Q: Dear Meredith,
I am in a relationship with a great guy, "Rob." We dated for two years, broke up for a while, worked things out, and have been together now for four years. The relationship is so much better than before. We've lived together now for three years, can't imagine being with anyone else, neither wants kids, are on the same page with how to handle finances in the long term, and have even jokingly talked about what to do after retirement. I'm in my late 20s, he's in his early 30s. Our parents have met and get along. It all sounds perfect, right?
It's almost like we're married. But we're not. And it seems that everyone in the world is waiting for it to happen. Except, I don't care about getting married. I'm not fundamentally opposed to marriage, it's just that I don't care. It doesn't mean anything to me. Not to say I don't appreciate it when other people do it, but I just don't see how it would change what Rob and I have. I could roll my eyes and brush off the idea when it was my mom asking about The Big Question, but my friends are hinting at it as well. They think I'll come around eventually. Do they all know something that I don't?
Rob and I have talked about this and his stance is, "I'll marry you if you really want." Mine is, "We're already so committed to each other, so it's not a life changing event." If he asked me to marry him, my response would be "Sure, why not?" Somehow this feels wrong. Shouldn't I be jumping up and down screaming "YES!!!" to that question? Instead, I feel so apathetic. I feel like getting married would just be a play put on to satisfy others.
My question is, what's the big deal? Is there something I'm not understanding? Is the whole world in on a secret and I didn't get the memo?
– Apathetic About Marriage, Boston
A: You're not a wedding/marriage person, AAM. That's OK. In fact, it's more than OK. Despite what you see in movies and on television, your apathy doesn't mean that your relationship isn't what it should be -- or that you missed a memo. You might start jumping up and down and screaming "YES!!!" when Rob tells you he wants to go on a cool vacation ... or buys a great television ... or learns how to make cheesecake from scratch.
You just need to figure out what to say to friends who take the whole "first comes love, then comes marriage" thing seriously. I'd come up with a one-line explanation. Something like, "It's just not a priority; we're too busy making our retirement plans." That won't silence the masses, but it will give you some temporary relief.
It's annoying, but your friends mean well. A lot of people do want to get married and have kids. Those people -- your friends -- want you to share their excitement about a big decision. They also want to make sure that you're getting what you want. And you are, right? Be happy about that and ignore everything else. Don't let other people's expectations give you doubts.
Readers? How should she deal with the questions? Anyone have a good one-liner for her to give to her friends? Should she be more excited about the idea of matrimony? Should she be more excited, in general? Will this problem go away when she and Rob are in their 30s/40s? Should she just get married? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.