“For context, my girlfriend [24F] and I [24M] have been in this relationship for a little over a year. We somehow started talking about marriage and I said that I would be down to be married whether with her or someone else in the future. Marriage is something I am looking for in my future. However, when I asked her if she sees marriage in her future she said no. She does not want to get married at all. She wants the option to just leave. How she is a bird and can’t be caged.
I was very confused by this because if she doesn’t see marriage at all with anyone, is there even a point to us even dating anymore? I really love her and I can see myself marrying her, but still don’t know because the future is uncertain. She on the other hand does not see marriage a possibility at all. So basically she’ll just dump me when she gets tired of me? I really don’t know what to think about her answer here and need some opinions and other insights. Should I break up with her since I’m technically wasting my time? Or is there something I’m missing. I want to be with her but it seems very pointless now.”
Dear Yo So Leen,
If you are seeing marriage as an end goal in the process of dating, then you are right that this might be a fundamental incompatibility that ends your romantic relationship with your girlfriend. Otherwise, you’ll have to adjust and adapt to this new reality together. In the face of new realization, it is a great time to sit down and reassess what love and commitment means to you and your partner individually.
Based on what your girlfriend has revealed, that sense of freedom is much more important than the security from a commitment for her. It isn’t about you specifically. It is a personal boundary that she owns that she herself doesn’t see marriage in any of her current or future relationships. So don’t take it personally. Instead, listen to what she is saying and accept that this is her way of communicating a non-negotiable boundary with you. This is about her.
If you decide that you cannot accept this lack of marital commitment as a price of admission to be with your girlfriend long-term, then it is perfectly within your rights to walk away. This disagreement is relationship-breaking.
If you’re more on the fence, then it might be beneficial for you to discuss what love and commitment really means to you and her. What does marriage and marital commitments mean to you specifically? And what does it accomplish that a traditional long-term relationship-level commitment cannot accomplish? Then talk to your girlfriend about commitment means to her. What does long-term commitment mean to her? What does the next two to five years look like for you and her in the context of this relationship?
If you’re feeling insecure about the possibility of her just randomly leaving you, then it might be beneficial for you to discuss this fear and how it is related to commitment in your headspace. Clearly, she considers you to be important to her. So allow her to step in and fill the gap between where each of you are standing. And allow yourself to make some concessions to remain in each other’s lives. Best relationships are about making sensible compromises even in the face of impossibility.
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