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He doesn’t look the marrying kind to me

Dear Bunmi,

Can you help me understand why my boyfriend won’t marry me? We’ve been together for nine years and we’re very much in love. He tells me repeatedly that I’m all he’s ever wanted.

We lived together briefly, but he moved out after he’d found a suitable flat.

We were both married before and my man thinks marriage would ruin our relationship.

In the same breath, he ays that he should set me free to find a husband, but he can’t because he loves me too much. I don’t want just to get married, but to marry

him. His attitude makes me feel very insecure. Is he with me just for sex? We both have children. His are grown up but mine are only 12 and 10. My boyfriend is 13 years older than me.

Riyike, bye-m il.

Dear Riyike,

It’s obvious that yo r boyfriend is afraid of remarrying. You, on the other hand, would like to do it all over again and try to make it work this time. He feels resentful about his experiences a a husband, while you would li e to create a happier ending to your career as a wife.

I sympathise with both of you. Your man found a woman he loved, but his marriage to her ended in disappointment and hurt. He retreated into a mistrustful hole where he feels unable to commit to anyone. Perhaps men are more prone to such behaviour.

The significance of marriage goes beyond the ceremony. You and your man need to talk through how you each feel about marriage in a loving and patient manner. Don’t do this to try and win agreement, b t to understand one another better. Not living with you suggests that he is keeping his options open.

Yet he may well enjoy the thrill of being the man who calls round for sex rather than being a husband. his, after all, is what drew you together.

You need to discuss s how you will live as you grow older and decide what that future holds for you. Marriage is no longer essential to a relationship these days as many couples, who are very much in love, live apart in a passionate and sometimes tempestuous courtship. You both need greater security and intimacy than you have now. Make this – and not necessarily marriage – your aim.


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