Commitment Gone?

Q: My boyfriend lost his wife two years ago, and we moved in together less than a year ago. At first he talked about marriage, but he has since said he thinks it is too soon. What would cause him to suddenly back down? -- Mary, 62

Dr. Susan: It's not so much that he backed down, but that he wised up. If he was married for a rather long time and then his wife died, he may have jumped into a relationship with you out of sheer loneliness. That doesn't mean he doesn't love you. He talked about marriage because that's what people used to do when they loved someone and wanted to stay with them: they got married. Although that's how a lot of people still behave, times seem to have changed quite a bit. He realized he could have most of the benefits of marriage without necessarily taking on the drawbacks. I suspect he can't see any good reason to tie himself to you permanently at the moment. You'll have to decide how important it is to you to marry him, and at some point you'll have to let him know that this is what you need to be happy. Meanwhile, judge his love and commitment by his behavior toward you. His actions, in other words. If all that's missing is the piece of paper, it probably won't hurt to give him a while longer to be sure.

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