Q: I am almost 50 years old and have never been married. Why is it that I can get plenty of boyfriends and the relationships last. Most of my relationships last about six years. I always tell myself I am going to give a relationship two years and if it isn’t going anywhere, I plan to end it. But usually at the two-year mark, things are going so well, I don’t follow through. Then I find myself at the six-year mark with no thoughts of marriage on the horizon. I push; he leaves. I want to be married. What am I doing wrong?

A: At least you are asking the “right” question in attempting to decide what you can do differently instead of insisting there are no “good men” out there or insinuating there is something wrong with them. In my work with couples, I have found the concept of marriage to mean very different things to men and to women. For a woman, marriage generally represents love and security; while for the man marriage generally represents sex and his loss of freedom. This can sometimes result in a push/pull in relationships. When a woman starts to push for the engagement ring, many men resist the concept because they may not be ready for that loss of freedom.

What I often advise people to do is to really examine the question about what is most important . . . is marriage what you want most or is it companionship with your man that you are most seeking? Yes, sometimes you can have both and if both is what you want, then let’s look at what you are doing to accomplish that but first, I want you to be sure about your priorities. If your current guy never marries you, will you be content to stay in the relationship you have or is getting rid of him so you can find someone who wants to marry you most important?

When we aren’t getting what we want, there are basically three things you can change to get you closer. You can adjust what you want, you can change your behavior or you can change your perception. If you decide the guy is what you want, then you change your want from marriage to a relationship with him which you already have. You can change your behavior by not pushing for marriage or by ending the relationship after 2 years as you intended in the beginning. You can also change your perception of what you have, making it more appealing than the prospect of getting married. Let me know which one you implement first and keep me posted.

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