Does he say that he plans to be with you forever but "doesn’t believe in marriage?" If he wants to be with you and his words and actions match consistently over time, yet he consistently wants to banter back and forth regarding the value of marriage in 21st century society, toss around the latest divorce rate statistics, or point out how many married friends you have who don't seem happy, it's time to use the same techniques as you would with The Pretender, above. Ask him about his willingness to engage in counseling or his willingness to suspend his need to be "right" in his view of marriage so you can create a mutually beneﬁcial solution. A man who wants to be with you long term also wants you to be happy, and ﬁnding a way to get there together is the ultimate goal. You may need to let go of your fantasy of a fairytale proposal and instead work with your partner to ﬁnd a way to solidify your commitment to each other that enables each of you to get what you want, when you want it, in a way that's a true expression of your love.
In some cases, a compromise wherein you create a new deﬁnition of long-term commitment, perhaps including a different sort of ritual or ceremony on which you can both agree, is truly the best solution. Perhaps one (or both) of you has been married before and feels a strong urge to avoid making the same mistakes over again. Perhaps one or both of you had divorced parents and are considering what you'll do differently to ensure your relationship lasts. Maybe he wants to be with you always but is attached to his personal space. Whatever the circumstances, allowing your partner to express his fears and anxieties (and being able to express yours, as well) openly without judgment, viewing this "problem" through a lens of possibility, can lead to a solution that is truly satisfactory. In the 21st century there are many creative options, both practical and spiritual, that can be utilized to overcome fears around such issues as ﬁnancial responsibility and custodial obligations while still enabling you to ritualize and honor your commitment to each other. A true win-win relationship is one in which both partners want the other to be satisﬁed and are both able to give up the need to be right regarding the pros and cons of traditional marriage in order to ﬁnd a mutually beneﬁcial and joyful arrangement.
The Faux Beau
He has given you the "disclaimer"—he says he loves you, is attracted to you, or loves spending time with you, but he's not ready or able to make a long-term commitment—and shows no signs of wanting to change. In this circumstance, it's time to stop settling for "good enough" and create space in your life for someone new. He may be fantastic, loving, and better than anyone else you've dated in the past; but ultimately if you want to be with someone who wants to be in a happy, mutually beneﬁcial, committed relationship, it's time to cut your losses.