I recently met this guy and I have never felt like this about anyone ever before. The minute he kissed me it felt like we were meant to be together. He feels the same way.
I know he is not a serial killer because he is my brother’s best friend from college who I had never met before, so my brother has known him for 8 years. I have just met his family and they are terrific and his sister could become my best friend really easily. I know I sound excited but it all is so good. We cannot bear to be apart and I miss him every minute of the day. I am walking on air!
Here’s my question. When is too soon to move in or marry someone after you meet them? Is there like a checklist for things like this?
Dear Walking on Sunshine,
I’m very happy for you. Congratulations on finding a non-serial killer! Please have a seat, I do have a short checklist and some reading materials to give you. Sugar or Sweet’N Low?
First item: age. If you’re under the legal drinking age, I say wait. Have fun, keep seeing each other, but don’t move in together—don’t even make plans to do so—just yet. If you’re old enough to buy alcohol but still younger than Taylor Swift (25), I recommend moving forward at a steady pace. Wait a year and see how you feel. If it’s meant to be, it will be. If, however, you’re on the verge of no longer being claimed on your parent’s health insurance policy (26) or older—proceed. There’s just something to be said for knowing yourself well before getting married.
Age aside, there is the matter of how long it’s best to date before fully committing. Statistically, it’s better to date for a year or more before getting married. But there’s a part of me that says, “Screw statistics!” We’ve all heard stories of couples who get engaged after one week or one month and it works out. Shirley Temple was engaged after twelve days and stayed married for 55 years. This article talks about Shirley’s quick engagement and goes on to recommend that you still date for a year or more before getting married. I’ll leave you to read and decide.
If you go ahead and move in together or get engaged, mazel tov! In preparation, I suggest reading an article called The Perils of Playing House and, because parts of the article might frighten you, follow it up with a book called Shacking Up: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Living in Sin without Getting Burned. While these are geared toward people who plan to move in together before getting married, they will still be of use if you decide to marry first. Married or just moved in, you will see less-than-desirable sides of each other when you live together (I know it doesn’t seem like it now). It’s good to be well informed.
I hope I didn’t totally ruin your buzz. While I want you to enjoy this time and this (oh so awesome) feeling, I also want you to be smart and avoid rash decisions. I wish you and your great guy all the best.
There is a girl I’ve been dating and I’m not sure if she is “the one”. We have a lot of similar values, which I deeply respect and enjoy about her, but we don’t have a lot of common hobbies and often end up going in different directions. Is this compatible in the long run?
Sleepless in Seattle
No one can tell you what it is that you value most in your relationships. Only you can do this. What I can say about lasting relationships is that they are comprised of open communication, the acceptance of one another, as is, the willingness to allow each other room to grow, and friendship. So ask yourself, is respecting your girlfriend enough for you? Are similar values enough if the details aren’t necessarily there? Is this girl someone you’d call a best friend?
For some, common values are enough. Some couples prefer being together while doing their own thing as long as the big stuff aligns. Perhaps this is not the case for you though, considering something in you begged the question. What I might mull over first is if you are even in the space for a long-term compatible relationship, which you may not be. This could account for your inquiry. Some people stay in relationships that they know aren’t right for them simply because loneliness is hard to endure and because we are companion beings. If this is where you are, does this relationship meet that need for companionship? In this kind of relationship, which we all need from time-to-time, it’s pretty necessary to like doing the same things if your interest is to have someone to do things with. Here, you may be mismatched.
On the other hand, if you are in it for the long run, and you want to be with someone who enjoys the same things as you do, then honestly examine what kind of friendship you have with this girl. What do you do together that you do enjoy? Do you feel something missing if you can’t share the tangible experience of something with her? Do you like her, really like her, the person she is and what she adds to your life? Is the affection unconditional, from both sides? Are you able to laugh things off when the hard stuff shows up? Do you support one another emotionally? Do you feel safe enough to reveal to her the deeper parts of yourself? Do you find intimacy in talking about the details of your day? Do you simply like having her around? All of these things come with the “couple” package and it’s between plans that you find yourself delving into intimacy if your partner will meet you there. Are you able to cultivate an intimacy with this girl? Better, do you want to?
Perhaps clarity will come if you take a beat to envision what you’d like this relationship to look like, find balance in self-oriented and possibly unrealistic desires or expectations, and then, with honesty and the intention to do what’s best for you both, see how well this current relationship matches up. Sometimes it’s hard to look more deeply at close relationships, but you aren’t doing her, or yourself, any favors by staying in something that you don’t really want, and most of the time it’s much better if we can confront our loneliness by spending some time with ourselves, unattached to that which comfortably distracts us. Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge your part in the relationships you keep and courageously let go of what simply doesn’t work for you. This is how you make the space for whatever it is that you do want. If you’ve got the nagging feeling that she isn’t “the one”, she probably isn’t, so do yourself a favor and make room for “the one” by letting this girl go.
You can ask Samara and Caroline questions for the Love & Life Column here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The ideas and advice presented here are not a substitute for professional advice. Talk to your psychologist, counselor, physician or health care professional for situations that warrant further analysis.