I often hear from women who have been hearing excuses from a man who they love dearly but who doesn’t want to commit to them. One very common excuse that a man will give is that he is scared of a commitment because he never wants to get a divorce.
I heard from a woman who said: “my boyfriend and I have been together for nearly four years. I know that he loves me and I adore him. I want to get married. It’s time. But he is reluctant. He says that he has no problem living me for the rest of his life. But he is concerned about commitment because he doesn’t want to ever get a divorce. I guess he watched his parents go through a very nasty divorce in which both kids were pulled in opposite directions. He said it was a nightmare that he would never want to repeat ever again. So he is content to live with me like we are married but he doesn’t want the official commitment of marriage. What can I do?” I’ll try to answer this question below.
Know That There’s Some Powerful Statistics Behind His Concerns: Believe me, I completely understand why you are frustrated. But, just for a second, try to look at this from his point of view. Over half of all couples who get married today will end up divorced. And frankly, some of the couples who remain married are very miserable within that marriage. So, this woman’s boyfriend had some pretty powerful statistics on his side. He wasn’t just making this up. These figures are real and the numbers are rising. So, it’s understandable that, as child who went through one of these divorces, he would be motivated by fear and by avoidance.
And although it’s a common misconception that this is just an excuse, this can be a very valid concern that doesn’t have anything to do with his feelings for this woman. He very willingly told her that he would spend the rest of his life with her. But to him, marriage represented the possibility of divorce and this represented the very real possibility of pain. So it was important that she remained calm so that her future actions would not contribute him associating their relationship with pain, since that was the last thing she wanted.
Don’t Try To Tell Him That He’s Wrong Or Being Unreasonable: It’s a very normal inclination to tell him that he is overreacting or seeing problems where none exists. What you must understand is that this pain is extremely real to him. When he thinks about divorce, all of a sudden he is that scared little boy who felt as if he had to choose between his parents. You do not want to minimize this. You do not want to insinuate that he imagined it or made it worse than it was because he was there and you were not. Instead, be very sympathetic. Offer him comfort. And don’t diminish what he went through.
Don’t Tell Him That Your Relationship Will Be Different. Show Him Instead: Many women in this situation will attempt to talk their way out of it. They will try to tell their man why their relationship is different and why you will never get divorced. The thing is, he knows that you are going to say anything to change his mind and actions are so much more powerful than words. Rather than trying to argue that your relationship is different, show him instead. Show him that yours is a very healthy relationship that is very different than the relationship of his parents. Show him that you resolve conflict in a very healthy and loving way. Over time, he will come to know that you relate to each other in very different and in much more positive ways than his parents.
Because the only way to overcome his fears is to show him that there is really nothing to be afraid of. And this will sometimes take a bit of time, love, and patience. But if his experience has shown him a loving partner with whom he can solve any problem, then he will often come to realize that his fears are unfounded. And your love, reassurance and patience will mean a lot to him and go a long way towards easing his fears.