I dated a man nine years ago. We lived in different cities and
neither of us could move at that time so we broke up. I have been single the
whole time; he married, had two children (ages 8 and 5), and divorced in
those nine years. We have now been dating for seven months and are deeply in
love with each other. Though he has mentioned marriage, he has also said
that he wants to wait six months. I am ready now. I think I should back off
from the relationship and give him some space. I feel he needs to get his
head together and decide whether he wants to make this commitment. Am I
being too hasty?
As I understand your question, you had not seen this man during the
last nine years. He now is divorced and has two young children. So for all
intents and purposes, this is a new relationship. You have been together for
seven months; you are in love and want to marry. He wants to wait six
months, which means that if you wait you would have been going together for a
total of thirteen months. However, since you are ready to marry after seven
months, you are contemplating ending the relationship until he "gets his head
straight." And you are wondering whether you are being hasty.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to ask yourself what's your hurry. Seven
months isn't a long time to get to know someone after not being with them
for nine years. And seven months isn't long to wait, if you are getting as much out of the
relationship as suggested by your statement, "we are very much in love." You
didn't say anything about yourself other than you have been single during
the nine year period. He, on the other hand, has responsibilities toward
two children. For him, taking a step toward marriage, means a step-mother
for his children, and the responsibilities that go with marriage. He is
probably thinking about how he will be able to integrate his young children
into a new marriage. He might be a bit gun-shy about making another
mistake. He might be thinking about financial
considerations given that he probably has child support and may have spousal
support as well. A lot of factors may be at play other than the fear of
commitment. I would be wondering how long he has been separated, what his
relationship is like with children and his ex-wife. For him, at least,
there is a lot more to consider than just "we are deeply in love."
I'd suggest that you talk about some of these issues and use this time to
think about what marriage to this man would be like, above and beyond the
romance. Leaving the relationship because he wants a bit more time before
making a major commitment probably says more about your impatience than it
does about his unwillingness to make a commitment. You may do well to use
this time to get to know the man that he is today, not the man he was nine
years ago. You might even want to consider counseling together to explore
some of the issues I alluded to above.
Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist,
Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing
psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years.
He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation,
couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and
assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing
Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.