*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Getting married is a way to make your relationship more permanent, but the commitment you made on that day won't always last for many years.
What do you do when you realize you no longer care about your partner and their happiness, but there are other things that you're not willing to give up on ending your marriage?
Is it fair to stay with them just to be comfortable, or should you let them know how you feel and let them choose what they want for the future?
My friend Dahlia has been married to her husband Anthony for six years. They were friends for a few years in college, but they only started dating after graduating.
"I knew him from my group of friends, and we had spent time together at different events too. We also met while shopping sometimes, but one of us was usually in a relationship at the time, so I didn't really think of him as a partner. He was nice, and he made me laugh, and I liked that about him, but that was it," Dahlia said.
As time passed, Anthony ended his relationship with his girlfriend, and Dahlia was also single at the same time. They comforted each other and texted for a few weeks.
"We also went out for coffee in the mornings before work and met over the weekends to get our groceries together. It was just a casual way to show we cared, but it felt nice to have someone there for me," Dahlia said.
After a month of meetings like this, Anthony asked her out on a date. They didn't want to dress up or go to a restaurant, so they decided to watch a movie instead and have a walk in the park.
"It was a lot better that way. I don't like to feel pressured to impress anyone. And with him, I was so comfortable and saw that he liked me anyway. So, I didn't need extra makeup or a fancy outfit to make it work. And after my previous relationship, I wanted something completely different," Dahlia said.
They had a great time that evening, and they decided to keep dating at least two times a week. And when they got too busy at work and couldn't see each other on work days, they usually spent Sundays together.
"Ending the week together was so nice. And it made me feel I mattered a lot to him," Dahlia said.
After eight months of dating, Anthony proposed to her. Dahlia was excited and said yes. They chose a wedding date three months after the proposal, and their families helped them organize a simple ceremony with their friends and loved ones.
"That was all we needed. I wasn't interested in a big party or planning an event for one year or longer. This was just right, and we were in love," Dahlia said.
After they tied the knot, they moved into Anthony's home. They hadn't lived together previously, so they needed a few months to adjust to what each of them liked and to share chores around the house.
They initially agreed to wait on having kids until Anthony got promoted and earned well, but he changed his mind after their first anniversary. Dahlia wasn't working and was focused on keeping their home tidy and looking after their garden.
Anthony told Dahlia all his friends had kids, and he wanted to be a dad too. Unfortunately, Dahlia didn't feel ready to be a mom yet, and she asked him to wait a few more years. They argued about it for a week, and then Anthony didn't mention it for a while.
"Even when he didn't say anything, I knew he didn't like it. But we'd talked about it. Changing like that wasn't fair. I wanted to be happy and enjoy our relationship for at least six or seven years before becoming parents. I didn't get why he was in a hurry," Dahlia said.
Five more years passed like this, with Anthony mentioning kids every once in a while and Dahlia finding a reason to postpone being a mom, but their relationship wasn't the same. Even though he didn't press her, Anthony didn't buy his wife as many presents, and sometimes he forgot about planning dates or traveling together.
"Even on my birthday, he wasn't into it, and it just felt like he had to do it. I knew why he was behaving like that, and I couldn't fix it. I was tired of explaining all the time, too," Dahlia said.
During the past three months, they began arguing again, and Anthony is starting to resent his wife's choice. At the same time, Dahlia isn't sure whether to get a divorce or still try to get along and find a way to make their relationship work.
"We argue about having kids; if I divorce, I'll have to work again. I like being a housewife, but being a mom isn't really what I want. Maybe after more years pass, I'll change my mind, but I don't feel ready for it. And the more he tells me we should have kids, the less I want to do it," Dahlia said.
Her parents found out what was going on, and they sided with Anthony. They also want grandkids and told Dahlia that's the point of getting married after all. She's still undecided and can't choose between ending her relationship or raising a family with Anthony.
What do you think about this situation? Is it ok for Dahlia to just want to be a housewife without raising kids, or should she agree to what her husband wants since all her family wants the same thing too? Should Dahlia walk away from her relationship if she's not ready to be a mom, or should Anthony love her without any conditions?