When you're a woman who has dreamed for years of a romantic proposal and a beautiful white wedding dress, you're bound to be disappointed when your intended groom has cold feet. One of the most disheartening things any woman can say about the man she loves is, "he does not know if he wants to marry me." It stings, it frustrates and it makes you second guess the entire relationship. How can he possibly say he utterly adores you and can not imagine his life without you yet he will not take any step towards marriage? If your guy seems completely stuck in boyfriend mode and he says he's unsure about marriage, you really need to address why that is. If you ignore this, with the hope that one day he'll "come to his senses" and propose, you may find yourself waiting impatiently five or even ten years from now.
Before you do anything else, ask your man why he does not want to marry you. You must be prepared for any potential answer though. Typically a commitment phobic man will resort to saying that he is scared of the idea of marriage because his parents divorced or he does not feel financially stable yet. Those are valid reasons for any man to be hesitant about a serious step towards commitment. If he confides in you why he does not feel ready yet, you can then work together towards finding a suitable compromise. Maybe you need to talk more about what caused his parents' divorce so you are both aware of any potential triggers that may make him withdraw after the wedding. Or it may be more of a matter of talking frankly and openly about your mutual finances and how you can both invest in a future wedding.
If your boyfriend stumbles when it comes to answering questions about why he does not want to get married, you should be concerned. Sadly, the reason some men do not want to get married is because they do not feel that their current girlfriend is their ideal partner. You'll be hard pressed to get your boyfriend to admit that this is the drive behind his desire to stay dating instead of committed, but you can read between the lines to gather the information you need.
Consider how he views marriage in general. If he seems happy when a friend gets engaged and he's talking often about how he hopes to be married one day, you need to pay attention to whether your name is ever mentioned as part of that plan. Some men will date one woman until they decide it's time to look for a life partner. That's when the break up occurs and just a few months later the man in question is suddenly marrying someone he just met. Most of us know of a couple just like that and typically it's because either the man or the woman just did not see their partner as marriage material so they went looking for someone who was.
Giving your man an ultimatum about marriage can actually be the undoing of any future that you two may have had, married or not. If you tell him that it's marriage or the relationship is over, do not be shocked if he says goodbye. You're much better off talking to him rationally about how he envisions the future and whether or not he anticipates ever changing his mind about wanting to marry you. If he's certain that he wants to remain your boyfriend and not your husband for the next several years, you then have an important decision to make. Remember your future happiness is in your own hands, so take all the knowledge you have of your man, weigh it against what you truly want in your life and go from there.
This is clearly a situation in which you need to place your priorities in order so you can make an informed decision. Emotional circumstances like these can cloud our judgment. It's hard to know whether marriage is more important than loving him. If you want the ring, the dress and the happily-ever-after future and he will not budge in his decision to not pursue that, consider where you want your life to be in a year, or five years. The answer of what is best for you is found in looking towards your own future and fulfilling your own personal goals including a healthy, committed marriage with a man who sees the joy in being your better half.