I’m really grateful for you starting this advice column! I get really anxious talking about my relationship with my friends since they shut it down so quick and tell me I’m being an idiot and that it’s time to ditch him. I’ve been with my partner for 7 years and have hinted at getting married since we started dating.
Initially, he was really keen and told me I was the love of his life and that he dreamed of making it official, but now that we’ve moved in to the house we bought together and got a dog, he’s suddenly got cold feet and has mentioned how he’s not even certain he wants to get married anymore.
What do I do? Does this mean my relationship is going to end? Do I insist that it happens?
For starters, thank you for reaching out. I’m really happy you did – the whole finding-the-courage-to-reach-out is a huge first step and takes a great deal of bravery on your part.
I’m thrilled to be here to offer some advice on matters of the heart. Relationships can be like roller coasters, filled with many ups as well as plenty of downs. It does sound like you’re on a bit of a loop right now, and I’m glad I can offer some assistance to help guide you through it.
Now, it’s not uncommon for people to experience jitters or second thoughts – especially when big life changes happen, like moving in together and getting a furry friend involved. Your partner’s sudden change of heart about marriage might feel like a curveball, but the key here is in open communication.
Begin by having an honest and open conversation with your partner. It could well be that he’s feeling overwhelmed by the weight of these major life decisions and as you said yourself, is getting slightly chilly toes!
So, ask him about his concerns and try to understand what has triggered this change of heart. Be sure to make it a safe space for both of you to express your feelings without judgment and avoid slamming in with opinions or out of fear. Your partner initially saying that he does intend to marry you then pulling back, has no doubt made you feel a bit angsty. Know as well that those emotions are also perfectly warranted.
Ideally, you should show up as a safe space for him to voice his fears, and he should also be ready to listen to the emotional distress his change his caused you.
You’re not on this planet to warm up his cold feet either, so please don’t feel the need to suddenly double over and be extra sunshine and rainbows to try and convince him to pull out a ring!
It’s crucial that throughout this, you both remember that relationships are a team effort, hence why understanding each other’s perspectives is absolutely vital.
You’ve been together for seven years, so you already have a strong foundation to work with. Express your feelings, desires, and concerns calmly, and encourage him to do the same.
Now, onto the marriage question.
While it’s natural to desire commitment after such a long time together, it’s equally important not to rush things. Instead of insisting on marriage, focus on building a deeper connection and focus on the now.
Don’t give way to his ideals if you are set on marriage, but be open to exploring the reasons behind his uncertainty. You might come to believe that the certificate itself doesn’t matter if the rest of your relationship is going great. Equally, he might come to the realization that you are more important than a piece of paper, so decide to go through with it if you voice how important it is to you.
Relationships involve a great deal of compromise, so see if there are compromises or alternative solutions that could work for both of you.
Partnerships of any kind are really a journey, and sometimes little detours are necessary. This doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the road; it might just be a scenic route you both need to navigate together.
A fun road trip!
In summary: keep the lines of communication open, be patient, avoid forcing him any decisions yet be sure to keep what you really want in mind (and any dealbreakers that you’re deadset on).
And most importantly, allow each other the space to grow – together.
Sending my love and support,
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