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Should I stay with man who isn’t ready for marriage?

Dear Dr Nekia,

I truly believe that marriage is the most scared love two people can have together — and I thought I had found the man I would marry some day. We have a good relationship, work hard and have stable jobs, and are both faithful to each other because we know the pain of being cheated on. We are also family orientated and have talked about our lives together and marriage has come up.

In the brief conversation we had, he expressed that he was not ready. Which was fine, so we have just continued enjoying one another and the relationship. But now time has passed and we had the REAL talk last night. He now says that he does not want to get married ever and all this time I had the impression that one day we would. He said he was still young (24); did not feel he needed a marriage certificate to prove that he loved me; and had seen his parents argue throughout their marriage. He has never been married, however I have. So now what do I do? Do I stay and see if one day he will change his mind; or do I walk away. Yes it will hurt, but it will spare us more pain down the line. My heart says stay but my mind says what can you do if you are not on the same page. He is worried I will leave and I am in tears as I write this. I don't want to break his heart or mine. Can we survive?


Married Impression

Dear Married Impression,

From what you tell me, it seems that you and your mate share similar values. However, you are definitely on two different pages but that does not necessarily mean that the relationship is doomed to fail.

It is perfectly normal not to be in sync all the time. When faced with the topic of marriage, people react in different ways. When one is not ready to take such a step, they find excuses. Sometimes these are valid and sometimes they are just attempts to put off the conversation. However, all reasons given are a reflection of the person's state of mind.

You must listen to and accept what he is saying to you. If he is not ready then he is just not ready; but based on his reasons for not wanting to ever get married, I would say that he is young and his views most certainly could change over time.

With maturity, you learn to accept that your parents are not perfect. As for not needing a certificate to prove his love to you, this is true. No piece of paper can prove that but the fact that he has reduced the union of marriage down to a single certificate shows that he is not yet ready to be a husband.

I would not be concerned so much with him currently not being ready for marriage as much as I would be concerned about the differences between your views of marriage. You seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum. While you view marriage as the most sacred love, he views it as a certificate that binds and obligates two people to one another.

Marriage is neither of these things. Love exists both within and outside of marriage. It is good for couples to communicate with one another about the important aspects of their relationship, so I am glad that neither of you have shied away from having this talk. But now that you have his answers to your questions, it is time for you to make some serious decisions. No one can say if this young man will change his mind about wanting to be married, so the last thing you will want to do is remain faithful to him, only to be further disappointed.

However, you will not want to walk away from a love that has the potential to continue to grow. The reality is that you have been married before and you seem eager to be once again. He simply is not there. And the fact that you are considering leaving should be telling you a lot.

Ultimately, marriage is your goal. There is nothing wrong with moving on to find what you are looking for but you must be completely honest with yourself to make the right decision. Unless he somehow changes his view on marriage, someone in this situation is going to get their heart broken. Even if he does change his mind at some point, now that you have this piece of information, you will be constantly questioning yourself and him. You will wonder if you are wasting your time.

So the question is, can you live with that? Can you carry on a happy relationship with this anxiety. Choose to stay because you realise that you do not need to be his wife to live a happy life with him. Do not choose to stay because you hope he will one day change his mind.

Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you are feeling and do not make any decisions until the initial shock and disappointment has worn off. Take some time to do a bit of soul searching.

Logic and emotions must work together, so focus on getting your heart and your mind on the same page. If you cannot, then at this point I would suggest considering that neither one of you are quite ready for marriage to one another.

Dear Dr Nekia,

I am really upset. Recently I went to a business establishment where a man tried to get me to touch him inappropriately. He started off professionally and told me he would give me a good price on some work that I needed done. After he provided me with a quote and I accepted, he made a few comments and grabbed my hand to touch him. I was shocked. I pulled my hand away and told him that I had to leave. And if that wasn't upsetting enough, he raised the price of his work, and when I told a male friend of mine what had happened, he said it was my fault. He said that I should have known better since the guy said he would give me a good deal and that I need to be smarter about the situations I get myself into. I cannot believe that I am being blamed for this! I notified the establishment and the issue has been resolved but I am so very upset with my friend. I now see why many women do not speak up about being assaulted by men because we seem to always get the blame. I'm not even sure that I want to be friends with him anymore.


Blamed Victim

Dear Blamed Victim,

Victim blaming is a very common and very shameful reality for countless women. It leaves victims feeling violated, ashamed, alone, and vulnerable. Unfortunately, we live in a culture of woman shaming.

The reasons for this type of behaviour is beyond the scope of this column, but I will say that insecurity is one of the root motivators. Many cast stones simply because they allow themselves to become products of their environment by mimicking others. In the case of men, it seems to be very likely that the more insecure a man, the more prone he is to using his own internal chaos as fuel towards women.

Quite often we are blamed and shamed because some men do not want or cannot handle the responsibility of protecting us. The truth is that men are very aware of the evils of men. So, deep down inside they know full well that you are not to blame. Displacing blame is the easiest way to convince yourself that you have no responsibility in the matter.

So now, we can begin to see how victim blaming and shaming is more about the character of the person doing the blaming and shaming rather than it being about who was actually right and wrong in a situation.

It is understandable that you are upset, and it is understandable why you feel as though you no longer want to be friends with him. However, your friend may not be seeing it as though he turned his back on you. And it is even possible that he may even be thinking that he is helping you by giving you sound advice to be more careful. Talk things over with him and let him know how he made you feel.

Just remember that it is not your fault, it is never the victim's fault, and you have nothing to be ashamed or fearful of.

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Published May 15, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 15, 2017 at 8:37 am)

Should I stay with man who isn’t ready for marriage?

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