The Relationship Judge: Why Won’t She Marry Me?

This Relationship Judge entry comes from a close friend of mine who happens to be a guy.  We’ve got to help him!  “Jeremy” is a kind, smart, hard working, funny and insightful man who also happens to be adorable.  Just had to give this background before you hear what he’s going through.  And once we help him, we’ve got to check back in periodically with him and make sure he’s doing okay.

The Facts:  Straight from Jeremy’s email:

 I was in a relationship with the wrong person for many years.  When I finally decided to move on from said relationship I was the happiest I had been in my life.  She was a wonderful person, just not the one for me.  After a “fallow period,” when I wasn’t looking to meet anyone, I met the most stunning woman I had ever met.  Smart, funny, gorgeous with the most out-of-this-world personality.  She had moved to NYC to pursue higher education and  I was working at an investment bank trying to figure out up from down.  From the word, “go” we spent every waking hour together.  She would come over and study while I watched TV or I would crash in her grad school single bed while she wrote papers all night.  The perfect match. I had never felt this way about someone and was head over heels for her.

I proposed to this wonderful person after 3 years of dating and she said yes.  Shortly after that I lost my job (found a new one 3 weeks later) and life started to come at us fast. We lost track of being engaged.  Fast forward 5 years, we are still engaged.  I have begged, pleaded, cried, rinsed and repeated, trying to figure out why she won’t marry me…nothing. To further complicate things, I was recently offered a very good position in NYC.  We had been talking about moving out of the city and I told her I wouldn’t take the job if it meant losing her.  The response was, “I am leaving…you should stay.”

After 8 years together. 5 years of engagement.  The rubber had met the road.  She is leaving.

The Question: Jeremy wants to know the following: (1) Was he wrong to pressure her? (2) Should he follow her in the hopes that it’s NYC that’s holding them back and (3) What if being unhappily unmarried is all he wishes for after she leaves?

The Relationship Judge Says: JEREMY! Take that job and run, my friend.  Before I can begin to answer your specific questions, let’s start with some basic facts:

First – you are a good looking, employed, smart guy who wants nothing else but to be in a committed relationship with the love of your life, get married and start a family.  I bet that if you looked around New York City (or anywhere, really), you’ll find women by the thousands who are looking for someone EXACTLY like you.  Women who want exactly the things you are anxious to give – right at this exact moment – not some day down the road.

Second – There is absolutely nothing that your fiance will come to learn about you 6 months, a year or 5 years from now that will suddenly make her realize that she’s finally ready to have a wedding and be married.  For whatever reason, she’s having difficulty fully committing yet she is not ready to set you free.  Pretty selfish, if you ask me. If she doesn’t see you as a her husband, she has no right to keep you waiting around in the hopes that it will happen.

Third – just an observation, but it does sound like at least part of your relationship has been about you sacrificing for her.  Taking a backseat to what she wants.  Now I happen to know your fiance and grew to love her like you did because she does have a wonderful personality. She IS a lovely, great person.  But even lovely, great people make big mistakes and fall into situations that they can’t even explain. It no longer seems like this person and you are on the same page about what you both currently want.  You want to get married. Have kids. Settle down.  She seems to want these things, but perhaps not at this time, perhaps not ever or perhaps not with you?? You’ve given this 8 years and you’re no closer to finding out what the story is. This is a MAJOR red flag.

Now, to address your specific questions.

(1) No, you were not wrong to pressure her. It would be one thing if you proposed to her to keep her in NYC.  This did not happen.  You proposed 5 years ago.  You have a right to know what the heck is going on.  If she’s not telling you to move with her (in fact, TELLING you to stay in NYC and take the job) – THAT IS YOUR ANSWER.  She may not want to say it. She may not even want to admit it. But she knows in her mind that she can’t move forward with you.  She may not be strong enough to tell you.  She may never be strong enough to tell you.  Her willingness to let you go is your clear answer, Jeremy.  It sucks. But it’s clear.  It’s not really that confusing.  You love someone, you don’t move away from them.  You’re engaged to someone you love? You marry that person.  End of story.

(2) No, you should not follow her.  NYC is not your problem. Wherever you go, your problems will come with you.  But let’s play devil’s advocate. Let’s say you did move there and gave up the job.  What would you do in the new city? Would she be willing to get married then? Or would she come up with more reasons why she’s not ready?  Getting married is very easy to do, by the way.  You go to the town hall and apply for a marriage license.  A wedding can happen later.  If she’s not willing to do either (and hasn’t been willing to do so for 5 years), I don’t think that moving to a new city will help.

(3) Once you make the decision to end it, it will never be as bad as you imagine. Yes, you will miss her. Being single after being with the same person for 8 years is a huge change.  You will have plenty of moments of self-doubt.  You may try to contact her in a time of weakness. She may contact you.  The sooner you put this all behind you, the sooner you will be able to heal, move on and find someone who is ready to give you everything you’ve ever wanted.  Stay busy. Keep working out. Make tons of plans with lots of different people. It’s summer – the best time to go out and meet new people – use that to your advantage.  But whatever you do, be firm about it.  You have the ability to end this heartache once and for all and start fresh.  It’s scary out there, but what’s the alternative?  This could go on for another few years and the torture will continue. Don’t let that happen.


Your Turn: Can you please tell Jeremy that he needs to move on?  That this relationship is not going to get him anywhere good? That he’s spent enough time being patient and needs to cut his losses and move on?

Wishing you all (and Jeremy) a wonderful weekend.  Until next time, please “Like” my Facebook page ( or “Follow” me on Twitter (@OfficeStace).



  1. Michelle says:

    Poor Jeremy. But I agree with Stacey. You need to let her go. You shouldn’t have to convince someone to marry you. Shame on her for saying “yes” to marrying you if she wasn’t sure and then making you wait 5 years. Jeremy you seem like you have a big heart and you will find someone that wants to be with you forever.

  2. Jeremy :-) Clearly Stacey loves you which is a good thing! And is probably in a better position to weigh in on this situation because she knows you and your fiancee up close and personal. But..since you’ve asked perfect strangers to also weigh in, a few thoughts come to mind…

    I am wondering if part of what’s going on is that your fiancee is actually still creating a situation where a “chase” is involved. This often entices men…yes even after 8 years…humans want what they believe they can’t have…could this be part of the current relationship? She has set up a situation where you put a ring on it but now you still have to pursue her in order to seal the deal…after five years…not a good sign. Once folks are engaged, it’s typical to want what comes next. The fact that she is not seeking this next step indicates she just isn’t ready for some reason and after this length of time, as Stacey said, I’m not sure what might change?

    Also I suggest you spend some time alone in the next few days, close your eyes, really imagine you in your life tomorrow, next year, and years from now. what is in your heart? Who is in the picture with you? Don’t try and over think, just let it come naturally and see what arises. Often if we let the noise and static of anxiety, fear, familiarity, etc fade away….we can locate what is truly in our hearts and what is truly right for us. This may bring clarity to your mind in a way that you haven’t experienced previously.

    Also it’s easy to put your love on a pedestal – most of us have done it at one point in time. Saying good bye to your fiancee is of course not just saying good bye to the person, but to the life you have currently and the life you imagined that you would have as a married couple….that is a very hard pill to swallow and nobody can blame you for being anxious at the prospect of doing so. It’s a huge loss, even if you decide you’re ready to accept it.

    Finally, absence tends to push people in one direction or another. Once you are faced with separation, it’s likely you will become even clearer (and so will she) as to what should happen next. Feelings tend to intensify or there’s an experience of relief and a desire to move on. I’ve seen this time and time again with couples who go through long distance situations. The fact that she wants to leave and has encouraged you to stay is either a true testament to her feelings, or another invitation for you to “chase” her as I mentioned earlier. Stay true to your own heart and the vision that you have for your life and you’ll be just fine Jeremy!

    • Gracie’s mom is a smart cookie.
      «Stay true to your own heart and the vision that you have for your life and you’ll be just fine Jeremy!» Ditto.

  3. Dear Jeremy,

    There are probably 50 girls on this site that would love to meet you!!! That said…

    1) You have considered losing a job to follow this person who has told you not to move with her. (Are you listening ?)

    2) «I have begged, pleaded, cried, rinsed and repeated, trying to figure out why she won’t marry me…nothing.»

    3) «She is leaving.»

    Do you have your answer? Are you ignoring it and holding on to sentiment?
    Sometimes we must RISK losing love to truly OBTAIN it.

    1) Does the problem lie with you?
    Has she created an ultimatum in her mind? That if you love her, you’ll leave NYC?
    Has she decided that it is best for you to stay but she can’t take the city any longer?
    (Side note: Is she Asian? because she seems to interiorize her thoughts and feelings.)
    She isn’t willing to honestly explain where she is at. After 8 years, you deserve an answer of some kind. She’s not willing to «cough it up». Respect her wishes—with or without closure.

    2) By preserving your professional future you affirm your own self-worth. (Being a carpet never works. It only engenders more abuse. YES, abuse. ) Sure you say you don’t mind moving, but is location really in question here?
    Does she have deep fears of abandonment, dreams of having another life-style with someone else, ethnic/religious questions, or anger issues? Has she always been non-communicative ? or is she bitter?

    Perhaps you may have re-created the unrequited love/approval (or being rejected) you felt as a child. If so, break the chain. Was she trapped in a family with an over-domineering father and is afraid of losing her independence?


    *****THE KEY***** : Would you be happy to stay in this relationship non-committed and not having children ever? If so, move (unconditional love). Don’t move expecting her to marry you. However, if you do not want to be in a non-committed relationship any longer and you definitely want to start a family in the near future, do not move out of «sacrifice». You may only resent her for it later.

    Be very wise in this decision. Make your choice based on the LIFE YOU want to build. Only you can decide what is best for you. Don’t force her to make a decision for the both of you. You are not a victim as long as you assume the consequences of the choices you’ve made.

    3) You’ve spent a lot of time investing in this relationship. … if you decide to stay in the City, the grieving process is going to take time, too. You’re going to need to speak to a lot a people during this process. Maybe even to total strangers. You’ll need to evacuate the pain and the loss. Because it would appear that she’s already made up her mind. (How can two walk together if they are not in agreement?)

    4) There is a time for everything (a time to embrace, a time to refrain from embracing). Seasons are moral strengtheners. For example, winter causes slower growth in a tree allowing it to create compact rings that give added strength, stability and rigidity. This will strengthen you.

    Try not to focus on the past or on the distant future. Live in the present and find happiness in small things. Even if that just means for 30 seconds. There is probably something absolutely wonderful just around the corner but you need to get there. Life is trying to nudge you in the right direction. Forget the what ifs. Choose and assume and then you can choose again if it doesn’t work out.

    I guarantee you Jeremy you will not be unhappily unmarried! You will be happy in whatever state you choose. You will be most happy when you love yourself, take charge of your life and not let circumstances rule you. Discover that you are loved for WHO you are and NOT WHAT you say or do.

    Stacey is giving you very good advice. She knows you both. You can trust her judgment and know that she has YOUR best interest in mind. One day (soon) you’ll write in with the greatest news ever.

    From a sympathetic Anonymous reader,

  4. Jeremy, I have reread your email several times, as I couldn’t believe that you have been engaged for five years, and fiancee still can not make a decision to get married.
    If she is unhappy with the situation, I wonder why she has remained engaged to you?
    I am further assuming that she is not dating anyone else.
    I have to agree with Stacey, that you accept your new job offer in NYC, and if your fiancee, moves to another city, that is your answer as far as the two of you are concerned.
    Finally, end the engagement, so uou can go on with your life.
    Remember, “The end of something, is always the start of something new”.
    Keep busy, have no down time and be thankful that when you two go your separate ways, there are not two or three kids involved.
    You will be free, and you will look back years from now, and know you did the right thing.
    Sometimes it is hard to see the forest, if you are standing in front of one tree”.
    I am full of brilliant thoughts tonight.
    Good luck, and let us know what you decide.
    Be smart, listen to Stacey, she has your back.
    Another brilliant remark.

  5. friend of reader says:

    Jeremy has to get his girlfriend to talk! they need to go to couples counseling.

  6. Stacey got it spot on–listen to her Jeremy!

    One other thing….you said that prior to this 8 year relationship you were dating a great girl but that she wasn’t great for YOU. It seems like that’s how your current fiancee feels about you. She knows you’re a great guy and isn’t willing to let go, but she probably knows, deep down, that you’re not really the one for her.

    Don’t lose out on that job and don’t follow her. Move on. Keep busy. It’ll get easier and one day soon you’ll meet the real woman of your dreams. Then you’ll blink and you’ll be married with a toddler and another one on the way. That’s how it happened with me. I broke up with a guy I thought was “the one” and 2 weeks later I met the man who is now my husband. Married 5 years in Oct, with a 2.5 year old and one on the way.

  7. tpaschal says:

    Wondering what decision Jeremy made, and how he’s doing now?

  8. She is a perfectionist and doesn’t think you’d be perfect enough for her.

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