After several years in a long-term, committed relationship, you might be ready for marriage, but your partner does not feel the same way. Indeed, they seem to have a phobia about such a substantial commitment. Their anxiety about taking the next step can be extremely frustrating, leaving you to wonder if it is worth staying in the relationship when the status quo does not look like it will change anytime soon.
However, while you might not be on the same page about marriage, this does not need to spell the end of the relationship. Here are some steps to take:
Understanding how your partner feels about marriage and why might provide you with some insight into what is holding them back from agreeing to marry. This requires open, honest conversations that many couples struggle to have because it is a sensitive topic. Vancouver Counselling group Interactive Counselling has therapists who work with couples to help them understand their relationship dynamics and manage their expectations.
In many instances, your partner’s anxiety about marriage has nothing to do with you. It could stem from the childhood trauma of their parents’ divorce or a previous relationship ending in divorce. Once you know what is preventing them from wanting to marry, you can start addressing these issues.
Get to the route of their anxieties
It is easy to assume that your partner is not fully committed to the relationship because they do not want to get married. However, there are many reasons for this, including a fear of losing their individual identity or discomfort with the idea of a wedding and the inevitable stress and family conflicts.
Many people have a more modern take on relationships and view marriage as an outdated institution that reduces women to property and forces men to be providers. However, you can demonstrate that a marriage no longer needs to take that form and can be anything both of you make it.
Draw up a contract
Sit with your partner and design a contract that would describe your marriage. It might include dividing assets and financial responsibilities and detailing each partner’s expectation of the commitment.
This may make your partner more comfortable with the idea of getting married. It is an ideal activity to do with a therapist to facilitate communication.
Set a timeline
With your partner, work out a timeline you are both comfortable with. It will require both parties to compromise. For instance, if you want to get married within a year and your partner feels two years is more appropriate, negotiate and agree on 18 months.
A partner anxious about marriage might not want to commit to a timeline, and the point is not to pressure them into something they do not intend to follow through on. However, discussions on the topic and finding a way forward that suits you both is possible, with some give and take.
Remain patient but stick to your guns
With a timeline in place and both partners working toward the same goal, it is easy to remain patient with your significant other. After all, you know that you both want the same thing and when it should happen.
However, when the timeline gets close to expiring, and your partner is still hesitant about getting married, it might be time to consider ending the relationship. It could be that you are on two different paths, and being in a long-term relationship is no longer a viable option. If this is the course you intend to follow, stick to it, and do not use leaving your partner as a threat to make them comply with your wishes.