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Marriage or More Dating Experience?


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is a question for men and women...especially those 25 and older with more maturity and experience...

My boyfriend and I are talking about getting engaged this year. We'll both be 30 in a couple of years. Like any relationship, we have our rocky moments but for the most part I can see myself with him in the future. Problem is, both him and I have only been in a couple of relationships before getting together 8 years ago. I think my family disapproves slightly because of this and feel I am settling by not getting experience with other guys. I admit my boyfriends lack of experience has affected us at times, as I became a victim of trial and error. But we are overall pretty content with being monogamous. And i rarely come accross anyone I'd even consider dating. Question is, should we risk losing eachother and break up in order to make sure we're making the right decision (and marrying who's best for us) or stay together?

I dont want to make the wrong decision.

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I don't think anyone can give you the right or wrong answer here. In the end it lies with you. So, read what people have to offer but go with what is right by you in the end of it all.

 

Have you talked to him about the way you are feeling? From your post it sounds like you both have the grass is greener syndrome and want to try out other people. Is that true?

 

If so, that's kind of comforting as neither of you is being the bad guy in this situation and you both understand how the other is feeling and won't condemn them for it.

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Just by posting about this I can tell you're not ready for marriage. Especially by saying you "rarely" come accross anyone you'd consider dating. I think if you feel the need to experience more in life as single, your time should be now to do so. If I were in your shoes I would take the next few years to gain more experience in life as an individual and then regroup and see if it was meant to be with your guy. This is just my opinion. Settling would not be an option for me at least and I would expect this lack of experience to keep biting me in the behind if I were in your shoes unless I put an end to it by experiencing more with other people and then making a firm decision that it's this person that I want.

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Actually no. Him and I are both pretty content with our past experience and with dating exclusively. Its older influences who makes us nervous. My mom thinks im crazy and says im too smart and pretty to be with the same guy so long. She always says "Of course he seems like THE ONE, you dont have much to compare him to." Looking around me, he's not perfect, but i've got a catch and he feels the same.

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Actually no. Him and I are both pretty content with our past experience and with dating exclusively. Its older influences who makes us nervous. My mom thinks im crazy and says im too smart and pretty to be with the same guy so long. She always says "Of course he seems like THE ONE, you dont have much to compare him to." Looking around me, he's not perfect, but i've got a catch and he feels the same.

 

So, you weren't feeling like you were missing out until other people told you that you should feel that way?

 

I'd say that you need to ignore these voices, as hard as it is, and go with what you feel is right. You are 30 years old. You've seen enough of this world to know what you want. While you haven't dated that many men (which "many" or "not enough' is completely subjective), you've been with your guy and you've interacted with other men for years as an adult.

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I always felt that you didn't have to date other people to realize what you have in front of you. Thats always been my take when people have made comments about me only being in one relationship, and planning on marrying this person.

You can 'experience' other relationship by tlaking to people, by having close friendships with friends and hearing about their relationships, and my guy and I always say how thankful we are, how greatful we are, how compatible we are, etc. with each other and how great we are for each other.

He's only dated one other person prior to me [he is 29..], no where do we feel like we're missing out, or do we question what else is out there..because we feel that together we have everything we want out of a partner and a relationship..we certainly are not settling. I feel like I just happened to get lucky, but I also took my time with this relationship and didn't rush things and everything feels great. I would be taking a step back and a step down by 'seeing what else is out there...' If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

 

If you're questioning things, there's a reason for that.

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Look, if you've been together with him for 8 years and are still happy and content, what are you looking for? It's not a good idea to let other people tell you how you should live your life. YOU decide what works for you, not other people.

 

You could break up with him and spend the next 8 years dating 4 or 5 losers, then wake up at 40 and wonder why you dumped a guy you got along so well with.

 

You're almost 30, and old enough to make your own decisions. If you think you really love this guy, then don't go borrowing trouble, or letting other people tell you how you should feel or what you should do.

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Yup, used to feel like i was missing out when i was younger and in undergrad but I am quite content. You're right. I have interacted with other guys and i still havent met anyone else that i feel is right for me. Maybe i care too much about what my parents think, especially for my age. Im just so afraid that maybe they know what they're talking about and years from now i'll realize it but it'll be too late.

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Yup, used to feel like i was missing out when i was younger and in undergrad but I am quite content. You're right. I have interacted with other guys and i still havent met anyone else that i feel is right for me. Maybe i care too much about what my parents think, especially for my age. Im just so afraid that maybe they know what they're talking about and years from now i'll realize it but it'll be too late.

 

But this is your life, not theirs.

 

Just because somoene has a negative experience, doesn't mean you will.

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You could break up with him and spend the next 8 years dating 4 or 5 losers, then wake up at 40 and wonder why you dumped a guy you got along so well with.

 

Thats exactly my fear. I do have a feeling that will happen because only losers seem to cross my path. I dont want to hand him over to another woman only to realize i lost a great guy. You're right...i have to live for myself!

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Experience is highly over-rated. Often people with more experience are actually more jaded. Also, people who cheat in relationships and suddenly get the "grass is greener" syndrome are often people who have had many past relationships under their belt. You don't give up a good thing just to see what else is out there because you may never find someone who suits you better. Is your mother happily married? Perhaps your mother is simply projecting her own unhappiness on to you...but you are not your mother.

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Actually no. Him and I are both pretty content with our past experience and with dating exclusively. Its older influences who makes us nervous. My mom thinks im crazy and says im too smart and pretty to be with the same guy so long. She always says "Of course he seems like THE ONE, you dont have much to compare him to." Looking around me, he's not perfect, but i've got a catch and he feels the same.

 

Then why is this even an issue? Do you want to live your life for yourself or to please others? I think it's ridiculous for your parents to say this to you to be frank.

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Is your mother happily married? Perhaps your mother is simply projecting her own unhappiness on to you...but you are not your mother.

I never thought of that. Shes married to my father (her 2nd marriage) of 30 years...but happy....i dunno! Shes never satisfied and i know she wants to live vicariously through me. I dont think she ever found exactly what she was looking for in a man and she even told me my bf reminds me of her ex-husband. Wow...youve opened my eyes a bit.

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I never thought of that. Shes married to my father (her 2nd marriage) of 30 years...but happy....i dunno! Shes never satisfied and i know she wants to live vicariously through me. I dont think she ever found exactly what she was looking for in a man and she even told me my bf reminds me of her ex-husband. Wow...youve opened my eyes a bit.

 

Yikes. Sounds like my mom.

 

Completely incapable of having a loving relationship....typically treats men like kleenex...and has a lot to say about my dating life. She's been trying to get me to dump my boyfriend for years I've come to hear her advice as white noise.

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I think if your experience with this man is good and you sincerely love him then to jeopardize that by trying for experiences with other people is not wise. You could lose far more than you could ever gain.

 

I did not have many relationships before my long-term marriage.

 

And go with what you feel not what your mother or anyone else thinks. She and they cannot possible know what sort of relationship you have.

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I think if your experience with this man is good and you sincerely love him then to jeopardize that by trying for experiences with other people is not wise. You could lose far more than you could ever gain.

 

I did not have many relationships before my long-term marriage.

 

And go with what you feel not what your mother or anyone else thinks. She and they cannot possible know what sort of relationship you have.

 

I agree with this, BUT you have so many threads about your doubts about marrying this man - after EIGHT years together - that I'm not so sure you should take the plan. Unless you're naturally a very anxious person, being this uncertain after this many years, to the point where you're asking our advice, and were about to break up with him over him losing his iPod, doesn't sound good.

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I agree with this, BUT you have so many threads about your doubts about marrying this man - after EIGHT years together - that I'm not so sure you should take the plan. Unless you're naturally a very anxious person, being this uncertain after this many years, to the point where you're asking our advice, and were about to break up with him over him losing his iPod, doesn't sound good.

I know i seem so unsure and in the earlier stages his ADD did scare me a bit. I am an anxious person and im so nervous about marriage. Ive learned over time that i am very happy with my man and i even accept him, flaws and all (after all, who's perfect??). But marriage is a big leap and i listen to people WAY TOO MUCH!!! Im close to my family so my parents opinion means a lot. But he's a good guy and my friends are all pushing for us to get together. Divorce is all around me and its nerve racking but ultimately i have to follow my heart. Guess im getting cold feet because it may actually happen this year. It feels so real now!

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I don't think it's about comparison shopping but it is about knowing yourself as well as one can and that requires self-honesty, awareness, maturity. The "I rarely come accross someone I would even consider dating" is not the test, at least to me. For me it was making the decision - with heart and head - that no matter who else I ever came accross, I would be happy to choose, and that I chose, my husband. Because surely we can all try to imagine someone "even" better - the issue is when you imagine that, what do you feel?

 

For me I felt "so what" - even if that person was so-called "better" (meaning by some objective standard - the typical stuff as in more intelligent, better looking according to societal standards, etc) - I had made the decision (again with heart and head) that he couldn't be better for me). In short, I felt "done" - I felt like I was done with dating and had come home, even though I mostly had positive experiences with dating and always enjoyed meeting new people for the most part.

 

The "head" part is important too because there's always temptation or at the very least we come accross people who are charming, good looking, etc., we're human, not blind. If you feel committed with head and heart, then you'll make the choice to resist temptation or it won't even impact you in the first place when you come accross someone interesting.

 

I am glad I had the dating experiences I did - I learned about myself - but I think for me what was more important was simply being ready, internally, to take the plunge -- and that required self-knowledge far more than other-knowledge.

 

A friend of mine who is in her mid 20s just married a guy she's been dating for the last 7-8 years (engaged for this past year) - we had several discussions about not dating around - she is VERY pretty, comes from a great and also well-to-do family, she had many opportunities to date others and was very popular including with friends who did/do a lot of dating.

 

None of that mattered to her and it wasn't because she was blinded by love - after 7 years that had settled down a bit - she made the decision and felt "done" - and I could tell that it was partly about the magical in-love stuff but just as importantly part of her reasoned decision. She seems so very happy. I have another friend who married her first boyfriend - at age 21 - and she is still very happy after 23 years of marriage. Same with my mother, and they've been married 54 years, so far so good ;-).

 

I agree with the others that it is such a personal decision and that you shouldn't comparison shop because your mother tells you to, but if what she says really rings true, that might be more of an answer.

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Thanks so much. I love hearing success sotries like this. It gives me hope and doesnt make me feel like there's somethng wrong with me for sacrificing years of dating in my 20's to spend the time with someone who i felt was worth it. To be honest, i have no regrets because he's given me some of the best years of my life. And, as you said, there will always be someone "better". Its about whats best for us. I think thats the problem with my parents. They probably wanted me to marry a doctor or lawyer. Being the only girl (and the youngest) they have high expectations. But im so proud of my man who happens to teach disabled children and has been doing so for 6 years. Im going to definitely follow my heart and, in fact, i just finished having a convo with him about starting to save money for future plans. After 8 years he can get under my skin at times (who cant) but its usually for small things, and overall, i still feel so much love and passion for him. I know id be losing something that many people wish they could find.

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The other problem you have is that sometimes parents have TOO high expectations for their children, as in no one will be good enough for them, and they will pick apart whomever you bring home.

 

They also may be projecting their own current emotional state onto you, as in having midlife issues/crises where they wish they were young again and could start over and have their pick of new partners. Even if they are relatively happy with their current partner, they may be having a midlife crisis that makes them question everything and everyone in their lives, and hence project that onto you as well, as in if they were you, they'd be dating a lot of people and having fun rather than settling down. Many people get a bit bored in midlife and fantasize about 'exciting' lives for themselves or others.

 

don't let them make any choices for you at this age... you need to find your own compass within yourself, and follow it.

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The other problem you have is that sometimes parents have TOO high expectations for their children, as in no one will be good enough for them, and they will pick apart whomever you bring home.

 

They also may be projecting their own current emotional state onto you, as in having midlife issues/crises where they wish they were young again and could start over and have their pick of new partners. Even if they are relatively happy with their current partner, they may be having a midlife crisis that makes them question everything and everyone in their lives, and hence project that onto you as well, as in if hey were you, they'd be dating a lot of people and having fun rather than settling down. Many people get a bit bored in midlife and fantasize about 'exciting' lives for themselves or others.

Oh so true. Sounds exactly like my mother!!

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Did your parents want you to be a doctor or lawyer or just marry one? That might be interesting to think about as far as what their values are in comparison to yours. (If they wanted you to be a doctor or lawyer I might have other issues with that - you should be what you want to be - but wanting your child to aspire to higher education makes sense - wanting her to aspire to be a doctor's wife - not as laudable in my humble opinion).

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