He doesn’t want to get married ‘anytime soon’

Dear Meredith,

My boyfriend and I have been together for a year. We became exclusive quickly, and we make each other very happy. We are supportive and respectful of one another, we enjoy many of the same things, and our families get along wonderfully. He is honest and kind and always puts my needs and comfort first. I have a young son and my boyfriend is great with him.

At the start of the relationship, we lived a few hours apart. I found an incredible job opportunity near him, and he was very enthusiastic for my son and I to move in with him, which we have. It's been a smooth transition and we all seem quite happy with the arrangement. My concern is that even though we essentially do everything as a family (trips, holidays, school functions, etc.), he made a comment to me the other day that he "wasn't getting married anytime soon." I wish I could remember the context of this comment, but we were in bed and about to fall asleep and it escapes me. It honestly shocked me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not hunting for a ring or demanding a date. But the way he said it made me feel like he was suggesting it wasn't in the plans. I got upset and he immediately felt badly and tried to comfort me. The next day he said that he "wasn't going anywhere," and we would live "happily ever after” but I am skeptical now. We have talked about what we value in marriage partners, and on our third date he blurted out that he wanted to marry me (which I didn't take very seriously, of course). But now I am faced with the dilemma of either throwing away what otherwise is a very healthy and happy relationship, or risk my son and I becoming even more attached to someone who might not be in it for the long haul. I'm in my early 30s and he is in his late 30s and we both have professional careers with similar incomes, so even though it is a little early in the relationship, I don't feel it is ridiculous to be having these discussions. I'm also afraid of coming across as desperate. I'm so confused and would just love some advice as to how to proceed.

– Too Soon?

It's been a big year for the two of you. You met, fell in love, and moved in together. Your partner has embraced living with your son, too.

All of that has been wonderful, but it's a lot of change over 12 months. It's not shocking that your boyfriend wants to enjoy the status quo for a bit.

That said, I can understand why his comment – or, more specifically, his tone – upset you. It's a flip thing to say to someone who has a lot on the line for a relationship. But it sounds like responded to your concerns with great empathy. He tried to comfort you and reassured you that he's committed. It also sounds like he's willing to talk more if you need to.

The thing is, he might not know if and when he wants to get married, and that's OK. The relationship is still kind of new; it's nice that he's not making promises he might not be able to keep. You can tell him how you feel about your pace. If you're hoping to get married in a few years – or even one year – provided all goes well, that's worth sharing. But you'll have to accept that no matter your hopes, you can't hit the fast forward button. You're enjoying what you have and building something great. If he's on the same page about that – and about continuing the discussion – it's all good. All you need to know is that you're both hoping for the same kind of future.

– Meredith

Readers? How much should the LW worry about that one comment?