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

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
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey
film
Sport
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
football
News
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Sport
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
people
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
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

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner - Night Shift

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A leading Leicestershire based chilled food ma...

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accountant - ACCA, ACA or ACMA - Construction Sector

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Accountant (ACCA, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Media Sales Executive - PR and Broadcast - OTE £35,000

    £16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has an exciting op...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor - Shifts

    £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This European market leader for security...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot