Tag Archives: long term relationship

Does A Relationship Need A Timetable?

Hi advice guy!
You’ve answered me a couple times in the past and I’ve been very appreciative. I’m hoping maybe you have some advice for my current situation.

So, I’ve been dating a guy for six months now. When I met him, he had been divorced for almost a year and separated from his wife for a year and a half. His ex-wife pretty much pulled the rug out from underneath him one day and said she wanted out of the marriage. He found out about a month later that she was having an affair with a 55 year old professor at the college they both attended. Now that I’ve met his family and known him for 6 months, I am very confident that while things were probably not perfect between them, the divorce was mostly about her father issues. I don’t think my guy was much of a factor, though he probably missed some red flags about her since he married her when he was fairly young.

Now, he and I have a very good relationship. He still does a lot of pursuing, thought I reciprocate a lot more now. We spend a ton of time together, we have great chemistry on all levels, lots of fun together, etc, etc. All in all, it’s a very good fit and I’ve felt for a while now that I have probably met the person I will marry.

He seems to know that’s where we are headed, and it clearly terrifies him. He says it’s not so much the getting married part, but everything that has to happen after that overwhelms him — buying a house, having kids, etc. Though, he has been very clear that he wants a family some day. He told me he would never understand what he’s feeling right now unless he had been through the divorce and that he knows it’s probably hard for me to understand why he feels that way. He said he doesn’t want to date anyone else, he loves me and thinks I’m wonderful, but he just wants to take things one day at a time right now. Basically, things are great with us right now. We enjoy being with eachother a lot. He’s just uncertain about how soon he wants to do the marriage thing, while at the same time putting a lot of pressure on himself because he says he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to date me for two years without either moving things forward or ending it as soon as he knows he’s not ready to get married for a while.

So, in a nut shell, here is my fear: In six months or so, he’s still not ready to get married again and we break up because of it. The thing is, I have no timeframe and I’m putting no pressure on him. He’s doing all of that to himself. I just love being with him, and if we get married some day, I want it to be because he wants to be with me for the rest of his life, not because we’ve been dating for a while and it’s the “right thing to do”.

He treats me so well. He’s planned several very nice things for my birthday in December. We’re going on a trip together in January. I’ve met his whole family and he says they like me a lot. He calls me pretty much every day to talk, at least for a little while, he spends a ton of time with me. He does small sweet things for me too. He’s very thoughtful and caring.

In a way, I feel like there’s nothing I can do except what he said — take things one day at a time and things will become clear to him eventually. It just feels like such a huge risk. Things are great right now, but I’m very scared about the future with him.

Do you have any advice for me in this situation? Is there anything I should be doing or not doing? Do you think it will just take time for him to work through the remnants of his first marriage and that he’ll come around eventually? He is such a genuine person with a pure heart. Part of me is sure he will work through this and things will be fine. But part of me is worried.

Thank you in advance for your advice!

Hi Susie,
You have everything to be worried about. From what you’ve told me, on one level he’s this great guy, full of fun and affection, while on another level he’s this scared little kid about dealing with the future.

If he was a friend of mine in this situation I’d tell him that shit happens and to get his head out of his ass and love the woman he’s with and plan a future together. (Excuse my boldness.)

History does not have to repeat itself but if this is what he’s afraid of then he needs counselling to deal with these issues because they will not go away on their own, nor will they diminish over time.

Taking life one day at a time is a huge red flag that he may bolt when things do come to the point where he can’t deal with them. And, unfortunately, the clock is ticking.
Best wishes,