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He Loves You. He's Just Never Gonna Marry You. Now What?

It is possible for a man to love you and not want to stroll down the aisle. The question is...what should you do if that's the case?

Marriage

I basically got my start as a writer in the entertainment industry. I remember that one of the first rules I was taught is, while celebrities rarely remember the good articles that were published about them, they almost always remember the bad ones—all the way down to the person who penned it (a classic example of this is back in 2016 when Joe Budden flippantly dismissed a Complex writer while on Hot Ones and then in 2017, well, this happened—"Here's What Will Happen If You Write a Bad Article on Joe Budden..."). Keeping this in mind doesn't prevent me from being fair or honest when writing a piece, but it does (for the most part) keep me from providing commentary in a tone like I actually know celebrities personally; even when I speak with them directly.

Where am I going with this? I'm human. I'm also in media. So, just like a lot of the free world, I have my own opinion about a lot of things that make up celebrity culture. All of that stuff that went down with Omarion, Apryl Jones and Lil' Fizz last year is no exception. And yes, while Omarion did seem to display an impeccable amount of self-discipline when it came to choosing to respond rather than react to all that went down, as a marriage life coach, I also figured that there was a whole lot more to the story; things that could've caused Apryl to react rather than respond. And then came an interview that I recently checked out that featured Omarion. I'll share some of what he said. You tell me if it provided you with another piece of their complex and layered puzzle.

Ever Wonder What Omarion’s Take on Commitment Is? Here Ya Go.

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While Omarion was on SWAY'S UNIVERSE discussing all things his life, I peeped something interesting that he said (at the 8:35 mark) when he was asked about how he feels about marriage.

"I'm unconventional and I don't really subscribe to the marriage business concept. It's not really beneficial for a person like me; to work hard and then split half with someone else…you can have yours, I can have mines and we can create something together. I'm definitely for that. Marriage is just, I don't know. The institution of it all, you know, going down to the court, it's the whole process. I've had to be in court before, and just to see the system not really support, you know umm, men, you know…in an equal type of sequence…down at the courthouse, it's literally two men who work there and then the rest of the staff is women."

OK, so let's pause here for a sec. Before you chalk up what he's saying to it being emotional or relational deflection, you might want to read where marriage licenses came from; it ain't a pretty picture (check out "The Ugly History of the Marriage License in America" and "Unlocking the Past: Marriage License History"). Plus, women do file for divorce most of the time. I once heard a guy (Preach from the podcast Aba & Preach) say that, "Marriage for men is, 'Aye girl, I bet you half my s—t that we're gonna stay together forever." But it wasn't what Omarion said there that, to me, was like a shot heard around the world when it comes to relationships (I'm merely providing that for context). It's this next part.

At the 11:45 mark, when someone on the show asked, "But monogamy? You rock with monogamy." (Monogamy means being married to one person; what she was referring to is exclusivity.) This is what he said.

"Well, elaborate. What do you mean by 'monogamy'?" (Sway clarified by stating, "Being committed to one woman sexually.") "Umm, I don't know. I don't know if I've been motivated or inspired to feel like I can be with one woman. I don't know if one woman has rocked my world like that…I am definitely a faithful person. I stand by my words and what I say I'm gonna do. But umm, that's a tricky question…I believe in it though, but I don't know if…"

Alright, y'all. What stood out to you about what he said there? For me, it was that no woman has rocked his world enough for him to try exclusivity or monogamy.

And hearing that caused me to literally say, "Wow" with an immediate follow-up of, "So, you can put two whole babies in someone but not be 'motivated' or 'inspired' enough to marry her?" Deep. Super deep. And if me, as a woman who has absolutely nothing to do with Omarion and Apryl's situation whatsoever, could feel a twist in my stomach while hearing that, I can only imagine what it must have been like for Apryl to actually live out that reality. Yeah…sometimes we don't know what causes someone to react; we just see them do it.

But this lil' write up isn't so much about Omarion and Apryl (because again, I don't know all of their story). It's just that, what came out of Omarion's own mouth, it actually served as a solid intro to this particular topic. I wonder how many hearts could be spared, time could be saved and delusions could be put to rest if more people didn't get into relationships assuming someone was on the same page as them (check out "The 'Pre-Commitment Interview' Every Dating Couple Should Have")—or thinking that, just because a person cared about them or even "created something beautiful with them", marriage was inevitable.

Hmph. It also caused me to wonder how many men are out here appearing to be commitment-phobes when the reality is that, like Omarion, they haven't been "inspired" or "motivated" enough by a woman to actually settle down. Could a part of that be because we are doing so much of the work in the relationship and, while they love us for it, they see no reason to make a lifelong commitment? I mean, some of y'all might be triggered or even pissed by what Omarion said, but only he knows what would make him want to say, "I do" to someone. Clearly, the mother of his children—two children—wasn't it (which is something else that he mildly addressed in the interview as well). Now bookmark that as we go a little bit deeper.

Men Know When They Are Being Pressured into Marriage. And They Hate It.

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A podcast that I've referenced on this platform before is Aba & Preach. In a semi-recent episode entitled, "These women want to PRESSURE men into marriage", they featured some clips from Steve Harvey's talk show where three female relationship experts where interacting with a couple. It was a Black couple that featured a woman who really wanted to be married and a man who was basically put on blast on national television for not putting a ring on it…yet. Peep Aba's hot take on it all (at the 5:05 mark).

"Look at how they are coercing this man into making a decision that he is not ready. If you're not happy with how long it is taking him, you can leave. That is your right. You don't have to wait. The same way when I'm trying to get it on with a girl and she says, 'I'd rather wait for sex', you know what I don't do? 'Come on, give it up. Throw that poon-poon at me. Yo, I'm owed that poon-poon; I've been here. It's been two dates.' No, if she wants to wait and I don't want to wait, you know what I do? I leave…It's unbelievable, the entitlement of some people. This is a lifelong commitment."

He's got a point. There's more.

"You didn't even take the time to listen to his reasoning because he talked about not having any positive role models…maybe the reason why he doesn't want to engage in marriage and building a family is because he is being patient, 'cause he's seen what happens when men rush into things, start families and walk out."

"It kills me, because marriage is a disadvantage to men. In case of a divorce, it's men who get shafted. Child custody, it's men who get shafted. Family court, it's men who get shafted. And when you think of all of this stuff, men have to propose 100 percent of the marriages, women propose 80 percent of the divorces, we lose most of the money and yet, you still feel like you're entitled to pressure us into a situation that puts us at risk. Think about that. Slow it down."

Whether we want to accept this or not, I know a lot of men who see marriage from this perspective. It's not that they are incapable of love or even commitment; it's that 1) they don't want to be pressured into marriage (would you want to be?) and 2) they are fully aware of the risks and they haven't experienced a good enough reason to take them. Like most things in life, when a man doesn't want to get married, it's not (usually) a black and white reason; there are layers to this thing.

Yet the reason why I'm sharing all of this with y'all is two-fold. One, it's to offer up some words, not from a woman's perspective or even a female self-help author's book—but straight from the mouths of men. Omarion said that he is not really into marriage and some of his points, while I don't personally subscribe, are not frivolous; they have some validity. And Aba & Preach?

Ladies, if you feel like humiliating or emasculating a man into marrying you is the only way to get him to do it, you are in the wrong relationship. You also don't "love him" as much as you might think you do. Force (or control or manipulation), in any direction, is the epitome of anti-love. Whether it's coming from a man or a woman.

Again, I counsel people quite a bit and, when it comes to single women who desire to be married, a lot of their energy is spent in trying to convince a guy that marriage is for him rather than actually asking about his thoughts, accepting his perspective and then deciding if that works for them or not. The latter is the way to go because, if the two examples that I provided did not reveal anything else, it's that a man can feel deeply for you and still not want to marry you. So, if that is indeed what is currently happening in your life, what should you do?

Three Things to Consider If Your Man Loves You but DOES NOT Want to Marry You

1. Don’t Automatically Assume That Love Equates to Marriage

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Not too long ago, I wrote a piece about how friendships have levels. You know what else does? Love. There is a difference between dating and courting. There is also a difference between loving someone and being in love. And, there is a difference between a man who enjoys a woman's company and a man who is ready to make someone his wife (check out "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material").

There is actually a guy I know who has been dating the same woman for about six or seven years now. He's only seeing her, he cares for her deeply and says that he is only sleeping with her. Know what else? He has absolutely no intentions of ever marrying her. Not because of "her" but because he never wants to get married. Do I think that he's a jerk or wasting her time? No. Whenever she comes up, I simply have one question—"So, she knows that you are never going to marry her…right?" According to him, the answer is "yes" so…there you have it.

Would I do what she's doing? No. But that's because 1) I desire marriage someday and 2) I have been the girl who has given my all to a man, all the while thinking that I was investing in a marital future, only to realize that I absolutely was not because that is not what he had in mind (also check out "Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife").

Still, I think there is a dysfunctional conditioning that comes with believing—or is it assuming?—that if a man loves you, marriage is inevitable. Or if a man loves you and doesn't want to get married, he never loved you at all. Yeah, that "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage" saying has a lot of us jacked in the head. Believing that romantic love can't—or even shouldn't—exist without marriage is about as dysfunctional as believing that there is something wrong if you get married and choose not to have children.

So, if your man reveals that he doesn't want to marry you, please don't automatically throw him into the "horrible guy who led you on" category or chalk what the two of you share up to being a farce. The love may be very real. It's just that you two are not on the same page about how it should manifest. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Honor Your Own Time

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There are two men from my past who, I really should've ended things with them, way earlier than I did. One guy, I was "scared" to break things off because, although I wasn't in love with him, I was "scared" to start over. The other guy, he was a vacillator—one day, I was the one and he needed more time, the next day, he wasn't sure. So yeah, let me interject another point here. A guy who is ready for marriage…HE IS READY FOR MARRIAGE. There is no flip-flopping. There is no wishy-washy. There is no riding the fence. If he can't marry you immediately, it's only because he's got a viable plan and he is taking steps to get into position.

With that said, if you desire to be married and the man who loves you does not, you've got a decision to make—who do you love more? Him? Or yourself? And a part of what comes with self-love is honoring your time. Staying involved with those two guys took up a lot of my 20s and 30s—my prime baby-making years. I won't blame them for that because I chose to remain. But, if I could do things over again, I would've definitely honored my time more and better. I would've been more intentional about understanding that love isn't enough; not when you want love to manifest in a way that it's currently not.

If a man is vague, dragging his feet, doesn't know or, does know and you're just not accepting that his answer is "no", he doesn't want what you do. And to take on the mentality of "maybe he will one day" is dishonoring the precious moments that you won't get back. It really is best to release the relationship and continue preparing.

If he catches up to you someday, awesome. But if he doesn't, at least your heart will be free and open to someone who may be way ahead of him. Someone who, along with the Universe, has been waiting on you to let him…go.

3. Be a Wife…ONLY TO YOUR ACTUAL HUSBAND

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Something that I tell my single male friends who claim to be unsure about marriage is, "I bet if we quit acting like we're already your wife without requiring that you marry us, you'd figure it out real quick." We're out here cooking meals, giving up the good-good, supporting men like they've already told God that they would have our back until death—then we wonder why they aren't considering marriage? For what? They've already got a wife in us without them having to do nearly as much in return. In our minds, we think that "overdoing it" is how we can "win them over" but, more times than not, that backfires. We really do need to pull back a bit—if not a ton.

The root word of relationship is "relate". Relating is about establishing a true connection. Pardon the pun but, for better or for worse, we as women have an uncanny knack for running waaaaaay ahead of men in relationships. That's a part of the reason why we're so devastated once we realize that who we love—and claims to love us—doesn't desire marriage or…doesn't desire to marry us. And that's why it's so important to practice reciprocity. Discuss with your partner what the two of you want, where the two of you are and what you're both willing to do or not do. Don't give your all—on any level—if he is not doing the same. In short, pace yourself. The only man who deserves your very best is the man who is willing to reciprocate that. And if, to you, your best is wifedom, don't be a wife to anyone who isn't your actual husband.

Do I believe a man can truly love a woman and never want to marry her? 100 percent. At the same time, do I think that a woman loves herself if she desires marriage and stays with a man who doesn't want what she does? Not as much or as well as she should. You deserve what you desire. Don't allow any kind of relationship or even a man's "level of love" to convince you of otherwise.

Otherwise, you could be out here married to someone who will never marry you. And that is no way to spend your time. All that will do is cause you to react than respond. Time's a tickin'. Choose wisely.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

We Asked 10 Men What Makes A Woman "Wife Material"

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Are You "Waiting On Your Boaz"? Make Sure You Know What That Means, Sis.

Love Is Patient. But Is Your Relationship Just Wasting Your Time?

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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