Conflicted about Tying the Knot

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Dear Hoopers,
I am 31 years old and have been with the same guy for 6 years. He is several years older than me, so he is ready for marriage and babies but I don’t know if I am. Also, I’m not 100% sure if I want to marry him. I know I love him (to the point of crying when I think of breaking up with him). I also know that I have some parental issues that may be preventing me from feeling 100% about marriage. But I can’t tell if it’s the guy or if it’s me and whether I should just get over myself and marry him or whether I should break up (but that could be a huge mistake??). A break up would be so hard and so final, since we live together. How can I ever figure out how I really feel?
-Conflicted about Tying the Knot

Dear Conflicted about Tying the Knot,
Your feeling of doubt is understandable. Taking the plunge isn’t something you should take lightly. I would argue that it’s not about feeling 100%, but rather knowing that you are compatible, can grow together, trust each other and can rely on one another. Not every marriage is the outcome of a sizzling romance and flame. Love is different for everyone. It isn’t stagnant. Love evolves, grows and changes with time. New seasons may bring new values and desires. Sustainability is based in meaning rather than constant thrill.

Would breaking up be “so hard and final” or do you think a break up may bring clarity in this decision? It’s a tricky situation, but certainly one I can relate to in terms of a quarter life crisis when Ryan and I broke up because we weren’t on the same page with marriage and future goals. Our story be told, we did get back together, but I would warn you that a breakup may come with the risk of loss of the relationship, especially if the split isn’t mutual. One of you may move on before the other, or be so broken hearted that repair is unbearable. It is better to figure it out now then deep into marriage.

You may be confused, but if there is a lingering feeling swaying you one way over the other, listen to it.


Getting married takes courage and so does setting love free. I would take time to explore the idea of both in greater depth. Speak with people you love and trust, consult a therapist, try to get perspective, weigh out the pros and cons. Above all, trust your gut. You may be confused, but if there is a lingering feeling swaying you one way over the other, listen to it.

Societal pressures can often steer us to make decisions conflicting with our instinctual pull. Marriage is the real deal. Unless you see yourself spending the rest of your life with someone, it’s probably best you not dive into nuptials.

Dear Conflicted about Tying the Knot,
You love him to the point that you have been with him for 6 years, moved in together, and cry when you think of breaking up with him. The only negative I have heard so far about him is that you are unsure if you want to marry him. While you definitely sound conflicted about marriage, your question acknowledges the possibility that most of this conflict is not about him but about you. It will be important for you to process through the hesitation that you have towards marriage in order to understand the hesitation you are experiencing towards him.

There is no magic wand in figuring out a fit for marriage and no partner is perfect. It’s important that you two are able to have fun together and to work together. Open communication is key and trust is the foundation of all relationships. If you two have been together for 6 years and have lived together, my guess is that you have a good sense of these things.

Trust both your gut and your brain based on what you know about him as a partner.

-Dr. Ryan

Trust both your gut and your brain based on what you know about him as a partner. These past years tell you everything you need to know about him and are a strong suggestion of who he will be in the future. If you do move towards marriage, I would suggest some focused marriage counseling to help prepare both of you. This can help you work through some of the hesitations that you have, while also establishing a shared vision for the future.

Lastly, you acknowledged that your parents could also be a part of this hesitation. Parents are our first example of an intimate relationship, which can taint your experience of marriage. It is important to remind yourself that you aren’t your parents and that you are capable of a successful marriage regardless of what happened with them.
-Dr. Ryan