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What if Your Boyfriend Gives You Mixed Messages About Marriage?

by Nina Edwards, studioD

You are in a loving relationship and you feel wonderful, whenever the two of you are together. Still, sometimes you are downright confused by his reactions when the question of marriage is brought up. He frowns, changes the subject, or even worse -- jokes about it. It leaves you perplexed. You don’t know what to think, anymore. Perhaps, you’re wasting your time and your boyfriend is not “husband” material.

Ask the Right Questions

Is getting married really important to you? Yes, you say. Well, is it more important than staying with your boyfriend as an unmarried couple? You need to be very honest to yourself as your next course of actions depends on your answers to these questions, as the article, “Does Marriage Matter?” on PsychologyToday.com suggests. If being married is more important to you, be open about it. Are you sure he hasn’t already expressed his negative opinion about marriage and you stayed with him, hoping he would change his mind? Are you sure you aren’t the one giving mixed signals?

The Perfect Boyfriend

You might be wondering how it is possible that he treats you so well, yet doesn’t commit. It is completely normal that he treats you well. He calls you because he wants to see you. He spends his time with you because he’s attracted to you. It is possible for men to do all these things and more -- without wanting to get too serious. And, he certainly may not want to wear a ring that announces his unavailable status explains the article, “Waiting to Be Asked: Gender, Power, and Relationship Progression Among Cohabiting Couples,” in the “Journal of family issues.”

Give Him a Break

His mixed messages about marriage are probably because he is simply unsure. If you’re completely honest, you’ll admit that you’re often torn about what you want, as well -- especially, about life-changing decisions. Being ambivalent, or of two minds about a relationship, is a completely natural part of being in love. Although if this happens in excess, it can signal that he’s not satisfied with the relationship, reports Sandra Murray and John Holmes in their article entitled, “A Leap of Faith? Positive Illusions in Romantic Relationships.”

Consider Your Options

Give yourself time to take it all in and don’t make any hasty decisions. Make a decision about what to do, based on how he manages his whole life, not just his relationship with you. How has he aged? Does he still behave like a teenager? Is he facing turning points in his career with maturity? Or, is he overly anxious? Are his friends happily married or are they still single? The answers to these type of questions will alert you to red flags. In addition, the answers will help you figure out when -- or if -- it is time to move on.

About the Author

Nina Edwards holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been writing about families and relationships since 2000. She has numerous publications in scholarly journals and often writes for relationship websites as well. Edwards is a university lecturer and practicing psychologist in New York City.

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