Ready for Marriage?

scubasteeveJune 18, 2009

New to the site and seeking advice on my current situation (it's good to have different perspectives). I am a 2nd year medical student and have been with my girlfriend for 5 years come this October. It is honestly my first REAL/SERIOUS relationship and mostly everything has been superb to the present.

A little background: we met in college and I moved 1000 miles away to pursue my graduate degree and eventually transitioning into medical school last year. She got a position after college and moved to be with me. At first, we lived separately, mostly my decision, because I wanted her to concentrate on her new job and also for me to focus on getting into medical school.

After ~6 mo. she moved in with me; thus up to this point we have been living together for 2 years and are now living in another place we picked out together (renting). I feel like our relationship is great, she is my best friend, we communicate well and I love her very much.

In recent years, all but a couple of her friends are married and have children. In addition, she has caught the "marriage bug". Marriage has been the root of all of our arguments over the past several months, mostly because she is ready and I am not. I don't know what the true reason is, or if it is a combo of several things.....but I just don't feel ready. It is wrong of me to bring the money aspect into the argument, or that I didn't really envision myself getting married while still in school...but hurting her is the last thing I want to do. She has been my biggest cheerleader since we've been together, more so than even my family (hard to beat).

Our personalities are somewhat different in that she is more of an introvert and I am an extrovert. I grew up Catholic (I am still active), however she had no formal religious upbringing. I am adventurous (try most anything once) where she is more relaxed. However, we are both very goal oriented. The difference in our personalities becomes magnified in my head when we argue about why I am not ready for marriage.

Am I just scared? Living together seems to have ceased to mature our relationship, but is living apart again the answer? My parent's divorced when I was young and I am determined not to break up a family like mine was torn apart; so I guess I just want to be 99.9% sure. I want to do what's best for the both of us and I want to continue to build our relationship. What is your opinion?

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How will you know when you are 99.9% sure? what will change, from now?

My opinion is that you fear commitment, and that is "your" issue. Not hers. Her issue is that she remains in a relationship with a non committal guy, and the fact that she wants to get married and you don't and she stays is indicative that she has her own issues.

That's what I think. Looking for suggestions? Move out, get a therapist, work through your stuff, and get married to this wonderful woman.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 6:09PM
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She sounds like a great girl and you'll be kicking yourself if you lose her... I do understand the "not being ready to marry" part, even though I'm female. It took me 9 years of living with my (now) husband before I married him.

I felt the same way as you... watched my parents split-up when I was young, didn't want to repeat that. I thought things would change between us when I married him, and they did... but only for the better! It's a lot of work, but when you love someone it's worth it. I now ask myself why I didn't marry him sooner? It was just plain fear of the unknown.

Don't argue over marraige. Start with a formal engagement, and then move forward from there. People can be engaged for some time, maybe plan the wedding after you finish med school if that would make you more comfortable...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 1:34PM
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By the way, one never stops building their relationship, even after they get married. It's an ever-changing journey. The reason your relationship is probably not maturing is due to your hesitation which is, in turn, making your gal insecure.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 1:42PM
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I don't believe you love her, or you would not be on this board looking for some more excuses. You'd be a happily married man by now. Leave her alone so she can find love with someone who doesn't come up with one excuse after another and who won't waste any more of her time. I suspect it will take some getting over on her part since I don't understand anyone arguing about wanting to get married. Does she think she will force you? What an awful idea. She is beginning to see what a waste of time you have been and is second guessing her own worth. Perhaps you will be kind enough to quit torturing her. Five years is ridiculous.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 10:58AM
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I would think you'd know by now. Nobody EVER gets 100%, by the way.

If you've got a winner, go for it. If you don't, move along.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 3:20PM
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Five years from college is a world apart from five years at 25+, so I'm not going to fault you for that in the least.

The root of the problem is that you're at different points in your lives. Think about where you want to be two years after you're done with school and residency. That's where she is right now.

And it's not wrong to bring money and school into the equation- the reality is finances cause huge problems and resentment in relationships, and if you've always planned to do A before B, it's next to impossible to change that. I know it was drilled into my head from the time I was little to finish school and figure out who I was as an adult, and then get married (by my remarried mom).

The biggest question though- do you see yourself married to her when you think about where you want to be ten years after you're done with school? That's your answer.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 4:29PM
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everything you said sounds like an excuse.

i think that you have two options. one is to marry her now and the other is to let her go so she can find someone to have a family with. to drag her along for more years is unfair to her.

if you don't know after 5 years you will never know. don't make her waste her time.

and frankly if you are talking about being religous Catholic, it is too funny. it is the funniest excuse under the circumstances. you live with a woman not being married to her and still don't want to marry her yet you are talking about religious upbringing.

if being religious means for you to attend church then maybe it is OK, but if religious upbringing taught you to live according to some tradition then you fail miserable at that. people with religious upbringing marry first, move in together second.

so either quit your excuses and marry her properly or move on and let her be happy the way she deserves.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 10:08AM
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Unusual for me, I refrained from glomming onto to the religious upbringing bit, but finedreams does have a point! Some flakiness extant, I think.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:44AM
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I still say end the rx, and get some counseling. If you just jump off the cliff without understanding why you're so hesitant, you're gonna bring those same insecurities and anxieties into the marriage, and then everyone's trapped. I say, take your chances that she'll move on, end the relationship, and get some therapy. Then, once you've got your head on straight (which you don't, if she's great on paper but you're not committing) and then bring your new WHOLE self into the rx and enjoy a happy fulfilling life. If in the meantime she's moved on to someone else, you'll still be better off figuring out your stuff.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 4:33PM
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Oh yeah, and I agree. If you are an active catholic, then you are not living consistently with your belief system, and don't underestimate the amount of psychological upheaval that creates. I'm not saying the relgion is right or wrong, but you can't stand on both sides of the fence without getting a major sliver up your arse.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 4:36PM
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I imagine doing a medical degree takes a lot of time and effort, and if you don't put in the effort I imagine it would be difficult to get through the course.

I think you have got to the point that if you are not going to marry the girl then why continue living together?

Really, you are already in a defacto marriage. How will this situation change if you legalise your union ?

I assume your girlfriend wants to marry to have a family ?

I think you should concentrate on your studies, you can't really have it both ways, can you ?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 10:34PM
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I don't like questioning people over their advice, but popi I don't get your point. You first acknowledge that he has it both ways, and then tell him that he can't have it both ways. hmmmm. I also don't get people telling scubasteeve to either marry her or leave her alone. Why suggest he marry her at all when he clearly does not want to. Whether he has committment issues, I don't know and am not trying to determine. It is obvious he does not love her any more than a valued friend (and does not want to give up the advantages of having this steady and reliable person around) and is not in love with her. A person in love knows what he wants, and it DOES NOT take five years to figure it out. So why suggest he should marry her only to break her heart later on when he has used her up after finding someone he does really love....and how many children to hurt at that point? He has failed and is desperate, which brought him to this board. Why take her any farther down with him? She has figured this out quite on her own, which is the reason for the arguments. She cannot believe and is finding it difficult to accept the realization that this wasted five years has brought her to nothing. It has also finally dawned on her that he does not love her, even if she doesn't openly admit it to the universe. She has it in her mind but is determined he will prove the love he professes, knowing all the while and through every argument that he is lying.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:38PM
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I believe you answered your own question--you are not ready for marriage. There is nothing wrong with that. Your girlfrind, on the other hand, is the one with the problem. Apparently, she doesn't have enough life experience to recognize that no man worth having needs to be pressured in to marriage.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 6:17PM
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well said, ashton! We could use some more sense like yours around here....

Meanwhile, where's scuba dude? What is this, eat and run? Doesn't he know there are brilliant minds in offering here?


    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 7:15PM
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Apparently, she doesn't have enough life experience to recognize that no man worth having needs to be pressured in to marriage.

At some point in high school and college curriculum, this needs to be taught. It seems there are zillions of young women out there who have no clue. A set-up for disaster.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 11:04PM
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"Apparently, she doesn't have enough life experience to recognize that no man worth having needs to be pressured in to marriage. "


we recently had a discussion at work and several women said that they literally pressured their boyfriends to marry (after years of dating, 3-5-7!). they told them either marry me or i am leaving. men didn't want to lose them i guess. at this point all of them are still married and have children.

the other woman was engaged like forever without setting up a date. she finally said either marry me right now or i am breaking the engagement, they are finally getting married now. honestly it seems to be typical nowadays. bizzare. but that's what ti is. women force men to marry nowadays.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 11:10PM
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I see your point. If marriage by ultimatum is acceptable to your colleagues, then by all means:). However, I think that they probably could have saved themselves a lot of grief if they had simply stated after year two, "I realize that you are not ready for marriage yet, and I certainly understand, so I am going to begin dating others." Same result in all liklihood (i.e., marriage) with dignity intact.

I agree with you, Mara, and thank you, AmyFiddler, for the kind words.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 2:40PM
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Ashton, that is exactly what I did with a former boyfriend. He had, at that point, told me he didn't want to get married again because he'd been married before and didn't like it. I didn't say I would date other people but told him I was breaking up because I didn't care to be someone's girlfriend forever and that two years is long enough. So, he asked me to marry him but I said no. I told him I didn't want to feel like I was forcing him and didn't want him to think I was. If he wanted to be married to me, he would have asked before I broke off with him.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 3:24PM
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I can't believe I am saying it, but I totally agree with asolo. You never know 100%. What have I learned in life? There is no "good time" to:

1) go back to school
2) get married
3) buy a house
4) have kids

Why? You can be as ready as you think, and you're still not ready. But when it's right, it's right.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 3:23PM
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Rob333 and me on the same page? It's a wonderful day!

He's also got it right. Cognitive dissonance is a constant in all our lives. But we all do have to make decisions and move ahead. That's what you don't seem to be able to do.

If you're going to be a doctor, you'll be doing this a dozen times every day in your practice. Notwithstanding your level of expertise, you'll almost never be sure you've got it 100% right. Did you think the rest of life was different?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 4:08PM
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I honestly appreciate everyone's perspectives....thank you. Truthfully, it is difficult to grasp a person's mentality, personalities, motives, etc. from a blurb that is posted in a forum. Some of the points are harsh, but I needed some of that. The day after I entered this forum I sat down and talked to people I love, those who know me best, and let it flow...something sooo easy, yet I have never done it before. It was something I should've done before resorting to a forum, but at the time I was lost. Even though it has been a wonderful ~5 years, I am still relatively new to the relationship game (never been in another serious relationship) and therefore it is difficult to gauge certain experiences I encounter. That is my problem, one I have to deal with.
I do have issues with commitment; I'm hard as it is to say....I'm afraid of the unknown.....fearful that things will end up like my parents. As much as a divorce has hurt me, I swore not let it happen to my future family. Of course, as people are saying, you don't 100% know; it's impossible to see the future.
No more excuses. I do love her and will marry her. We are both on the same page and are committed to each other. Thanks again everyone.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 11:37AM
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