Should I stay or should I go? What if only one of you wants to get married

It’s a classic deal breaker. Right up there with only one of us wants kids and we want/need to live in different places. Can a relationship survive when only one of you wants to get married?


A lot of magazine articles will flippantly say leave if one of you wants marriage and the other doesn’t. They’ll urge you to find someone who shares your views. And they usually warn you about regret or losing time (especially when it comes to fertility). Other articles will give tips on how to change someone’s mind and get them down the aisle. Some will encourage couples to take the pressure off, wait, and see.

We understand all of that advice. Relationships are complex and there is no easy answer. But there is a helpful question you can ask when only one of you wants to get married: Is the person against marriage or just against marrying their current partner?

That question really cuts right to the chase. And the person who has to answer it may not know how to respond. The answer might be buried deep down or it might be too painful to deal with. We hope it doesn’t, but it might lead to a breakup or relationship purgatory. On a happier note, it might lead to the realization that it’s just wedding jitters and with some support they can move forward into marriage.

In any case, it is a very useful question that can help couples begin to understand what’s really going on and what’s best for their future. It’s not an easy question and it may lead to a lot of change, but everyone deserves a fulfilling future with loving relationships, whether that includes marriage or not. So be brave and ask it if you find yourself needing to know that answer.

Do you have an opinion on—or experience with—this subject? We’d like to know what you think, so please post in the comments.


P.S. We got you a little gift. It’s a brand new Features section on Bedsider. Hope you like it!

Want to learn more?

Select one of the related topics to find more.