Just say no.
"Does he have a legitimate excuse for waiting to marry me or is he just stalling?"
This is the question women ask most often whose "marriage talks" with their boyfriends aren't resulting in a proposal. Of course, there are times when these long-term boyfriends do raise a valid concern or two that needs to be addressed before you can seriously consider spending a lifetime together. The challenge is to identify when an excuse or two has turned into serial stalling.
Once you reach the point where every mention of marriage is met with a constant stream of excuses, you're likely to find that rather getting tired of delaying marriage, he seems to become more and more proficient at stalling. Although the number of excuses these men use seem limitless, there are several categories that are old time favorites and crop up over and over again.
See if you recognize your man's behavior in any of these common "serial staller personalities."
1. The man who needs everything to be perfect
He may say that you need to wait for the perfect time, have the perfect amount of money saved, or be at the perfect stage in your careers before the two of you can take your relationship to the next level. This "perfect" excuse is very convenient, because there's no such thing as perfection in life.
The excuse can continue indefinitely no matter how life changes. Even if you've saved a chunk of money or have reached a milestone at work, the excuse can always be made that these are merely steps along the path to reaching that "perfect time" for marriage. One side note about the perfectionist is that he isn't usually a perfectionist when it comes to other things in life, just when it comes to marriage.
2. The man who puts a negative spin on all aspects of marriage
He can cite every couple that he's ever known who's gotten divorced, yet he can't seem to name one happily married couple. Forget about the fact that his own parents are still happy after many years of marriage. Instead, he'll explain how the two of you are doomed because his buddy from college just got divorced from a woman that he dated for two weeks prior to marrying her on a whim.
Yes, the divorce rate is still hovering around 50 percent, but the couples who head down the aisle don't dwell on this. They focus on what they will need to do to one day be the little old married couple that still holds hands, rather than focus on every possible scenario of what could go wrong in a marriage.
3. The man who never wants to grow up
Peter Pan was the boy who never wanted to grow up. Many grown men also admit that they aren't ready to grow up, especially when it comes to marriage.
Some of them outright admit that the idea of marriage makes them feel old or that they still want to have more time to enjoy those carefree bachelor days. Some will just state that they need more time or that they haven't lived enough of life to "settle down" yet. Marriage isn't the end of fun and freedom, and most things we enjoy are even better when we can share them with the one we love.
4. The man who only sees marriage as a legally binding document
This man has never taken any interest in the law but will suddenly cite every nuance of what defines a "common law marriage" to explain why living together really isn't very different from an official marriage. It doesn't really matter whether this man is just grasping at straws when he gives this excuse or whether he truly believes it.
Either way, this isn't a man you want to marry. If he doesn't believe this "piece of paper" excuse, then he's dishonest. If he truly feels this way, he has no understanding of the importance of marriage and why you value it, which is fundamental.
5. The man who wants to keep his options open
At any given time, he will have four or five excuses that he tosses out so he's never backed into a corner when one or two of his excuses are no longer valid. He's the guy who has to wait until his mother is no longer ill, his kids have adjusted to his divorce, and he's financially stable.
By starting out with this variety pack of excuses, he will always have at least one barrier to marriage that remains, no matter what turns life takes. Even if he wins the lottery and his mom becomes the picture of health, he will still argue that his son who graduated from high school now needs to graduate from college before he's ready to cope with his father remarrying.
It doesn't matter which category he falls into or how convincingly he delivers his excuses; once a man establishes himself as a serial staller, he's shown that he views marriage as something to be avoided rather than something to be excited about.
If he isn't excited about marrying you, then it's time to find someone who will be thrilled to marry you. Modern marriages have enough obstacles to overcome without starting off with a man who treats the notion of marriage like those undesirable things in life he tries to postpone.