Q&a: I Don’t Want to Get Married

June 28, 2013 by L.A. Walsh  
Published in Marriage

My advice to a woman who needs advice on how to politely turn down her boyfriend’s marriage proposal.

Dear LW,

I know most females write into advice columns asking for tips on how to get their boyfriend to propose to them. I hope you won’t be too shocked that I am writing to you to request the opposite. My boyfriend, Patrick, and I have been together for nearly five years. I love him deeply and know without question that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. However, I don’t want to get married. I just don’t believe in it. I thought I had made my views clear to Patrick and that he agreed with me, but I’ve recently been proven otherwise. Last week I turned thirty and Patrick’s present to me was an engagement ring. As we were out with friends when he proposed, I gave him no response, but simply threw on a fake smile and hugged him to keep from causing a scene. Since then, practically everyone in our social circles has been calling to congratulate us. I’ve tried to talk to Patrick about my feelings and to gently turn him down, but he doesn’t seem to be hearing me. How can I remedy this situation without losing the man I love? I definitely don’t want to get married, but I’d be devastated if I lost Patrick.


Dear Moira,

Happy Belated Birthday! Talk about an eventful start to a new year, huh? I’ll do my best to help you sort things out.

You’re right. Many women do ask for help on how to subliminally convince their boyfriend (and girlfriend) to propose to them. They feel that they are ready to enter a new life stage and can’t figure out why their significant other isn’t opening that door for them with a goofy grin and a dazzling rock. You, on the other hand, would prefer to bolt the door shut and keep things as they are. You, like those women, know what you want out of life and can’t figure out why your boyfriend, who you had presumably always been in sync with since day one, isn’t sharing in your vision. Surprised as you may be, the advice I’m going to give you is nearly identical to the advice I’d give those other women.

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