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Parallax - Advice

January 27, 2003

Marry her?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I have been involved for three and a half years with a man who recently asked me to marry him. I love him very much and want to marry him. The problem is, we've both been married, and he's less than optimistic about marriage. He says there are no guarantees in life and he's not sure he will be happy. I'm not asking for any guarantees but a little enthusiasm would be great. He has developed an 'all or nothing' attitude and may end the relationship if I am not willing to marry him. I haven't said that I'd never marry him—I just think it might not be the right thing, right now. We love each other very much, but we are both very stubborn and I don't want to be bullied into marriage. Any advice? Email to a Friend


Her view:

Dear Hesitant,

Well it sounds like you could lose him over this. Are you willing to chance that outcome? You could dig in your heels and demand he be optimistic about your imminent marriage and life in general. This strategy, however, may be a little too aggressive.

He sounds like he is being overly cautious and a little too realistic for your taste...and yet he demands the marriage. I'd let him have his doubts—he'll have them anyway, even if he feigns optimism to amuse you.

You love each other and that is what matters. All of this will sort itself out once the marriage progresses swimmingly.

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His view:

Dear Hesitant,

Your man seems pretty adamant about getting married, whether it is with you...or with someone else. This, despite the fact that his previous sortie down the aisle went awry. Maybe he is just being realistic; maybe he is setting himself up for failure. Either way, he wants to get hitched.

Why?

In the end, what is the difference between staying together as you presently are, and marrying? Are you living together? Do you want to have kids? If you'd rather leave things as they are, is that because you are less eager than he is for a tighter bond? Or, if you already share a roof and plan no offspring, then what is it that makes him so keen? Insecurity? (Look to his previous failed marriage for possible hints.)

After you have pondered all those questions (and perhaps you already have), you may have a clearer sense of what this is all about, because, believe me, I don't think the key problem here is one of under-enthusiasm.

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