July 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Is He Marrying Me for the Wrong Reasons?

Dear Dr. Chani,

Dating has been complicated for me, I think more than for most other people. I come from a family that is very financially blessed, so I have always been wary about guys wanting to marry me for my family’s money. Since I began dating three years ago, I have dated many guys, but nothing clicked with any of them. Right now, I am dating a guy who seems great, but I do not know if I should take the leap and marry him.

Dave was the first guy I dated who comes from a family that is even more established than mine. His father is an extremely successful businessman. When I first began dating Dave, two months ago, I was so relieved that he would not be interested in me because of my father’s wealth.

Aside from not having to worry about the financial aspect, Dave is a dream guy. He is sweet, thoughtful and very generous. He really treats me like a princess. Our dates are so much fun.

The trouble is that I still do not feel it. I was hoping that by this time I would really want to marry him, but I cannot say that I am excited about the idea. If he would propose to me today, I am not sure what I would say. It is possible I would say yes, but I would be really nervous at this point.

Even though he tells me he has never met another girl like me, I do not know if he really gets me. There is a lot more to me and my family than the fact that we are well off. Education is important to me and I have always been a good student. I am currently in graduate school and I plan to have a career, at least part time. Volunteering has always been a focus of mine as well. My mother is a real powerhouse. She does a lot of volunteering outside the home. I really admire her and plan to be like her. When I talk about these things, Dave seems to space out. I get the impression that he is being polite, but he is not that interested.

People tell me that as long as I like him and there is nothing wrong, I should just get engaged. They say that love comes after marriage. It makes sense to me, but I wish I felt excited.

Do you think I should go ahead and get engaged to Dave? Is there anything I can do to get more into it?

Rachel

Dear Rachel,

You describe Dave as being “a dream guy” who takes you on fun dates and tells you “he has never met a girl” like you. He treats you nicely and makes you feel special. It is possible that he really appreciates you and he is trying his best to demonstrate that to you. Yet, since you are “not feeling it,” it is worthwhile to ask yourself if you are craving something more, something deeper.

It is important that you pay attention to your feelings. Feelings are powerful indicators of things you are sensing, even when you cannot put your finger on what is bothering you. The questions to think about are: What is contributing to your feelings and what can you do to address them?

One issue that seems to underscore your dating search is your goal of identifying someone who is not going to marry you for your money. You have allowed yourself to believe that Dave has an advantage over other guys when it comes to this concern because of his circumstances, that he is from a wealthy family. You sound like you are presuming that your family’s financial success is not a factor in Dave’s mind. Dave’s background alone does not necessarily preclude him from marrying you for your money, or for any other reason that would make you feel unappreciated and insignificant. The only way you can understand more about Dave and how he sees you is through conversations with him.

It sounds like your overarching goal is to be appreciated for who you are as a person. You are not getting a clear sense that Dave values the aspects about you that matter most to you. That may be why it bothers you when he seems to “space out” when you talk about some of your passions like education, your career or volunteering. You are trying to connect with Dave on a deeper level, to express your interests, values and goals. It is possible that if he would demonstrate that he takes an interest in your interests, and lets you know that he supports your goals, you would feel “it” more or feel more emotionally connected to him.

Try to have conversations that lead Dave to help you understand more about him and allow you to share more about yourself with him. Reflect on your answers to questions like the ones below so that you can share them with him. Once you have shared your feelings, allow Dave to answer the questions about himself as well. Here are some examples of questions that can help you deepen your conversations.

What would you spend more time doing if you had all the time in the world (including things that you do not do now, but would love to do)?

Who is a role model of yours? What do you admire about him/her?

What are some beliefs or attitudes that are important to you? How do you demonstrate this in the choices you make (such as how you use time, who you associate with, what you educate yourself about)?

What are some of your short-term goals and long-term goals (career, personal growth, accomplishments, dreams)?

What is your vision of how you want your home to be?

Take time to discuss each question. Try not to give a quick answer and move on to the next one. When Dave talks, listen to him carefully. Ask each other follow-up questions and take the conversation in whatever direction leads you to understand each other better.

When you discuss these kinds of exploratory questions, it can give you a lot of clarity about what matters to you both, and what values and goals you share. If you discover that you have a lot in common or you support each other’s feelings, values, goals and dreams, you will feel a stronger emotional connection and be much more enthusiastic about sharing the rest of your life together. On the other hand, you may realize that you are on different wavelengths and do not have much in common. Conversations surrounding these questions can help you attain the clarity you need to move on, in whichever way it is.

Wishing you much success,

Chani


Dr. Chani Maybruch is a social psychologist and relationship coach, specializing in teaching emotional connection and communication skills for over two decades. She coaches individuals and couples, teaches courses on how to become a master of relationships and provides free relationship resources at chanimaybruch.com. Learn a step-by-step method to improve your ability to emotionally connect with her new online course: The RELATE Technique™—Seven Steps to Emotionally Connect Through Conversation. Reach out to her at [email protected].

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