Sex Talk with Dr. Charley: Put a Ring on It?

Dear Dr. Charley:

I’m 35 and have been with my man for six years. We have been living together for two and I’m more than ready for him to put a ring on it . . . but my guy isn’t. His parents went through a rough divorce around the time that we got together and he keeps telling me he isn’t sure if he believes in the institution of marriage anymore.

I’m almost ready to walk out the door, but the thing is, in basically every other way, our relationship is pretty perfect. He’s super responsible, very affectionate and treats me as his equal in every way. It’s basically like we’re married but we just don’t have that paper. Should I just get over it and be happy with the fact that I found a great guy to share my life with, or should I stick to me guns about the getting married? A lot of my friends are in unhappy marriages or stuck dating one loser after another and they all tell me how lucky I am. I’m confused! Please help.


Crossroads in California

Dear Crossroads:

What’s more important to you, the man who gives you everything your heart desires or a piece of paper that says he’s “supposed to?” Does it really take a marriage license to prove he loves you? Are you feeling that he’s not really committed because you don’t have a ring on your finger? Besides the marriage license, what is missing? It’s seems to me you’re reacting out of fear and probably both peer and family pressure. Or perhaps you’re worried about what people think about you “living in sin."

Let’s consider for a moment the three major factors of marriage: devotion, commitment, and ownership. From what you stated, you already have these. What you don’t have is the legal right to say he’s your husband or the $10,000 plus expense of a wedding. But you already have that, so what more is there?

You could argue that marriage offers tax breaks, medical benefits, and beneficiary entitlements—but you can have all that without walking down the aisle these days. With legal issues out of the way, what is really left are emotional ones. Is the fact that he is, “super responsible, very affectionate and treats you as his equal in every way” enough for you? If not, then perhaps marriage is so important to you that leaving him really is your best bet. If it is enough, then recognize that you are already living the fairy tale and embrace the joy and love you share.

Personally, I believe how a man treats you and shares his love is more important than any piece of paper or the opinion of family or friends.

Live with passion,

Dr. Charley

To submit a question for Dr. Charley Ferrer to answer in her new column send her an email at