A woman has taken to Mumsnet to ask for advice after her fiancé backtracked on their engagement.
In a post entitled “Engaged, but he’s refusing to marry me,” user Davegrohlsnewwife describes how they have been with their partner for over five years and moved into his house after a couple of years with her children from another relationship. Yet, she writes, he is rarely there due to working away a lot, “sometimes several months at a time.”
“Two years into the relationship,” she explains. “He asked me to marry him. He was tipsy so I laughed and told him to ask me when he was sober. I told him to seriously consider what he was asking for, but he remained certain. He then went away for work, so I didn’t receive a ring until seven months later.” They told the whole family about the good news, “everyone was really chuffed for us—my family particularly as my previous relationship was very abusive and nearly broke me.”
She then writes: “He has been away for a few months again but has done a complete u turn on marriage. He says he loves me, wants to be with me forever, but just doesn’t want the wedding.”
A 2019 report from the Pew Research Center found that only 16 percent of men think marriage is essential for a fulfilling life, and three out of ten people think that being married is simply not important. Sixty-nine percent of all adults asked said cohabitation without marriage is just fine.
“I’m really miffed,” said the Mumsnet user, while 95 percent of other users voted that she is not being unreasonable to be upset. “Previously, I never really wanted to get married again, but that was until I met my now partner. I was excited because we had planned to elope, then just have a party when we got back. He still wants me to wear the ring , but to me it feels like a sign of ownership with no commitment. He’s due home soon, and I am seriously considering giving the ring back. I don’t know if I Abu or if those feelings of being controlled previously are bubbling to the surface.”
Speaking to Newsweek, Dr. Peggy Loo, PhD, a New York-based psychologist and director at the Manhattan Therapy Collective, said this situation is one she sees quite often in her practice. “It’s a frustrating situation when you meet someone that makes you reconsider marriage,” she said. “It’s a big step—which means both of you are likely feeling vulnerable for considering it!”
She explains that when we feel vulnerable, we sometimes protect ourselves by imagining the worst-case scenario so it’s not a surprise when it happens. “That means we could have an entire narrative about a situation that’s not based on reality, but all of our fears or past relationship experiences,” Loo said.
Being in love with someone who has different desires and expectations from life can be heartbreaking. It requires someone to either make concessions, whether that is having or not having children for example or ending the relationship.
Dr. Lawrence Josephs, PhD, a psychology professor at Adelphi University, told Newsweek: “Being with a life partner who is not as enthusiastic, available, or committed to you as you would be to them is less than ideal. It might breed resentment and you can’t fix a lack of passion. It’s always a difficult decision to decide if a relationship is good-enough despite its imperfections or to hold out for better. We have to be honest with ourselves about what imperfections we could learn to live with and not resent it.”
User 2bazookas commented: “Don’t give back the ring; you may need to sell it when you and the kids are homeless after he trades you in for a younger model.”
User DillDanding said: “If being married again is important to you, you need to think about leaving. I’d at least be giving him back the ring.”
User Whadda wrote: “You need to get your children out of his house. This man doesn’t see a serious future with you, and you’re creating a precarious housing situation that will be harder to remedy the longer it goes on.”
Newsweek was not able to verify the details of the case.
Have you noticed any red flags that made you end a relationship? Let us know via email@example.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.