Q My long-term boyfriend has proposed to me and while I've said yes to him, I'm really nervous to go through with it.
We are very happy living together, and have been sharing our apartment for nearly three years.
I'm afraid marriage will change us. He's never been married, but I'm divorced and I never want to go through that again.
We want to start a family but I'm not sure a marriage licence is really necessary, especially if it's going to scare him off and split us up.
Should I reject his proposal and propose to change nothing and stay living together as we are instead?
A Why would you assume marriage is going to scare away your boyfriend?
If he has come to ask you to marry him of his free will and by his own decision, then it should be a very solid step in your relationship together.
New research shows that men are not afraid of marriage.
On the contrary, the research shows that when men want to marry, they do so wishing for that commitment.
They are increasingly dedicated to making their partners happy, less likely to stray and more determined to make marriage work.
Also the news on the marriage front is not as bleak as we have been led to understand.
We have hung on to the classic statistic that around half of all marriages end in divorce.
However, statistics across Australia, the US and UK all show declining divorce rates with one-in- three not one-in-two marriages ending in divorce in Australia, and those who do split, do so on average after more than 10 years.
As well, men and women these days will often be in several relationships before marrying, giving them a chance to learn how to effectively communicate, negotiate, share and relate, before stepping into the long-term legal commitment of marriage.
This can make the experience of a committed relationship less of a surprise and more likely to be something individuals feel informed and aware of, and so know exactly what they are asking for and how to healthily make it last.
Your fiance has been living with you and knows what he's signing up for.
It's natural that you feel some fear and hesitation, having been divorced and not wanting to experience that again.
But your life has moved on, this is a different partner and different relationship.
Stop focusing on fear and all the what ifs, and start seeing all the reasons why he has asked you and how you two can make it work for your own happy ending.