take long before I started focusing my attention elsewhere and became distracted with other guys. Only five months after we moved in together, I broke it off because I started talking to a guy that was four hours away. He moved out, but after a week, I realized how foolish I was and we got back together.

Once things started to get a little better between us, we decided to buy a house together…and we did so rather quickly. But then again, only two months after moving into our new house, I started talking to a guy at work and quickly developed feelings for him. Because of this, I again broke off the relationship. He was absolutely devastated, and pretty much begged me to come back but I was too caught up with the guy from work. I ended up moving out, getting my own apartment, and dated the guy from work for a few months. But yet again, it didn’t take long for me to want him back. For the next several months (almost a full year) I went back and forth between the two. I couldn’t decide who I wanted to be with. I absolutely adored the guy from work, and actually fell in love with him rather quickly. We connected on a more intimate/emotional level than I ever had with my other boyfriend.

However, I missed my old life…the one with my previous boyfriend. My family loved him, we had the same friends, enjoyed the same hobbies…but something just wasn’t there for me. After almost a year and a half of many ups and downs, I finally moved on from both of them. I decided to stay single for awhile, which didn’t last long because I’m the type of person to always want to be in a relationship. Finally, I met someone through a family friend. We dated for a few months but I decided to call it off, because it just wasn’t there for me…but yet it was exciting to be in a relationship without all the drama and hostility.

Shortly after that relationship ended, I started talking to my original boyfriend again (the one I had moved in with). We both wanted to make another attempt at things, and this time, really try to make things work. We dated for about a year, eventually I moved back in with him (to our house we had bought together), and then he proposed last thanksgiving. I was so happy to finally be engaged! We set the date for this coming October.

Everything has gone ok, up until lately. I’ve hated everything about planning the wedding…I feel like I’m doing it all alone because he never has a say in anything, and it’s been very stressful. We’ve been arguing so much lately (way more than usual…which is a lot anyway) and we’re never intimate. It’s very difficult for him to express his feelings, which makes it hard for me to want to be close to him. Sex has never really been great between us, with no real passion…just sex. But lately, it’s pretty much non-existant, and that’s because of me. I have no desire to be intimate or even close to him. Even just kissing him or holding his hand can sometimes be a struggle for me…there’s nothing there.

Don’t get me wrong, I love him dearly and consider him my best friend, but I’m just not sure that I’m “in love” with him anymore. Even he has noticed and questioned me on it. I’m so scared…I don’t want to lose him again, but there’s NO passion in our relationship. I find him very attractive, but I don’t want to be physical with him. Is there something I’m doing wrong? Or is there something wrong with me? How can this be happening only months before our wedding? I’ve been so worked up and depressed with all this that the past two weeks have been complete hell between us. I’m starting to push him away. Is this real love?…or am I trying to hold on to something that just isn’t there anymore?

A: If you are asking this question, you already have the answer. You are in no way ready to marry this man. It would be highly unfair to you both. You are confusing familiarity and the security and safety of a long relationship with romantic love. The reason you don’t have passion for him is that you love him more like a sibling or cousin than as a mate. That’s nothing to throw away. Good friends who understand us well are hard to find. But it doesn’t mean that you should marry him — regardless of how much family and friends care for him and think he’s a good fit. You’ve been repeatedly telling yourself it’s not working by getting involved with other people. It’s time you listened to yourself.

In addition: You do have another problem. You are so set on being in a relationshp that you don’t think clearly about who you are in a relationship with. What’s your hurry to marry and settle down? You are still in your twenties! It’s far better to take your time and find the right guy than to push for permanence, only to set yourself up for a divorce. My guess is that “everything you wanted” when you were younger has changed but you haven’t let yourself acknowledge it. You may need the help of a counselor to help you let go of old fantasies about love and marriage and to sort out what you really want and need as a mature person.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Aug 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Should we still get married?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/08/10/should-we-still-get-married/