Stop Settling for Less than Marriage
By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.
Why are we so shocked?
Recently, there was a news item where a reality star’s baby-daddy cheated on her with one of her friends. Sadly, this was the second time he’d done it; the first was while the starlet was pregnant with his child.
As women, we find this behavior shocking and deplorable.
But, if a man isn’t committed enough to you to marry you, he’s not going to be committed enough to stay faithful. Whether or not you have a baby with him is irrelevant.
“Married men cheat, too,” you may be saying. Yes - but it’s more likely that they were committed to their wife at some point (unless he married her for reasons other than wanting to be with her for the rest of his life).
Another reality star had 3 children with her longtime boyfriend. They were on-again-off-again, and she was chronically unhappy with his drinking and partying. He took very little interest in being a responsible parent or partner. He started dating someone new, and six months into that new relationship, he’s engaged.
“Marriage is just a piece of paper,” you say. No - a marriage license is a piece of paper, but not “just.” It’s a legal document that entitles you to certain rights and recognizes your relationship under the law. Men know this.
One of my friends desperately wants to marry her boyfriend. He’s given her a beautiful diamond ring (but says it’s NOT an engagement ring and he doesn’t want to marry her) and refers to her as his “wife,” but if he dies, she has ZERO claim to anything. His grown children could even bar her from attending his funeral.
If a man is using the “we’re married in our hearts” scam on you, be aware that he is doing that because he is not committed enough to you. When he steps out on you, he’ll legit be able to say, “Well, it’s not like we’re married.”
Now, all of this is moot if YOU don’t want to be married. I have a friend who absolutely does not want to be married, and she is perfectly content with her long term relationship that is never going to lead to marriage. If that’s you, then this advice isn’t applicable (but you should probably share it with a friend).
If a man hasn’t married you, he should not be weighing in on your friends, your wardrobe, your career, or your hobbies. It’s fine if he’s setting a boundary - maybe he doesn’t want to date someone whose hobbies include tossing Chinese throwing stars or who works at a strip club. That’s not the same as trying to control aspects of your life when he hasn’t even asked for your hand in marriage. (Please note: also NOT GOOD if your husband is trying to control you!)
Some men will say, “I can’t marry you until you____________ (stop wearing makeup; stop going out with your friends; stop having fun without him).” Women shrink their lives thinking it will make this guy happy enough to commit, but it never will. His goal isn’t commitment, it’s control.
So, when Mr. Wrong cheated on her when she was pregnant, that shouldn’t have been a surprise. He wasn’t committed enough to marry her. For sure, cheating on her the second time was bound to happen - he already demonstrated his lack of commitment.
Men get a bad rap for “not wanting commitment,” but men DO want to commit to the right woman.
My brother had always said he didn’t know if he wanted children, but when he met his (amazing!) wife, he knew he wanted kids and he’s a terrific father. He’s devoted to her and to their children and steps up in every possible way. He’s a good, stable provider. He puts her and the children first, and he enjoys being with his family. That’s what commitment looks like.
If a man won’t commit, it’s because he doesn’t see YOU as the right woman for him. Sadly, this is where many of us go into “audition” mode, thinking if we try hard enough, we’ll see how perfect we are for him.
But men know pretty quickly if they want to commit to you. The longer it takes, the more likely it is that they are settling.
This is not to say that Mr. Whirlwind Courtship who talks marriage on the first date is a good candidate. A high-value man will know quickly that he wants to commit to you, but he’ll also get to know you and won’t want to rush things.
I feel bad for our reality starlet. She’s beautiful and talented. She’s also a single mother now, and that’s hard. Especially when you’re recovering from a broken heart.
When you’re living a One-Derful Life, you are coming from a place of peace and contentment. This means you are willing to wait for a man who wants to commit to you (if that’s what YOU want). You won’t settle for a man who wants the benefits of marriage without the responsibility or commitment.
Question: Do you think commitment matters?
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