Ask Amy: A Reluctant Middle-Aged Groom

By Amy Dickinson | June 16th, 2021

If he's dragging his feet, should she walk hers out of the relationship?


Reluctant middle-aged groom in a fight with fiancee Image

Dear Amy: My guy and I have been dating for five years, engaged for three, and living together for two.

It’s a second marriage for us both; we are seniors.

Every time I discuss it, he says he’s not ready to set a date, but doesn’t know why. I said I moved in with him because I thought we shared the same long-term goals, and if we don’t, I need to make another plan.

He said, “I will get married to make you happy, but I don’t feel like I’m ready.”

I can easily support myself, and we both contribute to our shared household. It’s his home.

He recently updated his will to bequeath his two homes and a huge amount of money to me. I’m confused.

Marriage, more than money, is so important to me.

I don’t understand why he ever asked me to marry him if he doesn’t want to.

I don’t want to force him to get married. His ex-wife cheated on him decades ago and took half of his hard-earned money in the divorce.

I’m going to make one last attempt and ask if a prenuptial agreement would help him feel better about setting a date.

I’m privately in anguish. I also feel humiliated and ashamed with family and friends, because I moved in with marriage as the reason, and now that may not be in the cards for us. I’m also very sad and told him so. That’s when he said he would do it, but mainly to make me happy.

I owe it to myself to resolve this. I could continue to cohabit and wait for when he might be ready, which makes me feel resigned and sad, because it might never happen. Or I could leave, which I don’t want to do.

Do you have any advice for me? I’m lost.

– C


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Dear C: You can resolve this only by resolving it for yourself. You cannot resolve this for him.

Your options are stark: You can certainly test to see if a prenup (preserving his assets in case of divorce) will move him closer to a marriage commitment. If he waffles, delays, or refuses, and if marriage is a core value and requirement for you, then you can resolve your own anguish by making the very tough choice to exit the relationship.

I understand the embarrassment and possible humiliation you might feel at the failure of this relationship to fulfil your own goals but dragging a reluctant partner over the finish line is hardly the path to the sort of balanced and loving marriage you deserve to have.

This is the kind of important conversation a couples’ counselor could help to facilitate.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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