Dear Dating Coach,
I have been dating a girl (for months) that I would like to marry. When we first talked about moving forward toward an engagement, she asked for more time. Now more time has passed and she is still unsure of her feelings and our future. When pressed, she is not sure that ‘time’ is what she needs, or if it’s some intangible feeling that she is missing. I am very invested in this relationship and I don’t want to walk away, but I’m not sure she will ever be ready to commit. Should I wait or should I walk away?
My three-year-old loves pretending she is a pirate. Our swashbuckler stands guard on her ship (couch) and demands all who dare challenge her reign to “walk the plank!” She often sends her fellow buccaneers (siblings) on boats from her fleet (laundry basket) on serious missions deep into the vast ocean (kitchen) to search for gold (snacks). From her perch, she commands all sailors (unsuspecting dolls) to relinquish their booty so she can add their precious wares to her treasure chest. “Arr Matey!” she calls as she claims our “gold and silver” – unapologetic, in full pirate form. That is until bedtime of course, where unicorns rule her kingdom till morning and it is time to set sail once more.
Not All Treasure…
I can hear the frustration and worry in your question. You see a future with someone who is telling you that they are not sure if they share that same vision. As more times passes, your feelings only increase, as does your concern that she may never commit. Yet, you have already invested so much time and emotion and you see your life together. You wonder why she doesn’t see what is so clear to you and don’t know how to lead her to that “intangible” feeling that she is hoping for. You are not sure if time is ultimately all she needs, or if you are waiting for something that may never happen.
Is Silver and Gold…
Of course, every situation is unique. Some daters and couples simply need more time because more often than not, both parties don’t develop a connection at the exact same rate. In those instances, however, the person who ‘needs more time’ is sure on other things. Sure, that the qualities and middos that they hoped for in a mate are there. Sure, that they feel a strong connection. Sure, that they can intellectually see a future with that person, if they are not yet emotionally ready. But when one party just can’t “put their finger on what’s missing” they may be looking for something that simply doesn’t exist. You can’t reassure someone about something that they are unable to define. Waiting for them to pinpoint an elusive “must have” in order to spin the dice on your compatibility can feel like a long shot in the dark.
We cannot ‘pillage’ feelings, and we cannot demand that someone commit to us because we want them to. Certainly, you deserve someone who will be thrilled to build your future treasure together. So, it is time to have an honest conversation without plea or ultimatum. Tell her that YOU can envision a life together because she encompasses everything that YOU feel like you need for your future. Does she feel like you encompass everything that SHE needs for her future? This is a question that only she can answer. Perhaps that ‘intangible’ is merely an elusive chemistry that can only exist freely amongst couples. Then, as painful as it may be, we cannot force others to share our feelings or feel the chemistry that we do. Her answer will tell you if there is hope for your future or if it is time to move on, because stolen treasure is never the way to sail off into the sunset.