Wanting to get married to your relationship partner is about love, commitment, and feeling sure you can make each other happy. But what happens when marriage is just a condition to live together and the costs involved are just too high for one partner to pay?
And if their parents still don't know anything about the relationship, is it worth trying, or does that mean things can't work out at all?
My friend Bria has been dating her boyfriend, Sean, for ten months. During this time, they checked out different restaurants, took day trips outside the city, attended classes together, and had lots of fun.
"I liked talking to him since the first time we met. It took him about three weeks to ask me out on a date, but after that, we realized we were great together. He isn't boring at all and always shows me how much he cares. I want a supportive relationship with no stress, and I think Sean would be a good partner and husband for me," Bria said.
They kept dating three times a week and sometimes had weekends together. They didn't always go to expensive restaurants but went for picnics and outdoor activities so they could enjoy each other's company for several hours.
They also liked to watch movies together and learned how to cook tasty meals as part of showing each other how much they cared.
Their relationship went well for several months, but there is one thing that hasn't happened yet. While Bria's parents know about her and Sean and like to have him visit from time to time, he hasn't made any effort to introduce her to his parents.
Instead, Sean keeps finding excuses for why it's still not the right time to take that step. He also told Bria she should avoid insisting on it unless she wants to argue.
Two weeks ago, something changed in their relationship, though. Sean asked his girlfriend to live with him.
He feels enough time passed since they began dating and that they need to take the next step. So, getting used to each other and seeing how well they adjust while sharing the same place is what he has in mind.
Bria thought about it for a few days, but she concluded she couldn't end her lease unless Sean did something for her. And living together wasn't ok with her unless it meant something more than just that.
While she hasn't particularly asked for a ring, Bria would like Sean to set a wedding date and start planning for that day if he's determined to live with her.
"I'm not going to do that unless I can be sure he wants to commit to me. I don't care much about meeting his parents, but he has to show me he wants to get married before I'm ready to give up on my lease and begin living in his home," Bria said.
Sean was surprised by her reaction and told her he couldn't afford to pay for a wedding in the next few months. What's more, Bria doesn't want just any kind of wedding either. She's particularly excited about a big wedding with a long guest list, a unique cake, and a wedding gown she can spend a few months choosing and adjusting to her liking.
"She'd like a big wedding to stay with me; mom doesn't know about her. That's just too much. I can only marry someone she likes, of course. I was sure Bria would be happy about living together because I own my house, and she wouldn't have to pay rent. But to add all those costs to it and have to agree on a wedding date is a lot to take in. I just missed her and wanted to be together every day. I thought our relationship was at that stage, but it's nowhere near organizing a wedding," Sean said.
Bria isn't willing to compromise on this, and she let her boyfriend know their relationship could go on the same way until he can agree to what she wants. If, however, he can't do that in four months at most, she's willing to look elsewhere.
"It's not like I can spend years waiting for him to make up his mind and choose to get married. He has his chance, and if nothing happens soon, I will think about what works for me and how I can be happy. It's only fair to both of us," Bria said.
Her parents agreed with her idea and told her she should be firm about it. They think Sean needs to be more determined about committing to a permanent connection, and having a wedding date would make what they have more reliable.
What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for Bria to expect her boyfriend to set a wedding date and start paying for a big wedding if he wants to live together? Should she try to compromise to keep their relationship happy, or is it better to find someone else if he can't commit to her the way she wants him to?