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Marriage Isnít a Relationship, Itís a Format


My partner of 2 years told me that he was happier by himself than with me. He came out of a bad marriage 4 years ago and told me in the beginning that he was not sure if he could ever be married again. I was okay with that since I had just come out of a bad situation and I was not looking for marriage either.

We fell in love moved in together after 6 months and we started making plans for our future together. We talked about children and the normal things that a couple talks about when discussing marriage. I have never pressured him into getting married or even thrown him a hint. He was the one to say "when we get married". He openly talked to others about our plans to get married.

He tells me all the time that I am a wonderful person and I am the best thing that has ever happened to him. He said that he knows if he can't marry me then he will never be able to marry anyone.

I am devastated. I have lost my best friend, companion, and partner. I wish so bad that I would wake up from this bad dream. What can I do?


Despite what he's told you in the past, something appears to have changed. I suggest that you forget everything else and focus only on what he's saying right here, right now. Just because things were said in the past doesn't make them true today.

You need to find out what he's looking for that he feels he doesn't have. This may be difficult to do if he's resigned to his new direction. In general getting men to answer relationship questions is often difficult not because we withhold information, but simply because we find it difficult to vocalize. There's a great article on this on my website at: http://beingaman.com. Go there, click on "Self Help" on the left-hand side and read the FAQ's and look under "Website Articles" for "How to get Men to Answer Relationship Questions."

Once you can determine exactly why he feels the way he does, you'll have something to work with. At that point you might suggest some counseling, but I'd also strongly urge you to take what he tells you to heart. What has to change for him to feel comfortable with the current situation?

When you discover this, simply become that person. If doing this doesn't change his mind, then this isn't about you, it's about him.

Finally, you need to determine if this is really about marriage in the first place. If so, and marriage isn't your immediate goal, then focus on the quality of the relationship itself. Don't think that just because you're not moving toward marriage that there's something wrong with your relationship. Marriage is a format, not the relationship itself.

Best regards...

Have a love, dating, relationship, sex or man/woman question? I answer all email. You can write to me at dwneder@beingaman.com for answers. For more information about my books, "Being a Man in a Woman's World" (volumes I & II), and other products visit: www.beingaman.com. Check out the discussion group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beingaman.

Copyright (c) 2005, Dr. Dennis W. Neder
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