Dear AOW: Worrying Less and Trusting More

Dear Any Other Woman,

I’m sure there are so many girls like me who are confused. I’m supposed to be independent and confident in my decisions and chosen life. I never thought I was a girl who would sit at a wedding and wish it was me. The fever has got to me, I have to ride it out but sometimes the only way to calm the whizzing voices in your head is just to speak about them. I can’t talk to family and friends and they are all of the opinion that we should get married, some even are offended as they think we are anti-marriage and that we hate it. I can’t talk to my partner about it as he would then marry me to keep me happy (he is that wonderful) but I really don’t want to get married just to keep me happy – that isn’t a good reason for a pretty big life long commitment. So I’ve turned to Any Other Woman and just by sending this email I feel calmer, well until the next wedding invite arrives that is.
I am in the midst of the wedding season and the wedding years. One by one friends are enjoying beautiful days and celebrating. I enjoy all the weddings. I love seeing the dresses and kilts and dancing shoes. The speeches can be funny or sentimental and the food choices can be surprising. Lavender shortbread was a definite hit, smoked salmon starters will always not be for me. I know however that I will never get a day like this for myself or ourselves as my wonderful Boyo and I will not be walking down any aisle.

Our reasons are many but it boils down to 3 main reasons.
We are not religious so do not feel compelled for that reason.
I worry that marriage to me will make him feel like he is trapped, I know we are committed but I always want him to feel like he has a choice.
 And finally, he has been married before.
I’ve been dealing with a lot of pressure primarily from my family and I am weary and annoyed. Why can’t they respect our decisions and see that we are happy? It is also rude and intrusive and I find it taxing to repeatedly have to defend ourselves.
We’re at the point now where we are thinking about children. Up until this point I was always fine with our decision but now I am conflicted.
I don’t want a ‘wedding’, I have never liked being centre of attention and I know that he has been there and done that and I just would torment myself with comparisons.
When we go to functions I don’t want to introduce him as ‘boyfriend’ it diminishes what we are. Partner can sound cold and I’m not entitled to call him my husband.
When we do have children they will have his surname (100% happy with this) but they will be my family and I’d like us to share the same name instead of me being excluded.
But then I think to myself that we are happy, we are committed, we know that we are right for each other and a wedding won’t change that, changing my name won’t change that and already my heart he is my family; children will just compound that.
I need to worry less about other people and just trust in our love. However I know something now that I didn’t before, if he asked I’d say yes a million times over because deep down I’d love to marry the man I love.
Categories: Ask Anna, Ant and AOW, Becoming A Wife
10 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Claire C
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    You could run away and get married just the two of you with witnesses off the street? You don’t have to have a ‘wedding’. You sound like you want a marriage though and so you should have one and make it yours, both of yours. SO many people do not get to find their person, or end up with the wrong person, so if you want, deep down, to shout from the roof tops that you have found yours (and that to me is what a wedding is, really, however big or small or low-key or quirky or unusual the ceremony itself ends up being.) then you should be able to.

    Talk to your man, the answer is ALWAY more communication in my experience. Maybe he wants to get married deep down too? Do you know for sure he doesn’t?

    I’m waffling, but marriage for me is about choice, it’s the exact opposite of being trapped in my experience, my marriage has made me freer than I have ever been because I have this secure base to jump off from, and someone to fish me out of the sea if I have got a bit over excited and start drowning. Of course everyone is different and I am not saying you have to get married to have that but for me it was a good place to start.

  2. Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Hi anon. My advice is fairly simple.

    Firstly learn to ignore and block out what other people think. Who cares what they think you should do? You don’t need to justify your actions to people, so try to stop feeling like you do and just own it.

    Secondly, you do need to tell your boy how you feel. Just show him this. It’s clear you’re not obsessed with being a princess or trapping him in, you just want to feel like an official family when you have kids. He has to know how you feel so he can address it, even if that doesn’t mean rushing out to get married.

    Good luck!

    • deltafoxtrotcharlie
      Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Sorry, I agree with KatY not KatIE

      I hate it when people spell my name wrong when its right there in front of them :)

  3. deltafoxtrotcharlie
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I agree with Katie – you need to talk to him about this.

    You can be married without having a wedding, you can also have the same name without getting married if you want (you can do your deed poll online, super easy and quite cheap!)

    BUT… I personally don’t like the continuation of this image that men are ‘trapped’ when they get married. I can tell you from experience, it takes just as much effort to choose to be in a marriage as it does to be in a committed, if legally not recognised, relationship. Why would he be trapped by demonstrating to your friends and family that he chooses you for the rest of his life? So what if he’s been married before.

    Again, from experience, I can tell you that being married to the right person is a freeing experience – it frees you to be the best version of yourself because you have the security and confidence in your relationship. It frees you to pursue your dreams because you know you have someone who is always batting for your team, it frees you to truly commit to each other because you know you have the same goal.

    Good luck with whatever you chose and don’t be afraid to tell people that its none of their damn business what you do. xxxx

    • Posted September 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Great reply! All of this, agree completely.

      Anon, it sounds like you’d like to to get married but not have a wedding. So why not do that (if he asks, or if you ask, or if you both simply decide to). You can go to a registry office and just…do it. It’s not a religious ceremony and it can be as simple as you like.

      But I find it interesting that you mention ‘he was married before’ in your reasons for not wanting to get married. I wonder why you included that? You don’t write anything more about this. Why is this a shadow over your relationship? Is it linked to your other reason of keeping choices open?

      Good luck, and please don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. You’re uniquely you, and your relationship is uniquely yours and that’s OK.

  4. Liz
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    As Claire and Katy have said you really need to talk this all through with your man, you may find that all the same thoughts are whizzing round his head.

    I am a second wife. I had all sorts of worries about that, does he really want it, is our wedding too similar to theirs, what will all the people who went to his first wedding think etc etc. However, when it came to it, it was OUR wedding, and the fact that it was ours and was so special to us meant all that didn’t really matter. One the day it honestly didn’t cross my mind that he had done it before as I was so busy enjoying our moment. I guess what I am trying to say is, please don’t make that the reason to not have your own wedding and marriage – if that is what you both want then you should embrace it and go have whatever kind of wedding you desire!


  5. Posted September 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    This is interesting – a month ago I would have said I felt exactly the same way. I was never that bothered about getting married. In many ways I am still not. I’m like you – I don’t like the big white weddings, the overpriced food, the sense of duty. My parents were not married to each other, and I didn’t think that ever made a difference. I always thought that in many ways their separating was made easier by the lack of divorce.

    However. My long-term partner and I split a couple of weeks ago. While most of our friends are married – it wasn’t for us. We couldn’t afford it, we didn’t want the big wedding, we didn’t feel we needed to. But – there is a little part of me that suspects if we had been married, he would have tried harder to save things rather than just running away when things got tough. I suspect friends and family would be treating me differently for having been left by my husband, rather than my boyfriend. It’s odd. It’s like that tie, that long term commitment, that sign – the thing you refer to as ” I know we are committed but I always want him to feel like he has a choice” wasn’t actually as good as I thought it was.

    I still feel that having children and a mortgage together is a bigger sign of commitment than a ring on a finger. As my best friend said – it is easier to get out of a contractual agreement with another person than a contractual agreement with a bank!

    If the situation ever comes up again, I wouldn’t know what to do either. It’s a tough one. If you’ve never seen yourself getting married, you’re not religious, and you’ve had a negative experience in the past I can understand why it wouldn’t appeal.

    • Posted September 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      My advice would be this: don’t keep your worries to yourself. Tell him how you feel. He won’t know if you don’t tell him. I suspect he’ll surprise you. A marriage is two people becoming a family – not a big white wedding!

  6. Posted September 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Agree about talking to him but I’m afraid I disagree with the idea that being married means being committed (if you want to make it sound positive) or trapped (if you want to make it sound negative). I don’t want to bang on about my story over and over again but I do feel that if someone doesn’t want to be in a relationship any more, if their mindset is such that it’s over, then being married or not makes no difference – it certainly didn’t in my case or in the experience of several divorced friends.

    So. If you want to get married for whatever reasons you may have, then tell him that. But I don’t know how much marriage alters a commitment (which I am sure he’s already made to you) anyway. And Gwen, I am so sorry to hear about your situation, but just like your other half, when my husband felt things had got too tough, he ran too. I think it’s more about the person, not what you’re calling the relationship. Big hugs x

  7. Posted September 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I share many if these feelings. I want to get married but my man does not so it’s unlikely we ever will. Wedding season is tough as I know it’ll never be me, but like you said there are other things which are more important. People constantly asking drives me insane too, your right it is rude! You know you could just chance your last name even without the wedding, I know people that have done that

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