The help desk: My best friend isn't in love with her fiancé - how can I persuade her not to rush into marriage?

 

Q. My best friend has told me she’s getting married. I didn’t really know what to say, because she’s told me herself that she’s not “in love” with the man she’s marrying, whom she originally met at university and whom she’s been seeing for less than a year. He’s nice and I can see he adores her, but he’s just not very interesting and definitely not her equal intellectually.

She’s 34 and I know how much she wants children. She broke up with the man she always said was the love of her life partly because he couldn’t commit to this (though he was also unfaithful to her). She says her current man wants a family, and he’s Catholic, as she is (though I don’t know why this matters, as she never goes to church). I’m just afraid that she’s making a terrible mistake and condemning herself to a dull life – or a divorce – because she’s putting practicality above love. I feel she shouldn’t rush into this. But how can I persuade her to wait?

A. Well, as waiting a while won't make your friend's fiancé any more interesting or intellectual, I assume you mean how can you make her wait so you have time to talk her out of it. But should you? Suppose for a moment she would take your advice not to marry him. Do you think, in years to come, if she were to find herself without him, but also without the family life she craves, that she would console herself that she'd been true to the noble cause of romantic love?

It's only in recent times that romantic love has come to be regarded as the chief reason for pledging your troth. Historically, marriage has been about unromantic matters such as procreation and money. Most research still appears to show that what makes marriages last are boring things such as similar family backgrounds and both parties wanting or not wanting children, though of course there are relationships that thrive without these things.

Romantic love is great, but it skews our judgement and sends us slightly mad. Weirdly, none of us seems to mind this – in fact we rejoice in it. But considering how many marriages are based on it, it's amazing really that the divorce rate is so low.

The lengths that some women will go to when in the grip of a yearning for children have been discussed before in this column. For your friend, this desire might override everything, and if procreation means marriage to a man who is kind and adores her and wants what she wants, and for whom she feels affection, maybe that seems a pretty good deal. Or perhaps, at 34, she's simply had enough of the hurly-burly of the chaise longue, as the actress Mrs Patrick Campbell famously put it, and simply longs for the deep, deep peace of the marital bed.

A friend told me her mother always advised to her to "beware romantic men", and it's true that while they're interesting, it's rather in the way that "interesting times" are, as your friend as already discovered. Show respect for her decision and she'll be able to talk to you more openly. Then you can decide whether she needs saving from herself.

Your problem shared: Have a dilemma? Email your predicament, no matter how big or small, to Louisa at thehelpdesk@independent.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

    Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

    £70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all