Ever since I wrote an article, explaining how my husband married me 11 months after we met despite originally telling me he wasn’t looking for a relationship, I’ve had sisters tell me that my story goes against every piece of advice they’ve read, which encourages women not to waste their time with men who make it clear from the beginning that marriage is not on the menu.
So which is it? Should you stay open to dating a man who isn’t interested in marriage, or should you pack your bags and avoid wasting your time and energy in an dead-end relationship?
First, let me clarify something in my love story. My husband was interested in marriage. He wasn’t, however, actively looking for a committed relationship, and he wanted me to know that upfront.
Second, there’s a big difference between a man who isn’t ready for marriage and someone who doesn’t believe in marriage. My husband was marriage-minded but wasn’t relationship-ready, which is why I continued to see him, although I didn’t open up my heart to him until after we had conversations about where we were headed in the future.
So how can you tell if a man doesn’t believe in marriage? Here are three warning signs:
1. He tries to convince you that marriage is just a piece of paper.
Have you ask your man when you’re getting married? And did his response sound something like this: “Come on, baby! We don’t need the state to recognize our love. The only thing marriage would give us is a tax write-off. As long as you love me, and I love you, what’s the problem? A ring doesn’t keep me committed to you…I CHOOSE you every day and that’s more significant than any ceremony we might have”? If so, then chances are he isn’t just afraid of making a life-long commitment to you, he doesn’t believe in the institution of marriage.
This kind of man is content with you the status quo and sees no value in the next step. If marriage is important to you, however, don’t let a man convince you that marriage is just a piece of paper. Tell him this: “So is your paycheck, but you like that paper!”
2. He doesn’t trust women
One of my coaching clients went on a date with a man who asked her what she was looking for in a relationship. She replied that she eventually wanted to be married and asked him his thoughts.
Girl, that man popped off in a Donald Trump-like rant about how marriage is a system designed to entrap men and strip away their sovereignty. He raved about the fact that he’s been paying child support for the past 18 years and thought it was a set-up since he sees his daughter every day. He complained about how his ex-wife made a boatload of money off of his high six-figure salary through alimony, and then declared that he would never get married again.
Without taking a breath, he then told his date he was looking for companionship and asked if she’d like to go with him and his children on a tropical vacation.
This man was a textbook example of a man who was hurt by an ex and now distrusts all women. He feels like a victim and therefore is afraid of being vulnerable with anyone else.
The biggest way you can tell his commitment issues are rooted in his history (of being cheated on, used or manipulated by women) is if if he comes right out and says he will never marry again. My advice is to believe him. Don’t try to convince him otherwise.
3. He tells you marriage is old-fashioned and that your expectations of meeting a husband are unrealistic
I’ve heard from so many sisters who are frustrated in dating because the men they meet seem resentful that women expect a life-long commitment from them.
These men are often good fathers, and overall, they’re good men. But they just don’t believe they need to invest time and energy into being good partners. Somewhere along the line, they believed that getting married didn’t mean gaining a life partner, instead it meant they would lose their independence!
But instead of owning their own relationship choices, they try to castigate you for holding on to “old-fashioned” values in modern times.
Here’s what you need to know, sisters. There are men who want to settle down. There are men who believe in marriage. There are good brothers who have realized that they don’t want to die alone and are actively looking for a partner.
Don’t get discouraged by the marriage-avoidant men you’re meeting. There are a lot of them in the dating pool because their commitment phobia keeps them in a cycle of broken relationships. Keep dating and don’t give up until you meet a man who shares your values. Just because you haven’t met him yet, doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.
BMWK, do you think more men have given up on love and marriage?