I feel married without being "legally" married. We have been together for almost 2 years and we have talked about marriage since our first date. I’ve been trying to convince him to get married soon but he says we are not ready. This tears me apart because when I say we are "married", I mean we share the same bills, we have a joint bank account, I'm on his lease, and there are so many details in between but ultimate one is we are very intimate. Please don't get me wrong. This man is amazing and I know I want to spend the rest of my life with him but I don't know what to do. Does sex ruin couples from moving forward to marriage?
The short answer is yes. Getting sexually involved without a formal commitment blurs the lines and can put your relationship in an awkward place. I say that it’s an awkward place because you’re sharing your life with someone who hasn’t made a permanent commitment to you. You’re investing your money, body, and time into a relationship but you don’t know exactly where the relationship stands.
If your boyfriend feels like you guys aren’t ready for marriage, then you certainly aren’t ready to do what you’re currently doing: joining your lives in every way. You need to step back and re-define the boundaries in your relationship:
1. Move out. It may sound extreme, but if you want to break the cycle of having sex, sleeping over, and playing house, you have to do something drastic, and this is definitely drastic. Otherwise you’ll keep repeating it, and grow to resent yourself and your boyfriend.
2. Keep your finances separate and don’t depend on each other. Yes, I get that your student loans are crushing you, or that the cost of living is high in your city. But financial dependence is a trap that keeps a lot of people in relationships way longer than they should be. If you want to make sure that your relationship is a healthy one, don’t depend on your significant other to provide for you. Learn to stand on your own two feet.
3. Have a talk about your expectations. Where do you want the relationship to go? Do you expect to be married in a certain time frame? Why or why not? If marriage is important to you, he needs to know it. Make your position clear and be firm. If you compromise on this issue, you’ll only end up resenting him later. There’s also the chance that giving in on stuff that matters to you will become a pattern that repeats itself throughout your relationship.
4. Mutual celibacy. Sex really does blur boundaries. It makes the pleasure you feel seem more important than actual logic, and that can cause you to make decisions you’d regret. So if you want to make sure that your expectations are taken seriously, and that you both stay true to the boundaries you’ve set, you have to take this drastic step as well.
5. Get a mentor couple. If your goal for your relationship is marriage, then find a (happily) married couple to guide you guys along in this process. They can help you both know what to expect as your relationship goes to the next level, and what to expect of one another. They can also help keep you both accountable in your celibacy.
It sounds like you really want to get married. Hopefully following this advice will set you guys up to reach that goal.
Till next time!
P.S. If you want to get ready for marriage you should download your FREE copy of Love Me This Way, my sneak peek for anyone who wants to know what it really takes to love someone.
P.P.S. We're all messed up and that can cause us to self-sabotage our relationships. If you want to start working on yourself but don't know where to start, try my FREE 7-day guide which you can download here.