Dear Thomas,
I have been dating this guy for about 4 years, and when I started to talk about getting married, he said he does not want to ever get married. I have been trying to talk him into it and give him time, but am I just wasting my time? Should I just give up and move on to someone who wants to love me and get married?
--Miss J.

Dear Miss J.,
The short answer is yes, you should move on to someone who wants to love you and get married. Your letter doesn't say why your boyfriend says he doesn't want to get married. Is he against marriage as such? Is he not ready? Does he not love you in that way? Is he simply afraid? Whatever the reason, apparently he has made it clear where he stands, and you're clear about you want. It would be painful to make your decision to separate, but I believe the issue is clear.

If you were to try to change his mind, you would be setting up a pattern in your relationship that is not promising for the future. When disagreements come up, in the future, will you always push him until he capitulates? Will you always be the one waiting for something important from him?

Many people in difficult marriages or going through divorce will tell you that they married before they were both ready. Timing is an important part of life.

Many studies have suggested that the maturity of the individuals in a marriage is a key factor in its success. You have to be ready as a person to enter the deep change that is marriage. Marriage is not just a living arrangement; it is a major turning point in life and a deeply mysterious third thing that arises when two people decide to enter into it. I suspect that many marriages fail because people don't understand how profound and mysterious it actually is.

It appears to me that you are ready and he isn't. So you have to decide about your own life. Do you want to wait indefinitely? Do you want to manipulate your partner? Or can you read the signs and move on out of love for the sake of your future life? After all, if you don't devote yourself to your own life, you can't devote yourself to someone else.
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