7 Signs Your Boyfriend Doesn't Want to Get Married

Updated on March 7, 2017
thehands profile image

Jorge doesn't want to get married, so he knows how other men feel and can hopefully show you a bit of insight that will help save you time.

Resisting the Ball and Chain: How to Tell If He Doesn't Want to Get Married

Do you want to get married, but your boyfriend doesn't seem all that interested in the prospect of holy matrimony? Does he seem uncomfortable with the idea of marriage and never notices when you hint that he should propose?

Before you get angry and call him "immature" to your friends, you have to consider that there are plenty of reasons why your boyfriend may not want to get married. For one, divorce rates in the developed world are sky high, and that's a huge risk for him.

He also might not want to give up the freedom that he has right now, and you can't really blame him for that. Growing older and becoming more mature does not automatically mean that someone should get married.

Still, you can never be sure how he feels about marriage unless you ask him. Here are some signs that he's really not into it, though:

1) He Says, "We Don't Need a Piece of Paper"

This is a common line. He might say that your relationship doesn't need to have a "piece of paper" from the government to make it official or meaningful.

And you know what? He has a point. And I'm not just saying that because I've used this line myself (even though I have). If your primary motive for getting married had to do with deepening the relationship, then you wouldn't need some document to make it real for you. Even many of the protections that come with marriage can be had through domestic partnerships or other contracts.

The real reasons most people want to get married don't have much to do with the internals of the relationship, so much as external factors. It usually comes down to two things:

  1. You want to do what society expects, whether you realize it or not. There are lots of silent pressures to get married and many people act like your life isn't "complete" until you're married.
  2. You want to tie your partner down and make it harder for him to easily leave you.

If either or both of the above aren't part of your motive for wanting to get married, then you are a rare person indeed. Chances are, though, that you do have these motives and your partner simply does not.

So it's not so much that you don't need "a piece of paper"--obviously nobody needs it--it's simply that he just doesn't want to get married.

An engagement bike is better than a ring.
An engagement bike is better than a ring.

2) He is Hesitant to Live With You

Usually, people who have been together for a few years will eventually move in together. If it's been awhile and he's been resisting, then he probably isn't going to want to get married, either. Obviously, most married people live with each other, so if he isn't willing to take that first big step, chances are good that he won't be into taking the huge, "forever" step.

An exception to this is if he's extremely religious and he doesn't want to shack up and "live in sin" before marriage, but if these are his reasons, he's probably mentioned it before.

The fact of the matter is that most men like their space. They like to have their own room with their own things and the thought of giving a woman control over this is distasteful. The only times they will be willing to compromise on this is if they intend to be with the woman over the long-term and they see the woman as possible marriage material.

3) He Laughs at His Married Friends

Does your boyfriend make a lot of negative comments whenever one of his buddies gets married--even if in jest?

Does he say things like, "Oh man, we lost another one!" Does he lament that his friend is now "tied down" and that they'll never be able to hang out again?

Your boyfriend could be projecting his own desires onto his friend. If he says things like this, he probably sees marriage as more of a burden than an asset. It could also be that he doesn't like his friend's spouse, but if he shows a consistent distaste for marriage, even when his friends marry good women, then he probably isn't too keen on getting married himself.

Watching the world go by.
Watching the world go by.

4) He Doesn't Want Children

For a lot of men who otherwise wouldn't want to get married, what finally motivates them to agree to tie the knot is that they want to have a family. If your man has absolutely no interest in having children or building a family, though, the chances of his being interested in marriage will be lower.

Marriage offers a stable basis for a family, but if he plans to keep things going with just the two of you, why would you need to get married?

If you want children and a family, but he doesn't, don't try to convince him. Don't tell yourself that "he'll change" when he's older. Maybe he will, and maybe he won't. Believe it or not, there are plenty of people in this world who have no interest in ever having children, and it's not your place to try to change them. In fact, if you push him into it against his better judgement and he ends up having children that he didn't want, it could be a disaster.

You're much better off looking for someone else to marry if you truly want a family and he doesn't.

Some people don't want kids. Everyone wants a hammock, though.
Some people don't want kids. Everyone wants a hammock, though.

5) He Says He Wants to Keep His "Options Open"

Yeah, a guy doesn't want to get married if he says this. Actually, he might not even want to be in a long-term, monogamous relationship!

And you know what? That's fine...if you know what you're getting into. Just don't delude yourself into thinking that you can change his mind. You may be great and everything, and he may love you, but that has nothing to do with his desire to commit.

Even a man who is madly in love with you may have other plans for his life and may be resistant to being tied down. Granted, most men are not like this, and will eventually propose to a woman if they fall in love, but there are people out there who allow other aspects of their lives to take precedence over their romantic relationships instead. This may be hard for you to believe if the idea of getting married and having a family has always been a goal of yours, but not all people feel this way.

6) He is Evasive When You Bring Up the Future

If you keep hinting at marriage or even just boldly bringing it up, but he acts dismissive or changes the subject, then he doesn't want to get married. He's just being polite about it and doesn't want to damage the relationship by telling you upfront that he's not interested.

Try a few times to get a clear answer from him, and you may be able to get a forced yes or no. However, if he's still evasive and you simply MUST get married, then consider ending the relationship. He probably doesn't want to be with someone who would view the relationship as a waste of time if it didn't end in marriage, anyway.

7) All of His Past Relationships Were Short

Finally, if he seems to have a casual attitude in general about relationships with women, and all his "long-term" ones were relatively short (one or two years), then he's probably not interested in getting married any time soon.

It could be that he's waiting until he's a little older, but who knows when he will come around. Take your chances if you must, but don't expect him to change.

Confronting and Asking Him

After much consideration, if you decide that marriage honestly is in your future, you might want to explain this to your boyfriend. A good relationship is built on honesty and communication, after all.

If he reacts badly or admits that he doesn't want to get married, then at least you'll know where you stand. I caution you here, though: Do not act judgmental if it turns out that he doesn't want marriage right now. Far too many women try to guilt men into marriage by telling them that they aren't "real men" until they've committed or that they are somehow immature for not wanting to get married.

Not only is this insulting to people who genuinely have no interest in marriage, but it is unlikely to motivate him. Even if somehow he feels that you're right and forces himself into a marriage like many people do, then it will almost certainly end badly because he married for the wrong reasons.

There is nothing wrong with feeling that marriage is not for you. A man is not taking anything away from you by simply wanting to date you or be in a relationship with no intention for marriage. He is not refusing to "buy the cow because the milk is free," as some people say--because you are not a cow, and he could get "milk" anywhere to be honest.

So don't listen to people who peer pressure you into judging him. Don't listen to friends who subtly insult him for not giving you his commitment. If a relationship with no chance of marriage doesn't work for you, then it simply doesn't work for you personally, and that's it. You don't owe each other anything, and there's nothing wrong with gracefully bowing out.

The Marriage Question

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Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Jorge Vamos

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      • thehands profile imageAUTHOR

        Jorge Vamos 

        17 months ago

        Yes, those are good points as well, dashingscorpio. As guys, we kind of want to "sow our wild oats" so to speak, and if we've only been with the same girl for years, there's going to be a natural curiosity. I imagine women feel this as well to some extent, though.

      • dashingscorpio profile image

        dashingscorpio 

        17 months ago

        Excellent article!

        "1.You want to do what society expects, whether you realize it or not. There are lots of silent pressures to get married and many people act like your life isn't "complete" until you're married.

        2.You want to tie your partner down and make it harder for him to easily leave you."

        Those are often valid points. In other instances I imagine peer pressure from watching friends and siblings getting married plays a part as well.

        There are two basic reasons why a man doesn't propose marriage.

        1. Timing (He's happy with things as they are and has other priorities.)

        2. You are not "the one".

        According to statistics by age 44 over 85% of men have been married at least once. And now that there is "marriage equality" odds are that percentage will be going up. Therefore whomever a woman finds herself dating there is a very high chance he will be getting married to someone!

        In the U.S. it's been reported the average age a person loses their virginity is age 17 with the average age of a first time bride being 27 and for grooms 29.

        Therefore on average a person will have over 10 years of sexual experience before getting married. Odds are most people are not going to marry the first person they ever had sex with or maintain a courtship for 10 or more years of monogamy prior to marriage.

        Unlike women most men didn't grow up pretending to be fathers, pushing dolls around in baby strollers, feeding and changing dolls, decorating Ken & Barbie's Playhouse, or dreaming of being a princess and living happily ever after as in a fairytale.

        There is no such thing as a "Groomzilla".

        Simply put most women have thought about their wedding day long before men gave marriage any serious thought!

        This in my opinion goes back to the "timing" issue.

        If on some subconscious level since the age 7 a girl has been pretending to be a wife and mother by age 22 she would have had 15 years to dream about (her) wedding day.

        On the other hand the average 20 something year old guy either just moved out of his parent's basement or a college dorm room. His focus is on pursuing career goals, partying with friends, watching sports, playing video games, and getting laid.

        The last thing on their mind is becoming their parents!

        The very thought of getting married, signing a 30 year mortgage, and having children is like watching their lives flash before their eyes!

        Men also don't have any real "biological clock" so there is no real urgency.

        A young woman in her 20s who wants to get married would probably do better to date men in their late 20s or early 30s who have never been married.

        One final piece of advice forget about hooking up with him early on at age 19 or 20 with the idea that in 7 or 10 years he's going to propose.

        Most men crave an exploration period. If you're the only girl he's had sex with since high school odds are at some point he's going want to know what it's like to be with someone different.

        It's not unheard of for a guy to end a long-term relationship of several years and turn around to get engaged to another woman in a year or less.

        Clearly it proves he didn't have a "fear of commitment".

        The timing was right or he felt he finally met "the one"!

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