Dear Wendy: “I Want To Get Married, But He Doesn’t”

It’s time again for a mega “Shortcuts Weekend.” For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss the marriage talk, moving on, offending one’s friends, and doomed relationships.

I’ve been with my boyfriend come two years in November and though I’m not looking to have a ring placed on my finger soon, someday I would like it. The only problem is that he’s constantly insisted that he doesn’t ever want to get married. It’s not all about white dresses, flowers and sparkly rings for me, though. It’s the commitment, the showing that ‘I want you and only you. Now and forever’ even if that may mean that divorce could happen in the future. Marriage is a leap … it’s a showing of love and devotion even in the face of the big “D.” At one point in our relationship, I thought that not getting married would be OK, but after much thought and consideration, I definitely want marriage in my future. So my question is: after I bring up the topic of how I someday want to get married, what do I do if he still insists he doesn’t, and when do I say enough is enough and walk away? — Someday Bride

Look, if your boyfriend “constantly insists” he doesn’t ever want to get married and you know you do, why waste any more time with someone who doesn’t share your philosophy on marriage? He’s already made very clear where he stands, so if you can’t live with his decision, move on.

I have been dating a wonderful guy for about a year or so. He’s in community college and I have one last year left of high school. I have to make decisions in the next few months about college next year and I’m so torn because I’m afraid my boyfriend is not The One. We have wonderful chemistry, similar morals, and in many ways, his relaxed personality balances my extra-organized, worrisome self. However, I’m just afraid he is too immature for me at this point in time. We’ve agreed long-distance is not our thing, so our plan would be to live separately in the same area as my college for a semester or two and decide to move in together from there. Some things he does just really get to me, though. He can be a reckless driver “for fun,” he’s late everywhere, he is not a great listener, and we don’t get lost in conversation much. He has a good heart, and he’s trying to change, but I’m afraid him moving for me next year might be a mistake. We’ve talked about our “back-up” plan if we break it off out there, but I’m so confused. I thought he was The One, but now I’m not so sure. — Second Thoughts

You’re going to meet lots of guys you’ll probably think are The One before you meet someone you want to truly commit to, and that’s totally fine. The mistake would be continuing to date any of them when you’ve clearly had a change of heart. Save yourselves both a lot of heartache and trouble, and break up with your boyfriend before he picks up his life to move with you.

I have a woman friend (older than me — she’s 70, I’m 50) who calls me at odd times. My rule is “don’t call me before 9 AM or after 9 PM.” I thought she knew and remembered I don’t like a call before 9 AM but she either forgot or didn’t pay attention or feels she can call whenever. The other day at 7:45 AM she called. I am very busy from 7 – 9 AM getting people out the door for school and I was annoyed. I realize now I shouldn’t have answered the phone as it was a stressful time for me. I was kind of grumpy and said to her, “I told you not to call early – before 9 AM.” Later around 11 AM, I did call her to talk. Her husband answered and said, “She doesn’t want to be friends anymore.” So I wrote a nice letter to her and enclosed it in a card apologizing and reminding her that I cannot take calls that early and that we had talked about this in the past. I haven’t heard from her. I don’t want to go begging. The ball is in her court. Should I just leave it up to her if she wants to continue the friendship or just let the it go? I could write to her again but I’m not sure what direction to take. — No Early Birds

You’re both being really childish, but since you can’t control your friend’s behavior, you have to look at your own and see where you messed up and how you can make amends. First, you shouldn’t have answered the phone if you didn’t have time to talk; you definitely shouldn’t have berated your 70-year-old friend like she was a misbehaving child; and you most certainly should not have written a letter of “apology” in which you berated her again! Reach out to her one more time, sincerely apologize for your rude behavior and express concern that she and her loved ones are OK and that her early call was only to touch base with you and not because there was an emergency or bad news she wanted to share.

I am 25 and having been dating my boyfriend, 31, for a little over a year now. We moved kind of fast and lived together for the first eight months of our relationship. I had moved into his apartment which he had a shared with another woman a year prior. It bothered me for quite awhile that he had things of his ex-girlfriend still over the house and on his Facebook: her Halloween costume in the closet; her sunglasses hung up on the wall; over 100 pictures (no exaggeration) of her and him kissing, holding each other, pictures of just her with captions of “She’s so hot!” in his pictures. I mentioned it to him in the first couple of months hoping he would take the hint and get rid of it, but he didn’t. Four months into being together, I couldn’t take it anymore and told him he needed to get everything to do with her out of my face. He got angry with me and said that was part of his past and couldn’t just ‘erase’ it. After another month of fighting about it he finally got rid of it all. Three months ago he moved to Japan (we’re in the military) which was hard, but he will be back in two years and I had full confidence we could make it through. Well, I found him trying to talk to an old fling the first month after he left, via Facebook. I confronted him and he apologized and we moved on. A couple of days ago he wrote his ex girlfriend — not the one that we had been fighting about, but a girl he had been with back in 1999! He wrote her going on about how he always thinks about her and hates that he can’t talk to her all the time. Again, I confronted him, and he gives me the same story that he’s sorry. I am so hurt and angry and lost. I love him beyond belief and he fits me so well in so many ways, but I don’t know if I can handle these emotional attachments he has. He says he has been good, in the sense that he hasn’t done anything physical with anyone, but I feel as if the emotional stuff is just as bad, if not worse. I feel now that there is no way to trust him. Am I blowing things out of proportion? Is it my own fault for looking at his e-mail? — Hopeless Love

You’re in complete denial if you think this relationship has ever had potential to be anything other than the disaster it sounds like it is. Dump this guy and move on before you waste any more time pining for someone who obviously has no interest in being committed to you or treating you with a modicum of respect.

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