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The Fear of Putting a Ring on It

A Think Piece on Marriage in the Modern Day

Photo by Jeremy Wong Weddings on Unsplash

I've been with my boyfriend for almost six years now. While we have had our ups and downs in the beginning stages of the relationship, I like to think we are far stronger than ever before. Most people who have met us usually say the same thing. They also, after finding out how long we have been together, are shocked that we have not tied the knot already. Usually, I bypass this comment by mentioning how young we are, how we have a lot on our plate with moving, and how it just isn't the right time for us.

The problem is, all of these are lies. Yes, we are still in our twenties, but we are not too young for marriage. We have lived together for several years and regularly talk about our future together. However, when it comes to the topic of marriage, my boyfriend gets a tad clammy. While he has said many times before that he wants to marry me, that he loves me, and all the kind words I like to hear, that ring has still never popped up (and possibly will never happen).

A few excuses have been spoken throughout the years when I press on the topic. Some of which involve the divorce statistics or how my boyfriend feels he is not financially able to give me the life he believes I deserve. Usually, these answers quiet my anxiety for several months as we go about our lives again. The thing is, I've never been huge on the marriage wagon. I would agree that divorce happens far too often and, in all honesty, I don't necessarily see a need for a little piece of paper to tell me what I already know.

The longer he doesn't do it, the more I want him to (always how it ends up working, right?). It also pushes me into this anxiety-ridden state the more he gives me excuses that are obvious side steps to how he is genuinely feeling. Over time, I start to wonder what I am doing wrong and why I'm not worthy of marriage. The question always surfaces, why does he have a fear of putting a ring on my finger?

It is an answer I might never know. I've even thought of proposing myself, but my partner's fear of this form of commitment has me scared that he would possibly say no. So, why do people have such a fear of marriage? While I know there are so many answers to this question; it is one that a lot of us deal with in our daily lives. We feel connected to a person and, for the most part, genuinely think like they do as well. It's as if they are scared that signature on a document will change the passion and love in the relationship to something sinister.

With so many divorces in this day and age, it feels like marriage is becoming more of a scare tactic than a loving bond between two people. We'll move in together, get a dog, and even a baby before saying I do. This isn't wrong to do, and could be beneficial. I think it is great that we aren't just rushing into marriages. Are we slowing down so much that marriage is ending altogether? After all, forever is a long commitment not all of us are ready for (or ever will be).

If I had to come up with a reason for my boyfriend not wanting to marry, I would say it is a fear of things falling apart. Marriage is work after all, and not everyone is ready to put in the hours. We become so scared of divorce and heartache that we, in turn, hurt our loved ones by not putting a ring on it. Even worse, we don't communicate why we feel this way. If there is one thing I have learned in my relationship, it is the fact that silence breeds terrible thoughts.

The longer he doesn't explain himself, the more my imagination grows with curiosity as to why he feels this way. A certificate that I didn't even care too much about now has become this desperate desire to have. Whatever the reason may be, I understand why people have it. We have been taught at a young age that we must make decisions, but that we should also be wary and practical. It is scary committing to one person for forever when we can't even decide what we want to do, where we want to live, or what we want to eat for supper.

The only advice I can give to people with this fear is that you are not alone. The great thing about taking that plunge is that you are doing it with someone by your side. If they genuinely love you, they will be with you through all the scary times and great moments of life. To me, marriage is not frightening, but the future is. They are two separate entities if you take the time to notice. 

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The Fear of Putting a Ring on It
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