I just heard about a young woman who ended a 10 year relationship with her college sweetheart. She wanted to get married. He just couldn’t commit. I was shocked. Ten years. It reminds me of the movie He’s Just Not That Into You where Jennifer Aniston finally breaks up with her boyfriend of 7 years (Ben Affleck) after he tells her that he doesn’t want to marry. That story has a happy ending, when Ben overcomes his nuptial fears and proposes to Jennifer. Real life stories usually don’t end so well.
I know that what I’m about to tell you is probably going to be really harmful to a lot of women, but I believe in being totally honest with my readers, so here goes. I personally know several couples who dated for five years or more and finally did get married (and are still happily married). Why is this harmful? Because I might have just given women stuck in dead end relationships which will never lead to marriage the false hope that they too will be one of those success stories, and the motivation (or excuse) to hang in their for another couple of years (or more).
Ladies, before you get too excited let me tell you two things about those success stories:
1. The women involved went through hell for years. I can only imagine the frustration and pain they constantly had to suffer as year after year flew by with nothing more to show for than some I love you’s and promises of impending engagement, as they watched their friends walk down the wedding aisle one by one. Can you handle that pain, day after day, for years?
2. The women eventually gave their men a choice: marry me or lose me. And they were serious. They cut their guys off, cold turkey, no making up, getting back together, trying again. No more. It worked.
Learn your lesson from these gals. If you’re in a relationship with a man who is unable to ask for your hand in marriage, you have two choices:
1. hang in there and hope he comes to his senses.
2. break up with him.
If you choose curtain number one, you will join the legions of frustrated and disappointed who have made the same choice, and eventually find yourself back on the dating scene, scarred, bitter, and several years older competing against a whole new crop of young, bubbly, playmates. If you are in your mid thirties, staying in a dead end relationship could be socially, and maternally, suicidal.
My advice is to choose option two and break up. Yes it’s scary. What happens if he doesn’t come back? Well, I hate to tell you this, but if he doesn’t come back he would never have married you anyway. What if he just needs more time? Fair enough. Set a time frame that is reasonable for YOU. Unless the guy is in the middle of med school (or the equivalent), he shouldn’t need more than 6 months to at least make a very clear commitment to marry you in the near future. If it doesn’t happen by your one year anniversary, I’d say it’s time to “go on now go, walk out the door”. Being engaged for years is no solution either. I can’t see a good reason to be engaged for more than a few months or for as long as it takes to plan your perfect wedding. More about long engagements coming soon.
So how long is too long? I think anything over a year. If you can’t get clarity by then, chances are extremely high that it will never happen. And by the way, the same applies to guys dating girls that won’t commit. If a woman can’t commit to marrying you now, she almost definitely never will.
How long do you think is too long? Have you been in a long relationship that ended well? Badly? You can share your thoughts in the comments section below.
If you have a friend who you think would benefit from reading this post, take a second to share it with him or her. You can also get your free ebook by subscribing to Jcoach at the top of the sidebar.
Please contact me with question or if you’d like personal coaching or advice.