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Is He Too Immature to Get Married?

Is He Too Immature to Get Married?


Dear Rachel,

I really cannot wait to get married and spend my life with someone I love and I feel that I have found that person. We share a lot in common, have similar values and goals, and are both committed to learning and growing. The problem is that he is extremely immature. Sometimes I can see the man he can become and I think he just needs to break away that shell. But other times he sits on his free days in front of his TV watching cartoons doing nothing while he promised his family or me to take care of some things. How much should I help him? Is this a reason not to marry? Or will he eventually grow out of it and become a man who takes responsibility by himself and not only after being told several times?


Philadelphia, PA

Dear Frustrated,

You write that you both have similar values and goals and that you are both interested in learning and growing, and yet, from how you describe him, it doesn't sound that way. Someone who is truly committed to learning and growing doesn't spend their free time watching cartoons. I am wondering if perhaps your desire to marry which you begin with is not what is leading your desire to marry him.

You sound like a woman who appreciates and respects motivation and commitment. Yet he does not sound the same. Perhaps right now you have a lot in common, but will he really continue to grow and develop at the same rate as you?

When you date and look to marry, you need to marry the person he is now, not the person he will become. For there are no guarantees that he will become who you think or hope he will become…especially if his getting there requires constant pushing from you. It is not your job to be the one constantly making him do what he needs to do. You should be his motivation and his inspiration, but it is up to him, not you.

If while you are dating—the time that he should be doing his utmost to impress you—he is not taking responsibility and not keeping his commitments to you, I would take this as a clear sign for how he will most likely be when you are married.

There is always the possibility that he will change. There is always the possibility that he will tap into his potential and bring it to fruition, but at this point he is not exhibiting those signs or giving indications that he will do that. It is not fair to him or to you for you to marry who he will become when you are not happy with who he is. I imagine you want him to love you and want to be with you for who you are now, not who he thinks you can be if and only if you change.

If he stays the same, remains as he is now, is this someone you want to marry? Is this someone you want to spend your life with? If the answer is "yes" then continue the relationship. If it is "no" then you cannot get married with conditions.

It is one thing to marry someone who is in medical school and feeling that you are marrying someone who will one day be a doctor and not perpetually a student. And something completely different to marry someone who is lazy, irresponsible and unmotivated, hoping that it will magically change in the future.

For now, be honest with yourself and be honest with him. But do not marry the person in potential unless you are willing and desiring to spend your life with the person he is now in case that potential does not manifest any time soon.

Much luck in your situation.


"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Anonymous Boston October 1, 2013

Re: " Boy -Men " When your boyfriend is depressed, withdrawn, irritable, moody, puts you down when he's feeling negative, won't work, plays videos for more than an hour a day, smokes pot every day, out of shape because he doesn't work out , then I think it's safe to say he's not a " catch." Pretty laughable too to read women hating posts such as " Bottom line / a man doesn't take orders from a woman ," and " Marriage is obviously a way for women to gain economic and political power " , and " Marriage is the end of spontaneity . " Most of the women I know work full-time, work out, and do spontaneous things, whether they're married, in a relationship , or single. Seems the men who posted such negative, outdated, narcissistic views obviously saw aspects of themselves in the female descriptions of their " Boy-Men. " Reply

M.D. Texas July 25, 2013

Same situation... Been about 6 and half years for me and my boyfriend now... Never knew how to seek advice even though it should be obvious. This just answered my doubts. Thank you. Reply

Anonymous Toronto , Canada October 31, 2012

Chronically unemployed/immature bf My bf of 2.5 years has been unemployed more then he's been employed. He says he's come to the fact that he will probably go from bad job to more bad jobs and never have anything. He has no ambitions and wastes money collecting cds. I used to love hearing him tall about marriage but now I shiver thinking about that. He never asks me for money but does say stupid things in front of his family regarding me having a good paying job. "Oh you'll be my sugar mama".

He becomes deppressed when he's unemployed and starts to be mean towards me.. I don't know if I can handle his 3rd round of unemployment. (I should mention he quits every job)......what do I do? Reply

Anonymous truro, uk September 5, 2012

Who is this "Immature"? He's hilarious ! I haven't read anything so funny in years! Genius. Reply

Bex Brisbane, Australia January 7, 2012

Sick of his crap Been with my bf for 2 years, i saw the signs from the beggining that he maybe wasnt right for me, i broke it off in the early stages because he was too immature, but we ended back together when he begged for me to take him back. Over the past 2 years, ive had to deal with so much from him, hes lazy, doesnt help around the house, finishes work at 3.30pm and ill finsh at 6 and hes sitting there playing xbox, and made no attempt to cook dinner. He makes bad life choices and the consequences end up with him in debt. Hes irresponsible and I feel more like his mother then his gf. He says he wants to have a baby, but all i can see is me raising 2 kids. He causes arguements over stupid things. He puts me down at times, and i think he does it because hes insecure with himself, and is jealous of my self assurance and independence.
I love him, but like most of you, i dont wanna spend my entire life dealing with this in hopes he might grow up. Im done, time to get my life back. Reply

Immature June 20, 2011

New ideal of the day You are one of the lucky few to have had a dad around rhl. A man doesn't need to take orders from a woman and that's the real bottom line. Call it macho or whatever the feminist political idea of the day care to call it but this is not how things work in the scheme of things.
Perhaps you are aware how many single moms there are these days ? Well this is not a complete family. If a man is not needed or expected to kowtow to his wife according to the new ideal of the day then G-d help us !
A man is a man not because of how he responds to the convenience of the feminist idea of the day. A man is a man as he was made so by you know who. Reply

rhl November 27, 2010

immature my mom told me that when she was highly pregnant with me, and working while my dad was trying to finish his studies, he came home drunk one night after partying with the boys. My mom took a whip to him and told him if he ever goes out drinking again and comes home late she will leave him. He never drank or went out with the boys again. My dad was no sissy but he respected my pregnant mom. They are soul mates and eternally happily married. I think the problem is women are these days too soft and understanding of men. Tell them straight how it works from day one and if they cant tow the line then kick their bums too the curb. Reply

Immature September 20, 2010

Whose story is it anyway? Marriages & serious relationships r fast becoming prisons 2 many owing 2 so called responsibility gap from a woman's point of view.
Why can't relationships b an adventure 2 b more 3 instead of falling into the responsibility trap ? From a man's point of view there is no point in being in a relationship if it kills freedom or where one has to look upon one's partner for approval. It was never so in the first place and life was fine and enjoyable. Why should it be otherwise when in a relationship with a woman?
This obsession that women have with responsibility towards...themselves first is childish to say the least. It's a woman's obsessive need 4 attention that needs 2 be scanned & remedied.
Given freedom on one side and obsessiveness on the other, the choice is clear but to some gender it's an immaturity issue ?
Love is not all encompassing and doesn't give any special right to be nagging and obsessive.
If Love is the fire & freedom is the air then obsessiveness is the wind ! Reply

Anonymous fort lee, NJ September 19, 2010

same story here I love him to death; we've been together for years. We planned to get married tomorrow, but only a few days ago he had an epiphany: he wants to postpone school, quit all three of his parttime jobs, and leave me to go to california for a few months because it would be "different". For him the pull of friends and "spontaneous oppurtunities" outweighs responsibilities. Don't understand him, intelligent but no common sense.

the fact that we were getting married makes it absolutely clear that you dont just leave someone you just got married to. Hes not going into the army, hes not going for school, hes not going to bury his grandmother, nothing. it seems as if he wants to escape..but he absolutely denys it

we broke up before over the same immaturity issues...contemplating doing it again! Reply

Anonymous NY, NY July 27, 2010

Power & money Let's face it, for many women, marriage is just an economic arrangement and a power trip.

"Me, me, me me..."

And they want to lecture the other gender on "maturity".

Personally, I believe we are all somehow irresponsable, in our own ways, gender-wise, but also individually.

One example, why are you with deadbeats? Want to become single moms so badly? Here I read because they are not boring, wow, It sounds like a very mature reason. Reply

Anonymous Atlantic City, NJ June 30, 2010

I have an immature boyfriend too... I was laid off summer of last year, while looking for a new job I meet my boyfriend (he was 'finishing' his degree on the GI Bill; he was 35, I was 28). We fell head over heels for each other, but then I found a job out of state, we'd been dating only 2 months, but we were in such a honeymoon period that he agreed to transfer schools and move up with me... everything was great for a while, then I found out he wanted to take a break from school, that he spends his days playing video games and smoking pot, he thinks I should pay for everything, has some disgusting habits, doesn't clean, wants me to get rid of my dog & cat, refuses to get a job (even part-time; considers it beneath him), refuses to do things with me I enjoy (e.g., museums), is getting out of shape, and is always irritable and moody. I use to love him more than I've ever loved anyone, but I've just lost SO much respect for him that I don't feel as strongly. I can't love someone I don't respect. Reply

Anonymous orlando, fl June 26, 2010

immature boyfriend same as mine. i broke up with him a couple times and he would tell me he loves me and cant live without me... and would change his ways. but months later he is still the same jobless 24yr old who is in debt but would still find ways to buy games for playstation.. worst is he cant even take me out for a date. im wide awake now, cant sleep cos again i broke up with him. i do care for him, but i had enough. Reply

Amie OKane Kingston, PA June 13, 2010

Immature boyfriend Sometimes I feel like the majority of men are immature and you just have to find one you can deal with. Once in a while you come across a responsible one, but they are boring to me. Deep down I feel like I want to be more like him. Carefree and having fun, and not 100% responsible all the time. Maybe there just needs to be a compromise instead of us pushing them to be 100% responsible like us. You walk in their shoes and ask them to walk in yours a little, instead of expecting it. Yes, they are adults and should be responsible, but in today's world, that is just wishful thinking. I get hurt all the time by my boyfriend because he's not at my maturity level, but I try and put it into perspective and not just focus on the emotions. If I feel this much passion and love for someone and they feel it too, just don't know how to show it...can it possibly balance out eventually with immense patience on our part? Or does that fairytail perfect romance exist right from the start? Reply

Immature March 2, 2010

Cartoon or Boring Wife? Ok...given the choice between watching cartoons or talking to your wife who is always breathing down your neck...I'd choose cartoon any day!
I love watching cartoons, sports and playing video games for it's more enjoyable than having to communicate with a witch who wants you to work till you drop dead for her.
I'd suggest that in the mean time she finds herself a good cookery class so that she could serve more edible food in her home or for the sake of her kids.
Or she could also enroll in a gym to get rid of the excessive weight she carries around instead of whining about her husband not taking notice of her or wanting to communicate with her.
I'd like to conclude that men are not wired in being productive or responsible at all in a way women see it. Men are men in the way they are...or in the way G-d made them...not the way women want them to be. In fact women were made outta Men by G-d and it would wise to put things as they are instead of as they could be outta whims & caprices. Reply

Anonymous delhi, delhi February 12, 2010

immature boyfriend i have a boyfriend, we both love each other a lot... but he is 1.5 yrs younger to me. this thing always create issues between us. he says he is having no problem with my age but its always me who is uncomfortable about this situation. i feel like he is not mature and the thing he say that he loves me is just an immature infatuation. we have talked about it many times but he always says that he will be with me till the end... i dont want to leave him, i truely love him.
i am 19 years old. please suggest how i can cope up with problem. Reply

Anonymous Toronto, Canada September 1, 2009

His romantic words don't cut it anymore! I am 23 years old and have been dating a childhood friend of mine for 8 months now. He too is 23 but acts like he's 15. Because of our history, I care for him a lot. But, it's true, love isn't enough!! Ever since we started dating, I complained to him that I felt like he wasn't putting much effort into our relationship; it always felt like I was the one making plans, asking him to get together. It was always a struggle. He said he would change; however, fast forward 8 months, and no such luck. He is kind and loyal but also lazy (still lives at home and doesn't work - because his family is rich, sigh!), immature (loves video games, movies, sports), and clearly irresponsible (with me, his family and his own personal commitments). I, on the other hand am very goal-oriented and responsible. So I see now that we are just not right for each other. I am always unhappy because he can't give me what I need. Telling me he loves me more than anything just doesn't cut it anymore! Reply

Kim Brandon, Canada December 23, 2008

Immature Boyfriend I was dating a guy for over a year and a half. We decided to buy a house together. I moved him out of his parents basement. Well, that was my first mistake, he went from zero responsibility to haveing a mortgage and bills to pay. It took him only 4 months to turn into a coward and run back to mommy and daddy. He told me he couldn't afford the house and bills, so he moved out! He was not good at communicating either, so when I tried to work things out and talk to him he just shut down and pushed me away. He has been gone for over a month now, and he won't return any of my calls or emails. It's a blessing for me to find out now, instead of marry him and find out later. I now hear from his friends that he is partying every weekend. Reply

...soundsfamiliar... October 2, 2008

i was with a guy for almost 2 years who is the exact same way, i thought we were so much alike..we had plans to get married and were living together and i loved him alot, but he still had that streak of immature high school boy in him i thought he would eventually grow up from playing his playstation all day and wantin to party on the weekends! that never happend, i am now pregnant with his child and he has not grown up one bit at all he is still partying and acting like a child himself at times...needless to say i broke up with him 4 months ago although it was one of the hardest things i ever did it was something i had to do and unfortunately it took me getting pregnant to realize that they never 'change' who they are now is who they will always be. But i do have a miracle out of it that i wouldnt trade for the world!! So if you love him for who he is then girl stay with him but don't ever expect anybody to change what you see is what you get!

Good luck and G-d bless Reply

Sarah Baltimore, MD May 7, 2008

I totally know what you are going through.... I was dating someone like that when I was younger. He kept pretending that he's motivated, but he really wasn't. He was probably trying to impress me. I am now a doctor and he's still his immature self, partying with his friends and wasting his time (from what I heard through mutual friends). I know it's tough to break up with someone you really care about, but I'm glad that I recognized what he was doing and ended things. You know, I might not be a doctor today if I had married him. He might be a great guy for someone else, but he just wasn't right for me. I want a MAN to take care of himself and me...not someone that I have to constantly push push push if you know what I mean. :-) Reply

T Staten Island, New York March 26, 2008

Immature Boyfriend What's the saying, you can't teach an old dog new tricks? He will NEVER change, take it from me, I was married to someone I thought would change too but never did. We are now getting divorced. Reply

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