Should You Stay with Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Get Married?

long term

Should You Stay with Someone Who Doesn’t Want to Get Married?

Sometimes you are at a point in a relationship where you are so in love, everything seems perfect. You and your partner have been together for quite some time and you are expecting things to progress. But when you broach the idea of marriage, the other person gets anxious or defensive. Perhaps they don’t believe in marriage. Maybe they’ve been down that road before. Or maybe you get a noncommittal “we’ll be married, someday” without a hard date to count on. If you are with someone who is eluding your efforts to get married, or just says they don’t believe in it, while you do, what do you do? You could hand them an ultimatum, either marry me or I will find someone who will. But that usually doesn’t end well. Should you stay with someone who doesn’t want to get married? That depends on a number of factors. First, are they against marriage in total or just marrying you? If the relationship is mutually beneficial, warm, open, loving and stable but marriage is against your partner’s personal philosophy then you can negotiate and come to some sort of compromise. If this person is just biding their time with you until someone better comes along then this person is not the one for you.

Another important thing to do is to search your feelings about marriage. Why is it that you feel as though you need to get married? For some, it has something to do with their culture or religion. Others are being pressured by a family member. It could be something you have always dreamed of. Or it might be because all of your friends have gotten married. Start to uncover what your real feelings are about getting married and why you feel that way. It will give you a better perspective on why it is so important to you and how to address the issue. If you just want to walk down the aisle, have a great reception and be the center of attention, think of the aftermath. You are supposed to spend decades of life with this person, living side-by-side. So you want to make sure your desire to get married is genuine. Then consider the person themselves. Is this who you really want to spend the rest of your life with? Do they love you? Are they supportive? What’s the communication situation like? How is the sex? If you were both thrown into a crisis situation together, would your relationship make it through? You don’t want to set yourself up for divorce.

Don’t just wait around for a proposal and brood. That will never make it happen. If you’ve still decided this person is right for you, discuss all the insights that you’ve come to with your partner. Don’t pressure them with an ultimatum. They will probably pull away from you. That won’t get you anywhere. Instead, slowly get your partner used to the notion. Introduce things subtly and make the idea seem like theirs. British psychologist Anjula Mutanda says to ask your partner, “If we were to get married, what would be your ideal way of doing it?” Agree with their answer and make it sound as if you are very impressed. Keep subtly moving things along like this and see if you get anywhere. If you want to take a more straightforward approach, sit them down in a comfortable place when you are both in a good mood. Make sure it is free of distractions. Compliment your partner and tell them what they’ve done right and what personality traits you adore about them. Tell them how close you feel to them and how much the relationship means to you. Let them know the reasons why you want to spend the rest of your life with them. Explain to them in a calm manner why marriage is so important to you and why you want that person to be them. Tell them you aren’t pressuring them or giving them an ultimatum. Let them know that you can make each other so happy. And then give them time to think about your thoughts and feelings and let the matter drop. Don’t blame. Don’t be defensive. Instead, use a positive, complimentary and romantic approach. If they still refuse to marry you, you’ll have to be ready to either move on or settle for not ever being married. But if they really love you and you were meant to be together, you two will find a way forward. For tips on being extremely persuasive in your quest read, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini.

Convincing a Relative to Leave an Abusive Spouse

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Convincing a Relative to Leave an Abusive Spouse

It’s horrible when you find out a relative of yours is in an abusive marriage or relationship. You can feel so helpless. On the one hand, you want to say something so badly. On the other, you are afraid that they will resent you for trying to break them up, or merely swear nothing is wrong and distance themselves from you. This is a delicate matter which must be approached correctly, and with finesse. One way to handle it is to get them alone. Talk to them about your own relationship. If you are single, talk about your parents, a sibling, anyone else’s relationship. Talk about positive things that their spouse or significant other did for that person, or how they handle fights by communicating so well.

Get them to open up about their relationship. With enough details they should start to compare and come to the conclusion that something isn’t right. Don’t push and don’t expect that they will come to this conclusion the first time. Instead, keep trying to drop subtle hints without coming right out and saying it. If this doesn’t work, you may have to have an intervention. The problem with this kind of relationship is that the spouse is so manipulative they make them think that the spouse needs them and eventually that they cannot live without the spouse.

Be careful as his or her behavior may not be counted on. They may lash out at you at times, get depressed, even miss the spouse who is abusing them. Be patient with your relative. Remind them why this is happening. Get them away from it all to a place where they can relax and have fun. Give them chances to show what they know and help them to build self-esteem. In many abusive relationships, one spouse beats down the other for so long, that they can feel worthless. Give them little goals and celebrate it when they reach them. Give them space if they need it. But let them know that you will be there for them, no matter what.

In terms of safety, get your relative to a safe place like a battered woman’s shelter, or to live with you or another relative without contact with the abusive spouse. If need be, have them contact the authorities. Make sure that they get the help that they need. Your relative should start therapy if and when they are ready. The town or city can direct you to free services in your area.  Take heart, your relative will get through this. They will thank you and will be so grateful that they had you and other good people to get them through this difficult time. And someday they will meet someone who treats them right. If you’re trapped in an abusive relationship read, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing by Beverly Engel.

Lots of Fights can be Avoided

Tired couple drinking coffee

Lots of Fights can be Avoided

Though fighting itself is inevitable, there are many reasons couples fight and lots of them can be avoided. Sometimes when we get in a fight with a significant other we can’t believe what it is that they believe to be true, and we make it our mission to convince them. But you need to ask yourself if it’s really important. The truth is the truth. That’s not going to change. What may change is perception, either yours or theirs. But forcing someone to bend to your will and believe something just because it is a deep belief of yours will only make them resist, and cause difficulty in your relationship. Better to present them with all of your facts in a friendly manner and put no stock in whether they come to it or not. Isn’t maintaining the relationship more important? Other fights happen because someone is upset or angry and lashes out at someone close to them in order to blow off steam and feel better. Though this may be a good way to temporarily get over a problem, it will cause bigger issues in the long run. If that person just takes it then the venter will soon lose respect for them and the relationship will fall apart. Otherwise the one who was yelled at will defend themselves, strike back, or hold a grudge, resentment. In any way this phenomenon of lashing out does not bode well for the relationship. It can only cause more stress and strain. Instead, why not tell your partner that you want to vent and do so in an appropriate way? Let them know that you don’t want advice, merely understanding, support and validation. In fact this kind of communication will strengthen rather than weaken the relationship.

If your spouse or significant other criticizes you for no reason, realize that the problem is with them, not you. Now you can respond in a negative way and cause more strife in the relationship, or you can ask them what’s bothering them and get to the bottom of the matter. In fact, they will probably apologize when you approach the matter this way, and confide in you. Now you are communicating and will make plans to unravel the problem. You can show support, nurture and encourage them, and be there for them if they need a shoulder to cry on. This will increase your bond rather than straining it. It’s hard to take your ego out of the equation. But you’ll find that the more you take yourself out of it and the more you can look at things as an uninterested party, an observer from a scientific standpoint, the more you can view your own and your lover’s behavior and patterns, see what has been affecting the relationship negatively and make plans to address these issues. Sometimes we get blindsided and are all of a sudden in an argument. The best thing to do is to not let your emotions take over or else you will feed the fire instead of putting it out. Try to calm things down. Refuse to deal with the person then until they’ve calmed down. Once they have, talk about the issue calmly. See what the problem is. Apologize if you are indeed at fault and negotiate, finding a way forward. Lastly, oftentimes miscommunication causes strife and turmoil. First, come to make sure you understand what has been said by repeating it back to them. State what you agree with. Then talk about what you disagree with and why. This gets the dialogue going. Discussing rather than arguing is the best way to solve issues and enjoy a happy couplehood. For more, read Fight Fair: Winning at Conflict without Losing at Love by Tim Downs and Joy Downs.

Words Liars Often use

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Very often most people are honest in relationships, besides the little fibs and white lies they tell to save their partner’s feelings. But it is important to be able to recognize a lie when you hear one, especially in dating. It can help save you a whole lot of trouble and heartache down the road. Has your lover gone out without you? The overly jealous have to cling to their partner. Those who are confident in their relationship often go out with friends sans their partner. But if something happened you probably want to know about it. Sometimes liars use the word left instead of went home such as, “I left my friend’s house at midnight” rather than “I got home at midnight.” This could mean that they were pulled over by a cop or forgot where they parked and don’t want to look stupid or like a bad driver. But it could also mean something more.  A little gentle prodding could be all that is needed to find out the whole story, and whether this is an accidental omission, one to save their ego or one to save their skins. “Never” is also a telltale lying word, especially if a simple no would do. Sometimes liars go to extremes to cover up their tracks. This is due to guilt and a selling of the lie to make sure the target believes it. If you ask if your lover would go out with someone and they respond “never” they may already have a crush on this person, or there may be a history that up until this point you weren’t aware of.

A common manipulators trick is to place the word “that” in front of a word in order to distance themselves from it and make it look as though the idea of his or her involvement is ridiculous. If they are defensive and say they never even heard of “that man” or “that woman” or saw “that bill” in their life, be concerned. Sometimes a liar can show what is on their mind before they even commit the crime that they have in mind. The word “would” will tip you off. Declarations like, “I would never do that to you” when confronted about talking to an ex behind your back may mean that this person was thinking or even planning on doing it. Some liars use “By the way” to minimize the impact of the next statement. When you hear this don’t relax, perk up. “Yes ma’am” or “yes sir” could be worrisome unless you are dating a Southerner. This sudden formality may tip you off that trouble is coming down the pike. “I know you may think this sounds funny but…” Watch out for that last but. This is the point where they are going to try to persuade, connive or manipulate you into doing something. “I knew this was going to happen to me!”, “What kind of person do you think I am?”, and “Are you calling me a liar?” are all suspect phrases as is “Why would I do that?” To learn more, pick up a copy of the book You Can’t Lie to Me by lie expert Janine Driver.

Arguing: A Relationship Killer

mad-couple

Arguing in a relationship can be a personal or cultural thing. Lots of people grew up in argumentative households and so they may think it’s normal to argue in a relationship. It can even help you feel energized, and help work out problems. The downside is that arguing constantly is a relationship killer. Disagreement is part and parcel of being in a relationship. Nothing is going to stop that. Of course, swallowing what you want to say will only make it worse. You will begin to have resentment toward your partner and anger will seethe under the surface. Disagreements have to be handled out in the open. Psychologist John Gottman revealed that how a couple fights shows how long they will last. It’s important then that you fight correctly. The important thing to learn is how to disagree respectfully. The first thing you have to realize is that you help set the tone in the argument, not just your significant other. You also have control. It takes two to do the box step. So if they start getting heated or try to draw you into an argument, instead of letting yourself, resist. Next, validate their feelings. Let them know you understand why they look at it or feel a certain way. Oftentimes validation alone will take the heat out of an argument.

Next, it may feel easy and worthwhile at the time to slip into criticisms, blame and insults. These are the worst things you can do. Once the respect line is crossed all bets are off. Instead of insulting, say exactly what your partner has done to upset you. If you are respectful and straightforward they will probably apologize and even make amends. If you are trying to convince your partner of something, arguing with them is perhaps the worst thing you can do. You will make them defensive, put their guard up, and they’ll already be preparing a negative rebuttal to what you are saying. Convince them another time when they are calm and open to listening instead. Some couples get stuck in the past and seem to argue about it incessantly. Let the past be the past. There is no sense arguing about something you cannot change. If you are owed an apology or your partner is, perhaps that can be addressed. But otherwise forgive. When things start to get heated, take a break. Decide to come back to the issue at a later date. While away think about all that was said and if your romantic partner has a point. Decide on how best to address the issue. Then when you meet again have some ideas for negotiation and compromise. To learn more, pick up a copy of Breaking the Argument Cycle: How to Stop Fighting Without Therapy by Sharon M. Rivkin, M.A., M.F.T.